Holy quar­ter-cen­tury!

SFX - - Features -

2017 marks the sil­ver an­niver­sary of one of the most ac­claimed of the Dark Knight’s in­car­na­tions – Bat­man: The An­i­mated Se­ries. Af­ter 25 years, the show re­mains, for many, the de­fin­i­tive take on the char­ac­ter and his world. De­vel­oped by Bruce Timm and Eric Radom­ski in the wake of Tim Bur­ton’s Bat block­busters, BTAS em­braced the di­rec­tor’s retro-fu­tur­ism but re­placed his goth­icism with what would come to be known as “dark deco” (in which Timm’s min­i­mal­is­tic fig­ures moved across back­grounds painted on black rather than white pa­per).

The show in­tro­duced the world to Har­ley Quinn – cre­ated by writer-pro­ducer Paul Dini with Timm – and brought psy­cho­log­i­cal com­plex­ity to char­ac­ters like Mr Freeze, Clay­face, Poi­son Ivy, and Two-Face, while pit­ting Mark Hamill’s belovedly bonkers Joker against Kevin Conroy’s un­flap­pable Caped Cru­sader.

“Bat­man,” says Dini, “looks at a lot of the vil­lains and says, ‘There but for the grace of God go I. Be­cause I had the re­sources and I had the drive and maybe I had a lit­tle some­thing in my heart or in my mind be­yond what they had.’

“So he does un­der­stand that he’s a lot closer to these vil­lains than peo­ple would think. That’s why un­der­neath he’s got a bit of com­pas­sion for them. If they can be re­ha­bil­i­tated, he would like to see that rather than see them de­feated or locked away or ex­e­cuted. There may be a way back, to some de­gree, for all of them.”

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