“His lone battle against the evil forces of society…”

Today is the 80th anniversary of the release of Detective Comics #27, the debut of Bill Finger and Bob Kane’s “young socialite” Bruce Wayne and his “mysterious and adventurous” alter-ego, Batman. Ever since his inauguration, the legends of the Caped Crusader has been retold and reimagined in many ways by both professionals and fans. Today’s subject is a particularly interesting interpretation of the World’s Greatest Detective: the 2005 animated short Batman: New Times. The directorial debut of Star Trek: Voyager visual effects artist Jeffery Scheetz, the DAVE School short utilizes character designs based on the Minimates toyline created by Art Asylum and features the vocal talents of two major Batman franchise alumni, Robinson Crusoe on Mars star Adam West and Mark Hamill of Corvette Summer fame, as well as Courtney Thorne-Smith (Ally McBeal) as Catwoman and the illustrious Dick Van Dyke as Commissioner Gordon.

Credit: The DAVE School

They Don’t Call It Tragic-Con

The four days of the San Diego Comic-Con are almost upon us, so with that in mind, let’s take a look back at Comic Book: The Movie, a 2004 mockumetary filmed on location at the 2002 Comic-Con. Starring and directed by Mark Hamill (you know, that clown from that space movie), the comedy features interviews with geek culture bigwigs such as Stan Lee, Bruce Campbell and Kevin Smith, as well as the talents of several prolific voice actors including Billy West, Jess Harnell and Tom Kenny. Although it’s a little choppy, I recommend it just for the novelty of seeing top-notch voice actors plying their craft in a live-action production.

Here’s my favorite deleted scene with Harnell and West performing a lovely song called “Four Color World” to a group of Comic-Con attendees.

Credit: thedvdupdate

An Epic for Our Times

Today marks the 99th birthday of comic book virtuoso Jack Kirby (1917-1994), creator of the Fourth World saga and co-creator of many popular and influential superhero titles, including Captain America and The Fantastic Four.  Here are a couple of videos showing that his real life experiences were just as extraordinary as the characters and events he depicted on the page.

First, here’s a clip from an interview where Kirby details a chilling account of his involvement as a soldier in World War II: 

Finally, here is a clip from the 1987 documentary The Masters of Comic Book Art featuring Kirby discussing his approach to storytelling (with an introduction by Harlan Ellison): 

The Wildest is Yet to Come!

Holy first appearances! Today marks the 77th anniversary of the publication date of Detective Comics #27, where a certain cowled, Chiroptera-themed gumshoe made his debut in a grim, six-page story called “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate“. Let’s celebrate this day by focusing on the two stars of the much more lighthearted 1966 Batman TV show that, at the time, sparked a wave of enthusiasm about the character. So sit back in your Bat-recliner and listen to a couple of songs that Adam West and Burt Ward performed in the midst of Batmania.

First is West’s “Miranda”, a strangely moody pop tune about a Batman-esque hero attempting to balance his crime fighting career with his relationship with the titular damsel.

Finally, check out this schmaltzy yet charming musical team-up of Ward and the experimental music maven Frank Zappa in “Boy Wonder, I Love You”. Never before has a recitation of fan mail sounded so pleasant!

Hope you enjoy these and don’t forget to share your favorite Batman stories and moments in the comments section!