The final season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is apparently pulling out all stops. Bat-Mite Presents Batman’s Strangest Cases offered up three different versions of the Caped Crusader that, to the long-term fan, are more than familiar.
The episode begins with the classic Mad Magazine version (published in 1953), based directly on an actual strip from the glory days of the much-loved mag. Bat-Boy and Rubin pokes fun at nearly every facet of the Bat-mythos from the dark knight detective’s endless array of gadgets to his goofy villains. With no other point of reference that this was going to be an out of the ordinary episode, I wondered if someone had slipped something into my tea when I wasn’t looking!
After Bat-Mite arrives and sets the stage, it becomes clear that we are in for something unique. Batman’s biggest fan from the fifth dimension offers up wildly different versions of the much-loved hero, each one more absurd than the last.
The second part is based on the Bat-Manga, recently collected in a volume wrapped in a lovely Chip Kidd-designed cover. The style and logic are very reminiscent of Speed Racer and Gigantor… only zanier. The Bat-manga strips illustrated by Jiro Kuwata from 1966-67 were likely never conceived of as material for a cartoon, but they are ready made for the medium.
I want more!
The final and perhaps most startling portion of the episode is based on the character’s frequent appearances on the Scooby Doo series back in the 1970’s. I recall as a kid I was obsessed with Batman, an avid viewer of the Adam West series and owner of various products from Halloween costumes to bubble guns and action figures. Whenever I glimpsed my hero on Scooby Doo I would be instantly excited until I realized that Batman was apparently struck by a condition preventing him from moving aside from sequences when he would raise a hand or dash across the screen.
The Brave and the Bold segment captured every flawed detail from the ‘off’ voice to the aforementioned bad animation and even included an homage to the Super Friends host segments. The limitation on violence in Scooby Doo is even addressed and overcome, thanks to Bat-Mite’s magical abilities!
Batman and Scooby Doo
I’ve said it before and will say it again… if you are not watching this series you are missing out!
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