I AM... BATMAN!!!
Man, it's a crazy time to be a geek! Who would thought there would be a time where our sweatiest nerd fantasies would come true? We see The Avengers battling it out on the big screen, Star Wars sequels finally get made and Batman faces off with Supes! Sometimes I feel I slipped into an inter-dimensional crack and ended up in an alternate reality where great comic book movies actually exist. Remember this background from Will Smith's I Am Legend movie?
What started as an in-joke in 2007 actually becomes nerd reality in 2016... how crazy is that? I just hope that doesn't mean a breed of mutated vampires will take over the world in a couple of months...
Whilst I have no idea if the movie will be good or bad ( early reviews indicate a mix of both ), the anticipation of watching this epic team up on the big screen makes me want to talk a little bit about my relationship with the bat-eared vigilante called Batman. Because although I am aware of multiple comic book heroes superficially, only Batman made a lasting impression. So am I Team Batman? F**K YEAH!
I started, like any honest Batman fan, as a young nipper watching re-runs of the camp 1966 TV show. I actually taped each episode on audio cassette by holding the recorder next to the TV set and created custom tape covers after. I think I never listened to them afterwards, I just loved collecting them and adding my own spin on it... what a foreshadowing of things to come! #collector / #hoarder
I even painted a movie poster for my local cinema when they screened the movie from 1968 one weekend. Man was I proud seeing it hanging in the lobby! Good old days! *sigh*
Fast forward a couple of years and I enter Batman's world again in the late 80ties, actually reading the comics when Batman was spelled Bat-Man. I just loved the premise of Batman being without super powers, having to win using his gadgets, intellect and obsession with avenging his parents death. No cosmic eye lasers here! The logo and his costume were so damn iconic as well. Let's talk villains: To this day I think Batman has just the best gallery of rogues of any comic book hero out there: Scarecrow, Penguin, Joker, Riddler, Poison Ivy... I just loved the richness and uniqueness of Batman's world.
I think what kept me personally invested in the character was that Batman's struggle and villains always were relatable. It was like Batman had to battle his inner demons which were manifested in his villains. I loved Two-Faces coin, Jokers pure insanity and Scarecrows psychedelic horror trips. Somehow other superheroes like X-Men or Superman were just too out there for me to relate to. Batman was the guy every angsty kid wanted to be. And don't get me started on the pimp Batcave with the massive coin and stuffed T-Rex: Super playalistic fo sho!
Then this happened...
Tim Burtons movie from 1989 just blew my mind. Loved the crazy costumes, the iconic vehicles, the tidal wave of Batman merch and the soundtrack, being it the swooping theme from Danny Elfman or the insane Funk of Prince. The only things that were horrible about this movie were the Amiga 500 computer games which I still played night after night anyway!
The older I got the more I got invested into the f**ked-upness that underlies Batman's obsessed fight against crime and Jokers psychopathic mass mudering. Things got dark! "The Killing Joke" and "A Death in the Family" really shook me. Seeing Robin being beaten to death with a crowbar by the Joker is as far away from the 1966 Batman vibe as you could get!
Whilst we are on the Joker: My favorite one is of cause Heath Ledger as he nailed the insanity and creepiness the Joker needs to possess to be effective. In that aspect I am very interested in what Jared Leto will bring to the table as he might go more day-glo but is definitely not less unhinged than Ledgers Joker was.
Now things really got exciting when Frank Miller wrote the Dark Knight Returns and it's sequel: The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Dark as hell, loaded with political allegories and the genius idea to pit clean cut and dull Superman against gritty and mistrusting old Batman. Till this day these books are benchmarks in visual storytelling and I would recommend them HIGHLY... even to people who might not feel like reading comics!
So when I go to the cinema tomorrow I expect a lot of nods to this fan favorite. Ben Affleck already dons the combat suit as we know through the trailers so I am really looking forward to all the other easter eggs they will cram in there surely...
Plus: FINALLY the see some white Bat-Eyes!!!
So am I hyped? YES! Loved Man of Steel and apparently Batfleck nails the darker more violent tone of the new Batman incarnation. So bring it on!!!
Of cause I can't sign off without giving you my top 5 Batman items out there!
1. 1966 Batman and Robin Hot Toys
Absolute killer, they come even with a can of shark repellent. The detail on these are insane as expected of Hot Toys and they capture the awesomeness AND naffness of the costumes perfectly.
2. 1966 Batmobile Hot Toys
Another thing to love from the 1966 incarnation of Batman is the vintage Batmobile! I had a small Hotwheels version of it back in the days and seeing this beauty blown up to fit 12" toys is a view to behold. Pure raw uncut awesomeness!!!
3. Mondo Batman Vinyl... ALL OF IT!
Mondo doesn't only creates the best alternative movie posters out there but brings the extra amazingness with their vinyl releases. Although I never watched The Animated Series these vinyl releases are just breathtaking!
4. Rainbow Batman 6 Figure Pack
So apparently these are based on a comic from back in the day but me being a sucker for bright colours and weird variants this is definitely on my shopping list, breaking my self imposed toy buying embargo!
5) The friggin' 1966 cowl by Mattel!!!
Do I need to say anything more?