Today is officially Batman Day, an 80th Anniversary event that has fandom fixated on the Caped Crusader. While the moving target choice of date is as enigmatic as the Dark Knight himself any excuse to celebrate DC Comics’ venerable octogenarian is OK with me.
As a youngster I was well aware of Batman but more an Action Comics fan – Superman, Supergirl (and Krypto). Like many other “baby boomers,” my initial connection to Batman and Robin came with the ABC network’s 1966 television series. In fact, my family’s first color TV arrived in tandem with the first run of the Adam West and Burt Ward portrayals. Overnight our house became a local destination. I have a fine remembrance of my living room filled with friends eager to see the Biff, Bang, Pow action in full chromatic regalia.
Stronger than Mirth…
By the early 1970’s the comical irreverence of the television series was reversed by Neil Adams’ graceful but “scary” rendition and later Frank Miller would reinvent Batman as the burly Dark Knight. The metamorphoses on the printed page, on the silver screen, TV, and via a wealth of merchandise, keep growing and it’s impressive that the character can continue transforming and still retain its strength.
DC must be commended for their willingness to reimagine their heroes and heroines in so many ways. I surmise some glee in the ability to totally mangle time honored icons. The styles range from the subtly sexy calendar girls of the still expanding Bombshells and Covergirls series to this year’s Mexican Wrestling mash-up, the Lucha Explosiva! action figures.
As adventurous as those depictions are, it is the DCC Artist Alley series where visual inhibitions are truly sent packing. This year’s selection presents the most monstrous morphs yet at the hands of Madballs creator James Groman.
My current favorite Batman mutations are found in Gregg Capullo‘s Dark Nights: Metal series, especially The Batman Who Laughs. They are represented here by photos of DC Collectibles’ complete statue set as seen at the 2019 New York International Toy Fair. The Batman Who Laughs Deluxe Statue featuring three chained Robin minions is scheduled for December 2019 release.