SIKESTON -- Batman is back.
As far as Brett Williams, 40, of Sikeston is concerned he never left.
Williams said has been a fan of the Caped Crusader "every since I was about 3 years old."
It all started with the comic books.
"It was probably just the colors and everything. My brothers had a big box of comic books -- Spiderman, the Fantastic Four. Batman just jumped out at me because he wasn't actually super or anything, he was just a regular guy," Williams said. "He took tragic events in his life and turned it around. Instead of going the way of a criminal, he turned it around and tried to stop tragic events in other people's lives in the city he lived in."
Thanks to reruns, Williams was also able to enjoy the 1960s Batman television series. "As soon as school was out, bang! I ran home to watch the TV show," he recalled.
His love of Batman continued "all the way through adolescence and into adulthood -- it just became a hobby," Williams said. "It's fun going out looking for pieces in flea markets. A lot of things I've found through a comic shop in Cape Girardeau."
While comics were the original inspiration, "I don't have that many comics -- just the good ones," Williams said.
Williams was more interested in memorabilia and now has an extensive collection which includes framed artwork, statues, figures and NASCAR die-cast cars among other items.
"I've still got things from my childhood," Williams said. "But I really got started back in about 1984. I have over 1,000 pieces. On display, probably about 400-500. The rest I have in storage."
His 1989 Converse Batman shoes are exclusively for special occasions.
"The only time I wear them is to premieres: I've worn them to every premier," he said. "This last movie that came out was the first time I missed a premiere. I had to work Friday so I watched it Saturday."
Even though it wasn't opening night, Williams still wore the shoes. "Now they are sitting back on top of the box they came in," he said.
Williams has customized his vehicle into a Bat Truck and has even assembled a full Batman suit to wear. "I was Batman at the last BATMAN A-GO-GO reunion for David Gilliland," he recalled.
Asked which incarnation of Batman his suit best matches, Williams decided it is "probably the Michael Keaton version."
His favorite screen Batman, however, is as depicted in the latest Batman movies.
"The last two are the truest to the storyline of the comics; they're darker," Williams said. Christian Bale's portrayal of Batman, he said, is as "a man with problems, which he is: a man with eternal problems. He's kind of got a battle going on within himself."