In the first entry in this series i brought up a few of the major positive and negative influences of the Batman TV Series. But in this entry I’ll be taking a look at the other things that it was also responsible for.
The Return of Alfred
Two years before the series even aired, Aunt Harriet had replaced Alfred who was killed off in order to add a female presence to the house. This was in response to what people thought were homosexual overtones in Batman comics, because Fredric Wertham in his book seduction of the innocent had accused Batman and Robin of being homosexuals.
“Batman and Robin, inhabited ‘a wish dream of two homosexuals living together.’ They lived in ‘sumptuous quarters,’ unencumbered by wives and girlfriends, with only an aged butler for company. They care for each other’s injuries, frequently shared quarters, and lounged together in dressing gowns. Worse still, both exhibited damning psychological characteristics: proclivities for costumes, dressing up, and fantasy play; secretive behavior and double-lives; little interest in women; and most damning of all, neurotic compulsions resulting in their violent vigilantism. Depictions of Batman and Robin were frequently homoerotic, visually emphasizing Batman’s rippling physique and Robin’s splayed, bare thighs.” (Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent Pages 189–90)
In response to this Alfred was killed off for Dick Grayson’s Aunt Harriet who was supposed to make Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson seem more like a family, but during the development stages of the TV Series William Dozier had requested for Alfred to be brought back; he felt that Alfred was too well known of a character to not be included in the series.
So Julius Schwartz, the editor of Batman comics, brought Alfred back to life in a supernatural mystery story arc where it was revealed that Alfred hadn’t actually died, but was just in a deathlike trance. From then onwards Alfred co-existed with Aunt Harriet in the comics much like his counterpart in the TV Series did. That was until Aunt Harriet was written out of comics altogether with her last appearance taking place in Batman Family #4, March, 1976.
Since returning to the comics Alfred has become even more of an important character in the Batman Mythos. This is highlighted by the fact that he has appeared in most of Batman’s media adaptations with the exception of the 1977 Filmation cartoon The New Adventures of Batman. So after seeing how important of a character he’s become it seems quite odd that he would have ever been written out of the comics.
The Return of Catwoman
With Catwoman being a big part of the Batman Mythos it’s hard to believe that she would have ever been written out of comics. But that’s exactly what happened in 1954, as she would’ve been in violation of many of the new rules that were being introduced with the comics authority code.
Her costume was against the rule of what was considered to be tasteful dress for society, her criminal ways were deemed to be unacceptable as she escaped without punishment time and time again, and Batman’s romantic interest in her was also frowned upon. It was thought that Batman shouldn’t have a romantic interest in someone who was on the opposite side of the law.
Catwoman’s last appearance in the comics took place a month before the Comics Code had taken effect. Once the code was in place she would not be seen in a comic for 12 and half years. But due to the positive response to her onscreen portrayals by Julie Newmar and Lee Meriweather, she was brought back in the comics starting with “The Catwoman’s Black Magic!” (Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #70 November 1966).
Since then she has appeared in many of Batman’s major story lines, as well as having several mini-series and ongoing series of her own. She also has and continues to be used in most of Batman’s media adaptations.
The Creation of Barbara Gordon
The idea to extend the Bat Family was inspired by the successful Marvel Family concept. The idea to include Batwoman (Kathy Kane) and her nice Bat-Girl (Bette Kane) in Batman’s stories was done with the intention of rejecting claims that Batman and Robin were gay, but both characters were written out of Batman’s adventures.
And since there was no intention of bringing either of them back, Barbara Gordon was created. The Barbara Gordon incarnation of Batgirl differs from the original Bat-Girl Bette Kane for numerous reasons; she was a librarian which was a respected profession in the 60’s, as well as being Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, and most importantly of all she for the most part was portrayed in a much stronger manner than Bette Kane ever was, and that really resonated with people.
With that said the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl made her debut in “Million Dollar Batgirl” (Detective Comics 359, Jan 1967) before being transferred to the series later-on. However, the addition of Batgirl wasn’t enough to save the TV Series from cancellation.
But the popularity that she gained from her appearances in the comics was enough for her to become a major part of the Batman Mythos, and while it wasn’t always an easy task to write her into the show, Yvonne Craig’s portrayal of the character has also made a positive impact on people as well.
“I meet young women who say Batgirl was their role model,” They say it’s because it was the first time they ever felt girls could do the same things guys could do, and sometimes better. I think that’s lovely. Now that had very little to do with me, and a lot to do with the writers. (Yvonne Craig, Femme Fatales Magazine December 1998)
The character of Batgirl continued to grow when she was revamped for Batman: The Animated Series. In which she was given a more physical fighting style than what Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl was allowed to provide in the series.
Bruce Timm (Producer of Batman: The Animated Series): One of the things that we really didn’t want to do with the character, that we knew right off the bat was one of the things that always bugged me about Batgirl on the old Adam West show. She was never allowed to hit anybody she always like stood on a table and did these little dainty kicks at the villains. She was never allowed to just slug the villain. So we wanted to make sure that she was fully athletic. And again being the daughter of a cop she would have taken self-defense courses instead. So she’s just as much of a brawler as the two boys.” (Gotham’s New Knight, Disk 1 Batman: The Animated Series volume 3)
The Rise of The Riddler
Not only did Frank Gorshin’s portrayal of The Riddler earn him an Emmy nomination in the category of an outstanding performance by an actor in a supporting role in a comedy, it also helped to turn The Riddler into a major Batman villain. Prior to the series, The Riddler was a character that had only appeared in 3 comics, but The Riddler became a more important character in the Batman Mythos due to the popularity that he gained from appearing in the series.
And while we have always heard that The Riddler’s business suit look was created because of Frank Gorshin’s hatred for wearing The Riddler’s spandex costume from the comics, I have since learned that this may not be the real reason for why this look was created as an alternative for him. Because Jan Kemp the costume designer for the TV Series had this to say in an interview for a 1994 issue of Cinefantastique magazine.
“I designed all of The Riddler’s costumes.” “Initially, we wanted to play him totally in tights and then decided later on that we should have a change and put him in a suit.”
If this is indeed the real reason for the creation of The Riddler’s business suit look, the TV Series can still be credited for what has now become the modern look for The Riddler, although the spandex costume is still used in the comics from time to time.
The TV series can also be credited for the creation of The Riddler’s question mark cane, which was first introduced in John Astin’s portrayal of the character, and is now seen in many of The Riddler’s appearances in not only the comics but also in his media adaptations.
The Revamping of a pre-existing character
If there ever was a character that had been defined by their media adaptations, it would be Mr. Freeze. Prior to the series he was a character called Mr. Zero, and had only appeared in one comic, so there wasn’t much history to work with when Max Hodge chose to use him in the TV Series. This allowed Max Hodge (who wrote 2 out of the 3 Mr. Freeze TV Series episodes) to put his own stamp on the character.
Which he did by renaming the character, by giving him a frosted skin look, and by giving him a cold zone, along with several other character traits. But the only character traits that really stuck with the character was:
. His new name of Mr. Freeze, which was first used when he was reintroduced into the comics in Detective Comics #373, March 1968.
. His frosted skin look, which has been a permanent part of the character ever since.
. As well as the combined ideas of a cold zone and a cell for the character that had to be kept at a sub zero temperature, which were ideas that were used in Batman & Robin.
The other beneficial media adaption for Mr. Freeze was his inclusion in Batman: The Animated Series, in which his suit was redesigned by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, and he was given a more sympathetic backstory by Paul Dini, which saw him constantly trying to revive his terminally ill wife who had to be cryogenically frozen until he could find a cure for her. There was always some twist that prevented it from happening, so he would take his frustrations out on the world.
This new origin of the character was so well received that it became the character’s official origin in the comics, and has been used as his official origin in almost every incarnation ever since. It has also helped to improve the general perception of the character, as he is now regarded as one of Batman’s more sympathetic villains. Because the only time that he really comes up against Batman is when he’s committing some sort of criminal activity, but he would only do that sort of thing for the good of his wife.
Waugh! Waugh! Waugh!
The Penguin had already been a popular Batman villain before he appeared in the series, but his popularity was boosted by the series as he shared the same number of appearances on the show with the Joker. This was actually because Burgess Meredith’s portrayal of the character was well liked by the producers of the show, so they always had a script ready for a Penguin episode whenever Burgess was in town.
Burgess Meredith also unintentionally contributed what has become one of Penguin’s signature character traits. While Penguin in the comics has always been a smoker, Burgess Meredith prior to getting the role of Penguin had given up smoking for many years, so when he was asked to smoke for the role it irritated his throat. But he ad-libbed by going Waugh! Waugh! Waugh! to prevent himself from ruining scenes by coughing.
Not only was this particular habit transferred over to the comics. It has also become just as much of a distinctive trait for the character. As his assortment of trick umbrellas, his love of birds, or even his flippers that were part of most interpretations of the character after Danny Devito’s portrayal of the Penguin in Batman Returns.
The Three B’s
Before the TV Series existed Batman’s exposure outside of comics came from his guest appearances in The Adventures of Superman radio show, his newspaper comic strips, and the 40’s serials which had been re-released in theaters. But when the TV Series came along it generated a greater level of interest in the character. The exposure that Batman received from the series propelled him into the spotlight to such an extent that he joined James Bond and The Beatles as one of three B’s that made a huge impact in the sixties.
The creation of New Batman Merchandise
Other than trading cards, posters, and a handful of other items, there wasn’t much Batman merchandise available before the series. When the series came along a large amount of Batman merchandise was produced. Though it was mostly based on Batman and his supporting cast from the comics as opposed to their counterparts from the TV series. This was reportedly due to merchandisers being afraid that the TV Series would fail, so they thought that making merchandise for the comic book versions of the characters was a safer bet. Regardless of that fact, $75 million dollars worth of Batman merchandise went on sale in 1966 and outsold James Bond merchandise which was the top seller up to that point. To this day anything that is essential to the character of Batman like a replica utility belt or a replica of the bat costume are said to be popular collectibles at auctions.
An International Wave of Batmania
After the success of the Batman TV Series in America, the Batman TV Series was then brought to Japan, where it sparked a Batman craze. One part of the Batman craze was the mass produced Batman toys. Which were made from tin rather than plastic like toys would usually be made of. This is because there was a lot leftover tin from World War II. That and the illustrations on both the toys and its box art are what make Japanese Batman toys so fascinating for foreign Batman collectors.
The other part of the Batman craze in Japan culminated with a series of Batman Manga stories that were written by the prodigious Japanese Manga artist Jiro Kuwata. Once the TV Series was no longer being shown on Japanese Television, the Batman Manga stories stopped being produced and became very hard to find. So it was thought that they would never be re-printed as they had seemingly been lost forever, but the Batman Manga stories that Jiro Kuwata wrote for the Shōnen magazine Shōnen King and Shōnen Gaho, were eventually re-discovered by Batman memorabilia collectors Chipp Kidd and Saul Ferris and were later collected in a book called Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan.
Dah – dah – dah – dah – dah – Batman!
The show’s instantly memorable theme tune composed by the jazz composer Neal Hefti is without a doubt one of the most recognizable theme tunes ever. It was a huge radio hit and it held two places in the charts, the original version of the Batman theme composed by Neal Hefti was ranked in 35th place, while the cover version by The Marketts ranked even higher in 17th place. Neal Hefti would go on to receive three Grammy nominations for it, in the categories of Best Instrumental Arrangement, Best Instrumental Performance (Other Than Jazz), and Best Instrumental Theme. The Batman theme became so synonymous with Batman that people sung the lyrics to the theme whenever Batman was mentioned. This is something that actually still happens today from time to time. In addition to this it’s used as a ringtone by some Batman fans, and has been sampled, covered, and parodied, by many artists like Prince, The Who, Snoop Dog, and the duo of 50 Cent and Eminem. As a play on his first name it had been used on BBC Match of the Day for some video packages featuring Holland and Former Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie. And it has even been used for Batman skits on shows like Britain’s Got Talent and Soccer AM.
Batman: The Brave and The Bold
In the commentary track for The New Batman Adventures episode”Legends of The Dark Knight,”James Tucker who was previously a producer, a character designer, and a storyboard artist in the DC Animated Universe era had made his feelings known that he was a huge fan of Dick Sprang who for many years was seen as the definitive artist for Batman.
In the same commentary track he says that he had always wanted to work on a Batman show done in the art style of Dick Sprang, so he was pleased when he got the chance to work on the “Legends of The Dark Knight” episode from The New Batman Adventures. It allowed him to him do his favorite portrayals of the character (That being Adam West’s Batman and the Batman seen in the Filmation cartoons) in the art style of Dick Sprang.
He was even more pleased that he was able to bring back this lighter version of the character in between the releases of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Movies, which he felt was necessary as he believed that The Dark Knight Trilogy was too much for kids. Therefore he wanted to create a Batman show that would once again make the character more accessible to kids.
Despite the hate that the show gets from darker Batman fans Batman: The Brave and The Bold isn’t just a kids show, because it featured several episodes that involved death and “The Birds of Prey” song from “The Mask of Matches Malone” episode is definitely not for kids, Batman: The Brave and The Bold also has a lot of other things that adult comic book fans would be pleased with. It makes use of characters that we rarely see outside of the comics, and it uses obscure characters who we never thought we would see outside of the comics. It also adapts story lines or references various era’s from the comics, as well as referencing the previous media adaptations for several of DC Comics characters. So it appeals to people on two levels just like how the TV Series was intended to do.
The Appreciation for The Batmobile
After it was redesigned in Batman #5 (Spring 1941), the Batmobile in the comics never really changed much. But in the 50’s artists began to modify the car with various designs and gadgets; this carried over to the TV Series as the focus on the Batmobile’s features varied depending on what it needed to do in each episode. This fact as well as the look of the car helped it to appeal to many people worldwide.
So ever since the dawn of the series the 5 Batmobile’s that were used in the show or were used to promote the show, have been taken to many events, and have always drawn big crowds of people who want to see the cars in person. This includes famous people such as Tom Jones and Cher who have even had their photos taken with the Batmobile.
It’s no surprise to see that the TV Series Lincoln Futura Batmobile has since been called one of the most well known cars ever, or that it has been referred to as one of the most popular Batmobile’s of all time.
For years the Batmobile was one of the few things from the TV series that merchandisers were able to make merchandise of. So various toy versions of the Batmobile have been released over the years.
And up until a few years ago, the popularity of the TV Series Lincoln Futura Batmobile had led to a generation of replica Batmobile builders. But in 2010, DC Comics took action against Mark Towle from the California based Gotham Garage, for selling Batmobile replica’s without their permission, at the end of the case it was decided that nobody other than Marc Racop from the Indiana based Fiberglass Freaks, would have DC Comics approval to sell a replica Batomobile.
In what was said to be one of the biggest historical events ever, The TV Series Lincoln Futura Batmobile, and the Batmobile’s from Batman 1989, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, and The Tumbler from the Dark Knight Trilogy were all seen together for the first time in history when they were paraded outside of Bob’s Big Boy drive-in in Burbank California in order to promote the imminent release of The Dark Knight Rises, and to celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises on DVD and Blu-ray they all were seen on tour together at various locations around North America.
In 2013 the Batmobile made headlines once again, when George Barris the Batmobile’s owner and customiser sold it for a total of $4.2 million at the Barrett Jackson car show in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 19, 2013.
The boost it gave the industry
The success of the Batman TV Series helped to increase the sales of superhero comics, because of the interest that it had generated in the comic book genre. New comics were created to capitalize on this new interest in comics. Some of which were more successful than others like Marvel Comic’s Satiric Not Brand Echh comic, which features the Parody Hero Forbush Man. As for the not so successful comics from this period Dell Comics who were once the top selling company in the comic book industry. Failed in their attempt to turn popular movie monsters, Frankenstein, Werewolf, and Dracula, into comic book superheroes.
From the Fall of 1966-Summer 1968 ABC, CBS, and NBC included a number of Superhero cartoons to their Saturday morning line ups. Which included cartoons for Established Comic Book Characters like Fantastic 4, Spider-Man, and Superman. Cartoons were also created for characters who first gained notoriety in other mediums like Casper the Friendly Ghost and The Lone Ranger. As well as shows for Newly Created Characters like The Super 6, Atom Ant, Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles, Space Ghost, and Birdman.
CBS and NBC also unsuccessfully tried to capitalize on the success of Batman with their own campy live action superhero shows Mr. Terrific and Captain Nice.
There was even an attempt by William Dozier to do a Dick Tracy series and a campy Wonder Woman series. But both shows were not picked up due to a combination of the declining ratings of Batman and the poor ratings of the Green Hornet series. By the end of the 60’s the superhero craze had ended and the best selling comic book in the United States was the teen humor comic book Archie
The Public Perception of Robin
Some Batman fans have developed an intense hatred for Burt Ward’s portrayal of the first Robin Dick Grayson. One of the reasons for this is the Robin costume that was worn by Burt Ward. The costume that he wore wasn’t created for the series, but some people still refer to it as the 60’s Robin costume. The holy sayings that Burt Ward’s Robin uses, and the fact that he was frequently captured and had to be saved by Batman, are just some of the other examples of why they hate his portrayal of the character. But all of those things were elements of the comic book version of the first Robin Dick Grayson.
The character of Robin has evolved since then, yet these things are still brought up by people that do not want to him to be included in movies, video games, etc.
In DC’s main continuity in the last 26 years there have been 4 Robin’s with their very own personalities.
Jason Todd Debut: Batman #357 (March 1983) First appearance As Robin: Batman #366 (December 1983)
Initially there were a lot of similarities between Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, until DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths revamped Jason’s origin and demeanor.
He was now a far cry from the original Robin Dick Grayson; hotheaded, unmerciful, prone to defying Batman’s orders and suspected of throwing a thug off a building. Needless to say, some fans didn’t warm to this new direction of the character.
So DC Editorial decided that the fans would choose Jason’s fate in a telephone poll featured in “A Death in the Family.” Fans’ opinion was split, but with close results of 5343 votes to 5271 votes, Jason’s death warrant was signed.
And as a result of that poll he was killed by Joker in “A Death in the Family.”
In the aftermath Batman’s failure to save Jason haunted him for several decades; a storyline which eventually lead to Jason’s resurrection in “Under the Hood,” in which he returned as the anti-hero Red Hood.
Tim Drake Debut: Batman #436 (August 1989) First appearance As Robin Batman #442 (December 1989)
After the death of Jason Todd, Batman became reckless and violent. It was evident to those close to him, but it was also noticed by none other than Batman & Robin fanboy Tim Drake.
The 13 year old Tim wanted to intervene as he felt Batman needed a Robin to keep him sane. He wasn’t so self-centered as to want to become Robin himself though as he began to hunt down Dick Grayson to ask him to take up the mantle once more. Dick refused, having become Nightwing and Tim was forced to put on the costume in order to save his heroes.
But Jason’s death was still fresh on the Batman’s mind, making him sceptical about having another Robin. However Tim’s actions, mature attitude and revelations of how he had deduced the identities of Batman and Robin at the age of eight, forced Bruce to reconsider.
So Bruce made Tim Drake the next Robin and gave him a modernized Robin costume. Which would give him more protection than what the classic Robin costume offered.
Tim then spent six gruelling months training and assisting with detective work in the Batcave. Before hitting the streets of Gotham as Robin, he finished his initial training with a visit to martial arts masters in Europe.
When Bruce Wayne was supposedly killed at the hands of Darkseid in 2009, Tim Drake was the only one convinced that he was still alive. Seeking evidence of his mentor’s survival, Tim traveled the world and took on the persona of Red Robin, so that his actions would not be associated with the Batman family.
Two years later, DC relaunched the New 52 and Tim’s background was rewritten as a teen in Witness Protection who gets renamed “Tim Drake.” In the new continuity, the character still undergoes Batman’s tutelage, but under the persona of Red Robin instead of Robin, out of respect for his late predecessor, Jason Todd.
Stephanie Brown Debut: Detective Comics #647 (August 1992) First appearance As Robin: Robin #126 (July 2004)
One thing that separated Tim Drake from his predecessors was the fact that he wasn’t an orphan. His father, Jack, was alive and well, which made it inevitable for him to find out what his son was really doing at night. When he did, in 2004, Jack demanded his son to retire from the Robin role, leaving a position vacant in the Dynamic Duo.
Enter Stephanie Brown, who first appeared in 1992, as the daughter of Batman villain Cluemaster (Arthur Brown). Taking the guise of Spoiler, Stephanie helped Batman and Robin defeat her father and had an on-again-off-again romance with Tim Drake.
After Tim hung up the cape, Stephanie created her own makeshift Robin costume and demanded Batman to bring her on board as Tim’s replacement. While Frank Miller was famous for introducing a female Robin with Carrie Kelley in The Dark Knight Returns, this was the first time a female Robin was brought into official canon.
Unfortunately for Stephanie, she was shortly fired by Batman for insubordination. Seeking to prove herself, she enacted one of Batman’s contingency plans against the mob, which backfired, sparking a gang war across Gotham. During this time, Stephanie was captured and tortured to death by Black Mask, sharing the same fate as Jason Todd in “A Death in the Family.” After the tragedy, Tim Drake returned to the Batcave and became Robin again.
Stephanie’s death was later retconned four years later, when the character was revealed to have survived her injuries. While she returned to crime-fighting, she never donned the Robin costume again and returned to the Spoiler persona. She became Batgirl in 2009, but has been written out of continuity since DC rebooted their titles with the new 52 in 2011.
Damian Wayne Debut: Batman: Son of the Demon (1987) First appearance As Robin: Batman and Robin #1 (August 2009)
In 1987, Mike W. Barr wrote Batman: Son of the Demon, in which Bruce Wayne finally consummated his romance with Talia, resulting in the birth of their son. The story was not considered to be part of the comic book canon, but that didn’t stop comic book writers from exploring potential versions of the character, given that he was both the son of Batman & Talia, as well as the grandson of the villain Ra’s Al Ghul. Mark Waid and Alex Ross introduced Ibn al Xu’ffasch (which, in Arabic, translates to the Son of the Bat) in Kingdom Come (1996) while Doug Moench created Tallant Wayne in Brotherhood of the Bat (1995) and League of Batmen (2001).
It wasn’t until Grant Morrison took over the Batman title in 2006 that the character became an official part of the canon, under the name of Damian Wayne. Having been raised like a prince by Talia and combat-trained since birth by the League of Assassins, Damian was initially brash, arrogant, and violent. Seeking to prove his worth to his father, he donned a version of Jason Todd’s Robin costume and decapitated the Gotham criminal The Spook.
But under Bruce’s guidance, the character evolved and began to take on his father’s more humane methods. When Bruce was believed dead in Final Crisis (2009), Dick Grayson took over the cape and cowl and Damian became Robin, creating an interesting reverse dynamic for the usual crime-fighting duo.
Instead of a grim Dark Knight and a wisecracking Boy Wonder, readers were treated to a loose, more relaxed Dark Knight paired up with a violent, cold Boy Wonder. The duo remained this way until Bruce’s return, though Damian remained as Robin, even through the DC relaunch The New 52, until he was killed in battle against his adult clone, The Heretic, in Batman Inc. #8 (2013).
The evolution of the Robin character has largely gone unnoticed, by people who don’t read the comics or watch Batman’s cartoons. So they will still believe that Robin “sucks” and that he detracts from Batman’s character.
Other than Burt Ward’s portrayal of the character, when people think of Robin they may also be thinking of Chris O’ Donnell’s of Robin from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. There are many who believe that Chris O’Donnell was too old to convincingly play Robin.
Chris O’Donnell was also notable for playing an amalgamation Robin; he had the alias of the first Robin Dick Grayson, the costume of the third Robin Tim Drake, and the personality of the second Robin Jason Todd. The latter of these character traits played a major part in the hate that Chris O’Donnell gets for the role. So the character of Robin is dismissed by people, who feel that Robin has been used in the “worst” interpretations of Batman.
And although John Blake a Nolanized version of Robin was used in the Dark Knight Rises. Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s initial responses to using Robin in Nolan’s movies didn’t help this negative perception of the character.
“This is a young Batman, so Robin’s a few films….not for a few pictures anyway. Dick Grayson’s still in a crib somewhere. I seriously doubt I will even be involved when Robin’s in the franchise” (Christian Nolan’s June 2005, interview with The Lacenby News)
“If Robin crops up in one of the new Batman films, I’ll be chaining myself up somewhere and refusing to go to work.” (Christian Bale’s July 2008, interview with World Entertainment News Network)
In response to this perception of the character Robin was given a makeover for Arkham City.
“We wanted to create a Robin that players would identify as a contemporary character and move away from the traditional “Boy Wonder” image that most people know. Our vision of Robin is the one of a troubled young individual that is calm and introverted at times but very dangerous and aggressive if provoked. The shaved head is inspired by cage fighters, because we thought that Robin might be doing that in his spare time to keep him on his toes. Still, we kept all the classic trademarks of Robin’s appearance, such as the red and yellow colors of his outfit, the cape and the mask.
We really hope that people will discover our Robin as one of their new favorite characters in the Batman universe. He is back and he means business.” (Kan Muftic Rocksteady’s Senior Concept Artist, on the backlash towards Rocksteady’s Robin)
The decision to revamp Robin in this way was criticized, by Robin fans who felt that the third Robin Tim Drake would’ve fitted into the game’s universe without having to make any drastic changes to the character. Ironically Rocksteady won over some longtime Robin haters with this revamped version of the character.
It’s invasion of other DC Comic Books
The influence of the TV Series wasn’t only seen in Batman and Detective Comics; it could also be seen in some other comics as well. Wonder Woman performed the Batusi in Wonder Woman #168, February 1967 and a Billboard advertising the TV Series could be seen in Teen Titans #9, June 1967. And since anything that Batman was appearing in was selling so well, DC started to overexpose Batman by making him the star of The Brave and The Bold, by placing him in stories which he didn’t belong in, by having him guest star in many of DC’s major books, and by prominently featuring him and Robin in their respective team up books. Batman at the time was appearing in Justice League of America comics while Robin was appearing in Teen Titans.
Although the bat-prefix was popularized by the TV Series it was already present in the comics. But the TV Series increased the use of the bat-prefix, and then like many other aspects of the series it was mimicked in the comics. After the cancellation of the series, Batman continued to use the bat-prefix in most of the cartoons that the TV Series paved the way for. It was even used in regards to some of the Batman merchandise that came out during the original run of the series, and in the years following that when the series was in syndication. However, in the introduction to the 1989 storyline “A Death in the Family,” it was said to be unlikely that Batman would have ever adopted the use of the bat-prefix given the grim nature of the character. But this hasn’t stopped the bat-prefix from being used pretty much everywhere in recent years.
The Comic Book Sound Effects
Despite being something that originated from the comics, the TV series use of comic book sound effects was and is still hated by some comic book fans who felt/feel that it only made the TV series campier. These fans in particular were even more unhappy when it was used prominently in the comics during the height of Batmania. Their hatred for the comic book sound effects grew stronger when entertainment writers started using comic book sound effects as the headlines for their comic book articles. This continued for many years after the series ended, and is something that still happens today. Although I often see more examples of entertainment writers fondness for using holyisms as the headlines for their articles, which brings me to the final section of this entry.
While people have always believed otherwise the TV series actually expanded Robin’s holy saying’s which were limited to just holy cats, holy smoke, or holy smokes in the comics, at the height of Batmania the more expansive use of Robin’s holy sayings was transferred to the comics to capitalize on the success of the TV Series.
Even though some Robin fans expressed their displeasure about this.
Robin would continue to use holyisms in his media adaptations, starting with the 1968 Filmation cartoon The Adventures of Batman. However, Robin in the comics eventually stopped using holyisms when editors started to distance comics from the campy aspects of the TV Series.
But while Robin’s holyisms were no longer appearing in the comics, they were still being used in all of his media adaptations up until Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. This wouldn’t be the case for the final version of Super Friends The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. The holyisms were dropped from the character’s vocabulary when a more serious approach was applied to the series.
Back in the comics Jason Todd had not only taken over as Robin, when Dick Grayson went on to become to Nightwing. He had also tried to carry on the tradition of Robin using holyisms. But Batman put a stop to this in ‘Catch as Catscan’ (Detective Comics #569, December 1986).
And similar to the attempt to dismiss the bat-prefix as something that Batman would ever do, Robin’s holyisms were also dismissed in that same fake article that was written for the introduction of “A Death in the Family.”
Professor Socrates S. Roder: The aforementioned “academics of questionable credentials” claim that “The Batman actually instructed his protégés to employ dubious humor, particularly of the type I refer to as the ‘sub pun.’ Apparently, some citizens of the era found this droll. Although the Robins might have been capable of perpetrating such inanity – they were, let us remember, uneducated children – a man as intelligent as their mentor could not have encouraged it.” (“The Death of a Boy Wonder: An Introduction By Dr. Socrates S. Rodor Professor Emeritus of Twentieth Century History, Gotham University,” published in the trade paperback edition of “A Death in the Family”)
In the same year reporters and entertainment writers continued to use holyisms in their news reports. The habit started during the original run of the Batman TV Series.
Robin was revamped for Batman: The Animated Series in which he was given the costume of the third Robin Tim Drake, instead of the classic Robin costume which wouldn’t have fit the tone of the show, he was also much older than the character had traditionally been depicted in the comics, and unlike most previous media adaptations of the character he didn’t use holyisms.
However three years later the character would once again be linked with holyisms, when Robin (Played by Chris O’Donnell) in Batman Forever said Holy Rusted Metal, Batman. Joel Schumacher in the movie’s commentary track indicates that he had no idea where the holyisms had originated from, but this is definitely an inadvertent joint reference to the comics and TV series for reasons I mentioned earlier.
We had to have a holy something line somewhere in the movie. Because I don’t know if it was the television show or the comics, but it seemed that Robin was always saying Holy Bat smoke or something of the other.(Commentary Track by Joel Schumacher, Disc 1 of the Two-Disc Batman Forever Special Edition)
Several years later in “Legends” an episode of Justice League, Ray Thompson made exclamations (“Holy hijacking, Cat Man!”, “Holy hostages!” etc) that were nods to Robin’s holyisms.
When Robin returned to animation in Teen Titans and The Batman the holyisms were not present. Robin in these cartoons was a modernized version of the character that didn’t use holyisms much like the character had done in The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians and in Batman: The Animated Series.
Before DC’s reboot of their main universe for the Infinite Crisis storyline, Robin in some comics, had used holyisms in flashbacks.
They were even brought back for him in animated media in a Batman: The Brave and the Bold flashback episode called “The Color of Revenge” and they were referenced in name only by the hall of holyisms in Batman: The Brave and the Bold “The Knights of Tomorrow.”
Till this day reporters, entertainment writers, bloggers, and forum users continue to keep the tradition of using holyisms alive.
Sources: The Dynamic Duo Archives Volume 1, Showcase Presents: Batman Volumes 1, 2, and 4, Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent 1954 Pages 189–90, Michael Uslan’s Introduction For Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale, Showcase Presents: Batgirl Volume 1, FROM THE LIBRARY: BATGIRL!- bitchmedia.org, “Yvonne Craig, Batgirl: The Original Curvy Crusader Recalls the Series, the Penguin, Her Elvis Films & “Mars Needs Women”- By Laura Schiff – Femme Fatales Magazine December 1998, “Batman In Third Season; Batgirl, New Guests Planned.” Associated Press, 13 Aug. 1967, Gotham’s New Knight – Batman: The Animated Series: Volume 3 Disk 1, Outstanding Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy – 1966 – emmys.com, Cinefantastique’s February 1994, special commemorative Batman issue By Bob Garcia, Comic Influences on Batman & Robin (1997) – Batman-Online.com Feature Written By Silver Nemesis, Max Hodge’s personal documents on “creating” Mr. Freeze, The Bat-Data Articles section of batfriend.com, Holy Batmania! (2002 Documentary), Holy Batmania! A Look at Batman Toys and Collectibles – By James Burrell Worthpoint.com, Holy Bat-grail: 1966 cast finally gettin’ paid? – By Steve Schneider Orlando Weekly.com,
Bat-Manga: the lost Japanese Batman comics of 1966 – boingboing.net, The Tokyo Toy Guy Movies By Yuji Uaeda, OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL By 66batman.com user John Mack, Batman 1966 Theme Sheet – musicnotes.com, Top 40 Hits in 1966 – retro-hits.com, Grammy Awards 1967 – awardsandshows.com, “Legends of The Dark Knight” Commentary Track – Batman: The Animated Series: Volume 4 Disk 4, James Tucker’s interviews with Ain’t it Cool News.com and Film Review online.com, Batmobiles 1939-1960 – Batmobiles 1961-1970 – batmobilehistory.com, Celebrity Photo Section – 1966batmobile.com, The Batmobile History Documentary – The Dark Knight Trilogy DVD, First Officially Licensed 1966 Batmobile Replica Is Away! By Marc Racop from 66Batman.com, Forbush Man’s Wikipedia Page, Saturday Morning Cartoon Ads – misterkitty.org, Deck Log Entry # 121 Dell Comics’ “Horror”-ible Idea By Commander Benson from captaincomics.ning.com,
1966-67 and 1967-68 United States network television schedules (Saturday morning) – Wikipedia, Deck Log Entry # 129 Look! It’s the Nut Who Walks Around in Pyjamas By Commander Benson from captaincomics.ning.com, Batman versus The Green Hornet: The Merchandisable TV Text and the Paradox of Licensing in the Classical Network Era By Avi Santo, William Dozier’s correspondence with Dick Tracy Creator Mr. Chester Gould, 5th July 1966-3rd October 1966, Box 7, Collection Number 06851 William Dozier’s Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Sketch of Junior By Chester Gould, b + w, with negative Box 18, Collection Number 06851 William Dozier’s Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Sketch, pen and ink, original, By Gould, Chester, of Sam Catchem, from Dick Tracy, Box 49, Collection Number 06851 William Dozier’s Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Sketches pen and ink, (xerox copies), By Gould, Chester of Dick Tracy characters, Box 49, Collection Number 06851 William Dozier’s Papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming,
1969 Comic Book Sales Figures – comichron.com, The Official Batman Forever Magazine, Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s respective interviews with The LacenBy News and World Entertainment News Network, Rocksteady’s Senior Concept Artist Kan Muftic’s thread about Rocksteady’s final response on their vision of Robin – batmanarkhamcity.com, Meeting Room – Arsenal’s New Teen Titan Team – Headquarters History – titanstower.com, Batman’s 1968-1985 Animated Adaptations, Robin’s 1968-1985 Animated Adaptations, The 1988 Batman: A Death in the Family trade paperback edition, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga, Commentary Track By Joel Schumacher, Disc 1 of the Two-Disc Batman Forever Special Edition,
I would like to thank arkhamverse.com administrator Red Robin and BatmAngelus from Batman-Online.com, for their contributions to the section public’s perception of Robin.