The 30th anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series will be commemorated on September 5, 2022. As a long-time fan of the series, I feel compelled to write about Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski's animated portrayal of the Dark Knight. However, I do this while knowing the long shadow of that particular legacy has already produced a body of substantial critical work that would otherwise render any such endeavor redundant.
I could write about the origins of Batman: The Animated Series as a result of the 1990s Tiny Toon Adventures, or how the show went on to transform DC Comics' iconic masked vigilante, as well as the whole of American animated television itself, or about the show's triumphant and bold title sequence. These topics, as you may have already guessed, are already well-trodden territory.
I can't remember a time before I learned about Batman: The Animated Series. What I do remember is that after I was introduced to the series, I was hooked. From Tom and Jerry to The Jetsons, I've had a fair share of cartoons up until that point. But Batman: The Animated Series was more. It was appointment television. The adventures of the masked brooding vigilante Batman and his
I was infatuated with the kind of indiscriminate infatuation that a child is capable of. From the engaging characters and stunning title card artwork, I loved Batman: The Animated Series. But there was a moment when that love matured from infatuation into something deeper and more considered. While watching television in my dad's living room, I asked myself: Why does this look so different from everything else?
Even if I didnt have the time at the time to ascertain what it was that triggered my interest in Batman: The Animated Series, there wasnt any other Batman story that I knew at the time. None of them knew nor particularly cared about animation, let alone how it was created, by whom, or for what reason. I wanted to know what it was that made me happy, and why.
So, without any other recourse, I did what only seemed natural at the time: I continued to learn as much about art as I possibly could, going beyond my initial introduction to animation into the realm of films, visual art, music, and even architecture in search of the answers to questions I held dear to my heart.
After a lifetime, I finally discovered them in Robert Wiene's twisted corridors, in Hugh Ferriss' architectural paintings, and in the art deco facade of the Carbide and Carbon Building in downtown Chicago. Each of these discoveries suggested a bygone collective future.
My passion for Batman: The Animated Series transcends the character or the medium. The program didn't just introduce me to Batman, it opened my eyes to other forms of art and history that I wouldn't have known or encountered had I not encountered that series at an early age. My job is to document and highlight work I find particularly noteworthy, thought-provoking, and beautiful.
Since it was first released 30 years ago, Batman: The Animated Series has influenced the lives of countless individuals from all walks of life. This is not the case: How many young artists might have been introduced to the likes of Frank Frazetta, Hieronymus Bosch, and Alejandro Jodorowsky for the first time because they grew up watching Adventure Time?
Anything that may be considered as trivial can in no way be categorized as being. They are, in the very literal sense of the word, amazing. Art matters. Animation matters. Stories matter. Go out and discover the ones that matter the most to you, and then tell your own. You are the only one who can.
Batman: The Animated Series is now available on HBO Max.