Saturday, February 7, 2015


Just as I did with the comic-book BRAVE AND BOLD last post, I wanted to find a representative episode of the 2008-2011 Cartoon Network teleseries BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.

To the lover of DC Comics esoterica, B:TBATB was a cornucopia of daffy pleasures. The writers went out of their way to stress the wild, campy elements of superhero comics, though with a very different approach to "camp" than that of the 1966 BATMAN teleseries.

But of all the series' many strong entries, it was never better-- or "campier"-- than the 2009 episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister."  The plot is fairly simple: Music Meister (cunningly voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), a criminal able to enthrall others with his singing, plots to use a special broadcasting device to gain control over everyone in the world.  But the simplicity allows Batman and his guest heroes, Black Canary and Green Arrow, the freedom to indulge in all the deliberate artificiality of musical theater. In fact, the artificiality of such musical tropes as non-diegetic tunes can be fairly compared to a superhero trope like the "villain puts the heroes into a death trap but doesn't stick around and watch them die."

The songs are all fun doggerel-style tunes, and there's a cool subplot in which Black Canary's affection for Batman finally turns to Green Arrow, which any fan worth his salt should appreciate.

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