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.
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.
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.
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.
Without Batman: The Animated Series, the 2016 Suicide Squad movie would have been much, much worse than it already was! It's because of the cartoon that DC now has characters such as Harley Quinn, Baby Doll, and Red Claw to use in their comic books, video games, movies, and other media. The biggest breakout character is Harley Quinn, whose popularity garnered her own comic book series and massive cosplay representation.
Without the animated series, there wouldn't be Detective Renee Montoya, either. While she was the only regularly featured woman on Gotham's police force on the TV show, she gained a second life in the comics. Montoya is one of the few lesbian characters in DC comic books and has become a badass hero as The Question. There's no doubt that DC Entertainment's comic books benefited from Batman: TAS for decades after it was taken off the air.