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For a lot of hardcore Batman fans, the 1960s version from TV with Adam West and Burt Ward is something we wished the world would forget. Though I saw every episode as a kid growing up, I much preferred the darker, gritty Batman portrayed in comics by artists like Kelley Jones or the Dark Knight Returns version by Frank Miller. This campy Caped Crusader (which pretty much helped the world define “camp”) is someone I normally would’ve wanted to say buried forever.

Campy Batman is Back

But it’s hard to feel glum when in a new animated movie called Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is coming out and features the original voices of Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar. West is 87 years old and Ward is 71. How fun to give them a chance to “suit up” (albeit in animated form) to deliver on their version of Batman again.

Watch this trailer:

The Many Batmans

I was very much influenced by the book The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon. (Actually, the audiobook is my favorite audiobook of all time thanks to Weldon’s considerably fun voice talents). In it, Weldon asserts that we can definitely have more than one view of Batman and that we should learn to accept all these versions in harmony.

The book stays fun while going deep and I strongly recommend it if you want a whole new level of appreciation of Batman and also a view into all the various ways that he’s been portrayed.

I for one welcome our campy Batman for this last ride. You?