Sunday, December 28, 2014

Same Bat-Channel! About Bat-Time!


One of the many splendid presents I received this holiday was the highly ballyhooed Batman - The Complete Television Series DVD collection. It's the thing this year I most wanted under the tree and thanks to my generous and wonderful daughters it made its way there.

The lack of these shows on first VHS and later DVD was doubtless the most glaring omission in the genre. I have the original Adventures of Superman series from the 50's, the Wonder Woman series from the 70's, and even The Flash series from the 90's, but always that stack felt incomplete without this iconic 60's show. This is the series that perhaps saved comics, its popularity giving struggling comic producers a vaunted shot in the arm when popular culture seemed poised to pass them by. To find out what took so long check this out.


Purists will bicker about the negative consequences of the success of this series, the overwhelming sense of the ridiculous nature of comic books that it communicated to a wide audience already prone to think of comics in a negative light. But the good that it did, the jolt to the profile of the medium, transforming it from the fountain of juvenile delinquency to the source of harmless if brash 60's pop culture was critical in moving us into a place where the form could survive in the coming harsh times of the 70's. I really believe that without this show's success comics might well have died out as a form, they nearly did anyway. It made comics seem silly and not dangerous, not an insignificant shift in emphasis to the watchdogs of society.


We may well hate it, but the cries of "Kapow!" and "Biff!" are better than the cries for censorship which dominated the previous decade. Not ideal by any means, but still an improvement.

It will take me quite a while to get through all the episodes as too much of this show can go a very long way. But like any potent beverage it is highly pleasurable when taken in proper doses. I'm looking forward to a very merry Bat-year indeed.

Now all we need is a DVD with these guys.


Maybe next Christmas!

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12 comments:

  1. Mark Evanier did a post recently, Rip, about there being scenes missing on the first set of DVDs released, and that replacements were being offered. If you didn't see it, might be worth checking it out to see what the details were and whether you've got one of the dud ones. Hope not.

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    1. I did read about that somewhere, likely Evanier's blog. Hope against hope on that one I'd reckon. Thanks.

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  2. Your point about taking the set in small doses is well-taken, and can really apply to any complete series where binge viewing is so tempting. I began this set with Season 3, only because it's where the format of the show changed slightly and the series pivoted to the involvement of Batgirl; but after a couple of discs I realized that it would be more fun to leave it and then come back to it occasionally. At this rate, I'm not sure when I'll be through with it--but considering how much I enjoyed the show when it was broadcast on a 2-part episode per week basis, perhaps that's not such a bad thing. :)

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    1. I watched four stories yesterday (eight episodes) because I was eager to see again the debuts of Riddler, Penguin, and Joker. Mr. Freeze was the one Batman villain who I thought was actually a bit scary and I really liked how he showed up in the comics pretty much after his debut on the show.

      As a kid, getting command of the TV two nights in a row was tough to accomplish. One TV set in the house and Dad and Mom both have seniority.

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  3. I agree 1000% with everything you said in your post, Rip! I watched the extras and the first 8 episodes one day, four the next, and so on. Sensible-sized "doses" make viewing enjoyable and leave you looking forward to tomorrow's episodes!

    I also agree with you about how the show shifted the public's perception of comics from being vile filth to just being harmless junk. Any upgrade is worthwhile, especially when it gives an art form a new lease on life!

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    1. I've read that the show sprang from some influential folks catching the old Batman serials. I have not really watched the show in decades and not since I learned about those serials or saw them myself. I can really appreciate the serial roots of the show now more than ever and that in and of itself makes the show one which requires a measured watching.

      We live in a time when comics are a given, though as a profitable medium they are all but done in themselves and not as a springboard for film, but we've (most of us anyway) have been hearing about the doom of the form since I've been reading it. This show has been the device most of America uses to decide what comics are like it not.

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  4. It can be argued that this show helped to launch the sixties wave of classic reprints, because of the new association between Pop Art and Nostalgia. In fact, Nostalgia Press under Woody Gelman resurrected Flash Gordon, Popeye, Terry and the Pirates, Little Nemo and others, paving the way for various archival attempts over the years. It seems that virtually everything in the history of comics is now available in hardcover, but not many years ago it would've been hard to conceive of. ( I bet you still have a wish list of what still needs reprinting, though.)

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    1. I very recently found and collected up that first issue of Nostalgia Press. We do indeed live in a golden era of comics with more product available than at anytime before. As for a list of wants, sure do - we need a collection of Judomaster most of all.

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  5. I'm waiting for the price to go down a bit. In the meantime I'm still waiting for The Amazing Spider-Man 1977-79 series with Nicholas Hammond to be released.

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    1. That one too. I recently found The Hulk series for small money and currently am collecting Six Million Dollar Man as the price goes down on those season by season.

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  6. I'm waiting for the price to go down too. Or waiting for me to have some more money in the bank. Whichever comes first :)

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    1. That's normally my course too, but I've waited for this set for three decades,so I listed it for Christmas and got lucky. I've been naughty, but I got away with it.

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