Tag Archives: Batman

In Memoriam: Adam West 1928-2017

A sad day for comic book fans. Adam West, 60s icon and our original Batman, succumbed to Leukemia on June 9th and I found out on Twitter late Saturday, June 10th. Batman has always been a part of my life. I would occasionally see reruns on television as a kid, thinking it was a straight up action show, unaware of the camp factor. Then it came back into my life when in 2002 TV Land added it to its schedule by airing a “Batmanathon” hosted by Adam West himself.  Last year, I was able to buy all three seasons – digitally remastered – on DVD.

Batman was not Batman without Adam West. The man knew how to deliver campy lines with a straight face, but not take the role too seriously. Can you imagine any one else in that role doing the same thing? I can’t. Maybe it helped that he had that distinctive voice which helped him land voice over roles in his later years. Just yesterday, I watched “Beware the Gray Ghost”, an episode of Batman: The Animated Series in which West lent his voice to the character of Simon Trent, a washed up actor who portrayed a childhood hero of Bruce Wayne’s, The Gray Ghost, and helps Batman catch a serial bomber. It’s one of the most touching episodes of the series as it shows Batman helping a down on his luck actor come to the realization that his role as the Gray Ghost wasn’t a waste but an inspiration to others. It was also art imitating life as for years West found it hard to find roles due to being typecast as Batman. But those that grew up watching Batman in the 1960s never forgot the Batmania that swept the country and turned Adam West and Burt Ward into superstars. Despite disappointment from some die-hard fans than the series betrayed the comic’s more serious roots, some (myself included) are finding the series to be a breath of fresh air in an age of a dire, gloomy Dark Knights. You can keep your Keatons, your Bales, your Kilmers and your Afflecks, Adam West … is … Batman and I’m sad that I never got to meet him. But he will live on in the roles he played on television and on Thursday, June 15th, the Mayor of Los Angeles will light a Bat-Signal in honor of West.

In the meantime, let’s list some of the most memorable (and hilarious) quotes uttered by the Caped Crusader:

“I’ll stand at the bar. I shouldn’t wish to attract attention.” – Hi Diddle Riddle 

“What a terrible way to go-go.” – Smack in the Middle

“If you can’t trust Santa, then who can you trust?” – I’m not sure which episode this one comes from but it was one of the famous “window cameos”.

“I’d like to think that it’s because our hearts are pure.” – Or this one but it’s more than likely a Catwoman (Julie Newmar) episode.

“Boys and girls, go back to your studies. Believe me, nothing in life is free!” – The Joker Goes to School

“Bartender, a bit of advice. Always inspect a jukebox carefully. These machines can be deadly.” – He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul

“Another trap! And I intend to walk right into it.” – The Bookworm Turns

“Batman to Gotham City police, Batman to Gotham City police! Red alert, red alert! We are trapped inside a cookbook at 5th & Cedar!” – While Gotham City Burns

“It fits like my glove!” – Death in Slow Motion

“You owe your life to dental hygiene.” – The Riddler’s False Notion

“Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!” – Batman the Movie

“Man cannot live by crime-fighting alone.” – Batman’s Waterloo

Goodnight and Godbless Mr. West. We will never forget you.

 

 

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Seriously, Can We Give Batman a Rest?

September 26th was “Batman Day” and online there were offers galore for every type of Bat-merchandise you can get your hands on.

Uh, didn’t we just celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary last year? Weren’t there events and activities throughout 2014 to celebrate the milestone and tons of merchandise to boot? I have nothing against the Dark Knight. I love the 1966-68 Batman show. I love Batman: The Brave and the Bold. I like Batman: The Animated Series. Batgirl, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are some of my all-time favorite characters. But this Bat-worship is getting tiresome. You’d think that Batman was the only hero in DC’s roster. It’s like how fans have been accusing Marvel for recently “avoiding” X-Men and The Fantastic Four simply because the characters are owned by Fox.

In 2013 Superman had his 75th anniversary. Nothing much was made to commemorate it except for this awesome animated short. There was no “Superman Day” at Barnes and Noble, where you could buy one Supes comic and get one free of your choice. Or participate in a Superman trivia competition or buy from a huge display of Superman merchandise that was half-off (or less). The Flash reached his 75th anniversary milestone this year. Raise your hand if you knew that. At Hot Topic, the percentage of Bat-merchandise is higher than that of the other DC heroes.

I could pin the blame for all this bat-obsession on DC alone but I wonder if the fans are just as much to blame for voting with their wallets. DC is still a business and they’re not willing to go out on a limb for a superhero that doesn’t sell. If DC is reluctant to shine the spotlight on Wonder Woman when she hits the big 7-5 next year, it’ll make me really sad.

I know that many people are drawn to Batman because he has no superpowers and he seems more “relatable”, but what is relatable anyway? What may seem relatable to one person may not be the case with another. I relate to Wonder Woman because she comes from a matriarchal society and she has a sisterly attitude towards other women. I’m drawn to Superman because he looks like someone you could give a big bear hug and share a bag of popcorn with. I like Captain Marvel because he’s goofy. I like the Birds of Prey because they’re women (both with and without superpowers) from different walks of life working together as a team. But Batman feels too aloof and distant to me and his rogues gallery often overshadows him. Gotham City is too dark and dreary and sometimes reading a Batman comic can be leave me feeling disturbed.

When I read superhero comics, I never think: “how do I relate to these characters”. I’m drawn to superheroes because they’re not like everyone else. I didn’t want to be like everyone else when I was a teenager, so I guess that’s why I’ve always been drawn to DC: they’re fine with being different from everyone else as long as they can still get along with the rest of humanity.

I’m not asking that we toss the Caped Crusader into oblivion, never to be seen again. I’m just saying let’s shine a spotlight on the other DC heroes when it comes to merchandise and media – especially some of the obscure ones (some Vixen, Blue Beetle and Black Canary merchandise please) so that all fans can feel included.

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