The 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke is one of the most influential works written in the last thirty years, and it’s brutality is about to be introduced to a whole new generation…
Warner Bros. Animation and DC Comics are bringing back some of the most beloved voice actors in history to tell a story long thought to graphic for animation. Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, and Mark Hamill brought life to Batman: The Animated Series back in the 1990s,and now they are returning to those roles again.
What do Zack Snyder, Warner Brothers and Bruce Timm all have in common this week? They were involved in some way in making this incredible animated short. The short was originally conceived as a DC Nation piece, grew to such proportions that it quickly gained a life of its own. Below is the stunning cartoon which manages to cover many of the most pivotal moments of Superman’s history in a matter of minutes.
Entertainment Weekly had a great interview with Bruce Timm (Batman Animated Series) which is included below and gives us a great insight into what went into making this piece.
[quote]“It was Zack Snyder’s idea,” says Timm, the designer, animator, writer, and producer whose credits include Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. “We had approached him about maybe doing a short for the DC Nation program on Cartoon Network. He said, ‘I’ll think about it,’ and then he had this idea to do basically the entire history of Superman in, like, a minute. We said, ‘Okay … whoooo.’ We started working and quickly realized there was no way to do it, even in a minute.”[/quote]
He then went on to talk about how difficult it was to get so much Superman history into one piece.
[quote]“There have been so many different artists in the comics who had important moments in Superman’s history. One of the things we came up with was, you’d have a Curt Swan segment – Superman vs. Brainiac – and the background is full of comic book panels, a floating montage background of lots of different artists. So there’s John Byrne, Gil Kane, and Jim Steranko in there.”[/quote]
The result of all of this is something every Superman fan should be happy with. The mixing of all the iconic Superman theme musics are incredibly well done, but better yet is the incorporation of pretty much all the Superman mythology. So many different styles of art all manage to combine perfectly and it is so fluid it actually makes you feel like you are flying alongside Kal-El as he takes us on this historical journey. The use of the old comic covers to expand out to other decades of Superman’s life is inspired, and it seems even the most minute moment in Superman’s lore are included. Some stand out scenes have to be Jimmy Olsen as Turtle Boy, Christopher Reeve flying over the planet Earth, the Super Friends, Kingdom Come Superman and my personal favorite the Atari computer system Superman.
Superman has never looked better. This does leads us to an interesting question. With Batman’s 75th anniversary coming up next year are we going to see a similar animated short for him? With the Batman vs. Superman movie coming 2015 it would seem a waste to not only do a Batman one, but also a team up one with both heroes.
Just this week, Netflix Streaming rolled out a ton of animated, geeky goodness, including the likes of Regular Show, Adventure Time, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Archer, Batman Beyond, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Powerpuff Girls, Problem Solverz, Dexter’s Lab, Foster’s Home, Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Venture Brothers . . .
And, most significantly for the superhero-obsessed, the recent Justice League animated series. Both of ’em — Justice League, which focuses on the big seven (Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, the Flash, and Hawkgirl) and Justice League Unlimited (JLU), which brings in DC Comics heroes by the truckload.
Yesterday marked 20 years since the first episode of Batman: The Animated Series aired on Fox. It kicked off with The Cat and the Claw, introducing this version of Catwoman as an environmentalist and animal rights activist. It was an epic start to one of the greatest cartoons ever created, and set a tone that would help redefine the entire Gotham universe. Following Burton’s first Batman movie, this was the next step in the wide-spread re-branding of the Dark Knight. Despite a plethora of great comic book stories in the ’70s and ’80s, the general public still associated Batman with the Adam West show that saved the dynamic duo in the 1960s, but turned them into a joke at the same time. The 1989 movie helped put the Dark back in the Dark Knight, but it was the excellent animated series that cemented the revised character for the minds of a new generation, one which included me.
Welcome to The Griz Bin, a weekly look at the world wide web of comic related nonsense.
– The 20 Most Ridiculous Batman Comics Ever Released:Featuring such equally ridiculous titles as ‘The Rainbow Batman‘ or ‘Dead Til Proven Alive’ with the Beatles! – [Cracked]
– Women of Marvel Sketch Cards: Awesome sketch cards featuring the Mighty Women of Marvel looking good and kicking ass! – [GeekTyrant]
– 10 Best Batman: The Brave and the Bold Episodes:In honor of the series ending, here are 10 good onesthat you need to check out. Unless your like me and have seen every episode numerous times. – [Newsarama]
Back in April we told you about the impending Animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. At that time all we had were some casting announcements and a few picture stills. What we have now however, is a whole lot more. Yesterday Warner Bros animation department released an “Official Sneak Peak”, which will appear on the upcoming Green Lantern: Emerald Knights DVD…
Well, that was awesome. Cranston I think will be great as Gordon, and Dusku and Sackhoff will garner no complaints from me, but while I like Ben McKenzie, after hearing his bat-voice, it’ll have to grow on me. Alex Rocco had me excited initially because he played Moe Green, but after this I just don’t hear Falcone when he talks. I hope I’m wrong. Regardless, I think this will be great, and I can’t wait to pick it up.
Batman: Year One is (accroding to IMDb) set to hit the shelves September 27th. So to hold you off till then, check out the video below. It’s from Comic Book Artist Will Sliney, who is most recently been working on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars comic book.
So there’s a lot going on right now with Gotham’s greatest protector. A new movie, a new video game, and an animated feature – all in production as we speak. The game and the movie have both been talked about plenty, so let’s focus on the animated feature.
Heat Vision is reporting that the long-awaited adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, which is one of my favorite comics ever (not to be confused with Mike W. Barr and Todd McFarlane‘s terrible sequel – Batman: Year Two) is really coming along. For those of you unfamiliar with the comic, I can tell you it was a major influence on the Nolan Bat-Films, and helped solidify Frank Miller as a legend within the industry.
Year One chronicles Gordon’s transfer from the Chicago PD to Gotham City just as the Batman is starting to appear. It deals largely with Bruce’s early failures and Gordon’s struggles within the most corrupt Police Department in the country.
Warner Brother’s Animation is making a PG-13 animated adaptation of the story that is said to be very true to the book. Animation great Bruce Timm (Batman the Animated Series) says that the book was even used to storyboard a large chunk of the film. And today, they have just announced the 5 principle voice actors…
Bruce Wayne/Batman – Ben McKenzie: McKenzie was on The O.C., but more importantly is one of the leads on TNT’s Southland. This story revolves around Bruce’s return to Gotham and his transformation into a very young Batman.
Lt. Jim Gordon – Bryan Cranston: This is a great pick. The principal character on one of television’s best shows (Breaking Bad), Cranston has come a long way since Malcolm in the Middle and proved his worth. As soon as I read this I loved the choice. Cranston himself wasn’t sure so quickly though as he initially turned down the chance to work on Year One, but eventually changed his mind after seeing the script – “I wasn’t aware of this level of storytelling in animation. I confess that freely, they didn’t give the characters the short shrift. I was stunned.”
Selina Kyle/Catwoman – Eliza Dushku: While the average girl recognizes Dushku from Bring it On, most in the geek community recognize her work with Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse) and as Arnold’s daughter in the 90’s Action classic True Lies. So it’s not like she needed more geek-cred than that to deserve a role in a comic movie, especially an animated one. But she should be a pretty much perfect fit for Catwoman…
Detective Sarah Essen – Katee Sackhoff: Sarah Essen is a name that you might not know if you don’t read the comics, but she was a major part of Gotham City for a long time. You know, eventually marrying Jim Gordon, surviving the Earthquake in Gotham, and finally being murdered by the Joker while saving some babies, she was an important part of the comics, but really hasn’t popped up in the other mediums till now. As far as the choice, after runs on Battlestar Galactica, Nip/Tuck, and 24 I am a fan of Katee Sackhoff. And her inclusion in Halloween: Resurrection didn’t hurt either. I know a lot of my fellow Bauer fans didn’t care for her in the final season of the show, but I actually like this pick.
Carmine Falcone – Alex Rocco: The guy played Moe Green in The Godfather. What more can you ask for, especially since Falcone is obviously modeled after Vito Corleone…
All around great casting. DC has really outdone Marvel on the animated front thus far, and it looks to be continuing. They have also released a couple of animation stills…
The straight to DVD release of Batman: Year One is scheduled for sometime this fall.