Skipping school and standing in-line for a Friday afternoon showing of the 1989 Batman film is a memory I’ll always be partial to. And that’s probably a universal experience to readers of a certain age that frequent this site.
I was wearing my Batman-symbol black t-shirt, of course, hanging with my best pop-culture pals at the local theatre, which was tucked away in the far corner of the local mall. The line, full of fans wearing Joker make-up, capes, cowls and smiles, snaked its way through the darkened alcove of the theatre space and into the main section of the shopping establishment, infiltrating real commerce and quizzical (and uncomfortable) adults who wondered what was going on.
They should have known.
Batman, starring Michal Keaton as the caped crusader and Jack Nicholson (Jack Nicholson!) as the maniacal Joker, was the word on everyone’s lips. Tim Burton’s artsy, gothically dark, but somewhat campy film, was a pop culture phenomenon before it was even released – helping give rise to the present-day summer blockbuster. The film’s success at the box office led to Burton returning to direct a sequel, which gave rise to, well a few other films that aren’t as fondly remembered.
Still, there were plans for Burton to continue his foray into the world of the Dark Knight Detective, and Sam Hamm, screenwriter of that first Batman film, had ideas for future storylines, some of which were hinted at in that first movie. Sadly, none of that came to pass.
In a brand new six-issue miniseries, Sam Hamm (Batman, Never Cry Wolf, Monkeybone, Detective Comics), along with fan-favourite artist, Joe Quinones (Dial H For Hero, Wednesday Comics, Howard the Duck), has brought those ideas to full comic book glory!
Batman ’89 takes place in the same universe and timeline as the first two Tim Burton-directed films, continuing directly after that sequel. It’s star, alongside the Michael Keaton version Batman, of course, is District Attorney, Harvey Dent – whose appearance is in line with actor Billy Dee Williams, who played the character, briefly, in that first movie.
This is a world that sees Batman as both a menace and an icon of justice. Society is fractured. Desperate gangs that pay homage to the dead Joker and Penguin are met with vigilante justice in the form of Gothamites dressed as Batman. And Harvey Dent, embroiled in his own political aspirations, with the aid of the National Guard, aims to put an end to the activities of the real Batman. To do this, he enlists the help of his long-time friend, Bruce Wayne!
In this series, we’ll see Hamm’s take on a new Robin, social justice protector of Gotham’s mean streets – the places that Batman either forgot or can’t handle.
Beyond the themes of justice and class structure, Batman ’89 will entice readers with the introduction to Barbara Gordon who will one day become Batwoman, and her special (if not shocking) connection to Dent. This ride will also see the return of Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman. And that’s purr-fectly awesome for this fan!
For others readers, it’s the action, the great art, the exciting story and the wonderful memories that will make Batman ’89 such an incredibly enjoyable read.
Make the run to your local comic book shop today and join in (or join in again) on the greatness that is Batman ’89!
Still need some urging? How about this awesome remembrance: