Tag Archives: bruce timm

DC Showcase Delivers New Animated Shorts Starting with Sgt. Rock

Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, in partnership with DC, are in production on five new DC Showcase animated shorts for release in 2019-2020.

Inspired by characters and stories from DC’s robust portfolio, the all-new series of shorts will be included on upcoming DC Universe Movies releases, with exception of an innovative Batman: Death in the Family long-form animated short, which will anchor a compilation set for distribution in late 2020.

Each of the five shorts – entitled Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death, The Phantom Stranger, and Batman: Death in the Family – opens with a new, live-action branding sequence that features a few Easter Eggs specially added for observant fans.

DC Showcase Sgt. Rock

Sgt. Rock is executive produced and directed by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) from a script by award-winning comics writers Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson and Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen). The original tale finds battle-weary Sgt. Rock thinking he has seen everything that World War II can dish out. But he is in for the surprise of his life when he is assigned to lead a company consisting of legendary monsters into battle against an unstoppable platoon of Nazi zombies. Karl Urban (Star Trek & Lord of the Rings film franchises) provides the voice of Sgt. Rock. Also voicing characters in Sgt. Rock are Keith Ferguson, William Salyers, and Audrey Wasilewski.

Adam Strange is produced and directed by Butch Lukic (Batman Unlimited franchise), who also conceived the original story – which is written by J.M. DeMatteis (Constantine: City of Demons). On a rugged asteroid mining colony, few of the toiling workers are aware that their town drunk was ever anything but an interplanetary derelict. But when the miners open a fissure into the home of a horde of deadly alien insects, his true identity is exposed. He is space adventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long. Charlie Weber (How To Get Away with Murder) provides the voice of Adam Strange, alongside with Roger R. Cross, Kimberly Brooks, Ray Chase, and Fred Tatasciore.

Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” Death is produced and directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs. The Fatal Five) and written by J.M. DeMatteis (Batman: Bad Blood). In the story, Vincent, an artist with unresolved inner demons, meets a mysterious girl who helps him come to terms with his creative legacy … and eventual death. Leonardo Nam (Westworld) provides the voice of Vincent, and Jamie Chung (The Gifted, Big Hero 6) is the voice of Death. The cast includes Darin De Paul, Keith Szarabajka, and Kari Wahlgren.

The Phantom Stranger has Bruce Timm (Batman: The Killing Joke) at the helm as executive producer and director, and the short is written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract). Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth. When odd things begin to happen to Jess and her friends, the Phantom Stranger intervenes to save her from a dreary fate. Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) gives voice to The Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Impastor) provides the voice of Seth. The Phantom Stranger also features the voices of Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin, and Roger Craig Smith.

More information regarding Batman: Death In The Family will be available in 2020.

All five new DC Showcase shorts credits include Jim Krieg as co-producer, Amy McKenna as producer, and Sam Register as executive producer.

Initially launched in 2010, DC Showcase was originally comprised of four animated shorts produced by Bruce Timm and directed by Joaquim Dos Santos: The Spectre (released on 2/23/2010), Jonah Hex (7/27/2010), Green Arrow (9/28/2010) and Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam (11/9/2010). An additional short, Catwoman (10/18/2011), was attached the following year to the release of Batman: Year One, and was directed by Lauren Montgomery and executive produced by Bruce Timm. Screenwriters on the initial quintet were Steve Niles (The Spectre), Joe Lansdale (Jonah Hex), Greg Weisman (Green Arrow), Michael Jelenic (Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam) and Paul Dini (Catwoman).

Actors featured on the first five shorts were Malcolm McDowell, James Garner (in his final performance), Jerry O’Connell, Linda Hamilton, Gary Cole, Alyssa Milano, Thomas Jane, Michael Rooker, Eliza Dushku, Neal McDonough, Ariel Winter, Danica McKeller, George Newbern, Michelle Trachtenberg and Arnold Vosloo, as well as Jon Polito, Rob Paulsen, Jeff Bennett, Steve Blum, Grey Delisle, John DiMaggio, Josh Keaton, Zach Callison, Jason Marsden, Liliana Mumy, Tara Strong, Cree Summer and Kevin Michael Richardson.

DC Collectibles Expands to Walmart

DC Collectibles is bringing its acclaimed Batman: Black and White statue line to Walmart stores as 4″ mini-figures. The new figures are direct transformations of the company’s acclaimed 9″-scale figures and feature designs from many world-renowned artists including Jim Lee, Bruce Timm, Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke and many more.

Batman: Black and White is DC Collectibles’ longest-running statue line and one of their best-sellers.

But, there’s a twist…

The 4″ line of figures will be packaged in individual blind bags stocked next to DC Comic Giants. Each month a new wave of six figures will be released widening the selection and upping the surprise factor.

The first waves of DC Collectibles Batman: Black and White 4″ figures heading to Walmart stores include:

February 2019:

  • Batman by Amanda Connor
  • Batman by Darwyn Cooke
  • Batman by Jason Fabok
  • Batman by Patrick Gleason
  • Batman by Frank Quitely
  • Batman by Dick Sprang

April 2019:

  • Harley Quinn by Bruce Timm
  • Robin by Frank Quitely
  • Batman by Mike Allred
  • Batman by John Romita Jr.
  • Batman by Gary Frank
  • Batman by Eduardo Risso

June 2019

  • The Joker by Jim Lee
  • Batman by Dustin Nguyen
  • Batman by Mike Mignola
  • Batman by Sean “Cheeks” Galloway
  • Batman from Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Batman by Jim Lee

August 2019

  • Penguin by Brian Bolland
  • Robin by Carmine Infantino
  • Batman by Carmine Infantino
  • Batman by Chris Uminga
  • Batman by Jae Lee
  • Batman by Brian Bolland

The Walmart exclusive Batman: Black and White figures are priced at an MSRP of $5.00 each.

Batman: Black and White Wave 1
Batman: Black and White Wave 2
Batman: Black and White Wave 3
Batman: Black and White Wave 4

DC Reveals the Creative Lineup for Detective Comics #1000

DC Comics has unveiled full story details on the landmark 1,000th issue of Detective Comics, debuting on March 27, 2019. The 96-page Detective Comics #1000 celebrates the Dark Knight through a series of seven-to-nine-page standalone short stories from an all-star collection of the top writers and artists in Batman’s recent history including Tom King, Tony Daniel and Joëlle Jones, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, Warren Ellis and Becky Cloonan and more.

The full lineup of stories, writers and artists to be featured in Detective Comics #1000 is:

“Medieval,” by Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke

Appearing in DC’s comic book continuity for the very first time, a new and mysterious version of the Arkham Knight will be debuting in a story that looks at Batman’s encounters with his villains throughout his career through the Arkham Knight’s eyes—but the Knight’s scheme remains to be seen.

“Batman’s Longest Case,” by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

One of the most popular talent teams in the history of the Dark Knight delivers a tale in which Batman follows clues around the world, leading him back to his home in Gotham City and to a secret organization that has been keeping tabs on him for years.

“Manufacture for Use,” by Kevin Smith and Jim Lee

The fan-favorite director of Clerks and one of Batman’s most visionary artists present a story that cuts between Batman fighting his greatest villains and his attempts to track down the gun that killed his parents.

“The Legend of Knute Brody” by Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs and John Kalisz

The villains of Gotham speak, documentary-style, about that one henchman they each hired who was the absolute WORST at his job, constantly screwing up their plans.

“The Batman’s Design” by Warren Ellis and Becky Cloonan

Warren Ellis pens “The Batman’s Design” with Becky Cloonan, the first woman to draw Batman in the main comic series, in a story of Batman pursuing a pack of technologically enhanced mercenaries into a warehouse, where they think they’ve trapped him.

“Return to Crime Alley” by Denny O’Neil and Steve Epting

A direct sequel to O’Neil’s classic “There Is No Hope in Crime Alley,” from Detective Comics #457, in which Leslie Thompkins takes Batman to task for his addiction to violence, which, in her mind, perpetuates the horror that birthed him.

“Heretic” by Christopher Priest and Neal Adams

Two of the biggest powerhouse writers and artists in the comic book industry work together on a story featuring Batman helping a young man escape from Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins— who then turned up in Gotham, dead. Batman travels to Tibet with a message for the League.

“I Know” by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev

The creative team behind SCARLET takes a unique future look at Batman and the Penguin. The Penguin comes to an elderly, wheelchair-bound Batman to tell him of the time that he learned Batman was Bruce Wayne—and to explain why he never did anything with that information. This story is available to read in its entirety on DCComics.com.

“The Last Crime in Gotham” by Geoff Johns and Kelley Jones

Superstar writer Geoff Johns and famed artist Kelley Jones tell a future story where the future family of Batman and Catwoman face off in a battle with the family of The Joker and Harley Quinn.

“The Precedent” by James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez

The team of James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez return to DETECTIVE COMICS after their highly successful Rebirth run, in a story of the night Bruce Wayne made the decision to bring Dick Grayson into his dark world, ending with the classic candlelight oath.

“Batman’s Greatest Case” by Tom King, Tony Daniel and Joëlle Jones

Groundbreaking BATMAN writer Tom King is joined by Tony Daniel and Joëlle Jones, who share artistic duties on the story. Presented using parallel story threads, Bruce Wayne visits his parents’ grave while Batman assembles his entire coalition of allies around him.

In addition to the above stories, Detective Comics #1000 will feature additional art from Mikel Janín and Amanda Conner, as well as a two-page spread from Jason Fabok depicting the current state of the Batman universe and its heroes and villains.

To further celebrate the Caped Crusader’s 80-year legacy, Detective Comics #1000 will offer an extensive retailer variant cover program. Hard-core collectors will want to get their hands on this series of variant covers showcasing the Dark Knight through various decades from iconic Batman artists such as Steve Rude, Michael Cho, Jim Steranko, Bernie Wrightson, Frank Miller, Tim Sale, Jock and Greg Capullo—plus an homage to Jerry Robinson’s cover of November 1942’s Detective Comics #69 by Bruce Timm.

This 96-page oversize collector’s edition issue will be available at comics retailers and digitally on March 27, 2019, for $9.99.

Detective Comics #1000

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week and we’re recovering from DC in D.C. which we’ll have lots of news out of coming in the next few days. While you wait, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Comichron – Weak December puts 2017 comic shop orders down 10%; big drop, but from a lofty perch – The chances of another up year were slim.

iO9 – Bruce Timm Wants To Make a Superman: Red Son Animated Adaptation – Yes please!

IGN – The Walking Dead Gets Season 9 Renewal and New Showrunner – Not too surprising.

 

Reviews

Talking Comics – Atlas and Axis #1

The Guardian – Blankets

Geek Dad – Deadman #3

Comic Attack – Shiver: Junji Ito Selected Stories

Nothing But Comics – Sleepless #2

Comic Attack – Splatoon Vol. 1

Comics Bulletin – Taarna #1

Preview: Manhunter Special #1

Manhunter Special #1

(W) Keith Giffen, Dan DiDio, Sam Humphries, Jack Kirby (A) Mark Buckingham, Steve Rude, Jack Kirby (CA) Bruce Timm
In Shops: Aug 23, 2017
SRP: $4.99

Big-game hunter and private detective Paul Kirk has marshaled his skills to fight crime as the masked vigilante known as Manhunter. But now crime has reached epidemic proportions that may push him to the limits – and draw the attention of the Golden Age heroes Sandman and Sandy! Plus: a short story featuring Etrigan the Demon by writer Sam Humphries and artist Steve Rude.

This issue also includes the stories “The Face Behind the Mask,” from TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #13,
“Rocket Lanes of Tomorrow,” from REAL FACT COMICS #1 and “A World of Thinking Machines,” from REAL FACT COMICS #2, all featuring art by Jack Kirby.

Preview: The Kamandi Challenge #1 (of 12)

The Kamandi Challenge #1 (of 12)

(W) Dan Abnett, Dan DiDio (A) Dale Eaglesham, Keith Giffen, Scott Koblish (CA) Bruce Timm
RATED T
In Shops: Jan 25, 2017
SRP: $4.99

Prepare to take part in one of the greatest adventures from the infinite future of the DC Universe, and join the industry’s top creative teams in a round-robin, no-holds-barred, storytelling extravaganza titled THE KAMANDI CHALLENGE! Born from the mind of Jack “King” Kirby, the post apocalyptic Earth of Kamandi has been a fan favorite for decades, and now 14 intrepid teams of writers and artists build on this incredible foundation and take the title character on an epic quest to find his long-lost parents and travel to places seen and unseen in the DC Universe.
Each issue will end with an unimaginable cliffhanger, and it’s up to the next creative team to resolve it before creating their own. It’s a challenge worthy of “The King” himself! In this premiere issue, the Last Boy on Earth is dragged from his safe haven by a group of tigers, only to face the nightmarish threat of the ultimate weapon!

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Early Preview: The Kamandi Challenge #1

The Kamandi Challenge #1

Written by: Dan Didio, Dan Abnett
Art by: Scott Koblish, Keith Giffen, Dale Eaglesham
Cover by: Bruce Timm
Variant cover by: Keith Giffen, Dale Eaglesham, Scott Koblish

Prepare to take part in one of the greatest adventures from the infinite future of the DC Universe, and join the industry’s top creative teams in a round-robin, no-holds-barred, storytelling extravaganza titled THE KAMANDI CHALLENGE!

Born from the mind of Jack “King” Kirby, the post apocalyptic Earth of Kamandi has been a fan favorite for decades, and now 14 intrepid teams of writers and artists build on this incredible foundation and take the title character on an epic quest to find his long-lost parents and travel to places seen and unseen in the DC Universe.

Each issue will end with an unimaginable cliffhanger, and it’s up to the next creative team to resolve it before creating their own. It’s a challenge worthy of “The King” himself! In this premiere issue, the Last Boy on Earth is dragged from his safe haven by a group of tigers, only to face the nightmarish threat of the ultimate weapon!

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The Killing Joke: How the Adaptation Made it More Problematic and Less Fave

Despite the Killing Joke‘s place in the history of fridging women in superhero comics, I still have a great fondness for the Alan Moore/Brian Bolland story (in fact, I’ve often thought that the story could have been done without fridging Barbara Gordon at all) and so when I heard that it was going to be turned into an animated movie with Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Bruce Timm, I was thrilled and I got myself a ticket. (I even accidentally showed up a week early because I forgot which Monday the screening was…)

And then came rumors about the adaptation, and then came SDCC. I felt genuinely torn about whether to go ahead – if it was as bad as it sounded, I didn’t want to support the film; on the other hand, I hadn’t seen the film and wanted to be able to judge from primary evidence. Plus, I’d already bought the ticket and a bunch of my friends were going, so I waffled my way into going.

So is it as bad as people at SDCC thought? In some ways no, and in some ways it’s worse.

WARNING: Spoilers in full for the Killing Joke, which involves violence against women.

The Prologue:

So first let’s talk about the not-as-bad. Some of the reviews and first impressions that have come out suggest that “we meet Barbara Gordon as a young librarian who has started donning the Batgirl costume in order to attract the attention of Batman.” While everyone’s experience of a film is subjective, I think this reading is based on a mis-reading of one particular line.

There’s a scene in the Prologue where Batgirl is arguing with Batman over being taken off a case and she yells at him that she “got into this because of you.” (By the way, all of these quotes from the film should be taken as paraphrase from memory because I didn’t have the opportunity to take notes and there’s no script available) The context of her line is that Batman’s just told her that he doesn’t trust her because costumed crime-fighting is just a game for her, whereas Batgirl is pointing out that she became Batgirl because she was inspired by Batman and he’s been acting as her mentor. The two of them don’t have a sexual relationship at this point nor is Batgirl actively trying to start one, so I find this reading strange because it pushes the (arguably rather sexist) narrative that Batgirl is some sort of crazed groupie.

What might have led people to that conclusion is that after this line, Batgirl and Batman have sex. Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with this in the abstract. While some might feel that “Batman has had a primarily parental relationship with Barbara, which makes this scene problematic for many fans on its most basic level,” I don’t agree. Having watched a lot of the Adam West show where Batgirl was substantially older than Robin and Batman would go into these rhapsodies about the perfume of this mystery woman, the idea isn’t without precedent.

However, the handling of this plotline is horrible, in ways that do minor damage to Barbara’s character, but arguably way more damage to Batman’s character. It’s bad enough that there is this framing of Barbara being hot for her yoga teacher, although her line that she has “a man in her life” is as much to try to fend off her camp gay coworker who might as well have stepped out of Patton Oswalt’s sketch on the “Gay Best Friend” as it is a statement of her interest. But what’s much worse is that the act itself is a horrible cliche slap-slap-kiss moment, where Batgirl is fighting Batman on a roof because she’s hit her limit with Batman’s bullshit, judo-flips him into the ground, and then pins him, and then they fuck. While a gargoyle watches.

(Poor guys can’t even close their eyes…)

In the sold-out screening I was in, this was a moment where the entire audience erupted in groans and laughter, because it was such a cheesy scene and didn’t fit Barbara Gordon’s character at all. The rooftops location, the fight-fight-kiss dynamic, the costumes – this is a Catwoman scene and it’s a played-out Catwoman scene at that.

Is what follows accurately described as her “using sex and then pining for Bruce,” as Jeremy Konrad said in that now-infamous Comic-Con panel? No. In fact, it’s kind of the reverse (and this is why I said the Prologue does more damage to Batman than Batgirl). Batgirl handles the event like an adult, telling Batman that “it’s just sex, it doesn’t have to be a thing,” rather than trying to manipulate him in any way. It’s Batman who acts like an immature asshole, refusing to work with her or take her calls, and generally acting like a remote, emotionally-stunted jackass.

All of which reinforces the basic problem with Batman in the Prologue: he’s a giant control freak who literally tells Batgirl that she has to do everything he says, who orders her “off the case” like some grizzled police captain in an 80s buddy-cop film, and who tells Batgirl he doesn’t trust her because she hasn’t stared into “the abyss… where all hope dies.” (which is a really hoary 90′s grimdark anti-hero trope, lands with a thud in the moment, and arguably contradicts the thematic thrust of Moore’s story), and who literally mansplains objectification to Batgirl. (Yes, at some level he’s explaining it for the audience, but it’s still fucked up that it’s him doing it rather than Barbara, who as a grown woman knows far better than he what being objectified by a man is like.)

Needless to say, this doesn’t fit the Batman of the Killing Joke, who’s in an unusually introspective, empathetic, and contemplative mood – meeting with Joker in Arkham Asylum because he’s worried he’s going to end up killing him, rushing to comfort Jim Gordon, offering to rehabilitate the Joker. More on this when we get to that part of the movie. So there’s a really weird disconnection between the two halves of the movie, as we’re really getting two Batman, one written by Brian Azzarello and Bruce Timm and one written by Alan Moore, and the two don’t feel like they’re the same person.

Speaking of Azzarello and Timm, we have to talk about the source of the conflict between Batgirl and Batman, the main bad guy of the Prologue. He’s a brand-new villain named Perry Franz (mon dieu), a would-be high-tech crime-boss who becomes obsessed with Batgirl (to the point of hiring a sex worker to wear a Batgirl mask while they have sex) when she foils an armored-truck robbery. This guy is clearly meant to be a parallel to the Joker – he’s got the whole Xanatos Gambit thing going, he plays this cat-and-mouse game where he’s leaving messages for Batgirl with the cops and taunts her over the phone, and so on. Batman argues that Batgirl is letting Perry get to her and she’s underestimating him, and she rightfully takes this as Batman thinking she’s not up to the task.

However, Perry is just not that impressive, ultimately nothing more than the shallow “punk” Batgirl pegs him as when they first meet. In addition to the thing with the sex worker and the messages, his go-to move when they first fight is to roofie her (it’s not just a knockout gas, he talks about having “fun” with her after she passes out, although thankfully Batgirl manages to save herself). When you get right down to it, he’s a date rapist whose master crime come down to a failed bank robbery and stealing his uncle’s online banking password.

Now, I disagree with those who’ve argued that, in the film, “the damnable part is that Batman is proven right” about Barbara not being ready. In the final clash, Batman is the one who underestimates Perry, who hits the Batmobile with a couple RPGs, wounding him and forcing him into a desperate struggle to survive against machine-gun wielding thugs. Batgirl is the one who saves him with a motorcycle-and-steverdore’s hook combo, and she’s the one who takes down Perry. This is probably where Azzarello and Timm were coming from with the “she’s a strong character” argument.

But where they fall short is the follow-through. Even though Batgirl saves Batman, we don’t get a scene where he thanks her or admits that he was wrong and learned a lesson – the “strong female character” stuff that Azzarello and Timm argued they were doing isn’t incorporated into the text. Instead, Batgirl beats the living shit out of Perry because “you ruined everything” – and this, rather than the scene where she has sex with Batman on the roof is where she sounds like a crazied groupie – and this is her moment of staring into the abyss. Because she loses her temper and administers a beating far less egregious than many that Batman has handed out (which I think is what Timm was gesturing to with his comment about “pining over the violence”) because of this penny-ante and flimsy one-shot villain, she decides to hang up the cowl and stop being Batgirl. (Which again, kind of works against the Killing Joke’s story..)

It’s far too inconsequential and disconnected from any core elements of Barbara’s character – her family or friends, her motives for fighting crime, a more established villain with a stronger personal connection – to carry the weight of what should be a momentous decision. And that, rather than the fact that she has sex with Batman, is what weakens Batgirl as a character.

The Killing Joke:

What makes all of these creative choices so strange is that it’s not like the controversy over the Killing Joke was news to anyone involved. Everyone on the creative team knew very well that the problem with the Killing Joke is the Joker shooting and paralyzing Barbara Gordon in order to motivate Jim Gordon and Batman. It’s a classic case of fridging, and the gendered nature of the event is further emphasized by the Joker taking nude photos of Barbara to use in his haunted house ride.

No matter whether you think that Barbara becoming Oracle was an important moment for the representation of the disabled or whether you prefer the New 52 or Batgirl of Burnside as a reclamation of the character, the moment is still ugly, feeding into the worst aspects of 90s comics, and is ultimately unnecessary. There’s quite a few ways to make the story work without that scene, and it oddly contradicts the moment at the end of the comic where the Joker turns the joke-flag gun on Batman.

So you think they would have approached the adaptation with that in mind. Instead, as I’ve already suggested, the two halves clash. Given that in the comics, Barbara’s paralyzing was the moment where she had to stop being Batgirl and become Oracle instead, the Prologue has her retired when she’s attacked. Likewise, given that Batman’s had a much closer relationship with her than he did at this point in the comic, the fact that they decided to do the comic essentially page-for-page makes Batman’s very limited interactions with Barbara and muted emotional response both to the physical damage done to her and the Joker’s sexualization of the attack read like a non-response to what should be a huge deal. Moreover, it conflicts with Batman’s major arc in the story – his attempt to reach out to the Joker, even in the end, makes him seem completely uncaring about his former lover.

And of course, there’s the moment itself, which you’d think the creators of the film would treat with heightened sensitivity. Instead, the moment is intensified (in what is otherwise a very faithful adaptation of the comic) in two ways: first, the “shot” is held on what is the second-to-last panel on the right, with the Joker slowly moving his hand down Barbara’s chest and then the “camera” showing us Barbara’s opened shirt and bra. Second, later on when Batman is canvassing the city for the Joker, there’s an elaboration of a single panel where Batman’s interviewing a group of sex workers where we learn that the first thing that the Joker does when he gets out is to make use of their services, but this time he hasn’t and maybe he’s found a new girl. Now, you can argue that the Joker hasn’t come by because he’s busy with his quasi-suicidal mission to break Gordon and Batman, but the text leaves itself open to the interpretation that Joker did something more than just photograph Barbara.

As I’ve said above, the above page is my least favorite part of the comic, and even the people who don’t have a problem with that section will generally agree that the heart of the comic is in the hypothetical backstory for the Joker, his argument to Jim Gordon that madness is the only rational response to an irrational and random universe, his attempt to prove that any ordinary person is capable of turning into the Joker as a result of “one bad day,” Jim Gordon’s defiant hold on his sanity and his belief in the capacity of human beings to create meaning through institutions like the law, and Batman’s attempt to reach out to the Joker. So how does the film handle that?

The answer is that it does only an okay job, there’s a few moments where it becomes something special (I especially love this shot of the Joker watching the carnival lights come on, because it has some energy that’s often missing), but nothing near good enough to make up for everything it gets wrong that we’ve already talked about. Kevin Conroy is fine, Mark Hamill puts in a great vocal performance, but the art and direction fall short of what Moore and Bolland and John Higgins (the colorist) accomplished on the page. For example, let’s take the famous last page of the comic, shown above. There’s a lot that can and has been said about these nine panels – the use of the palette of reds and purples and oranges and yellows that runs throughout the comic, the way that the headlights turn into the flashlight beam from the joke (which Moore has already set up from the scene where Batman goes to the lunatic asylum, which he further emphasizes with the use of repeating dialogue), the ambiguity of the laughter and the siren that convinced Grant Morrison that Batman killed the Joker, and on and on.

In the movie? It’s just a shot of a puddle. No beam of light, no paralleling, nothing of what made this comic special in the first place. Maybe Alan Moore was right – there are some things comics can do that movies can’t.

Batman: The Killing Joke Gets an R Rating

Batman The Killing JokeIt shouldn’t be a shock to anyone but Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has accepted an “R” rating from the MPAA for their upcoming animated film, Batman: The Killing Joke. I say it shouldn’t be a shock since the original source material graphic novel is what I’d consider an “R” rating as well. This is the first non-PG/PG-13 rated movie in the nine-year and 26-film history of the DC Universe Original Movie franchise.

Batman: The Killing Joke, one of the best-selling graphic novels in history, tells the tale of The Joker’s origin story – from his humble beginnings as a struggling comic, to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. It also contains some of the most controversial material in comics history. The graphic novel won two Eisner Awards and was written by Alan Moore 28  years ago. It is consistently a top selling graphic novel, with this film being greenlit in 2013 and announced in July 2015.

Actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their Batman: The Animated Series roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively.

Animation visionary Bruce Timm guided the DC Universe Original Movie franchise for its initial 16 films, then returned last summer with his own original story, Justice League: Gods & Monsters. Timm takes the reigns once again for Batman: The Killing Joke, reuniting a trio of actors (Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill & Tara Strong) from the game-changing Batman: The Animated Series cast to add even greater reverence to this heralded tale. Recognizing the fans’ dedication to the highly acclaimed graphic novel, Timm has worked meticulously to accurately maintain the intense adult content of The Killing Joke.

At this time, there are no plans for an edited, PG-13 version of the film according to Warner Bros. announcement.

Batman: The Killing Joke also features the voices of Tara Strong, as Barbara Gordon and Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon.

The film’s World Premiere will take place at Comic-Con International this summer, and see a subsequent release in 2016 on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. Tat relase date will be announced at a later time along with what other content we can expect.

Spider-Gwen #1 Swings Back Into Action!

Because you demanded it, the character that took the world by storm is back and she’s better than ever for a brand-new ongoing series this October! Marvel has released a first look at Spider-Gwen #1 – coming to you from the team of Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi!

Now is your chance to jump in with a clean entry point into Marvel’s breakout sensation of the year! The answers you’ve been waiting for are here: the secret history of Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker revealed! Someone out there has recreated Peter’s Lizard formula. The same formula that mutated him, branded Gwen a fugitive and ultimately cost Peter his life. Gwen WILL NOT let that happen to anyone else – no matter the cost. But with NYPD Captain Frank Castle and the Kingpin of Crime Matt Murdock still on her trail, that won’t be so easy. Plus, the introduction of Norman Osborn and Harry Osborn. What could possibly go wrong?

The next epic chapter of Gwen Stacy’s life is about to begin. You won’t want to miss the bombastic debut!

SPIDER-GWEN #1 (AUG150805)
Written by JASON LATOUR
Art & Cover by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ & RICO RENZI
Variant Covers by NICK BRADSHAW (AUG150806), SKOTTIE YOUNG (AUG150808),
And BRUCE TIMM (AUG150811)
Kirby Monster Variant by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA (AUG150813)
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (AUG150809)
Hip Hop Variant by HUMBERTO RAMOS (AUG150812)
Cosplay Variant by KATHRINE ZAN (AUG150807)
Blank Variant Also Available (AUG150812)
FOC – 09/21/15, On-Sale 10/14/15

Spider-Gwen_1_Cover

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