The GeeksverseBatman Beyond-Retrospective and Beyond

Batman Beyond-Retrospective and Beyond
Published on Sunday, November 27, 2011 by

Batman Beyond hit the small screens at the height of afternoon cartoons, Bruce Timm’s Batman, Gargoyles, Batman Beyond…it was a golden age of the boob tube. Recently, the character popped up again, in a comic mini-series that begot a regular series that ended abruptly but will return soon. However, this new, darker, more mature Batman Beyond was not the first time the character appeared on the comic page. The original TV show was supported by a “kids” comic that tied into the TV shows, providing additional stories to flesh out the world.

The 1999 comic series lasted for 24 issues.

The 199 series mostly featured the same villains as the TV show, extending added adventures for the TV fan. The art matched the expectation of the TV fan looking like the TV show in the reader’s hand.

A portion of this comic was reprinted as the 100 Page Spectacular. It makes a nice taste for the reader that missed the comic originally. Since the comic was not the best seller, it can be tricky to find, but like most ’90s comics it can be found in back issue bins from time to time.

This was a fun series for kids afternoon television, but Batman Beyond also had stories that could captivate adult Bat Fans. Part of the charm of Batman Beyond was watching a new character struggle under the cowl and struggle under the tutelage of a stoic and stern Bruce Wayne. Since Jack Kirby established that a hero was only as good as the villain, another important aspect of the show was the rogue’s gallery. Established Bat-Villains, like the Joker, was transformed into a riotous street gang, the Jokerz, and even came back in a two hour movie special in an unexpected way. New villains, Mad Max and Blight, had their own distinct look and personalities. Batman Beyond captured a mix of old and new villains for the new Batman to fight.

After the TV series wrapped up, a few meager DVD offerings existed with season 1 out of order, and the comic was gone.

However, fans were pleasantly surprised when the dark knight of the future returned to the comic shop.

Terry McGinnis is still under the cowl. On the heels of the “Hush Beyond” six part miniseries, DC is releasing a new on going series, written by Adam Beechen and drawn by Ryan Benjamin. It no longer looked like the TV show, but instead had its own shadowy look. The story was darker than the original TV run. That is noticeable now that the entire series is available on DVD.

The miniseries ran into a short lived regular series. The series helped develop the rich supporting cast. More information about the young women in Terry’s life were fleshed out and developed. Every character was moving on their own story arc, sadly that was truncated when the story ended seemingly abruptly on a stand alone Inque issue.

Luckily, perhaps, Batman Beyond Unlimited will return. Batman Beyond will usher in a new digital-print relationship that is befitting a fan favorite comic featuring a futuristic character. Batman Beyond Unlimited will be a monthly print periodical featuring 38 pages of adventure. Interestingly, the print periodical will collect various digital-first chapters. Online readers will have a first look at the material sold in the print periodical. Batman Beyond Unlimited will also collect the continued exploits of Justice League Beyond and Superman Beyond as well as the caped crusader beyond.

Moving beyond the traditional print-digital relationship, Batman Beyond has the power to bridge the gap between digital and print readers, but will probably not pull in new comic readers unless it has a wider marketing push.

The Batman Beyond fan in me would like to see both versions of the character continued, the original 90s TV era comic character and the newer darker character that seems like the older equivalent living in more shadows. Because I like both versions for their own merits, I would like to see both versions continued. Also, having a “kids” and adult comic version would help bring in new readers.

Batman: Brave and Bold is a nice example of a fun kids comic that ties into the TV version that is known by a wider younger audience. If this title were positioned to be more accessible to non-comic book readers it could bring in new readers. Batman: Brave and Bold would fit well on drug store shelves or alongside the magazines at grocery stores. A similar Batman: Brave and Beyond comic could be a gate way for new readers if it were more available. Batman All-Ages Beyond would be a nice addition to the limited all-ages line up offered by DC Comics which nearly completely limited to Batman: Brave and Bold, Ben 10, and Young Justice.

Batman Beyond is a perfect DC product to split into both varieties adult and “kiddie” because of the connection to recently released DVDs and cartoon history. Also, because Batman Beyond is always 50 years in the future and moves without constraints of continuity reboots by the larger company. Batman Beyond, without being directly tethered to complicated continuity, is a good jump on point for readers of all ages. The adult Batman Beyond, or Unlimted, could be a place for adult stories to be developed leaving one shot story development for the kids-universe comic title. Both comics could have their own patrol style and identity existing well with each other.

However, beyond the digital comics and comic shop shelves, DC would also need to push the comic elsewhere. DC could return to drug stores and grocery stores, or at least advertise the comics on Cartoon Network as the DC cartoons are being ran.

Batman Beyond could bridge the gap and be a gateway comic, but only if DC lets it, and wants it. DC can look to the past of this product for a way into the future.

Discuss on the Pryde Forum.

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