If you ever want to take a look at the most promising unused ideas in comic movie history, you need only peer into that golden window between the late ‘70s and early ‘90s. While Warner Bros and DC Comics’ partnership made hits like Superman: The Movie and the duology of films pertaining to Michael Keaton’s Batman, there were still ideas and concepts that never saw the light of day. But all of that is about to change as both Keaton’s Batman and the Superman portrayed by Christopher Reeve are about to return with new stories, thanks to two new lines of comic books that I can't help but be excited about.
Announced by DC Comics themselves, Superman ‘78 and Batman ‘89 are basically the ‘80s and ‘90s kid equivalent of the Batman ‘66 book that’s DC ran between 2013-2016. Telling new stories, with fresh spins on everything from heroes to villains, the iconic worlds of Richard Donner and Tim Burton’s respective comic franchises are going to be revived in era appropriate style. And in the case of Batman ‘89, screenwriter Sam Hamm, who helped write Michael Keaton’s debut as the Caped Crusader, will be on hand to dream up these new stories.
Batman ‘89 seems to have the most details to announce at this point, as not only is Selina Kyle/Catwoman being promised as a returning presence, but new variations of Two Face and Robin are also waiting in the wings. And while we’re still wondering if Michelle Pfeiffer will return to her iconic Batman Returns role, or if Marlon Wayans’ Robin and Billy Dee Williams’ Two Face will make their live-action debut in The Flash film, this comic series just might be the way that all of this long anticipated magic can finally happen.
As the various DC Comics personalities behind these books are celebrating, we’re also seeing some more sneak peeks into what Superman ‘78 and Batman ‘89 are supposed to look like. The covers for both books have dropped, and sure enough, it’s like you’re looking at the posters that helped push these brands back at your local multiplex. But some further points are scored in the case of Batman ‘89, as series artist Joe Quinones dropped some of the material he’s been hard at work on for these now unveiled projects:
Between a Joker Gang led by none other than the late Prince himself, and notes on how Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne look is meant to meld together his Batman persona with a look straight out of Batman: The Animated Series, the possibilities are already so exciting to behold. While the actual Keaton will probably continue to dance around the subject of his return in The Flash, at least we know that he’ll be back in the printed, four panel world of DC Comic; and Christopher Reeve will be coming with him.
July 27th will see the first six chapters of Superman ‘78 and Batman ‘89 heading out to the world through DC Digital First, with the remaining six chapters releasing on the platform on a weekly basis. But if you’re a print fan, don’t fret; as individual issues, and hardcover collections will be available before the year is out.