More Introductions & Batman: The Animated Series

Hey there, excellent folks. My name is Alex, and I’m another employee who you’ll likely run into in one of our shops. You don’t have to refer to me as “Shopkeep” in an old-timey voice, but I totally wouldn’t object to it. I’m a comic connoisseur, obviously, but aside from the inky pages I’m also an aficionado of music, movies and animation. I’ll likely be posting a lot about these things. Prepare yourselves.

If I had to define my childhood in a few key phrases, “Batman: The Animated Series” would be one of them, right after “fear of finger painting.” In a most excellent turn of events, my 11 year-old brother recently started collecting comics, so last week I sat him down to watch a bunch of episodes of The Animated Series, as well as the movie, “Mask of the Phantasm.”

For those who have never seen it, it was one of those monumental shows which perfectly captured the essence of the Caped Crusader (and what I still consider to be the definition “Batman”). Bruce Timm’s art style was simple and dynamic, with a mastery of lighting and contrast: the shadows, combined with a killer art deco style, made for a perfect Gotham with a distinct identity. The voice work was absolutely perfect, too; Kevin Conroy will forever be the definitive voice of Bruce Wayne to me, and Mark Hamill sits just above the late Mr. Ledger as the quintessential Joker.

While it was definitely made to be kid-friendly, I was really impressed by how carefully the producers treated the subject matter. We watched the Bane episode (mostly in an attempt to rid my brother’s mind of Joel Schumacher’s insulting version of the character) and I was pleased to find that, with some alterations, the story was essentially based on the Knightfall arc when Bane first appeared in the comics, even climaxing with Bane holding the Dark Knight above his head and screaming, “I WILL BREAK YOU!” (although Bane does get foiled last-minute. I guess breaking Batman’s back wouldn’t go over well with the younger demographics.)

Needless to say I’m supporting my brother’s interest with all the enthusiasm I can muster. So far, he’s taking in everything he possibly can about Batman. If you have younger siblings, children, nephews, nieces or grandchildren who are showing an interest, make sure to nurture that. Having a common ground to bond on is great, too. Next week my brother will be trick-or-treating as the Riddler, and I couldn’t be prouder (his costume is pretty awesome, I won’t lie.)

I figured I’d end off each post with an album I’m listening to. If you have never heard of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, check out their latest album “The Brutalist Bricks.” Key tracks: Bottled In Cork, The Mighty Sparrow.