Subject: Batman: The Animated Newsletter #1 – July 5, 1998
Date: Sunday, July 05, 1998 12:37 AM
Batman:The Animated Newsletter
Week of 5-11/12
Sneek Peek #1
BRIEF ANIMATED BATMAN HISTORY:
The five-time emmy-winning Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS) debuted in September of 1992 with the episode “Cat and the Claw” Part One. It ran on weekdays (and even during prime-time on Sundays for a month or so). 65 episodes (and millions of dollars in merchandise) later, season two began in 1994 with “House and Garden”…but this season died out with only 15 additional episodes, for the show was not raking in as much money as it previously was. Also, in September of 1994, most of the first season episodes were shelved, and the 15 new ones were aired… only on Saturdays.
A year later, BTAS was re-introduced to the weekday line-up. All the original episodes were brought back this time, as well as 5 new episodes (none of which were spectacular, but still good), leaving the episode count at 85 in September of 1995. Most thought the series ended right there without any closure, for the majority of the BTAS staff went on to work on the new SUPERMAN cartoon which debuted the following September (1996).
The series was top-notch, and fans were sad that it wouldn’t go on. But the stories that had been told were excellent…much better than most comics and movies that have veer been produced. It was an excellent run. In 1997, after the WB’s five-year contract with the FOX network, BTAS was pulled from the TV, the last episode airing being “Trail”. Was BTAS dead?
We were all proven wrong.
As soon as BTAS left the FOX network, it was teamed up with Superman on the WB network. Better yet…NEW EPISODES WERE INTRODUCED!
In early 1997, production of these new BTAS episodes began. 21 episodes were slated for the first new season alone, as well as a three part crossover with the Superman series, bringing the total up to 24. NEW episodes began on bright and early on the morning of September 13th, 1997. 2 years (less two days) after BTAS ceased production, it was reborn.
This newsletter will feature airdate schedules for Batman/Superman. News and rumors on the show and little tidbits about the comics and movies.
I believe this is (my and) the first newsletter dedicated to Batman:TAS so be gentle (Tee Hee)! So sit back and enjoy…
WB ANIMATION SCHEDULES:
The New Batman/Superman Adventures currently airs on WB and WB affiliates.If you want to know the WB affiliates in your area check your locla cable operator or check out TV schedules.Times for these shows vary from affiliate to affiliate.The New Batman/Superman Adventures airs Monday to Friday at 4:30pm (eastern) on most affiliates).The weekend KidsWB! airs on either Saturday or Sunday depending on affiliate.Here is the this weeks schedule:
JULY 6TH-Batman-TORCH SONG (#95)
JULY 7TH-Superman-MXYZPLIXILATED (#21)
JULY 8TH-Batman-SECOND CHANCE (#80)
JULY 9TH-Superman-LITTLE GIRL LOST Part One (#37)
JULY 10TH-SUPERMAN-LITTLE GIRL LOST Part Two (#38)
JULY 11/12TH-(8:30am)-Superman-WARRIOR QUEEN (#36)
(9:30am)-Batman-LOVE IS A CROC (#94)—NEW!!!!!!!
(10:00am)-Superman-GHOST IN THE MACHINE (#15)
Note:All episodes after #85 of BATMAN are considered THE NEW BATMAN
ADVENTURES while the original 85 are considered BATMAN:THE ANIMATED SERIES episodes.
This section will just basically give an insight into what the new episodes are about and hopefully a synopsis of the episode.This section will feature both new Superman and new Batman episodes.
‘LOVE IS A CROC’
Airdate:Saturday(Sunday),July 11th(12th) 9:30am
The episode features Batman and Batgirl going toe to toe with Killer Croc and a love struck Baby-Doll. When this episode aired in the UK it got mixed reviews. There is a bit of Batgirl humor and a lot of action!
EPISODE OF THE WEEK:
(by the Dynamic Duo)
This section is my favorite. This section lets me tell you about my favorite rerun airing this week! You are not to miss this episode at all cost! Tape it if possible! The episode can be either Batman or Superman.
Airdate: Wednesday, July 8th
This is one of those rare episodes where the villian is a complete mystery until almost the very end.I never saw the villian coming until I discovered (along with the Dark Knight) who it was. The animation of this episode is superb. The real hero of this episode is definatly TWO-FACE. He has finally been able to pull himself togethor (and repress the ‘dark side’) and have the operation that will make him whole once more.Then…he’s kidnapped by hoods and taken away. This scene leads into a great scene for both Batman and Robin. The Robin scene had more edge to it in my opinion. The finale of this episode is pure gold. I won’t spoil it becuase not everyone has seen all the episodes yet!Recommended veiwing!
THIS WEEK’S EPISODE TO MISS:
Superman-WARRIOR PRINCESS (#36)
EPISODE REVIEW: (SPOILERS!)
(by Bob Evatt)
Mr. Evatt is an experienced reviewer of the new BTAS episodes and has much of his work shown at the Lazarus Pit website, and is now contributing to this newsletter! His other reviews can be reached via this link:
EPISODE: “Torch Song” (#95)
WRITTEN BY: Rich Fogel
DIRECTED BY: Curt Geda
ANIMATION BY: TMS
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: June 13/14, 1998
NEXT AIR DATE: July 6, 1998 (Monday)
RATING: *** (out of 5)
“What are you doing tonight?”
“The same thing we do EVERY night, Pinky.”
“Uh, never mind.” –Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon, on the phone.
Cassidy, a popular rock star, once dated Garfield Lynns, the pyrotechnics engineer for her tour. He remains obscessed with her, driving her to fire him. Furious, he tries to kill her by overloading the pyrotechnics, only to be foiled by Batgirl. Later, he dons fireproof armor and threatens her personally, as Firefly. Batman must alter his tactics to overcome Firefly’s attacks and rescue her.
This is a run-of-the-mill “obscessed ex-lover” story with some fire thrown in. As such, it’s not bad. Garfield is nicely threatening at the beginning, and his personal shrine to Cassidy (complete with candles) is a creepy touch. Kudos to the writer for not making Cassidy a stock victim.
Unfortunately, Garfield’s character suffers as the episode progresses. His appearance as Firefly, while upgrading him to super-villian status, shifts the focus away somewhat from his personal obscession with Cassidy. His final plan–namely, to set Gotham on fire so he and Cassidy can escape unnoticed–was dissapointingly generic. It would have been much more disturbing (and true to character) if he planned to torch Gotham simply to impress her, much like Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin’s plan to shoot him in order to impress Jodie Foster. Perhaps the censors would have objected to that storyline… but I digress.
The visuals are much better than the story. The various fire effects, as well as the episode as a whole, are animated nicely. Batman’s fireproof armor is interesting and well-used, though it would be a safe bet to assume that the toy manufacturers have something to do with it. Firefly’s flamesabre was a nice touch, as was Batman’s tactic to snuff some flames by blowing them out with an explosion. In all, the good action compensates somewhat for the weak story. Still, this episode could have been much better.
CARTOON NETWORK WB ANIMATION SCHEDULE:
Cartoon Network got the rights to air 52 episodes of the original 85 episodes on their network.The episodes air 7 days a week at 6pm and 12:00am eastern time(7:00pm on Sundays and will no longer air on Satrudays starting the 11th of July). The episodes air in numerical order and not in episode order. If you want the channel ask your local cable or satellite operator. Here’s the schedule for this week:
JULY 5TH-Episode #40-JOKER’S WILD
JULY 6TH-Episode #38-HEART OF STEEL Part One
JULY 7TH-Episode #44-HEART OF STEEL Part Two
JULY 8TH-Episode #40-JOKER’S WILD
JULY 9TH-Episode #41-TYGER TYGER
JULY 10TH-Episode #42-MOON OF THE WOLF
NOTE:Most of the episodes airing now on the CARTOON NETWORK won’t be airing on KidsWB! until next season! If you want to complete your collection then get as many as these episodes on tape as possible! Just some friendly advice.
(by Laura Hysert, aka “Phoenix”)
“Getting a Little Crowded in Here…”
You’d have to be living in a cave for the past five years not to know that the Bat-movie franchise is spiralling towards bloody annihilation. Most Bat-fans agree that the lethal combination of poor writing, poor acting, and poor direction, as well as an inability to grasp the essence of Batman and the gritty world he inhabits, has lead to this failure. And in almost all of these points, the animated series have avoided these pitfalls with abundant grace.
The producers of the animated series have had a faint tendency over the years to cash in on gimmicks engineered by their big-screen ugly stepsisters. Until now, this fetish has not been seed for any major disasters. After all, is it a coincidence that the original series debuted after the Bat-hype surrounding Batman Returns’ tromp in the theatres? To those reading and writing this newsletter, I’d wager a bet that this jump on the bandwagon is not exactly a bad thing.
But with The New Batman Adventures, Paul Dini and company may have shacked up with the devil once too often.
Hot on the heels of 1997’s Batman and Robin, the movie that made Chinese water torture seem an exquisite release, The New Batman Adventures debuted on the WB network. Forgotten was The Schumacher Tragedy as Bat-fans were promised that the animated Bat would be the “true” Bat: darker, grittier, and more intelligent than even the much-acclaimed original animated series.
And in many ways, the producers have delivered.
But in formulating the new series, they have once again decided to cash in on a gaudy device from the most recent live-action movie, a mistake that could potentially kill much of what makes the animated series so great. This phenomenon is what I call the crowding of the Bat Cave: adopting from Schumacher’s addled brain the oh-so-brilliant idea (tongue firmly in cheek here) of giving Batman not one, but two, permanent, subordinate partners. So…what’s wrong with that? you ask.
Ah…where do I begin?
First, being such a blatant rip-off from a movie that makes Godzilla seem like Citizen Kane is shameful in itself. This menage a trois didn’t work in the movie; why should it fare any better on television? The fact that the series is good despite this flaw is merely a testament to its overall quality.
But there’s more to it than that. Simply put, Batman is a loner. He is an obsessive, dark, and violent crimefighter. Bill Cosby he is not. I confess, I’ve always felt uneasy with the role of Robin in the comics and the series. Having a close working partner of any description, I believe, is incompatible with the lone, avenging demon of the night that Batman projects himself to be, and with the reserved, brooding essence of the man himself. Others I’ve talked to have argued that Robin’s main purpose is to lessen Bruce’s darkness and prevent him from going too far with it. I accept this as a reasonable answer. But TWO partners in the Bat Cave? More does not always mean better.
And in the new series, I’ve rarely seen this team-up work. Episodes like “Never Fear” and “Growing Pains” have developed Batman and Robin’s relationship to an acceptable degree, but Batgirl always seems out of place – like a house guest who stumbled into the Cave one night and never left.
With just Batman and Robin together, Batman can leave the kid at home sometimes, exercising his inner, dark self in adventures that are always that much more satisfying, since they let the guy who’s got his name at the top of the credits just be himself. Sometimes he needs a helping hand, and Robin is at the ready. That’s fine.
But add another partner, and now poor Bruce can’t seem to shake these eager little lackeys, ever bolstering for his approval. They seem to follow him everywhere. Think of it – how many of the new episodes have seen our hero in his element – in the dark, alone? I challenge you to think of more than one. So now, instead of Batman: fearsome vigilante, we have Batman: field trip chaperone. This detracts from the very essence of who Batman is. You want hero team-ups? I hear X-Men is still on Fox. This is Batman, folks, not the Brady Bunch.
And in case you think I must have a death wish for poor Barbara Gordon, let me tell you: this is an insult to her character, too. When “Batgirl Returns,” the last episode of the old series, aired, we were left with an intelligent, intuitive, talented and independent Batgirl who was beginning to develop her own effective methods of crime-fighting. Along comes the new series, and Batgirl is reduced to being just a Robin with breasts. Though she can now partake of the wonders of the Bat Cave, the show’s producers have forced Barbara to sacrifice her independence in exchange for the protection and iron law of the Wayne patriarchy. Batgirl has been shortchanged, and so have we. Nightwing has proven that an independent crimefighter can work with Batman without continually being under his thumb; why can’t the animated producers restore this freedom to Batgirl? This lady’s got wings, and it’s about time they let her use them. Diluted characterization, unrealized potential, sweetness and light stabbing through Batman’s dark and enticing world – is this what the overcrowding of the Bat Cave will lead to? Good God, I hope not. The animated series’ producers have more sense than that. But they have stepped onto that doomed path, and unless they change direction, The New Batman Adventures just may stumble into that abyss and never recover. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m not professing to have the answers, but I’ve alluded to what I think could make The New Batman Adventures, a really good show, a great one.
To sum up: kick Batgirl out of the Bat Cave and let her (gasp!) rely on her own smarts; we know she’s got them. (Note: And for that matter, show her in action more. Bullock gets more air time than she does, for crying out loud.) Nightwing can stay where he is, though the above note applies to him, too. Robin can also stay, but Batman should leave him at home more often; less emphasis should be placed on Tim, who’s already had more development this year than any of his elder counterparts. He may warrant that as a new character, but that doesn’t mean he’s the best character, and we all know Nightwing is a bombshell just waiting for his chance to blow us away. And most importantly, don’t forget the reason why there is a Robin, a Batgirl, and a Nightwing. Batman is one of the most complex, enduring, and wonderful characters ever created. It’s about time the visual media let him show us under the mask to glimpse the man inside.
Laura, aka Phoenix
BATMAN:THE ANIMATED TRIVIA
This section tests your knowledge of (Before and during WB) Batman episodes. (Remember:The new episodes that air on WB are still in the same continuity). The questions can be anything from the littlest thing mentioned by someone or what happened to who in which episode and how. The majority of these questions will be multiple choice. So start rackin’ yer brain!Here goes!
1.What is the very first thing uttered by the Joker in his first appearance(and what episode is it?)
A:”What? Compare me to Batman?” (BE A CLOWN)
B:”Hi-Ho couch potatoes!” (HOLIDAY KNIGHTS)
C:”Here’s your two cents. Now what are you going to do to me?” (JOKER’S FAVOR)
D:”That’s my cue!” (THE LAST LAUGH)
E:”I’m the Joker – living proof you don’t have to be crazy to host this show, but it helps.” (ALMOST GOT ‘IM)
Answer under the ‘SITE WORTH CHECKING OUT’ section.
DC recently ended their long running BATMAN ADVENTURES/BATMAN & ROBIN ADVENTURES comic series to produce a 5 issue mini-series dealing with the lost time between SUBZERO and SINS OF THE FATHER (which takes place before HOLIDAY KNIGHTS). They then spun off a new animated Batman comic based on the new series airing only on KidsWB! The new animated Batman comic is based on the designs of THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES! Here’s the newest issue which hit the stands on July 1, 1998:
BATMAN:GOTHAM ADVENTURES #4
Letter column contest
Synopsis:What’s the secret behind Catwoman’s new look? Catwoman’s new look in TNBA is related to a tragedy…and Batman must stop this from every happening..but can he? Find out in the ‘Lost Years’-ish tale! Look for the introduction of a new character!
NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE: Mr. Freeze returns (no, not Arnold Schwarzenegger thank God!) and decides its time ot finish what he’s started in the episode COLD COMFORT. But the return of a supporting character last introduced and seen in episode DEEP FREEZE may cause some problems! All of this and more in BATMAN:GOTHAM ADVENTURES #5, in stores in early August.
COVERING THE BASICS….
This section will help you figure out what to look for on the comic racks!The links below will take you to the cover of the comic indicated.I hope to expand this section as the newsletter continues!
BATMAN:GOTHAM ADVENTURES #4
BATMAN:GOTHAM ADVENTURES #5
SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #23
SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #24
ANIMATED NEWS AND RUMORS
BATMAN TOMORROW has new name!
- Due to promotional conflicts BATMAN TOMORROW has gained a new name! Raving Toy Maniac (//www.toymania.com) has reported that its new name is BATMAN BEYOND. The change of name is a result of promotional problems (ie:”Today on ‘Batman Tomorrow’!”). The airdate (now early November) remains unchanged as does the premise of the show.
- Also BATMAN BEYOND related, DC Comics is publishing a 6 issue mini-series(now rumored to be ongoing) based on the series.It will be written by Hilary J. Bader. Pencilled by Rick Burchett and Inked by Terry Beatty. First issue hits the stands around the same time the show premieres.
- For all of you people who get CARTOON NETWORK listen up:
CARTOON NETWORK will air MASK OF THE PHANTASM on Aug 1st as part of their new ‘Saturday Night Movie'(which means no Bats on Saturday). This will be the network broadcast premiere of PHANTASM(expect WB to air it next year). Plus in November CARTOON NETWORK will air SUB-ZERO!
Everyone knows that the new episode LOVE IS A CROC airs this weekend, right? Well rumor has it that WB is planning on airing another new episode in August.The episode is rumored to be THE ULTIMATE THRILL starring Roxy Rocket.Is this true? Only time (and the WB schedule) can tell.
The BATMAN BEYOND mini-series is now rumored to be an ongoing series.
ANIMATED MOVIE NEWS AND RUMORS
- Well it seems that SUB-ZERO has long surpassed MASK OF THE PHANTASM for video sales.The recent ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY video sales has SUB-ZERO at #5! That I will admit is pretty impressive!The movie hasn’t left the top-ten direct-to-video sales chart since March 17!
THE BATMAN/SUPERMAN MOVIE ON VIDEO!
- On August 18th WB Entertainment will release the three part World’s Finest to video.The movie is 80 minutes long… which is kinda wierd seeing how the three episodes combined add up to barely 60 minutes.Included with the movie will be a mini-comic(probably the adpatation) and an offer for the BATMAN & ROBIN CARTOON MAKER.
Retail price is $16.99/probably about$14-18.99 in Canada
No movie rumors this month.
OTHER BATMAN RELATED NEWS
- Look for BATMAN & ROBIN to air later this month or next on HBO (what a waste of commercial time!)
- It looks like Batman 5 will hit theatres no earlier than Summer of 2000. The budget and crew is undetermined at time but WB is expected to make an announcement in August about the film.
- Sadly, Joel Schmacher is still tied to the project as director, but promises a darker, less-flamboyant movie with a smaller, more centralized cast. (Of course, compared to “Batman & Robin”, “Batman Forever” fits all those characteristics).
- Plus:WB is planning on shooting scenes in Vancouver and London to get the spooky ‘X-files’ type shots in the next movie. You know, Batman and Robin chasing Scarecrow through the dark woods(a la X-Files) looks pretty awesome to me.
- But now George Clooney is saying that WB is pulling out of BATMAN 5 so what the hell is going on?
- Still no news on whether the Kurt Russel rumors are plausible.
- The Batman creative teams for late 1998-99 have yet to be officially released but so far there’s quite a list:
J. Scott Campbell
Mike Deodato Jr.
more to be names at a later date.There is rumored to be 26 creators signed on so far
Release dates of BATMAN COMICS for June:
ANIMATED BATMAN/SUPERMAN COMICS:
July 1st (Canada Day..woo-hoo!)
BATMAN:GOTHAM ADVENTURES #4 (1.99 US)
SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #23 (1.99 US)
MAINSTREAM BATMAN COMICS
Currently: Gotham has been at the mercy of an earthquake and our heroes try to save Gotham and themselves from the destruction and the criminals that dare kick this city while its down!
BATMAN ANNUAL #22 (2.95 US)
BATMAN:GOTHIC tpb (new printing) (12.95 US)
BATMAN:SHADOW OF THE BAT #78 (1.99 US)
JLA:WORLD WITHOUT GROWN-UPS #2 (4.95 US)
AZRAEL #45 (1.99 US)
BATMAN #558 (1.99 US)
JLA:YEAR ONE #9 (1.99 US)
NIGHTWING #24 (1.99 US)
BATMAN-Full Circle (relist) (5.95 US)
BATMAN:OTHER REALMS (tpb) (12.95 US)
CATWOMAN/WILDCAT #2 (OF 4) (2.50 US)
YOUNG JUSTICE #1 (2.50 US)
BATMAN:GORDON OF GOTHAM #4 (1.99 US)
BATMAN:LOTDK #110 (1.99 US)
CATWOMAN #61 (1.99 US)
DETECTIVE COMICS #725 (1.99 US)
JLA #22 (1.99 US)
ROBIN #57 (1.99 US)
WARNING! As of August or September DC cover dates is raising all 1.95 US comics up to 1.99 US! Effects on other priced comics are unknown at this time. Stay tuned! Canadian prices on all 1.95 comics will be raised from 2.75 to 2.85.(now that’s fair, sheesh!)
Animated Batman/Superman sites:
THE NEW BATMAN/SUPERMAN ADVENTURES
BATMAN:THE ANIMATED SERIES
THE ANIMATED BAT
BATMAN:THE ANIMATED HOMEPAGE
SUB-ZERO:THE DEFINTIE GUIDE
TWO-FACE’S TOWER OF TRANQUILITY AND TERROR
RAVING TOY MANIAC
CHARACTERS ON THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN
THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN F.A.Q. SITE
THE BRUCE TIMM ARTWORK ARCHIVE
These are some of the best Batman: TAS sites on the web at this time. Most sites are updated or have been recently and all are up and running. Now…chances are if you’ve watched Batman on WB! There’s also a chance you’ve watched Superman: TAS and probably loved it! Well if so here’s a site that is the best Superman: TAS site on the web! (But it hasn’t been updated since the May 2nd weekend).
SITE WORTH CHECKING OUT!
Wondering what episodes you haven’t seen of Batman? Or possibly your missing that one SUPERMAN episode. Whatever the case is you should do yourself a favor and check out this site:
BRIAN CRUZ’S WB CARTOONS PAGE
This site contains some of the most up-to-date info on all WB animated shows and to most up-to-date (its up before The official KIDS’ WB! schedule usually) schedule! You won’t be sorry!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE:
BATMAN and all related property is a registered trademark of DC Comics. Visit DC Comics website at
DC Comics is owned and operated by Warner Brothers.Visit their website at
Kids’WB! is a part of Warner Brothers. Visit the Kids’ WB! site at
If I’ve left any out I’ll probably be suee and homeless within a year so please tell me.
Well here’s it is! The first newsletter dedicated to Batman/Superman! I hope you’ve enjoyed the sneek peek at this hopeful newsletter! As time goes on we’ll be adding more features!
Editors of B:TAN are as follows:
Richard James Grayson-Harvey
Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton