Saturday, August 27, 2016

Reader's Diary #1364- Jeff Parker (writer), various artists: Batman '66 Volume 1

Is there a more extreme character in comics than Batman? On the one side, you have this bright, campy 60s version, and on the other a version so dark and cynical, he's just a few syllables above grunting. That there's still an attraction to both versions is crazy (they're making a new animated version with Adam West reprising the role). Shouldn't there be a happy medium? Aren't these essentially just two different superheroes sharing the same name?

Regardless, I do have a little fondness for the old '60s Batman. Growing up in Atlantic Canada in the 80s, Sunday morning meant the Halifax version of Switchback, a talk/variety show aimed at kids. It was an hour and a half long, but two 15 minutes segments were devoted to Adam West Batman episodes (later I think it was Get Smart). It was hard not to appreciate the cheese.

Batman '66 amazingly captures it all in a series of comics set in the style of that old show but written today. This means that you get the classic versions of villains, like the Joker who is drawn to look just like Cesar Romero, but also new characters who weren't even created at the time, drawn seamlessly into that era, like Harley Quinn.

The art, drawn by various artists, is stellar, even if I felt the quality slipped ever-so-slightly after the very first issue, with its overdose of Ben-Day dots and gaudy colours. Still, even the volume as a whole, is a brilliant piece of pop art.

I'm not sure that I'm any rush to read the next volume, though. Fun as it all is, it's like candy. There's no character development or substance at all really, but for pure entertainment it's great.

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