I’m in the process of completing an exciting costuming project. For several years, I’ve coveted a quality replica of the Batman costume worn by Adam West in the 1966 television series. After tracking down patterns made from the screen-worn costumes, several shopping trips to locate matching fabrics, and finally finding an affordable cowl, my Batman costume is complete! Not only that, but my son is equally excited about being the Boy Wonder (though he was a little hesitant about the bare legs). My wife and daughters will soon be clad in Catwoman, Batgirl and Riddler costumes, too.
I remember watching the 1966 Batman series at ten years old and thinking, “I’m too old for this.” Now, at thirty-four, I can’t get enough. This colorful, campy version of the Caped Crusader is perhaps my favorite incarnation. It hearkens back to a time of moral certainty. While various villains continually plotted their nefarious schemes, Batman and Robin were “good guys” by every definition, duly deputized officers of the law who obeyed traffic signals and helped little old ladies cross the street.
When I compare these classic do-gooders to many modern superheroes I’m often disappointed. Take Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy for instance. I enjoyed the movie as much as everyone else, especially the sound track. However, the Guardians lack the moral integrity I long for in a hero. They are thieves, murderers, and generally self-severing. Although, they ended up stopping the big bad guy and saving the universe, their moral ambiguity is highlighted by Starlord’s question, “What should we do next: Something good, something bad? Bit of both?”