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2008 BOF-Year In Review

Author: Jett
Monday, December 29, 2008

Well, another year has come and gone, so I reckon I need to bang out one of those “Year In Review” columns. And it has been one hell of a year, right? Since I’ve got several things I want to cover, I figured that I’d do this “Scattershots Style.” Enjoy...

I didn’t know Heath Ledger, but I must admit that his death in January of 2008 affected me as if I did. I had been a fan of Heath’s since THE PATRIOT and I absolutely loved him in MONSTER’S BALL and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

Yeah, I was surprised that Chris Nolan cast him as The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT back in ‘06, but that was due to my short sidedness and a tad bit of pettiness.

Thank goodness for Chris Nolan and his casting greatness.

Heath took that role by the horns and delivered something iconic. I’d argue that his Joker is not only the best comic book movie villain to date, but one of the greatest movie villains ever. He was just really, REALLY great.

While I still mourn Heath today and lament what he might have brought us in the future, I’m thankful for what he did give us all during his short stay amongst us.

“Why So Serious?” Thanks Heath...

One of the most enjoyable times I had in 2008 was following THE DARK KNIGHT‘s viral campaign. In addition to all the Joker-related stuff -- which was predominately online -- I totally dug the things involving Harvey Dent. Not only did I get to campaign for Harvey in Houston and Austin, I also got to vote the man into office!

Well done 42 Entertainment...

As much as I criticized -- and sometimes made fun of -- THE BATMAN TV show, I was honestly SAD TO SEE IT GO in 2008. Yeah, it was mostly for kids. Regardless, it was usually well written and the animation was darn good. And no one can or should question that the people behind the show were very respectful and loyal to the Batman mythos.

THE BATMAN was something that no Bat-Fan should be ashamed of and in fact, they should be proud of it…

“BATMAN, R.I.P.” Yeah, yeah, yeah…whatever.

The best extended Batman story arc in the monthly comics was “HEART OF HUSH” in DETECTIVE. If you missed that one, make sure to pick it up when it’s released as a graphic novel soon. Honestly, I thought it was better than the original “HUSH” story from a few years back -- which I think that one is WAY overrated. Props to Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen for giving us this one -- which just might go down as one of the classic Bat-Stories down the line…

While THE BATMAN went away, a new animated Batman TV show premiered -- THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. And you thought THE BATMAN was for kids?

TB&TB is also a nod to Batman’s Silver Age with a little bit of the 60s TV show thrown in. While it is certainly not my cup of tea when it comes to Batman, it appears to be just as well done and respectful to the character as its predecessor…

In June of 2008, BOF celebrated its 10 YEAR ANIVERSARY. When I started this thing, NEVER did I think it would become what it became. Thanks everyone…

I'll come clean here, OK? Running BOF sometimes has its perks. And the aforementioned viral campaign for THE DARK KNIGHT brought me some rather cool stuff. Amongst the TDK viral-related goodies I received included a cake from The Joker; a Batman cowl from that clandestine “Citizens For Batman” organization; and, a goon mask and a joker card from, well, The Joker himself.

Very cool. I'm damn lucky -- but I've worked damn hard to make BOF what it is...

The first of DC’s new PG-13 animated films featuring Batman was released in 2008. BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHT was released this past Summer as a tie-in to THE DARK KNIGHT. BGK featured six separate episodes with different creative teams and takes on Batman -- but all were related and set in the BATMAN BEGINS/TDK universe...

The biggest thrill of 2008 for me as a Batman fan was the release of THE DARK KNIGHT and being able to be a part of the festivities. In late June, I got to meet and visit with the cast and crew of the film. I then got to see TDK -- in IMAX of course -- about three weeks before it was released (JETT'S TDK REVIEW). I also got to sit down and chat with one of the film’s producers, Emma Thomas. In July, I traveled to New York and attended the world premiere. BUT…

The coolest thing I got to do with visit with the man behind the film, CHRIS NOLAN. I’ll admit, interviewing Chris is probably the greatest honor I’ve had since I started BOF back in 1998 -- and I’ve been privileged to get to do some tremendously sweet things over the years. I must take time once again to say “THANKS!” to everyone who helped set that up. And of course, thanks to Chris for agreeing to do it…


Jett & Chris Nolan, June 2008

Because of the release of THE DARK KNIGHT this past Summer, BOF did a lot of radio. My favorite show to do was "The Rod Ryan Show" on 94.5 The Buzz in Houston, TX.

HERE is the show I did with Rod and co. from New York the morning after the premiere of TDK...

The two best films that I saw this year other than THE DARK KNIGHT were IRON MAN and VALKYRIE

The worst film I personally saw and reviewed in 2008 was PUNISHER: WAR ZONE. Sheesh….

Best news I got in 2008 from a BOF standpoint? That THE DARK KNIGHT would get a theatrical re-released on January 23, 2009...

We were only a few months removed from THE DARK KNIGHT's July 18th premiere but the BATMAN 3/sequel rumors started making the rounds. The most preposterous? It’s a tie between Shia LeBouef playing Robin and Cher signing on as an aging cougar Catwoman. The one that made the most sense? Rachel Weisz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. And I’d take Johnny Depp in a Batman film any day -- though I’m not too keen on The Riddler…

2008 saw Batman comic book fans in an uproar over the rumor that DC was planning to kill off Bruce Wayne and replace him with a new Caped Crusader. Allegedly, this was to take place in the Grant Morrison-written pages of BATMAN at the end of the “BATMAN, R.I.P.” story arc.

Did Batman die at the end of “BATMAN, R.I.P.?”? Puh-Leez! What do you think?Consequently, “R.I.P.” has to go down as the most over-hyped and disappointing storyline in Batman comics during 2008. It’s not disappointing because Batman didn’t die, but because fans were promised something “Big” and “Shocking” and that definitely didn’t happen. “R.I.P.” ended without any real resolution and fans are now expected follow this mess in throughout 2009.

Come on DC! Just put out good Batman monthlies (like DETECTIVE) and graphic novels and we’ll buy them. No more “Big Events” and crossovers. Those are like, SO 90’s…

Speaking of graphic novels, the best Batman-related one of 2008 was the Brian Azzarello/Lee Bermejo collaboration JOKER. If you haven’t added that one to your collection yet, what the HELL are you waiting for? Trust me, it’s darn good -- and disturbing as well…

Worst Batman monthly of 2008? Hands down, it’s that BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL. DC, time to put that one out of its misery…

The best Batman video game of 2008 -- even though there was no competition -- was LEGO BATMAN. Is it sort of silly? Yes. Is targeted for younger kids? Sure. But a really good Batman game nonetheless and probably the best one to date…

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES finally got released as a box set...

In late 2008, BOF a added PODCASTS section to the website...

December 2008 was a month that was highly anticipated by Bat-Fans. Not because of the Holidays, but because THE DARK KNIGHT was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/9! And just like the theatrical release five months prior, it a record-setting event. I guess people really dig TDK

And finally, what about BATMAN 3? Specifically, a Chris Nolan-helmed BATMAN 3?

After TDK’s release, Chris was always very coy about the prospects of directing another Bat-Film. The most that could be got out of him was that if there was a story he wanted to tell -- one that could keep him interested for the two years that it takes to make one -- he’d do it.

Well, during the TDK BD Live event with the director on the 18th of December, Mr. Nolan finally let it slip that a Nolan BATMAN 3 is probably on the way. He acknowledged during the event’s Q&A with fans that he and David Goyer have been working on a story and it’s one that they are very interested in telling.

Did y’all ever doubt otherwise? ;)

Well, that was about it for 2008 from a BATMAN/BOF perspective. I personally have to chalk up this as one of the greatest years ever to be a Batman fan and that is 99.9% due to THE DARK KNIGHT. This was the Batman movie that I had been waiting for basically all my life and the primary reason I started this website.

To see Batman and his mythos embraced as they were by the mainstream was absolutely awesome for a longtime fan like me. Seeing folks everywhere sporting their Joker and Batman T-shirts out and about, I had to chuckle a bit. Where had all these people been before July of 2008? I know I had been wearing my Bat-Gear for years.

But I was a Batman Fan when Batman Fans weren’t cool. And I’m sure you were too.

See y’all right here on BOF in 2009!

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