When did Batman become more popular than Superman?
1 1

130 posts in this topic

22,209 posts
4 hours ago, VintageComics said:

I do know that the 1966 Batman TV series was huge. It was also a 'mini' Batmania, and when I say mini, I wasn't meaning to discount it's appeal. It just wasn't as big as 1989 Batmania but I do understand from what I read about it that it was a pretty popular show. Those 'Pow' and 'Wham' captions changed the game for television.

But I will reinforce that there were few things that affected pop culture the way Batman (1989) did. The Beatles was one of them. There are only handful of other things that got that big across Western culture (in North America anyway).

 

Adjusted for inflation, Tim Burton's Batman is the #7 highest domestic grossing Superhero movie of all time (but 2nd highest Batman movie). I would say it's appeal is comparable to the 1966 TV Show as both had a big sales effect on comic books and crossed over into mainstream culture as well.

I saw the movie on opening day, first showing, in Cape Girardeau, MO at the Mall Theater in the afternoon. The theater was nearly empty, and that opening scene on the rooftop gave me goosebumps. The rest of the movie pretty much underwhelmed me, but... it was still great to see a superhero on the big screen...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,125 posts

In my opinion, these are the three books that, over the years saved Batman, and eventually propelled him past Superman. As far as Superman goes, I believe his star had been falling since the late 60's, with the final nail in the coffin (of his popularity) happening in the 1993 "Death of Superman" storyline. It truly was the death of Superman in more ways than one.

Detective_Comics_327.jpg

Detective_Comics_395.jpg

Batman_-_Dark_Knight_Returns_1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
161 posts
15 hours ago, DarthRawn said:

1989

Agreed...I think the Keaton film moved the needle...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,627 posts

I think it started in '86 with DKR, but didn't definitively make a statement until the '89 Batman movie came out.  Although I was out of the hobby at the time, I remember distinctly LCS owners saying that Batman was consistently one of their best sellers.  Batman Year One came out before the movie and it was clear at that point, Bats was the leading DC character and book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,921 posts
15 hours ago, kav said:

I just read Way of the Peaceful Warrior and just did what he did. 

Cool book! (thumbsu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5,729 posts

I would think the Adam West tv show would have been the turning point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
859 posts

Every generation has reasons to love Batman more than Superman.  For starters Batman is more human, for the obvious reason being he is human, and as thus is more relatable.  But also it is a somewhat possible true scenario with boy watches parents die, grows up, fights crime, etc.  You just take out the fantastical aspects.

As the comics evolved, so did the TV and Movie market for each of us, or the Radio shows before then.

Luckily I was able to enjoy Keaton as Batman, then Conroy for the Animated Series.  Nicholson and Hamill are my all time favorites for Joker's portrayal, followed closely by Ledger.

So for me Batman became "cooler" than Superman thanks to Keaton in '89. But it has continued since as well from other mediums.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6,145 posts

Batman (1989) has not aged well. As an adult, I find it oddly stiff, airless, and the Prince soundtrack is every bit as bad as the Elfman score is great. 

THAT BEING SAID

I still love it. As has been noted by @VintageComics and others, there's no explaining Batmania of that summer if you didn't live it. I was 12 years old, and I'd never seen anything that cool in my entire life. It was the perfect time and I was the perfect age to receive it. It may seem campy and goofy now, but at that time, it felt so dark and moody and weird and cool. And Batman was EVERYWHERE. Everyone owned a Batman or Joker tee, or two or three. Buttons, badges, shoes, hats, backpacks, everyone was sporting the Bat-logo. It was ubiquitous.

These days, I vastly prefer Batman Returns, which retains the awesome art direction, set design and score, but adds the kinky, sexy, weird side of Batman to the equation. Those movies, more than any of the rest that followed, acknowledged all sides of the character and his world: it's all cool, it's pretty dark, it's also pretty silly. Best to embrace the whole thing. I like the Nolan movies to varying degrees (Batman Begins is my favorite, The Dark Knight is ok, Dark Knight Rises is a real chore), but they ditch the fun/goofy element of the character for the most part, and I think that is intrinsic to Batman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6,145 posts
Just now, Crops068 said:

Every generation has reasons to love Batman more than Superman.  For starters Batman is more human, for the obvious reason being he is human, and as thus is more relatable.  But also it is a somewhat possible true scenario with boy watches parents die, grows up, fights crime, etc.  You just take out the fantastical aspects.

As the comics evolved, so did the TV and Movie market for each of us, or the Radio shows before then.

Luckily I was able to enjoy Keaton as Batman, then Conroy for the Animated Series.  Nicholson and Hamill are my all time favorites for Joker's portrayal, followed closely by Ledger.

So for me Batman became "cooler" than Superman thanks to Keaton in '89. But it has continued since as well from other mediums.

 

Yes. All talk of the movies aside, Batman The Animated Series is, for my money, the single best translation of the character to another medium. It managed to meld the pulp aspect, the superhero aspect, the detective aspect, the supernatural aspect, all of those facets, into a gorgeously designed whole. In fact, in many ways I prefer it to the comics. Possible heresy, but for the most part, it may be the best version of the character in any medium, INCLUDING the comics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49,520 posts
2 hours ago, The Lions Den said:

Cool book! (thumbsu

I met Dan Millman and took his weekend seminar.  I have a signed first ed of that book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
548 posts
Quote

I still love it. As has been noted by @VintageComics and others, there's no explaining Batmania of that summer if you didn't live it

I was a few years into my 1st job.  I remember cutting out little bat insignias  and scotch taping them onto the emergency lights in the building - you know the one's that were supp to save out lives in the case of a fire.  Someone quickly removed them. Luckily no one ever tried to hunt down who did it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9,885 posts
10 minutes ago, csaag said:

I was a few years into my 1st job.  I remember cutting out little bat insignias  and scotch taping them onto the emergency lights in the building - you know the one's that were supp to save out lives in the case of a fire.  Someone quickly removed them. Luckily no one ever tried to hunt down who did it.

I think you learned the lesson :foryou:

lol

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
93,180 posts
15 hours ago, dupont2005 said:

but I did watch the first 2-3 episodes of Gotham 

Gotham was horrible. I gave it multiple episodes and gave up.

15 hours ago, kav said:

Cant stand any of the Batman movies.  I know I'm in the minority.  They just seem so dumb and a wasted opportunity.  

Nolan's Batman movies might be the best comic book movies ever made.

I'k a huge fan of the Marvel stuff (and a Marvel guy) but those movies IMO were darn near perfect in so many ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
93,180 posts
14 hours ago, shadroch said:

Batmania in 1966 dwarfed anything the Keaton movie approached. Nothing since then has approached it.

I wasn't there so I can't say for sure.

Are you sure it's not just you remembering it that way because you were young at the time?

How old were you in '66?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
93,180 posts
10 hours ago, Chuck Gower said:

Carmine Infantino deserves a lot of credit for updating Batman in the 60's and making him popular again, and redesigning the Batmobile in June 1964 (Batman #164)...

I read your previous post and thought it was fantastic.

I had no idea that readership went up with Infantino taking over.

I got to meet Infantino at a Motor City show about 10 years ago. While everyone was crowding all the other creators, there was nobody - literally nobody at the table of one of the greatest creators in comics and architects of the Silver Age. We talked for a good 20 minutes and I bought a book for a friend who loved his work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49,520 posts
4 minutes ago, VintageComics said:

Gotham was horrible. I gave it multiple episodes and gave up.

Nolan's Batman movies might be the best comic book movies ever made.

I'k a huge fan of the Marvel stuff (and a Marvel guy) but those movies IMO were darn near perfect in so many ways.

Not a fan of mumbling villains

Screenshot 2019-06-26 at 1.30.47 PM.png

Screenshot 2019-06-26 at 1.31.15 PM.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10,258 posts
16 hours ago, dupont2005 said:

Ive seen every live action interpretation of Batman on that list until 2008, and then nothing 

 

but I did watch the first 2-3 episodes of Gotham 

Gotham is mostly worth watching as long as it isn't a Fish Mooney episode. :foryou:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,565 posts
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, VintageComics said:

I could be wrong as I was only 16 in 1986 but I think Frank Miller's Dark Knight, which came as Miller was peaking was the greatest thing in comics up until that time (IMO arguably ever). That arc really left an impression as to how dark Batman really was so that started the movement.

That was sort of a 'touchstone moment' but I think that the Batman movie in 1989 galvanized the character in American pop culture to non-collectors in a way nothing else did before or ever will again.

Leading up to the movie, Batman started gaining popularity in comics, first with Miller's Dark Knight and then artists like Norm Breyfogle and McFarlane and other creators really looking for ways to bring the Dark Knight to new heights building on Miller's vision. All of those artists seemed to draw in a very Milleresque style, trying to capitalize on Miller's dark and grandiose style.

But it was Tim Burton's movie that galvanized Batman in the eye of the general public and really made Batman a super star.

Tim Burton's Batman movie came out in 1989 and the buzz about the movie created a Batmania like I had never seen before and we will likely never see again. You could literally see it everywhere. Malls, on television, in comic stores.

There were debates about Keaton starring in the movie, and while that sounds like a normal thing today's pop culture driven digital world it was unheard of in 1989.

That year, 'Tec 27 overtook all other books for most valuable book in the OSPG and everything Batman related shot upward in value almost as fast as a hot book does today.

Around that period and moving forward Batman story arcs seemed to dominate from A Lonely Place Of Dying and the death of Robin, to all of the short story arcs that followed, to the new Batman titles and one offs branching out from his popularity.

There was so many creators that wanted a shot at working on Batman that it was a reader's dream. 

And you had things like Batman: Year One, Year Two, etc that still have relevancy today.

 

It's hard to explain what Batmania was like back in 1989 unless you were there.

It was sort of like a comic book version of the Beatles coming to America and appearing on the Ed Sullivan show.

 

If anyone is interested in reading up on the history of that movie, this is a terrific read. The movie almost never happened.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/batman-michael-keaton-vetoed-michelle-pfeiffer-role-1989-film-1220139

 

I agree. I want your DTR #1 9.8 but have no money, whatsoever. I figured it was better to just come out and say it as opposed to entering into long negotiations, you agreeing and then me saying, "I'll keep that in mind." :foryou:

Edited by NoMan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
93,180 posts
1 hour ago, NoMan said:

I agree. I want your DTR #1 9.8 but have no money, whatsoever. I figured it was better to just come out and say it as opposed to entering into long negotiations, you agreeing and then me saying, "I'll keep that in mind." :foryou:

Have another Adavan (or whatever it was) and then let's negotiate once it kicks in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
1 1