In the summer of 1989, primed by "Kiss" and "Alphabet St." and "Sign 'O' the Times" to expect brilliance from the first taste of new Prince music, I raced out to buy "Batdance," the first single to be released from his soundtrack to Tim Burton's Batman. It seemed like a great idea at the time.
I remember my feeling of dazed disappointment the first time I heard "Batdance" lurch to an end. "Batdance" isn't even a song, as such, but a cluster of unrelated chunks of underdone rhythm tracks, ineptly pasted together with chopped-up samples of film dialogue, a couple of lines flown in from other songs, Prince singing the hook from Neal Hefti's '60s Batman theme, and (in its album mix) a very aggressive guitar solo that has almost nothing to do with what's going on around it. Prince and Batman together? How could that not be awesome? What just went wrong here?
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton's Batman movie, The Arkham Sessions takes a break from analyzing the psychology of Batman: The Animated Series to pay special tribute to the legendary film that influenced the style, music, and dark themes of the animated show. Consistent with her measured, analytical approach to the characters and stories of BTAS, Dr. Andrea Letamendi offers psychological conceptualizations of Burton's Batman and Joker with the help of co-host Brian Ward.
Is the film, as Burton once described, a story about the intertwined paths of Batman and the Joker, culminating in a "fight between two disturbed people?" Furthermore, how does Keaton's Bruce Wayne compare to Kevin Conroy's version when it comes to the maintenance -- or fusion -- of multiple identities? How is Nicholson's Joker more destructive and dangerous than Hamill's? Listen to this special edition of the The Arkham Sessions and reminisce about Batman '89 in a whole new way.
I'm not a big fan of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, but there's definitely one thing that I think it did right. Burton's Gotham City, redesigned for the screen by Anton Furst, is absolutely beautiful. The Academy Award-winning production art direction is stylish, terrifying, visually engaging and arresting on a level that the rest of the movie has a hard time living up to, creating a world that looks like Batman could exist there.
It's also one of the movie's lasting influences on the world of the comics. Ever since Furst and Burton unveiled their version as a backdrop for the Joker blasting Prince from a boombox while trashing an art museum and Batman blowing up a chemical plant with his remote-control car, Gotham has adhered to their vision of the city, transforming from the bustling stand-in for New York that it was before and becoming its own unmistakable entity. And in true comic book fashion, the comics accomplished this by blowing everything up and starting over.
Launched in late 1988 by the B.D. Fox agency -– who had also handled the campaigns for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the one true Robocop movie, and mankind’s crowning cinematic achievement, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – with a poster designed by the film’s production designer Anton Furst, the Batman campaign is a classic example of doing more with less. It’s sexy, sleek, mysterious and new. It’s regarded as one of the best movie campaigns ever, and for good reason. On the occasion of the film's 25th anniversary, let’s talk about why the campaign was so good.
Here's some fun news that'll ruin your weekend: The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has released the names of 30 people who are set to receive stars on the Walk of Fame for their contributions to the entertainment industry next year, and among them is Bob Kane, the man DC Entertainment is contractually obliged to credit as the sole creator of Batman.
Q: Since this is Ask Chris #200, what's the best 200th issue in comics? -- @therealdealkern
A: You know, Kern, I'm glad you asked. 200 is a really weird number, especially in comics. It should be a pretty huge deal -- as alert reader Charlotte pointed out in her own question this week, once a comic racks up 200 issues, it's pretty much going to be around forever -- but it doesn't quite have the ring of #100, and even hitting that third century mark seems way more important than breezing through the two. Maybe it's that it feels like a foregone conclusion, that once you've passed that first milestone, the second feels like more of an inevitability than an achievement. But at the same time, there's definitely one issue that sticks out as being everything you want out of an anniversary comic, and that's the subject of this week's column.
I mean, come on. You didn't really think I was going to answer 100 questions again, did you?
Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.
Last weekend I moved to a new apartment, and since I am in fact the World's Foremost Batmanologist, there was a moment where I genuinely considered buying myself a giant penny and putting it in my new office to mark the occasion. I didn't end up doing it, largely because giant pennies cost an awful lot of money even before you factor in what you'd need to spend to get a robot Tyrannosaurus, a giant Joker card and a glass case with a friend's clothes hanging in it, but what really sealed it was going back and looking at the time that Batman himself moved and noticing that even he didn't bother to bring his giant penny.
Heck, he didn't even bother to bring the last three letters of Alfred's name. And if the Caped Crusader himself is going to pack light for a move to a new place, who am I to say I know better?
Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller already sat under Entertainment Weekly's spotlight to talk about the new Fox series, and now it's series star Ben McKenzie's turn.
McKenzie will play a young James Gordon on the show (which the producers have promised will not be about Batman, even though there's a preteen Bruce Wayne running around). He told EW pretty unequivocally that the show will be a darker take, with plenty of moral gray areas, in case you were wondering whether it would be like every other Batman media property of the past 30 years or so. Here are some highlights from his interview.
For those of you who don't keep up with live-action superhero shows made for tiny Japanese children, Kamen Rider Gaim is the latest in the long-runing series of Kamen Rider shows. Focused on young Kouta Kazuraba, the show revolves around a secret power struggle within Zawame City, a community dominated by the massive Yggdrasil corporation, and the monsters that are emerging from the mysterious Helheim Forest to battle the Armored Riders who have unlocked the power of the forest's fruit. And it's also apparently taking place in Gotham City.
See, in the latest episode of the series, we finally got a glimpse of an actual map of Zawame City, and it turned out that it's just Eliot R. Brown's map of Gotham, in use at DC since 1998, turned on its side. And I am delighted by this news.
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