Since Batman wins every poll, I thought I would turn the tables on you and make you choose one Batman over another! Ha!
Note that for now I am leaving on the option to enter your own answers, as I'm sure there are some iconic versions I have missed. I'll close that if the answers get stupid enough, though.
And now, to the Batdebate!
- Chris Nolan's "Dark Knight" series: Indisputably the most profitable "Batman" film franchise, this Batman is grim, focused, cool, and has lots of wonderful toys that actually look like they might work. Which is the genius of Nolan's vision -- he takes seriously the challenge of "what would Batman be like in the real world"? Everything else flows from that, and is executed beautifully.
- Tim Burton's "Batman" movie series: Tim Burton's vision, on the other hand, was "What if Batman were just like every other thing I create?" This Batman version has a more comic-booky feel to it, though granted with a darker, more Gothic kind of vibe. Still, I have a hard time respecting a Batman who feels compelled to reveal his secret identity to every person he dates.
- Adam West's campy "Batman" TV series: Batman's enormous popularity is, I would argue, attributable largely to how flexible the concept is while still retaining the essence of the character. It's hard to imagine two more different products than Nolan's version and this one, and yet both are indisputably Batman. The giant flying art deco "POW" splashes, the oversized buckles, the slightly askew cowl, the corny jokes, the over-the-top camp, it's all wonderful in a way that is totally different than anything else.
- Animated "Brave & The Bold" series: The great thing about this version is that it answers the question "What if Batman were basically the Superman of his universe in terms of popularity and adulation?" And he is -- everyone wants to either be Batman or at least work with him. He fights alien invasions, world-busting bombs, massive robots, and more. He's THE MAN. All done with a no-holds-barred, all-out rollicking sensibility that manages to be both serious and fun at the same time. It's like the love-child of "Dark Knight" and Adam West. This version of Batman is so awesome, his awsomeness rubs off on Aquaman. Aquaman! My favorite line from the series so far is:
Catman: You're a long way from Gotham, Batman.
Batman: But never far from crime!
- Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" graphic novels: The publication of this graphic novel is, arguably, the most important moment in Batman history. Miller
- Bruce Timm's "Batman The Animated Series": The first property to translate Miller's hard-nosed, gritty styling into the animated world.
- "Batman Beyond": Us old farts' knee-jerk reaction to this will be "That ain't Batman!" And granted, Bruce Wayne, while present in this series, is a crusty old man relegated to basically being Alfred, nonetheless this futuristic take on the character concept is pretty darn cool.
So have at it, Bat-fans! Which version of Bats is "the best"?