As a boy I wanted to be Batman. But not just any Batman...old...chum...but the Adam West Batman. The one with the Batarangs, Bat shields, Bat metal detector, Bat Dance, Bat Gut...probably had a Bat condom somewhere-Bat everything! He had the best Batmobile with the siren and red trim and I've heard it drives as fast as 30 mph. Well, when you're a kid you don't know these things so it all seemed amazing. The Villains were well cast with Burgess Merideth as the wah wah wah Penguin, Frank Gorshin's obnoxious Riddler and a multitude of Catwomen to Wong Foo for. And even as a young boy, I found Bat Girl very watchable. I can't watch the show now that I'm older, but when I was a kid it was Bat-tastic. Holy Childhood Batman!
The Dark Knight Returns (1986)
I used to read comic books but by 1986 I had pretty much stopped. My brother collected comics (and still does) and one he had was The Dark Knight Returns which stood out because it had a thicker cover than most comic books. I read it and was engrossed in this nihilistic view of the Detective. Made by Frank Miller whose work I appreciated from the Daredevil comic, the future was going to hell and the Joker was having a field day killing people left and right. An older Bruce Wayne / Batman had to struggle with battling evil in a place where moral and economic decay was standard order and Superman stood for the extremist right. This comic singlehandedly recast Batman from campy fool to brooding vigilante. I think it is the best comic I've ever read. Holy Dystopia Batman!
The Dark Knight comic spurred interest in 'ol Bats leading to the development of a new Batman movie helmed by Director Tim Burton (Pee Wee's Big Adventure). Burton's whimsical and Gothic influences added dark humor and showed a willingness to explore some of the darker psychiatric implications of the Bruce Wayne character. The action sequences were a little more cartoonish than I preferred (The Joker shoots down the Batplane with one bullet if I remember right) and Jack Nicholson pretty much ran away with the movie. A summer blockbuster, the media was saturated with Batman everywhere. But there were plenty of good points to keep the movie going, not least of which was Burton's distinct visual style and an excellent Michael Keaton (Mr. Mom) who was controversial for being to old and comedic to handle Batman when cast. Once Keaton was done, he had become the definitive actor for the role. I must have seen this movie a thousand times. The Prince and Danny Elfman soundtrack had some good songs too. Holy Mass Marketing Batman!