I was teaching a workshop in Pittsburgh this weekend when the news of Adam West‘s sudden passing broke. It is no exaggeration to say that his 60’s TV show “Batman” was what got me hooked on comics as a very young kid, and probably is the reason I am a cartoonist today. After many years of disdain heaped on the campy nature of that show by “real” Batman fans it was great to see it embraced by so many in the last few years as the nostalgia factor finally kicked into high gear. That show was a wonderful and beloved take on a character that can be interpreted in many different ways.
I got to meet Adam and spend a whole weekend signing autographs next to him promoting a film he was in and I did some artwork for. The movie was called “Super Capers”, and it was a superhero spoof starring a lot of recognizable faces from old Sci-Fi or action shows and other movies… Justin Whalin, Danielle Harris, Samuel Lloyd, Michael Rooker, Clint Howard, June Lockhart, Tommy “Tiny” Lister and a lot of others. Adam had a memorable cameo in the movie as a cab driver (driving the 60’s Batmobile as a cab of course). I did some art for the semi-animated movie title and a flashback scene in the film, plus some set artwork and a 13 page promotional comic book.
The film’s producer and director Ray Griggs got a booth space at Wondercon in San Fransisco that year, and invited me to come and sit there to sign this promotional comic along with some of the stars of the film. Included was Adam West. When I told him I worked for MAD he told me he was thrilled to have been on the cover and to have had “Batman” parodied back in the 60’s. I showed him how I had drawn him in the various Batman movie parodies I had done for MAD, just as a fun cameo. He laughed and said he was honored. We chatted a bit about the show and I listened all weekend to him tell stories to people who came up to get his autograph. It was very surreal to get to spend so much time around someone who had such and impact on me as a kid.
Here’s that 13 page comic I did, which features Adam in his cab driver/retired superhero character towards the end. My pal Tom Nguyen helped me out with the inks:
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