Why BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES Is the Most Influential Cartoon Ever

Batman: The Animated Series debuted in 1992. Since then there have been numerous other takes on the character. Some of them have been wildly popular and successful. Yet many fans of the Dark Knight still consider the cartoon version to be the greatest iteration of the character ever. That’s high praise for one of the most iconic superheroes in history. And yet, that might actually be selling the show short. It wasn’t just an amazing series that launched multiple spinoffs. It’s a show whose impact is still being felt across comic book pages, video games, television, and film. Not just within the DC Universe either. And in this episode of Animation Investigation we explain why Batman: The Animated Series is worthy of being called the most influential cartoon ever made.

Join host Hector Navarro as he looks back at the beloved, award-winning series and what separated it from other comic book cartoons that preceded it. From kicking off the massive, connected DC Animated Universe, to treating its comic book characters seriously, to giving its villains backstories that made them empathetic and real, the cartoon escapades of the Caped Crusader appealed to both kids and adults alike. All with a style that made it look unlike anything else on TV.

Joker, Batman, and Harley Quinn from Batman: The Animated Series
Warner Bros./Nerdist

That’s why the show was great unto itself. But its legacy goes far beyond that. It had an impact on the entire superhero industry in every medium. One you can still see in every franchise. Seriously, go ahead, tell the biggest Marvel loyalist why “the MCU wouldn’t exist without Batman: The Animated Series.” Then watch them stammer through a totally ineffective counter. Even if the Kevin Conroy-starring show isn’t someone’s favorite (though it certainly is many peoples’), its outsized influence is undeniable.

No wonder they’re bringing it back. It has inspired three decades of superheroes everywhere. Now it’s time to inspire a whole new generation of Batman fans.

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