When I was growing up in the ’80s, this was my introduction to Batman. It was the first version I really got to know because I discovered it a few years before the 1989 movie came out. That movie then blew my tiny little mind but it also never diminished or replaced my love for the ’60s television series.
In fact, I loved that series so much that I bought this book with my miniscule allowance money and read through it in its entirety at least a dozen times. The big reason for that was because we didn’t have streaming services, DVDs or even VHS tapes of this show. I could only catch it when it was on sporadically and therefore, didn’t get to see all of the episodes until a friend of my mum’s made me bootleg copies of the entire series in the early ’90s.
This book was special because it gave a synopsis and extra details on every single episode. I’d read through them like a novelization (or a modern Wikipedia article), envisioning the scenes playing out for myself. It made me love many of the villains and characters before I even got to see them onscreen. This also helped generate a lifelong obsession with all things Vincent Price.
At some point in the ’90s, after moving around multiple times, this book was lost. It wasn’t until recently that I came across another copy and had to buy it and revisit it.
Sure, this is probably nostalgia speaking but this was a solid book and once again, all these years later, I couldn’t put it down.
This is great because it gives you so much information on the show and if you’re a fan of it and have never read this, you probably should.
While I don’t think this is even in print, you can find copies on eBay and periodically on Amazon. There is a version with a different cover but nothing pops quite like the original.
Rating: 9/10 Pairs well with: if you want more about the ’60s Batman television series, check out the Batman ’66 comic books. I’ve reviewed many of them already.
Also known as: Batman and the Face of Crime (working title) Release Date: October 8th, 2017 (New York Comic Con) Directed by: Rick Morales Written by: Michael Jelenic, James Tucker Based on:Batman (the ’60s TV show) by William Dozier, Batman by Bob Kane, Bill Finger Music by: Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis Cast: Adam West, Burt Ward, William Shatner, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Steven Weber, Thomas Lennon, Jeff Bergman, William Salyers, Wally Wingert
Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros., 72 Minutes
“I always knew you’d make an asp of yourself, Batboob.” – King Tut
I was really happy with the first film in this duology of animated features that have resurrected the Batman ’66 universe. So when I saw that there was a second film, that it introduced Two-Face and that William Shatner would be providing the voice, I was pretty stoked.
If you are a fan of the first film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, then this one shouldn’t disappoint. Plus, you don’t just get the addition of Two-Face, you also get Bat-villains Harley Quinn and Dr. Hugo Strange.
I love that the voice cast is comprised of the original actors. Sadly, Adam West passed away before this was released and that probably put the kibosh on a third film getting made, but this was a great final outing for him.
They also brought in Lee Meriwether, who was the original film version of Catwoman. She shares a few scenes here with the original TV Catowman, Julie Newmar. While Meriwhether doesn’t play her best known Batman character, there is a nice in-joke in the film where her character gets put into the cat suit and likes it.
One thing that is always fun about these modern versions of the Batman ’66 universe, whether in these films or the comics, is that they are able to dip really deep into the villain well and have a myriad of them in scenes together.
I was really excited to see Bookworm get his own sequence in the film, as he was my favorite villain created just for the classic television show. You also get King Tut, Egghead, the Clock King and a bunch of others.
William Shatner did a fine job as Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face and I liked how they handled the character in this universe and I thought his big evil scheme was pretty good and entertaining, even though it wasn’t something wholly original.
These are just fun movies and much more family friendly than the other animated DC Comics features.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with: The film before this one: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, as well as the 1960s Batman TV show and movie, the Batman ’66 comic and other DC Comics animated films of the last decade.
Also known as: Batman ’66 (informal title) Release Date: October 6th, 2016 (New York Comic Con) Directed by: Rick Morales Written by: Michael Jelenic, James Tucker Based on:Batman (the ’60s TV show) by William Dozier, Batman by Bob Kane, Bill Finger Music by: Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis Cast: Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, Steven Weber, Thomas Lennon, Jeff Bergman, William Salyers, Wally Wingert
Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros., 78 Minutes
“Quickly, Robin, to the crosswalk!” – Batman
It’s kind of cool to see the old ’60s Batman get some life again over the past couple years. There was the Batman ’66 comic series, I already reviewed all the collections, and then there were two of these animated features that were made just in time to use the voices of the original cast: Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar. Sadly, West recently passed away, so a third film in this series probably won’t happen.
But I’m here to talk about Return of the Caped Crusaders, which is the first of the two Batman ’66 movies. I’ll review its sequel at a later date.
I guess the thing that I liked best about this movie is that the tone and the humor were spot on. It really captured the spirit of the show and felt like it was written by people that cared about the source material.
I also liked that this could be much larger in scale than the show. It featured a dozen or so of the television series’ villains but had a larger focus on the big four from the series: Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman.
There is also a whole side plot where Batman turns evil and has to be saved from himself by Catwoman and Robin. If you remember the show, you probably remember the rivalry for Batman’s attention between these two characters. It just makes for some good, amusing moments.
This is a quick and action packed film like everything else DC Comics has been doing as animated features. But this one really stands out due to its style and how well it works without DC sticking to their regular animated formula.
Good, fun story and overall, a really awesome experience for fans of the old show.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with: The sequel to this film: Batman Vs. Two Face, as well as the 1960s Batman TV show and movie, the Batman ’66 comic and other DC Comics animated films of the last decade.
Published: February 11th, 2009 Written by: Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir Art by: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, I.L.L., David Baron, Kevin Nowlan
DC Comics, 72 Pages
For fans of the 1966 Batman television show, this story arc is somewhat of a big deal. It is the comic book debut of King Tut, who was a villain created for the ’60s show but who had never been in comic book form before this.
It is a bit disappointing though, because this is an all new King Tut and not the same character that the charismatic and fun Victor Buono played from 1966 to 1968.
All things considered, this was still a good story and it even had elements of classic film-noir to it. I won’t get into those details, as it may spoil the plot.
This also sees Batman form a short lived partnership with the Riddler, as Batman needs Nygma’s mind to help anticipate Tut’s moves.
I’ve always been into ancient Egyptian stuff so that made this a worthwhile experience for me, even if this wasn’t the King Tut I was hoping for.
The plot was well constructed, kept me engaged and I enjoyed the art and the nice little twist at the end.
I meant to buy these issues back in 2009 when they were first announced. I had one of them and then recently found the other two while looking for something else at one of my local comic shops.
I wish that this had opened the door for Batman Confidential to explore other ’60s TV villains but all we got was this attempt at King Tut. The story was also left open ended for Tut to return but as far as I know, he never did.
For those of you who would like to read this, the story arc is featured in Batman Confidential issues 26, 27 and 28.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with: The Batman ’66 stories that feature King Tut. Also, other story arcs released as part of Batman Confidential.
Published: May 17th, 2016 Written by: Jeff Parker Art by: Jonathan Case Based on:Batman (’60s TV Series) by William Dozier, ABC
DC Comics, 184 Pages
This is it, the final collected volume in the Batman ’66 run of comics. It’s a sad, sad day. But, there are some crossover titles featuring Batman ’66 and other TV shows from that era, which I will have to read. But for now, let’s see if the final collection in the series was a worthy finale.
Well, one cool thing about this final volume, is that it introduces us to more classic Batman villains that weren’t originally a part of the Batman television show from the ’60s. In volume three we got Harley Quinn and in volume four we got Two-Face. Here we get even more: Solomon Grundy, Clayface, Poison Ivy, Bane, Scarecrow and Killer Croc.
The first story in this book is called The Short Halloween, which is a play on words of the famous story arc The Long Halloween. This tale is about two mean trick or treaters dressed as the Joker and the Penguin, who are going around robbing kids of their candy. A young boy and his little sister go out as Batman and Robin in an effort to stop the dastardly villains. It’s a very short but cute story where the real Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder make an appearance at the end.
Following that story, we see the origin of the Batman ’66 version of Solomon Grundy, who is resurrected from beyond the grave by Hilda, the witch grandmother of Marsha Queen of Diamonds. After that is a third short story that takes Batman ’66 villain False Face and establishes him as Basil Karlo a.k.a. Clayface, who is a big time comic book villain that hadn’t yet appeared in any Batman ’66 related stories.
We then get a story revolving around Carolyn Jones’ Marsha Queen of Diamonds but Hilda isn’t there, probably because she had just been in the Grundy story. Then we get our second Harley Quinn tale in the Batman ’66 universe, which also has a one panel Cesar Romero Joker cameo. Then we get to see the Joker, the Frank Gorshin Riddler, the Burgess Meredith Penguin and the Eartha Kitt Catwoman team up and hold an advertising agency hostage in a story that just features Batgirl as the hero and parodies the television show Mad Men.
The next story is one of my favorite in the Batman ’66 franchise, it is the debut and origin story of Poison Ivy. The story started with the “murder” of Milton Berle’s Louie the Lilac, who you find out, is actually just in a catatonic state due to a poisonous plant concoction. Batman and Robin investigate and fall into the clutches of Ivy. The Ivy character is well written here and she is handled in a way that really fits the Batman ’66 style.
Next up, we are introduced to the Batman ’66 version of Bane, who is in league with the Riddler and comes to Gotham City as a lucha libre star. He crushes his opponents and believes that he breaks Batman’s back ala the classic Knightfall story arc. Bane returns to his home country as its ruler but Batman, Robin and Batgirl show up to change his plans.
We then get two shorter stories, each introducing us to two other classic villains yet to appear in the Batman ’66 franchise: Scarecrow and Killer Croc. Both are pretty straightforward and quick tales but it would have been cool to see them get more fleshed out had this series continued on.
Then we get a tale that features the first comic book appearance of Shelley Winters’ Ma Parker. Alongside her are a team of villains comprised of Killer Croc, Solomon Grundy and Killer Moth, in his only Batman ’66 appearance. The Julie Newmar Catwoman enters the story in the second half.
Lastly, we come to the grand finale of the entire Batman ’66 series with a story called Main Title. This awesome and incredible final issue is a recreation of the opening credits to the Batman show. So we get an actual narrative and see all (or most) of the Batman villains make a cameo as they try to overtake Batman and Robin. This whole fight takes place in a movie studio in a green screen room, explaining the green background in the classic show’s opening credits sequence. This was a pretty creative send off for this series and brought things full circle.
Initially, I thought that I wouldn’t like this volume in the series as much as the others because it had such a high emphasis on wedging in as many new villains as it could. However, every story was well crafted and served a purpose. This actually ended up being my favorite of the five volumes. As a fan of the 1960s Batman televison show, this was as perfect as a comic book can get featuring this particular pocket of the Batman universe.
Rating: 10/10 Pairs well with: The rest of the Batman ’66 comic collections.
Published: December 8th, 2015 Written by: Jeff Parker Art by: Richard Case Based on:Batman (’60s TV Series) by William Dozier, ABC
DC Comics, 176 Pages
Well, I’m up to the fourth of the five collected volumes of this series, so that means I’m sadly, closer to the end than the beginning. This has been a fun ride, as I am a big fan of the 1960s Batman television series. It’s true to the source material and just feels right.
So how does this volume fare in regards to the first three, which I have already read and reviewed?
Well, it has multiple stories that feature Roddy McDowall’s Bookworm, so that’s a huge plus, as he was my favorite one-off villain that was invented for the show.
Other than that, the book is a lot of fun.
This volume starts with a King Tut story that has a small cameo by Bookworm. We then get a story featuring Art Carney’s The Archer, which is followed by a story where Bookworm is the main villain. After that, we get the first comic book appearance of the television show villains, Professor Marmaduke Ffogg and Lady Penelope Peasoup.
The next story is my favorite one, thus far into the Batman ’66 comic series. It stars Cesar Romero’s Joker in a plot where he is a superhero with his own sidekick and a purple Batmobile. It’s a fun story that just feels right for the Romero Joker. Plus, it has small cameos from Vincent Price’s Egghead, Burgess Meredith’s Penguin and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman.
Following this great tale, we get a story that starts with the Penguin but leads into meeting the Caped Crusaders’ first Japanese villain, and exclusive to this comic series, Lord Death Man. He wears a cool skeleton costume and controls a horde of ninjas. This adventure also sees Batman go to Japan with Batgirl, as Robin is on the shelf due to vertigo from his encounter with the Penguin.
We then get a solid Penguin story and although he seems like he is monopolizing this volume in the Batman ’66 series, this is the first story featuring him as the primary antagonist.
Following all that great stuff, we get to the final chapter in this collection which features a famous comic book villain making his Batman ’66 debut, as he was never featured on the television show: Two Face.
Two-Face was originally supposed to appear in the Batman TV show back in the ’60s but he was considered too gruesome for network television. So finally getting to see him appear alongside the Adam West Batman and the Burt Ward Robin was pretty cool. And the story was a nice read, as it felt true to the Two-Face character without altering the Batman ’66 tone.
This volume in the series may be my favorite. It has the debut of Two-Face, my favorite Joker story and two appearances by the Bookworm. Not to mention a lot of Penguin and an Egghead cameo. The only real low point was the Ffogg and Peasoup story, as I wasn’t a fan of them on the show to begin with.
Rating: 9/10 Pairs well with: The rest of the Batman ’66 comic collections.
Published: October 21st, 2014 Written by: Jeff Parker Art by: Jonathan Case Based on:Batman (’60s TV Series) by William Dozier, ABC
DC Comics, 176 Pages
In the second collected volume of Batman ’66, the series really finds its groove. It felt even more like the ’60s Batman show than the first collection, which did a good job of kicking off the series.
I think, by this point, the creative team was more comfortable and really locked in to what made the ’60s Batman so special. We also get to see more of the classic villains from the show, who were show creations and not taken from the comics. And frankly, I adore a lot of the TV villains, especially Roddy McDowall’s Bookworm and Victor Buono’s King Tut, both of whom get resurrected here.
This volume actually kicks off with a Bookworm story. I loved this because the Bookworm story from the television series was one of my favorites and unfortunately, Roddy McDowall only played the character once. This was a good expansion on the character and fleshed him out more than the show did.
We then get to see the return of Anne Baxter’s Olga, Queen of Cossacks in a fun tale. There is also the return of Malachi Throne’s False Face in a chapter that also has a cameo by Frank Gorshin’s Riddler. Then the Cesar Romero Joker has a funny little chapter about cost cutting in regards to labor. After that, we get the return of King Tut and the Caped Crusaders get sucked away to ancient Egypt.
Following the Tut adventure, we get a short chapter about Egbert Pennyworth, Alfred’s evil identical cousin. We then see the return of Anne Baxter’s other villain, Zelda the Great, Cliff Robertson’s Shame, an Otto Preminger Mr. Freeze story and then have the book capped off by the new villain Cleopatra, who was once an accomplice of King Tut.
I liked the stories here a lot and I don’t know how the series can improve upon the great work done in this collected volume but I have three more to go. Needless to say, this is one of the best and most refreshing newer comic series that I have read in quite a while.
Rating: 9/10 Pairs well with: The rest of the Batman ’66 comic collections.