June 12, 2017

Batman: Gotham Adventures #3 (Aug. 1998)

The 18th episode of Batman: The Animated Series featured the voice acting of recently departed star of  the beloved '66 Batman TV series, Adam West. Airing in November of 1992, the actor voiced the character of the Simon Trent, a washed up TV actor who portrayed crime fighter Gray Ghost, idolized by a young Bruce Wayne. Ultimately, Trent must don his costume to save Batman, becoming a hero and reviving public interest in the character, and replenishing Trent's career and finances.

Batman: Gotham Adventures #3 from August of '98 doesn't tell the story from the '92 Animated Series episode, but instead of an imaginative boy obsessed with Batman, who must come to the rescue of the Caped Crusader and his team mates during a bank heist by Scarecrow. When the villain sets off a sonic pitch that makes all fear Batman, including himself, young Justin slips Batman a Gray Ghost outfit kept in the boy's backpack with his action figures, breaking the spell of fear. Now vindicated, Justin is hailed as a hero, and his mother comes to better appreciate the boy's fascination with Batman.

I love the cover of this issue, Batman and Gray ghost drawn as packaged action figures, a concept repeated later by other artists. Sorting some comics this weekend after West passed away, I came across this issue, reminding me of the late actor's connection to Batman: The Animated Series, like one final goodbye from my childhood hero. Watching the syndicated reruns as a boy in the '70s, the camp was lost on me, seeing only the colorful adventures of my favorite heroes, the Dynamic Duo. I'm sure I can speak for Bubba & Chunky B when I say that while I was a big fan of multiple incarnations of the character, Adam West was my first Batman.

RIP Adam West
Sept. 19th, 1928 - June 9th, 2017

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