Hey Kids!! Comics: The Caped Crusader

It has taken a few days to process this and I didn’t expect it to “bother” me as much as it has. “Bother” doesn’t seem the right word, neither is upset. I was and am sad over his passing but not grief stricken but definitely affected by the death of Adam West.

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My season 1 of Batman ‘66 has been on a kind of constant loop in my house, as has Return of the Caped Crusader, and I pulled out my DC Showcase Presents Volume 3 of Batman (I only have that one volume) as those stories were published in the heart of the ‘60s Batman craze. I changed my Facebook profile picture to one I took with that series’ Batmobile and the wallpaper is now my Batman ‘66 Hero Clix of the West Batman.

clix

We all grieve in our own ways, for me this is as worked up as I get about a “celebrity” death. Though with the passing of Prince and Bowie their music got some serious rotation in our house.

Adam West always seemed to have quite the sense of humor about it although being the Caped Crusader seemed to have pooched his acting career, at the same time it seemed to be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Him. That is subjective of course, not counting marriage, births of children and grandchildren you know.

He was My First Batman which sounds oddly similar to when you discuss your “first Batman,” which sounds like talking about your first “Doctor,” as in Doctor Who. Mine was Peter Davison, by the way…

Of course as a child the Batman show was everything that you wanted, you took it at face value as For Real Super Serious Batman television. As you got older and you watched the show the “other humor” came out and it was just as fun.

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I was, by the way, never really a criticizer of the show but growing up in the era of Frank Miller’s Batman work I wanted a For Real Super Serious Batman movie and we got them. That was a Pandora’s Box of a trap that even the Caped Crusader couldn’t escape from.

The half-assed attempt to re-introduce “camp” into the Batfilm-verse with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin didn’t work because they didn’t work. Sure there were some good moments in those movies but those do not make a fun movie. You know what those movies were missing? Charm. Adam West had buckets of that.

What irks me is that Adam West didn’t get a cameo in any of the films. That scene in Batman when Robert Wuhl’s newspaper reporter Alexander Knox gets razzed by the staff cartoonist would have been a perfect opportunity for that. And yes I know that it was to have originally been Bob Kane in that role and considering the stories I’ve heard over the years I’m glad that Kane couldn’t do it.

Couldn’t have West portrayed the homeless guy that Christian Bale give his money and coat to in Batman Begins?

I’m not going to focus on that negative; Adam West voice-acting The Gray Ghost in Batman: The Animated Series was a much better part anyway.

gray-ghost-9

I never met Adam West at a convention though I did meet Burt Ward who was taking all of the fanboy adulation in stride. He even pushed it to make his flight until the last minute to get in as many people in as he could.

Adam West, came here (Indy) a year or so ago and I didn’t go to that particular con and do I regret it? No. There is no nostalgia burn to be found and it is what it is. IF I had met Mr. West at a con (and he was on My List that I would have paid to meet) I would like to think that it would go a little something like this:

The scene is Adam West in one of those secluded areas that they have at cons now; blue curtains, a stool for him to sit at if he wants to (he doesn’t), some water or coffee is available and a small table with various Sharpies to sign items. There are con handlers and a photographer. Enter Thomas.

Thomas

Hello Mr. West.

Adam West

Hello and call me Adam, old chum.

Thomas

(speechless that ADAM WEST JUST CALLED HIM “OLD CHUM!”)

Adam West

It’s nice to meet you too.

Handler to side wanting us to get on with it, Adam ignores them, wanting to give a fan a minute or two.

So what can I do for you today?

Thomas

IwantedtogetapicturewithyouandthankyouforbeingBatman and Iwanttogetan8x10signedthiswillgowithmyautographedBurtWardpictureathome.

Adam West

(following what was said surprisingly well, it isn’t his first rodeo)

Outstanding! That will be a nice set.

We pose and get a picture, Adam signs a b&w photo of him as Batman, we shake hands and I leave.

I generally refuse to pay to meet celebrtities, some of them are using the con experience as a much needed revenue stream, I get it. I met Peter Mayhew and he had the best policy: taking a picture with was free; he would sign the first thing for free but anything after that required a fee, and you could buy an 8×10 of him for the same price and he would sign it. I purchased a color 8×10 of him in costume, on set in a chair, shook his hand (those fingers wrapped around mine several times it seems) and was a blithering fanboy the whole time. It was Chewbacca!!!

me and pm
Some nerd and Peter Mayhew. Remember when those shirts were in style?

This all being said brings me to this: if you get a chance to tell an artist what their work means to you, do it. Of course you hopefully tell your friends and family this stuff and if you don’t what is wrong with you? These creators they get a lot of “You’re awesome!” type stuff. BUT if you get a chance to tell them that the One Episode of Season X real affected you or made you think or laugh or cry or by that extension this one issue of Some Superhero Comic Book was of Kirby level of goodness then tell them. Mostly it’s a gig for people and to know that gig transcended that…

Adam West

Well wouldn’t you want to know?

Thank you Caped Crusader, rest well, you’ve earned it.

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