August 12, 2008

Have I Got a Rehash of a Story for You

Update: Apparently I'm an asshole, and the adaptation of a previous story has been plenty acknowledged in reviews and the bonus DVD itself, as Johanna points out in the comments. So read the post below if you like to snicker at ignorant, reactionary fan babble.

We've been Netflixing the pants off of Batman: The Animated Series for the past year or so, and got a new disc this week for the second half of the 1998-99 Season Four (or Season Two of The New Batman Adventures, whatever organizational rules you go by).

The first episode on this disc is called "Legends of the Dark Knight," and is about a group of Gotham kids who all claim to have some insider knowledge of what the Batman is really like, and try to one-up each other with stories of their own first- or second-hand amazing interactions with the Caped Crusader.

Sound familiar?

Not that I've scoured the internet for relevant discussions, but I've read quite a lot about the Batman: Gotham Knight anime film (in addition to watching it twice), and I've never seen a single person comment on the fact that Josh Olson's chapter, "Have I Got A Story For You," is a fairly direct rip-off of that 10 year-old BTAS episode. There are a variety of substantive differences of course, and Olson's story was one of my favorite on the DVD, but part of that had been my impression of its originality. I suppose it's an idea that multiple people could have independently, and stories are adapted from other stories all the time, but I'm still a little let down that there was no acknowledgment that one of the stories is just an update of an old show.

Anyway, I feel obnoxious for even mentioning it, but it kind of bummed me out, especially since I liked the anime so very much. I kind of feel like a teenage Fugees fan in 1996 who goes to college and hears Roberta Flack for the first time. Or whatever.


Elwood said...'s been so long since I've watched my BtAS dvds that I didn't even pick up on that. I remembered the episode where the Peguin, Joker, etc. all got together and talked about beating the Batman, tho.

Comics do this, too...recycle stories every handful of years. It sucks, but it happens.

It's like with jokes, though...if it's told well, it's funny every time.

Anonymous said...

Nope! I've got that one, and it's from the Seventies, called (I think) "The Batman Nobody Knows". It's like a four-pager: Bruce Wayne takes some kids out camping (??) and they start telling stories about what Batman's like...then Bruce puts on his Batman suit (!!) and jumps into the firelight to scare them, and they all laugh at him.

Great comic!

Anonymous said...

Not that it helps at this point, but the review of Gotham Knight at CWR did mention it, as well as the "Batman Nobody Knows" story. The two-disc edition of Gotham Knight even includes the animation episode in question, so they're not hiding their influences (which means I think calling it a "rip-off" is a bit harsh).

Evie said...

Oh, heh, well then call this a reactionary post for which I did not do adequate research. I even have the two-disc set, and just hadn't watched the whole thing. Thanks, Johanna :).

Anonymous said...

It's ok by me -- passion is understandable. And I liked your Fugees comparison.

The two-disc set is a LOT of material to get through. That's why the CWR review required two writers, neither of whom was me. :)

Anonymous said...

That you didn't do "adequate research" bothers me not at all, since I am a nerd on the Internet and live to chime in!

What I didn't know is how beloved this bit of Batmania is -- I thought I was the only one who ever read that story, or something.

Ah, community! I've heard about it, but never expected to see it up close...