Quick Thought: Batman: The Brave and the Bold

I have something of a nerd confession: I’m not that big a fan of Batman. Sure, he’s fine as a character, but he’s never going to appear on my list of favorite superheroes. I’m not that interested for a reason that is probably opposite to why a lot of people do like Batman: I like the more fantastic, weirdo, and sci-fi elements of the superhero genre (as demonstrated by how much I’m writing about Doom Patrol here).

Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski‘s 1992-1995 Batman: The Animated Series was an amazing achievement and transformed the world of TV adventure animation in many ways. Mask of the Phantasm is my favorite Batman feature film, even including the recent live action ones. But I enjoy the animated series mostly for its technical achievements, artistic innovations, and now classic performances — not, in the end, because it is about Batman.

I get more personal enjoyment from the 2008-2011 series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. This show was inspired by the long-running comic of the same name that featured team-ups of two DC Comics superheroes — usually Batman and someone else. If you are looking for a “realistic” gravel-voice Dark Knights then this not a show for you. It is not camp like the 60’s Batman TV show, but is playful and fun, though with a lot comic book violent action. Stories are fast moving with danger and high stakes, or at least the appearance of them; there’s never any doubt that Batman and his partner will triumph by the end of the episode.

To the delight of an old comic reader such as myself, the series makes full use of the imaginative toy box of the DC comic universe. In just the four episodes Batman visits an alien planet, Dinosaur Island, Atlantis, and King Arthur’s Britain, all drawing from deep DC lore. No part of the company’s lore is too obscure to appear in any episode (and yes, a version of the Doom Patrol appear at one point).

I’m in the middle of rewatching the series now. If a particular episode stands out for the kind of examination I’m doing here I might write a post just on it.

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