Over the past 10 years, superhero fans have gotten dark reinventions of classic superheroes: Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy being a prime example of how a goofy bat designed for children can be turned into a brooding vigilante with something to prove. But what effect has all of this darkness had on long-time fans of superheroes? Do we need a rewind back to when crimefighting wasn't such a serious occupation? Do we crave the tight underpants and upbeat one-liners again?
Well, crave no more! There has been a recent trend of revisiting old favorites within both Marvel and DC universes, proving that fun, life-loving superheroes are back on the pages of comics and screens of cartoons.
Wonder Woman ‘77 Meets The Bionic Woman
This December sees the return of two lovable DC female heroes for a new teamup comic series, the just-announced Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman. An article on Gizmodo reveals that the series, from DC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment, includes the two heroic icons joining forces:
[The comic series] sees Diana Prince and Jamie Sommers tasked with collaborating on a quest to stop the sinister international cabal CASTRA from stealing top secret weapons and wreaking havoc around the world.
The creative team of Andy Mangels and Judit Tondora will apparently pay homage to the TV series that saw Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner showing how to rock kicking ass whilst wearing a smile.
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And Speaking Of Lynda Carter...
The original Wonder Woman just showed up for filming on Supergirl as the president of the United States, reminding us that she's been a powerful role model for decades — and reminding us that superheroes once had more glamorousness than dourness.
Return of the Caped Crusaders
Wonder Woman isn't the only team member of the Justice League to be getting a retro (un-)reboot, as Warner Brothers and DC Comics are travelling back to the simpler times of ‘60s television for their upcoming Batman cartoon. Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar are re-uniting as our favourite trio, Batman, Robin and Catwoman, in the animated feature Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.
The trailer highlights how the show will not steer itself into a dark, unforgiving abyss like the recent release of The Killing Joke did, but instead will remain true to the throwback vision of our favourite tights-wearing, bat-a-rang-throwing, caped crusader. Aside from Catwoman, we will be treated to more classic villains like The Joker, The Penguin and The Riddler as they all manage cause a small headache for the (not so) dark knight. To quote Robin; "Holy, un-holy alliance! Our greatest foes have reunited!"
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders will be released for your retro needs on digital release on October 11.
X-Men ’92 and Animated Spider-Man
It's not just DC who feel like they needed to revisit the good old days, as Marvel decided to grab a slice of the retro reboot action for themselves and expand on the '90s X-Men: The Animated Series with the X-Men ’92 miniseries, one of the many books that are part of the Secret Wars event. An X-Men ’92 ongoing series started this spring, and includes the team’s main heroes from the '90s TV show: Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Wolverine, Rogue, Beast, Jubilee and Gambit.
Marvel also has decided to feel the nostalgia of the old Spider-Man cartoon, as they've announced an untitled animated film to be released in December 2018. The plot and characters are top secret for now, but let's pray that the movie provides us with as many meme-able Spider-Man moments as the '60s cartoon did!
Is It Perfect Timing For A Huge Retro Reboot?
The dark nature of recent superhero films has left us all a little down. We haven't felt the magic of a truly camp hero film in years! But is there a reason for that?
Yes, yes there is...
Everything was great in the Batman universe in the '80s and '90s with Tim Burton's famous bat films. The first was a masterpiece (especially Jack Nicholson's campy but chilling portrayal of The Joker), and Burton had managed to balance the right amount of creepy and campy to keep us entertained without overdoing it.
But then Joel Schumacher created a film so campy, so "humorous," so lighthearted that it ruined the idea of fun superhero films for everyone. I still have a bad taste in my mouth for camp films due to Batman and Robin, that atrocious piece of film work. Clooney's nipples, the Bat credit card and disgusting one-liners left everyone feeling like camp was the wrong direction for superhero films, and thus the idea of making Batman no fun at parties thrived with Nolan's re-invention of Gotham and the Dark Knight (this time, very dark).
We all needed the dark, brooding Batman to wash ourselves clean of the over-the-top nature of Batman and Robin — but are we now regretting going so dark?
With the recent negative reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it's no wonder that a trend for rebooting old, happier classics has arisen. We'd delved so deep into the tortured nature, morals and politics of superheroes that we had forgotten the original magic of the comic books and films. We'd all become a little too adult, and I believe it's certainly time to embrace our inner comic book-loving children once again.
So bring on the animated films and brighter colors and expansions of '60s and '70s and '90s universes, because I think with all the negative in the world right now, we could use a little superhero magic!
Are you looking forward to the new campy superheroes, or is there no such thing as too dark for you? Let us know in the comments below!