Welcome to a special episode of The Overlooked Dark Knight. Normally, this is a non-index index show where the hosts, Andrew Leyland and Michael Bailey, look at Batman comics that rarely, if ever, get talked about. In one episode they will talk about Bat books from the late seventies and early eighties. In another episode they will talk about the animated Adventures titles that DC published in the nineties. Sometimes they talk about whatever strikes their fancy.
But not this time.
This time Andy and Mike are completely abandoning the “overlooked” aspect of their mandate to discuss the 30th anniversary of the release of the movie that put Batman on the path to becoming DC’s most popular character and allowed him to step out of the shadow of the sixties series (which is a lot of fun, but there was a time it was considered by some to be silly) and into the light of pop culture.
30 years ago today, Batman hit theaters.
It was kind of a big deal.
The guys discuss this movie from every angle. Mike goes over the development of the film and then they dig into the phenomenon that became known as “The Summer of the Bat”. They talk about the movie. They talk about the novelization. They talk about the comic book adaptation. They talk about the T-shirts and the trading cards and the action figures and the graphic novels that popped up on bookstore shelves and other assorted bits of merchandising. Andy and Mike also discuss the score and the soundtrack to the film and the fact that this was one of the first movies to have two soundtrack release. Towards the end Andy discusses his trip to the cinema to see a screening of the film from just a few months ago.
It’s a fun, nostalgia filled two hours, complete with sound samples from the VHS release of the film in late 1989.
Michael went a little overboard with the images this time, but during the course of the episode, he and Andy talked about a lot of different things, so he thought visual aids would be a good idea.
First up is the cover and selected pages from the Batman Official Movie Souvenir Magazine published by Topps. Take particular note of the lying ad for the action figures.
Next up is a gallery of covers from the official novelization as well as the covers to The Further Adventures of Batman and The Further Adventures of the Joker.
Next is a gallery that includes the covers of both the Prestige Format and Newsstand edition of the comic book adaptation and some pages from that comic as well, so you can see the amazing Jerry Ordway art.
Here is a sampling of the two trading card sets put out by Topps.
Next up is a random bunch of images that include subscription offers, ads for the special version of the Prince soundtrack and other assorted bits of business that Mike thought was cool enough to scan.
Here are the three covers to the version of The Untold Legend of Batman that came as a mail away offer from the Batman cereal that was sold during the summer of 1989.
Books about Batman that were either published that summer or a year or so earlier were all over the book stores during the time Batman was in theaters. Here are some of those books. Included is the cover to one of the black and white reprints Andy talked about during the course of the episode.
Michael talked about an article he read in Comics Scene. This was the article that told Michael that the movie was coming.
Next up is a gallery of magazines that were published before and during the film’s time in theaters. Not only do they show how the publishers used Batman to try and get another sale, they are also a fun look back at that summer.
Finally, here’s an ad that appeared in many comics and comics related magazines during the summer of 1989. This is a good example of the type of merchandise that came out associated with the film.
Before Michael wraps up these show notes, here are videos showing what the trailer looked like as well as the Diet Coke ad and Warner Bros. Catalog short that appeared before the movie on the first VHS release.
During the course of the episode, Michael mentioned an interview from Comics Alliance with the author of the novelization, Craig Shaw Gardner. Check that out by clicking on this link.
Next Time: Some fun Batman comics as the 80th birthday celebration continues.