As a young lad I was, like many of my peers, enthralled with superheros and comic books. The tales of dashing dervishes and their daring-do was a perfect storm to capture the imagination of a child. One hero specifically caught my attention more than any other caped hero ever did– The Batman. Watching the animated series that was currently on television after school was what I looked forward to every single day, even if they were re-runs. I fell in love with the Batman universe, with it’s rouge’s gallery of vicious villains and the ability for Batman to always parse how to beat each fiendish foe.
Then, at about the age of eleven, I was introduced to the 1966 television series by my father. I couldn’t believe it– Batman had a TV show!? I was hooked immediately, and how could I not be? The captivating colors, the wonderfully cheesy but earnest dialogue, the set where I wish I could have been and the props that I wish I had. And, of course, the crown-jewel of the entire series Mr. Adam West.
I never knew a Batman quite like Adam’s before this. What I saw growing up was a gritty Batman– a fast and loose vigilante that played by his own rules. But Adam West’s Batman was much more than just a guy brooding in long underwear fighting criminals– he was a paragon of virtue and justice. He worked alongside the police to take down the criminals plaguing Gotham City, cleaning up the streets for the citizens he swore to protect.
And as Bruce Wayne– is there anyone even close? The mild-mannered millionaire was smooth, good with the ladies, but also had a keen sense for what was good and what was right. The world needed this kind of moral compass, and maybe it still does. Adam West’s acting was a major turning point in my appreciation for Batman and the amazing way that Batman can be portrayed in so many different ways.
But my appreciation for Adam West goes much deeper than just being a big fan of him on TV. Picture this; It was New York Comic-Con, 2012. I was in the bathroom and a man was washing his hands next to me. I look up to see who it is and it is Adam West. He meets my gaze, smiles, and says “Good afternoon, Citizen” right before he leaves the bathroom. I was in such awe that I couldn’t respond. That was perhaps the greatest day of my life. I didn’t have the money to go get an autograph from him and shake his hand, but this one kind gesture by Mr.West really stuck with me and will stick with me forever.
Rest in Peace Mr.West, you were a great Batman and an even better Man.
-Brendan C. Bush, co-creator and contributor at Heck Media