Filmmaker and actor Kevin Smith is no stranger to the world of writing comic books. Check out what he and Ralph Garman have to say about their new digital first series, "Batman '66 Meets The Green Hornet."
Q1: We’ll try to keep it simple: What are your Top 5 Favorite Batman Stories?
Kevin Smith: Oooooph.
I know, it’s not that simple, right?
Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman: *Laughter*
RG: Uh, why don’t you go first, Kev?
KS: Top 5 Favorite Batman Stories, let me see. Number one, well, do you count all four issues, or just one large story? The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller’s seminal work about Batman.
Second favorite Batman story ever told, let me see. The Killing Joke by Alan Moore, one-shot.
Third greatest Batman story ever told, Batman/Green Hornet crossover from the old Batman TV show. It’s what we’re sequel-izing with our comic book.
KS: It is! I don’t even say that ironically. It was huge for us as children; it was a major crossover between Batman and other heroes. You only ever saw Batman and Robin and his villains, suddenly they introduced another masked avenger. So this mask is culturally important, and pop culturally important I should say, and also fun as heck. So I’d put that number three.
Fourth greatest Batman story ever told is Year One. Batman: Year One. I’ll probably take a lot of crap online for putting Batman ’66 before Year One. But it’s in the top five, kid, what do you want from me?
And then number five I would put, let me see, well you’d have to give it to I guess The Dark Knight, the Chris Nolan movie with Heath Ledger and uh, what’s his name, the yell-y British guy?
RG: *laughs* Christian Bale?
KS: Christian Bale.
RG: *laughs* Yeah, those are all good. We share some of them. I mean the Dark Knight Returns, huge comic book, obviously. Let’s see, I always loved The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. I thought that was a great book, it kind of changed the way I saw the character.
Boy, the series had such a big impact on me that several episodes would probably be some of my favorites. The 1966 Batman movie, was the first time I ever saw Batman and Robin take on more than one villain and in terms of having like the four major villains: Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler all teaming up against him made a huge impact on me as a kid.
And I guess I’d do the Tim Burton Batman, too. In terms of Batman stories, it was such a big cultural event, it kind of brought that mania back to modern pop culture and was such a major event, we were all looking forward to it so much that I also would put it—it’s is a big deal for me. I don’t know if that’s five, but I think it is.
That was four!
RG: That was four?
You get one more!
RG: It would be, Kevin and I agree on this one, Batman/Green Hornet original TV crossover in the 60s was a big deal because as Kevin points out, that was like our Avengers—it was the first time we saw superheroes sharing a screen together. We had seen Superman on television, Batman on television, but to see two crime fighters fighting side-by-side, that was a major event.
To elaborate on the Batman/Green Hornet crossover, you two have an upcoming miniseries BATMAN ’66 MEETS THE GREEN HORNET starting soon. Were these shows your first introduction to Batman?
KS: This was my first Batman. There of course, naturally, Batman existed in comic books but this was the Batman that I was first exposed to. The one that I fell in love with. Started watching at age 3 or 4, recognizing him on television, on this colorful show, funny angles, the villains, the heroes, great stuff. So, Batman ’66 as we now colloquially call it, we didn’t call it that back the—we just called it ‘Batman.’ Batman—this version of Batman—was the one that first stole my heart. So, you know, getting to work on it in comic book form is kind of a dream come true. But Ralph goes even further back with this version of Batman.
RG: Yeah, I’m a little older than Kevin. So, I was actually alive during the first run of this show, and, you know, my parents would prop me up in my highchair in front of the TV, and the family legend is that the very first song I ever sang was “na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na.”
You know, Kevin sort of evolved as Batman did, he grew up and found all the different incarnations, and so did I, but for me the first, the 60s one, was the first one I ever fell in love with, and it remained first and foremost in my heart. I’ve got a huge collection of 60s Batman memorabilia here in my home, and Adam West has become a friend, largely because of my stalking, and it’s just always been a big part of my life, so this, for me to able to participate in this, was a dream come true.
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