For years, the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West as the Caped Crusader had a bad name. It was labeled as campy and was blamed for giving comics a childish veneer making it shameful for a teen or adult to admit to being a fan. I’m not sure what changed, but it’s refreshing to see that series given the love that it’s experiencing now, with action figures on the way and as a digital comic adaptation.
Written by Jeff Parker, the new digital comic is a perfect adaptation, capturing many of the elements that made the show so charming. He really captures the voices of the various actors, not just West, but Burt Ward as Robin and Stafford Repp as the Irish Chief O’Hara. The initial villain is Frank Gorshin’s giddy Riddler, capturing that character’s manic energy. This is fitting in that Gorshin’s Riddler was the first villain showcased on the original TV show. One progressive change was made, swapping out the Caucasian Mayor Linseed for an African American politician. I thought it was a nice touch, although it may be somewhat anachronistic. Then again, maybe Gotham City was just ahead of its time.
Going beyond the typical digital comic, DC has experimented with limited animation here, adding word bubbles and sound effects over static images and “pan and scan” motion. It’s subtle, but really enhances the reading experience, making it more than just a digital version of a paper comic book.
Like the other “Digital First” comics DC produces, this is shorter than your average comic, but even in those ten pages it delivers loads of entertainment. The fact that the entire story takes place in daylight makes it a stark change from the usual Batman comic.
This book might not be for everyone. Legal issues have prevented the original show from being rerun or released on home video in recent years, so the campy humor may not translate to younger readers who are only used to the post “Dark Knight” gritty Batman. But then again, maybe just think of this as a lighter “Elseworlds” take on the Dynamic Duo.
I enjoyed this more than I have most modern comics. It was nice to read a comic that was actually fun and not deadly serious. I have absolutely no complaints!
BATMAN ’66 #1
Written by Jeff Parker
Art and Colors by Jonathan Case
Cover by Mike and Laura Allred