BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!

A Salute to Adam West
Author: Alex Winck
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Those of us in our 30s -- like myself -- or 40s, or 50s, who are incurable Bat-freaks are likely to scream from the rooftops in defense of the dark knight detective we know and love from Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Dennis O´Neil and Neal Adams, Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli, etc. But we can´t deny the truth that it was with Adam West´s “pows” and “crashes” that most of us first learned about the character. Not only that, but it was when we first fell in love with him, before we knew anything about his tortured and traumatized nature, the extreme psychosis of his enemies, etc.

One thing that´s not said often about the show is, for most kids who watched it – well, at least the ones my age back then, around six, seven – it wasn´t a comedy. Sure, we knew there was humor, but it wasn´t a parody to our innocent pre-Internet and cable eyes, it was an adventure. When Batman and Robin were about to be thrown away from a giant catapult, there was nothing silly or ridiculous about it, our heroes were in danger, we couldn´t wait till the next episode to find out what happened. What made Batman cool to me at the time, other being the hero of the show? Sure, he had all those cool gadgets and a badass car, but it was more than that. Even back then, he was distinguishable as a superhero that, unlike Superman, didn´t have superpowers. He was simply strong – in spite of West´s infamous beer belly – and smart, well, at least within the frame of the show´s crazy reality.

And of course there was the fact that the Batman comics from the time deserved the parody, given their often quite silly and campy tone. It´s also part of why something like 1997’s BATMAN AND ROBIN doesn´t work -- that take on the character has simply become anachronistic.

Of course, eventually it became clear how silly and over-the-top all that stuff was, and also how imaginative and inventive the show was for its time. Then for a while I was “too old” for Bats, then I begun to discover his darker face, first with Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers – “The Laughing Fish” is one of the few comics from my pre-puberty days I can quote almost line by line – and then I fell in love all over again with THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, YEAR ONE and THE KILLING JOKE and I knew the character would be part of my life ‘till the day I die. Watching the show today, it´s simply not my Batman anymore, the complexity isn´t there, the grittiness isn´t there, but it remains as a fond childhood memory and a show that will always have my gratitude for introducing me to one of my biggest pop culture passions. And let´s face it, that opening theme still is cool as hell… nanananananana…BATMAN!

Alex Winck, AKA "Ultimatefan," hails from Florianópolis, Brazil. He's a journalist and advertiser and I writes the scripts and articles for Sesinho, the most popular educational comic book in Brazil. It has one million copies distributed for free in schools and with an estimated readership of four million.

© 1998-present BATMAN ON FILM and William E. Ramey. All rights reserved.
Material from BOF may not be reprinted without permission.
"BATMAN" artwork © DC COMICS.