Winged Freak Terrorizes: Comics Creators And Entertainment Pros Remember The Summer Of Batman ’89
There had certainly been plenty of heavily-merchandised blockbusters before, but the Batman '89 phenomenon affected pop culture in so many ways and crept into every dimension of commercial entertainment. Twenty-five years ago, it was just always there; part of the atmosphere of the era, reflected wherever you turned. From candy-filled Keaton heads in supermarket checkout aisles, to endless souvenir magazines on newsstands, to articles in newspapers and magazines, to the packs of trading cards and stickers on countertops, to Batmobile toys in Happy Meals, the entire world had gone Batty.
Even elements as bizarre as Prince's original soundtrack album were inescapable. I distinctly remember hearing the "THIS TOWN NEEDS AN ENEMA" sample blasting out of stores in the mall; Batdancers and purple smoke were on every display on every TV in K-Mart; and the Scandalous Sex Suite single was shelved behind the counter at my local record store so no Bat-crazed teenagers could purchase it without adult approval. Hell, no less a musical icon than David Byrne took to covering 'The Future' on his first solo tour.
No one element defined the summer of 1989 like the Batman t-shirts. There had been Batman t-shirts around for years -- pale yellow-and-black symbols on heather grey fabric -- but the movie's black-on-black costume design was a windfall for merchandisers. Cool people dressed in black, and now that black Batman t-shirts were available, everybody had to have one. It didn't matter who you were, what you looked like, what social group you belonged to – everybody was sporting the visage of the Bat.
Twenty-five years later, we've reached out to some of our favorite creators and entertainers to look back on the summer of Batman.