This Friday night is the premiere of "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," the new Cartoon Network animated series that revives a classic brand that always brings a smile to my face. "The Brave and the Bold" comic book was one absolute all-time favorite with its monthly conceit: A team-up between Batman (who, ironically, is the ultimate DC Comics loner) and some other superhero, be it the classic top-tier characters like Green Lantern, Flash or Wonder Woman or more offbeat and obscure types, such as Kamandi, Metamorpho and Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter. Neal Adams, the greatest Batman artist ever, did some memorable work on the series (Especially those covers in the late 1960s and early 1970s! I put a few of them after the jump, so click below to check them out.) and the steady and underrated Jim Aparo proved to be adept at drawing any hero in the DC stable with a relaxed expertise. As a kid, I also loved staring at the logos for each guest-star hero and trying to trace them, which explains why all of my vintage issues have bad indentations on the covers …
Anyway, this new "The Brave and the Bold" animated series has a nice, fresh feel to it and (judging by the response of my 7-year-old son, Ben) the retro art and non-threatening action are great for little guys. These frames here with good old Plastic Man and Gorilla Grodd are from the second episode, which airs Nov. 21. Other heroes featured in early episodes include Blue Beetle, Adam Strange, Green Arrow, Wildcat and Dr. Fate.
There’s so much superhero content in pop culture now that isn’t kid-friendly that it cab be a bit frustrating as a parent. For example, the toy aisles were overflowing with action figures for "The Dark Knight," which made it difficult to explain to my elementary-age kids that no, sorry, that movie is not for you. The same with "Revenge of the Sith," which was way too dark for my lightsaber-loving son when it came out a few years ago. This new "Batman" show (as well as "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" series, also on Cartoon Network) give him sleek and satisfying entertainment and (thankfully) they are both so good, I can watch them with him without wincing or checking my watch.
Here are some of those classic Neal Adams covers from "The Brave and the Bold":