Episode 24 – Batman, Motherfucker!

batman

“It’s an omen. I shall become a bat!”

Criminals are superstitious and cowardly lot, so Mike and Casey are joined in the Batcave to compare case notes with our friend Pól Rua, and first-time panelist, Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters podcast. Our topic, DC Comics’ Caped Crusader, Batman.

We dig into the character’s ridiculous versatility and unique ability to upend the normal rules for the suspension of disbelief. From the campy do-goodery of Adam West to Frank Miller’s dark avenger of the night, we discuss the wide range of tone and genre that the character has had in his seven decades of publication.

This is the podcast you deserve, but maybe not the one you need right now.

Music: 
“The Batman Theme” from Batman by Danny Elfman

8 thoughts on “Episode 24 – Batman, Motherfucker!

  1. A Humorous idea just popped into my head. We have heard you guys say before about superman is Very uncomfortable with the idea of being Seen as a god. But think of this fact: EVERY time someone says they don’t believe in Batman, He shows up and beats them up for good measure…. It says something, don’t it?

  2. Listened to the show this morning while taking my dog for a walk – yay! (…before I had to go to work – blah).
    Really enjoyed the discussion, although – even though you all went on for almost 2 hours – I get the impression you could have kept on going for another 2 at least. The fact is, I was kind of hoping for even more consideration of Batman in the comics (which is still my favorite way of consuming Batman stories). And your high-point/low-point segment really got me thinking about some of my own (more so than in your other shows), because despite all of the valid movie-related low-points mentioned, mine are both tied to the comics. High-point: Brennert & Staton’s wonderful “The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne” from Brave & the Bold #197. Such a well-written, adult, yet at the same time all-ages story. Low-point: The Cult (do I really have to explain that one?)

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  4. I’m enjoying the episode, as always. However, the discussion about Dark Knight (which I tend to side with Joe on much of Dark Knight) brings up a point. Joe mentions A Death in the Family and the death of Jason Todd (I got better…); but, that came after. Yes, dramatically, this Batman has suffered the loss of Jason (presumed to be a death, though Miller never comes out and says it directly). Thing is, to me, that element pretty much planted the seed to kill off Jason, for no other reason than to tie current DC continuity into its most successful comic. You have the poor characterization of Jason that added fuel to the fire; but, I suspect they wouldn’t have gone for a death solution had Miller not put that in there.

    I was glad to hear American Flagg brought up, which seems forgotten, in the light of Dark Knight and Watchmen. In the day, it was held on the same plane. Chaykin was hitting a lot of the same points as Miller; but, a few years earlier, and with more of a liberal perspective. The difference is that Chaykin was doing more of a satire. His influence on Miller is obvious, though, especially in later things, like Martha Washington. Chaykin was really on the cutting edge then, something he seemed to lose, when he went to Hollywood. He still had flashes of brilliance, with period pieces, like Batman: Dark Allegiances, Batman: Thrillkiller, and American Century.

    Batman has always been a favorite. I was introduced via the Filmation cartoons, which led to the comics. Like Greg Hatcher, the Batman of the 70s was mine; the one who travelled the globe, called Superman Clark, and occasionally caught up with his “son”, whose off in college. It was the era of Denny O’Neil, Archie Goodwin, and Steve Engelhart, as well as Neal Adams, Irv Novick, Jim Aparo and young punks like Walt Simonson and Marshall Rogers. That said, I loved the Adam West movie (which I saw as a young kid, long before ever seeing the series, itself). As a kid, it was a great adventure. I was astonished to discover, as an adult, that it was a great comedy. To me, Batman adapts to any setting, whether it be campy stories, strange aliens, gritty crime thrillers, James Bond adventure, or a locked room mystery.

    For my money, though, Batman the Animated Series is the greatest distillation of what made the character great. It covers all of the ground, from serious to comical, crime drama to mystery, global adventure and human stories. Batman Brave and the Bold is pure fun, just like the Brave and the Bold stories. It recaptures the fun of pure storytelling, using the character who adapts the most.

    My low point for Batman would be the post Dark Knight Batman. It has grown increasingly violent and depressing and more beholding to Hollywood than Bob Kane and Bill Finger (et al). Hollywood has done some good Batman (1st Burton, Batman begins, parts of Dark Knight); but not much and Dark Knight Rises was atrocious.

    Ironically, my high point would be Batman TAS, a product of Hollywood. Like I said, it distilled everything that makes Batman great into a daily dose of cool stories. It also produced the greatest Batman film of all, Mask of the Phantasm. It also gave us the delightful character of Harley Quinn, which DC promptly turned into some kind of Suicide Girl slut (which Hollywood has picked up on) and stripped her of anything loveable. The difference is that the BTAS crowd were fans of Batman, not people who saw that it was popular and could make them money and then analyzed it (often wrongly) to death.

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