As the release of The Dark Knight Rises looms before us, we at the Batcave Debriefs would like to remember that The Caped Crusader is a bat for all seasons. While Nolan films have brought Batman fandom to its zenith, it’s just the tip of the iceberg as there are many countless Batman stories to go back and explore. We don’t see The Dark Knight Rises as the end, but a beginning, a starting point for us to delve back into the past of Batman.
After all, this is a character that has been in existence for over 70 years! And he’s permeated just about every form of media imaginable. We’ll be checking out his stories throughout all these mediums. From comics to TV shows, films and video games, we’ll be looking to explore Batman stories wherever we find them. For starters, we’ll be checking out the many comics and graphic novels of Batman, but with The Dark Knight Rises around the bend you can expect some of our thoughts on the film in the near future.
As a form of introduction, we’ll both be sharing a bit of history about who we are and a brief view of our previous exposure to Batman.
It was the late 1980s when, as a child of 5 or 6 years old, I would enjoy reruns of the old Adam West and Burt Ward Batman tv show in the afternoon. At the age of 28 now, myself and anybody else familiar with the character of the Dark Knight knows that the 60s show is more of a joke than anything else (albeit a very funny one at times), but for a 5 year old, it is anything but. I cannot recall if I felt any sense of danger when watching those spectacular episodes, but what did stick with me played a part in my love for Batman ever since: the colourful characters, the episodic nature of the adventures, the gadgets, the costumes, the lively allies and villains, etc. As ridiculous as the show, it is mostly thanks to it that I’m familiar with Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon, the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman and so many other unforgettable characters.
Subsequently, it was towards the movies that my attention was turned. 1989 saw the release of Tim Burton’s Batman, and although I had no clue who Tim Burton who Michael Keaton were, I understood, with a sense of shock as I recall, that there was more than one version of the Caped Crusader. He was, for all intents and purposes, too big for just a tv screen. The movie screen is where he belonged! Of course, shortly afterwards I would come to learn that wasn’t exactly where he belonged, but I was young back then. My father took me to see Batman Returns in 1992. I was 8. It both scared me and thrilled me. Batman was officially amazing to me.
Along the years my appreciation for Batman grew. I understood that it was a comic first before anything else, that he could be handled by many completely different creative voices rather than just one. I am a proud owner of a dozen or so volumes of Batman stories, meaning there’s probably over 100 stories in my library. 100 out of literally hundreds upon hundreds of Batman stories, which brings me to this little pet project ours, one that I hope will open my eyes to even more stories and an even better appreciation of the Dark Knight,
It speaks to my fascination and love for the character that when asked to make a choice in the everlasting Marvel/DC debate, I answer that I enjoy the Marvel universe more. When then asked which comic hero is my favourite, I gladly contradict myself by saying: ‘I’ll take Batman any day of the week.’
My journey with Batman begins when I was a wee lad in the ‘90s and Warner Brothers still had their own TV station. They’d show reruns of Batman: The Animated Series, my favorite cartoon as a kid. I remember renting the 1966 Batman many times from the public library on VHS. I also watched Batman Returns on TV in my younger days. I remember being super pumped for Batman & Robin, until it got slapped with a PG-13 rating, which meant my parents wouldn’t let me see it. That killed off my Batman interest for a long time because there just wasn’t anything new for me to check that I had access to.
As a young adult, I watched some more of the movies, more because of my growing interest in film than in Batman. I saw Burton’s Batman, somehow missed Batman Begins in theater but caught it on DVD, and, of course, The Dark Knight. Out of curiosity, I did indeed finally watch Batman & Robin, albeit only a couple of years ago. I’ve also seen a couple of episodes of The Batman, more because of my brother’s avid interest in the show…I’ve since weaned him off with my DVD set of The Animated Series.
I’ve played some of the most recent Batman video games. I’ve only tried a few levels of Lego Batman: The Video Game. The smash hit Batman: Arkham Asylum is actually what got me interested in Batman comics specifically. I’ve played Batman: Arkham City, the sequel, as well.
In the past couple of years I’ve slowly started getting into comic and graphic novels. I’ve not read a whole lot yet, but I did catch up with several of the biggest Batman stories: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Long Halloween. I’ve also read random bits of Batman: Black and White, the first issue of Batman Adventures, and the first issue of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Now that You’ve met both of us, we’d like to share where we plan to go from here. Check out the schedule page to see what we plan to check out in the future. We’ll be constantly updating it as we plan out what we intend to cover next.