Friday, August 29, 2008

Lego Batman: the Animated Series?!

Now here's an interesting news story: Warner Bros Animation is developing a few new Batman projects for the new year. We will already be treated to Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the word is that the Batman/Superman story Public Enemies will be made into a direct-to-dvd feature film, but now there has been word of a new animated Batman project in the works:

Lego Batman!

You heard me right! The popular toy line-turned-videogame is being made into a 20 minute animated special! It is unclear at this time whether the special will be televised, online or direct-to-dvd. This is all very early buzz and we probably won't get an actual announcement from Warner Bros until early 2009. But doesn't this sound like fun?

Also, two other tidbits to get your mojo working: A solo Batman animated feature is in early pre-production as well as an online Plastic Man series!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Marvel Anime in 2010?

According to a NY Times article, Marvel has partnered with Japanese animation studio Madhouse to produce four new animated series specifically for Japan for 2010.

But this won't simply be anime versions of the characters we know and love as we recently saw in Batman: Gotham Knights, instead the heroes will be recreated with backstories, costumes and personalities that are relevant to the Japanese culture.

"Marvel today is so open-minded," said Jungo Maruta, the president and chief executive of Madhouse, through his interpreter, Alex Yeh, the chief operating officer of the studio, during a recent meeting in New York. "Marvel gives creators freedom to fly."

Names that have been thrown around to get this anime treatment are Spider-Man, Wolverine and Iron Man. No surprises there. Marvel has taken their three biggest properties in order to ensure good ratings. I'm sure the fourth will be the Hulk.

I personally think this is a great idea. Marvel's What If... comics are some of my favourites along with alternate storylines like Age of Apocalypse, the Ultimate Universe and 2099 series. I love seeing these characters re imagined in a different light. So the proposition of a whole new Marvel universe has me very excited.

However, Marvel has already tried the whole Japanese-versions-of-superheroes thing with the short-lived Marvel Mangaverse comic books which weren't very good. I'm hoping that this will be better.

I already know the animation will be top notch. Madhouse has been animating since the mid 70s and have produced shows like Trigun, Ninja Scroll, Death Note and the In Darkness Dwells segment of Batman: Gotham Knight, as well as American animation such as the two Hellboy animated films and Todd McFarlane's Spawn.

Details are sparse right now but I will bring you much more information as I get it!

Doomsday to Get a 2-Disc Release

For those of you who didn't buy Superman: Doomsday when it came out, your negligence has paid off!

Warner Home Entertainment is releasing a 2-Disc special edition of the film on November 25 on DVD and Blu-ray. Here is a list of the bonus features:

  • All-New Featurette "When Heroes Die: The Making of Superman: Doomsday"
  • Audio Commentary from the Superman Doomsday creative team
  • All-New Featurette "The Clash of the Juggernauts"
  • 4 Bonus Episodes of Superman: The Animated Series (hand picked favorites by animation legend Bruce Timm)
  • "Requiem and Rebirth: Superman Lives!"
  • Superman: Doomsday 'Behind The Voices' Featurette
  • Justice League: New Frontier Featurette
  • Wonder Woman Sneak Peak Featurette
  • Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Brazil Gets Wolverine First!

    It looks like Brazil beat everyone in the Wolverine and the X-Men debut race as Jetix Brazil aired the first episode, Hindsight, Part One, yesterday.

    Jetix Brazil will be airing the show from Monday to Thursday at 3:30pm which means that they will burn through the 26 episodes in a matter of months whereas we here in North America will only get one episode a week.

    Oh well, at least the Canadian premiere is only a week and a half away.

    In the mean time, check out this cool photo gallery made up of screencaps from the trailer.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    All You Need to Know About the Next Avengers Kids

    For those of you who can't wait for two weeks until the release of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, Marvel Animation Age has released character descriptions of each of the kids in the upcoming animated feature. The article also includes an exclusive clip from the film.

    Spidey vs Doc Ock Has Arrived

    I forgot to mention that yesterday Spider-Man vs Doctor Octopus was released by Morningstar Entertainment to Canadian retailers.

    The single disc release is actually a release of an old VHS from the 80s. Since Disney owns the rights to the 67 Spider-Man series and Morningstar only owns the rights to this particular release, Morningstar is not allowed to make any changes to the feature. This means no restoration, no extra episodes, no extra features.

    In fact, this DVD is pointless for collectors to purchase as both of the episodes on this disc have already been released a couple of times in much better quality. Click here for those details.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Guy Gardener Joins Brave & the Bold Guest Stars

    This article at with producer James Tucker, story editor Michael Jelenic, and the Batman's voice Diedrich Bader revealed a few new tidbits about Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

    It looks like we will be treated to the Guy Gardener Green Lantern as well as the Huntress. It has also been a big mystery about what role Star Trek's Wil Wheaton will be playing in the series. Bader reveals that Wheaton will provided the voice of the new Blue Beetle!

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    Out of the Past, Part One

    Season: 3
    Episode Number: 27
    Season Episode Number: 1
    Production Number: XM-301
    Airdate: July 29, 1994

    Writer: Michael Edens
    Director: Larry Houston

    Voices: Cedric Smith (Professor X), Cal Dodd (Wolverine), Chris Potter (Gambit), Alyson Court (Jubilee), Tasha Simms (Lady Deathstrike), John Stocker (Leech), Susan Roman (Calisto).

    Plot: Wolverine is contacted by his former fiancée who has undergone disfiguring experiment to become the killer, Lady Deathstrike. A flashback gives us a look at Wolverine's past, including how he got his adamantium skeleton.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Season three kicks off with a bang as we see a glimpse into the history of Wolverine. Fans of the comics know the history of the Weapon X project far too well, but it is an untold story in animation. With just a taste of the story and how it affected Wolverine is a prefect tease.

    This episode is well written and has some really great animation, especially the fight between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike. The movements are clean and smooth and the incredibly detailed characters are animated with clarity. This is the first episode by Philippines animation studio and it shows that they wanted to prove what they could do.

    The origin of Lady Deathstrike is a bit different here than in the comics. While her father, Professor Oyama, did invent the adamantium bonding process, she did not have any ties to Wolverine prior to him getting his metal skeleton. She also hated her father because he horribly scarred her face and killed her two brothers. It seems like the writers of this show wanted to create a character similar to Mariko, Wolverine's fiancée from years ago.

    One thing that dates the show is the fact that Wolverine is surprised when he pops his claws for the first time in the Weapon X project. As it was revealed in the comics after this show aired, the metal on the claws actually cover bone claws that Wolverine has had since his birth.

    DVD Releases:
  • X-Men, Volume Two
  • X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    DC Animated Features Upcoming Rumours!

    Steve Hulett at the Animation Guild Blog notes what he saw while visiting Warner Bros. Animation last week.

    Over at Warner Bros. Batman: Brave and the Bold clicks along with its series order. Two video features, Green Lantern and Public Enemies, are also in the production pipeline.

    Could this be a hint about the next two direct-to-DVD DC Universe Original Movies? It makes sense! Green Lantern is an A-list heroes who, much like Wonder Woman, has never really been featured in animation. The question everyone will be asking will be "Which Lantern?" I would guess Hal Jordan to give the character its proper origin with other Lanterns being featured in future releases.

    In fact, I would love to see a Gotham Knight style movie with several vignettes, each focusing on a different Green Lantern. That would be fun.

    Public Enemies refers to the first story arc from the popular Batman/Superman comic book. The story, written by Jeff Loeb and illustrated by Ed McGuiness, has President Lex Luthor claiming that a giant kryptonite asteroid heading straight for Earth is part of an evil plot by Superman. Luthor offers a one billion dollar bounty for the capture of Superman which has all the villains interested.

    This story is really great and would make an awesome movie! Let's hope this is not just speculation, but reality!

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Wolverine & the X-Men Coming to Canada in September!

    In a surprising turn of events, the Canadian network Corus Entertainment has announced the fall programing line up for its children's television station, YTV.

    Guess what? Wolverine and the X-Men is coming to Canada Saturday, September 6 at 7pm!! This is particularly exciting news for me as I am Canadian! I'm now counting weeks rather than months! This is great news! I wonder if we'll get a DVD release in November just like the UK plans.

    It looks like Corus has a deal with Nickelodeon because most of Sunday is being devoted to Nick shows like Fairly OddParents, Back at the Barnyard, SpongeBob SquarePants, iCarly, Naked Brothers Band and a new series by SNL's Amy Poelher called The Mighty B.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Wolverine & the X-Men MIA on BBC2?

    So it turns out that the reason the first episode of Wolverine and the X-Men hasn't appeared anywhere online is that the BBC2 apparently didn't air the show as scheduled on August 2nd.

    According to the forums, BBC2 never had it on the schedule for August 2 and nobody knows when/if it will be rescheduled. This had greatly upset the many fans who have been eagerly awaiting this series, especially after the very positive response from the San Diego Comic-Con screening.

    The most upset are the Brits who were so excited to actually have a show debut in the UK before the US!

    One rumour is that the series will air in September or later in the fall to lessen the gap between the UK and the US premieres so that bootlegging will be at a minimum (yeah, that'll happen).

    All I know is that there is no sense in getting mad at anyone. Just be patient. It'll air here soon enough.

    Classic Filmation DC Super Heroes Arrives on DVD!

    Don't forget that DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures arrives on DVD today! You will not want to miss this classic series, especially if you have already bought the companion series, The Adventures of Aquaman.

    This series is very important in the history of superhero animation because it is the first animated appearance of many DC Comics superheroes. The show debuted in 1967 as part of the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure. The hour long show would feature two Superman and one Superboy stories in the first half, much like the first season of The New Adventure of Superman in 1966.

    But the second half of the show featured two Aquaman stories and sandwiched in the middle was a short cartoon featuring a random DC superhero. These seven minute shorts spotlighted the Justice League, Green Lantern, Flash, Atom, Hawkman and the Teen Titans. Throughout the series each character/team had a total of three episodes for a total of 18 cartoons. It is these cartoons that make up the DVD release.

    Don't let the picture above fool you! This set will be fully restored with pristine, crystal clear picture (well, as clear as any show from the 60s) and will include a special documentary on Lou Scheimer, the man behind Filmation and their great cartoons such as He-Man, She-Ra, Fat Albert, Flash Gordon and many, many more!

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    Marvel Animated Feature's Future Plans

    In case you haven't heard, Marvel Animation and Lionsgate Films has four more films to release before the end of their eight picture deal. The contract stipulates that each feature must be a good seller right off the bat or the contract can be canceled.

    The studio's first three pictures, Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Black Panther and Invincible Iron Man did really well in their initial sales. In fact, Iron Man continues to sell well twenty months after its release, no doubt due to the blockbuster movie.

    Doctor Strange, the studio's fourth picture, didn't do so well. Likely due to the Sorcerer Supreme not being an A-List superhero like the Hulk, Iron Man or Captain America. The DVD didn't sell well and there were rumours of Lionsgate pulling out. But lucky for everyone that didn't happen.

    Next to be released is Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow on September 2 which is expected to do much better than Doctor Strange. I think this is partly because the movie will feature Iron Man and the Hulk, two heroes that had successful motion pictures this summer. They are surefire winners.

    It's that fact that two out of three of the next three films will feature the Green Goliath. The Hulk will be the focus of the upcoming Hulk vs. to be released January 13, 2009 which pits the Hulk against Wolverine and Thor. Fans will also be able to see the Hulk return in Hulk: Planet Hulk in 2010. Sandwich Thor: Tales from Asgard in the middle (just in time for the live action Thor movie) and we have the rest of the eight films!

    My question is if the studio is willing to take a risk with their films so that we can see some of the more obscure characters? The Hulk will be a featured character in five out of eight of these movies. Do we really want to see another Hulk movie? Or would we rather see Cloak & Dagger, Generation X or the Age of Apocalypse? Every movie doesn't have to feature the lesser known characters, but it would be nice to see them take a little risk.

    Rumours are that Ultimate Avengers 3, Invincible Iron Man 2 and Captain America will be on the list if the contract is renewed for another eight films.

    Thanks to Marvel Animation Age for some (most) of the information for this article.

    Wonder Woman Trailer!

    I know this trailer has been out for a few days now and if you're a real fan you've already seen it. But here it is again for all you casual viewers.

    I think this trailer looks great! Solid animation that stays true to the quality delivered in Doomsday and New Frontier and a great character design on Wonder Woman. I know a lot of people were unsure about her look based on early concept and promo art, but this trailer should change your mind!

    A few other voices have been announced for this feature: Oliver Platt (Huff's Russel Tupper) as Hades and David McCallum (NCIS' Ducky Mallard) as Zeus. McCallum has previously voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: Gotham Knight.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Another Ben Jones Batman Interview has posted an interview with Batman: The Brave and the Bold directors Ben Jones, Brandon Vietti and Michael Chang. While this interview doesn't really give up any new information, it is a fun read, especially half way through when publicist James Finch joins the conversation.

    Read the interview here.

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Wolverine and the X-Men Premieres Tomorrow!

    All of you UK reader better not forget that Wolverine and the X-Men premieres tomorrow morning (August 2) on BBC2 UK!! Since I don't live in the UK and this series won't be coming to North America until January, I will be relying on torrents to get my mutant fix.

    I fear that the North American ratings for Wolverine and the X-Men will be hurt by the fact that the show is being broadcast six months earlier in the UK. The scores of fans waiting for this show will simply download the episodes and have no reason to watch it when it actually comes to Nicktoons.

    In other Wolverine and the X-Men news, Lionsgate, the fine folks behind the Marvel Animated Features, have acquired the DVD distribution rights for the series. They haven't stated whether they will be releasing single discs or a season set (my guess would be both) but we should expect to see the first release later on in 2009.

    Also, here is some interesting news. At the San Diego Comic-Con, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost said that the Hulk vs Wolverine movie is a prequel to Wolverine and the X-Men and that Wolverine and the Hulk will have a rematch in episode seven. Interesting, no?