The year 1992 brought us one of the greatest comic book adaptations of all time–Batman: The Animated Series. This cartoon show from Fox pushed the boundaries of what a cartoon show was. It was still kid friendly, but somehow it catered to adults.
Not only was it run on Saturday mornings, it was also broadcast on Sunday nights for a while. Guided by Bruce Timm’s “dark deco” stylings, visually the show looked like it was straight out of the 1940s, complete with Max Fleischer Studios style artwork.When you compared it to other animated television shows, you could clearly see how much time and effort was put into Batman. I remember reading an article in Air (a magazine about on the airbrush as an art tool and a medium) where they went into great deal about how complicated the background paintings were.
But on top of that, each episode was just so brilliantly written. Again, the show certainly did not pander to a juvenile audience. Themes of love and death were regularly featured. The series came across as an an old timey detective show.
It must have did well at this, as the show wound up winning three Emmy awards.
Kevin Conroy’s vocal portrayal of Batman is how I imagine the character. Sorry Christian Bale, but you have nothing on Kevin’s batman.
Kevin’s portrayal of Batman was dark and mysterious, but human. It just worked so well.
Not to mention Mark Hammill’s portrayal of the Joker. The character was maniacal and ridiculous all at the same time. Hammill made some intentionally cheesy and pun-laden dialogue work. He did such a good job in his creation of the character, that every time I read the Joker in a comic book, whether it be a random issue or a significant book like The Killing Joke, I hear his voice.
For trivia buffs, Batman: The Animated Series also created the Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya characters into the DC Universe. After debuting on the television show, the two later crossed over into the comic book universe.
Harley was pretty much the same–a maniacal clown with an unconditional love and loyalty for the Joker. Renee evolved much more as a character, with her sexuality being explored and her taking over the role as the Question.
So what did you think of the show?