Since I was three years old and I had first seen the 1989 Batman film (I had cool parents), I have been obsessed with the character. The Batman turned 75 this week and I could think of nothing better to revisit this Throwback Thursday, than Batman: The Animated Series. Originally premiering in the fall of 1992, Batman: The Animated Series was the brainchild of Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski. Drawing it’s inspiration from a number of sources, including the Burton films and 20’s gangster film noir, this “more adult “incarnation of Batman was highly stylized, beautifully animated, and expertly scored . No cartoon like it had graced the airwaves before and arguably none have since.
Voice director Andrea Romano assembled an astounding cast, “the crown jewels” of which were Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamil as his nemesis, the Joker. These two men have reprised their respective roles multiple times for films, video games, etc and they are both widely regarded as the definitive portrayals of these iconic characters.
Writers like Paul Dini and Michael Reaves produced such amazing original story lines as well as adaptations of some of the Caped Crusader’s most seminal stories from the comic books; i.e. the adaptation of Denny O’Neil’s “Daughter of the Demon” and The Demon Lives Again, in one of my favorite two parters, “The Demon’s Quest”. This was my and many other kid’s first exposure to Batman’s most powerful adversary, the immortal Ra’s Al Ghul.
In fact, Batman: The Animated Series had a fantastic habit of first exposing me to all corners of the Batman’s vastly unparalleled rogues gallery. Lesser known villains like Killer Croc, Man Bat, Clayface etc were being brought to life on screen for the very first time. Even More impressively is the fact that the series was prolific enough to change and establish DC continuity in many regards. Two of the most notable examples are the creation of Harley Quinn and the revision of Mr Freeze’s origin and overall character in the classic episode “Heart of Ice”.
Batman: The Animated Series lasted for four seasons (though they did not air consecutively). It spawned three feature films (1 theatrical and 2 direct to video), and it is credited with establishing an animated DC universe. The impacts it has had on DC comics, pop culture and my childhood are immeasurable, as it is easily seen as one of the top 5 episodic cartoons ever made. Not much more can be said; you take it from here Croc.