Batman: The Animated Newsletter
Week of Sept 21 – 26/27, Sept. 28 – Oct. 3/4
Volume 1, Issue #7
THE SEASON PREMIERE SPECTACULAR
Yes, I know that over the past month, delivery of this newsletter has been rather awkward…well, starting off with this HUGE issue, THE SEASON PREMIERE SPECTACULAR, we’re going back to our usual bi-weekly delivery set up. Now enjoy! We have a lot of stuff to cover this issue!
HISTORY OF THE ANIMATED BAT
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; sadly, this season died out with only 15 additional episodes, for the show was not raking in as much money as it previously was, and deemed as being “too dark” by parents. 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 FOX 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 moved 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! NEW episodes began airing bright and early on the morning of September 13th, 1997. Two years (less two days) after BTAS ceased production, it was reborn.
HISTORY OF THE ANIMATED MAN OF STEEL
From the creators of BTAS, we saw Superman takes off in the fall of 1996. It started with a hit prime-time movie (which was the highest rated WB show of the week) – and after a hap-hazard first season of unpredicatable episode airing, Superman returned in full force in the fall of 1997 with a whole new season of 28 episodes, including a “WORLD’S FINEST” crossover with Batman. Superman then won more critical acclaim (for episodes such as THE LATE MR. KENT and APOKOLIPS …NOW!) and much higher ratings. This locomotion isn’t slowing down as it moves into season three…
Welcome to another installment of BATMAN:THE ANIMATED NEWSLETTER. In this newsletter you’ll find all sorts of items pertaining to the hit show. There is also a bit of Superman:TAS thrown in for good measure – just keep in mind that this newsletter is predominantly about the Bat, K? We have the usual columns plus special articles in every newsletter! We have schedules, new, comic info, trivia, websites, editorials and much more! So sit back and relax!
SPECIAL IN THIS ISSUE
Many things have changed – a new toy review, more schedules and mini episode-reviews, comic schedules and reviews, rumors aplenty, and yet another editorial from the wonderful Laura Hysert, but the main event in this issue of the newsletter is an interview with “BTAS” and “Sub-Zero” director, BOYD KIRKLAND!!!!
ALSO, we have a SECOND interview, with inker/penciller RICK BURCHETT, whose credits include nearly ALL comic-versions of the “animated” Batman! WOOOHAAAA!!!
Scroll down to read it!
I’d just like to put the humor and such aside for a moment to remember Mike Parobeck. Over two years ago he died due to diabetes-related causes, and only now does the comic world know the talent they lost. He was the best penciller on BATMAN ADVENTURES and set the high standards for all “animated” comics to follow. He has inspired me a lot art-wise and from what I’ve heard he was one of the nicest men in comic-dom, second only to Jack Kirby. I recommend you all find the two trade papaerbacks and back-isses of BATMAN ADVENTURES (and B&R Adv. annual #2) and see his rendition of Batman. It’s classic.
Sleep well Mike.
In other Bat-related news, we have just learned that Roddy McDowall has been struck with a terminal case of cancer. McDowall, who just turned 70 last week, is best known for his role in various “Planet of the Apes” movies. He is also credited with two Batman-roles; he played the villain “Bookworm” in two episodes of the 1960’s “Batman” series, and, more recently, is the wonderfully terrific voice of the Mad Hatter in a handful of “Batman: The Animated Series” episodes (one of which is still to come)! I really hope that even though this is a terminal case, he will be around for a long time. I just hope BTAS dedicates a Mad Hatter episode to him when he does pass away…
Let’s just have a moment of silence to pray that he won’t leave this world…not yet…
*MOMENT OF SILENCE*
BATMAN:THE ANIMATED ARCHIVES
Wow, It’s Christmas! For all of you new B:TAN readers you can now catch up on the previous newsletters! A great friend of both Tim and I has put our old newsletters up at her site! The site is called “The Warner Bros. Club” and features tonnes of WB related games and information! Plus each new newsletter will be out up there as well! For all you wanting to catch up, or look back, here is the URL:
The Warner Bros. Club site is also part of a much bigger site. The site is called TOON ZONE and contains three more WB related sites: Brian Cruz’s WB Cartoon Page, Colin’s WB schedule page, and the WB Comic Zone. The sites have been updated and somewhat revamped! Do you wanna see the people behind it? There’s also a site for that as well. This isn’t an official WB page but it’s so good, might as well be! There’s even a chat room and a great message board! If you’re looking for anything WB related check out this site! Definatly worth bookmarking!
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.
Air date: September 26/27, 1998 (USA)
Batman and Nightwing are in pursuit of a group of felons who turn out to be…animals? This UK exclusive finally airs in the USA.
Air date: October 3/4, 1998 (USA)
This episode is WAS to be the season premiere of BTAS this year. It revolves around Dick Grayson telling Tim Drake why he and Batman aren’t as close as they once were. It sheds light on why Dick left the Batcave, how he became a hero of his own, and how Batgirl became a much more intricate part of their team. Two-Face and the Joker are also set to appear, if the story follows it’s “Lost Years” comic counterparts.
And here are all the BATMAN episodes due this year:
1. THE ULTIMATE THRILL (#96)
2. CRITTERS (#99)
3. CULT OF THE CAT (#100)
4. ANIMAL ACT (#101)
5. OLD WOUNDS (#102)
6. LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT
7. BEWARE THE CREEPER
8. GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT
9. JUDGEMENT DAY
11. MAD LOVE (Pt. 1)
12. MAD LOVE (Pt. 2)
They say that there are only these episodes airing this fall but I still don’t believe ’em. Don’t forget there’s still the BATMAN half of the two Batman/Superman crossovers, and keep in mind that “Girls’ Night Out” may be a two or even three-parter.
Rumor has it that three more episodes will be held back for the summer of 1999 (like this past season). Only time will tell how many and which episodes we’re getting. Right now production has temporarily stopped on BATMAN episodes but not on SUPERMAN or BATMAN BEYOND episodes.This season sounds interesting either way, and I can’t wait until September 19th!
WB ANIMATION SCHEDULES:
(courtesy of Brian Cruz)
The New Batman/Superman Adventures premiered this past year with ratings and critical sucess! Kid’sWB airs the show Monday through Friday at 4:30 pm (eastern time) and now in a 90 minute block on weekends starting at 8:30am (eastern time). The time may vary for the various WB affiliates across Canada and the U.S. The schedule is set to change again in Septmeber or October, so watch the SCHEDULE and NEWS section for upcoming information!
SUPERMAN #27-THE PROMORTHEON
BATMAN #83-MAKE ‘EM LAUGH
SUPERMAN #06-THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
SUPERMAN #12-TOOLS OF THE TRADE
BATMAN #73-TIME OUT OF JOINT
BATMAN #33-THE LAUGHING FISH
SUPERMAN #10-MY GIRL
SUPERMAN #29-THE HAND OF FATE
BATMAN #88-COLD COMFORT
BATMAN #101-ANIMAL ACT—NEW!!!
SUPERMAN #34-HEAVY METAL
BATMAN #87-SINS OF THE FATHER
SUPERMAN #32-THE LATE MR. KENT
BATMAN #85-BATGIRL RETURNS
BATMAN #14-HEART OF ICE
SUPERMAN #9-STOLEN MEMORIES
BATMAN #67-A BULLET FOR BULLOCK
SUPERMAN #30-BIZZARO’S WORLD
SUPERMAN #23-DOUBLE DOSE
BATMAN #89-DOUBLE TALK
SUPERMAN #26-MONKEY FUN
BATMAN #102-OLD WOUNDS—NEW!!!
Note: All episodes after #85 of BATMAN are considered THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES while the original 85 are considered BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (BTAS) episodes.
EPISODE OF THE WEEK:
(by the Dynamic Duo)
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! All Batman and Superman episodes which have at least been shown once are eligible – but try to catch the new episodes if you can!
(This was tough, cuz none of those episodes are outstanding, but many are good…)
THE LAUGHING FISH (#33)
Airs Sept. 24, 1998
HEART OF ICE (#14)
Airs Sept. 30, 1998
THIS WEEK’S EPISODE TO MISS:
MAKE ‘EM LAUGH (#83)
Airs Sept. 22, 1998
HEAVY METAL (#34)
Airs Sept. 26/27, 1998
NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE TO MISS:
-There is no “terrible” episode this week.
CARTOON NETWORK WB ANIMATION SCHEDULE:
“Yabba Dabba Doom”
It seems that about every month or so the schedule for Batman changes again! So please be patient. We may not be able ot get the new episode schedule up in time but here’s the most current schedule for Batman:TAS on CARTOON NETWORK: It airs Monday thru Friday at 6 & 6:30pm and a midnight repeat (of the 6pm episode) Monday thru Thursday. We’ll note of any change.
Episode schedules for the Cartoon network were unavailable at the time of mailing this newsletter.
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.
SPECIAL NOTE: “Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero” will air on November 21, 1998.
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:
However, Bob was unable to submit a review for this week, so Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton has filled in for him with a review of “The Ultimate Thrill”.
Episode: THE ULTIMATE THRILL
Episode number: #96
Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Dan Riba
Animation by ???
Original air date (UK): July 7, 1998
Original air date (USA): September 14, 1998
My rating: **1/2
When this episode debuted in the UK over the summer, it recieved terrible reviews, more or less declaring it as the worst BTAS episode in a LONG time. Said to be all action and no plot, I figured this episode would be a stinker and didn’t really care if I saw it or not. Of course, when it WAS scheduled to air in North America, I did stick around to watch it, even though I was skeptical. Let me just say that while this episode is FAR from classic status, it isn’t quite as bad as people originally made it out to be.
The episode focuses on the un-interesting villain named Roxy Rockett, an ex-stunt-woman who was banned from Hollywood because of her fascination with taking unecessary risks. The risks made insurnace premiums rise, studios didn’t want to shell out more money, so she got canned. Instead of doing the ol’ “seeking revenge” plot, Roxy now just lives for the thrill of doing dangerous stunts – that, basically, is her character. She’s just a fearless woman that likes to do crazy stuff for fun, and her gimmick is this rocket that she’s always riding on.
In other words, “LET’S GET DANGEROUS.”
But remember, when there’s trouble, you call BW…(Bruce Wayne, that is).
After one chase scene (which is like 5 minutes long – 25% of the show? Ugh) we learn that Roxy is working for the Penguin, which I quite liked. In “Joker’s Millions”, Penguin actually acted reformed, which I didn’t like; I’m glad to see him back to his ol’ criminal ways, using this fearless femme fatale to do his bidding – pulling off various dangerous robberies and such. However, he is getting nervous because of Roxy’s unnecessary risks, and fears that Batman may catch her, and, through her, get to him – so he tries to kill her. (Yay Penguin! Good idea! No more Roxy, please!) Roxy escapes but Penguin sends his hench-girls (Jay, Lark, and Raven) after her to finish off the dirty deed.
Meanwhile, Batman is doing his ol’ deducing thing, and Batgirl informs him that a couple of hookers spotted Roxy hanging around at Penguin’s “Iceburg Lounge” night club after hours on numerous occasions. Batman then visits the Penguin at his ultra-cool penthouse and beats the livin’ crap outa him, getting info on Roxy – VERY COOL SCENE. Penguin even blows apart his apartment with a tommy gun trying to rid himself of the Bat…I like that, too. Naughty Pengy! You been a bad widdle boy! The best scene of the show is when Batman is terrorizing Penguin on his balcony…just like old times.
A short time later, Roxy encounters Penguin’s henchgirls at the airfield, and beats them all without breaking a sweat; Batman shows up, steals a second rocket and goes off after her on another wild chase scene. The final scene involves Batman and Roxy playing a game of chicken on her rocket, seeing who will ride the longest before smashing into the wall of a cliff.
Ahem. Now, I found Roxy thoroughly annoying in this episode, and do not really look forward to her cameo (only a cameo, thank god!) in “Knight Time” this season. Her voice was OK, she just spoke too much, which really broke up the action sequences, which, while amazing, DID last on too long. However, the plot was so shallow that if the action scenes WERE taken out, there’d only be about 3 minutes of footage for the episode – so I guess they were needed. Many also loved the sexual innuendoes in this episode, namely, Roxy’s orgasmic screaming during the…ahem…climax of the episode. Yawn – that just seems like a gimmick to remember the episode by, now…next, please… We also get to see Farmer Brown (well, a truck of his) in this episode during the tunnel chase scene (the best chase scene in the show), which foreshadows his appearance in “Critters”, coming soon this season.
Good points? Only a few – Batgirl’s role was minimalized in this episode, which was a good move. She wasn’t getting in the way all the time, so the episode flowed a lot smoother than other episodes with two or more heroes involved, such as “Torch Song”. I still wish she was excluded altogether, but I won’t complain. The contraption in the Batcave used to “catch” the Batwing while it’s crash-ladning was kinda funky, too. The best parts of the episode, in most people’s opinions, are all the scenes with the Penguin. Just as in “Joker’s Millions”, he’s the only consistantly cool aspect of the episode, who, even when “reformed”, is still a very intriguing and entertaining character, as well as a formidable foe for Batman. We also get to see his character in more detail than ever before, which is something I like – he was one of the most underrated villains in the older episodes, so I am really enjoying his new treatment.
In short, I give this 2.5 stars out of 5. It seemed a lot like “Harley’s Holiday”, but with more chase scenes, and a much lamer starring villainess. If Roxy is to live on in the Bat-universe, she’s really going to need a character make-over – much like how Mr. Freeze used to suck terribly until Paul Dini came along and gave him a wife – and now he rules. So…Roxy, lame; Penguin, cool; Batman, cool; chase scenes, cool to see but too long; sex sounds, yawn; follow-up episode, no thank you.
SPECIAL ARTICLE IN THIS ISSUE #1:
“BATMAN BEYOND PREVIEW”
It’s fifty years from now and there is no Dark Knight in Gotham until a tragic car accident changes the life of one boy. Who? Adolescent Terry McGinnis. He’s a high school kid with problems, which are about to get worse… And where is Bruce Wayne in Gotham’s future? Nobody knows…until “Batman Beyond”, a NEW animated Batman series (brought to you by the creative teams behind “Batman” and “Superman”) debuts this November! Check out this exclusive sneek peak:
Ed Wiser (email@example.com)
When the Batman Beyond series was announced most fans believed that the new series would hurt TNABS…”We are getting too few shows and they are to far apart!” was the common reply to the revived series this past fall. Would the creative team have enough time and creative energy to do three quality weekly cartoon series? These questions and concerns are and will be a cause of concern over the course of the next year. As a long time fan of BTAS I rejoiced when the new shows started appearing last fall. We had a good group of shows over the course of this year. Some great, matching the best of the original series and in some cases surpassing them. I, like many other fans, enjoyed the new designs for the show. The sleeker designs fit with the new show’s direction and made for some great animation.
Recently at the San Diego Comic Con, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett showed the Model sheets and spoke for the first time with fans of BTAS about Batman Beyond. As a regular reader of Toymania News (http://www.toymania.com/news/), I was able to keep track of the goings-on in San Diego. A transcript of Paul, Bruce and Alan’s discussion was posted which included model sheets of some of the characters from the new show (http://www.toymania.com/sdcc98/batmanbeyond.shtml). The Mania web site also posted an article highlighting their discussion (http://www.mania.com/columns/amhh/amhh081498.html).
Responses to the new show and Model sheets drew several positive reviews on internet message boards. The new designs by Bruce Timm are spectacular! The Batmobile is sleek and hovers similar to the landspeeder from Star Wars. Villains like the Jokerz Gang, Inque, Royal Flush gang and Derek Powers are drawn with a nod to the past, but with a futuristic twist that Bruce (Timm, not Wayne) pulls off just right.
One concern that most fans had was the comment that the new shows where to be aimed at younger viewers. “Who wants to see a show where Batman is toned down to be a PC caped crusader to keep from upsetting anyone” most fans groused. Perhaps Bruce Wayne’s financial status and reason for no longer fighting crime in the new show illustrates this fact best.
Bruce Wayne had a heart attack when trying out a new modified Bat-suit.
How does a hero who is healthier than most Olympic athletes have a heart attack? Also, when have you ever heard of a billionaire loosing all his wealth due to some shady business dealings? I guess grim and gritty vigilante by night and wealthy playboy by day would not fit in to a new PC revision of the Batman myth.
These two twists framing the new series could only be pulled off with Paul Dini writing the show. Most fans of BTAS agree that Paul has written some of the best Batman stories ever done outside of the comics realm. To me, the thought of Paul playing god with a whole new Batman world is exciting. Fortunately, the creators of BTAS have a good feel for Batman storytelling. I think that we will be in for a real treat this fall with not only a bunch of great new BTAS and STAS shows, but a view to the future of Batman’s world in Batman Beyond.
This column will be dedicated to examining Batman Beyond and related topics. I am anxious to hear what you fans (and non-fans) of BTAS and Batman have to say about this Else-Worlds style view of the future of the Batman legend. Send your comments, questions and concerns to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll address them in this column.
To see a great pic of BATMAN BEYOND check out this URL (thanx to Cinscape Online)
Coming In November…
SPECIAL ARTICLE IN THIS ISSUE #2:
“BTAS vs. TNBA”
by James Harvey
Who would win? Let’s find out! I’ve been given a lot of guff about comparing the classic BTAS against TNBA shows, and I decided that it’s time to clear things up! Some say TNBA is the best! Others say BTAS will never be beat! This ongoing debate inspired me to comapre the first 13 episodes aried of B:TAS and the firts 13 episodes aired of TNBA to hopefully solve this dilemma. Keep in mind that this article is just my opinion – it does not necessarily represent the opinion of the other people working on this newsletter, or any other fan for that matter.
B:TAS’s “THE CAT & THE CLAW (Pt. 1)” versus TNBA’s “HOLIDAY KNIGHTS”
Gee. Hard desicion. In HOLIDAY KNIGHTS we see he first look of the new designs and the new Robin. We hear the new Batgirl voice.We see much of what’s new. Meanwhile in CAT & THE CLAW we see the first of everything.
We see our first glimpse of the Dark Knight, his classic foe, Catwoman, and many other “firsts”. Plus “CAT & THE CLAW” had much better animation and a great story. “HOLIDYA KNIGHTS” just served as a showcase of the redesigns and would be a mediocre episode at best.
B:TAS’s “ON LEATHER WINGS” versus TNBA’s “SINS OF THE FATHER”
Hmmm. Not to hard ot figure out. In SINS OF THE FATHER we see the origin of the new Robin (Tim Drake), our first glimpse of a grown-up Dick Grayson, and a “redesigned” Two-Face. Ok episode. Ok animation. ON LEATHER WINGS on the other hand is an amazing episode with just amazing animation. The flight scene finale with Batman and Man-Bat was amazing. The explosion in the pharmecutical building? Amazing. We also get really cool cameos of Gordon, Bullock, Mayor Hill, and Harvey Dent. Everything in this episode is done amazingly! It’s not to hard to figure out the winner.
B:TAS’s “HEART OF ICE” versus TNBA’s “COLD COMFORT”
The old Mr. Freeze versus the new headless Mr. Freeze. In COLD COMFORT we see a Freeze torn apart by the fact that Nora has gone and married someone else. He decides to rob Gothamites of their most valued possesions in response. It’s an ok episode with pretty good animation but wiht one major fall-back: The Ice Maidens. Ugh. Freeze doesn’t need henchwomen. Meanwhile in HEART OF ICE, we are introduced to Freeze. We see a great and tragic origin sequence which would make anyone sorry for this cold hearted felon (who, after all is said and done, really ISN’T a “bad guy”). The animation is astounding and Batman beats Freeze in the most innovated way – the ONLY way to fight a cold.
B:TAS’s “FEAT OF CLAY (Pt. 1)” versus TNBA’s “NEVER FEAR”
A blob of clay versus a pissed of Scarecrow. Hmmm. I think this one will go to NEVER FEAR. In FEAT OF CLAY we see not so good animation (but an awesome interogation scene) and an ok story. This episode is just an introduction to part two and nothing more. In NEVER FER we see the new, more terrifying Scarecrow taking away Batman’s fear, turning him into a total bad-ass vigilante. Batman almost kills a guy so it’s up to Robin to stop Batman and Scarecrow which leads to an awesome finale on a runaway train. NEVER FEAR is easily one of the superlative episodes of the “new” adventures, and is outstanding overall.
B:TAS’s “FEAT OF CLAY (Pt. 2)” versus TNBA’s “YOU SCRATCH MY BACK”
While we’re introduced to Nightwing and Catwoman’s new darker look, it just can’t beat Clayface. In YOU SCRATCH MY BACK we see a lot of awesome fight scenes but the weak plot just can’t support it. In FEAT OF CLAY we see an amzing episode focussed on revenge! The animation of Clayface’s shape-shifting is just amazing just as was Batman’s interogation scene with Germs and his shock as he tries to save Clayface from falling off a building.
B:TAS’S “IT’S NEVER TOO LATE” versus TNBA’s “DOUBLE TALK”
A reformed Ventriloquist versus an againg gangster. I wonder who would win. In DOUBLE TALK we see Arnold Wesker trying to get on with his life. But this episode just can’t hook you. The animation is poor and the story is just a rehash of the other Scarface episodes with the predictable ‘Scarface being killed off’ ending. In IT’S NEVER TOO LATE we delve into drugs, religion, and mob wars. Its an amazing episode in
which we see Batman trying to help reform an aging gangster (Stromwell), whom Thorne is after. With great animation and a powerful story, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE wins!
B:TAS’s “JOKER’S FAVOR” versus TNBA’s “JOKER’S MILLIONS”
Hmmm..two Joker episodes. Here’s the premise for both of ’em: For JOKER’S FAVOR, a wimpy accountant crossed the Joker’s path, and was then tormented by him for the two following years, and now must kill Commissioner Gordon or his family will die. In JOKER’S MILLIONS we see Joker being forced to heist armored cars to get his millions ‘back’ after being tricked by a dead mobster. I think FAVOR sounds better. The animation in JOKER’S MILLIONS is pretty good but the story and animation in FAVOR is better – MILLIONS’ attempts at humor are embarassing, while the dark humor of FAVOR is classic. (However, Fake Harley and the Harley try-outs were cute and clever in JOKER’S MILLIONS)
B:TAS’s “THE CAT AND THE CLAW (Pt. 1)” versus “GROWING PAINS”
No contest! How cna the crappy animation and lackuster story in CAT & THE CLAW part II even hold a light to GROWING PAINS. In CAT & THE CLAW Part II we see just 20 more minutes of..well basically nothing. It’s boring – and that’s a shame, for part one was terrific! In GROWING PAINS we see Robin trying to save a homeless girl who is, in effect, Clayface-spawn – so, basically, fighting the person he’s trying to save. How? The episode is amazing and leads to one the greatest endings of all-time. “Sometimes, there are no happy endings” just struck a cord with me when Batamn said that to try and comfort Robin.
B:TAS’s “PRETTY POISON” versus TNBA’s “MEAN SEASONS”
Two episodes with suprisingly similar premises, but only one pulls it off better. In MEAN SEASONS we see ex-model going insane after being dropped by all her agents, so she does what anyone else would, try and kill ’em. I bet Cindy Crawford’ll be doin’ that in no time! In PRETTY POISON, we see a mysterious woman poison D.A. Harvey Dent becuase a few years earlier he dug up a feild of rare flowers for so he could build Stonegate penitentary. She wants revenge and she could get it! See..sorta similar…In MEAN SEASONS the character of Calendar Girl is forced upon us too soon and uncomfortably. We were forced into everything…including the Chipendales henchmen. The animation was astounding though. In PRETTY POISON, the episode runs smooth with the help of a great premise and great animation.
B:TAS’s “NOTHING TO FEAR” versus TNBA’s “THE DEMON WITHIN”
This one, for me, is actually hard to peg. I thought NOTHING TO FEAR, despite OK animation, was a great episode where we see Bruce’s fears and how he sees the role he played in his parent’s death and what they thing of him. In THE DEMON WITHIN we see Bruce Wayne trying to save Etrigan and Jason Blood from a demonic little kid. Sure the premise sounds silly but it works. This is a really hard one to pick. The animation is beyond amazing in this episode (just check out the finale! Amazing!). and the plot is solid, but slightly forced. I can’t believe I’m gonna say this but..it’s a tie.
Winner:B:TAS and TNBA (3 & 8)
TWO-FACE’S TIE-BREAKER: This doesn’t officially count, but I think that “Nothing to Fear” deserves to win here.
B:TAS’s “BE A CLOWN” versus TNBA’s “OVER THE EDGE”
No contest! TNBA flies cirlces around this BTAS’s BE A CLOWN (and gee..where else but JOKER’S FAVOR can we hear Batman say: “ALright Joker, time for some Bat-magic.” Ugh!).The animation ain’t to great in BE A CLOWN and it sort of shows. The plot is solid, but doesn’t garnish much interest. OVER THE EDGE, on the other hand, is a non-stop action filled, emotional issue where we believe in the impossible plus it shows what a lot of fans love seeing:Batgirl dying! YESSS!!! (Take THAT, Schumacher!) But seriously, the animation in OVER THE EDGE is just amazing! The smooth moves of the characters and the use of Computers in this episode work perfectly! One problem: talkshow sequence. Anything else: PERFECT.
B:TAS’s “APPOINTMENT IN CRIME ALLEY” versus TNBA’s “TORCH SONG”
TORCH SONG started out great. The animation was pretty good, too. A pyrotechnic gets dumped, goes nuts, so tries to kill his ex (a pop singer) and gets his ass kicked by Batman.Oh yeah, and Batgirl makes a dumb mistake that gets her injured. Again. In APPOINTMENT we see Batman going to visit the site of his parent’s death (Crime Alley) but then he discovers a plot which will destroy the area and kill the woman who saved him, Leslie Thompkins. This is a great episode that proves not everybody wins all the time. Great animation as well!
B:TAS’s “P.O.V.” versus TNBA’s “LOVE IS A CROC”
HA!Where’s the competiton here? LOVE IS A CROC is basically about two deformed people (a bad KILLER CROC and an even worse BABY DOLL) going on a rampage and then trying to blow up Gotham…again. In P.O.V. we see a police sting gone bad and three cops with two differant stories. Who’s telling the truth and who’s lying? And..what happened to Batman? The winner is obvious. Oh come on! Think about it!
BTAS wins! The score is 10-4 for BTAS!I know alot of people are gonna be pissed by this but I don’t care. This is my personnal opinion – TNBA can’t beat BTAS. It might come close, but never will. If anyone wants to oppose I’m open to a little discussion about the particualr episodes listed above!
NOTE BY TWO-FACE: Let’s get ready to rumble. *ROLLS EYES*
SPECIAL ARTICLE IN THIS ISSUE #3:
BEST OF THE PAST
(by James Harvey)
Since it’s the dawn of a new season we had the perfect reason to do a top ten list of the past season! Let’s go! (Remember this is only for S:TAS and TNBA episodes which debutted in the 1997-98 season.)
10.”Brave New Metropolis”
This is one of the most darkest portrayals of Superman ever! Here we see Lois accidently enter an alternate reality where she’s dead…and it shows. Superman feels guilty for her death and sides with Luthor to ‘save’ the city. Superman is a tyrant. Metropolis is in ruins. Can Lois help Superman? Yer gonna have to watch to see!
9. “Apokalips…Now!” (Pt. 1)
Its the best lead-in episode I’ve ever seen. Here we are introduced to the new Intergang, who possess futuritic technology thanx to Darkseid. After being badly injured, Maggie Sawyer lies in a hospital bed and Turpin demands revenge. Then arrives Orion of the New Gods to warn Superman and Metropolis: Darkseid is coming…
8. “The Late Mr. Kent”
This episode grabs you right in just by the name of the title! Clark Kent is dead and his murderer lives on. Superman and Lois must find out ‘who killed Clark Kent’ (confused?) before they’re next. This episode changed the status of a semi-regular character that no one saw coming. So, Who killed Clark Kent? Watch and see!
7. “World’s Finest” (Pt. 2)
This episode suffers from the typical ‘second part syndrome’ that plagues all three parters…it’s mainly filler between the emotional first and third parts. However, this episode still manages to be pulled off in style. Buce and Lois Lane grow deeper for each other…well before Joker kidnaps Lois, and things take off from there. We see repercussions of the Bats versus Supes battle in part one.Can you smell the tension in the air?
6. “World’s Finest” (Pt. 1)
Great set-up. This episode shows the Joker stealing twenty pounds worth of Kryptonite and heading to Metropolis with intentions of offing the Man of Steel! Lois first meets Bruce! Plus do you think when Batman and Superman first meet it would be ‘Super-Friends’ all over? Wrong. Cool strip-club scene, too. Gotta love that.
5. “World’s Finest” (Pt. 3)
This episode overshadows all other parts! It’s full of suprises and shocks all the way through! During the episode, Batman is unmaksed in front of…nah you’ll have to wait and see! Batman and Superman form an uneasy alliance to stop Joker and Lex? Will it all work out? Possibly – but the end will change both our heroes’ lives forever.
4. “Never Fear”
Easy, Batman unleashed into the bad-ass he wishes he could be. We see Batman let go of all his fears, including the fear of killing, thanks to the Scarecrow. Robin is on his own once Batman almost kills a thug. Scarecrow’s new design is actually SCARY now – a welcome change. Can Batman get it together and stop the Scarecrow? Can Robin stop Batman from killing Scarecrow? Watch and see!
3. “Growing Pains”
Remember your first love? Everyone does, but sometimes things don’t go as smoothely as you hope. After saving a mysterious girl from a gang of bikers, Robin develops a crush for her and goes out searching for her. Robin falls into her mysterious past when her dad comes calling. Can Robin save ‘Annie'(what he calls her) from her father and still stay alive? Fantastic animation, too. When you see, you’ll know why its one of the best BATMAN episodes ever!
2. “Apokalips…Now! (Pt. 2)”
The stage has been set and hell is going to break loose…literally! Parademons are tearing Metropolis apart and there’s a headhunter after Supes. Superman is unable to contact Orion and the New Gods for help – could things get any worse? What about the nuclear explosion from part one? (Oops! Spoiler alert!) What’s gonna happen when it reaches Earth’s core? Superman and Metropolis are on their own and the odds look impossible. But now the unthinkable has happened…Superman has fallen…
1. “Over the Edge”
Best episode of the past season, and one of the best ever. Batman’s world is turned upside-down when the Scarecrow kills Batgirl…sounds bad already? Think again. It gets even worse. Gordon, angry over his daughter’s death, blames Batman and sets the entire GCPD out to get him. Dick Grayson is in jail, as is Alfred. Tim has run away. Enraged, Gordon releases Bane from Blackgate and hires him to assassinate the Dark Knight. All the tension is built up to a great finale following Barbara’s funeral, on top of GCPD with Batman, Gordon, and Bane…
Those are without a doubt the 10 best episodes of the season! These episode made people sit-up and notice this isn’t your regular kiddie-fare show. Its a drama-adventure where anything goes. The new season has begun…
SHAMELESS PLUG: Also check out my letter in BATMAN:GOTHAM ADVENTURES #6!
Q & A WITH THE INCREDIBLE BOYD KIRKLAND
(director of countless of the “old style” BTAS episodes, co-director of “Mask of the Phantasm” and director of “Sub-Zero”)
(interviewed by James Grayson-Harvey).
“IT’S A BOYD! IT’S A PLANE! IT’S…!”
Boyd Kirkland was oh, so kind to take time out of ultra busy schedule to answer ten little fanboy questions! This is a great Q & A and one of my favorites! So sit back and read through this little Q & A and enjoy! Now without further adieu, heeeeeeeeere’s BOYD!
JH#1 – How did you get your start in animation and end up working for WB? Also,what drove you to Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS)?
BK#1 – I started in the animation studio twenty years ago, working as a layout artist,drawing backrounds and character keys for Hanna Barbara, Ruby Spears, Marvel, etc, on shows such as Jana of the Jungle, Plastic Man, The Fantastic Four, Thundarr, The Incredible Hulk, and Spiderman. After six years, I moved on to drawing storyboards for Marvel, on G.I. Joe, Jem and the Holograms, etc., and freelanced for many other studios, including Disney, Graz Enetertainment, TMS, and Rich Entertainment. I started producing and directing for Marvel on Robocop, Bucky O’Hare, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Along the way, I also worked on several feature films, including Starchaser, the Legend of Orin, The Chipmunk Adventure, G.I Joe, the Movie, and Little Nemo, Adventures in Slumberland.
While at Marvel, I was very impressed by the quality of work being produced by Warner Bros, on Tiny Toons, and felt frustrated by the lack of quality control and relatively small budgets I had to work with. So, when Warner Bros. announced in 1991 that they would be producing an animated Batman series, I jumped at the chance to work on it as director.
JH#2 – You must have a favorite episode you directed yourself. Is there any you’d redo if you were given the chance, and if so, why?
BK#2 – It would be tough for me to pick out just one favorite episode. Some of them I enjoyed becuase of the particulary good script (“Perchance to Dream”, “Beware the Gray Ghost”); others becuase of some great animation and action (“Harley & Ivy”, “Second Chance”, “Sideshow”); and still others becuase of their interesting character studies (“It’s Never Too Late”, “Appointment In Crime Alley”, “I Am the Night”, “Read My Lips”).
Given all the limitations inherent in producing shows for TV (time, money, broadcast restricitions, etc.), there are always things you wish you could have done better or differently. As directors, we had no control, for example, over which scripts we were assigned, or which overseas animation studios would be given our episodes, etc. The producers made those decisions. Sometimes, the whole process really feels like a crapshoot, and you just do the best you can and hope something decent comes out in the end. Shows I like the least usually had weak scripts and/or animation (“Catscratch Fever”, “Make ‘Em Laugh”).
JH#3 – Now out of the original 85 episodes which one do you think stands out among the crowd as your favorite?
BK#3 – Since I have a tough time singling out just one favorite episode of my own, it would be really tough to pick just one of the entire series! Several episodes which stand out for various reasons are: “On Leather Wings”, “Heart Of Ice”, “Feat of Clay Part II”, “Dreams In Darkness”, and “Robin’s Reckoning Part I”.
JH#4 – What do you think of THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES on Kids’ WB? Do you like the new style and approach to the already classic series? Is there anything you don’t like about it?
BK#4 – Now,You’re really asking me to tread on dangerous ground! I know there has been quite a mixed reaction amongst fans to the redesigns and more symplistic style of the new series, and to the new emphasis on costumed villians versus more realistic crime bosses. This is largely a matter of personal taste. I prefer the original series, as I find the current, cartoonier look and feel to work against darkness and believability of the drama (although it is slick and pretty to look at).
JH#5 – Good point. What do you think about the B:TAS move from FOX to WB?
BK#5 – FOX was wonderful to work with, because in many respects, they were allowing us to break new ground with B:TAS, but it’s also great that WARNER BROS. now has their own network, creating a little job security for us!
JH#6 – What was it like working on a film like MASK OF THE PHANTASM? The animation was amazing in that movie. What was it like working with all the different animation crews and voice actors?
BK#6 – While I’m proud of my work on Phantasm, in several respects, it was a frustrating experience for me. It’s always tough to work in a situation where you don’t have much control, and are just one of several directors and producers, each with his own style and priorities. While the animation in it is very good, I think several episodes of the original animated series were just as good, if not better. The story, with its primal emphasis on Bruce Wayne’s first love and becoming Batman, is what I think appeals to most fans.
It is always a kick to work with the actors at recording sessions.Up until that point, the story is just words on a page. Hearing them read their lines brings it to life! It’s also nice to meet these people we’ve seen in various movies and shows, and find out how nice they really are.
JH#7 – This question is basicallt the same: What was it like with SUBZERO? Do you think the meld of computer animation and tradional animation work well? Was it a differant experience working computer animation?
BK#7 – SUBZERO was a wonderful experience for me creatively, as I had much more control over every aspect of the production. The major frustration I had with it was in it’s delayed release, as I and many other people had worked very hard to have it finished in time for it’s originally intended summer debut.
It’s interesting that I always get asked about the computer animation in SUBZERO. Like the redesigns of the animated series, it too has generated many mixed reactions amongst the fans. For the most part, I was very pleased with how well the CGI intergrated with the rest of the
film, and feel that it helped elevate it above the TV series.
If you look at the hand drawn animation done in the TV series of mechanical things like the Batwing, or animation of buildings and backrounds, the results are usually pretty poor. That’s becuase those things are very difficult to draw and animate, as well as paint to match the rest of the fuly rendered backrounds. One solution to this problem is just avoid doing scenes like this, but that is very limiting, cinematically. Computers have solved this problem, but it’s still a challenge to get the look of the CGI to match the rest of the film.
I enjoyed directing the computer animation, becuase the guys at Foundation Imagaing who did it were great to work with. For once, I could actually be there to oversee the process, as opposed to the hand drawn animation, which is done in Japan or Korea where I have very little control.
JH#8 – There have been rumors flying that WB is going to be doing a third animated BATMAN movie or a NEW GODS animated movie. Do any of these rumors hold any possibilities?
BK#8 – It’s true that The New Gods has been off and on in development over at Warner Feature Animation for quite some time. I’m not certain what it’s current status is, but I don’t think it has been given a green-light yet.
I am currently working on ideas for [a third] Batman Animated movie for Warner Bros. Home Video, as they have been very pleased with the sales of SUB-ZERO and are interested in doing another one. But it hasn’t been definatly green-lit yet. I can report, however, that NONE of the rumored story lines I’ve seen reported about it out there on the Internet are true. Sometimes, I wonder who’s making this stuff up, and reporting it as fact?! Given how much time these movies take to make, the earliest the next one could appear (if all goes well) is early 2000.
JH: INTERRUPTING SIDE NOTE: Editor Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton promoted some of these rumors some time ago, and now feels very embarassed. Shame on you, Tim!
JH#9 – Also with the success of SUBZERO, and if we do see another animated movie come to video (or theatres), are we going to be able to see more “Lost Years” stories (which take place between “Sub-Zero” and “Sins of the Father”)?
BK#9 – As I indicated above, several differant storylines are currently being considered for the next Batman Animated movie. None of these are particulary focused on filling in continuity gaps, but rather are just attempts at telling a great Batman story.
JH#10 – Works for me! But are there any other projects you’re scheduled for that we can look out for in the near future?
BK#10 – In addition to working on ideas for Batman, I have done development here on WONDER WOMAN, THE METAL MEN, LOBO and a few other things. These are all kicking around somewhere, and one never knows if any of them will surface someday!
Thanx-a-million for contributing, Mr. Kirkland! This was a great Q & A I hope you readers had fun readin’ it! Thanx again,Boyd!
Q & A WITH THE ONE, THE ONLY, RICK BURCHETT
(by James Harvey)
You all know as the inker of THE BATMAN ADVENTURES, THE BATMAN & ROBIN ADVENTURES and penciller on BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES. Now here is a ‘sit back & enjoy’ Q & A with our favorite writer/penciller/inker, Rick Burchett!
Rick: Thanks for writing. I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you sooner, but they moved up our release date for the Batman Beyond mini-series so I’ve been spending more time than usual at the board.
Anyway, on to the questions. I’ll try to keep my answers as succinct as possible, but I do tend to ramble at times. Feel free to edit(which I didn’t -JH) as you see fit.
BTAN#1: How did you break into the comic book industry and what was it like? What were some of your first works?
RICK#1: I got into the business the same way everyone does. I kept showing my work to editors and art directors until someone took a chance on me. In my case the people who took that chance were Joe Staton and Mike Gold at the late, lamented First Comics. Of course, there were years of rejection prior to that, so the advice I give to aspiring comic artists is to work hard and persist. If you can be discouraged, you have no business working in comics. Even after you get in there are still times of disappointment and rejection.You have to love it to do it.
My first published work was for a magazine Charlton Comics used to produce called the Charlton Bullseye. It was a magazine devoted to giving amateurs a chance to get work published in return for copies of the printed book. I wrote, pencilled, lettered, and inked a Mike Mauser, Private Eye story for editor George Wildman. In fact, it was this story that helped me get work at First Comics.
BTAN#2: And eventually you ended up at “THE BATMAN ADVENTURES”…how did you find working there?
RICK#2: I came to work on “Batman Adventures” by way of a phone call from Bob Greenberger at DC. I was inking Dan Jurgens on the JLA at the time and DC needed someone to ink Ty Templeton on what was then a three issue mini-series based on a new animated TV series set to debut that fall. By sheer coincidence I had seen a tape of the pilot sequence WB animation had produced to sell the series and was in love with the concept. It just seemed to good to be true. I enthusiastically jumped on board.
Well, soon the three issue series became a six issue series and then an ongoing monthly. So, here I am, seven years later, still trying to get it right.
BTAN#3: Who were your biggest art inspirations in the comic book industry and artform?
RICK#3: My influences in the artform are practically anyone who’s ever picked up a pencil or brush to tell a story using words and pictures. I’ve found that the best classroom for the study of the form is the work itself. You can learn from anyone even if it’s to learn how not to do something.
My major influences are the same ones that many people in the business have: Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Alex Toth, Harvey Kurtzman, Joe Kubert; the guys who created the language of comics.
BTAN#4: Now, I have to ask this question, what was it like working with personnal inspiration, Mike Parobeck.
RICK#4: The only complaint I have about working with Mike Parobeck is that it didn’t last long enough. It was easily the most exciting art collaberation I’ve had. We seemed to be able to read each others mind. Comics desperately needs more creators like Mike, not only for his obvious artistic abilities, but also because of the kind of person he was. I still miss him.
BTAN#5: What do you think your greatest achievement is so far in your steady comic book career?
RICK#5: I guess my greatest achievement is the fact that I’m working steadily in the business despite the fact that comics are in a serious depression and there are many artists going without work. To be honest though, I think this has more to do with luck rather than personal achievement. Working with the right people on the right project at the right time.
BTAN#6: What do think is your best issue of any of the three BATMAN ADVENTURES series? Why?
RICK#6: I don’t feel I’m qualified to make a judgement on best issue or on individual work. I think that’s for the reader to decide. There are certain issues that have gone smoother than others, but I am my own worst critic and not a good judge of the work.
BTAN#7: Did you have to change your artstyle for the new BATMAN:GOTHAM ADVENTURES series? Why?
RICK#7: There actually has been some work done to accomodate the designs changes necessary for Gotham. As you can tell, the characters have become very graphic in design, a more minimalist, geometrical approach. It’s like learning a new language. The same is true of the upcoming Batman Beyond. Again, the design is similar but different. Jumping back and forth between art styles is making me feel a little
like Harvey Dent.
(TIMTWOFACE INTERCESSION: Hey hey hey hey! What are you trying to say? :-P)
BTAN#8: What do you think of the new simplier of THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES? Do you like the original style or the new simple style?
RICK#8: Actually, this question is an extension of the last. Even though the styles of all the WB shows have similarities they also have subtle differences. I’m afraid I’m somewhat picky when it comes to getting the look right. I think readers expect this, so it’s my job to make it as close to the original as possible, given my own limitations. There are some artists who are masters at this: Ty Templeton, of course, and Mike Manley (Superman Adventures #25.Wow!) My cap is off to them.
BTAN#9: Which do you prefer, doing stories for the ‘regular’ BATMAN comics or for the animated Batman?
RICK#9: When it comes to the question of animated vs. regular Batman I really have no strong choice. I like both depending on who’s doing the art. What’s more important to me are the types of stories that are being told. On this point I come down squarely in the animated camp. I like the stories we tell.
I think they’re evocative in many ways and can be read on many different levels. Many times at conventions fans will ask me if I wish I was working on the “real” Batman. Let’s see, my Batman doesn’t have a yellow ellipse around the bat emblem and he works with a little kid……hey! I am working on the real Batman! Seriously, I think the fact that the two versions can exist side by side is a great testament to the character.
BTAN#10: Okay, you knew I had to ask this so..which episode is your fav? Why?
RICK#10: Favorite episode? Boy, I have many. And please excuse me, I’m terrible with episode titles. I liked the origin stories of Two-Face, Man-Bat, and Clayface. World’s Finest…Over the Edge…there are so many I like it would probably be easier for me to tell the ones I think maybe missed the mark and there have been very few of those. I am in awe of the good folks at Warner animation. I simply do not know how they do what they do within the schedules and restrictions they have. I just hope they keep doing it for a long time to come.
BTAN#11: Okay, yet another predictable question! What suprises are in store for us in BATMAN:GOTHAM ADVENTURES?
RICK#11: What’s coming up in Gotham? Ty should really be the one to answer this. Let’s see…Batman and Batgirl take a jaunt around the world…we introduce a new character created specifically for Gotham Adventures that we could revisit from time to time if the readers want…Harley writes a tell-all book on her years with the Joker…stuff like that. I hope you enjoy it.
Well, James ,I think that’s it. Hope it’s okay. Thanks for asking for the interview and if there’s anything else I can do let me know.
Thank you Rick Burchett for taking time out of your busy schedule (pencillng for GOTHAM ADVENTURES and BATMAN BEYOND) and answering these questions! There’s nothin’ more better then you doin’ this! Good luck and I’ll check ya out every month in GOTHAM ADVENTURES!
(by Laura Hysert, aka “Phoenix”)
Sadly, Laura was unable to submit an editorial this week, but she will be back in full-force in time for the next newsletter! (We’ll all miss her though! *SIGH*)
BATMAN:THE ANIMATED TRIVIA
(by Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton)
This is one of my favourite sections, where I get to boggle the minds of all our readers! *EVIL LAUGH* This trivia is all animated-related in some form, and can deal with ANY aspect of the show or comics. Some are easy, some are not. Now have fun – let’s see how well you do! Answers are provided beneath the “Animated Batman/Superman Sites” section.
23. Which is the only episode in which we see Bruce Wayne and/or Batman in France?
A: CULT OF THE CAT
B: THE DEMON’S QUEST
C: THE LION AND THE UNICORN
D: BATGIRL RETURNS
E: He never went to France, dummy!
24. In what American state is Gotham City located?
A: GOTHAM STATE
B: NEW YORK STATE
C: NEW JERSEY
D: DISTRICT OF METROPOLIS
E: “THE TRI-STATE AREA”
25. To which nationality does the Joker belong?
26. When being chased by the mob, where did the Beaumont family eventually settle down?
C: THE MEDITTERANEAN COAST
D: THE UNITED KINGDOM
This column is just basic humor. Nothing special ot it, it’s just here to make you laugh a bit before we delve into serious things (yeah, like grown men in tights!). Enjoy!
PERSONALIZED PLATES FOR THE BATMOBILE
(as suggested by the immediate Bat-Family)
AX 2 GRND
KP N KOWL
RT W WNGS
MU V PROP
ROT N RKM
TV Y7 FV
Here is a section where we just jot down a couple things that we’ve noticed in various BTAS/STAS episodes over the years. Did YOU notice them?
1)The captain of the ship the Joker tries to sink in “World’s Finest” part 3 uses the same design as the Coast Guard captain of the boat Nightwing sinks in “Over the Edge”. He doesn’t have the same voice though…go fig.
2)The girl that is with Bruce in “Joker’s Wild” and splashes wine in his face in “Mask of the Phantasm” apparently appears in “World’s Finest” part 2 (I think) in the scene where the window-cleaning apparatus Bruce uses to sort-of escape the Joker’s gang crashes to the ground. Our female friend appears behind it; her concierge somewhat resembles Hamilton Hill.
3)The same man that does Alfred’s voice ALSO does back-up voices for the talkshow host in “Over the Edge” and Roxy Rockett’s first victim in “The Ultimate Thrill”.
4)Wanna hear Kevin Conroy (Batman) speak in a french accent? Listen to the waiter at the Rose Cafe in “Pretty Poison” – that’s Mistah Conroy!
5)Didja know that Two-Face (well, Harvey Dent, actually) makes an appearance in “Heart of Ice”? Watch the Batcomputer screen really carefully when Bats is searching for info on Mr. Freeze.
6)Mark Hamill, voice of the Joker, also does the voice of Ferris Boyle, the man who created Mr. Freeze.
7)George Dzunda (sp?), the voice of both Scarface and the Ventriloquist, also does the voice of Dr. Gregory Belson in “Sub-Zero”, and G. Carl Francis in “The Laughing Fish”.
ANIMATED NEWS AND RUMORS
-The BATMAN SUPERMAN MOVIE is now on video and prices are suprisngly low! They range from 7.99 to only 12.99! Pick this tape up if you can! Its definately worth it!
-Also it looks like BATMAN:THE ANIMATED MOVIE #3 is a definite YES!(woohoo!) – and rumors still state that it will either involve Two-Face, Scarecrow, or Ra’s Al Ghul/Bane.
-“Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero” will air on the CARTOON NETWORK on November 21, 1998.
– BATMAN: ANIMATED hits comic store and book store shelves on Sept. 23rd. This date is, of course, subject to change. Written by Paul Dini and Chip Kidd.
– Harley Quinn is rumored to make a major comeback in “Batman: Gotham Adventures” within 12-15 months, where she finally writes her tell-all
book about the Joker and other Arkham inmates!
-During the San Diego ComicCon, Paul Dini revealed that he will be writing a story arc for NO MAN’S LAND that will introduced Harleen Quinzel into the mainstream world. She will be introduced as a therapist at Arkham Asylum but she won’t be making her debut as Harley for quite a while. Is this a good thing? Only time can tell. Also the introduction of Batgirl #2 during NO MAN’S LAND seems very true. (news courtesy of NEWSARAMA DAILY at the MANIA site)
-Rumors still seem to be flying about the Spoiler becoming Batgirl #2…but now with her baby? Hmmm…
-The Mad Hatter is now slated to appear in at least one future Batman episode as the main villain.
-Here’s a recap of all the known upcoming episodes this season (sorry, no Superman episodes were available):
-Look for the return of Zatanna and Bane, plus the Scarecrow will be returning to terrify our hereos! The Riddler will have 3 whopping appearances as well. Catwoman will head her own team to counter Batman’s. The Judge will be introduced and more of Batman’s Rogues
gallery will return.
-And, as for scheduling, every weekday we’ll be having ONE FULL HOUR of Batman/Superman, instead of the half-hour time slot we’ve had all year. The weekend will, sadly, be shortened to one hour (from 90 minutes), to accomodate BATMAN BEYOND into the “HEAVY DUTY DUBBA” schedule.
– Plus some BATMAN BEYOND news…
aside from findin’ out what happened to Tim Drake and Dick Grayson it is very possible that we’ll be introduced to Ra’s Al Ghul and SUPERMAN(!) in the second season!
(Thanx for Brain Cruz’s WB Cartoon page for the URLS!)
– WB feels that “Batman Beyond” will be a huge success, so they’ve already planned 13 episodes for the series’ second season.
– A JLA (Justice League of America) series does NOT look likely at this point in time. My personal opinion…YAY!
– News about the “future” of the JLA series can be found if you follow this link:
OTHER BATMAN RELATED NEWS (unchanged)
-No new news – it looks like WB’s proposed press release of the future of Batman 5 will NOT be on this month’s schedule. Oh well. But we will surely not see a Batman movie for 2 more years (3 years from when “Batman & Robin” was released). I quite like the 3-year gap between the first three Bat-movies – and part of the problem B&R failed was because it only took 2 years to produce, and therefore recieved a rushed job. *CROSSES FINGERS*
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED FIGURES
(by Kevin Smith)
“BIG OL’ ‘JOY-GASM’ ‘BOUT ‘MASK OF THE PHANTASM'”
Wave Four consisted of figures from the movie “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm”, which included my favorite figure of the entire line, the elusive Phantasm.
The card art in this mini line was the best. It had a really dark and smoky picture of Batman, who was hunched over slightly. Phantasm came with chopping arm action and a stupid laser gun (which should have been left out). The coolest thing about Phantasm was the fact that you could take the blade weapon off and the cowl came off to be Andrea Beaumont. The only thing I didn’t like (and the movie did this too) was she had a man’s hips and waist as Phantasm. The card art had some nice cross-hatching, but that stupid laser gun, which looked like it was firing lightning, had to go.
Another figure released under this line that I unfortunately did not get, was Retro Batman. He was the Batman that we saw in the flashback scenes in the movie. Very similar to the Batman of TNBA, but with classic style gloves.
The other figure worth mentioning (barely) that I didn’t get was Jet-Pack Joker. He came with the jet pack and helmet that Joker wore in the movie, but the Joker was not wearing boots at the time like the figure. However, the modelling of the figure was perfect. He was the first villain variant of the line, and a reasonable variant.
A figure that came out late in this wave, and was also re-released with the next wave was Bane. You can still find Bane warming the shelves in many stores. I thought he was a good figure, but he was only in one episode, so why’d he get a figure so quickly? He had Body-Slam Arm Action and Venom Tube. The Venom tube was kewl and looked like it did in the show, with the wrist attachment. He also came with a twisted piece of “metal” that could be thrown with the body-slam action. I honestly don’t understand why he didn’t sell well. Perhaps it was due to over ordering. The card art was pretty faithful, though I still have no idea what the twisted piece of “metal” was supposed to have been. Also released in this wave, were the forgettable Ninja Robin, and High Wire Batman. Also released was the Batman and Robin Crime Squad line that was full of useless Batman and Robin repaints.
Next issue: WAVE FIVE (or would that be SIX now)?
(by Aaron Maurer)
BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES
ISSUE: “Last Chance” (#6)
WRITTEN BY: Ty Templeton
PENCILED BY: Rick Burchett
INKED BY: Terry Beatty
ISSUED: September 9, 1998 (Cover date is November, 1998)
RATING: *** (out of 5)
“…Suddenly none of this seemed important… or real. My death. My life. Me. None of it. Did it happen? Did I solve my own murder? …Or was this just the last hopeful dream in the mind of a dying man? I’ll never know…”
–Deadman’s soliloquy at the end of the story
SUMMARY: Deadman tells us the strange story of what happened after he died: Dick Grayson is performing with Boston Brand (aka Deadman) again (last time was Batman and Robin Adventures #15) in order to raise more money for the Haley’s Circus (The Grayson family’s former workplace which Boston is now in charge of). Before they go on stage, a fortune teller warns Deadman that there is great danger…we soon after see a man pull out a gun and shoot Deadman as he is performing. He falls to the ground and dies, but his spirit(?) doesn’t believe it. The fortune teller can see and talk to him, and he tells him that he is, in fact, dead but will be given one more chance. (Deadman views the rest of the happenings from the background, and no one can see or hear him.)
Batman, Robin, and Dick Grayson search the grounds for a murder weapon and find the gun with a bunch of toy ones in a carnival game. They trace it back to an arms dealer who tells them the address it was sent to. They go there and find the murderer who is about to join the “League of Assassins.” Deadman’s spirit jumps into Batman’s body and realizes he can control it. He identifies the man that killed him and catches him. The man says he only did it so he’d have a way to join the league. Then Deadman jumps into the killer’s body, surrenders to the Bat-crew, and admits to the crime. Then Deadman’s spirit is sucked from his body, and he says he’s not sure if he’s dead or alive, and he’ll never know.
COMMENTS: This is a VERY strange issue. It was so weird, that I couldn’t really get into it, and as such, didn’t like it very much. While the ending was cool (I’m a fan of “The X-Files” and I love those creepy unresolved endings…), it was kind of odd, for I’m still not sure whether Deadman is alive or not. His little monologue at the end (see the very beginning of this review) adds to the confusion, but also makes the story better. This issue also had good artwork; Rick Burchett keeps turning out his best.
CRITICISMS: Where to begin? I’m not sure about this issue. It can’t decide who’s point of view it wants to be told from, as it switches from Deadman to Dick Grayson to Batman and back to Deadman. It also downplays the Boston Brand’s death (a funeral scene, or one of Dick reacting to the simialarities between it and his parents’ deaths would have been nice), and it goes off on some “action” scene with Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake fending off crazed circus animals. And I’m still not sure why Batman didn’t realize why A) he didn’t have any memory from the period that he was inhabited by Deadman, or B) that Deadman was in him. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I suppose others would like it, but this issue left me disapointed.
BOTTOM LINE: If you like Deadman, then this may be right up your alley. If not, you can probably spend your money elsewhere (like Superman Adventures #25, guest-starring Batgirl, the Mad Hatter, and other Gothamites!).
This section gives a little bit more indepth look into each monthly issue of BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES and SUPERMAN ADVENTURES. The price is $1.99 in the US and..grrrrr….$2.95 in Canada
BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES #6
While pefroming beside Dick Grayson, Deadman is killed…for real! Now Nightwing and Batman must help solve this murder with the most unlikeliness of help…DEADMAN himself! (Confused? Me too!)
NEXT MONTH:In issue #7 we see the return of DAGGER DIXON (Batman & Robin Adventures #14) and it may have dire consequences on Robin’s crimefighting career! Also appearing are the Penguin and Two-Face.
SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #25
Bruce Wayne is missing! Its time for another WORLD’S FINEST team-up…with Batgirl? Superman and Batgirl team up to find Bruce Wayne before its to late! (you see..someone’s tryin’ to kill him)
NEXT MONTH:In we see the return of Mr. Mxyspti..ah whatever and he travels back in time to tell a young Clark Kent the tyrant he’ll grow up to be (which isn’t true). Find out what happens!
Currently, Batman and the Gotham vigilantes brood and complain while still saving citizens who are trapped in rubble. Also Batman’s rogue gallery is coming back full force in the wake of the big quake!
BATMAN: BATGIRL-relist (4.95 US)
BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #1,000,000 (1.99 US)
JLA: ROCK OF AGES tradepaperback-relist (9.95 US)
JLA/WILDC.A.TS: CRIME MACHINE-relist (5.95 US)
YOUNG JUSTICE #1,000,000 (2.50 US)
NIGHTWING #1,000,000 (1.99 US)
AZREAL #1,000,000 (2.25 US)
BATMAN #1,000,000 (1.99 US)
JLA: YEAR ONE #11(of 12) (1.99 US)
DETECTIVE COMICS #1,000,000 (1.99 US)
JLA #1,000,000 (1.99 US)
BATMAN: MASTER OF THE FUTURE-relist (5.95 US)
BATMAN: TOYMAN #1(of 4) (2.25)
CATWOMAN #1,000,000 (1.99 US)
ROBIN #1,000,000 (1.99 US)
BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE HC-relist (39.95 US)
BATMAN: LOTDK #112 (1.99 US)
BATMAN: TWO FACES (5.95 US)
CATWOMAN #4 (of 4) (2.50 US)
JLA IN CRISIS SECRET FILES #1 (4.95 US)
BATMAN: ANIMATED – Released on Sept. 23rd.
And that’s what’s shipping in September!
COVERING THE BASICS…
This sections helps you, the reader, find the best on the newsstand or comic shop. The covers below are covershots for BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES, SUPERMAN ADVENTURES, and/or related comic book/book merchandise. I hope this section makes it easier for you to find true qaulity. The covers are provided by DC CURRENTS, and TOON ZONE. Any other source will be given their dues.
BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES #7
BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES #8
SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #26
no cover at present time available
SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #27
no cover at present time available
BATMAN: ANIMATED (new and improved pic!)
SITE WORTH CHECKING OUT
(We have two this time around!)
A fellow subscriber has just notified me of this musical site which features a pretty funky song, featuring none other than Batman! Take a look at it here:
“BATMAN: THE ANIMATED HOMEPAGE”
I’ve been meaning to put this one up for quite awhile, for it really deserves to be checked out. Here, we can see still from almost all the BTAS/TNBA episodes(and more to come) and then see a quotes and reviews and even discuss the episodes with a message board! Various sound bites from the show are also available to download! Another reason why its such a good site is the ever changing logo. It must change about 2-3 time a month with great graphics for the site. A lot of effort goes into this page and it shows but I have one minor squabble – it’s not frames capable. I don’t see how it could be but it would be nice if it could be. Remember to stop by at the message board!
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED HOMEPAGE
THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES: THE UNOFFICIAL HOMEPAGE This site is farely new to the world wide web but it struts it stuff perfectly! It’s a brand new site dedicated to TNBA and it’s great! With a lot of different sections dealing wiht all aspects of TNBA, this site is a winner! The layout is almost EXACTLY like the official site’s Batman section but it is even MORE detailed! The news is updated regularly as are the other sections. My one squabble is as same as the squabble in the BATMAN: THE ANIMATED HOMEPAGE: Not Frames Capable. I can’t wait to see this page expand and grow.
THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTUES: THE UNOFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
Check them both out! You won’t regret it! It might be awhile before this section is updated but stay tuned!
ANIMATED BATMAN/SUPERMAN SITES:
THE NEW BATMAN/SUPERMAN ADVENTURES
BATMAN:THE ANIMATED SERIES
TWO-FACE’S TOWER OF TRANQUILITY AND TERROR
BRIAN CRUZ’ WB CARTOON PAGE
BRIAN’S BATMAN PAGE
THE ANIMATED BAT
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED HOMEPAGE
SUB-ZERO: THE DEFINTIE GUIDE
RAVING TOY MANIAC
CHARACTERS ON THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN
THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN F.A.Q. SITE
THE BRUCE TIMM ARTWORK ARCHIVE
HARLEY’S HAVEN OF HEDONISM
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (unofficial site)
These are some of the best BTAS sites on the web at this time. Most sites are updated or have been recently and all are up and running.
If you’ve watched Batman on WB there’s a fair chance you’ve watched Superman as well. This show has picked up 40% more viewers this past season thanx to Batman. This series is one of the most underrated shows on TV becuase it’s stuck under Batman’s (pun intended) shadow. There’s one website that treats it as its own show and its a damn good website! I recemmend all who have seen this show to check out this site:
ANSWERS TO THE TRIVIA
Answer to #23: ‘D’
Answer to #24: ‘A’
Answer to #25: ‘E’
Answer to #26: ‘C’
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.
LIKE WHAT YA SEE? WANNA SUBSCRIBE? HERE’S HOW!!!
Now that this newsletter is archived at THE WBC HOMEPAGE, those who haven’t subscribed have been asking how to do so. Well here it is for those who would like to subscribe:
To subscription requests email
and that’s all ya do.Just put ‘subscribe’ and your email address in the email message.
A little cash donation would be appreciated, but it’s not obligatory. (Dang!)
Also if you want to ask question about BATAMN/SUPERMAN or this newsletter then please send those as well! WE will address them in the newsletter, or to you directly.
Thank you for your time, and thanks for reading!
TO ALL GOOD THINGS…
…there must be an end. Well our newest installment of the newsletter has now been completed. Tim and I would like to thank the endless contributors for contributing their editorials, columns, news, and reviews and other articles. We also hope you enjoyed all of the regular columns as well!
See ya next time!
CREDITS FOR BATMAN: THE ANIMATED NEWSLETTER
CONCEPTIONISTS: James Grayson-Harvey and Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
EDITORS: James Grayson-Harvey and Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
AIR DATE SCHEDULES: Brian Cruz
BTAS REVIEWS: Bob Evatt
EDITORIAL: Laura Hysert
COMIC REVIEWS: Aaron Maurer
TOY REVIEW: Kevin Smith
“BATMAN BEYOND” PREVIEW: Ed Wiser
“BTAN ARCHIVES” MODERATOR: Eileen Delgadillo
TRIVIA: Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
PROMOTIONS AND JUST GETTIN’ THE WORD AROUND: Brian Cruz, Brian Davis, Eileen Delgadillo
THOSE WHO FILL IN FOR OTHERS WHEN THEY FOUL UP:-P James Grayson-Harvey and Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
BATMAN CREATED BY: Bob Kane (who else?)
SPECIAL THANKS to BOYD KIRKLAND and RICK BURCHETT for participating in our interviews for this issue!