Archive for May, 2014

Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder... defending UNcle Scrooges gold?

Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder… defending Uncle Scrooges gold?

via Gamespot

We all have we consider to be the ultimate version of Batman. Maybe you were at the right age when, Adam West was Batman on television, or Neal Adams began his run on the comic, or you saw Frank Miller’s The Dark knight Returns in some local shop, or Christian Bale in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Mine started in 1992 and starred in his own television cartoon, was a special guest star on another, and then became a major player in a superhero team up series, ending in 2006. Fourteen years is a long time in comics, and it was a spectacular run.

If you didn’t know, I’m talking about Batman: The Animated Series, and I dare to say I’m not the only one who thinks the production of visual style of Bruce Timm and the stories Paul Dini took part in creating are some of the absolute defining stories the Batman has ever had, and most of them take place in under thirty minutes.

First, the voice acting is some of the best I’ve heard. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are perfect for voicing Batman and The Joker. Conroy can be smooth and authoritative at the same time, unlike Christian Bale’s “I swallowed a bunch of nails and screamed at a metal concert for four hours” voice. Where you would need a good bit of rasp is The Joker. Mark Hamill has that, where his Joker can speak understandably in a laugh-like cadence, but his laugh sounds like Joker’s throat being destroyed by years of doing that laugh over and over. Honestly I didn’t even know that was him until I looked up who it was, and I was surprised. Not to put anyone else down. They were all great. When I read Batman comics to this day this is the voice cast I hear in my head.

This is the place where a lot of Batman’s rogue gallery introduced itself to me. If they weren’t on Batman 66′ T.V. series, like Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy. This is also the birthplace of the Paul Dini created Harley Quinn, The Joker’s girlfriend/ top henchwoman.

Harley Quinn

Also, it gave a personality to Mr. Freeze. Beforehand he was just a villain who like the cold. The Series gave him a personality that was as cold as his surname name, and now Victor Friese had same background with some humanity, and a reason for his cold lack of emotion. Freeze had a reason to steal whatever he was stealing. He was helping his sick wife. Giving sympathetic reasons behind some character like that gave Batman a different road to go down besides just, lock’em up in Arkham and let the doctors try to help them.

Finally, even though this was an “Animated Series” it was not a Saturday morning affair. It was a weekday after school show. Maybe that was reason enough to let Batman do things the Spider-Man cartoon series couldn’t do. Peter Parker never threw a punch that hit anyone in the Marvel show, but DC allowed Batman to punch a man in the face in the opening of the show.

The show still has some effects on today. If DC Comics announces a new animated Batman the first comment I usually read is “Is Kevin Conroy doing the Batman voice,” or Mark Hamill if The Joker is in it. Which I have asked myself a few times, but I don’t mind other people giving The Batman a voice, as weird as they will sound at first.

The Dark Knight

If you are young enough that this is “before your time”, check this out, the art and the stories hold up magnitudes higher than the Superfriends cartoon from the seventies and early eighties.

 

Specifically, if you’re interested

Two-Face” parts 1 and 2. Origin of Two-Face

Heart of Ice” Mr. Freeze’s origin

Beware the Gray Ghost” Batman teams up with his old hero, voiced by Adam West

Robin’s Reckoning” parts 1 and 2. Dick Grayson’s origin story

Over the Edge” Crazy Batgirl story, might be the best episode.

Almost Got ‘im” Four villains tell their story about how they almost got Batman while playing cards. My personal favorite.

Cover Thursday 5-22-2014

Posted: May 22, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Even Batman needs to feel pretty.

Even Batman needs to feel pretty.

Zack Snyder posted a picture last week unveiling the new Batmobile and Ben Affleck in his New Batman suit. Which for a single black and white still photograph, that shows off what everything conceptually looks like, but not giving away every small detail, looks pretty good.

There are still haters though. That makes me sad, until I see the movie I’ll be cautiously optimistic. I like the Justice League way more than I do the Avengers, and that Marvel Studios did a good job with those characters. I want my favorite characters to do a better job.

The Tease

First thing I saw poking fun at New Batman was the symbol. Someone drew a fat bat with an empty bag of chips, and a dripping soda can by its feet and labeled it “diaBATese”. Which I thought was a bit misguided, because my first reaction was, “Hey looks like The Dark Knight Returns logo, you know, the one with the grizzled old Batman, that everyone says is at the top of their must-read Batman list.” Not everyone has read it, or maybe they are too young to understand. Whatever, move on.

Then there were the “colorings”. Initially a bevy of people trying to colorized the photo as best they could to what could be true colors. I saw a few good ones. Then people got more “creative” with the color. Pinks and pastels were the main palette. All are fine colors. Some of them Batman has worn, but if you’re serious about┬ácalling this the New Batman colors you need to stop. I am real hopeful that they were sardonic in nature and their tone just didn’t translate well onto the internet.

Reveal!

Thirdly I saw people complain about his shorter ears. I like them. I think long pointy bat-ears are silly. At some point Batman has to walk through a doorway, or jump out of a window, and he would look extra dumb hitting them and falling down, because he’s taller than he looks. That’s also why Jim Lee draws Batman with shorter ears. It’s a practical thing.

And finally, you might have seen a couple dozen of these, “Sad Batman” meme pictures. Yeah. The one character where brooding around looking tough-sad is his thing. looking a little down is going to happen. I admit, I didn’t see the sad at first because, I wasn’t looking. But there he was. With sad Keanu on a bench, and Batman all cut out and memed up with captions like, “Clark why won’t you play with me”. Annoying silly stuff.

Ben Affleck has put more into being Batman than you thought.

I think Ben Affleck will do fine as Batman. There are movies he’s in that I like. What has me worried about the movie is the director, Zack Snyder. Specifically Man of Steel, where Metropolis is falling apart and Superman doesn’t save a soul during the whole scene, but has to, in the end kill Zod, because there’s no other choice. Anyone who has read five issues of the Superman comic could tell you five different ways that’s not true at all, and I could go on about Superman killing is just a remarkably horrific idea you only do when you don’t understand Superman. But I won’t. I’ll just leave with a quote.

You know that quote from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

“Affleck was the bomb in phantoms.”

Cover Thursday 5-15-2014

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Joker gets a time-out

Joker gets a time-out

Batfleck

Posted: May 14, 2014 in Photo
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In case you missed Zack Snyder’s twitter yesterday….

The Joker

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Character
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One of Batman’s most hated villains has no origin, no real name, and no reason.

Debuting in Batman #1 in 1940 The Joker has had an followed Batman through every iteration there is.

As far as antithetical arch nemesis go, The Joker and Batman are as far as you can get on opposite ends of the spectrum. Batman is definable. You know where he’s from, his motivations, and philosophies. The Joker has none of that, except sometimes he likes messing with Batman, whether Joker is trying to kill Batman depends on the day of the week.

Sometimes, The Joker will come up with a story of where he came from. Sometimes he comes from an abusive home, other times he can’t quite make his father laugh, or maybe it’s the jerk of a wife he has that makes him crazy. Maybe one of the stories Joker told was true, maybe none of them, I don’t think it’s that important, because none of it matters. The story will change again tomorrow.

All of that makes The Joker a confusing piece of work for Batman. Though, I like it when Batman gets his number a couple of times then Joker makes a play that throws The Dark Knight off his game trying to keep Batman second guessing himself, even for just a second. It makes for an unpredictable turn of events.

Weird Batman

Posted: May 10, 2014 in Photo
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Batman has been skipping leg day. Don’t skip leg day.

Cover Thursday 5-8-2014

Posted: May 8, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Robin finally learns about the ladies.

Robin finally learns about the ladies.