Adam West: still Batman after all these years

Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

While many fan conventions are rooted in a particular movie, TV series, or genre, this weekend’s Northeast Comic Con at Shriners Auditorium is billed as a “Pop Culture Expo.”

As such, Adam West is the perfect headliner.

Mayor Adam West on “Family Guy.”

He starred as TV’s “Batman” nearly 50 years ago. The character in the cape and tights was so popular that the actor had a tough time playing anyone else after the three-season run ended in 1968. Finally, in 2000, Seth MacFarlane brought him onto “Family Guy” to voice the character Adam West, the mayor of Quahog.


And though the original Batmobile will be in Wilmington this weekend, the original Batman will not be in costume.

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“I’ve passed a mark where [fans] come to see to see me in the costume,” West said. “They come to get a laugh and a warm handshake.”

West is 86 now, though his voice is no less smooth, his delivery no less deadpan. He spoke from his home in Palm Springs, Calif. Although he has a recording studio there and his other home in Ketchum, Idaho, he does his “Family Guy” voice-work with the cast in Los Angeles.

“The character [of Mayor West] is nutsy. It’s insane the things he says. It shows off the quirkier aspects of my crazy side,” West said.

West will do meet-and-greets and photo ops at Northeast Comic Con, with the highlight of the weekend on Saturday when West hosts a VIP screening of the very first “Batman” episode.


He didn’t always embrace his iconic legacy. In the ’70s and ’80s, West couldn’t be anything other than the Caped Crusader. Eventually, he realized there was an upside to that: He didn’t have to wonder where his next paycheck was coming from.

“I am the luckiest guy in the world,” he said. “I do not have to suffer from work.”

Gary Sohmers, who has known West for some 30 years, takes a bit of the credit for helping change his outlook. Sohmers related a story from a long-ago Boston-area collectibles show he was running.

“It was 1986 and Adam West couldn’t get work,” Sohmers said. “But he came to this show and it was eye-opening, because he went to the fans and they loved him — and he was reinvigorated.”

West’s appearances this weekend are part of a wide range of events, as befits a “Pop Culture Expo.”


There will be a panel about how to create an animated series featuring Jeff Kline (“Transformers”) as well as Q&As and appearances by comic book legend Jim Steranko (“Nick Fury”); “Farscape” actress Gigi Edgley on Jim Henson’s world of puppeteering; “Sharknado” actress Julie McCullough; and a 40th anniversary “Jaws” retrospective.

For information about the Northeast Comic Con, including schedules, events, and tickets, go to

John Vitti can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeVitti.