Heroes & Villains – An Analytic Look At Batman: The Animated Series, Unlikely Heroes Studios’s Latest Kickstarter

Now, I know we just crossed into March but when I look at my weekly pull list I’m starting to feel like it’s Groundhog Day…again. This week I have a staggering four titles waiting for me when I go to my local comic shop. How ever will I find the time to read all these books?

Luckily all hope is not lost and I have a couple of good recommendations for this week’s column!

Batman: The Animated Series
Joe Sutliff Sanders
Wayne State University Press

When this assignment came down the pipeline I jumped at the chance to read a book about Batman: The Animated Series and when I saw that it was published by my alma mater, Wayne State University, how could I say no? The alumni association must have gone to some pretty extraordinary lengths to track me down…

Here’s the blurb:

It’s possible that no other version of Batman has been more influential than the one that debuted as a children’s cartoon in 1992. For millions of fans around the world, the voices of Batman and the Joker introduced in Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS) remain the default. The characters, designs, and major themes of the show went on to shape other cartoons, films, and bestselling video games. In this study, Joe Sutliff Sanders argues that BTAS is not only a milestone of television but a milestone in the public persona of one of the most recognizable characters in the world.

Joe Sutliff Sanders has a deeply fascinating take on what has come to be regarded as the definitive take on the Caped Crusader. I was well and truly impressed with Sanders’ critical dissection of the show and reading the book made me want to watch the series all over again to pick up on some of the nuance I may have missed in previous years.

Admittedly, I was tempted to trot out the dusty criticism of “my only complaint is that the book is TOO SHORT” but the sheer depth of the text stopped me from doing so. Yes, I read the book in one sitting but it repeatedly made me stop and think about some of the points it raised. Split into three parts, the book tackles the “Dark Deco” aesthetics of the show’s universe, how the show views the wealthy, and (in my opinion) the toughest nut to crack…Harley Quinn.

Sutliff’s book is the scholarly take on B:TAS that I didn’t know I needed but am overjoyed to have discovered.

Kickstarter Alert!: Elsewhere Vol. 2 by Unlikely Heroes Studios

It’s been a while since I’ve plugged a crowdfunding campaign and I’ve always got time for Unlikely Heroes Studios since one of their books was the subject of an early piece I did for BBP! way back in 2017.

Here’s the blurb for Elsewhere Vol. 2:

Elsewhere is a series of lovingly curated anthologies containing short pieces by independent creators from all over the world.  Genres, styles, moods, and interpretations of reality shift very quickly with gorgeous art and smart storytelling.  The end result is a wild ride at the speed of imagination.

In this second volume of Elsewhere, the work of 70 different creators is represented across 250 pages in over two dozen unique stories.  Fresh indie talent shares the pages with pros like Matt Frank, Jeremy Simser, Mauricio Campetella, and Micah Meyers.

My love is anthology books is well documented and has not let me down yet. I had a chance to check out an advance copy of Elsewhere and I thought it was some really great stuff. It was all over the map…just like a good anthology should be.

You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here. It’s in the home stretch of the final couple of weeks now and it’s SO close to being funded. Don’t deny the world another cool anthology book, throw a couple of bucks their way if you can.

Leave a Reply