Benjamin Franklin said only two things in life were certain: Death and taxes. I think he could’ve added that there will always be a Batman cartoon on the air, though Franklin died 149 years before The Dark Knight debuted in Detective Comics No. 27.
My contention that there’s always a Batman cartoon on the air doesn’t quite hold up either. The last one was Beware the Batman, a computer-animated series which Cartoon Network pulled off its schedule in 2013. (The series, including seven episodes that were burned off on Adult Swim’s Toonami, can now be seen on HBO Max. I’m catching up on that someday.)
But with a new Batman movie set to be released in 2022, WarnerMedia is launching a new animated series as well. And this one has some star power behind it. According to DC, Batman: Caped Crusader has been ordered for HBO Max and Cartoon Network, going straight to series. No pilot episode and series order necessary.
Presumably, this means the show will be broadcast on Cartoon Network and stream (with episodes archived) on HBO Max. When exactly Caped Crusader will debut wasn’t part of the announcement, but with The Batman premiering March 4, 2022, it’s easy to imagine that the series will follow later in the year.
Speaking of The Batman, director Matt Reeves is part of this animated project as an executive producer with J.J. Abrams. The Hollywood Reporter‘s James Hibberd reminds us that those two worked together on Felicity and Cloverfield.
But the other executive producer who will surely get Batman fans excited is animator Bruce Timm. Timm was the creative force behind the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, which ran for four seasons on Fox Kids and lives on via Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming. He also oversaw three seasons of Batman Beyond from 1999 to 2001.
That’s probably why it doesn’t feel like an animated Batman has been missing from TV for nearly eight years. Timm’s animated series, in addition to the Superman, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited shows, are widely available.
Other non-Timm Batman cartoons include The Brave and the Bold, which aired on Cartoon Network for three seasons from 2008 to 2011, and Justice League Action, another Cartoon Network series that ran from 2016 to 2018. (OK, so it’s been more like three years since we’ve seen an animated Batman on TV.) Additionally, DC has released of dozens of animated movies during the past 14 years, many featuring Batman, including adaptations of the famous “Year One” and “The Dark Knight Returns” comic books.
Prior to Beware the Batman, The Batman aired on Kids WB from 2004 to 2008. (Theme song by The Edge!) Amazingly, I never watched this show. I blame going back to school because it certainly had nothing to do with outgrowing cartoons or my love of virtually all things Batman. Although I recall not liking the animation style (especially a Joker with dreadlocks). It’s yet another thing I’ll have to catch up on via HBO Max.
So I guess this is a long way of saying I’m looking forward to a new Batman cartoon, even if I’m much older than the target audience. (Even though there is plenty of animated Batman that I can go back to or catch up on.) Also, kudos to the promo art for Batman: Caped Crusader paying tribute to the cover of Detective Comics No. 31. (At least I think that was the intention…)