It’s long been argued that DC’s animated universe offers a much more detailed, comprehensive look at its characters.
This deep dive into the real lives of over the top heroes and villains can be traced back to the 90s animated classic Batman: The Animated Series.
As the show celebrates its 25th anniversary, it’s time for a look at the full impact it has had on the comic book world.
First and foremost, the series introduced Batman fans to the definitive portrayal of the Dark Knight, Kevin Conroy.
Conroy has voiced Batman in series, movies and video games, always capturing the tense balance the hero has between vigilante and justice seeker.
For many he is the voice they hear while they’re reading comic books.
One of the series best attributes was how it offered a real look at the motivations of Batman’s rogues.
Viewers got to know Harvey Dent before he became Two-Face. They saw the heartbreak and betrayal that turned Victor Fries into Dr. Freeze. And of course, there were several episodes examining the Batman/Joker rivalry.
In a recent interview, Conroy stated that he and Joker actor Mark Hamill approached the characters as the yin and yang of the same personality.
Perhaps the show’s most genius moment came in the episode Joker’s Favor with the introduction of Harley Quinn.
Since her creation Harley’s become one of DC’s most popular characters selling tons of merchandise, and getting her own comics, movies, cartoons and even a roller coaster.
Voiced by Arleen Sorkin, Harley was an instant hit as The Joker’s girlfriend. Over the years she has evolved into one of Batman’s most clever and difficult nemesis in her own right.
Harley was the personification of the show’s brilliance at infusing comedy into one of comics’ most serious stories.
The balance between comedy and drama is what made the series so popular across all age ranges.
Batman: The Animated Series also offered a detailed portrait of the Bat family.
Barbara Gordon as Batgirl was given several episodes to grow as a hero. Fans got to see Dick Grayson transform from Boy Wonder into the more mature Nightwing. Viewers were also introduced to new Robin Tim Drake and got to know him in a way they couldn’t in comics.
The influence of Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano didn’t just stretch to Batman, it included the entire DC world.
Without Batman: The Animated Series there would be no Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Young Justice, Batman Beyond or countless animated movies.
You can also see the visual influence in films and TV shows where cities and characters basically copy what was done with The Animated Series.
Though Batman has been around for nearly 80 years, Batman: The Animated Series is the Rosetta Stone of modern-day Batman.
It all leads back to one 90s classic.