1980s Super Friends Episode Tells Batman’s Origin For The First Time On TV

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In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out if a classic episode of great friends was a backdoor pilot for a new Batman cartoon.

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and twenty-eighth episode where we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions.

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COMIC CAPTION:

The Super Friends episode, “The Fear”, was a backdoor pilot for the Batman animated TV show.


STATUS:

Technically wrong, but very close to being right

While Batman’s origin was first revealed in Detective comics #33, I am personally in favor of Batman Version #1, because they’re changing the first panel so it’s not a teaser for the main story of Detective comics #33. It still kinda weirds me out that Batman’s first origin has a big panel for an unrelated story at the top of the page…


He probably remains the greatest origin in superhero comic book history…


And the amazing thing is that the origin was never shown outside of the comics until September 1985!!!

It is then that the Super Powers: Galactic Guardians (the new name of the last season of the great friends animated series, designed to tie into the Super Powers line of action figures), “The Fear” debuted on September 28, where Batman reveals to Robin and Wonder Woman his origin for the first time…


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It’s pretty heavy stuff for the great friendswhich led people (including reader Mike G., who wrote with the suggestion) to believe it was a backdoor pilot for a new Batman animated series.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, a backdoor pilot is when an episode of a TV series is really secretly a pilot for an entire OTHER series that spins off from the main series (the theory being that if you disguise it as a regular episode of a popular series, people will be more inclined to watch it and hopefully become invested in the new character/situation you are introducing in the episode). I have a whole feature highlighting backdoor drivers. “The Fear”, which was written by brilliant animation scriptwriter Alan Burnett (who later played a key role in Batman: The Animated Series in the early 1990s as a writer and producer, then co-created both The New Adventures of Batman and batman beyond), of course, it’s like it’s a pilot for a new TV series, because it’s so much darker than a typical Super Powers episode and it specifically spotlights a single character, Batman.


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The truth is, however, that he wasn’t meant to be a backdoor pilot, but that’s only because he had already been busted as a backdoor pilot before the episode was animated . It was originally written as a backdoor pilot, but Hanna-Barbera turned it down, so it was rewritten to be more of a Super powers episode, with Vicki Vale’s lines rewritten for Wonder Woman.

My buddy John Trumbull had the details in his incredible oral history of Batman: The Animated Series in issue 99 of TwoMorrows. However, while it wasn’t technically a backdoor pilot, it ultimately worked out that way, as it proved that you CAN make a dark Batman story for children’s TV and it did. was a key part of driving home the idea that Batman: The Animated Series could work seven years later.


Thanks to John Trumbull and Alan Burnett for the information!

DISCOVER A FILM LEGENDS REVEALED!

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MORE LEGENDS!

OK, that’s it for this episode!

Thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I actually don’t even have anymore, but I used it for years and you still see it when you see my old columns, so that’s fair enough to thank him again, I think.

Feel free to (hell, please!) write in with your suggestions for future installments! My email address is [email protected] And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can also ask me for captions there! Also, if you have any correction or comment, feel free to email me as well. CBR sometimes emails me with emails they receive about CBLR and that’s fair enough, but the fastest way to get a fix is ​​to just email me directly, honestly. Corrections don’t bother me. Always better to get things accurate!


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See you next time!

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