Though I'd seen a few comic books in my youth, my first exposure to the Batman phenomenon was in 1989 when I saw Tim Burton's Batman on the big screen. From that moment on, Michael Keaton captured the duality of Batman for me - playboy by day (as bazillionaire tycoon Bruce Wayne) and crime fighter (Batman) by night.
Then in 1992, Batman: The Animated Series really drove home the comic legacy of the Batman character. Paul Dini and around 30 other writers took Gotham City from the pages of DC Comics and breathed life into the heroes and villains that walked its streets. It was really the series' four seasons that Batman graced my television screen that made me appreciate the depth of what DC Comics and Bob Kane had created from the late 1930s to today.
In 2008, a new chapter of Batman animation would unfold as Batman: The Brave and the Bold. But where previous incarnations of the world were portrayed in a serious vein, this new series amped up the campy, fun nature once seen in another Batman television product starring Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin in the 1960s.
The Brave and the Bold uses Batman (voiced by Diedrich Bader of The Drew Carey Show) as the straight man while still managing to incorporate the classic heroes and villains of the DC Universe with humor. Now DC Animation and Warner Brothers are releasing the first 13 episodes of season one in a two-DVD set, Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Season One, Part One.
In the first 13 episodes, we see an amazing array of heroes share the stage with the Dark Knight. We meet the Blue Beetle (Will Friedle, Batman Beyond, Kim Possible) as he's just getting used to his alien powers; Plastic Man (Tom Kenny, SpongeBob SquarePants) who's constantly struggling with his criminal side; and the Red Tornado (Corey Burton, who seems to have been in 100+ different cartoons over the last 30 years) who is an android trying to understand what it is to be human.