Batman: An Animated Legacy

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Posted April 8, 2015 by Cody Rostron in Nerdy Bits

Many people of the generation before me look to the 1989 Batman movie as their entry into the dark knight, it was the first “serious” take on the character that deserved to be taken seriously. while I have my issues with the movie itself, it has to be acknowledged that the film influenced a lot of the movies we see today, it also influenced the way we watch superheroes. But as much as that movie changed the way superhero movies are viewed it also spawned the greatest cartoon ever made.

I was born the same month that Batman: the animated series debuted on Fox. Obviously I was not aware of the ramifications that this show would have on the world of comics, TV, and Batman in general. As a kid I was a big animation fan, not because I knew how much work and effort went into it. But only because I liked watching the shapes and colors talk to each other, Like I said I was very young. But the older I got, the more appreciation, and more reverence grew for this fantastic show that my dad just so happened to tape on VHS before I was able to speak full sentences.

By the time I was old enough to appreciate the show in full I realized just how important this show had on the world around me. As cheesy as it sounds, the show shaped me, my love for Batman and comics grew from this fantastic show. If you’ve never watched Batman: the animated series then at this point you’re rolling your eyes at my affection and saying “so what its just a cartoon.” and I would say to you that you’re right, its just a cartoon, but it’s the cartoon that every other one aspires to be. From Kevin Conroy’s iconic Batman voice that will always live on in my head whenever I read batman’s interior monologue on the comic page. Or Bruce Timm’s clean and distinctive art that built a universe around this dark city of Gotham. Or even the masterful writing of Paul Dini, someone who has created the most lovable villain of all time in Harley Quinn. I could write for days about all the people that had a hand in building this show, like Andrea Romano, Bruce Alan Burnett, and Eric Radomski. These people cared, not only did they care about making a good cartoon but they cared about making a good show, and a Batman show at that.

 

I could write for days about all the people that had a hand in building this show, like Andrea Romano, Bruce Alan Burnett, and Eric Radomski. These people cared, but not only did they care about making a good cartoon they cared about making a good show, and a good Batman show at that. The show initially was more or less thrown together because FOX had the rights to a bunch of properties and needed to make use of them. After that the team had assembled, Bruce Timm Drew characters that resembled the old Fleischer Superman, Eric Radomski made Gotham look like it was recovering from a nuclear winter by painting the skylines on black paper. Which had never been done before, and later turned out to be illegal and probably dangerous. Andrea Romano brought in the likes of Mark Hamill, (who didn’t think he was going to get the job.) Michael Ansara, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Bob Hastings, To portray an iconic character like the Joker, Mr. Freeze, Alfred, and Com. Gordon.

Besides the countless amounts of money that my parents spent on action figures and clothes, Batman: the animated series had an emotional effect on me. I just didn’t realize it until the show had long gone off the air. People always talk about superheroes being portrayed by actors and who they think is “The real Batman” or “The real Superman.” I’ve never had that debate in my head, Batman will always be Kevin Conroy, and Mark Hamill will always be the Joker to me. While I recognize deciding who will be the definitive version of a character that is always changing is stupid. What I mean is that whenever I think of the character Batman I think of Mask of the Phantasm, and when I think of the Joker I think of the speech during “The man who killed Batman”. These moments are irreplaceable in my mind.

I am not the only one that has an uncontrollable love for this show; it’s been over twenty years since its inception and it’s still loved all over the world. And it’s understandable why, shows like this don’t just happen, while in part we have the 89 Batman to thank for the inception of this show. We also have to appreciate the undeniable love and care that went into building this animated empire that still survives today, at least a little bit. Just a couple weeks ago Warner Bros. Animation released Batman Vs. Robin, and in a couple more months the game Batman Arkham knight will release, and after that Bruce Timm’s Justice League: Gods and Monsters will come out. All of the things I just mentioned have some sort of tie to the Animated series. It’s tough to add a spoke to the wheel, it’s pretty much perfect the way it is, But every now and then someone will do something so original and inventive that it becomes something people will talk about long after its gone, that’s why Batman the animated series perfected what it is to be a Batman fan.


About the Author

Cody Rostron

Writer, Graphic Designer, and Artist, But most importantly a huge nerd.