Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Batman '66

Go To

Batman '66 is a digital and hard-copy DC comic book series published from 2013 to 2016, featuring new stories set in the continuity of the Batman (1966) live-action TV series from 1966, famously starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Initially most stories were written by Jeff Parker, but later a wider variety of writers contributed. The series started out with careful copies of the TV versions of the characters, but later began to introduce versions of Batman characters introduced after the Silver Age, with changes to the design and concept to fit with the TV show's era and light tone.

Following the cancellation of the main series, it was brought back for a number of mini-series and one-shots featuring crossovers with other works of the era. Alongside its first run came a counterpart in Wonder Woman '77, a similar digital-first title featuring new stories set in the continuity of Wonder Woman (1975), now shown to take place a decade after Batman's adventures.

In 2021, DC announced a Spiritual Successor, Batman '89, further exploring the world of Batman (1989) and Batman Returns. Shortly afterwards, Superman '78 began, a comic set in the continuity of Superman: The Movie and its direct sequels.


  • Actor Allusion: In "The Tail of the Tiger Topaz", Catwoman hums to herself a refrain of "I Want To Be Evil", a nod to Eartha Kitt as this was the first time the comic depicted Catwoman in the likeness of Eartha Kitt who played her in season 3 of the original television series.
  • Adaptational Diversity: Following in the footsteps of the base show via Alfred requiring glasses, Catwoman being black on occasion and Zelda the Great rather than Carnado the Great existing, the comic continues by portraying Warden Crichton as a black woman and Mayor Linseed as a black man.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Holly Quinn, Harley Quinn's counterpart in this continuity, is a well-intentioned psychologist who sacrificed her own sanity to stop the Joker from driving Gotham mad using a machine she herself developed. A very mild inversion with her new identity, "The Harlequin"; in keeping with the series' Black-and-White Morality, she doesn't have any of the altruistic, romantic or good-hearted tendencies that Harley sometimes does, and is simply a Loony Fan of the Joker who aspires to impress him with her mayhem, though her villainy rarely goes beyond Poke the Poodle territory (stealing Girl Scout cookies, pizza, and the Commissioner's hotline to Batman; putting a whoopie cushion on Mayor Linseed's chair; ripping the tag off a couch cushion).
  • Adaptational Job Change: Basil Karlo is traditionally an actor, but the story where False-Face is revealed to also be this continuity's Clayface has his backstory being that he was a career criminal who ended up drinking a formula that enabled him to change his appearance.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The Clock King's real name is given as Morris Tetch rather than William Tockman or Temple Fugate, due to being Jervis Tetch AKA The Mad Hatter's brother in this continuity.
    • Harley's civilian name went from Harleen Quinzel to Holly Quinn.
    • For an example with a location rather than a character, Arkham Asylum is consistently referred to in this continuity as Arkham Institute and isn't called Arkham Asylum until the Wonder Woman '77 crossover.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • Poison Ivy's debut has her affiliated with the TV villain Louie the Lilac.
    • Waylon Jones, who becomes Killer Croc, becomes one of King Tut's henchmen and his crocodile nature becomes Egyptian-themed.
    • Alfred and Mr. Waverly from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. are revealed to be old friends and former colleagues who served in British Military Intelligence together during World War II.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: In "The Conqueror Bookworm", Bookworm is described as "That bibliophilic brigand, back to bedevil us!".
  • All Part of the Show: When Shame and his gang rob an old-fashioned train and its passengers, the victims assume it's part of the show.
  • Ambiguous Criminal History: "The Butler Did It!" begins with Alfred's criminal cousin Egbert being released from the Wayne Foundation Halfway House for the Halfway Corrupt. What crime he committed that sent him there isn't revealed aside from Alfred telling his cousin he deserved to serve time for it.
  • ...And 99¢: In "The Conqueror Bookworm", Bruce Wayne donates $ 4,999.99 to a charity.
  • The Aristocrats: Joker tells an Aristocrats joke during his stand-up routine in "The Joker's Big Show". We only hear the punchline, though.
  • As You Know: The "Lost Episode" one-shot has Batman remind Robin of Two-Face's origin for the reader's benefit.
  • Bad Humor Truck: "Mr. Freeze Breaks the Ice"/"Batman Doesn't Play Nice" has Mr. Freeze distribute his you-cooler devices to the citizens of Gotham while posing as an ice cream man, which turns out to be a front towards manipulating his customers into helping him freeze over Gotham City.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Harlequin asks if Batman knows how much balloons like hers cost when he tries to puncture hers. She also asks, if he knows, to tell her because she stole that one.
  • "Bang!" Flag Gun: The Harlequin's crime spree in "Night of the Harlequin" at one point shows her holding someone at gunpoint with a gun that has a "BANG" flag sticking out of the barrel.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the Wonder Woman '77 crossover, Ra's Al Ghul used the Lazarus Pits so much he's eventually deaged into a ten-year-old. Batman agrees with his "old chum" when he says "Holy be careful what you wish for".
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In "The Joker Sees Red/Batman Hunts the Dead", Robin expresses annoyance that the Joker doesn't know which person he's wronged could be the true identity behind the Red Hood. The Joker gives the defense that he's tormented so many people that it's hard to narrow it down.
  • The Butler Did It: Subverted. There's a story titled "The Butler Did It!" but the true villain is Alfred's cousin Egbert impersonating him.
  • Canon Character All Along: Surprisingly, the main series' final story "Main Title" manages to retroactively identify the generic criminals shown in the original show's opening sequence as characters who originated from the comics. The first three crooks punched by Batman and Robin at the start of the intro are revealed to be the Terrible Trio, the man with a sheet over his head is identified as the Shiner, the green villain is King Cobra, the red-haired mad scientist with a beard is Professor Achilles Milo (with one panel showing that he's wearing a wig and a fake beard, exposing his traditional black-haired look), the bald, bespectacled man is the Atom-Master, the mustached man in a brown suit holding a gun is revealed to be this continuity's version of Deadshot and the man in a blue shirt and cap is identified as this continuity's Signalman. It's particularly noteworthy that all of these villains actually predated the 1966 show.
  • Canon Immigrant: The comic adds '66-ized versions of several notable Batman characters created after the TV show ended, such as Bane, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, and even Lord Death Man from the Batman manga. It also adds Two-Face, who was scheduled to appear in the show but didn't, and Poison Ivy and Scarecrow, who were introduced in the comics during the show's run but never appeared on the show.
  • Cassandra Truth: Egghead finds a Time Machine and visits future museums. His only comment from the experience is that he won't trust a museum stating the Mets win the 1969 World Series.
  • Catchphrase: A reporter visiting Gotham for a press conference exclaims "Great Caesar's ghost!" upon seeing Batman, cluing readers to the fact he's Perry White even before he says he's from The Daily Planet.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The comic's version of Two-Face bears a distinct resemblance to the young Clint Eastwood, who was reportedly considered to play the character in the original TV show, until the proposal for a story featuring him was forbidden by executives who thought that his concept was too dark.
  • Composite Character:
    • The comic reveals False Face's true identity as... Basil Karlo, aka Clayface, from the comics, and gives him an in-universe power boost that makes him a complete shapeshifter. (Although he's much more obscure in that medium, False Face had appeared in the comics, and wasn't an original TV series character).
    • In the Legion of Super-Heroes crossover, the teenage hero of the 20th century that the Legion go back in time to recruit is Robin instead of Superman in his Superboy days.
  • Continuity Nod: One of False Face's deeds in "The Fiend is False" is to steal the Tiger Topaz, which Catwoman had tried and failed to do in a previous story. False Face even gloats about succeeding where she failed.
  • Crossover:
  • Darker and Edgier: While light-hearted overall, some of the stakes are surprisingly serious, and Holly Quinn's story ends on a bittersweet tone in that she had to sacrifice her own sanity to thwart the Joker's scheme, with doubts cast on whether her mental health will ever recover.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "The Tail of the Tiger Topaz" is a Batgirl solo adventure, wherein she foils Catwoman's attempt at stealing a priceless gem while Batman and Robin are off chasing a villain in Japan.
  • Decomposite Character: "The Joker Sees Red/Batman Hunts the Dead" has the Red Hood introduced as a criminal desiring revenge against the Joker and ultimately revealed to be Professor Overbeck brainwashed from donning his brain regulator after it had been corrupted by the Joker's insanity, when traditionally the Red Hood was the Joker's identity before he became the Joker.
  • Disney Villain Death: Lord Death Man's story has him fall to his death, though the last page shows evil laughter being heard near his grave.
  • Doing in the Scientist: This comic features much more explicit magic than the main-canon comics usually do. In particular, the origins of the '66 versions of Killer Croc and Bane are explicitly supernatural, with Killer Croc being a former minion of King Tut who was turned into a half-human half-crocodile by an Ancient Egyptian magic potion, and Bane's powers coming from misused Aztec magic rather than a Psycho Serum.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • In "Caught in the Widow's Web"/"Batman Fights the Penguin's Dread", the Penguin is convinced to help Batman and Robin defeat the Black Widow when Batman points out to the Penguin that the Black Widow is likely to kill him when she no longer needs their partnership.
    • In Batman '66 Meets The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Batman uses a recording of Hugo Strange to reveal to the villains Scarecrow, Olga, Siren, Poison Ivy, Egghead, Sandman and Mr. Freeze that they will be outranked by Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin in the T.H.R.U.S.H. heirarchy after the heroes have been fully brainwashed, which persuades the villains to side with the heroes against Strange, but not without betraying the heroes at the last minute.
  • Evil Twin: Egbert is Alfred's cousin but otherwise fits by being a Criminal Doppelgänger.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Professor Overbeck while explaining why he doesn't think his brain regulator "could have been used to make a whole group of people... hysterical".
    Professor Overbeck: One would have to connect it to a broadcast antenna like the kind I use for transmitting long dis... GOTT IN HIMMEL! Mein antenna is gone!
  • Fad Super: Harley Quinn's '66 costume is inspired by a 1960s Roller Derby costume.
  • Funetik Aksent: Characters with distinct dialects (Chief O’Hara, Professor Overbeck, and Poison Ivy) have their dialogue creatively misspelled to highlight their specific pronunciations.
  • Giant Novelty Check: In "The Conqueror Bookworm", Bruce Wayne uses one to make a donation. The Bookworm steals the novelty checkbook, forcing the authorities to tell the banks not to honor that kind of check.
  • Giant Spider: The Black Widow fights with a giant spider named Lulah in "Caught in the Widow's Web"/"Batman Fights the Penguin's Dread".
  • Godiva Hair: "Chandell's Chanteuse" has Batman hallucinate that Siren is a topless mermaid with her long hair obscuring her breasts.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: The Wonder Woman '77 crossover establishes that Bruce Wayne has retired from being Batman in the late 1970s because of an unfortunate tragedy where the Joker had broken into the Batcave, Alfred had a fatal heart attack from the incident and Bruce was driven by rage to outright kill the Joker. When pondering over whether he should get out of retirement, Alfred plays the part of the shoulder angel and advises Bruce that he can't keep punishing himself for what happened while the Joker serves as the shoulder devil and gloats that Bruce lost all credibility when he resorted to using lethal force on the Joker.
  • Halloween Episode: "The Short Halloween" (digital issue 46, print version exclusive to volume five of the collected edition), where a boy and his younger sister dress as Batman and Robin to stop a pair of bullies wearing Joker and Penguin masks stealing candy from the other children. The siblings manage to get the bullies in trouble, but fail to recover the stolen candy. On the bright side, the real Batman and Robin show up to commend the brother and sister for their efforts and provide candy to compensate the bullies' victims.
  • Hero of Another Story: One story features Daily Planet reporters. One of them comments that's "too bad Clark had to stay back in Metropolis to cover another story".
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lord Marmaduke Ffogg's plan to take over Gotham City is foiled when his own fog prevents his minions from realizing they were beating each other up.
    Batman: We never lifted a finger. Hoist by your own petard, Lord Marmaduke!
    Robin: Defeated... by fog!
  • How We Got Here: "Zelda's Great Escape!" starts with Batman and Robin buried in the sand and surrounded by scorpions. The scene changes to two days before, where they attend a magic show where they suspect the magician to be Zelda the Great operating under a new identity to avoid suspicion.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Egghead criticized Riddler for having "an eggcentric fixation".
  • Insistent Terminology: The Bat-Signal Batman uses to call Batgirl isn't pink. It's "fuchsia".
  • Inspiration Nod: The Harlequin has a "roller-derby" version of Harley Quinn's costume, complete with skates. The dream-jester version of Calliope Jones that Arleen Sorkin played on one episode of Days of Our Lives, which inspired Harley, also wore roller skates.
  • Irony: Bookworm breaks a TV by throwing a book at it in rage. The book in question? A self-help book about anger management.
  • It Has Been an Honor: In Issue #25, under the belief they'll soon die, Robin says it's been an honor to fight evil with Batman.
  • Joker Immunity: Ultimately subverted. As Bruce reveals in the 1977 part of the Wonder Woman crossover, an ever-escalating Joker learned his secret identity and invaded Wayne Manor to take him on directly, which caused the frail, aging Alfred to suffer a heart attack; Batman flew into a rage and beat the Joker more viciously than ever before. Whether he was murdered in the heat of the moment or had a fatal accident, Bruce was so horrified by the abandonment of his principles — what he saw as losing his way to anger, just like the man who killed his parents — that he hung up his cowl for good, fearing Batman "could no longer be trusted".
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Among the reporters who show up near the end of "Main Title" is a photographer referred to as "Petey", who is likely Spider-Man in his civilian identity of Peter Parker.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The As Long as It Sounds Foreign incantations from an ancient spell book used by Bookworm are phonetically pronounced to sound like the lead actors of the original TV show ("Yeevon Kregg", "Ah-Dam Wezt", and "Buhhrt Warhrrd"), the Written Sound Effects commonly used on that show ("Baham-Pouw-Krazh"), and the famous theme song ("Nanah Nanah Nanah Nanah B'aht M'nnn").
  • Mattress-Tag Gag: In "Night of the Harlequin", the Harlequin (the setting's version of Harley Quinn) is shown tearing tags from couch cushions as part of a montage depicting her one-woman crimewave.
  • Miranda Rights: Parodied. In Issue #39, the Archer steals police equipment and gives it to criminals. After handcuffing a cop, one of those criminals tells another one to read the cop's wrongs.
  • Monumental Damage: The comic's first False-Face story, "The Fiend is False", has False-Face attempt to blow up Mt. Rushmore near the end.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Thunderhawk is persuaded to turn on Shame when Batman says he can get Thunderhawk his researcher job back.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Bane story also features significant references to the wrestling-related Batman manga story "The Hangman of Terror".
    • The older, less sophisticated costumes Batman and Robin are forced to use in "To Be or Not to Be" are the designs originally created for the pre-series screen test.
    • "The Joker's Big Show"/"Gotham Goes Ho Ho Ho"/"The Dynamic Duo & Batgirl Say Hello" has Joker put on a comedy routine in Arkham Institute. While we only see the punchline for most of them, one of the jokes he tells is clearly the joke he tells Batman at the end of The Killing Joke. By the end of the story, Batman also states how the war on crime takes a terrible toll on "The Brave and the Bold".
    • While dealing with the Siren in issue #2, Batman gets an assist from his date Kathy who looks like a pre-crisis Batwoman due an illusion cast by Siren.
    • "Don't Change That Bat-Channel!"/"The Bat Host with the Most" ends with the award for the final episode of The Dark Knight Detective claimed on False-Face's behalf by an actor named Corson Belles, who is stated to have acted on a television show titled The Doom Patrol, which shares its name with a lesser-known DC Comics hero team.
    • When analyzing the plant toxin used on Louie the Lilac, Batman describes it as "A kiss... from a rose," a subtle nod to Seal's song "Kiss From A Rose" used in Batman Forever.
    • The Halloween Episode story, exclusive to the 46th issue of the digital version and the fifth volume of the collected print edition, is titled "The Short Halloween", in reference to the Batman miniseries The Long Halloween.
    • "The Osiris Virus"/"Batman on Papyrus" at one point shows tombstones bearing the names "Brand" and "Craddock", which happen to be the respective surnames of the undead DC characters Deadman and Gentleman Ghost. There is also a billboard advertising a film called Mud Pack starring Matt Hagen, referencing the second Clayface and the Mud Pack storyline in the original comics where the first Clayface Basil Karlo formed a partnership with the third and fourth Clayfaces Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller under the ulterior motive of gaining their powers to become the Ultimate Clayface.
    • Riddler's disguise in the Bane issue makes him look like John Astin, who portrayed him in season two.
    • The cover for "The Penguin Turns the Tables"/"Batman Shows He's Able" is lifted directly from the cover to issue 9 of Batman volume 1.
    • The final story "Main Title" is an overt homage to the original television show's title sequence and even makes the effort of retroactively identifying every criminal shown in the intro who isn't the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman or Clayface as an established villain from the comics.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Several villains come very close to winning at times.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: It's unknown whether writer Jeff Parker deliberately intended it, but any story drawn by Jonathan Case will inevitably depict Gotham's mayor as a caricature of Barack Obama. One story even had the Joker screwing around with his plans for Gotham's health-care funding!
  • Not in the Face!: Or "not in the beak", as the Penguin says.
  • Not Me This Time: In the very first story of the comic, the plot involves a cat-themed work of art and Catwoman is deemed a suspect because of that. She's innocent but cannot resist temptation after the Riddler is defeated.
  • The Nth Doctor: Alluded to in-universe. Catwoman and Mr. Freeze both appear in different comics with very different appearances... because Catwoman is based sometimes on Julie Newmar's and sometimes on Eartha Kitt's versions, and Mr. Freeze is based initially on George Sanders' version and sometimes on Otto Preminger's. Jeff Parker even talked about how he would enjoy not explaining or rationalizing the change, because the show never did!
  • Old Media Are Evil: Bookworm berates his henchmen for watching TV instead of reading books.
    Bookworm: Rotting your minds on television while a treasure trove of books sits unread?! No wonder your brains never put anything out! You simpletons never put anything in!
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Heroic example. Alfred beats up his evil cousin because he feels like, since they're family, he'd not be able to face himself if he let others decide his cousin's punishment.
  • Pocket Protector: The batarang in the back of Batman's utility belt prevented Bane from crushing his spine.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: "Showdown with Shame" has Shame complain about his Native American henchman Thunderhawk speaking more eloquently instead of sticking to Tonto Talk.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In Issue #54, "The Garden of Death - Part 1" ends with the following message to the readers: Do! Not! Miss! Part 2!
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Holly successfully wipes the Joker's brand of madness out of everyone by absorbing it herself, later becoming "The Harlequin".
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • The Mad Hatter and the Clock King are brothers here.
    • Egghead in this version is revealed to be the ancestor of the Legion of Super-Heroes villain Universo.
    • Betty of Archie Comics fame is Aunt Harriet's great-niece, and thus Robin's second cousin once removed.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The "Lost Episode" one-shot treats Two-Face as a regular enemy of Batman and Robin who had previous off-screen clashes with the Dynamic Duo in spite of the fact that he never appeared in the original television show (which is also true to Harlan Ellison's "Two-Way Crimes of Two-Face" treatment that the one-shot is derived from).
  • Secret Identity Apathy: After the Sandman has put Batman to sleep with his sand in "The Sandman Says Goodnight", his underling Aurora questions why the Sandman isn't taking the opportunity to unmask Batman. The Sandman explains that he has no desire to discover Batman's secret identity due to preferring to see his enemy as the disguise rather than the man wearing it.
  • Serial Spouse: It is established that Marsha, Queen of Diamonds has had no less than 52 husbands.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: After Batman thwarts his plan to blow up Mt. Rushmore at the end of "The Fiend is False", False-Face tries to deter Batman from knocking him out by assuming the likeness of Abraham Lincoln. It doesn't work.
  • Shoot the Television: In "The Conqueror Bookworm"/"The Inevitable Jail-Term", Bookworm breaks a TV set by throwing a heavy book at it after he sees Batman being interviewed on it.
  • Shout-Out: Egghead says "Valjean must have his Javert" upon facing the idea of not having Batman to match wits with. Robin gets the reference and tells Egghead he still can compare them to characters from Les Misérables.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: By the 1970s, Robin has become Nightwing (with his original "disco costume") and Batgirl is now known as Batwoman.
  • Something We Forgot: "The Groovy Grave of Solomon Grundy" ends with Aunt Hilda left in the open grave she fell into after Batman and Robin apprehend Solomon Grundy.
  • Southern Belle: Poison Ivy as always is an attractive villain and is depicted as having a Southern accent.
  • Spinning Paper: "A Stand-Up Guy" features a case of newspapers spinning into view with a headline about the Joker becoming a crimefighter.
  • Stealth Pun: In "The Clock King Strikes!", Batman and Robin go in through the belfry of the Big Ben clocktower to apprehend the Clock King and his goons. In other words, there are bats in the belfry.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: When Daily Planet reporters show up in Gotham for a press conference, one of them says Clark stayed in Metropolis to cover another story. Subverted in the end as Clark Kent is among the reporters interviewing Batman after the villains are defeated.
  • Time Travel: The crossover with the Legion of Super-Heroes involves this.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The Legion of Super-Heroes underestimates Batman's detective skills because he's from a "primitive" era and don't expect Robin to be useful to them because he doesn't have superpowers.
  • Unseen No More:
    • Lord Death Man is first mentioned in "The Tail of the Tiger Topaz", but doesn't physically appear until "The Garden of Death".
    • Killer Moth is mentioned by the Joker during his stand-up routine in "The Joker's Big Show"/Gotham Goes Ho Ho Ho"/"The Dynamic Duo & Batgirl Say Hello", but doesn't physically appear until Ma Parker breaks him out of prison alongside Solomon Grundy and Killer Croc in "Parker Breaks Out".
  • Viewers Like You: Parodied. In one story, False Face creates a TV series about Batman and Robin and plans to use it to kill the real heroes on live tv. He says it's thanks to "viewers like you" when he announces their upcoming demise.
  • Villain Ball: Lampshaded by King Tut when he leaves Batman and Robin buried alive and they explain how they escaped.
    King Tut: Why don't I ever simply stay and watch you die? I'm just too decent!
  • Waxing Lyrical: The ancient incantation Bookworm reads aloud as he fights Batgirl sounds suspiciously similar to a certain Baha Men song:
    Hulet Thidogz Owt! Hu Hoohoo Hu!

Alternative Title(s): Batman 1966