He is vengeance. He is the night. He is BATMAN!
Batman: The Animated Series has been justly celebrated as one of the best cartoons ever made. With multiple Emmy nominations and wins, it certainly has made a mark on the small screen. Nearly 25 years after it initially aired on Fox, viewers are still singing its praises.
In fact, many believe that this Batman TV show is even better than Batman comics. Need convincing? Here's a list of reasons why Batman: The Animated Series is better than the comics.
It Has The Best Elements From Every Era Of Batman
The Batman character has gone through many transformations throughout its 75+ years of existence in comic books. The original Batman killed criminals and even used a gun. Batman in the 1950s and 1960s went on wacky, nearly nonsensical adventures in the name of fun, such as wearing a different colored outfit every night or transforming into a Bat-Baby. The 1970s saw Batman more as an adventurer, while the 1980s portrayed Batman as a vengeance-fueled sociopath. They each had their flaws, with Batman being too goofy, too grim, or lacking any personality at all.
In Batman: The Animated Series, the show borrows from nearly every era of Batman to create a well-rounded character. The show still features Batman as a dark and tragic figure with amazing fight scenes, but he has a compassionate heart without falling into goofy sentiment.
It Reimagined Stale Villains
Pop Quiz: What was Mr. Freeze's first origin story?
If you said, "He was a scientist trying to save his dying wife using cryogenics but was accidentally transformed into a cold man both physically and emotionally," you're wrong. Long-winded and wrong.
Mr. Freeze was originally written in the comics as mad scientist that made an "ice gun" and accidentally spilled chemicals on himself, which resulted him needing to be in sub-zero temperatures to survive. That's it. That was his lame origin. Batman: The Animated Series gave Mr. Freeze an actual character with motivations aside from "I wanna rob this bank with my freeze ray!"
He's not the only character that was revamped, either. The Riddler's origin was a carnival barker obsessed with puzzles that turned to crime with a personality that rips off The Joker. The animated Riddler is dapper, obsessed with mind games, and worked in software before going bad. Clayface, in the animated series, combines the origins of the first two Clayfaces in the comics to create a Clayface that was both a tragic figure and a sci-fi monster. The show made some great changes to create compelling characters out of otherwise stock villains.
Batman Sometimes Guest Stars On His Own Show
A Batman comic book mostly stars Batman as Batman doing Batman things, but Batman: The Animated Series sometimes gives Batman a break to allow another person's story to shine. The show has episodes like "Joker's Favor," which stars a regular guy that's being terrorized by The Joker. Then there is the episode with school kids guarding Batman in their parent's basement and the one that features a clumsy wannabe thug that kills Batman. There's even an episode centered on Harley Quinn trying to reform. Most of the time, Batman comic books will focus on Batman and not other characters unless those characters are given their own series.
It Expertly Balances Gritty Realism With Fun
A major criticism for many Batman comics in the past and present is that the stories are either incredibly bleak or borderline camp. Batman: The Animated Series created a world that tackles nightmares and tragedy while also providing humor to lighten the mood. The show is able to make you emotionally vulnerable while still providing a sense of fun, something that is difficult for many Batman comics to accomplish.