Saturday, January 17, 2009


My love for all things Batman pretty much knows no bounds and cuts across all eras of The Caped Crusader's career. So it was with great interest that I started watching BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD over at The Cartoon Network on Friday nights. Based on the classic DC superhero team-up title, each week finds Batman teaming with another hero to take down a supervillain.

My first reaction to news of the show was faint skepticism. As a child of the 70s I suffered through lots of SUPERFRIENDS episodes and other lame Batman cartoons just to see The Caped Crusader in action. My patience was finally rewarded with the excellent BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, still my favorite adaptation of Batman on-screen (big or little), but it has been off the air since the 1990s and succeeding incarnations of an animated Dark Knight Detective have been hit-or-miss (namely BATMAN BEYOND, THE JUSTICE LEAGUE and the recent THE BATMAN).

The new show show walks a pretty fine line between THE ANIMATED SERIES and SUPER-FRIENDS, though it hews closer to the former most of the time. Yes, the dialogue can be a bit hokey, the depiction of Batman gives the character strength that often seems superhuman, and there's a fair amount of gadgetry. But the overall feel of the show is such that I don't feel like a complete and total dork settling in to watch it on a Friday night while my daughter sleeps and the wife works late.

If you haven't seen the show yourself, try and catch this week's episode "Dawn of the Dead Man". This one is easily my favorite episode yet of this new Bats cartoon, this time with a very horror bent as Bats, Dead Man, Green Arrow and Speedy team up in the UK to battle Gentleman Ghost as he tries to raise an army of undead villains.

Packed with great horror imagery including a skeletal ghost horse and a mountain of skulls under a graveyard, the episode has a serious 70s/horror Batman vibe including one of those iconic teaser cover images with a tombstone reading 'Here Lies Batman' with his utility belt draped over the corner.

Check out the network's schedule to see when it re-airs and give this new twist on an old Bat a try.

And while you're at it, point your browser to Bat-Blog, a great blog about Batman shows, comics, movies, toys, characters and collectibles.

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