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Posts Tagged ‘The Brave and the Bold’

And Now For Something Completely Hypocritical

November 23rd, 2011 No comments

Okay, now that I’ve devoted the last couple of posts to demonstrating how it sometimes irks me when a TV series crawls up its own ass, I’m now going to praise a show for pretty much the same behavior.

Cartoon Network’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold saw its end coming and spent its final year indulging every lunatic whim of its creators. Here’s a sampling of what went down:

  • Homages to classic DC Comics stories featuring the Rainbow Batman, the Jungle Batman, the Mummy Batman, the Batman of the Future and the Batmen of All Nations.
  • Adaptations of the ’50s Mad parody “Bat Boy and Rubin” and of the infamous ’60s Japanese manga story featuring the villainous Lord Death Man.
  • Team-ups with the Haunted Tank, the G.I. Robot, the Creature Commandos, Bat-Ape, ‘Mazing Man, Space Ghost, Scooby-Doo, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Abraham Lincoln.
  • A sitcom called  “The Currys of Atlantis,” starring a singing Aquaman.
  • Oh, and Batman was turned into a baby. And a vampire. Not at the same time.

It’s what happened when a team of creative, nostalgic people collectively decided to say “fuck it, we’re not going to get this chance again.”

And I loved it.

The Brave and the Bold wrapped up its run last Friday in its own go-for-broke style. “Mitefall!” obliterated the fourth wall as Bat-Mite–a 5th Dimensional magical imp/uber Bat-fan–got bored with the series and did his best to have it cancelled in favor of a darker, grittier Bat-show. His tricks–including giving Batman both a cutesy daughter and a Neon Talking Super Street Bat-Luge, then recasting Aquaman with reputed show-killing actor Ted McGinley–succeeded in making the series suck. However, as he realized too late, its cancellation meant his own end.

It was “meta” to the Nth degree and, honestly, a bit much. Scriptwriter Paul Dini knocked down a whole row of straw men in the forms of grousing fanboys and indifferent network executives. I can’t speak to how Cartoon Network insiders felt about the show, but it was my understanding that the initial fan backlash to The Brave and the Bold‘s lighthearted approach largely evaporated once people realized how much Silver Age fun was to be had.

In any case, it didn’t seem as if the series was cancelled so much as it had reached its natural end. Sixty-five episodes is a standard number for an animated series, as that’s enough to “strip” repeats five days a week for 13 weeks. (The previous Batman cartoon also wrapped up after 65 installments.) And, as “Mitefall!” itself pointed out, shows like this are toy-driven. Judging by the diminishing assortment of new Brave and the Bold product on store shelves over the past year, it was clear that Mattel wanted to move on to another Bat-iteration.

False premises aside, “Mitefall!” was an enjoyable end to a fabulous series. And if any of you didn’t tear up during Batman’s final speech to the children, I don’t want to know you.

“And until we meet again, boys and girls, know that wherever evil lurks, in all its myriad forms, I’ll be there with the hammers of justice to fight for decency and defend the innocent. Good night.”


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Geek Round-Up

February 4th, 2009 No comments

Once again, I have to give props to the producers of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. Not only did Monday’s episode feature Sheldon sporting a nifty t-shirt festooned with silhouettes of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah, but a later scene had the whole gang sitting down over a game of Talisman. I don’t think that they ever mentioned it by name, but the board was recognizable and the dialogue even made reference to specific elements of the game. It would’ve been easy to have them playing D&D (or a generic D&D knock-off), but it’s clear that someone there really knows their geeks.

I’m totally loving the version of Aquaman that appears on The Brave and the Bold. In recent years, Aquaman’s often been portrayed as a pissed-off, surface-dweller-hating Sub-Mariner clone, but the new cartoon series casts him as a hilarious braggart who loves to give exciting names to his many daring adventures. Last Friday’s episode involved him and the Atom shrinking down to enter Batman’s bloodstream and combat a virus. Never mind that they simply swam around without so much as a rebreather. (As my friend Dave Lartigue points out, blood cells carry OXYGEN, duh.) At one point, Aquaman decided to use his telepathic fish-summoning power, and sure enough, a cell answered the call. It was vaguely horse-shaped. It even whinnied. And Aquaman promptly dubbed his new steed “Platelet,” much to the Atom’s chagrin, as it was clearly a lymphocyte. It’s funny stuff, and it’s still online.

Another news item: this morning a guy in Colorado Spring held up two convenience stores. With a Klingon bat’leth.

Batman Digs This Day

January 5th, 2009 No comments

It’s a good time to be a fan of old-school DC superheroes. In addition to the torrent of Showcase Presents reprint volumes, there’s also this:

Bat-Manga is a collection of Batman ephemera produced when the ’60s live-action series was introduced to Japan. While it includes many arresting candy and toy package illustrations–including some curiously ugly depictions of Robin the Boy Wonder–the real prize is the assortment of rare comics. I’m by no means a manga fan, but the chance to read Batman filtered through the insane lens of Speed Racer-era Japanese pop culture was too much for me for pass up. Forget about the Joker and Two-Face, this book features villains such as Professor Gorilla and Lord Death Man, and that’s at least three flavors of awesome.

“Three flavors of awesome” also describes Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which clocked in with another new episode last Friday, “The Day of the Dark Knight.” It wasn’t enough to feature the Silver Age versions of Bats and Green Arrow squaring off against Jack Kirby’s Etrigan the Demon, no sir. The teaser sequence had the Caped Crusader on Oa, the home planet of the Guardians of the Universe, and included cameo appearances from pretty much every Silver and Bronze Age alien Green Lantern…including Ch’p, the squirrel Green Lantern! But even that’s not the reason this episode maxed out the Awesometer.

Nope, that was the scene that I screen-capped above, in which Batman and Green Arrow foiled a mass prison break of what appeared to be just about every villain from the ’60s live-action Batman series. You can see the Mad Hatter (a comics villain that was featured prominently on the TV show) getting clocked by a Batarang above, but right behind him is the Minstrel, the Bookworm and Clock King. Other recognizable faces in the scene were Egghead, King Tut, False Face, the Siren, and Louis the Lilac!

The entire episode is available online for a few days. Check it out!

No, Seriously…Kite-Man

December 15th, 2008 No comments

I have been remiss in failing to mention Batman: The Brave and the Bold, an animated series airing Friday evenings on Cartoon Network. I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it.

The original Brave and the Bold comic book started as one of DC’s generic titles, a catch-all that featured everyone from the Viking Prince to the Suicide Squad. Eventually, it became a Batman team-up book, and that’s the inspiration for its cartoon namesake.

It emulates the ’60s comics in other ways as well. Gone is the grim avenger of the night that’s become the default setting for Batman. Here, Bats is quick with a quip, and prone to adventures involving gorillas and dinosaurs.

It’s just fun, with a jazzy score, a light tone and a love for the odder denizens of the DC Universe. Each episode opens with a teaser sequence unconnected with the main story, in which Batman and a guest hero tackle obscure villains such as Clock King, Gentleman Ghost and the Sportsmaster.

My favorite villainous cameo so far occurred during Batman’s team-up with Plastic Man. In a flashback dealing with Plas’ early days as a petty crook, they recast him as a henchman of Kite-Man. I mean, really, Kite-Man? The criminal whose exploits involve strapping himself to a kite? I get the feeling the show’s writers are having a contest to see which of them can include the silliest old-school bad guy. Who’s next? The Ten-Eyed Man? Doctor Double X? Cary Bates?