So there was cowlless Batman, fighting a ninja in front of an erupting volcano.

§ October 22nd, 2009 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on So there was cowlless Batman, fighting a ninja in front of an erupting volcano.

That’s Batman in the middle, there, with his arm outstretched…you can kinda see his little glove-thingies sticking out.

I’ve noted before that I’ve been renting the season discs of Batman: The Animated Series from Netflix over the last few weeks, and, as I’m sure will not come as news to most of you, this is some spectacular cartoon work. This really does feel like the definitively iconic versions of these characters, even with some of the leftover details carried over from the Tim Burton films (the Penguin’s flipper-hands, the references to the Joker’s real name).

A fun thing to do while watching these cartoons is notice just how closely the show’s creators toed the line of Standards & Practices’ acceptable violence/content levels, and just how much they were able to get away with for a kids show. For example, lots of characters falling from great heights into a river…nearly always followed by a shot of said fallen characters climbing out of the river and clearly not drowned. (I recall an image drawn by producer Bruce Timm, I believe, from an issue of Cinefantastique showing all the things they were absolutely forbidden from doing: Harley Quinn in lingerie, injury to eye, hypodermic needles penetrating flesh, etc. – probably online somewhere, but I couldn’t track it down.)

That said, they got away with some amazingly intense material…Batman, under the effect of a fear gas, thinks he sees his parents walking away from him and into a dark alley, followed by two gunshot flashes from within…and then the alley turns into a huge-ass gun that rises out of the now-crumbling and collapsing surrounding buildings, a dark river pouring from the barrel. I mean holy crap.

I just finished the third disc of Season Two, which had the episode where Commissioner Gordon, in his hospital bed recovering from a gunshot wound that he felt he was too old and slow to avoid receiving, telling Batman that he wished he could be a hero like him. And Batman replies “you are a hero.” And if you watch that scene and don’t get choked up a little…well, you probably thought Old Yeller had it comin’, too.

Anyway, great cartoon. Like I need to tell you folks that.

image from season 2 episode Day of the Samurai

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