Saturday, October 23, 2010


Trying to count the ways Paul Dini's Batman: The Animated Series rewrote the book on how 'cartoons' should be done is equivalent to trying to keep the Joker locked away inside Arkham - nigh impossible.

The show was freakin' genius, and it knew it. Each episode started off with a title card that wasn't just a little touch of retro, but signalled that you were in for a feature quality tale.

Pieces of art and often typography in their own right, they have been all assembled under one roof by The Animated Batman website, and here for my money are the top ten (click to enlarge).

I think Be A Clown had the biggest impact. There's just something terrifying about the Joker walking hand in hand with a child into an amusement park. As for number one...

So, what ones do you remember? Already looking through your DVD collection for the series yet ? The title cards plus the music that accompanied each are up live over at The Animated Batman - check it out to get your full bat-hit!


  1. there was an episode that guest starred Adam West. i think it was called the Grey Ghost. it was one of thier best. back in the 80's marvel pretty much had the market cornered on cartoons. but then the 90's came and Marvel just couldn't get anything right with the exception of maybe the X-Men. but everything else they did sucked. with DC it was Batman first which was great only to be followed up by Superman which was also great. then the Justice League came it was really on! and the thing is because i was disappointed with tim burton's first Batman film (die a thousand deaths time!)i wasn't really all that into the cartoon when i first heard about it. little did i know it would be 10 times better then the movie. God bless Paul Dini & Christopher Nolan!

  2. Correction: that was supposed to read as "(die a thousand deaths tim!)", not time.

    by the way, that new crazy cool classic cover of Secret Wars #10 for this week was a great pick Dan. i think sometimes there is some kind of Power of the Force thing going on when you post stuff on your blog. much in the same way as Obi-Wan to Luke Skaywalker i reckon.

  3. Thanks for the comments David - my favourite episode was 'If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?' but I'm a sucker for the Riddler so no surprises there!

  4. I loved how Dini reinvented and improved just about every character in Batman's rogues gallery from the bottom up. I don't think there's one that I didn't like.

    By the time Boy was born, the show was into it's third incarnation, the Superman/Batman hour. A few of the characterizations had changed (Riddler was the one that came to mind, trying to channel Jim Carrey and trading in the slick looking suit and bowler hat for the green tights), but the animation was cleaner and better than ever.

  5. I find myself in the strange position of defending Marvel - but I really liked their FF cartoon of the nineties. Not as stylish as Batman TAS, but fun and funny and heroic. I liked what TAS evolved into, the JLA shows were really great.

    For some reason the episode I remember best from the series was the first Man-Bat one.

  6. Hey Arron - I loved the FF one too, not only was it great seeing the foursome on TV the guest appearances in the second series were killer. Like Galactus vs Ghost Rider...

    I think Dini did most of his heavy lifting in the villain section Craig. Like you say he revamped them all - gave us Harley Quinn, Mark Hamill as the Joker and boosted the popularity of the ones like Clayface and Killer Croc to boot.

    In fact I still think Clayface's best ever appearance was on that show.

    Thanks for the comments folks!

  7. To this day the voice of the Joker in my head is no longer Ceasar Romero, but Mark Hamill, and to anyone that also grew up with Adam West's Batman, that's quite an accomplishment. As for the Title Cards, other than the Harlequin one so proudly displayed at the top, my favorite was always Mad As A Hatter. It was one of my favorite episodes, too, and I've lost count of the number of times I've seen it. Half the time I find myself rooting for the Hatter to get the girl, whose boyfriend obviously doesn't deserve her. Such a wonderful show. I wish they still made these, or the Justice League.

  8. So do I. My 4 year old daughter is a big fan of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, but I really have a hard time sitting through some of the episodes. I understand where WB studios was going with it, the whole retro thing. I just reserve the right to dislike it.

  9. Completely agree Randomnerd, some times now even watching Star Wars I wait for Luke to pop out the Joker laugh, his voicemakes me think of the character so much.

    As for Mad as a Hatter not only was that one that I almost chucked up, but I had a similar response to the episode Baby Doll. About the girl who couldn't grow up biologically. I guess that's part of why I liked BTAS is it was one of those toons that didn't dumb it down. Audiences, children included are allot smarter than many modern shows take them for.

    Craig - I have only seen one episode of Brave and The Bold, to judge from, and even that was the tail end. From what I understand is it's more like the 'Bam Pow' of the Adam West shows?

    What I liked about what I saw was that Captain Marvel looked like classic Captain Marvel - that was cool. I like the spotlight it's given Aquaman and Plastic Man too, and hopefully I'll get to spy the Doom Patrol episode when it hits Cartoon Network here. Those guys are perfect for Saturday morning TV!!

  10. I almost stopped watching Batman the Brave and the Bold after one episode...but I'm glad I didn't. Because then I caught one with Aquaman in it. And I loved it. I have never been a big Aquaman fan, but the treatment they give him on that show is brilliant. Then I started watching all the other episodes in a different light. And I appreciate them much more.

  11. Aquaman is the best part of that show. My brother is a fan and we abuse him mercilessly about it, but that's one thing I feel that show did right. He reminds me of a young an obnoxous Kirk Douglas.

  12. Now I'm going to have to go rent it at the video store... I do like Aquaman

    Thanks guys and gals!

  13. B&B is great fun: the Kamandi adventure is a favourite as is The Tornado Champion episode (an android CAN cry!)