Is a Doctor Who/Banacek mash-up your kind of story? Well, even if it isn’t, “The Mis-Adventures of Adam West” will be worth checking out.
Coming this July from Bluewater Productions, the series co-created by Adam West — the man, the myth, the legend who portrayed Batman in the 1960s television series — features a fictionalized version of the pop culture icon solving mysteries, saving the universe and “slamming people’s heads into metal objects” all in a day’s work after receiving an exotic amulet from one of his fans.
Co-written by West and screen scribe Reed Lackey (“The Victim”), “The Mis-Adventures of Adam West” features art by Russell Dauterman.
CBR News spoke with West about his venture into comic book writing and the potential of Burt Ward, who played Robin opposite his Batman, possibly coming along for the ride. The 82-year old actor is, of course, no stranger to fictionalizing his personal life as he currently voices Mayor Adam West for the hit TV series, “Family Guy,” though doing so on the printed page is a new experience.
In a candid interview with CBR News, West shared his thoughts on the long-awaited and highly-anticipated release of “Batman” on DVD, the Christopher Nolan “Dark Knight” movie franchise and his recent team-up with Dolby and Facebook.
CBR News: First off, can you share the secret origin of “The Mis-Adventures of Adam West?”
Adam West: [Bluewater] actually called me — I think it’s because my agent had known them or knew them and knew that I was interested in doing some kind of comic book or graphic novel. I keep trying to do new things all the time. I love to work with young people with fresh ideas. As you no doubt know, I’m the Mayor of Quahog and a bunch of other things, but I’m always looking for new ventures and Mis-Adventures. So yes, they called my agent and he approached me and I said, “Yes, of course. I want to look at this. I want to see what these people can do.”
And over the months, they have submitted designs, concepts, some of the text and the tone of it to me, and I like it. I think it’s really good. I told them that it has to be a little tongue-in-cheek, it has to have some fun because in a way, it’s just showing a side of Adam West. It’s another acting job in a sense, because it’s just me playing a character, which is based on me. But as you know, I’m not usually slamming people’s heads into metal objects and things in real life.
“Usually” being the operative word.
[Laughs] Yes, usually. Only when they threaten my dog or something.
So what can we expect from this series? This fictionalized version of Adam West is some sort of dimension hopping/time traveling do-gooder, correct?
I don’t want to give too much away, but in a sense, yes. What this whole thing with Batman has become for me is an opportunity to be creative in so many directions. And like Batman, this fictional Adam West has all kinds of levels, don’t you agree? Batman could come out of a black hole in some galaxy. So could Adam West. Or how about this? Adam West could come back in an issue of “The Mis-Adventures of Adam West” through the library window of Wayne Manor on the wings of a bat or something to offer the younger Batman some help with something that has happened that’s just gone by his abilities. There are so many directions you could take with this.
I could find a small, magic ukulele or jewel encrusted guitar. [Laughs] And stroke it for a couple notes, and maybe something magical will happen. Who knows?
You’re listed as co-writer on the series, but how involved will you actually be in the process?
They’re using my image, my name, my persona and some ideas that I have and may have in the future.
Are you happy with your comic book likeness?
Yes, pretty much. I think it flatters me. I don’t look that good in real life [Laughs].
There’s one great panel from the first issue of you standing tall with your chest puffed out. It looks like you could easily slam some people’s heads against metal objects.
Yes, again, I’ve been doing some of that lately in the morning just to prove that the drawing is appropriate.
You mentioned possibly teaming up with Batman in the series. What with stringent copyright laws today, is that really a possibility?
I have a feeling he could. Bluewater will get some kind of permission or licensing, momentarily, to do that.
If that’s the case, maybe Adam West can match wits with Peter Griffin from “Family Guy” in an issue too?
That’s good [Laughs]. I never thought of meeting up with Peter Griffin. That’s funny.
A few years back, you starred in “Return to the Batcave: The Mis-Adventures of Adam and Burt” with Burt Ward. Is this series connected to that show at all, and more importantly, will Burt Ward play a role in “The Mis-Adventures of Adam West?”
I don’t think so, but I’m not sure. You never know which direction this might take. He could come in a dream sequence. Or a nightmare. [Laughs]
The high concept for this comic book series could also see its origins tied to “Lookwell,” the “Brilliant But Cancelled” pilot from the 1990s that you starred in that was written by Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel. Maybe Adam West could visit the set of “Conan.” He loves comics.
Conan is always open to working with me. And by the way, you mentioned the “Lookwell” pilot. People keep telling me how funny it is. I know it kind of had a comedic turn that wasn’t expected, but I loved it. It’s the one pilot that I really wanted to do.
“Lookwell” was sadly never made, but “Batman,” of course was on the air for 120 glorious episodes. Yet, because it’s never been released on DVD, legions of fans, young and old, haven’t been able to enjoy it , some for the first time and some to relive those great memories. Do you have any idea when we might see “Batman” come out on DVD?
I guess FOX and Warner Bros. have been trying to sift that one out. I think it’s simply a matter of dividing up the pie. I’ve heard that they’re very close to an agreement and they’ll be bringing it out. In the meantime, because they haven’t and people have been screaming for it, I did “Adam West Naked.”
But of course, you’re right. People want “Batman” released on DVD and I think it will happen. “Batman: The Movie” is available and it’s always sold really well. But it seems most people have seen that.
The buzz has started for “The Dark Knight Rises,” the next Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman movie with some recent cast announcements. Do you continue to follow the character and the blockbuster movie franchise?
I really don’t go out to see them. But I usually see bits and pieces on DVD here and there because, yes, across the board, I have tried to keep up with things and know what’s going on with pop culture and to see what folks are doing with Batman. But, you know, I was the Bright Knight! [voice lowers] Not the Dark Knight. It’s too explosive.
It’s funny you say that, because I’m definitely more of a Superman guy than a Batman guy and the only take on Batman that really resonated with me over the years was yours. It’s another reason why I want “Batman” to come out on DVD, because my children are not going to see “Dark Knight” anytime soon, but I’d let them watch you Batusi.
Well, thanks. They don’t seem to understand that. There is so much talent, money and expertise associated with the new movies, but they don’t understand something, which is, to get something that lasts and that every generation enjoys, across the spectrum, it has to have some tongue-in-cheek moments or humor or irony or a little absurdity for adults to laugh along with.
Finally, what can you tell us about Dolby Update Theater?
Again, they just called my agent and said, “What are you doing?” And what I’m going to do will be a little Bruce Wayne moment. You know, Dolby has merged with Facebook and that high quality theater sound, I guess, is now going to be translated somehow electronically to your TV, PC, gaming devices. So what they’ve come up with is Dolby Update Theater, in which this Bruce Wayne kind of guy, me, will read your status updates, those that are inventive and fun and funny and imaginative and that the editors like.