Sunday Mailbag

December 11th, 2011 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: Knowing that you’re a huge Batman fan, which version of Batman (TV or movie) do you feel came closest to living up to the character and who would be your favorite villain? Also, I know you’ve had some of your work animated, but did animation itself ever appeal to you as a career?

A: Please forgive the self-indulgence of answering a more personal opinion question here. Let’s take the second one first, as it’s the more pertinent professional query. I never considered animation as a career because I don’t have the patience for it. I might have been able to do character design given proper study and application, but it just didn’t interest me much. If anything, I think I’d be best at storyboarding animation as I enjoy graphic storytelling more than anything else. I have gigantic respect for those that do work in animation, as it takes enormous talent and skill to do so. I guess I’ll just continue to be a fan of great animation and enjoy it from the theater chair or my couch.

As to the Batman question, this comic I did for the ISCA magazine Exaggerated Features pretty much say it all:

Click for a closer look…

Click for a closer look…

Click for a closer look…

I did that before seeing Batman Begins or, of course, The Dark Knight Returns. I liked the first film a lot and loved the second. Best of the live action stuff IMHO, but nothing beats the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm version from Batman: The Animated Series. The perfect blend of the peak of human physical potential, mental detective skills, use of great wealth for equipment and advantage, and the vengeance driven psyche without going overboard with the darkness and psychotic angle. Greta stories, great style, great show. To be fair, I never watched The Batman, Batman Beyond or The Brave and the Bold shows.

Favorite bat-villain: it’s not a very original opinion but the Joker is the greatest comic book villain ever created. Ever. Period. End-of-story.

Actually, I do love the old 60’s show and can appreciate a comic take on the character. That cartoon above was done from a traditional comic-book fan’s perspective, which usually accounts for zero sense of humor about their beloved characters.

Thanks to John Nelson for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!


  1. Hrishi says:

    Hey tom,great stuff as usual. it’s uncanny how you get even the tiniest details right! bat kilmer and bat clooney are recognizable a mile away. Batman beyond and The batman are pretty good but nothing on Batman TAS.

  2. Mark Engblom says:

    Tom- You owe it to yourself to check out some of the Brave & The Bold episodes. When the show started up a few years back, I was thinking it would be just a “kiddie” version of Batman. True, it’s definitely more kid-friendly, but the show was just BURSTING with love for the more straightforward, zany, and fun era of comics, commonly associated with the “Silver Age”. Trust me, check out four or five episodes and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I mean, come on, when they got Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) to do the voice of Bat-Mite, that was a group who knew what they were doing. Another great highlight of the series was how it so perfectly captured the Silver Age art styles, such as the blockier Batman face or the Jerry Robinson-esque Joker. Great stuff!


I’m in LA doing back to back Caricature workshops. Here’s the class illustration of workshop no. 1. Visit for all the details and to see where others are scheduled in 2018!

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