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Tuesday September 28, 2010 12:43 am

Batman: Gotham City 14 Miles

Yvonne CraigMark Waid says it best in the blurb he wrote for the book I most want this Christmas. Says the man from Boom! Studios: “I now have a new book for my ‘Five I’d Take to a Desert Island’ list. Gotham City 14 Miles is the perfect companion to my favorite pop-culture phenomenon of all time!”

In case you need an explanation, 14 miles is the distance from the Batcave underneath “stately Wayne Manor” to Gotham City in the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Gotham City 14 Miles is the title of a forthcoming book of essays about that TV classic, edited by my pal Jim Beard.

Inside, Beard’s bunch offers up a thoughtful reevaluation of the 44-year-old show, one of the first big comic book successes on the small screen. The series had an impact not just on pop culture, but on the DC Comics Batman as well. According to Beard, “essays examine Batmania, camp, the role of women, the show’s participation in ‘60s counter-culture, its many celebrated actors, its lasting cultural effects, and other critical subjects.”

Editor Beard has assembled a wide range of comics historians, writers and Batmaniacs to dissect the show and its place in pop culture and Batman history. Contributors include Chuck Dixon, Robert Greenberger, Paul Kupperberg, Will Murray, Peter Sanderson, Jennifer K. Stuller, Bill Walko, Michael S. Miller, Robert G. Weiner; Michael D. Hamersky, Michael Johnson, Becky Beard, Jim Beard, Joseph F. Berenato and Timothy Callahan. There’s an afterword by Jeff Rovin (former editor for Atlas Comics and The Weekly World News). The cover is by M. Mrakota Orsman.

Beard’s goal is to resurrect the Batman TV show and give it some much-needed attention, and also to prove that just because Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan have given the world a darker and more serious Batman doesn’t mean the 1966 version needs to be vilified “as an embarrassment that needed to be swept under the rug.”

This sounds like a fun book, put together by a guy who says he’s “just a guy who digs Batman. And I hope it shows.” Here’s an interview with Beard where he provided the A’s to my Q’s.

And here’s another one at Cary’s Comics Craze that has lots of good reading in it.

Gotham City 14 Miles will be published by the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization in December. It’s available for Diamond pre-ordering right this very minute, so don’t delay. It’s a 300-page monster of a book and Christmas is right around the corner…

[Artwork: Yvonne Craig as Batgirl]

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