Beard: Zowie!Written by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Anticipation ran to a fever-pitch for the debut of DC Comics’ first-ever comic book version of the infamous 1966 “Batman” TV show, but writer Jeff Parker and artist Jonathan Case have not succeeded in thoroughly translating the pop-art camp classic onto the printed page — in fact, they’ve created something entirely different. And, holy eye-opener! Batman ’66 is good!
Parker and Case retain many of the familiar elements from the show — the costumes, the car, the cave, the cameos — but reassemble them into something fresh and new. Not unlike the TV series itself, Batman ’66 can be enjoyed by old-school fans and young admirers alike, because there’s literally something in the comic for everyone. The beauty of the 1966 “Batman” was that it operated on many levels, delivering drama and action and comedy and satire in equal doses. The new comic does the same … but the difference is that the comic is not a slavish interpretation and seeks new ground while honoring its roots.
Some purists may howl a little at the changes made in Batman ’66; imagine the TV show with a budget on steroids. The Batmobile nearly flies through the air as The Riddler divebombs a special ceremony from a biplane. Alfred slides down the batpoles instead of taking an elevator. Batman utilizes his very own 3-D printer. The Gotham City police force is actually useful. One of the most curious changes comes in a scene in the Batcave where the Dynamic Duo has removed their masks, something never seen in the show. In Batman ’66, there is no need to worry about mussed hair on the set, no doubt, but perhaps something small is lost in dispensing with the TV series’ clever separation of Bruce and Batman as near-individual persons.
Regardless, the quibbles are minor. From the fun likenesses of Adam West, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin and Julie Newmar to the bright pop-art colors and the in-your-face sound effects, Batman ’66 stands on its own as an evolution of that wonderful grab bag of personalities and sensibilities that came together and burst from our TV sets and into our living rooms almost 50 years ago. At long last BIFF! BAM! ZOWIE!