I love Saturday morning cartoons. Always have. It's such a pleasant idea, and one I never entirely let go of, I'll confess. It didn't help any that at age 12, the exact time when I should have been growing out of it, Warner Bros. released "Batman: The Animated Series."
It was gorgeous. Stylized deco designs, setting the Dark Knight Detective in a world permanently covered in expressionistic 40's noir. Led by the designs of Bruce Timm and the writing of Paul Dini, the best of the shows told stories that were damn near Twilight Zone in their exploration of irony and moral ambiguity. The bad guys were all nuts, yes, but we understood why, and even to a certain extent sympathized with them. And of course, the lead himself. This version of Batman - dark and aloof like you expect but with a certain nobility and heart - carried through into multiple incarnations, including an 80-year-old version of himself in the much-better-than-it-should've-been spinoff "Batman Beyond" and as the smartest man in the room featured in Cartoon Network's often-epic "Justice League."
(How cool was Batman in "Justice League," you ask? Wonder Woman was totally into him.)
So it took some getting used to when the WB started a totally new, unrelated series titled, "The Batman." Scrapping any sense of noir, it instead borrowed heavily from anime. This Batman was young, state-of-the-art, and all his fighting moves sent him jumping 20 feet in the air and lingering for a while.
It was...annoying. But while I personally was a bit disappointed at the lack of depth involved in this series, I had to admit: if I was 10 years old? This snazzy, action-packed Batman would've been pretty cool. Not my Batman, no. But...it was something.
So when Cartoon Network announced a new series, "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," which would pair the man himself with other stars of the DC universe, I thought, well, why not? Every young generation gets its own Bat.
And then I saw this.
I have a four-year-old niece, Julia. For Christmas, because my sister mentioned that Julia was getting into superheroes, I bought a three-pack of "Justice League" action figures. Know who her favorite is? You got it. But in particular, she likes it when I do the Batman Voice. Gruff, low, and irritable. Look at this Batman again.
He is too light and cute for a four-year-old.
But it's okay. I'm sure my one-year-old nephew will adore him. And in a couple of years, Julia will be old enough for My Batman. I've got some DVDs I can play her some Saturday morning.
Next up? I'll give you a hint: he does whatever a spider can.
No, just screwing with you.