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!