Sure, "The Dark Knight" star Christian Bale has cemented his status as the big-screen incarnation of Batman these days, but for anyone who remembers a time before Christopher Nolan — or even Tim Burton — got their hands on Gotham's guardian, Adam West was (and in some cases, continues to be) the Batman.
The star of the campy 1960s television series that played a big role in making Batman a household name, West has managed to keep himself active in the pop culture eye for decades now with on-screen television, movie, and commercial roles, and numerous voice-acting gigs. One of the most popular recurring characters on the hit series "Family Guy" (he voices an eccentric version of himself who happens to be the mayor of fictional Quahog, Rhode Island), West has somehow managed to avoid adding a comic book project to his resume... until now.
"The Mis-Adventures Of Adam West" will debut in Spring 2011 from Bluewater Comics as an ongoing series co-written by Adam West, Walter Fernandez Jr. and Arastao Maree. I spoke with West about the project, which will send him on a dimension-hopping adventure featuring encounters both fictional and within his real-life history, and received an exclusive preview of several covers from the upcoming series.
"I never in a thousand years dreamed they'd do any kind of comic book about me," laughed West, who said "all is possible" when it comes to the fictional stories overlapping with his real-life career.
"That's what I wanted: something that was more Walter Mitty or 'Pink Panther,' with adventure the kids will love, and action," he explained. "For example, an adventure might be based on him meeting Batman and how he feels about it. . . He might even be meeting himself as Mayor West on 'Family Guy,' and laughing at it or along with it. There are so many ways to go, as you know — especially with the audience today. I have this incredibly wonderful fanbase out there, and I know they'll love this."
According to West, he won't be writing the series, but instead oversee each chapter of the story and "make changes as I see fit" — which comes as no surprise, given the semi-biographical nature of some potential story elements. He also acknowledged the somewhat tricky nature of referencing his past roles and projects in the series, but indicated that there shouldn't be any confusion when it comes to his dimension-traversing visitation
"He could meet a graphic depiction of the actor who plays the new Batman," said West. "He'll probably meet a lot of people like that, I have a feeling."
Though West admitted he's an infrequent comics reader, he said it was the experience of fellow long-lived pop culture icon William Shatner that finally brought him to the comics world — and more specifically, to Bluewater Comics. The publisher previously worked with Shatner on a comic book version of his "Tek War" series.
"They did Bill Shatner's comic book, and I thought it was done quite well based on his persona, and I thought they could do a really good job with me," he said. "Especially because they were really interested and gung-ho about doing it."
Most surprising to me, however, was West's late arrival to the comics world — something that seemed like a no-brainer, given his background. While West's version of Batman has made the occasional cameo in various stories (the "Crossing Worlds" arc of Wildstorm's "Planetary" series comes to mind), this is his first "official" creative credit in the medium.
The actor said he's always been open to new creative forays like this, but it's simply taken this long for the right opportunity to come around.
"I've had 40 years of this nonsense, and when something comes along and it's interesting to me and fresh and new, I want to do it," he said. "I've hung on for along time in this business and had some success, and I think it's keeping an open mind and being curious and having a sense of humor about oneself that's important. So anything new — any day that I can try to do something interesting and something that might give me a step up creatively — I like it."
"Oh, and also the money," he laughed.
"The Mis-Adventures of Adam West" kicks off in Spring 2011. Scroll down for an exclusive peek at several covers for the series, which will feature stories by Adam West, Walter Fernandez Jr., and Arastao Maree, interior art by Lipe (“William Shatner Presents: TekWar”), and covers by Matt Bellisle.