Thursday, July 3, 2014

1989 and Batman

1989 was a very interesting year for me.  I spent most of the year in Long Beach, California working for the United States Navy.  I was discharged in August and then started my first year of college.  But the amazing thing about that year was the way Batmania has swept the nation.  It was amazing.  There were Batman things everywhere.  Shirts, hats, shoes, posters, toys, games, you name it.  In fact, my Navy buddies (Hi Carl, Tony, Rick and Mike!) and I made a game out of it.  We noticed so many people wearing batman paraphernalia when we were at amusement parks in California that we decided to count how many people there were showing their Bat-fandom.  I forget our exact count now, but let’s just say it was more than I’ve ever seen of a group of unrelated people wearing the same theme clothing outside of military uniforms!

The Batmania was in anticipation of the upcoming Batman movie, and continued well after the movie premiered.  It brought a lot of nice attention to comics about Batman and other characters, and I think had a lot to do with the increase in comic sales later in the 1990s.  It was nice to finally get some media attention for comic writers and artists as real writers and artists, not silly creators of kids’ stuff. In fact, I remember having a conversation outside of the movie theater with a guy who worked for the Entertainment Tonight TV show about the changing demographics of comic book readers.

By the way: the actual Batman movie?  Yuck!  I was so terribly disappointed. It’s hard to give a full review, since I’ve tried very hard to forget about it in the intervening years, but I can give some lowlights:  They wrecked the Batman costume, which started a trend of movies ignoring what comic book costumes look like originally.  Michael Keaton was a horrible pick as Batman, and looked like a total fool as Bruce Wayne.  The actions scenes were weak, and Batman never showed any ability to actually fight.  Finally, the movie can’t decide if it’s a period piece, taking place in the 40’s era as half the costumes/vehicles appear, or a modern story.  There are several sequels to this movie that are all worse than the original.  It would be soon after seeing Batman that I figured out I don’t like any movies director Tim Burton ever does.

(These images have nothing to do with the movie, but I can't bear looking at the movie images!)

Eventually, Batman would return to cinema in the excellent Batman Begins and its two sequels (I like the third installment best). Those are good movies to see.  I highly recommend those!

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