This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight’s existence fighting crime on the streets, sewers, airways, buildings, mansions, bat cave, prison, mental institutions, and more in Gotham City and beyond. Last year was Superman’s 75th and thanks in part to the Man of Steel film being released and DC Comics and Random House teaming up to help libraries who wanted to participate in hosting a Superman Day at the Library and I-with the help of my fellow co-workers-had a wonderful opportunity to propose, initiate, and participate in a Superman Day at the library at my job. Though there isn’t a film being released this year (you’ll have to wait till next year for the untitled Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman film), there are still many cool things to celebrate about our beloved Bat.
DC Comics will release today the 2014 version of Detective Comics #24, which will re-imagine Batman’s very first adventure from 1939, “The Case of the Criminal Syndicate”. You can read more about that here. In addition, a weekly comic book titled Batman Eternal, written by Scott Snyder and others with art by Jason Fabok, begins its run today so go pick that up! Scott Synder’s doing a kick-ass job writing the main DC Comics Batman title and with artist Greg Capullo on the book, it can’t fail.
If you want to reminisce about Batman’s past adventures, there are plenty of great books, movies, and cartoons, that you can dive into. Here are a couple of favorites of mine in no particular order:
Batman: The Animated Series
This is the first animated series of Batman that I ever watched. I grew up in the 90’s and I remember coming home after school and watching this show. It was one of the things that got me into comics and the geek/nerd world as well as introduce me to the characters of the DC Universe. It’s a wonderful and amazing series. Favorite episodes of mine are: “Christmas With the Joker”, “Heart of Ice”, “Joker’s Favor”, “Appointment in Crime Alley”, The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy”, “The Laughing Fish”, “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?”, “The Man Who Killed Batman”, “Harley and Ivy”, “Trial”, “Harley’s Holiday”, “Batgirl Returns”, “Holiday Knights”, “Joker’s Millions”, “The Demon Within”, “Legends of the Dark Knight”, “Girls’ Night Out”, “Mad Love”, and “Beware the Creeper”.
The Killing Joke
One of the first Batman graphic novels that I’ve read. It’s written by Alan Moore with art by Brian Bolland, lettering by Richard Starkings with coloring done by John Higgins (original version) and Brian Bolland (deluxe version).The book explores the possibility that Batman is just as insane as the criminals he faces, but he displays his insanity in a different way. Batman uses his for good while the Joker uses his insanity to cause chaos. Basically the Joker and Batman are mirror images of each other.
The Dark Knight Trilogy
Director Christopher Nolan did an awesome job of reintroducing audiences to Gotham’s Dark Knight in movie theaters everywhere. After suffering a disappointing and horrid meltdown via the Joel Schumacher films it was great to see Bats coming back to life and Christian Bale did him justice. Out of the three The Dark Knight is my favorite with Batman Begins in second and The Dark Knight Rises in a solid third place.
Batman vs. Predator
The predator is one of my favorite movie characters and it was pretty cool to see Batman facing this member of an alien race who travels the galaxy hunting other aggressive species for sport. There are total of three books which tell the story. It’s definitely worth checking out.
If Batman has go up against Predators well then why not aliens? And that’s exactly what happens in this graphic novel. There’s a sequel which was published in 2003 which you might also enjoy.
The Dark Knight is back kicking butt in the Gotham City of the future. Bruce Wayne however isn’t donning the cape and cowl this time. A teenager by the name of Terry McGinnis puts on the new bat suit and goes to work cleaning up Gotham. Though Wayne isn’t the hero that Gotham needs at that time, he’s the mentor that they deserve as he assists Terry through his crime fighting adventures.
Compared to Batman the Animated Series, this show definitely comes in second place. However, the creators didn’t set out to make this show follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and it’s still does a great job in its own right. It was new spin on the character and shows a younger Bruce Wayne in his early adventures as the Bat. It reintroduces villains, sidekicks, and other superhero characters as well as give viewers new ones to become attached to.
Batman & Batman Returns
I loved Tim Burton’s films. They were a great take on our caped crusader and who didn’t love the villains? I mean Jack Nicholson as the Joker? Danny DeVito as the Penguin? And Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman? Do I really need to say more?
The Dark Knight Returns (Part 1 and Part 2)
The animated version of Frank Miller’s comic is definitely a must watch. A 55 year old Bruce Wayne returns with cape and cowl, a Bat tank, and a new Robin to cleanse the streets of a Gotham City of the future and defeat enemies old and and new. I also suggest reading the comic. You won’t regret it!
Batman the 60’s TV Show
I remember watching reruns of the show as a kid and it was one of my first introductions to Batman. Yeah it was cheesy, and yes Robin’s “Holy____ Batman!” could be downright just “Really?” but it was an enjoyable show. It’s a cult classic and the reruns continue on today. I mean who doesn’t love the theme song?
Think this is a short list and I’m missing a lot more? Of course I am! There are many comics and films that you ought to check out, I just gave you a few to wet your appetite for more. And if you want more check out these lists of the best Batman comics and graphic novels of all time put together by these folks:
Happy reading and Happy 75th Bats! The year of the Batman has just begun, stayed tuned for more!