I know what you’re thinking. “That’s exactly what Batman needed: a goddamn listicle”. But the problem with being mainstream, and arguably the most popular comic book superhero ever, is that in over 75 plus years of existence there are some things even the most hardcore batman fan has missed out on. But fear not, in this short read I’ve pulled together a few iterations of Batman that I’m positive you haven't checked out yet.
1. Batman the Brave and the Bold
Way before Will Arnett made his debut as the sardonic Batman we all deserved and also needed, Diedrech Bader (The Drew Carey Show) voiced the Dark Knight in Batman: Brave and the Bold. Named after a comic book series that usually featured two superheroes teaming up together, the show followed suit and teamed up Batman with a bunch of B and C list heroes and villains, such as Elongated Man, Wildcat and the Red Tornado.
What really made the show work was the great tongue-in-cheek humour and the return to some much needed lightness in the Dark Knights life. The show was unfortunately cancelled after 3 glorious seasons.
2. Beware the Batman
Another ill-fated CGI cartoon series that was cancelled after just one season, this iteration follows Batman taking on a B lister rogues gallery in his formative years. What made this show so great was seeing Gotham from a completely different perspective. In this version of the Bat-verse, Alfred was a gun-toting former MI6 agent with a dark past. And in a strange turn of events, Bruce finds himself a personal bodyguard in Tatsu Yamashiro AKA Katana. This odd trio spends the entire season uncovering the secrets of her soultaker sword as well as Alfred’s relationship with Katana’s father. The greatest shame was the build up to the season’s secret villain, only to be revealed in the last episode as none other than Ra’s Al Ghul. Great voice acting, slick action set pieces and interesting villains, this is a must watch for all Bat-fans.
3. Batman the Telltale Series
My personal favourite from the lot, this game is easily the most unique take on the world of Batman. An ongoing series, Batman: The Telltale Series is a choice and consequence based game where you decide what kind of Batman Bruce Wayne will become. Set in his early years as the Dark Knight, we get to explore both sides of his persona and make the choices that will see him either become an apathetic and brutal vigilante, or an ethical and fair crusader. Both outcomes are equally fascinating, and we get a brand new take on a few things we’ve taken for granted all this time: Oswald Cobblepot and Bruce were childhood friends?! Were the Wayne’s really as good as everyone painted them out to be? The game is released episodically, thus making it feel like you are in control of the best damn Batman television show you’ve ever seen.
4. Batman (1943)
Most people only recall Adam West as the earliest live action incarnation of the caped crusader. However it was Lewis Gordon who first donned the mantle way back in 1943 for a 15 part serial that made Batman a household name to those who had not read an issue. The series made some elemental choices that have defined the Dark Knight since, such as the Bat Cave’s secret entrance through the Grandfather Clock in Wayne Manor.
There aren’t any familiar faces in the rogues gallery in this series, but watch it for the significantly darker storyline than the Adam West iteration, which has Batman face off against Dr.Daka, an evil Japanese scientist bent on causing havoc in a post Pearl Harbour-America.
5. 75th Year Anniversary Shorts
Bruce Timm is one of the greatest contributors to Batman lore having given us the Dini-Timm-verse version of the Batman animated series we all knew and loved through the 90’s. For the Dark Knight’s 75th anniversary, Timm returned to his animated style to release a one shot tribute to the legend. A black and white gothic noir imagining akin to the early incarnations of Batman, with Hugo Strange as the antagonist, we’d really love to see a whole show set in these times.
The second short was created by the late Darwyn Cooke. We revisit the Batman Beyond world, where Terry and Bruce must battle their toughest foe – Batman himself. Chock full of easter eggs, and with the original voice cast reunited, this short is painfully...short. It will make you want to rewatch the entire series yet again.
Do you have a favourite version of Batman we should have included here? Let us know in the comments!