Bob Reboots (The) Batman

I have been a voracious reader ever since I was able to read. Little Big Books, Golden Books, and when I was 4, comic books.

I had an uncle on my mother’s side named Swede Bronner. He and his family lived in a little town just south of San Jose California called Morgan Hill. Uncle Swede had a pharmacy there which included a little soda fountain, and a rather large wooden magazine rack, the lower half of which was nothing but comics.

Dell, Fawcett, EC, National, and Timely…the big publishers at the time, and a few lesser-known lights like Charlton and Harvey filled the rows with brightly coloured covers that drew me to them like an ant to a picnic…barely noticed by adults, they were eye-level candy to kids…of which I was one.

Uncle Swede, seeing me drawn to this display, leaned down and said, “Take as many as you want, Bobby, and if you like them, you can have more whenever you visit.” I had to make 3 trips to the car.

 – Originally published on March 28th, 2016

I would still be collecting comics if they hadn’t have started costing more than a medium sized sedan, but that, coupled with other interests,  ended my collecting days and I pretty much learned to live without them except for “event” comics, like the 12 issue ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’.

I was an old school DC reader going back to the time when they were still National Comics. The “DC” sobriquet became the name of the company, eventually, but was just a nickname cutline for years and stood for their first big comic book success post-funny animal comics, Detective Comics number 17, which introduced Batman.

After the wild success of Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ in 1978, I expected a Batman movie within the year, but Tim Burton didn’t give us his version of Batman until 1989 …a full 11 years after we all believed a man could fly.

Fly …

…but ever so slowly.

Until the end of the movie when he turned on the after-burners and rescued Lois by making the Earth spin backwards without somehow killing everyone.

I was not a fan of the Superman movies, then or now. And as Golly Gee Whiz as the first one was, they got progressively worse until Supes was fighting Tab Hunter, whose gold underwear were worn over his tights in a supposed tribute to Supes wearing his on the outside like an 1899 Circus strongman..

Between the scenery chewing Gene Hackman, Beagle-Boy dumb henchman Ned Beatty, and the real estate plot and lackluster special effects budget, the only things that kept me in my seat during the first one were my hope that it would somehow turn around and get great, and Valerie Perinne’s tits.

The fey, emasculated Clark Kent portrayal, and a Lois Lane who looked like a High School cafeteria lady added insult to injury.

I was unhappy.

The series went downhill from there.

..and somehow Christopher Reeve was hailed as the perfect Superman.

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I don’t think he could have been worse if Joel Schumacher had directed him. …but it would have made more sense, considering what he did to the Batman franchise. I remember standing up in the Theatre during Batman Forever, throwing my popcorn in the air and yelling “FOUL” at the top of my lungs and storming up the aisle.

I was mad at myself for even buying a ticket.

I caught a glimpse of ‘Batman and Robin’ on TV one night when the only other choices on the tube were infomercials for hair in a can, and a documentary on cement.

The Cement documentary turned out to be pretty interesting.

In 2017, Schumacher apologized for what he had done to Batman.

He said, , “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that,” he said.

Schumacher took full responsibility for the film landing with a fizzle.

“A lot of it was my choice,” he said. “No one is responsible for my mistakes but me.”

Part of the issue, the director said, was that “Batman Forever” actor Val Kilmer quit the project to take a role in “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

Clooney came into play due to his popularity and Bob Daly, chief executive at Warner Bros. at the time, wanted Clooney

“[Clooney] was an obvious choice because he was a rising star on ‘ER,'” Schumacher said. “I had a talk with him and he was like, ‘Alright, if you do it I’ll do it.'”

Schumacher said audiences had understandably high expectations after “Batman Forever.” But after “Batman & Robin” released, the reaction was swift and harsh.

“I was scum. It was like I had murdered a baby,” Schumacher recalled.

As for those nipples on the bat suit? It turns out that particular costume feature was inspired by history.

“By the time ‘Batman Forever’ came around, rubber molding had become so much more advanced,” Schumacher explained. “So, I said ‘Let’s make it anatomical’ and gave photos of those Greek statues and those incredible anatomical drawings you see in medical books. He did the nipples and when I looked at them, I thought, that’s cool.” – Courtesy of CNN

Damn! It must be Cold in that Suit

At least Schumacher apologized for his part in the ongoing water boarding of Our Hero, but no one ever apologized for the 1943 serial (American men were off fighting for Freedom, so the casts were made up of 4F rejects wearing ripped tights and falling on their butts every time they knocked down a papier-mâché door, or jumped through a sugar glass window.

Nor have William Dozier and Lorenzo Semple Jr. said ‘I’m sorry’ for the ’60s television show that reduced Bats to a bomb disposing, shark repellent carrying, runs-like-a-girl Ninny and coupled him with a pun obsessed, grade school jokester, Robin, The Boy Ninny.

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The less said about Christopher Nolan and the re-imagining of Batman into a Ninja dimbulb, who shows up late, doesn’t win, and routinely gets beat up by goons who couldn’t get jobs as strip club bouncers, the better. …but survive a nuclear explosion? No problemo.

Kudos, however, to Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, and Paul Dini for the best Batman television shows, which. although animated, got the main characters to seem worthy of the canon.

Gotham?

It’s okay …

…but not much more.

So, that just leaves the character’s appearances in Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League.

…and if not for Wonder Woman and Aquaman, DC and Warner Brothers would be out of the Superhero movie business and selling apples from a cart.

So …

Now what?

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For years I have envisioned a way to set Superman and Batman on a different course other than the ones that have been chosen for them.

3 years ago, I got a handle on The Batman I would love to see. Shortly after that, Supes came into focus as well …but Batman comes first just like he did in the real world. Monday, I’ll tell you all about it, but I will tell you this ….

Batman is 25 when we meet him.

We find out why he has an aversion to guns and won’t use them.

There is NO onscreen retelling of his origin.

There is no Joker …yet.

There are no aliens, super powered foes, or threat to Earth.

He isn’t a fucking Ninja.

Coming up with the Batmobile is an on-going process throughout the film.

Dick Grayson is an angry bitter 13 year old living on the street and in trouble with the authorities.

Selina Kyle owns a nightclub and a Dance Troupe.

…and it contains a Perry Mason style murder mystery sub-plot, which THE WORLD’S GREATEST DETECTIVE solves!

And finally, he doesn’t get beat up. Not once. Because he is the fucking BATMAN!

…and it all takes place in 1946.

See you on Monday.

BONUS! Don’t say I never give you anything. This a little known movie in its entirety. It is the sequel to 1943 Batman serial, with all 15 episodes edited into one 3 hour plus motion picture. Perfect if SNL sucks Saturday night. (if? Bitch, Please!)

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Segarini’s regular columns are published whenever Commissioner Gordon fires up The Bob Signal

dbawis-button7giphyBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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