1989 The Number, Another Summer

Sunday is June 23rd and you know what that means! For those of you that went on dates in high school here’s a hint:

Imagine how difficult it was putting together the jigsaw puzzle I got for Christmas that year.

That’s right! It’s the 30th anniversary of the release of Warner Brothers smash hit movie “BATMAN!” I don’t think it’s necessary to go into all of the stuff about the movie itself. You can making-of documentaries or read about it in any of the many articles you can read by Googling “remember Tim Burton’s ‘BATMAN.'” But I will highlight what it’s impact had on me.

From a purely cinematic level it introduced me to some people with whom I would become obsessed with throughout high school, namely Tim Burton and Danny Elfman. I had already seen “PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE” and “BETTLEJUICE” in the theater but it was this movie in particular that captured my attention. Had I not burdened myself with evangelical religiosity as a youth I probably would have embraced the aesthetic of Burton’s visuals and Elfman’s sounds and been labeled a goth. Instead I attempted this awkward and unsuccessful balancing act of being the person I wanted to be with the person I thought I should be. As they are both pretty important figures to geek culture I will probably discuss them both individually later on.

But “BATMAN” had an influence on me far greater than increasing my awareness of those artists. It was the movie that really solidified my love of superheroes and it really made me deep dive into comic books. I had read a handful of comics at that time and I already had a subscription to “Groo the Wanderer” coming in the mail but this was the experience that prompted me to go around the corner from the General Cinema theater that showed the movie and into Titan Games & Comics. It was there that I picked up my first Batman comic which was also my first trade paperback: the collected “Batman: A Death in the Family.” The die was cast, my fate was sealed. The summer of 1989 was the breakthrough year.

I did not get to see “BATMAN” on June 23rd, 1989. We were having dinner at a Mexican restaurant that night. But at that dinner my parents and I made plans to see the film the next night. So for me my day of celebration will be June 24th. Celebrating 30 years of “BATMAN” will probably be less of an endurance test than when I celebrated 30 years of “STAR WARS.” That was a rough one.