18 April 2011

Retrospective 1992

The year was 1992 and it was remarkable.

June of 1992 brought the highly anticipated sequel to 1989's blockbuster Batman. In Batman Returns, Bats faced off against not one, but two (arguably three) villains, a trend that would ever plague comic book movies to come. Nowadays its easy to forget how significant Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie was. Before that movie came out, the masses knew Batman from the 1960's Biff, Bam, Pow, TV show or from Super Friends. In the 80's comic book readers were treated to a Batman closer to his roots and redefined by such classics as The Dark Knight Returns. The 1989 film exposed general audiences to a Batman not rooted in camp, but a Dark Knight.

Unfortunately, in the 1992, Burton attempted to double down with a darker, grittier, more crazy, and less Happy Meal friendly Batman facing off against a grotesque imagining of the Penguin and an innuendo drenched Catwoman. The movie was a hit, earning over $160 million in the US on an $80 million budget, nevertheless, audience reaction caused the pendulum to swing in the Schumacher direction.

Just a few months later in September, Batman: The Animated Series would debut and Batman would be redefined for a generation. I hardly need to go into why this series was such a big deal, I will just say it spawned over 100 episodes of Batventures, and began the decade long presence of the DC animated universe.

Amazingly, a month after the debut of Batman's series, The X-Men got an animated series of their own. It too was a hit lasting five years and 76 episodes and beginning Marvel's own attempt at an established animated universes. Even more so than the Batman series, X-Men ambitiously adapted stories directly from the comics and won over a new crop of fans. So it was that two of the most influential superhero series debuted during the same fall season

Oh, and there was also a Human Target live action TV series in 1992. It lasted just 7 episodes because no one watched it.

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