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Silver Age Batman (1964-1969)

/content/features/87/1.jpgBatman's "Silver Age" began with the introduction—under the stewardship of DC editor Julius Schwartz—of Batman's more realistic "New Look" in 1964 (on the occasion of Batman's 300th appearance in Detective Comics. Carmine Infantino developed the "New Look" Batman, which dominated the 1960s. Equally influential on Batman in the '60s was ABC's half-hour Batman TV series, developed by producer William Dozier in collaboration with writer Lorenzo Semple, Jr. The show's concept was to play for laughs the colorful action and inherent absurdism of comic books, but with poker-faced, fuddy-duddy heroes pitted against hammy villains. When Batman premiered in January 1966, everything changed for the Caped Crusader; the runaway hit sparked the first wave of Batman hysteria and—to many in the general public—branded Batman as a figure of camp for decades.

In the comics, Batman drifted away from Bob Kane (and his team of ghost artists) and Bill Finger. Both continued to contribute, but writers Gardner Fox, John Broome, and Ed Harron were ascendant along with Infantino and inker Joe Giella. The '60s also saw the development of certain Batman characters. The Scarecrow, for instance, returned after an absence of nearly two decades. Villain Poison Ivy (1966) and Batgirl Barbara Gordon—daughter of Commissioner Gordon—meant a new femme fatale and a new heroine for the Batman universe (the Silver Age Batgirl premiered in 1967's Detective Comics #359). Aunt Harriet predated the TV series by two years, Blockbuster first threatened the Dynamic Duo in 1965, and Cluemaster and the Wayne Foundation debuted in 1966.

/content/features/87/2.jpgWhile Superman-Batman team-up title World's Finest continued unabated, the popularity of Batman also allowed the character to claim DC's long-running title The Brave and the Bold. Since 1950, The Brave and the Bold had featured superhero team-ups, including occasional appearances by Batman, but as of the October-November 1967 book, every issue teamed Batman with another character (this formula continued until the titled folded in July of 1983, with issue #200). Here, Bob Haney handled most of the writing chores, and a young artist named Neal Adams began illustrating Brave and the Bold covers at this time. The groundwork was being laid to reclaim Batman's serious roots as the dark avenger of the night.


Works Cited

Kane, Bob. Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives—Volume 1. New York: DC Comics, 2003.

Meyer, Richard "The Brave and the Bold: Four Famous Co-Stars" The Brave and the Bold Review. 2003. (27 May 2005).

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