10 December 2009

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - The New Batman Adventures

In 1997, Warner Brothers commissioned an additional 24 episodes of Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS) to be paired with episodes of Superman: The Animated Series to create the Batman Superman Hour.

The characters, including Batman were redesigned giving this season / series a sleek look. Batman would lose the blue hues and go for a simple black and gray guise. This group of episodes would be referred to as The New Batman Adventures, though the characters and stories were continuations of those begun in the BTAS. These episodes would also focus a bit less on the solo Batman and more on the "Bat family."

A new younger Robin, Tim Drake (the comic book Robin at the time), was introduced with a "redder" look.

The BTAS Robin, Dick Grayson, would continue to appear as Nightwing after having a falling out with and punching the Bat.

The villains also were redesigned (though mostly for the worse).

This set of episodes featured some surprisingly dark episodes like "Over the Edge" featuring the death of Batgirl.

Another classic episode, "Legends of the Dark Knight" featured three kids telling stories about Batman. One features a 50's style animated silly Batman and Joker complete with giant killer piano and short shorts Robin.

The same episode delivered a fairly true adaptation of a scene from The Dark Knight Returns.

In all, The New Batman Adventures was a nice way to tie up the Batman series, while retrofitting Gotham city to fit in a little better with the growing DC animated universe.

Up Next: Boo Wonder

08 December 2009

Spotlight on Vulture

The classic Spider-Villain Vulture made his debut in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #2 in 1963.

Just a few years later, the vulture made his on screen debut in the 1967 Spider-Man animated series.

The flying menace returned in the 1981 Spider-Man animated series, looking as wussy as ever.

The 1990's Spider-Man series at least tried to make the character a little more intimidating. Like in other incarnations, the Vulture started off as an old bald dude, but was youthified and wore a costume that wouldn't be mistaken for pajamas.

This Vulture actually ended up being transformed into the Man-Spider, in a weird twist of fate.

The 1999 Spider-Man Unlimited series featured an "X-treme" Vulture from another dimension.

Finally, the 2008 Spectacular Spider-Man gave the Vulture a more traditional presentation, though giving him a new red and black color scheme after years of adorning pea green.

Although Vulture has not yet made his first live-action appearance, he is widely rumored to be one of the main foes in Spider-Man 4. My thoughts. I hope not. What a lame villain. While I admit, some aerial fights could be cool, I just have zero interest in seeing Spidey beat up on an old bald dude. I fear that the rumors are founded though as Vulture was originally going to be in Spider-Man 3 with Sandman until pressure was placed to use Venom instead. Time will tell, but there are plenty of other classic villains more deserving of their chance to tangle with Spidey.