No Boundaries: An Interview With Eric Radomski

by Amid Amidi

Director, producer Eric Radomski. Photo courtesy of Film Roman.

Dark, intense and brooding are not words often used to describe an afternoon animated TV series, but the Caped Crusader’s adventures proved to be just that when Batman: The Animated Series premiered in fall of 1992. The show radically redefined the medium of television animation eschewing the tradition of mediocrity while proclaiming that an afternoon cartoon show could be atmospheric, moody, mature and entertaining to both kids and adults. This triumph of TV animation was a team effort, and one of the crew leaders was Eric Radomski, who along with Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett, served as the show's executive producers. His invaluable contributions to the show ranged across the board from the artfully designed title cards that introduced each episode to the series' minimalistic art direction that suggested and hinted at details rather than spelling it all out for the audience.

However, Eric Radomski’s career did not begin nor end with Batman. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, a decidedly non-animation town, Radomski entered the business in the early ‘80s as a cel painter and office boy at a hole-in-the-wall Cleveland commercial studio run by Rick Reinert. As most animation artists eventually do, he found his way to Los Angeles working at various outfits on the feeble cartoon output of the ‘80s before ending up at Warner Bros. with his chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity on Batman.

From comic book to television screen, see a clip from Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. © 1996 Home Box Office.

Following his illustrious tenure with the Dark Knight, Radomski became the supervising director of HBO Animation in 1996. There he was responsible for two high-profile series: Todd McFarlane's Spawn and Ralph Bakshi's Spicy. Sadly the studio folded before it had reached its full potential, and Radomski has since redirected his focus toward Film Roman where he is currently executive creative director. Not knowing what to expect before our first meeting, I soon discovered Eric to be a genial and genuine creator, somebody who loves the classic Warner Bros. shorts and Disney features, speaks his mind freely, and most importantly, isn't afraid to push the animated envelope and explore the vast possibilities of this art form.

Amid Amidi: You were painting backgrounds on Tiny Toons when they started developing the animated Batman at Warner Bros. I understand that you weren't a particularly avid reader of the Batman comics like Bruce Timm was, so what was it that initially attracted you to the project?

Eric Radomski: I think I've always favored more of the dramatic in terms of storytelling. As a kid from the lower east side of Cleveland, inner city kid, I saw the Godfather when I was like 11, and I was into mob and war films, and enjoyed that sort of drama. The previous incarnations of Batman I'd seen growing up, the Filmation animated version, that series they did with Adam West, they were all just a bunch of goofs. They were dopey versions of a character that could be really strong and dramatic, and when I saw Tim Burton's movie, I thought that was a good way of looking at this character.


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