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D: Leslie Martinson C: Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether

The vigilante is a child of the Civil War. No longer under the protection of the state, the Democrats formed the Ku Klux Klan, its purpose the same as Black Lives Matter, to strike fear into the heart of the black man, who doesn’t know that if he don’t vote for his master, he ain’t black.

As we all know, black people and criminals, which is virtually the same thing, are subhuman, and as such superstitious (or at least religious) the white sheet and bat mask at the same time protecting the pillar of society against exposure. In time, the masked man became less offensive to the public – he did, after all, protect the haves against the have-nots – and his exploits more fantastic.

A super-hero must have a super-criminal to fight, the two no longer being merged into one (as in the character of Dr. Mabuse). This made him appeal to a younger audience, shifting from pulp fiction to the comic strip.

Still, it didn’t stop him from invading the movie serial, serving as an appetizer for the main feature – as these became longer they went out with the cartoon. The latter having found a new medium in television, someone got the idea of reviving the serial, a decade before STAR WARS (1977) in a marathon screening of BATMAN (1943) as AN EVENING WITH BATMAN AND ROBIN.

The audience, having become accustomed to such adult entertainment as A HARD DAY’S NIGHT (1964) laughed demonstratively. Perhaps enticed by the suggestion of a pederast relationship between Bruce Wayne and “his young ward”, it was gratefully received by the gay community as “camp”, the meaning of the French expression “se camper” being to be ostentatious – at this point homosexuals were generally content to be the life of the party, without beating up anybody.

All of a sudden, the Caped Crusader was all the rage, self-parody for a while being the only accepted means of expression, as straight-bashing is today. A short-lived television series followed, this being the movie version – of course, today Batman has again become popular as the staunch defender of a Fascist society against Trump and Occupy Wall Street.

BATMAN THE MOVIE is, admittedly, quite funny, relying heavily on the straight-faced reactions of the cast to the somewhat exaggerated absurdities of the genre (as in a typical Bond movie) Adam West and Burt Ward remaining the definitive Batman and Robin. Faced with challenges like fighting exploding rubber sharks with Bat Shark Repellent supplied by Robin from the Bat-copter, they can hardly find time for their Bat Lunch.

Of course, the arch-villains haven’t yet evolved into the misunderstood psychopaths, who became popular in the twenty-first century, thus being easily overcome by a few onomatopoeia with matching cartoon effects. Who can forget Batman’s desperate attempt to harmlessly detonate a bomb, thwarted by the omnipresent Salvation Army?

“Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!” Then there are the Riddler’s ingenious clues, trying the crime fighters’ powers of deduction to their very limits.

“What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree, and is very dangerous? A sparrow with a machine gun!

Yes, of course.” We’ll let Robin have the last word.

“Holy jumble! Where’s the hope of the world now?”

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