The 30th anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series will be commemorated on September 5, 2022. As a lifelong fan of the series, I feel compelled to reflect on the legacy and impact of Bruce Timm and Eric Radomskis' animated portrayal of the Dark Knight. However, I do this while knowing that the long shadow of that very legacy has already produced a substantial amount of critical work that would otherwise render any such effort redundant.
I might have written about the origins of Batman: The Animated Series as a result of the 1990s Tiny Toon Adventures, or about how the show evolved into a model for DC Comics' iconic masked vigilante, or about the show's triumphant and bold title sequence, but these topics are already well-trodden territory.
I can't remember a time before I was introduced to the Batman: The Animated Series. What I do remember, though, is that after I was introduced to the series, I was hooked. From Looney Tunes to Tom and Jerry to The Jetsons, I was hooked. But Batman: The Animated Series was more. It was appointment television. The masked brooding vigilante Batman's adventures amid the anachronistic Dark Deco expanse of Gotham City sent a jol
I absorbed Batman: The Animated Series with the sort of indiscriminate fascination that only a child can possess. From the engaging characters and beautiful title card designs, there was a point when that love matured from infatuation into something deeper and more contemplative. For example, while watching television in my dad's apartment, I wondered aloud: Why does this appear so different from everything else?
Even if I didn't know what it was, there wasn't any other Batman series like it on television at the time, I did not yet have access to home internet or the ability to find the answers to all of my burning questions in the correct order. I had questions all the same, though without the means to pursue them or the ability to properly express and explain why this particular program made me feel something at the time.
So, without any other recourse, I did what only seemed natural at the time: I continued to enjoy and study art as much as I could, delve deeply beyond my first introduction to animation into the realm of films, visual art, music, and even architecture in search of the answers to those questions that remained dear to my heart.
I discovered them in Robert Wiene's twisted corridors in the backdrop of a blood-red moon in the Carbide and Carbon Building in downtown Chicago in a used bookstore after college, which chronicled the show's creation in vivid detail, and allowed me to grasp the characters' identities.
My affection for Batman: The Animated Series transcends the character or the medium. It didn't just introduce me to the character of Batman, it opened my world to other forms of art and expression that I would not have known existed had I not encountered it at an early age. My job is to highlight work I find particularly noteworthy, thought-provoking, and beautiful.
Since it first launched 30 years ago, Batman: The Animated Series has impacted the lives of countless individuals of all walks of life, fostering their artistic pursuits and aspirations. You may be surprised by how many young artists may 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 thought of as trivial can in no way be characterized as insignificant. They are, in the very literal sense, amazing. Art matters. Animation matters. Stories matter. Go out and find the ones that matter 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.