Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Impact of 'Batman'

Up until 1989,  the general public's perception on Batman was that of a smiling, blue/gray hero in tights, mainly due to the 1960's TV show and the cartoons that followed which featured Batman.

The TV series has been immensely popular when it hit the screens in January of 1966. It was called "the biggest TV phenomenon of the mid-1960s" in Pioneers of Television. At the height of its popularity, it was the only prime-time television show other than Peyton Place to be broadcast twice in one week as part of its regular schedule

While campy and light hearted, the TV show closely reflected the comic books at the time with thorough accuracy, sometimes even adapting stories from particular comic book issues. It made Batman and the Bat symbol recognizable names/images, at the same time cementing general public's view on mythology as being a colorful and camp filled fun  As in the comics at the time, Batman was a blue-gray, tights wearing honorary member of the police force, working during the day with his ever present young partner Robin

The series has been in rereuns ever since [the last episode aired], and it has had a lasting effect. It set up a naive concept of comic books that remained lodged in American minds for decades (Batman: The Complete History)

Paul Dini: I think Batman had been haunted by the 60's show. For years after that show had ended. And i don't think there was anyway to shake that in the public's mind. (Legends of the Dark Knight doc)

The first Batman cartoon, The Adventures of Batman, which aired in 1968, was also virtually a continuation of the TV show with the same look, feel and adopted plenty of the same elements

A decade later in 1977 Batman series graced the silver screen again in The New Adventures of Batman, but despite major changes in tone and look in the comic books it  remained very consistent with his "public" image that the 1960's TV show imprinted in the world's mind. 

Batman and Robin also made two guest appearances in The Scooby Doo Show in the late 1970's, naturally in the same incarnation

The cartoons weren't the only ones keeping the image in public's eye. Adam West and Burt Ward returned as Batman and Robin in 1978's NBC Special Hanna-Barbera's Legends of the Superheroes 

The SuperFriends animated series which continued the same portrayal and which run from 1973 to 1986 (occasionally changing names)

While the 1978's Superman made the world look at comic book movies slightly differently and paved the way for big budget and big screen adaptations, it was still a colorful, lighthearted and family friendly entertainment. It also had little bearing and impact on the quality and tone of his immediate successors. The only superhero movies that came out after Superman were its sequels, Flash Gordon, Disney's CondorMan and SuperGirl

The last incarnation of the SuperFriends series was 1986's The SuperPower Team: Galactic Guardians. It was in this series where the impact of the dark makeover that the mythology received in the comic books could be somewhat felt, even if in very small dozes. While now overlooked, this series dealt with Bruce's memory of the murder of his parents and , while very rarely, it did contain some dark Batman imagery

Rich Fogel (writer): DC particularly felt that they'd like to bring it more in line with what was going on in the comic books 
That was a landmark episode, because Batman have been around for close to 50 years at that point and in any TV incarnation, in any movie incarnation, in any sort of a radio incarnation Batman's origins never really been touched on (...) Thats sort of heavy material for the 1980s cartoon show (SuperFriends Redux: Galactic Guardians Featurette)

Alan Burnett (writer) It was as far as you could take superheoroes on Saturday morning television
I look upon the Galactic Guardians as the last part of an era (SuperFriends Redux: Galactic Guardians Featurette)

Mark Vaid (DC writer & historian): It certainly upped the stakes on the characters (SuperFriends Redux: Galactic Guardians Featurette)

However, despite some of the comic books darkness creeping into the character, the character was still much more in line with his previous incarnations from mass media

By 1989, the general public who didn't follow the comic book world had one and one only image of Batman in their mind. It mostly evoked the word fun, and also meant cheery, colorful and heroic. While there's certainly nothing wrong about this version of the mythology, it did not represent what the character started off as and got back to by late 1980's in the comic books.

Jon Peters (producer): I'd say I was doing a Batman film and people would laugh. They saw him as a guy in tights, and unlike Superman, he didn't fly (Time Magazine 1989)

When the film was announced and in development, lawyers for DC Comics forbade Adam West from wearing his Batman costume for public appearances, in fear that his performance would be confused with the movie.
It was made clear from the beginning that this is going to be a drastically different take than any else in the mass media, a much darker one reflecting the feel of the comic book storylines of the time. Tim Burton was chosen as a director for his unique, dark and expressionist imagery displayed in 1988's  Beetlejuice

Jon Peters (producer): This Batman would be a comic book Gothic, a dark fable that would restore Bob Kane's original gloomy luster (Newsweek 1989)
People laughed at the idea in the beginning. They thought Batman was just a comic character in tights (USA Today 1989) 

One of the earliest proposed artworks for the poster

The character goes back to roots and presents not a typical hero, but a Gothic character who truly is insane, has a split personality disorder and doesn't mind killing, as his original version. Burton’s Batman is the Batman Bob Kane first envisioned when doing the early, pre-Robin issues with a bit of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns Batman also in for good mix.
Burton and his creative team really pushed the envelope as far as they could at the time, and brought him back to the roots while adding original ideas such as the suit being a black armor, the sculpted expression on the mask, the grappling hook gun and the black makeup around the eyes (a very signature and common trait in Tim Burton's characters)

Tim Burton:  [the costume] was less an outfit, more a complete body suit. It isn’t tights and underwear worn on the outside, but a complete operatic costume to overstate the image ‘Batman’ has of himself. (AMC)

Bob Ringwood (costume designer): blue knickers - I hated those. Bats are black, of course – not blue (...)  [The ears] had to look tall and elegant, as if they were aerodynamic. Otherwise, they were just ludicrous things with no function – like in the TV program, where ‘Batman’ wore those silly little mouse ears (AMC)

Back in the late 1980s, Tim Burton took [Alan] Moore to lunch to pick his brains about making the first Batman movie. Moore's advice was "get Gotham City right".(guardian.co.uk  int.2002)
Alan Moore (The Killing Joke writer): I told them [Tim Burton and Samm Hamm] to make it dark and serious and exorcise the ghost of Adam West (Ian Winterton Interview 2002)

Tim Burton: Darkness seemed very inherent in this piece from the start, when (writer) Sam Hamm and I were going over the script. Batman lives by night, and we wanted to explore the man behind him, Bruce Wayne, who really has a dark past to confront. It's a tale of primal emotions. (The San Diego Tribune 1989)

While the return to the dark approach was applauded by the Batman comic book fans, some of the original ideas weren't met with positive response at first. For example, the idea that Batman will not be wearing spandex created a stir at the beginning, with some fans and journalist exclaiming that Batman should not be wearing a body armor and criticized his look comparing him to RoboCop. Example:

Keaton's Batman costume--it looks more like Robocop's armor than Batman's traditional gray cloth (The Boston Globe 1989)

When he puts on his Batmuscles and his Bathat, his Batjock, his Batgauntlets and his world heavyweight's Batbelt, almost nothing is left of him but glitteringly blue-gray eyes and a voluptuously full mouth (LA Times 1989) 

Adam West: Batman isn't RoboCop or Dirty Harry, Batman is a fun character.(The Toronto Star 1988)

Also there was some backlash about the lone Batman and Robin not being there. Even the dark mood and tone met with some criticism from those who were accustomed to the previous portrayals 

Is it fun? Not much, Gotham City fans, not much. It's a murky, brooding piece, set in a twisted city almost choked with evil and inertia, and Bruce Wayne, half of its hero's dual identities, is very nearly in the same fix (LA Times 1989)

Also,while changing voice may sound to many nowadays that its just a natural thing to do, it was never mentioned in the comic books before 89 and not used in any of the serials or the TV show or any of the cartoons and radio shows before 89

Tim Burton: “We’d try all sorts of movements. Then we’d say, ‘How about changing your voice?’(AMC)

The Tim Burton Batman was a stark contrast to the previous public image of Batman in many ways, sending shock throughout the audiences for its darkness and approach and satisfaction to the comic book fans, at the same time retaining some of the wackiness of the TV show

Tim Burton: My tone fell somewhere between the TV series and the new dark comics (The Boston Globe June 1989) 

Bruce Timm: Thank God for the Tim Burton movie because it was so extremely darker than anybody had seen Batman before in any kind of mass media (Wizard 2006)

Eric Radomski (BTAS co-creator): The previous incarnations of Batman I'd seen growing up, the Filmation animated version, that series they did with Adam West, they were all just a bunch of goofs. They were dopey versions of a character that could be really strong and dramatic, and when I saw Tim Burton's movie, I thought that was a good way of looking at this character (Animation World Magazine)

Mark Hammil: [The 1989 film]  was dark and sophisticated completely the opposite of the television show.(Legends of the Dark Knight doc) 

Tim Burton: I was lucky when I made Batman because, at the time, it felt like new territory. We went back to the traditions of the comic and they were usually light and cartoony. It was exciting. (Total Film 2007)
Currently everybody is trying to go back to the roots of a comic book when making a movie based on it, but back then the studio's weren't used to that

While today the movie isn't shocking with its dark tone and approach, and the Gothic macabre and some camp is more lighthearted, one must look at the right perspective and remember the superhero movies that came before the movie. All very colorful, lighthearted and family friendly movies. Batman was the first superhero movie which showed a gun pointed at a child, charred corpses, implied torturing and its visual results (Alicia) and even visible shotwounds to the face

“Batman” was aesthetically and thematically so dark that on the eve of release in Belgium, a few months after its stateside release, it was banned. Children under 16 weren't allowed to see it. Despite the fact that the Board had recently approved the “Rambo” movies and “License to Kill,” they held to their guns. “Batman” was perceived as much more dangerous than those other violent films dark tone and sensibility were more frightening than violence. The Belgian Police was actually present at cinemas to enforce the ruling
The 1966-1968 “Bat-Man” TV series destroyed the comic book hero in general, leaving in its place campy and glorified superheroes like Christopher Reeves's “Superman” of the early 1980s, 1989's “Batman,” in turn, destroyed this second phase.
(NY Times writer Emanuel Levy)

The movie also showed Gotham City as a city filled with thugs, prostitutes, poverty and corruption

While the TV Show put Batman amongst one of the most recognizable comic book heroes, the 1989 movie made Batman a household name and an icon. Rarely does it happen that the movie becomes such a culture phenomenal, and even before its release for that matter. The fans camped out for about 5 days in front of the theater for the premiere.

Batman was like nothing that's come before or since. And that's taking into reflection the immense hype that led up to The Phantom Menace ten years ago which itself was a one of a kind event but still not on the same level as the critical mass that Batman '89 had achieved. Have you forgotten the buzzcuts of the Bat-symbol that people were getting shaved into the back of their hair? Do you remember when you could walk into a theater and see a sea of teens wearing Batman t-shirts? Back in December 1988 people bought a ticket to see the Batman trailer playing in front of Tequila Sunrise and then left after it was shown. Batman posters were consistently stolen from bus shelters (how the thieves sold them in the days before eBay still remains a mystery to this day.) DC Comics recorded its best year ever for the sale of Batman comic books that year and the movie's soundtrack (with it's 9 songs written and performed by Prince) became number one hits. And this was before there was a World Wide Web and the rise of sites that report the latest movie news scant moments after it breaks. Burton's Batman was one of those ultra-rare pop culture phenomenas when the hype for a movie and its merchandise both became white hot at the same time. The kids that love Twilight have nothing on what went down in the summer of '89. (Coming Attractions)

Michael Uslan (producer Batman-The Dark Knight Rises): When the first Batman movie came out in 1989 it was revolutionary. People really can’t grasp that. There was nothing like this ever before. And it not only broke all the box office records, but it really impacted the world culture. You could not walk through Times Square that summer, seriously, fifty steps, without seeing someone in a Batman t-shirt or a Batman hat. People were breaking into bus stops to get the posters. People were going to see movies, paying full price, that were showing the Batman trailer. And then they would leave after the trailer. It was amazing what was going on. (hollywood.com int)

The premiere was attended by some of the biggest stars at the time, such as Sylvester Stallone, Eddie Murphy, River Phoenix and Tom Seleck

Christopher Nolan: The 1989 Batman film that Tim Burton did, that tone has defined comic book movies (BO Mojo int.)
I think the first film has its place in history; what Tim Burton did could certainly be considered visionary (...) The thing with Burton is that he had the challenge of convincing a cinema audience that you could have a ‘cool’ Batman film. Convincing an audience who remembers that the TV show was ridiculous. And he did it, he succeeded (Batman Begins published screenplay) 

The movie also created a new template for Hollywood studios and filmmakers, who never looked at comic books quite the same way (LA Times) 

It's impact and influence was felt instantly, when it was followed by such superhero/comic book movies as R rated The Punisher, much darker than expected TMNT and Darkman. Even the 1991's Robin Hood depicted Robin Hood not in green thighs but in studded black leather instead, and was the darkest and most violent version at the time

The public image of the mythology was now changed as well, and it was darkness and Gothic themes that registered in public's mind when thinking of Batman. The influence on the perception was made even clearer when the first Batman animated series that came out after Tim Burton's movie was the darkest cartoon ever at that point, featuring bullets for the first time (it was previously shown as lasers) and having very adult and sophisticated storylines - a lot of time inappropriate for children.

The Batman: Animated Series was, in a way, an extension of the Tim Burton movies and featured similar design directly inspired by the movie, same timeless feel (1940s world with modern elements), similar designs and characters, soundtrack made in the same style and even borrowing the main theme

Eric Radomski (BTAS co-creator): Literally the first piece that I did [on BTAS] was lights of a city reflected on a wet pavement, and that was also inspired by the drama of Burton's movie. (Animation World Magazine)

Paul Dini: When Tim Burton's Batman came out, that was the way to go (animationarena.com)

Bruce Timm: We were actually quite lucky, when that show was being developed we were coming off the heels of the Tim Burton Batman films, which were very dark in tone (TMT 2010)

Vintage Press:

The Joker, with his gruesome death dealing, is also the cautionary figure for parents of young children. Take that PG-13 very seriously; this is where bad dreams are born (LA Times 1989)

"We both like to push it," says Keaton, speaking of himself and Burton as they sat on a sofa in a North Hollywood hotel. Their take on Batman is a dark one, befitting an age that looks upon heroes as flawed, or dubious, or both. (...) It's an oppressive story, a dark story with operatic images, set in a sort of fantastical caricature of New York" (The Boston Globe June 1989)

Burton made Batman a triumph of dark, throbbingly industrial style, with a multiplaned Gotham City of shadows that is like Fritz Lang Revisited (The San Diego Tribune 1989)

Dark, haunting and poetic, Tim Burton's Batman is a magnificent living comic book. From its opening shots, as the camera descends into the grim, teeming streets of Gotham City, the movie fixes you in its gravitational pull. It's an enveloping, walk-in vision. You enter into it as you would a magical forest in a fairy tale, and the deeper you're drawn into it, the more frighteningly vivid it becomes. (...) When Batman makes his entrance, unfurling his cape to display its full wingspan, the image carries a charge of supernatural grandeur. In black from ear-tip to toe, this Batman is truly a larger-than-life figure, potent and terrifying, and the flourish with which he's brought onstage allows him to rise to his full superhero stature. (...) In some ways, it's a masterpiece of pulp, the work of a true artist. (The Washington Post 1989)

Batman is comic-book mayhem come to life. It's simultaneously real and surreal, overwhelming the senses as it plunges to psychodramatic depths devised by director Tim Burton and screenwriters Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren. (Newsweek 1989)

"I've seen the film twice and I liked it, I enjoyed it," says Frank Link, 41, the owner of Comic Universe stores in suburban Philadelphia, who has been reading Batman comics since he was a kid. "I was one of the first to be on the other side of the coin--the anti-Keaton side--but after seeing it I came away, ironically, feeling that they didn't give me enough of him. It left me wanting more of Batman, more of Keaton.

"Everybody's talking about it. It's been great. . . . Over-all, everyone was quite pleased with it and we were afraid we wouldn't be, considering all the hype."

Jason Gingrich, a 33-year-old investment banker from Wilmington, Pa., exiting Fat Jack's Comicrypt in Philadelphia last week with a fat stack of new issues, also applauded Keaton. "He pulled it off and then some. I found myself wanting more of Batman, more about his secret life."

Even Harlan Ellison, the grand pooh-bah of sci-fi and fantasy aficionados, has made a 180-degree Batturn. (Toronto Star 1989)

Fans reaction after the premiere
- "It was a fantastic movie"
- " I loved Batman for zillion years, I was worried that with all the publicity it might not live up to it. It surpasses it. This is great"

Celebrities' reaction before and after the premiere
Vanna White: I feel like I'm at the Academy Awards!
Glen Close: Its incredible
Melanie Griffith: I'm just excited about the whole thing
Jeffrey Jones: Its powerful, its mythic, its big and psychologically complex 

Henry Winkler: It's truly unbelievable, I mean Michael Keaton is as good as it gets. Jack nicholson - there is no one else to play the Joker, it is unbelievable
(Entertainment Tonight 1989)

The movie naturally also had an impact on comic books. One of the influences was Gotham City - the comic books absorbed Anton Furst's Gotham

 Panel from Tales of the Dark Knight #27

Panel from Batman #475 and Legends Of The Dark Knight #27 and Batman #476

Panels below from Batman #474

Some of the other influences include adopting the name Jack Napier (although in the comics his name is Jack Reipan, it's simply Napier backwards),

First appearance of the name Legends of the Dark Knight #50
One of the latest appearance of the name Batman: Gotham Knights #54

the similarity of Batmobile

the Grapple Gun,

the return of Vicky Vale as well as many nods (panel below from November 1989's Legends of the Dark Knight #1)
Panel below from 1991's Batman #466



  1. The influence of that movie is still felt. Even in Nolan's movies the black armor and eye makeup and even grappling gun is used

  2. Thank you for that article, it took me down the memory line. Today a black, dark Batman in the movies in a body suit is a normal, natural and obvious thing but back in the days it was the biggest shift and contrast I've ever seen in characters. Mr Burton forever changed the mass perception of Batman. I mean just look at that happy go lucky pic of Adam West and Burt Ward and then on the haunted photo of Burton's Batman in the darkened Gothic Cathedral or dark and steamy chemical factory

  3. Grappling Gun was used in the comics as well, to be fair. And Nolan and others are absolutely right. Superman: TM (1978) and Batman (1989) are the undeniable PROTOTYPES of all future comic book films. The same way Batman and Superman of 1939 were the prototypes for comic characters. With that said the genre evolved, and added layers of depth and intelligence were added to the mythos and the film genre of comic book movies, respectively. Batman '89 is still a monumental triump of style over substance. Burton was absolutely influential in ushering in the first serious take on a superhero. His film set the prescendent for the style, look, and tone to Batman on film, as well as others. With that said, he was eventually surpassed. The same way Detective Comics #27 and Batman #1 or really interesting ... they don't hold a candle to TDK Returns, Batman Year One, The Long Halloween, Man Who Laughs, Killing Joke, etc.

  4. The grappling GUN did make it to the comics but its confirmed that it originated in the 1989 movie

    Paul Dini: When we did the animated series, we were inspired in part by the tech employed in the movie (Newsrama.com 2010)

    Jerry Ordway: It was from the movie. When I did the movie comic, I was amazed at the various gadgets the prop department created for the film (...) At that time, I also understood that DC was not allowed to use any elements of that specific costume design in the comics, as it was property of the film company. I know they relaxed that rule over the last twenty years, though. (Newsrama.com 2010)

    Scott Beatty (The DC Comics Encyclopedia, The Batman Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual): The Grapnel Gun debuted in the 1989 film, but it didn't really catch on in the comics and become a regular feature in the Bat-Arsenal until it was popularized and used to great effect in Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted just a few years later (Newsrama.com 2010)

  5. That quote of Adam West single handedly made me dislike the guy. Its one thing to prefer your take on the character, its cool, but its another to claim yours is a valid one and others' are not

  6. Gotham-streets I've always suspected Nolan lifted a few things from other non-comics Batman material, particularly the Dini/Timm cartoon and the Nolan films. Can you confirm this? I did recall Jonathan Nolan did mention the 90's series.

    Also to the poster above, that quote from West was from 1988.... a year before the Burton's film came out so West views, were the views of many(Non-comic readers) at the time. Many were naturally skeptical of this version of Batman as Batman had not been portrayed in this light in mass media before. You can't really blame him, like this blog said the common image of Batman as a campy, goofy character survived past the 60's well into the 80's until the Burton film shattered that perception forever.

    And plus he recently praised the Nolan films(which are dark too.)

  7. A typo needs to be acknowledge I meant Burton films, not Nolan.

  8. Who praised Nolan films, West?

  9. Yes West did praise the Nolan films.

    Here's a link.


    Gothamstreets you might want to update your ''Their comments of each others work'' blog

  10. Gothamstrrets your blogs are always great, but I have an idea for a future blog.

    Why not do a blog on how the movies influenced the comics/cartoons?

  11. Thats an idea I had circulating for some time but I gave up on it for 2 reasons

    1. New readers may confuse it with the articles about comic references in movies and might not click or check them thinking theyve read it

    2. I cant think of anything in the comics that would be referential or influenced by Schumacher's movies

    As of now I really want to do something about Nolan's movies

  12. "Burton was absolutely influential in ushering in the first serious take on a superhero. His film set the prescendent for the style, look, and tone to Batman on film, as well as others. With that said, he was eventually surpassed. The same way Detective Comics #27 and Batman #1 or really interesting ... they don't hold a candle to TDK Returns, Batman Year One, The Long Halloween, Man Who Laughs, Killing Joke, etc."

    The third poster is right. Burton revolutionized the character and made a stencil for future Batman movies. A lot of his inventions are still in the new movies. He nailed the tone and the darkness and the whole vibe. But as the time went on, there are more layers. Schumacher parodied Burtons movies while Nolan built on them. He used some of the best inventions of Burton and absorbed them into his dramatic, serious and deep stories in BB and TDK

  13. "Batman '89 is still a monumental triump of style over substance. Burton was absolutely influential in ushering in the first serious take on a superhero. His film set the prescendent for the style, look, and tone to Batman on film, as well as others. With that said, he was eventually surpassed."

    THE DARK KNIGHT may have more subplots than Tim's Batman films, but that doesn't matter. 'Substance' is not the amount of subplots a movie has. His Batman films, particularly BATMAN RETURNS, are dark, complex and progressive in the way they look at the world. They're also sexy as hell, and 'adult' in a way the pubescent teenagers who worship THE DARK KNIGHT could never understand.

    Nolan hasn't come anywhere close to surpassing him...and with his blinkered way of looking at things, he probably never will...

  14. "In some ways, it's a masterpiece of pulp, the work of a true artist. (The Washington Post 1989)"

    So true

  15. ''Nolan hasn't come anywhere close to surpassing him...and with his blinkered way of looking at things, he probably never will...''

    In my opinion Nolan has FAR surpassed Burton, but really both the Nolan films and Burton films are totally different in their aesthetic, and sensibilities. Depends on your taste

    Also I didn't care for Returns, In my opinion it had virtually no plot development, and was really campy(Penquins with fireworks anyone?) plus it was vulgar( ''That's the pussy I've been looking for?''

    For folks(like me) who like a realistic grounded depiction of Batman(like Begins, and Dark Knight ) than the Nolan films will please you, if not and you prefer the gothic, surreal expressionistic style that Burton got(Batman Returns) then chances are you won't like Nolans films.

    Either way lets be grateful that we even have these films to discuss about in the first place(thanks to the great Micheal Ulsan)

  16. Agreed. Both are terrific but both aim for something different. Apples and oranges. I ADORE both

  17. "it was vulgar( ''That's the pussy I've been looking for?''"

    I dunno, I think having Batman standing at Ground Zero is a lot more vulgar than acknowledging that women have vaginas.

  18. "I cant think of anything in the comics that would be referential or influenced by Schumacher's movies"

    After BATMAN AND ROBIN, Mr. Freeze suddenly needed diamonds to power his suit.

  19. "it had virtually no plot development"

    If it had no plot development, that would mean nothing happened in the film. I think we can agree things happened in BATMAN RETURNS, correct?

  20. Well I don't want get into with arguments but lets just say I felt the story could use a little bit more work, that it did lack a significant amount of plot development(for my taste).

    But again its my opinion, your free to disagree. These films(Nolan and Burton films) have different strengths and different weakness. I think they compliment each other pretty well actually

    Great work as usual Gothamstreets! Sometimes we all may have different preferences on how we like this character to be portrayed, but in the end we are all Bat-fans with great affection for this character.

  21. Both the Burton and Nolan films are great in different ways. Both are very different set of films, but both franchises offer among the best superhero films cinema has to offer.

    Fans shouldn't squabble about whats better, since like the poster intelligently said it depends on your taste. There always will be fans who prefer the Burton versions over Nolans. just like there will be fans who will always prefer Nolan's version over Burton's versions, and lastly fans like me who like both. Just enjoy the ride.

  22. GothamAlleys, have you experienced the 1989 Batmania?

    Btw Im a big fan of both Burton and Nolan movies. Theyre different but AMAZING

  23. I sure did. IMO, the only mania that came relatively close was for Phantom Menace and the only craze that surpassed it was Titanic. Those 3 imo had the biggest hype and craze going on, they were cultural events

    I enjoy witnessing history going in circles, specifically seeing the success of TDK, the praise for Joker and getting Batman back on the dark path

  24. Was it the late 80s Batmania that got you in?

  25. Yes and no. I got into Batman in late '88, everyone was a fan cause the merch and the bat symbol was literaly everywhere because of the hype for the upcoming movie. So in this regards, yes. However, I loved the visual design of the comic book Batman and picked up Detective Comics #596 (Jan 1989) and became fan ever since buying every issue after that. So it was basically this introductory issue, the visual design and the hype that was building which made me check the character out. The movie cemented my bat fandom

    In short, I got into it before the movie but because of the movie

  26. SpiderMan and TDK are very much like 78 Superman and 89 Batman. One of them made the world interested in comic book movies again and one paved the way for darker and deeper stories and pushed the envelope as far as possible. the Superman/Batman movies obviously made a bigger impact and were more revolutionary but the comparison still stands

  27. So the Galactic Guardians were like a transition

  28. Superman '78 and Batman '89 are the cinema equivelent to the likes of Action Comics of 1938 and Detective Comics #27 of 1939. Both introduced the characters, but the first version of a character is never the most developed, layered an interesting. That came much later when their worlds and characters were fleshed out. The golden age of superhero movies started w/ Blade of 1998, that re-sparked a dead genre (Thanks Joel Shumacher)... X-Men, and Spider-Man solidfied the re-birth, then Spider-Man 2 started bringing layers of depth. Batman Begins brought an even more serious approach, and raised the bar. Iron Man followed in BEGINS footsteps (even borrowing much of its narrative structure) ... then as we know Nolan's The Dark Knight totally ECLIPSED any and all genre limitations, and became something more more broad and zeitgeist like than a mere "comic book movie." Nolan set the bar ridiculously HIGH for future movies. It's why Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America look so bland and down right bad in comparison. Looks as if TDK Rises is keeping the same ridiculously quality of TDK as well. Golden Age to be a Batman fan.

  29. I'm still scared that after Nolan, Batman will hit another low. It'll be awhile before Joker is up on the big screen again, especially after Ledger's excellent performance

  30. Im against the idea of another reboot. I mean cmon, why? Cause its a bankable character? We have two great depictions from Burton and Nolan. Let Nolan tie the bow and give it a rest

  31. ^ I don't like this line of thought, Nolan and Burton aren't the only ones who can get this character right and besides I want to see new film versions of all the villains Nolan hadn't covered like Riddler, Penquin and Mr. Freeze.
    They were already in the sucky movies by Schumacher.

  32. But what else is there to do? We have a fantasy Gothic take, Barbie take and Realistic take

  33. 'Barbie take'

    Boy, could you get any more homophobic?

  34. Interesting. Keaton had the exact same eye makeup underneath the cowl as in Beetlejuice

  35. GothamAlleys do you like the 66 show?

  36. Yes I do, I think the 60s series is fun and a nice literal translation of the 60s Batman to the screen

  37. "Batman was the first superhero movie which showed implied [...] sex scene"

    I would say that was Superman II

  38. “Batman” was aesthetically and thematically so dark that on the eve of release in Belgium, a few months after its stateside release, it was banned. Children under 16 weren't allowed to see it.

    -----------Since the franchise had a boy sidekick with pixie shoes and shaved legs long prior to Adam West, the Belgian groups reasonably anticipated that children would want to see this film.

    The only superhero movies that came out after Superman were its sequels, Flash Gordon, Disney's CondorMan and SuperGirl

    ----------------What about The Swamp Thing (1982)?

  39. Swamp Thing was more of a homage to the old 50s style comic books like Terror Tales, Tales from the Crypt, Eerie or Creepy, rather than a superhero comic book story. It was pretty much a Creature from a Black lagoon as oppose to a superhero in a style of Batman, Superman, Flash, SpiderMan etc

  40. You included Flash Gordon in your list but not Star Wars? Since Luke Skywalker has actual supernatural powers, which Flash Gordon does not, and since Flash Gordon inspired Star Wars, that seems odd. (Jeff Rovin included Skywalker in his encyclopedia along with Superman and the Martian Manhunter, but saved Flash Gordon for Adventure Heroes in 1994.) Also, all Star Wars film received PG ratings, which, at the time for adventure films, stood as somewhat odd (most of Clint Eastwood's films received R-ratings).

    Not pedantry, mind you.

  41. If WB's possible project for the Flash does not work out, then they may have to return to this franchise after Nolan, since WB no longer has the reliable Harry Potter franchise around; they cannot, near as I can tell, make Harry Potter film now that they adapted all of Rowling's tales.

  42. Super-Friends actually started in 1973 or so.

  43. Ah yes, typo on my part. Thank you

  44. Personally I think Nolan's trilogy is actually quite bad in terms of quality but I'd have to say that yes, the Burton films are amazing. Hate to bash on Nolan but after seeing literally HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of people bash Burton on youtube it gets quite annoying. Its funny because the Batman fansites seem to have generally the opposite reaction as youtube. Most fans of the material I've bumped into and including of course myself would place Tim Burton's two films on the highest regards in comparison to Nolan's films which honestly seem to be riddled with plot holes, unbelievable dialogue which kinda dissects itself as a movie and generally boring representation of everything. Didnt mean to rant but I kinda did hahaha. Anyways to me Batman will always be the ultimate representation of Batman.

  45. Well both versions aim for very different things. Comparing the two is like comparing Bram Stoker's Dracula to Heat, completely different animals. Whatever some "fans" may be saying on youtube or however they behave like, both Burtons and Nolans versions are extraordinary. The bashing fans make many civil and respectful fans feel ashamed to love the same movie(s)

    1. Thank God you created this website. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you think Jett and his biased BatmanOnFilm.com is just a complete insult and actively deceptive in asserting their "Elite" status as the quintesential Batman movie website. I had a despute with a youtuber named Oliver Harper. He lied about the authenticity of Batman 89 and Batman Returns authenticity to the Batman comics suggesting they were Batman movies in name only. I just found out yesterday that he mentioned that he never read one Batman comic and collected all his research for those retrospective reviews on the Burton films from BatmanOnFilm.com only! Now, I just made a video on my youtube channel going after Jett's disgraceful treatment of the Burton films, fans, and lack of coverage for that era as well as emphasizing that he had no problem aggrandizing the Nolan era without any stance on the vicious behavior of those fans and treatment of other Burton fans. Long story short...you are the definitive Batman website. Contact me because I'd like to know what you think about Jett and people like you and me standing vigilant against Jett's attempts at revisionist history.

  46. "The only superhero movies that came out after Superman were its sequels, Flash Gordon, Disney's CondorMan and SuperGirl"

    Flash Gordon-which inspired Star Wars, so why do you exclude those films?

    Also, one has to note Robocop. A convenience-store thief in that film grabs an Iron Man comic off the rack, and the line "Kids at Lee Iacocca Elementary School got to meet in person what their parents only read about in comic books".

  47. Surprisingly good! Much better than I could expect. It is very well filmed and there are very nice action scenes, particularly for a production from the 40’s: footage of fighting, climbing, spying, falling down, disguising… Although lightly plump, Lewis Wilson not only did a good job as the dark knight but also had one of the best representations of Bruce Wayne ever in my opinion, as the fake playboy. Batman was already frightening on the eyes of the criminals, as he intimidated them (the bat’s cave has been created for this movie serial, > reviews batman 1943
    though it was not his back office yet, but kind of a psychological torture and interrogation room, accessed through the clock). Batman fights a lot, most of the time against two or three thugs, but he is far from the skillful martial artist he would become in future versions; indeed, he receives lots of punches and loses the fights a lot of times, not dying by luck. There was already a charming black car, though it was not properly a batmobile, but a 1939 Cadillac, generally driven by Alfred. Douglas Croft was a typical Robin, and although his visual was true to the character, we got accustomed to the hair and the mask of Burt Ward decades afterwards, making his upright curly hair and his pointed-nose mask a bit strange
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  48. Hi Gotham Streets, just wanted to say thank you for all of the wonderful articles you have on this site. The 89 Batman film is one of my favorite films, but as of late people don't hold it in high regard and feel like it's a bad adaptation of the character. I've recently read the first volume of the Golden Age and was shocked at how accurate this film is to that version of the character. Really wish more people were aware of the fact that this was meant to be a throwback to who Batman was pre-Robin.

    I was previously unaware of just how influential this film was to the comics, and forthcoming Batman films. I didn't know that Batman having a black suit came from this, and Bruce Wayne having a different voice in the suit originated here as well. This introducing a hand held grapple gun is a pretty big deal as well. Also, one thing you forgot to mention in the article is that referring to the Bat Plane as the Bat Wing cane fro this as well.

    In the case that you see this comment I was curious how you rank the live action Bat films, and the live action actors that have donned the cape and cowl. For me it's:
    1. The Dark Knight
    2. Batman '89
    3. Batman Begins
    4. Mask of the Phantasm
    5. Batman Returns/The Dark Knight Rises
    6. Batman '66
    7. Batman & Robin
    8. Batman Forever
    9. Justice League
    10. Batman v Superman

    1. Michael Keaton
    2. Christian Bale
    3. Ben Affleck
    4. Val Kilmer
    5. George Clooney

  49. Very informative post! i will again visit in this blog
    The Batman (2021)