There's nothing that sticks in a child's mind like something imaginary made real. That's what Batman was to me...a comic book come to life. Sure, there was campy humor rampant (and to be honest, the comics weren't that great), but that didn't matter to me...Adam West and Burt Ward WERE Batman and Robin. They were the heroes I wanted to be like. I mean....the Batcave and Batmobile were AWESOME!
(Every kid in America should have one of these!)
As I grew up, I took a dim view of the 1960's Batman series...they seemed like stupid things that poked fun at my love of comics and my heroes.
Then, I grew older and realized something.....Adam West is a genius. Seriously. He took a campy character, embraced it, and delivered the most hilarious lines with a straight face that made it all look easy. I don't think anyone else could have done it.
(As an aside, if you want a SERIOUS hero tale from that era, go watch the GREEN HORNET series.)
So, where's this all going, Dave? Well, I'm glad you asked.
I belong to a group of artists that post on a website called PLANET PULP. There are seriously talented people there who, every month, take on some pop culture topic to bust their chops on.
Jayson Weidel , who runs the collective, came up with the idea of Planet Pulp to have its own, physical show. People got really excited about the idea, and it looks like it will be happening in June (expect more from me on this later). The theme of the show is RED. You can do any pop culture subject you want, but the color red should figure prominently in the artwork.
So, I started thinking about Batman. I went to a small convention once where I stumbled upon Yvonne Craig who was selling autographed photos of herself as Batgirl from the 1960's series. She was a wonderful and lovely lady, and my framed picture sits on my book shelf ("Best Bat-wishes, Dave!"). I decided that, since I had Batgirl, I should have Batman, shouldn't I? So, I tracked down Adam West and ordered an autographed photo from him.
The photo became the reference for my creation for the RED show. I call it "Batphone RED".
The image is not of a gonzo Batman, but one that is somber and reflective..even though the color scheme does have that "mod" sort of sensibility. It feels moody and intimate, and I can almost imagine that blinking, red Batphone sitting on a table in front of him.
Although it wasn't intentional, the piece also reminds me of the wonderful portraits by one of my favorite Monster artists, Basil Gogos...which isn't a bad thing at all.
So, there you have it...my effort to give this version of our caped crusader a little justice.
I'll see you all next time...
...same BAT time...
...same BAT channel!