Monday, April 14, 2014

Batman: Strange Days

Bruce Timm is a well known name when it comes to Batman. He's the man behind the Batman Animated Series that debuted in 1992 and as a result, responsible for the iconic style that drove DC's animation for the better part of the next two decades. At this point it is probably fair to say that he is perhaps as defining an influence on Batman now as the men responsible for his creation (Bob Kane and Bill Fingers), so it makes sense for him to return to Batman just in time for the Caped Crusader's 75th Anniversary. For those of us familiar with his work, it's probably not surprising to see him return with an homage not only to his original Pulp era, but to his actual first adventure, the one appearing in May of 1939 in Detective Comics #27.

75 years is an incredible run, it's a testament to how malleable the character of Batman is, how his many different elements can be used to put him in a wide variety of adventures and how easily he can be used to say and be many different things to many different people. The always erudite and insightful Film Crit Hulk has some interesting things to say on the subject here, if you're interested. It's a long article, and some of you might have issues with the voice, but I urge you to ignore all that and dive in, it's a good read that is well worth your time. Then, once you're as caught up on those link tangents as you want to be, check out the video below, it's the previously mentioned return of Mr. Timm to a character he has helped to define. It's a bit of a big deal in Nerd-world right now. It's shorter than the Hulk article, of course, but is perhaps just as revealing as to Batman's core appeal.

Watch it. Enjoy.

Cool, huh? You've got to love that Noir/Pulp style. It's so definitively of its time period and yet so easily timeless. In the end, this short might be too short to really be anything, more of an amuse-bouche than an actual meal, but whatever, beggars, choosers, yadda, yadda, yadda. I really like the choice of Hugo Strange as the bad guy. Despite what some might assume, a Mad Scientist is much more in line with the Batman's roots than someone like the Joker or the Penguin would be. I'm not sure if the big thug Batman was tussling with was Solomon Grundy or if he was just a generic big monster guy, but either way, it's a nice illustration of the character's limitations and the type of obstacles he regularly faces. Yeah, good stuff. All around, it was all very classic, the gear, the look, the feel, very well done. Tear Gas bullets... Did you see that? The bad guy can fall to his (presumed) death, but he can't be shot, I guess. 

I suppose that's a big part of Batman too, right?


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