Monday, July 16, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Prep: Bat Bat and The Bug Wonder

For reasons unknown to science, in the late 1980's someone let Ralph Bakshi and John Kricfalusi (of Ren and Stimpy fame) make a Mighty Mouse cartoon.  It's run was brief, and it went down in a hail of PMRC bullets when some killjoy thought Mighty Mouse smelling a handful of flower petals was him snorting Scarface piles of cocaine.  Which it was not, but this was Nancy Reagan and Tipper Gore's America, airing in the same time when people really believed in hidden messages in metal albums, and so the show disappeared.

World's Finest?

If Mighty Mouse is a Superman analog (and he is), then he needs a crime-fighting pal. Bakshi and his crew obviously had their eye on Batman comics at the time, giving us a pretty well post-Miller Bat Bat, but with more than a hint of Burt Ward in The Bug Wonder (the red, tick-like fellow atop Bat Bat's shoulder). 

This was all during an era where Bart Simpson was still considered terribly edgy and bad for children, when cartoons were mostly considered strictly juvenile entertainment. The goofy satire and riffing on old serials and whatnot was surely lost on the kids who were supposed to be watching the show. But with a soft spot in my heart for Mighty Mouse, I'd tuned in - and I thought the show (when I could catch it) was pretty great.

You at least need to skip to 0:49 to see Mighty Mouse calling upon Bat Bat for assistance.

You also have to like how he drives the "Manmobile".

In my possession I still have the Wendy's Kid's Meal collectible Bat Bat.


Paul Toohey said...

I have no recollection of this...

My dad apparently loved the time in the Batman tv show where Robin said "holy olio batman", which this episode has lifted.

The League said...

I think you can feel the fingerprints of fans of West and Batman in general on the episode, but I had no idea that was a reference. Good golly.

Matt A. said...

I loved me some of this Bashki Mighty Mouse back in the day. I particularly always got a kick out of the episode start music. Thanks for refreshing my memory!

The League said...

@matt - I'd completely forgotten, but I think you were the one who turned me onto the show.