Poll Position: Batman vs … Batman?

Since Batman wins every poll, I thought I would turn the tables on you and make you choose one Batman over another! Ha!

{democracy:194}

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"?

34 Responses to Poll Position: Batman vs … Batman?

  1. Bruce timm’s version brought me to superheroes, and i cant deny how awesome it was.

  2. I think, form me, Batman: The Animated Series is what really got me hooked on Batman. And the fact that the same voice actor is the voice of Batman in Batman: Arkham Asylm is just over the top awesome to me. Much as Mark Hamill has become the iconic Joker voice, I think Kevin Conroy is the iconic Batman voice.

    Of course, I thought Batman Beyond was an interesting take on the saga. It was cool to see that even though old, Bruce still wanted to kick criminal butt…and still could on occassion (with the help of a powered exoskeleton suit).

  3. I’m actually fond of the Batman comics of the seventies, which set up everything that came later, including Miller’s DKR. That was the transition era, where he went from the simplistic cheesy character of the sixties and became the more moody and dark champion that he is now.

    But, I did love me that “Batman: The Animated Series”, just because they had such wonderful voice actors throughout the series. And who knew that Mark Hamill could so wonderfully play a villain who’s even darker than Darth Vader in some ways. From Iconic Hero to Iconic Villain and he did it with panache.

  4. And the Joker got away...

    Love all of ’em, especially B:TAS, which got me hooked on the concept in the first place. However, I admit to choosing Burton’s take on the character. None of the other listed incarnations really sell the idea that Bats may very well be every bit as nuts as the freaks he puts away.

  5. Hammerknight

    The “pre-Crisis” Batman of the comics for me. The 70’s and 80’s Batman were the best. That is when I was real big into reading them. The movies(Tim Burton’s “Batman” movie series),the all black costume, and the very dark graphic novels, turn me away from reading the new stuff. Most of the cartoons are cool, but you can’t bet the comics from the 70’s ans 80’s. Plus the fact that the price of the comics more then doubled in the 90’s and more then that now, it’s a costly habit.

  6. Batman TAS is the Batman I measure all others Batmans (Batmen?) against. Not surprising, since it was practically my first Batman. Prior to TAS my familiarity with Batman was limited to one falling-apart comic from the 70s featuring Two-Face and Ragman (and I seem to recall finding Ragman the more interesting hero) and the Tim Burton Batman. TAS also made me give a damn for a lot of his rogues who aren’t treated as well in other mediums.

  7. Well, thankfully this isn’t a “Which Batman could defeat all other Batmen.” Because no one has an answer to that.

    Like many, I’m going with Bruce Timm’s Batman. Strangely, I’ve never been that big a fan of Batman in the print form, most of my exposure to him has been through motion media (i.e. TV and movies). And while I can say I watched the old Adam West show and the Tim Burton movies, the cartoon was really what had me hooked.

  8. I grew up on the Animated Series, so that’ll always be my Batman. Everything about that show was just awesome. The characters, the voice actors, and oh man, the intro sequence…I really ought to pick up a DVD set sometime.

    Anyway, I can’t help but notice that Joel Schumacher’s Batman isn’t one of the options. Now why would that be?

  9. Could we have one week without a poll about an overrated flagship character? Hm?

    Either way, it comes down to B & B and Adam West. They both probably have ‘anti-Batman’ spray.

  10. TopHat, I’m always open to suggestions for questions. But, questions featuring Batman and Wolverine are undeniably popular, getting 50% more votes and comments than others.

    Just as a point of reference, though, In terms of the “overrated flagship character” thing, two weeks ago was Ultron and Opitmus Prime. The week before that was Hulk and Doomsday. Two weeks before that was this year’s super-hero movies. The week before that was Conan and Drizzt. A week before that was criminal organizations (the Nazis won). The week before that was Cylons vs. the Empire. I wouldn’t call all of those overrated flagship characters, though I reckon YMMV.

  11. Watson Bradshaw

    Kevin Conroy is Batman, nuff’ said.

  12. I absolutely love the Christopher Nolan Batman! I really think Christian Bale portrayed the gritty character perfectly. Also, in the Dark Knight, he became the first live action Batman to gain the ability to move his own neck while wearing the cowl, which I think is a necisary element to any super hero costume. As some of you other frequent poll responders know, i could talk for eternity about Batman, but I won’t bore you, so I will just leave it at this: Christian Bale IS Batman, and he could kick George Clooney’s but any day of the week.

  13. I’m gonna have to go with DCAU (Bruce Timm) Batman, since he’s my personal favorite, and he’s fought AU versions of several powerful DC baddies (and the AU really ups their powers compared to the movies and even the comics), and come out on top, so he’s got the experiance. I think the worst one would either be the Adam West one (purely because he’s so damn campy) or the Christopher Nolan one since he’s the least experianced, age- and villain-wise…

  14. I think the Batman portrayed in the Arkham asylum games is my favorite. Equal parts of Timm and Nolan, with a touch of the comics stirred in.

  15. Hard one for me. Would have liked to vote twice on this one as I’m personally torn between the two Tim Burton movies (Batman Forever and Batman and Robin should be a completely different series personally) and Batman the Animated Series. Grew up watching the Scoobie Doo movies and Super Friends, which are still fun to watch. And as a little kid I thought the Adam West series was cute, but that ended before my 10th birthday when I realized the camp was just stupid. So I have no love for that series. But it seems the camp was still effecting Batman in those two, though maybe not to the same extent.

    I really like the animated series and how Batman comes across there, that affected other animated versions up to The Batman and Batman the Brave and the Bold. And as far as I’m aware it was the first time Nightwing appeared in media other than the comics. But I had to go with Tim Burton’s movies cause I think in some ways they opened things for the animated series to be a little darker, less campy.

  16. What? No Crazy Steve? (AKA: Frank Miller’s All Star Batman)

  17. Batman Under the Red Hood was AWESOME! Highly recommend you check it out.

  18. @Psyckosama16: For me that one is just known as “The Goddamn Batman.” I still crack up everytime I read that line…

  19. Okay, who added Clooney? He was not, is not, and will NEVER be anything close to resembling Batman. He made Batman a laughing stock for a long time. Oh, and the Bat-nipples just made it a thousand times worse.

  20. Removed some of the more ridiculous submitted answers, including Clooney — this isn’t about an actor playing the part, it’s about the entire concept behind the character itself.

    Also, Scooby Doo? Seriously?

  21. B:TAS is the best non-comics interpretation, in my opinion, but ‘”pre-Crisis” comic-book Batman’ covers an awful lot of ground. The 70’s Batman comics (O’Neill/Adams and Englehart/Rogers) rescued the character from TV silliness, and got Batman taken seriously again- no mean feat!

  22. IMHO, Batman: Brave and the Bold animated series showed the best Batman in cartoon world and “Dark Knight” showed the best Batman in live action world.

  23. “Kevin Conroy is Batman, nuff’ said.”

    Certainly voiced him enough. Let’s see how many shows had him playing Batman/Bruce Wayne? Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, Justice Leauge, Justice League Unlimited, The New Batman Adventures (ok I was wrong, it was this one that featured Nightwing, always think of it as being part of B:TAS but maybe that’s cause I’ve seen the reruns so often), and the Zeta Project. So that’s eight shows. Then we add in the animated movies Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman and Mr. Freeze: Subzero, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, Batman: Gotham Knight, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. That’s another seven. And then there’s videogames. The Adventures of Batman and Robin, Batman Vengeance, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, and Batman: Arkham Asylum. That’s another four, with a fifth due out later this year. So that’s at least twenty instances in which he’s voiced role (not going into individual episodes cause let’s face it the count will be into the hundreds just from the shows alone). Probably played Batman more than anyone else.

  24. Kevin Conroy rules, Adam West is a close second, but the reason I’m posting is to ask this: Why would anyone add “1990’s Batman: The Animated Series” when it’s already on the list? O.o?

    Then again, I don’t understand why Dr. Doom didn’t get more votes in the last poll, so it could just be me.

  25. I went with the Nolan Batman because as good as the Animated Series was, there were a bunch of bad episodes too. Call me a front runner if you want, but I wasn’t into the episodes that didn’t have real villians. One’s like Invisible Suit Guy, or Wanna-Be Riddler/Arcade Guy, or Evil Mad Scientist Guy, or the worst to me, Ex-Con Who Wants To Kill Gordon Guy, made me just not care about the episode. I want to see The Joker or Two-Face. I just didn’t care about the random fill in villians.

  26. What I don’t understand is how Nolan Batman is winning. They need to invent something that detects and discards votes based on popularity. Yes, Dark Knight was a great movie, but Nolan Batman is the least equipped and experianced one on the list by a wide margin. He doesn’t even have a Bat Cave! He’s only fought three villains, and one of them (Ra’s Al Ghul) was way, way underpowered compared to every other version of the guy (i.e. in comics and DCAU he’s basically immortal, and in BB he’s just a regular guy). I just think that if the poll really showed who would win in a fight, and not who was most popular, Nolan Batman would be dead last.

    /Nerd Rage

  27. @Gero, but the pole wasn’t which Batman could beat up the other Batman. It’s which version of Batman is your favorite.
    So, it actually is a popularity contest.

  28. @Gero(26): It’s not only about how many villains the Nolan Batman beat up, it’s about the mood and the atmosphere that he creates. Up until Nolan took over, people only thought of Batman as campy and lame, but the darker themes and motifs of Batman Begins changed that opinion and made the Dark Knight the biggest box office success in the United States until Harry Potter 7 part 2!

    I love Batman because of his logical, grim, and dedicated personality, not just because he punches people in the face.

  29. For me it’s pretty much just the face-punching.

    Kidding!

  30. I’m not sure if Batman Beyond and Batman: TAS should be separate categories since they’re technically part of the same universe.

  31. Since I am probably one of the youngest ones on here, I didn’t the chance to expierience the 70’s or 80’s Batman but i really liked the futuristic twist of Batman Beyond even though Bruce Wayne was almost considered a minor character. I would have voted for the Christopher Nolan Batman but his voice is just God awful haha.

  32. Vorpal Laugh

    I had to vote for the animated series. It what come to mind when I think of Batman. I am including the whole DCAU in this since its the same character. I don’t have a whole lot of exposure to comic versions though. I read some but not enough to have an opionion.

  33. spidercow2010

    I’m coming into this way late (I’m in the process of moving), and probably no one will read this at this point, I don’t mind going off topic to grind a personal ax of mine: Good actors, with some exceptions (koff*Keanu*) are capable of versatility. It seems odd to me that Mark Hamill playing both Luke Skywalker and the Joker should be a surprise. And I’ll go further: George Clooney, in the hands of a competent director, would have made a perfectly good Batman (see Dusk Til Dawn for kickassery), and is to me far more believable in the role than Michael Keaton, physically anyway. I feel that a lot of people are too willing to peg an actor into a certain type and disbelieve that they can do anything else. Look what happened to Adam West. Who knows what else he could do? His facility for deadpan hilarity was his undoing. Well, I’m tangentially rambling, but my point is don’t prejudge an actor’s ability to be a chameleon. That’s their job. To typecast is akin to saying that Batman can only be portrayed one way.

  34. Zorbas the Awesome

    Michael Keaton = best Bats ever. He nailed the playboy cover up as Bruce Wayne, and when he was Batman, he wasn’t just a gritty badass, he used gadgets and did detective work that really struck me as true to the character… plus… Jack Nicholson as the joker is amazing. Heath did good because he got to the core of the character… but in Jack’s own mobster-like, flashy, and crazy way … he WAS the Joker.