Bruce Timm and Eric Radomskis animated portrayal of the Dark Knight is commemorated on September 5, 2022. Regardless, I admit that I have no obligation to dedicate myself to this particular project because to the long shadow of that very legacy.
I could write about the origins of Batman: The Animated Series as a result of the 1990s Tiny Toon Adventures, and how the show went on to redefine DC Comics' iconic masked vigilante, as well as the show's triumphant and bold title sequence, but these issues, as you might have already imagined, are already well-trodden territory.
To be honest, it's hard for me to remember a time before I heard about the Batman: The Animated Series. I can't remember the first episode that I saw. But, as with many other children of my generation, I was hooked on the series. It wasnt just a cartoon; it was appointment television. The adventures of the masked brooding vigilante Batman and his battle against a cadre of villains amid the anachronistic Dark Deco expanse of Gotham City sent
I absorbed Batman: The Animated Series with the kind of unrelenting infatuation only a child can possess. From the engaging characters and beautiful title card artwork, there was a time when that love began maturing into something deeper and more contemplative. While watching television in my dad's house, I wondered aloud: Why does this seem so different from everything else?
Even if I did not have the time at the time to ascertain what it was or put words to what I thought and felt, I knew there was nothing else on television that was quite like it. I did not have access to home internet nor the ability to type a question into a search bar and be directed to a complete wiki page that answered all of my burning questions in the correct order. I had questions all the time, though without the means to follow them up or the knowledge to accurately describe why this particular show made me feel
So, without any other recourse, I did what only seemed natural at the time: I continued to study and study art as much as I possibly could, expanding beyond my initial introduction to animation into the realms of films, visual art, music, and even architecture in search of the answers to those questions that remained close to my heart.
I found them in Robert Wiene's twisted corridors, in Hugh Ferriss' architectural renderings, and in the art deco edifice of the Carbide and Carbon Building in downtown Chicago. Each of these discoveries pointed toward a past collective vision of a future that might have been but would not come to pass.
My fascination with Batman: The Animated Series goes beyond the character or the medium. It did more than introduce me to the character of Batman, it opened my eyes to whole new forms of art and expression and history that I would never have known or encountered had I not discovered that series at an early age. My job is overseeing the collection of films, television, comics, and games that I find particularly interesting, thought-provoking, and beautiful.
Since it first premiered 30 years ago, Batman: The Animated Series has touched the lives of many people from all walks of life, inspiring the artistic pursuits and aspirations of individuals of all walks of life. How many young artists might have been introduced to the likes of Frank Frazetta, Hieronymus Bosch, and Alejandro Jodorowsky for the first time simply because they grew up watching Adventure Time?
Anything that can elicit such a reaction cannot be described as trivial. They are, in their 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 story. You are the only one who can.
On HBO Max, Batman: The Animated Series is available for viewing.