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Comic Book / Batman '66
aka: Batman 1966

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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. It also got a Spiritual Successor in Wonder Woman77, a similar digital-first title featuring new stories set in the continuity of the 1970s Wonder Woman TV series.

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Tropes:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Harley Quinn in this continuity is a well-intentioned psychologist who sacrificed her own sanity to stop the Joker from using a machine she developed to drive Gotham mad.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Harley's civilian name went from Harleen Quinzel to Holly Quinn.
  • 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • ...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. We only hear the punchline, though.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Harlequin asks if Batman knows how much baloons like hers cost when he tries to puncture hers. She also asks, if he knows, to tell her because she stole that one.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the Wonder Woman 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".
  • The Butler Did It: Subverted. There's a story titled "The Butler Did It!" but the butler's cousin is the true villain.
  • 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. Two-Face, who was scheduled to appear in the show but didn't, and Poison Ivy, who was introduced in the comics during the show's run but never appeared, also debut here.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Evil Twin: Eggbert is Alfred's cousin but otherwise fits.
  • 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.
  • 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 up each other.
    Batman: We never lifted a finger. Hoist by your own petard, Lord Marmaduke!
    Robin: Defeated... by fog!
  • How We Got Here: Issue #24 starts with Batman and Robin buried in the sand and surrounded by scorpions. The scene changes to two days before.
  • 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".
  • 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".
  • 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" "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 #25, the Harlequin (the setting's version of Harley Quinn) is shown doing this 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.
  • Mythology Gag: The Bane story also features significant references to the wrestling-related Batman manga story "The Hangman of Terror".
  • Near-Villain Victory: Several villains come very close to winning at times.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Race Lift: Poison Ivy's nationality was unspecified in the comics but here she's a Southern Belle.
  • Related in the Adaptation: The Mad Hatter and the Clock King are brothers in the comics.
    • 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.
  • Shoot the Television: In Issue #16, 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.
  • Spinning Paper: Issue #52 features a case 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.
  • 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

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