On June 19, 1992, Batman Returns premiered and was unlike any comic book superhero movie that came before — or after. Starring Michael Keaton as Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as Penguin, Batman Returns was a beautiful dark twisted fantasy that doubled down on Tim Burton’s gothic tendencies and created one of the most enduring female characters in superhero cinema.
This weekend, I’m proud to announce that I have teamed up with the DCTV Podcast network to launch their newest bi-weekly show: DCTV Classics, where we will be reminiscing about iconic and classic TV shows such as The Adventures of Superman, Batman ’66, Wonder Woman, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Smallville, Batman: The Animated Series, and more.
It’s a shame how much Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is perhaps one of the most underrated characters in comics and pop culture. Not surprising that many dismiss her as little more than a “female Robin” or a lesser spinoff character of the caped crusader.
But the astute observer will note that by being tied to the Batman mythos, Barbara Gordon has arguably made more appearances in mainstream media than any other comic book super heroine, including Wonder Woman, thus perhaps making Batgirl the most publicized comic book super heroine to date.
In Part One of our conversation with Michael Uslan, the Batman movie uber-producer recounted his decades-long journey to bring a “dark and serious” version of the Dark Knight from the comic pages to the movie screen, a journey that is the foundation of his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman. After a string of Hollywood studios and financiers initially rejected the idea, the Batman film franchise has gone on to earn billions of dollars in box office and merchandising and solidify Batman as a cinematic legend, with even more big screen adventures on the way.
After the jump, Michael and I continue our discussion of what makes the Batman such an iconic — and enduring — character.
Tim Burton’s Batman is 25 years old this week, which means Prince’s Batman soundtrack is also 25 years old! I’ve said it before, and it might be blasphemous to admit, but Batman is my favorite Prince album. While most knowledgeable Musicologists might scoff, it’s true. The main reason is likely because I was too young to really appreciate Prince’s earlier catalog and Batman was my in. I still contend it’s one of his better records, and not just because of the Batman association — even though it has barely anything to do with the movie.
There’s another Prince album celebrating a landmark anniversary this week. Thirty years ago, the Purple Rain album was released — a full month before the movie hit theaters — and the history of pop music was changed forever. Since no one at the NOC wanted write about the Batman album, I figured we’d celebrate that other landmark with one of my favorite pieces of Cliff Chiang art.