2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the debut of animator Bruce Timm’s groundbreaking BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES! Since its debut in ’92, when Timm’s canny combination of multiple versions of the character’s comic incarnations took the animation, comic book and pop culture worlds by storm, the series has only grown in stature, influencing all superhero animation since, and respected as perhaps the greatest translation of not only Batman, but any comic book character, to any medium. Join comic book art historian and illustrator Arlen Schumer (author/designer, The Silver Age of Comic Book Art) for an overview of the “greatest hits” of the series!




Review of Arlen Schumer’s VisuLecture, "The 25th Anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series,” at the San Diego Comic Fest, February 20, 2016
by Lance Falk

This lecture was about comics paying back to film and providing the inspirational groundwork for an animated series that in Arlen’s opinion (and this reviewer's as well) is the greatest adaptation of comic books to any other art form. Certainly, the best version of Batman ever in any form.

The lecture itself was fascinating, citing influences on the show from turn of the century architecture, the gorgeous Fleisher Superman shorts (remember, the character was only a few years old when these were made), German Expressionism and beyond (see Arlen’s article on the subject: “Wayne’s World” his article in Print Magazine, Spring 1993).

There were many ‘Ah-Ha!” moments as examples were given from Frank Miller and Production designer Anton Furst’s work on the first Tim Burton Batman feature. Arlen then went through a roll call with a nice sample of the the best episodes, highlighting their hidden virtues and influences. Batman’s dark noir roots were truly explored for the first time on film. Keep in mind that when Superman beats his opponent, they end up in prison...Batman’s defeated foes end up in an asylum for the criminally insane. This little fact defines the character to a T and the series gets this.

Time was properly devoted to the singular visual style of Series producer and head artist Bruce Timm with appropriate nods to Eric Radomski, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini and other architects of the show, so well cast and recruited by studio head Jean McCurdy. Arlen proved through compelling visual evidence that Timm isn’t only a very talented artist but an important one as well. In his own way, perhaps as important and influential in animation as Neal Adams and Jack Kirby are in comic books.

Of course, many Timm-inspired animation colleagues such as Aluir Amancio, Ronnie DelCarmen, Glen Murikami and the late, great Darwyn Cooke (a personal favorite), ect. paid back by bringing the Timm-influence back into various comic book projects, some spun-off from the animated material, some not. And, comic work by Timm himself, of course.

Batman:TAS is a crucible. All iterations of the character from his multi-media history were cooked in a large pot, boiling away all the irrelevant and impure elements...leaving a pure version of Batman that is the greater sum of all parts. Perhaps the purest.

(Lance Falk is an animator living in Los Angeles, CA)


COMICORE ACADEMY - A brief history of the comic book...sort of.