Which is superior in your opinion: Adam West’s portrayal of Batman in the 60s TV show, or Bob Kane’s comics from the 1930s? I personally believe that each adaptation has its own strengths and weaknesses, although I have always had a lot more fun with the kitschy quality of the television show. Because Bob Kane’s comics came first, I think that they had a significant influence on the TV series. The creators of the Batman show ended up taking on many of Kane’s qualities and making fun of them. They saw the ‘ridiculous’ aspects of the comic and chose to emphasize them on screen to make the show entertaining and funny. I think that what seems plausible in a comic appears corny in television or film because when we read, we can imagine anything and see it as realistic in our own minds. However, when we watch a comic that was translated into a television series, such as Batman, the ridiculous aspects shine through and suddenly seem extremely unbelievable.
One of the key elements from the comics that I thought seemed corny on screen was Batman’s costume. Technically, the actual appearance of Kane’s Batman and West’s portrayal of the same character are fairly similar; they both have the Batman logo, a cape, and a hood and mask with points for ears. However, the TV show makes the costume look extremely ridiculous and as though it was made out of plastic. When I saw the outfit in the comic, I personally did not think it was as corny simply because it appeared in a comic book. Somehow, that provided an excuse for the costume. Anything that appears in a book seems more realistic to me because I can imagine it all in my head. When I saw Adam West’s outfit, on the other hand, I thought it looked absolutely ridiculous. Is this due to the fact that people normally look to television for a glimpse into reality? Regardless of this idea, it seems to me as though the creators of the Batman series purposefully brought out the humorous side of the costume to capture people’s attention.
Another aspect within the comic that appeared kitschy on screen was the appearance of sound effects as actual words. In a comic, the writer has no choice but to draw out a bubble saying, “BAM!”, because it demonstrates to the reader that a loud sound has taken place. I find it interesting that the creators of the show would choose to continue this tradition, despite the fact television can easily make a loud noise to place emphasis on an action. This implies, once again, that the show’s creators wanted to bring out the corny aspect of the comic. Perhaps they thought that if they made Batman seem too realistic on television, the show would lose its ‘fun’ quality. In a way, I agree with this. A lot of the fun associated with reading comics and watching them on screen is seeing how unrealistic and ridiculous the various scenarios appear. If this was to disappear, I do not think I, or many other individuals within society, would find the show nearly as entertaining.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoy the translation of Batman from the comic to the TV show. I think it allows audiences of all ages to enjoy the character and see the many extremely entertaining aspects of the plot. Many people may not agree with me on this point; perhaps they think the TV show is a poor translation of the comic. I suppose the question to ask in reply to that is, do you appreciate the dark side of Batman or the humorous side more?
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