Over the summer, my parents moved to Korea. I ended up in my own apartment with my own car and the family dog. I ended up forwarding mail and having to take care of a lot of things that most college kids don't even think about. And I really enjoy the responsibility. It's stressful at times, but I like it.
But every once in a while, I need to relax. And every once in a while, I wish I could go back to sitting on my grandfather's bed watching Fox Kids on a lazy summer afternoon. Summers in Georgia bring back memories of vacations and time being spoiled by my grandparents, and everyone needs that.
So, over the summer, I bought Malt-O-Meal-brand bags of kid's cereals (off-brand Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, and Lucky Charms - the stuff that was reserved for summers and Saturdays) and found an online version of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. And then, the next day (well, I still had cereal and milk left...), I tracked down Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker - which reunited the voice talents from the original show. And, though it shouldn't be possible, it was as disturbing as MotP.
I grew up watching Batman. My generation is perhaps the most loyal to the series. We grew up with Batman: The Animated Series, the ground-breaking cartoon version. It was dark, it was edgy, it was as close to film-noir as a cartoon will ever get. It combined this 1930s detective feel with a pulp serial futuristic tone. Most people call it "art deco". I just know that I like it. It is the first American cartoon to have pistols instead of laser guns. It came to define many of the Batman villains - they're over-the-top, like all comic book villains, but they maintain their humanity, both in mind and body, making them the most believable cartoon villains of the past few years. I like Tim Burton, but I don't think he had any business directing Batman, and most kids my age agree. Mark Hamill is the Joker. And when he gave Heath Ledger's portrayal his blessing, there was a great sigh of relief let out on college campuses everywhere. Batman Begins is probably so popular in my age group because of how close it comes to being Batman: TAS. The music is inspiring - dark, moody, dramatic - it defined the series almost as much as the art style. It's music that has themes and builds off of them - the type of stuff lost on anyone who grew up after the introduction of the new Robin (yes, I occasionally classify age groups by the Batman they grew up with).
So, anyway, Batman is my childhood. So as I get ready for a final tomorrow and face the end of my second year of college (where did the past two months go, anyway?), I feel old. People born in a different decade from me are in college now. People who were born while I were in middle school are starting elementary school. I'm still a teenager...for a few months. And those months are flying by.
Now imagine my glee when, just as I need a break, even for an evening, I find six episodes of Batman - and the first few episodes - on DVD at Kroger for only $10. So, being a rational college student, I bought some pizza and the DVD. And so, if you'll excuse me, I've got some memories to live in and a pizza that's getting cold.