I’ve been doing this for 2 and a half years now. Every Wednesday I read several Batman comics (it can be anywhere from 2-6) and write an article about each of them, plus there’s the occasional graphic novel to tackle as well as a movie or cartoon here or there. I’ve absorbed more Batman-related material in the past couple years than I have throughout the rest of my life and let me tell ya, it’s been awesome! Well, it’s awesome, but also there are times when I get in a rut. It could be because I’m taking in too much of a good thing or it could be a matter of being so used to the same ol’ same ol’ that I don’t look forward to Wednesdays as much as I should. One thing I’ve noticed recently is that despite being a life-long “It should be grounded in reality!” Batman fan who desires a serious take on The Dark Knight, more and more I find myself gravitating toward the lighter end of the spectrum just because it’s such a wonderful change of pace.
I’ve seen so many Batman stories now (and then meditated on each of them for around 1000 words a piece) that I’ve gained a greater appreciation for all of his incarnations– and there are many. Batman is that rare character who can function in a wide variety of ways and that’s the very thing that’s helped him endure for 75 years. There’s a wonderful clip from Batman: The Brave & The Bold (another lighter interpretation of the material) that addresses this better than I can, but my point is that few things have pulled me out of a rut quite like Batman ’66. It’s as if it came about right when I needed it most. There are a dozen different Bat-books at any given time and all too often they fail to set themselves apart from each other, but then there’s Batman ’66 inspired by the Will Dozier TV series.
The artwork is always beautiful and eye-poppingly vibrant (sometimes it even has old-school screentone coloring effects), it’s often times laugh-out-loud hilarious yet respectful of the source material, it endlessly references the iconography of the show it’s based on, and most surprisingly it will incorporate decades worth of new Batman mythology (Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, and more) but through the lens of the campy 60s effectively building on the foundation set by the original program more than 45 years ago! My greatest fear going into the series was that the nostalgia for the classic show would wear off and the cheesy novelty value of a comic inspired by an Adam West and Burt Ward would fade, but as of issue #9 it has not.
There is, in my opinion, no better way to recharge from the grimness of modern Batman fair than Batman ’66 and the stories included in this collection are some of the best. I look forward to any Wednesday Batman ’66 is hitting the stands.
Batman ’66, Volume 1 is an attractive hardcover that collects the first 5 print issues of the series and features a handy table of contents to help you find the story you’ll likely revisit again and again. Each comic stands on its own so the original reviews I wrote for the individual issues still hold up! Click the links below to read every in-depth article, which I kept spoiler-free!
- Batman ’66 #1 — 10/10
- The inaugural issue showcasing Gorshin’s Riddler is an amazing comic that recaptures the look and feel of the Adam West show and that’s exactly what I wanted. If you’re a fan of the original series then I can’t see how you could possibly be disappointed by this. Batman ’66 #1 is definitely worth every Batman fan’s time. One of the funniest and well-illustrated books I’ve read this year. Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case did an amazing job.
- Batman ’66 #2 — 7/10
- The Penguin story is a bit of a letdown, but the book is lifted back up again with a wild Circe & Chandell back-up story that once again features Jonathan Case’s artwork.
- Batman ’66 #3 — 9/10
- Both stories were very enjoyable, but it was the Egghead episode that had me laughing out loud. If you enjoyed the wordplay and elaborate deathtraps of the series then this will definitely be a favorite of yours.
- Batman ’66 #4 — 9/10
- Feel that The Mad Hatter of modern comics has grown stale? This issue goes back to the character’s roots with a Jervis Tetch who is more interested in owning hats than controlling minds and kidnapping girls named Alice. It also features a uniquely English setting and a short story starring The Clock King, a villain whose TV appearance was written by Batman creator Bill Finger himself!
- Batman ’66 #5 — 9/10
- The Sandman feature is brilliant. You’ve seen the “Dark Knight trapped in an illusion” story a million times now, but I bet you’ve never seen Adam West’s Batman trapped in an illusion! It’s exactly what you’d want it to be and personally I thought it was fantastic. The back-up story featuring Batgirl, however isn’t quite as fun and is what dropped the score down a tad, but a very, very small tad.
A variant cover gallery, but nothing else. I had hoped for some sort of look back on the TV series that inspired the comic, but there was nothing.
Value: FULL PRICE!
Even though the bonus material is lacking, Batman ’66, Vol. 1 is absolutely worth full price. These stories are immensely re-readable (I plan on revisiting it for years to come) and it’s easily accessible to new readers young and old. Leave it out on your coffee table as a conversation-starter!
If you’re a fan of the TV series or a Batman fan who has grown weary of overwhelmingly grim storytelling then you’re going to love this. Writer Jeff Parker and the ever-changing roster of phenomenal artists did a phenomenal job adapting the ’66 iconography to the comic book page.