Robot 6

DC to launch digital-first Batman comic based on classic TV show [Updated with art]

batman 66a

Art by Jonathan Case

DC Comics will expand its digital-first comics line this summer with the debut of Batman ’66, a series based on the classic television series.

The announcement came last night in Hollywood, where Warner Bros. Consumer Products launched its Batman Classic Television Series licensing program during an event co-hosted by Junk Food Clothing and Meltdown Comics.

Inspired by the television series, which aired from 1966 to 1968 on ABC, Batman ’66 is written by Jeff Parker and illustrated by Jonathan Case. In an ironic turn, Michael Allred, whose Adam West/Batusi cover (below) couldn’t be used for DC’s Solo because of legal issues, will be providing the cover for the first issue. Like the DC’s other digital-first comics, Batman ’66 will be collected monthly in print.

“The juxtaposition of offering a retro Batman ’66 comic as a current and modern digital first title is fun,” DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said in a statement. “DC Entertainment is the most prolific producer of digital first comics and, as we work to create new and compelling content, this is a great way to also preserve the legacy of our characters. It’s exciting to roll out the new Batman ’66 comic as part of this bigger initiative with our Warner Bros Consumer Product partners.”

A disagreement between Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox had long prevented the release of any products based on the Batman TV series — or, indeed, even any DVD collections. However, as the Beverly Hills event and the torrent of licensing announcements demonstrate, the two companies have settled their issues.

“DC licensed the rights to all the actors from the 60s TV show (!), and we’re set to start reeling and rocking this summer,” Case writes on his website. “Really, if they let me develop with any superhero project, working with whoever I wanted, I honestly couldn’t have come up with a better fit: lighthearted, kid-appropriate, retro, and written by one of my favorite comics writers. The script Jeff’s writing for this series is gold. You can feel his love [for] the material, the era, the Julie Newmar.”

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Art by Jonathan Case

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Comments

45 Comments

Despite all the controversy at DC this week, this is the best announcement I have heard in a long time. Yes, The Dark Knight Returns is the best thing to ever happen to Batman but we all still love the campy Batman. This has great potential.

Could be neat. Probably not going to get my dough, though.

Side note: He’s got two different Bat-emblems – one on the chest and another on the belt. Is that how Adam West rolled?

This may be the first digital-only comic that I buy!

Also, West, the picture with the story is not related to this new book. It’s an unused cover from a prior series.

Stephen Conway

March 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Sweet. This has made my day.

DANCING BATMAN RETURNS! Hahahahaha!

West, yes that is how Adam West rolled. He did have an emblem on his belt, and chest in the ’66 show.

It’s Parker and it’s the kinda thing he writes well. Count me in for the first issue at least.

You’re wrong William, ’66 is the best thing to happen to Batman, not DKR.

I have lost a lot of interest in DC following the dawn of the New 52 but this title actually sounds like fun, something every comic book should offer on some level.

Simon DelMonte

March 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Well played, old chum. Well played.

And it’s not digital-only!!! :) :) :)

“Like the DC’s other digital-first comics, Batman ’66 will be collected monthly in print.”

Drew Melbourne

March 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Still no announcement of a DVD release though. I believe the agreement with Fox at this point only extends to licensing…

“They seem to have settled their differences?” Please, please let them finally work out some way to release batman on disc, in the meantime this looks like a really good sounding comic. “Turbines to power, power to speed!”

Bronze Age Baby-68

March 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Not bad, not bad at all.
I was afraid fan-boys would howl there disapproval’s.
Being a long time fan of comics I learned to love this old show after harping on it for years, that’s life. ;)

The digital first books are the best books DC is publishing right now. This will only make that stronger.

do want

Michigan Webhead

March 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm

It’s gonna be printed, too? My pull list just increased by 1 every month!!! :)

At first, I was disappointed that Mike Allred was not going to do interiors and then I scrolled down, and Good Lord! This Jonathan Case guy is awesome! That Caesar Romero Joker is so good! Makes me crack up!

I was just watching Batman: The Movie from this era the other day and it was making me laugh so much. My favorite part was when Batman is making up some stupid excuse to take Miss Kitka on a date, he and Robin figure out the Riddler’s riddles (which is amazing), and is outlining a plan to take her to dinner as Bruce Wayne and have Alfred and Robin watch over them (because I think Robin is supposed to be too young to drive). Anyways, he stops outlining his plan to ask Alfred, in all seriousness, “Do you have your driver’s license?” and Alfred replies, “RIght in my wallet, sir.” What?!?

And then, on the date Bruce and Miss Kitka are going around the park in a horse and carriage and Alfred (wearing a domino mask) is driving the stupid batmobile literally 10 feet behind them and no one seems to notice.

I appreciate those kind enough to respond but both seemed to misunderstand what I was asking.

That picture, whether related to the story or not, has two differently-styled Bat-symbols on it. One symbol is on the chest. The other is on the belt. I don’t just wonder if Adam West sported a Bat-symbol in two areas. I wondered if he sported two differently-styled Bat-symbols, at the same time.

It’s been hard to tell from the pix I’ve found online but I’m going to go with, “yes.”

Very interesting

If we could just get a Lois & Clark Season 5 comic (plus get a Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the JLA appearance out of it) and you got yourselves a deal.

Holy mackeral! I’m totally onboard for this.

Sorry…but I don’t get the blue smears all over the artwork posted. Is that supposed to be arty?

I want an issue where all three Catwomen team up against the Dynamic Duo. And Egghead! There must be Egghead! That would be eggcellent.

I suppose the Yvonne Craig Batgirl is slated to appear in an upcoming issue?

Can’t we just let this dreadful series die the hideous death it deserves?

This is fabulous! I am sold. Put it on my pull list when it comes out in print.

Dave

March 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Can’t we just let this dreadful series die the hideous death it deserves?

===================================================================================

It did not stray that far from the feel of the comic books from 1944-to-1964. As the poster Count Karnstein pointed out in some 2008 posts, those comic books:

“had giant pennies and stuffed dinosaurs, was wearing caveman, zebra, and rainbow costumes, teamed up with Bat-Mite, split in two, melded with Superman, fought a living #2 pencil, drowned in giant gravy boats and menaced by giant sized water pistols, tennis rackets, [had a boy sidekick with shaved legs and pixie shoes] and all sorts of insane absurdities long before the Batman movie or tv show were released….Dozier was bringing the characters to the screen in the manner in which they had been portrayed in the comics. Was there ever a silly, absurd, ridiculous Green Hornet comic book? If so, it’s escaped my attention for the better part of 40 years. Did we ever see a Caveman Green Hornet or a Green Hornet in a rainbox/zebra/dayglo red suit? Did we ever see Green Hornet being drowned in a giant gravy boat or being chased by aliens and dinosaurs? Was there ever an Ace the Green Hornet Dog? How about a Hornet-Mite?

No? I didn’t think so. There’s your answer. It’s literally that simple. Dozier was taking characters and putting them on the screen. Green Hornet was always played straight and serious in the comics/strips/radio, so he was done that way for tv. Batman was as absurd, silly, goofy, and ridiculous as anything else that has ever appeared in comics, and so that’s how he appeared on-screen”.

Count Karnstein continues:

http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/reply/251213/Marvels-THOR-2011#reply-251213

“I catch the Batman show on MeTV when I can, and I still love it. To me it still feels like a well done superhero show. And I can now also understand more of the jokes and camp stuff, so it’s even more enjoyable! Hulk still depresses me. I just gotta turn it off before that funeral dirge that plays at the end. Arghh! “

“Can’t we just let this dreadful series die the hideous death it deserves?”

Wow, how does it feel to be dead inside?

Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)

March 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm

This is the first comic I ever wanted an audio track for – would kill to have this in digital with Adam West doing the Batman lines “old chum.”

Is this the best news ever or the bestestest news ever?

“Can’t we just let this dreadful series die the hideous death it deserves?”

Can’t we stop expecting all superhero material to over compensate for fans embarrassment about this series with hideous death and nihilism?

“That picture, whether related to the story or not, has two differently-styled Bat-symbols on it. One symbol is on the chest. The other is on the belt. I don’t just wonder if Adam West sported a Bat-symbol in two areas. I wondered if he sported two differently-styled Bat-symbols, at the same time.”

To my remembrance, the two symbols were roughly the same and looked closer to the belt emblem shown here. The chest emblem pictured here is much more stylized than actually appeared on the show.

Cool!!!!! With all the darkness, despair, and death that defines the Batman today, the child in me misses this era and find it a welcome alternative to the status quo.

Awww, yeah! This is MY Batman. Where The Riddler was much cooler than ANY other rogue. And The Joker had a mustache that every one saw but ignored. Shame! Louie the Lilac! Ma Parker! Good times, good times!

More DC work from Parker?? SOLD!!! And now that you-no-who isn’t on his Superman issue, I get to pick up that too!! Good times!! :-)

Now if only they would get him on a team book too!! (Agents of Atlas and Thunderbolts were amazing!) My vote is for Batman and the Outsiders!! Secret Six or Suicide Squad.

Ugh. DC sees dollar signs with the 66 series, I see an abomination that has forever damaged how comic books are regarded by mainstream audiences and a downright stupid, useless TV show.

Superman,

I’m sorry that you don’t see what the 1966 Batman brings to the table. In many respects, it was far more faithful to the comics than any of the movies. For instance: Are we ever going to see a muscular Batman in gray and blue in the movies, or will he always be in a black rubber costume? Will the Batmobile ever be able to drive through an alley without destroying the buildings because it is too wide or has a giant twenty foot fin (talk about campy!)? The Penguin was an aristocrat of crime in the comics, not a sewer-dwelling lecherous “creature.” To how many people is Batman going to reveal his secret identity? The faithful butler Alfred left Bruce Wayne in DKR because Wayne wanted to *be* Batman? Come on! And for goodness sake–do they have to kill off every villain at the end of every movie? Do they ever intend to bring these characters back, or do they WANT to kill the franchise?

The 1966 Batman series captured the look and feel of the comic books (of the day) perfectly. You could hae cut the panels from the comic book pages and used them as storyboards. If you were twelve-years-old or younger, it was the most exciting, serious show you had ever seen. If you were older, you got the show on a completely different level; as a perfect blend of camp and comedy.

Batman is such a resilient character that we works in every version–from serious to camp. You 66 haters, please give it a rest. Give us fans a chance of enjoying this iconic show one last time.

Sorry, Mark. Your argument is flawed because you’re comparing the 66 series to the films, which I never said were more faithful to the comics.

I’m referring to the comics themselves. Yes, they were zany and campy in the 50s and 60s, but that was due to Wertham and later, the 66 series itself.

I’m talking about Kane and Finger’s original vision.

The absolute best translation of the comic book mythos of The Batman is Batman: The Animated Series. Burton’s films, Schumacher’s films, and even Nolan’s films came close, but missed the mark. Only B:TAS got it perfectly. A Batman who is driven, dark, and determined, but still human. He laughed, joked, and yet also was “vengeance…and the night!”

The 66 series missed this entirely and made a mockery of the basic ideas within the comics.

My problem with the 1960s series was not that it was a humorous take on Batman (I’m one of the apparently few people who actually liked the Farmer Brown episode of Batman: TAS). My problem is the humour sometimes seemed to be sneering at the source material; it seemed a rather less than affectionate take on the character. Compare that with the Brady Bunch movies, which poked fun at the show at every opportunity, but which also had an obvious love for the source material. Probably the closest to what I’d have wanted from the show during that era was Get Smart, which poked fun at spies like Bond but which also clearly routed for the hero. It was hard to actually root for that incarnation of Batman and Robin.

That said, I do hope that for people who are fans of the show, that this series gives them something they enjoy.

I like a well-adjusted Batman, and there is no more well-adjusted Batman than the Adam West Batman. I’m in for the print version (usually winds up cheaper for me in the long run).

Superman: While Wertham’s influence exists the fact of the matter was that Batman had transitioned into a much more light-lighted book within a few years of the character’s debut.

The Boy Blunderer

March 26, 2013 at 2:58 am

Love it! Autopurchasing the print edition. Now get the dvd set of the tv series out!

Im really looking forward to this. Its obvious we get the original images of B & R, Joker, Riddler, Catwoman
but I also hope we will get Mr.Freeze (Otto Preminger image best), Egghead, Shame, King Tut, Archer, Bookworm, and Marsha. This would also be a great opportunity to take other classic/modern villians and redesign them for a campy 60s version- Two-Face (use a young Clint Eastwood image) Bane (masked
wrestler heel gimmick) Ras Al Ghul (Im thinking a silly Ali Baba/geniue gimmick), Scarecrow, Catman,
and Poison Ivy (maye start her out as a Louie the Lilac moll but is betrayed by her and controls her henchmen).
Maybe if this is a success maybe they can even do a brave and the bold format and take other DC heros and
give them a silly 60s make-over-Green Arrow, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Flash and maybe Superman himself. Theres a lot of opportunities here that can be explored. This comic can be perfectly used as a what-if the writers of the show had an unlimited budget and access to all sorts of other heroes and villians

OK. Am I the only one hoping that a Batgirl appearance comes sooner than later? WTH?! I’m loving the comic and the resurrection of the camp, now introduce Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl and I’ll be a happy camper.

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