On February 24th, it will be 8 years that I have officially been a fan of Batman, 2004-2012! Last night I was lying in bed thinking about this, and putting together pieces of my childhood where Batman has affected me. I always remembered these incidents, but until last night, I didn’t realize how much Batman had actually been a part of my childhood!
- SUPERMAN CUP When I was really little, I had a favorite plastic cup at my grandparents’ house. It was white, and in the handle it had a little removable plastic figurine of Superman. I loved that little cup. It was my first experience with the image of a caped hero. Perhaps it’s even grounds to say that I’ve been a DC fan from the very beginning? 😉
- BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES When I was a little older (I want to say maybe 7 or so?) I remember watching a video of the first few episodes of Batman: The Animated Series at my Aunt Marie’s house. I can still close my eyes and picture the old living room, the location of the TV, and what was on it. Included in the video were the first few episodes of the first season: On Leather Wings, Christmas with the Joker, Fear Itself, and probably one or two more. The ones I remember most are Christmas with the Joker and Fear Itself. I never forgot the image of Thomas Wayne’s firey head from Fear Itself. This was my first actual experience with Batman.
- SUPERMAN CARTOONS At my other grandparents’ house, I remember watching lots of Superman cartoons with my siblings when I was probably about 9 or 10. I did enjoy them, but eventually they were the things that turned me off to the whole idea of superheroes. The fact that Superman could do anything and never be harmed started to tick me off, and I decided that if that’s what Superheroes do, with no threat against them whatsoever, then that was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of and I wanted nothing to do with that concept.
- CURIOSITY! Around this same time, I very clearly remember asking my dad, “Who is Robin?” to which he replied, “Oh, he’s the guy who helps Batman. Like a sidekick.” I probably got the name from the old song “Jingle bells, Batman smells….” which of course came from the Christmas with the Joker episode of BTAS. I find it interesting that I have never forgotten that I asked my dad this question. I asked my dad a LOT of questions, so I’m not sure why this one has always stuck freshly in my mind.
- Sometime when I was probably between the ages of 10 and 12, my dad rented Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” movie. I remember only one scene: that one when the Joker is visiting a plastic surgeon and sees his post-acid face for the first time. It scared the heck out of me, and I remember running upstairs because I didn’t want to see anything more. That instance made Batman = scary in my mind.
- Finally, when I was 13, my mom bought a DVD copy of the 1966 “Batman: The Movie” starring Adam West and Burt Ward. I still held to my opinion that superheroes were stupid and that I hated them, so I refused to watch it. Every time my siblings turned it on, I would lock myself in my room. But I would catch little clips of it, here and there over time; just enough to let me know what was going on in the show. And it started to seriously bother me that my siblings would ALWAYS turn it off at one particular point: right after Penguin has used his Penguin Gas on B and R and stolen the Batmobile, at which the Dynamic Duo (who were faking it, of course) leap up and use their cleverly concealed BatCycle to- I never found out what. That was when they turned it off. Finally one day when they were about to turn it off at that same point, I yelled at them to leave it on. I wanted to watch the ending. That night we were on our way to a restaurant for dinner and my sister and I started talking about the movie. Somewhere in that conversation, she asked me flat out, “Do you like Batman?” to which I responded, “Yes! I do like Batman!”
Ta da! From that point on, I was obsessed. And now it’s almost been 8 years since that day. I love being a nerd.