Friday, October 31, 2008

How to Draw Comics the Simpsons Way



Dean Fraser just finished up a Month of Marvel on Springfield Punx, a blog where Dean takes famous pop culture icons and turns them into Simpsons characters.

This is a great concept and I've been following this blog since it started in June. Dean covers everything from superheroes to movie and tv characters to hockey players to late night talk show hosts.

Be sure to check out the Month of Marvel for a different look at animated superheroes!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Batman:B&B Character Designs



The November 14th premiere of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is just a few weeks away and here are some neat character designs to keep you drooling until then!







Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure Theme Song













The theme song for the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure is one that is not often seen these days. This is due to the 60 minute show being split into a 30 minute Superman show and a 30 minute Aquaman show for reruns, each with their own unique theme song.

This theme, written by John Marion Gart, introduces us to all of the cast in the show: Superman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, the Atom, and the Teen Titans. The only one missing from this opening is Superboy, but that might get confusing since Superman is also in this series.

John Marion Gart wrote this song in 1967 and also serves as the theme, sans lyrics, to all of the different segments of the show. Other work by John Marion Gart includes the background music for the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure as well as the theme and background music for New Adventures of Superman and Batman/Superman Hour.

I need your help identifying some of these lyrics. No matter how many times I listen to this I can't quite make out some of the lines. UPDATE: My awesome wife helped me out with a lot of these lyrics and Gene Phillips identified the Flash line! Thanks!

The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure!

Superman! Aquaman!
All the super-duper heroes,
They always fight for what is right!
Live with danger and adventure,
They are Men of Might!

Superman, the Man of Steel
Performs super deeds with ease!
Aquaman's the bold and daring
King of the Seven Seas!

Hawkman, from another planet
Swoops down on the foe!
Nothing stops the Teen Titans
Anywhere they go!

Flash defies the eye to follow
With his super speed!
Against the force of evil
The Atom will succeed!

Green Lantern's power ring
Can accomplish anything!

Superman! Aquaman!
All the super superheroes
Are the Justice League of America,
Men of Might!


I should mention that I stole this video without permission from 12TVcartoon youtube profile so I figure I should give him a credit here. Check out his youtube profile and watch his videos!

Back to Theme Songs

Monday, October 27, 2008

Plastic Man is coming to DVD!



TV Shows on DVD points us toward News From Me, a blog by Mark Evanier, a comic book and animation writer.

In this post, Evanier tells the tale of how he went down to Warner Bros to record an interview for a couple of upcoming Warner Home Video animation DVD sets. One set in particular is of great importance to this site: The 1979 series Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show!

I'm sure this is very early news since the DVD features are just getting started, but I'll let you know when I find out more information!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two-Minute Batman Preview of First Episode!



Cartoon Network has posted a two-minute preview of the first episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold featuring the Blue Beetle.

Unfortunately I am unable to watch it as it is only available to American viewers. I don't understand why that is. Oh well, the show premieres only a few short weeks away, on November 14, so I won't have to wait long! In the meantime, you will have to watch the preview for me and let me know what you think!

Also, the Cartoon Network website as a nifty Brave and the Bold section where you can watch the trailer, look at character bios, download wallpapers, and play Dynamic Double Team where you team up with Batman and the Blue Beetle and take down Kanajr-Ro!

No New Hulk vs Thor Trailer.



Marvel.com has fooled us into thinking that they have posted a new Hulk vs. Thor trailer on their website. But sadly, it is just the same trailer as before. Here it is in case you missed it the first time:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Marvel Animation Trailer on Hulk DVD



I had a look at the Marvel Animation Trailer that is featured before the menu of the Incredible Hulk DVD that came out today. The trailer spotlights Marvel's current and upcoming productions, including Wolverine and the X-Men, Next Avengers, Hulk vs, Black Panther, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Marvel Super Hero Squad and Marvel Anime.

There was no mention of Hulk: Gamma Corps which is rumored to be shelved although no official word has been given. It also doesn't mention Spectacular Spider-Man which doesn't seem to come up in anyone's conversations about Marvel's current animation domination for some reason.

I was hoping for a little bit more, actually. I was looking for a peek at Super Hero Squad and Marvel Anime but instead I get a whole bunch of clips that I, for the most part, have already seen. There was one shot of Loki and Enchantress from Hulk vs. Thor and two shots I didn't recognize from past Hulk vs. Wolverine trailers, but the only thing for Marvel Anime and Super Hero Squad is a title card and some licensed artwork. I guess these two productions are still in early development.

Instead of taking caps myself, I want to point you to Marvel Animation Age who has already capped all the good parts.

Wolverine vs. the Hulk




Season: 1
Episode Number: 7
Season Episode Number: 7
Production Number: 107
Airdate: October 18, 2008

Writer: Christopher Yost
Director: Doug Murphy

Voices: Steven Blum (Wolverine), Alex Desert (Nick Fury), Fred Tatasciore (Hulk), Gabriel Mann (Bruce Banner), Chris Edgerly (Agent Haskett).

Plot: Nick Fury enlists the help of Wolverine to take down a brutal force that is destroying cities: The Incredible Hulk. Only, there is more going on than Fury is letting on and it means that Wolverine and the Hulk might have to get their fight over with soon as the real threat is on the way.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): My first reaction after watching this episode is where are the X-Men? This is the third episode in a row where the X-Men haven't seen any action. Sure, the show is called Wolverine and the X-Men and Wolvie definitely is the star, but with a title like that I expect to see some X-Men!

I have heard that a general rule for TV writing is that the first seven episodes set up the premise for the show before going to far down the continuity hole. These first seven episodes of Wolverine sure are setting up Wolverine's character as well as the world he lives in and his mission to reform the X-Men, but we really need to get on with the impending storyarc that we all know is there.

Now that I've got that out of my system, let's talk about this episode:

Many online sources have stated that this episode is round two between Wolverine and the Hulk (round one is the Hulk vs. Wolverine DVD movie), however, this continuity is messed up due to the Canadian airing of this episode three months before the debut of the DVD. I love the fact that Steven Blum and Fred Tatasciore provide the voices of Wolverine and the Hulk for both productions.

While this episode is a fun romp in the park, it doesn't really serve any purpose to the overall storyline. We are not introduced to any new characters from the X-Men world. Fury even states that he is staying out of the way of the whole mutant round-up business claiming it's just 'politics'. This leads us to believe that we may never see Nick Fury again.

In fact, if Nick is to play a main role in the future, this episode could have featured the Juggernaut, Sabretooth, or even Unus the Untouchable rather than bringing in a guest star this early in the series.

That being said, the Hulk is well-written in this episode. His brute strength coupled with his mental state worked very well as a means for Wolverine (and the animators) to show some of his fancy moves. Plus, he's funny.

The character of Nick Fury has been forever changed by Mark Millar's Ultimates comic book. Fury's design in this episode is influenced by his Ultimate black persona as well as his deceptive and manipulative behaviour, which one would expect from a man who basically controls the world. The interaction between him and Wolverine is priceless.

Oh yeah, and there's this whole subplot about Wendigo. I know that Wendigo runs into Wolverine every once in a while but he's really a Hulk villain. So what were we watching? An episode of Wolverine and the X-Men guest starring the Hulk? Or and episode of The Hulk guest starring Wolverine?

DVD Releases:
  • Wolverine and the X-Men, The Complete First Season (Canada Exclusive)
  • Wolverine and the X-Men: Deadly Enemies
  • Planet Hulk Two Disc Special Edition


  • Blu-ray Releases:
  • Planet Hulk

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Bad Day on Black Mountain




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 3
    Season Episode Number: 3
    Production Number: Unknown
    Airdate: Unknown

    Writer: Dennis Marks
    Director: Hal Sutherland

    Voices: Ted Knight (Narrator), Bud Collyer (Superman), Gilbert Mack (Hawkman), Ray Owens (Flash), Pat Harrington Jr. (Atom), Gerald Mohr (Green Lantern), (Mastermind).

    Plot: An evil alien named Mastermind has lured the Justice League away from his plot to take over the world and every attempt to stop him ends up in failure. The future of the planet is in grave peril unless the Justice League can stop the criminal alien.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Bad Day on Black Mountain is the third of three seven-minute shorts starring the Justice League of America produced for the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure in 1967.

    Each episode, including this one, featured the same plot: Alien invaders are trying to take over or destroy the planet and their plots are so complex that it takes the combined forces of each member of the Justice League's unique powers to bring the aliens down.

    Such is the case with Mastermind, who decides to lure the Justice League together and then reveal his master plan, including the exact whereabouts of everything dangerous in the world!

    Not a very bright move for a villain named Mastermind because the League simply went out and stopped the chaos. He should have lured them all into a room with super strong yellow walls and no holes or cracks laced with kryptonite. That would have held them.

    The show never explains how Mastermind found out their secret identities. You'd think that the Justice League would want to find out about a major security breach like that.

    Once again we see Superman using his super strength, this time to move a giant asteroid that is going to destroy the planet. This is not as impressive as the last episode when Superman moved the ENTIRE PLANET back into its orbit!

    Missing from this series is Aquaman, although he does appear by name in the Justice League theme song. Based on these stories, it's a good thing Aquaman stayed at home. He's pretty useless when he's not in water and he's especially useless in outer space. Battling space invaders would not his thing.

    DVD Releases:
  • DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures


  • Back to Episode Guide

    Target Earth




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 2
    Season Episode Number: 2
    Production Number: Unknown
    Airdate: Unknown

    Writer: George Kashdan
    Director: Hal Sutherland

    Voices: Ted Knight (Narrator), Bud Collyer (Superman), Gilbert Mack (Hawkman), Gerald Mohr (Green Lantern), Ray Owens (Flash), Pat Harrington Jr. (Atom), Unknown (Rom-Nex, Val-Kar).

    Plot: As alien criminal war-lord Rom-Nex leads an armada of alien spacecraft toward Earth, rebel alien Val-Kar speeds ahead to warn the Justice League of the impending attack. Rom-Nex plans to pull the Earth out of its orbit and into the sun!

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Just like the previous episode, Between Two Armies, the Justice League must defend the Earth from alien invaders. While this is definitely a story that would be found in the pages of the early Silver Age of comic books, it is a story found too often in these Filmation cartoons. Where is Lex Luthor? Where is Brainiac? Where is Sinestro? Why must we be met with alien invader after alien invader?

    In those few instances where aliens do not attack, the various heroes in the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure do battle with mad scientists, evil robots and the occasional c-list super-villain. This is standard Filmation fare as well as tried-and-true science-fiction cliché, and the show really wouldn't be the same without it.

    Much of the animation in this episode is recycled from the previous episode, such as the rock-strewn terrain of the isolated mountainous wasteland, the strange remote-controlled missile, and most of the Justice League's footage. Filmation, especially in the early days, always recycled their animation whenever they could. It started out as a way to cut costs because they had a bare bones budget, but it soon became part of Filmation's identity, and even though it seems cheap Filmation fans wouldn't have it any other way.

    Probably the most spectacular feat in this episode, and possibly the entire series, is Superman pushing the Earth back into its orbit after the aliens pulled it out and sent it hurdling toward the sun!

    Never have I seen Superman display that amount of raw strength. He is far more powerful than any other incarnation of the Man of Steel and could easily take out any villain that got in his way. Or is this just one example of the liberties Filmation takes when writing their stories? Yeah, I thought so.

    DVD Releases:
  • DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures

  • Back to Episode Guide

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Brave and the Bold Premieres November 14!



    Cartoon Network has officially announced the premiere of Batman: The Brave and the Bold and it is less than a month away! Mark November 14 @ 7:30pm on your calendars because you are not going to want to miss this!

    The following press release also reveals the plots of the first three episodes. Read on!

    BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (TV-Y-7)
    Premieres Friday, November 14, 7:30 p.m. (ET, PT)

    Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Animation present the latest interpretation of the classic Batman franchise, premiering Friday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The Caped Crusader is teamed up with heroes from across the DC Universe, delivering nonstop action and adventure with a touch of comic relief. Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Aquaman and countless others will get a chance to uphold justice alongside Batman. Though still based in Gotham City, Batman will frequently find himself outside city limits, facing situations that are both unfamiliar and exhilarating. With formidable foes around every corner, Batman will still rely on his stealth, resourcefulness and limitless supply of cool gadgets to bring justice home.

    Friday, Nov. 14: Rise of the Blue Beetle! - Batman and Blue Beetle team up to save an alien race from Kanjar Ro.

    Friday, Nov. 21: Terror on Dinosaur Island! - Batman and Plastic Man thwart Gorilla Grodd's plot to devolve humans into primates.

    Friday, Nov. 28: Evil Under the Sea! - Batman aids Aquaman as Ocean Master and Black Manta team up to assassinate him.

    Between Two Armies




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 1
    Season Episode Number: 1
    Production Number: Unknown
    Airdate: Unknown

    Writer: George Kashdan
    Director: Hal Sutherland

    Voices: Ted Knight (Narrator, Crystal Man Leader), Bud Collyer (Superman), Gilbert Mack (Hawkman), Gerald Mohr (Green Lantern, Rock Man Officer), Ray Owens (Flash), Pat Harrington Jr. (Atom, Crystal Man Officer), Vic Perrin (Rock Man Leader).

    Plot: Two alien races, the Rock Men and the Crystal Men, bring their battle to Earth. Their attempts to destroy each other present a terrible threat to the planet Earth and it is up to the Justice League of America to help the two races come to peace.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Between Two Armies is the first of three seven-minute cartoons produced by Filmation for the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure in 1967. The shorts appeared between two Aquaman stories in the later half of the show.

    This version of the Justice League includes Green Lantern, the Flash, the Atom and Hawkman, all of whom had three of their own seven-minute segments in the series. Also present is Superman but not Aquaman, although he appears in the Justice League theme song.

    This is the first time the Justice League appeared in animation. Although Super Friends is a more well-known version of the JLA, Filmation's version is a closer adaptation from the comic books. The roster is current for its time; Atom and Hawkman were new recruits in the late 60s, so for them to be spotlighted on the show would have made sense.

    Missing from the team are Batman and Wonder Woman, whose rights may have been tied up elsewhere. Three other members, Martian Manhunter and new-recruits Green Arrow and Black Canary, are also not in this series. The main reason for these absent characters is probably that Filmation didn't want too many characters in the show. It's harder to write for and it requires a lot more animation, something that Filmation didn't have the budget for.

    One of the reasons for the close adaptation of the Justice League in this series is due to Filmation hiring actual comic book writers to pen the their scripts. Who better to write the characters than the real deal! This episode was written by George Kashdan who worked for DC Comics between the 40s and the 60s.

    There is a definite element of science-fiction in this story which is present in most Filmation superhero cartoons. The plot serves as a lesson about racial prejudice which would have been very forward thinking in 1967. Leave it to the Justice League to teach kids about loving your neighbour!

    DVD Releases:
  • DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures


  • Back to Episode Guide

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    X-Calibre




    Season: 1
    Episode Number: 6
    Season Episode Number: 6
    Production Number: 106
    Airdate: October 11, 2008

    Writers: Christopher Hicks, Francis Lombard
    Director: Nick Filippi

    Voices: Steve Blum (Wolverine), Danielle Judovits (Shadowcat), Dominic Janes (Squidboy), Liam O'Brien (Nightcrawler), Grey DeLisle (Spiral, Network), Fred Tatasciore (Beast), Charlie Adler (Mojo), Jim Ward (Professor X), Katie Higgins (Pixie), (Adam-X).

    Plot: A cargo ship carrying refugee mutant passengers who are fleeing to Genosha has been boarded by a six-armed mutant and a band of mutant pirates who want to kidnap the passengers. It is up to Nightcrawler and a team of misfit mutant children to save the day.

    Review (Warning! Spoilers!): The writers for Wolverine and the X-Men really know their characters. We saw this in the last episode with Gambit and we see it in this episode with Nightcrawler.

    In fact, this episode features a character so well-written that Wolverine and the X-Men are not even needed, a fact that is evident since they only appear at the very beginning and the very end of the episode serving only to remind us that we're watching a show starring Wolverine.

    Fans of Nightcrawler who were disgusted by his goofy teenage personality from X-Men: Evolution and his angsty preacher character in the comic books will be delighted to be introduced to a Nightcrawler that is true to his classic character back in the days of Giant Size X-Men #1.

    He is an adventurer, acrobat and gentle soul who looks out for other mutants, especially those who are disfigured by their mutation, such as Squidboy. He has a handle on his powers and his past days with the X-Men have given him strength and confidence in himself. And the sword fight is a nice nod to Nightcrawler's swashbuckling hobby and fencing ability.

    And speaking of Squidboy, this episode is a perfect vessel for Sammy Paré, aka Squidboy, a character that otherwise wouldn't be used in the series. Squidboy is not a character loved by the fans. He is usually considered to be totally useless. While I agree with this for the most part, my favourite thing about Squidboy is the relationship he forms with Juggernaut in the comics. If he is to be in future episodes, I hope to see him and Juggernaut meet. Nice to see other New X-Men like Pixie and Rockslide in this episode too.

    The animation in this episode is very good, especially the fight sequences between Nightcrawler and the Reavers. They really know how Nightcrawler could use his powers in battle and it looks amazing! Also amazing are the special effects used to show his teleporting. The artists on this episode really outdid themselves.

    Probably the most exciting part about this episode is the set up for a future episode featuring Mojo and the Mojoverse!

    DVD Releases:
  • Wolverine and the X-Men, The Complete First Season (Canada Exclusive)
  • Wolverine and the X-Men: Deadly Enemies

  • Back to Episode Guide