Despite an attempt on his life by Mark Waid, “Batman ’66” writer Jeff Parker settled into his seat in CBR’s WonderCon Tiki Lounge to discuss his and artist Jonathan Case’s DC Comics digital-first title based in the world of the classic Adam West television series, how meeting West as a kid may have helped him land the writing gig, introducing new villains and characters from the DCU to the TV series’ universe and more.
On the response the series has received from fans and pros alike: “I don’t think [DC Comics] realized how big it was gonna be. People have been waiting for a comic book version of this show for a long time. And then, boom! They even announced on, traditionally, not a great day to announce things. Friday’s usually when you say someone got fired. But then, still, Twitter just lit all up, just my in-box exploded — it was great.”
On when fandom came around to embrace the “Batman” TV show after reviling it for so long: “Probably right after ‘Dark Knight Rises.’ I think everybody realizes, it’s like we can accept multiple versions of things. It’s like, nowadays you notice lead actors don’t get as typecast as they used to be. They can play something — [Christian Bale] can play Batman and he can play something else and everyone doesn’t keep calling him ‘Batman’ all the time… But Reeves, back in the ’50s — that was it! As far as anywhere he went, he’s Superman, all over the place. And now — and maybe that has finally kind of extended to the characters themselves, that people think, ‘Oh, good – I can have a lighter-hearted Batman, I can have my serious catch-all-the-serial-killers-Batman and it can all exist together.'”
On translating the television show’s various tropes and distinct identity to comics: “I think a lot of people are expecting I’m gonna follow the format exactly, and I’m not, because that would chew up a lot of comics time… [Y]ou would have no room to tell the story in there. And also, everyone would feel like they already know what’s gonna happen. They would think, ‘Oh, well — there’ll be a death trap, and they’ll use their utility belts and get out of the death trap and then blah blah blah.’ It kind of kills the excitement… I’m taking out individual bits of those, and bringing them in in different places. It’s all still there, but it’s not a sequence. You won’t feel like you’re reading a formula.”