Sideshow’s Week in Geek: Batman’s 80th Anniversary
As pop culture continues to grow and evolve, generations of fans get to experience epic milestones for our favorite franchises. New stories constantly add to the mythos of our most cherished characters, elevating them to near-legendary status as we celebrate anniversaries, relaunches, and a constant exploration of these fantastic worlds.
March 30th, 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of Batman’s debut on the pages of Detective Comics, and this week also commemorates the release of the milestone Detective Comics #1000 (March 27th, 2019). As one of the biggest names in pop culture, Batman has a special place in the hearts of many fans young and old. His mythic status as a modern legend cements his place among the most powerful and impactful heroes of our time.
This week, in honor of the Bat’s biggest milestone yet, we asked Sideshow staffers to share their fondest Batman memories, their favorite Batman gadgets, their favorite faces (and voices) behind the cowl, and more!
How were you first introduced to Batman?
“The earliest memories I have of Batman are watching Adam West and Burt Ward Biff!-Pow!-Zam!-ing around the screen with my Grandmother when I just a little kid, but it was the 1992 Animated Series that turned me into the fan that I am today.” –Brendon
“It’s kind of a chicken/egg situation with me. I know I watched Batman: The Animated Series. I also know I read Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. I am not entirely sure which one I did first. I also watched the 1989 Batman movie everyday, but I definitely didn’t do that when the movie first came out.” –Susan
“The 1966 TV Show (re-runs) and movie.” –Chris
“As a kid I watched was glued to the Adam West Batman. My parents had a strict TV policy, but I still managed to tune in religiously at the same bat time on the same bat channel.” –Heidi
“I was introduced to Batman by watching the Adam West series on VHS with my dad.” –Michael
“The animated series!” –Bri
“I was first introduced to Batman with the the original Adam West series and the animated show Super Friends (Batman and Robin made a couple cameo appearances in Scooby Doo, another childhood favorite). I have memories of stopping whatever I was playing outside when it was time to get back to Batman, because as we know, he would return at the, “Same Bat time. Same Bat channel,” and I wasn’t about to miss it.” –Alfred
What does Batman mean to you?
“To me, Batman was my first superhero that I can actually remember having an interest in. It grew from there.” –Michael
“Batman has always been the achievable hero to me. No super powers. No alien technology. Just his keen detecting skills and his training. Oh, and the billions of dollars. Batman is the hero that we could all become if we were so dedicated to one pursuit (hopefully without the need to have our parents slain in front of us down an alley named “CRIME ALLEY”). Batman is Brains, Brawn, and Justice.” –Alfred
“Batman is the foil to all the superpowered heroes out there, that proves you don’t need super strength, speed, or any other meta ability to be a hero. All he needed was determination, a passion to see justice done… and an unquantifiably large inheritance.” –Brendon
“The biggest draw for me was Batman’s determination. No matter how many times the system broke down and the villains escaped, Batman got them back and returned them to jail.” –Heidi
“Batman struck a chord with me from an early age because he was something I shared with my father. Batman Comics, animated shows, and movies represent a carefree staple in my childhood where I got to spend time with my dad and enjoy something he loved as a kid just as much.
“It’s the story of someone who has a suffered an immeasurable loss and overcomes it through self-improvement and service of others. He does everything he can to make sure the people of the city (often complete strangers) don’t have to go through what he has had to and he does so without magic powers. Sure he’s rich, but at the end of the day Bruce Wayne is just a man. He resonates with me still after all this time because he’s not about revenge or killing. In a world where nothing but hate continues to prevail, Batman continues to strive for justice regardless of the odds.” –Lauren
“He’s that duality of nature that we all feel sometimes. Being Bruce Wayne is actually the hard part.” –Susan
Who is your favorite actor who has played Batman?
“Kevin Conroy – that is the only correct answer.” –Susan
“Christian Bale. Sorry not sorry.” –Bri
“I’ve been around long enough to have experienced all of them (except the Lewis Wilson version), and I have to say, it’s hard to decide. On screen, I have a special place in my heart for Adam West. And then there’s the Keaton Batman which landed right in my sweet spot, so I love that one too. But when I think of Batman, and hear his voice, the only voice I hear is Kevin Conroy (Batman the Animated Series). He will forever be the voice of Batman.” –Alfred
“George Clooney in Batman & Robin… Or maybe it was just the Batsuit in that one. IDK, the 90’s were confusing…” –Michael
“My favorite Batman is Kevin Conroy from Batman the Animated Series. Nothing ever phased him. With every episode, it was just a matter of time before he hunted down the villain and saved Gotham. Then he put on a tux or a business suit and handled whatever drama was going on in Bruce Wayne’s life too.” –Heidi
“Christian Bale. His taken on Batman did not spare us the grittier details that can often be glossed over when dealing with a masked vigilante, and for me took the character from comic book fantasy to something more believable.” –Brendon
“Kevin Conroy. When I read the character his is the only voice that I hear in my head.” –Chris
Do you have a favorite Batman story?
“My favorite storyline also comes from the Adam West series. It’s the 2 episodes, “Fine Feathered Finks” and, “The Penguin’s a Jinx”. The Penguin tries to find a way to get Batman to plan his crimes for him. I remember the Penguin using a gas-umbrella.” –Michael
“Definitely “The Batman Adventures: Mad Love.” Again, sorry not sorry.” –Bri
“Toss up between “The Long Halloween” and “Hush”. I love stories that bring in the entire rogues gallery.” –Chris
“Hush is up there, as is Elegy (that’s Detective Comics, not Batman, but hey! We’re also celebrating Detective Comics #1000, so I might as well give a shout out to that too, right?). I also love Mask of the Phantasm and the episode The Cat and the Claw from TAS.” –Susan
“Like with the actors, there have also been so many stories that it’s hard to choose. I like so many and for different reasons, so it’s hard to pick just one. The brilliance of the Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum definitely put those high in my esteem. Then there’s Death in The Family. I was reading the comics when that came out and I remember the vote to decide whether Jason lived or died (I voted for him to live). Waiting for the next book was agony and then to see what happened changed comics for me forever. And then of course there is the ultimate Mr. Freeze story, “Heart of Ice” from Batman The Animated Series. I don’t think anything has gotten better than that.” –Alfred
“The Christopher Nolan Batman movies.” –Brendon
If you could borrow one Batman gadget, which would you choose?
“Shark Repellant. I run into a lot of sharks in my line of work, and I feel that Shark Repellant would help me most in my everyday life.” –Susan
“The Batmobile!!!!!!!” –Alfred
“Come on man, who’s not going to say the Batmobile… Unless that’s not a gadget, then I’ll go with the Batarang.” –Michael
“The Batmobile – how could you argue with that style and functionality?” –Brendon
“Either the rebreather or the grapple gun.” –Bri
“BAT-Shark repellant.” –Chris
“He’s not a gadget, but if I could borrow anything from Batman, it would be Alfred. Bruce Wayne can keep the money and the tech, I want someone who can fix a car or a broken back while cooking gourmet meals and keeping a sprawling mansion spotless and impeccably maintained.” –Heidi
Who is your favorite DC Villain/Gotham rogue?
“My favorite villain is a tie between Poison Ivy and Catwoman. They’re gorgeous, smart, slightly obsessed by their hobbies, and willing to do the right thing as long as there is something in it for them.” –Heidi
“Poison Ivy.” –Michael
“How can you go wrong with the clown prince of crime himself, The Joker! And after the animated series, it’s Mark Hamill’s voice that I hear when I think of The Joker. And there’s Harley of course.” –Alfred
“That’s an incredibly tough question. In my book it’s very close between The Joker and Deathstroke, but I think I have to give it to Deathstroke by a small margin. While the Joker is a delightfully complex character who is far more deep than his crazy antics may often suggest, it’s the cold, calculated precision of Deathstroke that ultimately wins me over.” –Brendon
“Harley Quinn!” –Bri
“Poison Ivy.” –Kitty
“The Joker.” –Chris
Anything else you’d like to add?
“Happy 80th, Batman!” –Bri
“Sometimes the Villains are more fun than the heroes.” –Michael
“Batman has always been my favorite super hero. In any version, be it comics, television, film or video games, Batman will always have a special place in my heart. And working here at Sideshow, I’ve had the privilege of working on several Batman projects, and it’s been an honor each time. And it also helps that my name is Alfred.” –Alfred
“Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman… then always be Batman!” –Susan
Big thanks to the Batfans at Sideshow for sharing their experiences and memories with us! Be sure to check out our last Week in Geek, where some Sideshow staffers took a vacation to Emerald City Comic Con 2019!
How have you Let Your Geek Sideshow this week? Let us know in the comments.