Monday, 3 February 2014

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS: BATMAN

L.J. SPENCE'S STARTING POINTS

17. BATMAN (1966, dir. Leslie H. Martinson)

03/02/2014


"Well, they are all actors, and you think of them as actors... But when you see Adam, you don't think of him so much as Adam, you think of him as Batman. That's the only real Batman in my opinion. They are all great actors who portrayed the role. But when you think of who really is Batman, who kids really believe is Batman, there's really only one and it's Adam West."

Fortunately, we all know better than Burt Ward, as there have been numerous attempts to get closer to the "Dark Knight" than the 1960s timepiece that the "Batman" TV series and spin-off film has become. My personal favourite Batman is Kevin Conroy, who provided the voice for the 1990s animated TV series, and the voice I am most likely to hear in my head when reading the comics.

However, Batman is a character that has thrived on the numerous variations there have been over the years, but Adam West's version, a character I believe I can take down myself, and so familiar to all with its portrayal in its campy dutch-angle style, and all the "BIFF", "BAM" and "POW" captions on screen, is still very problematic, mostly for the damaged it caused to the overall franchise.

In the 1960s, "Detective Comics" and "Batman," the two monthly comics still published by DC Comics to this day, had begun a new direction that saw artist Carmine Infantino redesign Bob Kane's original look, that Kane himself was required to copy whenever he drew the comic, and the action was squarely on super-heroics, and not the domesticity of Batwoman, Batgirl, and various Bat-pets, all introduced in the 1950s to make the books seem less like a homosexual fantasy involving Batman saving his kidnapped Robin once again. 

However, the TV series harked back to the safe, flabby nature of what its makers read, and the comics were forced to comply, which caused sales to fall - perhaps, why pay for the stories you are seeing free on TV? The comics only got back on track when Robin was sent to college in 1969, and writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams began creating the "Dark Knight" that has influenced every comic and screen portrayal of Batman since - O'Neil and Adams created Ra's Al Ghul, the most evenly-matched of Batman's villains, as played by Liam Neeson in "Batman Begins" (2005),  that featured Christian Bale as the best live-action Batman, although here is hoping Ben Affleck, when "Superman vs. Batman" starts filming, isn't in as much need of a throat lozenge as Bale was.

Basically, I feel a need to prove Burt Ward wrong, especially when most know Adam West as the logic-challenged mayor in "Family Guy." And as for Ward, owner of the TV and film company Boy Wonder Visual Effects Inc., it is finally time to stop living in the past.

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