Batman: The Brave and the Bold is an American animated television series based in part on the DC Comics series The Brave and the Bold which features two or more superheroes coming together to solve a crime or foil a super villain. As the title suggests, the series focuses on Batman's regular "team-ups" with various heroes similar to the most well-known version of the original comic book series. This version has a much lighter and simpler, often comic feel, targeting younger viewers more than the character's other series. The series premiered on November 14, 2008, on Cartoon Network in the United States, and ended on November 18, 2011. It also aired in Canada on Teletoon.
It was the first series produced by Warner Bros. Animation to be broadcast in high definition.
Each episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold features the main character (Batman) teaming up with other characters from the DC Universe to thwart villains or to solve crimes, the show focusing mainly on the inclusion of lesser-known characters. Most episodes have a cold open with an escapade not related to the remainder of the episode. In the first season, the villain was Equinox, who later returned in "Time Out for Vengeance!"; and in the second season, the villain was the alien Starro. During production, the show's creator said that if a character's cold open appearance was deemed successful, then it may warrant exploring the character further in a future episode's main adventure.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold ended after season three, which consisted of 13 episodes. After it ended, a new show, Beware the Batman, returned the character to a more serious tone. However, a new direct-to-video crossover with Scooby-Doo, entitled Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold, was released in 2018.
The show has no overarching story, instead having most episodes stand alone. The show is lighter in tone than previous Batman series, depicting the Dark Knight as more lighthearted and playful with a "dry, ironic wit". The show features various references to various depictions of Batman in media, including the 1960s Batman TV series.
While the tone is lighter, the series has touched on the subject of death with such examples as retelling the murder of Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne at the hands of Joe Chill, the death of the Silver Age Blue Beetle, the assassination of Boston Brand, the death of the first Black Canary, the execution of "Gentleman" Jim Craddock, and the self-sacrifice and deaths of B'wana Beast and the Doom Patrol. The tone of the series was addressed in the episode "Legends of the Dark Mite!", when Bat-Mite broke the fourth wall to read out this missive from one of the show's creators:
Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation, but it's certainly no less valid and true to the character's roots than the tortured avenger crying out for mommy and daddy.
Show creators have chosen to go with "lesser known" characters. In many instances, the characters are those that were repeatedly teamed with Batman in the 1970s run of the Brave and the Bold comic book, such as Green Arrow, Wildcat, Plastic Man, and even the Joker. Thus, the characters have an appearance and feel very akin to both of their Golden & Silver Age incarnations. While the show has featured major heroes such as the Green Lantern and the Flash, it consistently focused on the lesser-known individuals that portrayed the heroes, such as Guy Gardner and Jay Garrick, rather than the more popular, better known Hal Jordan or Barry Allen, until Barry appeared in the second-season episode "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!" (though this episode centers around Kid Flash and Jay Garrick) while Hal appeared in the first-season episode "The Eyes of Despero!" as well as the third-season episode "The Scorn of Star Sapphire". In the episode "Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases!", Batman even teamed up with Scooby-Doo and the Mystery, Inc. gang to defeat the Joker and the Penguin in a retelling of the two similar crossovers from The New Scooby-Doo Movies.
Additionally, Batman's alter ego of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne did not appear as an adult during the series in situations where Batman was unmasked. His face was kept hidden until the season 2 episode "Chill of the Night!" when Batman finally confronts Joe Chill. From this episode onwards, whenever Bruce Wayne appears, his face is no longer silhouetted (as in "The Knights of Tomorrow").
The series was not initially released on DVD in full season formats, like previous Batman series. A series of DVD volumes, with each containing 4–5 episodes, were first released. A two-disc collection of the first 13 episodes, season 1, part 1, was released on August 17, 2010. Season 1, part 2 was released on March 15, 2011, making the first season available both as separate volumes and two-part sets.
Season Two, Part 1, was released on August 16, 2011. It contained 12 episodes and did not contain "The Siege of Starro!". Warner Home Video released Season Two, Part 2 on March 20, 2012. It contains 14 episodes, including the two-part "The Siege of Starro!" and the season 3 episode "Battle of the Superheroes!". The final release, Season 3, complete, was released on June 19 the same year. The DVD also contains the unaired-on-TV season 2 episode "The Mask of Matches Malone!" as a bonus episode.
A Blu-ray set for the first season was released manufacture-on-demand on November 5, 2013, via Warner Archive. This was followed by a second-season manufacture-on-demand Blu-ray set on September 9, 2014, and a third-season manufacture-on-demand Blu-ray set on March 21, 2017. A first-season DVD box set was conventionally released on May 20, 2014, and a second-season DVD box set followed on April 7, 2015.
In January 2009, the first issue of Batman: the Brave and the Bold was released. The comic book follows the same format as the show, starting off with a brief teaser segment at the start of the book which features Batman teaming up with an additional hero for a short adventure unrelated to the rest of the issue. Several authors have contributed to the comic book series, including Matt Wayne, J. Torres and Landry Walker.
Certain characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel made appearances in the comic prior to actually appearing in the show, while other characters, such as Power Girl, Kid Eternity, Brother Power and Angel and the Ape, appeared in the comic without ever actually appearing on the show. In addition, the depictions of several characters in the comic book (notably Katana and Talia al Ghul and The Doom Patrol and Damian Wayne) do not match up with their television counterparts, something that Brave and the Bold director Ben Jones stated stems from the comic artists not being given character reference sheets from the show's producers.
The Batman: The Brave and the Bold comic series began selling in the UK on March 11, 2010, published by Titan Magazines.
In late 2010, the series was relaunched as The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with the new creative team of Sholly Fisch and Rick Burchett. In order to devote more pages to the actual story, the teaser segments from the first series were dropped. This incarnation of the title lasted 16 issues. The final issue is a Valentine's-themed story featuring Batman, Batgirl and Bat-Mite.
On January 28, 2014, La La Land Records released a 2-disc compilation of music from the series, featuring the musical scores for 12 episodes from the first and second seasons (including those of "Legends of the Dark Mite!", "The Mask of Matches Malone!" and "Chill of the Night!"). It is a limited edition release of 2000 units and can be purchased at the La La Land Records website.
A soundtrack exclusively covering songs from the musical episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" was released on October 24, 2009.
The main theme has also been included on The Music of DC Comics: 75th Anniversary Collection soundtrack.
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