TOP 20 BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES EPISODES!

With another new animated Batman series in the works (Batman: The Caped Crusader), we figured it would be a great time to revisit the classic that has stood the test of time and remains to this day one of the absolute best superhero cartoons to date!

Created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, “Batman: The Animated Series” first premiered in 1992 and lasted 4 seasons (including “The New Batman Adventures”), spinning off into several other animated series throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s – Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, and Young Justice! Inspired by the style of the 1941 Fleischer Superman cartoons, the 90’s Batman series was a dark and faithful adaptation.

Batman: The Animated Series is, in my humble opinion, the absolute best version of Batman to date. Sure, the Tim Burton movies are great, Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy is a masterpiece of cinema, and the Arkham games are a lot of fun, but nothing has really captured the magic of the old school Batman comics quite the way that this show did. Not only did Bruce Timm and Paul Dini draw heavily from the source material, in some cases they streamlined and improved on some of the classic storylines and characters from the comics!

Unlike the campy Adam West series from the 60’s, this one took a darker and grittier look at Gotham, while still retaining the fun elements. Further, the voice talent on this series is incredible, including but not limited to Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne and of course, Mark Hamill as The Joker! And to top it off, the show was actually geared towards adults, while still being appropriate for kids, which is not an easy task.

The following list is 100% up for debate, so feel free to yell at me on Twitter @ErikSlader!

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Top 100 Heroes: 40-31

greatest-superheroes2

The age old questions of comic fans: Batman or Superman? Spider-Man or Wolverine? The debates about the best heroes are endless. We tried to make a top 10 list, but that was just too hard. So we tried a top 25, but that quickly became a top 50… you get the idea. So we were able to ‘narrow’ it down to an even 100. Odds are you will vehemently disagree with who did or did not make the list, or just the order that we placed them. But, hey, it’s our list.

(Honorable mentions to Beta Ray Bill, USAgent, Martian Manhunter, Kid Flash, Hercules, The Frenchman and the Female (the Boys), Abe Sapien, Spider-Man 2099, Static Shock, Nite Owl, Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, Spawn, Atom Eve, Mary Marvel, and a hell of a lot more. So many more we could- and may- do another whole 100 list!)

We will release these in installments of 10 so that you don’t have the longest list ever to read through. Agree with the placement or who made the list? Disagree with the burning power of a thousand suns? Let us know! Enjoy!

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Holy Bat-movies! – Part 3

We did it! We made it! I was worried for a second…

In Part One – we covered Batman ’66, Batman ’89, and Tim Burton’s Batman Returns

Then in Part Two – we tore apart Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and the god awful Batman and Robin

Now it’s time to review Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy!

Batman Begins

Batman Begins (2005)

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale (Batman), Liam Neeson (Ra’s Al Ghul), Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow), Ken Watanabe (fake Ra’s), Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes), Michael Caine (Alfred), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone), Rutger Hauer (Mr. Earle)

Batmobile:

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Plot: A true origin story following Bruce’s life periodically from the murder of his parents to his travels around the world making himself into Batman, one step at a time. He becomes a member of, and eventually turns against, the League of Shadows, who come to Gotham to get their revenge and destroy the city. As Batman, he must face the Falcone mafia, the Scarecrow, and Ra’s Al Ghul, while trying to rekindle his relationship with childhood friend turned assistant district attorney Rachel Dawes, establishing a relationship with Jim Gordon (one of the only honest cops in Gotham), and working to get his company back from Mr. Earle.

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Holy Bat-movies! – Part 2

Last time, in Part One: we covered Batman ’66, Batman ’89, and Batman Returns, now for our descent into Hell…

BATMAN FOREVER poster

Batman Forever (1995)

Directed By: Joel Schumacher

Starring: Val Kilmer (Batman), Chris O’Donnell (Robin), Jim Carrey (Riddler), Tommy Lee Jones (Two-Face), Nicole Kidman (Dr. Chase Meridian), Michael Gough (Alfred)

Batmobile:

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Plot: Batman and his new sidekick Robin must face the combined forces of Two-Face (former district attorney Harvey Dent, who blames Batman for the courtroom incident that scarred his face) and the Riddler (Edward Nygma, a former employee of Bruce Wayne seeking revenge for being justifiably fired), and their device that is going to steal all of the information from all of the brains in Gotham. Or some stupid crap.

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Holy Bat-movies!

All the Batmen

Batman has had a number of incarnations over the 75 years he’s been around, and many of them have been captured on film in the last 50 years. Depending on which movie you watch, he can be either part of the campy, ridiculous dynamic duo to the dark, brooding, badass dark knight. Depending on which version you prefer you can find at least one film that is to your tastes and is a totally valid interpretation of the character. Unless you like Batman and Robin, in which case go fuck yourself.

Erik and I will break down each of the Batman’s feature films, beginning with the 1966 adaptation of the television show and ending with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises, and will attempt to convey what is good and bad about each, and which ones we liked (Batman), loved (Dark Knight) and straight up went into murderous hatred over (Batman & Robin).

Animated features were left out this time, as there are so many we feel like they deserve their own article.

Batman '66

Batman: The Movie (1966)

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Spoiler Alert – Issue One: 7 Awesome Changes to the DC Universe (part 4)

Continued from Part 3: Leagues, Titans, and Guardians (oh my!)

#4 – “Holy Bat-Comics, BATMAN!”

In the New-52 there are a total of 16 current Bat-related titles, 6 of which actually star the Dark Knight himself, and in 4 of those he’s the leading man (3 of which are solo missions), and best of all, every single one of them is top-notch… as it should be! Batman is simply a great character in every sense, created by the legendary Bob Kane, but it’s astounding, after all this time, how these writers still manage to come up with new and different takes on all his villains, various allies, and numerous adventures, without constantly re-hashing the same damn stuff!

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Spoiler Alert – Issue One: 7 Awesome Changes to the DC Universe (part 2)

Continued from Part One: The Fastest Man Alive (Exclusively)

#6 – Not your Grandma’s Heroine….

It’s finally starting to sink in that a majority of comic readers / nerds aren’t actually kids, in fact, but that the primary majority of fan-boys AND girls (according to statistics) are somewhere between college students and middle-aged bachelors (This has actually been the trend since the late 80’s / early 90’s following Alan Moore’s “Watchmen”, Frank Miller’s “Sin City”, and Neil Gaimain’s “The Sandman”). It’s good that comics have not only acknowledged this, but embraced it, this is especially evident in titles like CATWOMAN (kinkier than ever), and BATWOMAN (think kick-ass lesbian version of Batman, not to be confused with Bat-girl).  Both titles are not only really well written, and directed towards an adult audience, but also have some top-notch quality artwork! Just check out how the panels flow in Batwoman, thanks to artist J.H. Williams III.

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Spoiler Alert – Issue One: 7 Awesome Changes to the DC Universe (part 1)

DC Comics has been around in some carnation or another basically since your great grandfather was your age. It all began with the introduction of the first super hero, SUPERMAN in Action Comics #1 and the rest is folklore for another blog. Suffice it to say that DC is home to some of the most iconic characters in modern American mythology, an entire pantheon of reimagined gods!

When you have an ongoing, never-ending series like say BATMAN, which has been going on since give or take 70+ YEARS since his first appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS #27 (the title DC took its name after) you’re going bound to get some weird storylines thrown in… especially during the sixties. Back in the day, a writer would be dishing out issue after issue for a paycheck (can’t blame them) and would occasionally have to pull a rabbit out of their ass (poor rabbit) to make it happen, and you’d get some piece of shit like ‘Batman and Robin in Space fighting mutant communist ant-people from the fourth dimension!’ (there are just certain things you can’t un-see, and therefore can’t easily retcon). Problem is that other writers would later have to make sense of this… and so cam the first of many a CRISIS, in which the status quo of the multiverse was balanced (see ComicZombie’s summary of this in “5 DC moves I Hated”).

Every time a ‘Crisis’ came along the universe would be tinkered with, backstories were edited, plot holes filled with cement while the audience was distracted by the pointless death of a beloved character (cough cough Barry Allen). The point is, they did it again, but this time they began with a clean slate, mostly, and there were understandably mixed feelings about some of this modernization, but sometimes change is good.

Sales have definitely proven that DC made the right move by re-launching their entire comic book line, renewing interest, and reinvigorating the comic book industry itself!

Originally I sat down contemplating 52 reasons to read DC’s “New 52” (named for the 52 new #1 titles), but came to the conclusion that if you were willing to read through that list there’s a good chance you didn’t need convincing to begin with. Much like the re-launch of the DC Universe I cut down that convoluted mess, narrowing it down to what really mattered. I also decided it was best to focus on the positive aspects, rather than the negative, disappointing, and infuriating changes / completely mishandled characters (Green Arrow).

We’re now heading into Issue 7 of each of the monthly titles, which means a lot of the initial story arcs are wrapping up, and so far they’re still going strong! If you’ve never read comics, now’s a great time to jump in, but for anyone who hasn’t been following the new DC comics I’m going to throw it out there that There Will Be SPOILERS!

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