Deneb does The Batman

Hark to the tale of Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall, a married couple who did standup comedy back in the ’60’s. They’d made it big. They were about to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show, with4650871-4862954480-Cool- millions watching. It was one of those one-time, once-in-a-lifetime chances to make a big impression, and they were not planning to waste it. Yep, things were lookin’ good.

Except that the act just before theirs was the Beatles.

Nobody remembers Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall for any other reason today.

Here’s the thing, though – by all accounts, they were good. Even though their audience had just had their minds blown by the Fab Four themselves, they still managed to give a good performance and get some laughs. Had they come on at the beginning of the show, the names of Brill and McCall might really have come to mean something. It was simply a matter of bad timing.

You may have guessed by now that I’m bringing this up for a reason, and you’d be right. Batman: the Animated Series is without doubt the ‘Beatles’ of animated superhero TV. It definitely blew some minds back in the ’90’s, and continues to do so today. It is, for many, one of the best and most faithful depictions of the Dark Knight, onscreen or off. Any immediate follow-up to it was obviously going to get at least a little bit Brill/McCalled.

Enter The Batman, which promptly got savaged by the fans. They hated it. It didn’t look right, it didn’t feel right, it wasn’t what they wanted. It did ultimately stick around long enough to get a bit of a following, but it’s still mainly remembered as B:tAS’ ugly stepchild, as it were.

Yet did it deserve this treatment? Let’s take a look and find out. Continue reading

10 Batman Animated Series villains that need to be in comics

Well, folks, I finally did it. After years of picking up scraps here and there through cultural osmosis, I have finally managed to catch up on Batman: the Animated Series. Yes sir, all four24-1 seasons and 114 episodes, counting the five crossovers with Superman: the Animated Series, which I have also seen – and it was good, too!

Most of you are probably already well familiar with B:tAS, given that it’s one of the most talked-about and beloved nerd series of all time. It’s not just a great cartoon, it’s also one of the most influential spin-offs of all time, with any number of original characters and character interpretations making their way back into the comics. Harley Quinn, the new version of Mr. Freeze, Lock-Up, Roxy Rocket, Renee Montoya – there’s lots of ‘em.

What struck me, though, was not how many characters had made it out, but how many hadn’t. To the series’ credit, it never leaned too heavily on Batman’s already-established rogues gallery, instead coming up with brand new (or functionally new, as with Freeze) antagonists whenever it seemed appropriate – and you know what? Most of them are really good. Sure, a number did make it back to comics, but there’s also a surprisingly long list of foes that haven’t, and in my opinion really should have by now, because they’re cool.

So why waste time talking about them, let’s shoot out our Bat-Ropes and soar into the night. Ladies and gentlemen, my Top Ten B:tAS Villains That Should Make It Into Comics! Continue reading

Justice League: The New Frontier

justice-league-tnf-poster“You are no coward, Hal Jordan. To you, all life is precious. And this ring is far too powerful to fall into the hands of someone who doesn’t understand that.”

The Scoop: 2008 PG-13, directed by Dave Bullock and starring David Boreanaz, Miguel Ferrer, and Neil Patrick Harris

Tagline: No tagline

Summary Capsule: The most classic, iconic superheroes in the world must band together or fall individually, set against the idealism and uncertainty of the atomic age.

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Yeti does Brother Bear

bb“You left too soon, Sitka. Your brothers need your guidance.” 

The Scoop: 2003 G, directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, and Rick Moranis

Tagline: The story of a boy who became a man by becoming a bear.

Summary Capsule: Little brother is out for revenge after losing big brother. Little brother becomes a big brother…and a bear.

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Futurama: Bender’s Game

Bender's_Game “Bender, no! When will young people learn that Dungeons & Dragons won’t make you cool?”

The Scoop: 2008 NR, directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill and starring Billy West, Katey Sagal and John Di Maggio.

Summary Capsule: The Planet Express crew attempts to solve the world’s fuel crisis (by… destroying all the world’s fuel), but accidentally gets transported to a land of swords and sorcery. In flagrant violation of alternate universe protocol, no one sports evil goatees.

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Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder

Futurama_WildGreenYonder “Into the breach, meatbags.”

The Scoop: 2009, directed by Peter Avanzino, starring Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John Di Maggio

Summary Capsule: The Planet Express crew splits down gender lines over Amy’s dad’s attempt to destroy a star system brimming with life to build the galaxy’s largest mini-golf course. Meanwhile, Fry shtupping his own grandmother again puts him in the unlikely position of potential universe savior.

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