Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Look Back at 2009

2009 has come and gone, but what a great year it was for fans of superhero animation! New shows, great movies, and lots of DVDs! Let's take a look back at the past year.

  • January 11: Spectacular Spider-Man Season Two airs in Canada on Teletoon. To the dismay of all Americans, it won't air on Disney XD until March. The second season proves to be just as good as the first, with new villains, new allies, and higher stakes!

    Looking ahead: It is unclear if there will be a third season. No one has confirmed nor denied the possibility, but since Sony has relinquished the Spider-Man TV rights, it may be more likely that a new Spidey series is on the horizon.

  • January 23: The new year finally brings Wolverine and the X-Men to America after being aired in international markets for months. But that didn't stop the show from being a huge success for Nicktoons!

    The first 26-episode season will run over the course of twelve months with a complex storyline, solid animation and stellar voice acting that will leave fans eager for more!

    Looking ahead: A second season is currently in production and will hopefully begin airing in 2010.

  • January 27: Marvel Animation and Lionsgate Films releases their sixth animated feature, Hulk vs, which is actually two films in one, Hulk vs. Wolverine and Hulk vs. Thor. The film stars Fred Tatasciore as the Hulk, a role that he has played in all of the Hulk's Marvel Animated Features appearances.

    Many praise this film as being the best of the Marvel Animated Features to date, favouring the Hulk vs. Wolverine segment due to its use of PG-13 rating and animation by Japan's Madhouse.

    Looking ahead: Hulk takes centre stage in the next Marvel Animation Feature, Planet Hulk which will hit retail outlets on February 2nd. The eighth film, Thor: Tales of Asgard is finished, but Lionsgate is planning on holding off the release to coincide with the Thor movie in 2011.

  • January 27: The Super Friends Hour, Volume Two is the first of two Super Friends DVD releases this year. The second, Super Friends: The Lost Episodes, hits stores in August and is a hit with Super Friends fans who have not seen these rare episodes!

    Looking ahead: The first volume of the first season of Super Friends is coming on January 5! This is the season that featured teens Wendy and Marvin, and their pet Wonder Dog.

  • March 3: Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation release Wonder Woman on DVD and Blu-ray and is a big hit! The story is adapted from the classic George Perez storyline Gods and Monsters and stars Keri Russel as the titular character and Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor.

    Fans have been waiting for a Wonder Woman movie for years, and while this one isn't the live action Joss Wheadon movie that many were eagerly awaiting, this animated version proved to be a good alternative.

    Looking ahead: Look for the Wonder Woman soundtrack to be available on CD and iTunes in early 2010.

  • April 2: The 2-disc Fleischer Superman DVD set is the first of two important Superman DVD releases this year. These fully remastered cartoons from the 40s look better than any of the discount DVDs you can find in the dollar bins.

    The second Superman DVD release is the little known Ruby-Spears series from 1988 which only lasted one season and was never seen again. The cartoon is the first to adapt John Byrne's version of the Man of Steel. The DVD set is released in November.

    Looking ahead: There are only a small handful of Superman cartoons that have not yet been released on DVD. WHV continues to release Super Friends, but fans would really like to see an announcement about the second and third seasons of The New Adventures of Superman as well as a complete series release of Legion of Super Heroes. Maybe 2010 will bring many surprises!

  • April 12: Iron Man: Armored Adventures makes its Canadian debut on Teletoon. The show will come to Nicktoons two weeks later.

    Many were very apprehensive about a show about a teenage Tony Stark and the style of computer animation, but the show proves to be well written and unique, cutting out a special place in Iron Man history.

    Looking ahead: Iron Man: Armored Adventures has been renewed for a second season which is expected to start airing in 2010.

  • April 28: Fans of the 90s X-Men cartoon rejoice as two volumes of episodes are released on DVD! No thrills or bonuses, but fans don't care because at least they have the episodes! Volume three and four are released in September, collecting some of the best storylines, including The Dark Phoenix Saga and Beyond Good and Evil.

    Looking ahead: The fifth and final volume is coming out in March. Sales have been pretty good for these DVDs, so hopefully Buena Vista will be releasing some more of the 90s Marvel cartoons in 2010!

  • July 28: Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation releases Green Lantern: First Flight to DVD and Blu-ray. This is the first time that Green Lantern gets top billing in animation and it doesn't disappoint!

    The story, starring Christopher Meloni as Hal Jordan, tells the tale of Jordan's early years in the Lantern Corps as well as Sinestro's fall from grace. The film is well received and earns an Annie Award nomination.

  • July 28: Spectacular Spider-Man Season One is released on DVD, collecting all 13 episodes from the shows premiere season.

  • August 31: In a sudden and surprising move, the Walt Disney Company buys Marvel Comics. What does this mean for superhero animation? Only time will tell.

  • September 13/14: One of the most unique shows of the year, The Super Hero Squad Show is released in the US and Canada on Cartoon Network and Teletoon respectively. Based on the popular toyline, this show features miniature versions of every Marvel character ranging from the most popular (Wolverine, Iron Man) to the most obscure (Egghead, Melter).

    The target audience is definitely younger than most superhero shows, which has turned off many, but there is no denying that it has become a hit show for Cartoon Network.

    Looking ahead: The remainder of the first season will air early in 2010 and a second season is looking very likely!

  • September 15: The Complete Wolverine and the X-Men, Season One is released in Canada only. It may be a little while before the US gets their box set, but it should happen in 2010.

  • September 29: Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation release their third feature length film this year! Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is based off the Jeff Loeb/Ed McGuinness storyarc of the same name and is an action packed hit!

    This film is a reunion of three veteran DCU voice actors: Tim Daily as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman, and Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor.

    Looking ahead: The next in the line of DC Universe Original Animation Movies is Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths which will be available in February.

  • October 20: There have been a number of rare superhero shows released on DVD this year, and the Plastic Man Complete Series DVD box set is no exception! The classic Ruby-Spears series is often forgotten, but this DVD should help spread the word about the show.

    Looking ahead: Although it is called a complete collection, this DVD is far from complete. The original Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Hour also aired segments featuring Plastic Man's family and his son Baby Plas. Fans of the show are hoping that there will be a separate release for these shorts, but there has been no official word yet.

  • Oct 27: One of the many highlights of the first season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold has got to be the musical Mayhem of the Music Meister episode starring Neil Patrick Harris. The show was a hit at the San Diego Comic Con in the summer, creating major buzz for when the episode would actually air in the fall.

    Warner Bros. releases a companion soundtrack featuring the excellent musical numbers from the episode.

    Looking ahead: Neil Patrick Harris has hinted that their could be a possible sequel episode in the show's second season, but there has been no official announcement yet.

  • November 10/24: Justice League: the Complete Series and Superman: the Complete Series arrive in time for Christmas shopping! Although most fans have already bought this show in multiple DVD volumes, it is a real treat for those who missed the boat the first time around.

  • November 20: Batman: The Brave and the Bold enters its second season. The first was a big hit and the producers of the show have promised even more guest stars, bigger episodes, and the return of fan favourites! The season will continue to air throughout 2010.

    Firestorm, the Metal Men, the Marvel Family, Starro, Doom Patrol, the Spectre, Aqualad,and many Flashes are all going to show up this season! You won't want to miss it!

  • 2009 has been a great year for superhero animation, but 2010 looks to be just as good! Along with what I wrote above, Black Panther will air this year, and we should get some more information about Marvel Anime and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! See you all in the new year!

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    X-Men Volume Five DVD Art!

    Artist David Nakayama has posted this excellent picture on his deviantART page. Nakayama is the artist who has provided Buena Vista with the cover art for the first four volumes of X-Men on DVD.

    He tells us that this picture is the cover art for the long awaited X-Men, Volume Five! Here is what he has to say about the cover art:

    This X-Men/Captain America montage is the cover for the fifth and final volume of X-Men: The Animated Series on DVD, and it contains all the remaining episodes of the beloved show, including the Captain America crossover and appearances by fan-favorites Omega Red, Longshot, and many others. Too many cool moments to choose from, which is why we decided to go with a montage on this one.

    Hadn't drawn a lot of these characters previously (well, not professionally at least, and not since I was a kid), so it was a total joy to take on this project. Watch for the DVD on March 3rd, 2010!

    p.s. Even though this is the last of the X-Men covers, I've got something else along the same lines cookin' as we speak. Stay tuned...

    That's right! March 3, 2010! The Captain America crossover mentioned is the fifth season episode Old Soldiers.

    I don't know about you, but I'm hoping that David is hinting at the fact that he is working on cover art for Spider-Man: the Animated Series DVDs!

    (Thanks Hero Supreme for the tip!)

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    Baman Piderman

    From the creative minds that brought us Happy Tree Friends, Mondo Media brings us a new superhero animated series: Baman Piderman!

    This series of two or three minute Flash animated episodes features two characters, loosely based on a couple of popular superheroes, and their adventures together.

    There have been ten episodes so far, all of which can be seen on their youtube channel. You can also check out their Facebook profiles: Baman, Piderman.

    I hope you enjoy this special holiday episode of Baman Piderman! Merry Christmas!

    Also, please note that there will be a new episode of The Super Hero Squad Show this weekend. Election of Evil airs on Saturday, December 26 at 7:30pm on Cartoon Network.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    X-Men on Super Hero Squad

    It looks like there is going to be an episode of Super Hero Squad Show tomorrow night after all! Mysterious Mayhem at Mutant High, which was originally scheduled for next week, will be shown tomorrow, Saturday December 19 at 7:30pm ET on Cartoon Network.

    Wolverine takes the Squaddies back to Xavier’s School to earn his remaining credits and graduate—but nothing’s ever simple for ol’ Canucklehead! The Ringmaster hypnotizes the X-Men and it’s up to the duo of Wolverine & Reptil to save the day! Film star Shawn Ashmore voices the incomparable Iceman, who joins a bevy of guest-stars including Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Kitty Pryde, Colossus and more!

    In other news, People Magazine has named The Super Hero Squad Show as one of The Year's Best New Kids' Shows! has some more information, or you can read it for your self when the issue hits the newsstands on December 21!

    Way to go to all the people involved in creating this fantastic show!

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Batman: the Animated Series Bible!

    Today many of you will receive what you may consider the coolest Christmas present you'll get this year:

    The series bible for Batman: the Animated Series!

    A series bible is what the creators of the show develop that outlines the entire series. Official descriptions of all the characters, locations and episodes are included as well as how the creators want the writers to handle them. There are also model sheets, color keys and loads of concept artwork! This bible was put together by Bruce Timi, Paul Dini, and Mitch Brian.

    This bible was obviously written very early in the production, as many character and episode descriptions are different than what eventually aired. Here are a few excerpts that I find interesting:

    Now that we've dealt with his origin, we can put it away for the remainder of the series. We'll say it here first -- the the run of our series, we will do NO STORIES ABOUT BATMAN'S ORIGIN!

    This was a great decision to make because it made Batman feel like a veteran crime fighter, even though he is meeting all of the villains for the first time. Though it is touched on in episodes like Appointment in Crime Alley and The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne, the origin is eventually told in the feature film Mask of the Phantasm, which I'm sure they never ever thought would be made when they were writing this bible.

    Our series will stress economic, well-structured plots containing snappy conversational dialogue and characters whose actions are motivated an believable. We want expository information conveyed as visually as possible, stressing "visual shorthand" over lazy, expository speeches.

    Although there is a temptation in every episode to be about a villain's attempt to set a trap for Batman, we offer a word of caution and encourage story lines that stress pursuit of criminals and their activities instead of simple "Bat-trap" stories. Although some of these stories are necessary and desires, we don't want to run into the problem that the [Adam West] TV series faced, where the only thing more outlandish than the traps was the improbable way the hero escaped.

    A few of the characters were envisioned a bit different than how they eventually turned out.

    There is a pretty large description of Renee Montoya, indicating that she was originally to play a much bigger role as a supporting cast then she ended up being.

    There are hints of Mr. Freeze's tragic origin told in Heart of Ice in this bible, but his description retains the "cold-related crime" villain character established by the comics. There is a word of a possible Mr. Freeze/Penguin team-up that may have been interesting if it was ever made.

    Calendar Man and Gentleman Ghost are included in the Rogues Gallery, but never made it to the series. Too bad!

    Twenty possible episodes are described in the bible, many of them easily recognizable, but also some that were never made. There are a few more episodes involving the Riddler, indicating that he was to be used much more than only two or three episodes.

    Villains called the Architech, Blackbeard, and Mad Maestro were scheduled for an appearance but never made the cut.

    There is an alternate origin episode for Killer Croc, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze and it seems that Gentleman Ghost was originally intended to be behind the bank disappearance in Zatanna, rather than Dr. Kane.

    I hope you enjoy this bit of history! I am going to take a few weeks off for the holidays, but I'll still be posting any breaking news, should there be any. There are no new episodes of anything this week, but the Super Hero Squad Show episode Mysterious Mayhem at Mutant Academy will air on December 26 at 7:30pm ET on Cartoon Network, and the Batman: the Brave and the Bold episode Revenge of the Reach will air January 2 at 8:30pm ET on Cartoon Network.

    Have a very merry Christmas!

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Support Animated Superheroes This Holiday Season!

    If you are thinking of buying any superhero cartoons on DVD or Blu-ray for your family or friends this holiday season, please consider purchasing them through the Animated Superheroes DVD Store on Amazon!

    Every purchase you make through these links with give Animated Superheroes a few pennies to keep this site going! Thank you for your support!

    Weekend Round-Up - December 11-13

    Here is a list of new superhero cartoons debuting this weekend in the US:

    Friday, December 11, 2009
    Cartoon Network, 8:30pm (ET/PT)
    Batman: The Brave and the Bold - The Long Arm of the Law!

    Kite Man, comes back for revenge against Plastic Man. With the help of his unstoppable henchmen Rubberneck, he imperils Plastic Man's loved ones and threatens to remove the hero's powers forever.

    Saturday, December 12, 2009
    Cartoon Network, 7:30pm (ET/PT)
    Super Hero Squad Show - The Stranger From a Savage Land!

    When a saber-tooth cat arrives in Super Hero City, a mysterious jungle lord named Ka-Zar comes to find him. But the Lethal Legion have their own plan for the cat.

    Here is a list of new superhero cartoons debuting this weekend in the Canada:

    Sorry, nothing new this week!

    Please Note:
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures will return in January with new episodes.
  • The Super Hero Squad Show will return soon with new episodes.
  • The season two premiere of Batman: the Brave and the Bold has not yet been scheduled.
  • Thursday, December 10, 2009

    New Batman Video Clips!

    Here are a few video clips for The Long Arm of the Law, tomorrow's all-new episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold (7:30pm ET on Cartoon Network).

    Kite Man, comes back for revenge against Plastic Man. With the help of his unstoppable henchmen Rubberneck, he imperils Plastic Man's loved ones and threatens to remove the hero's powers forever.

    Not only does this episode feature Plastic Man, but also Woozy Winks, Plas' comic relief sidekick from the Golden Age, and Baby Plas, from the Ruby-Spears Plastic Man - Baby Plas Super Comedy Show!

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Black Panther Debut Set in Australia!

    The Australian childrens network, ABC3 will be the first to get the new Black Panther mini-series as they have just announced the one-hour premiere date: Saturday, January 16 at 8:15pm!

    Deep in the heart of Africa lies Wakanda, an advanced and unconquerable civilization. A family of warrior-kings possessing superior speed, strength and agility has governed this mysterious nation as long as time itself. The latest in this famed line is young King T'Challa, the great hero known worldwide as the Black Panther (voiced by Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond and Gladiator).

    Now, outsiders once more assemble to invade and plunder Wakanda. Leading this brutal assault is Klaw, a deadly assassin with the blood of T'Challa's murdered father on his hands, who brings with him a powerful army of super-powered mercenaries. Even with Wakanda's might and his own superhuman skills, can the Black Panther prevail against this deadly invading force.

    Marvel Animation and BET Networks team up to create this epic animated mini-series. Black Panther features classic Marvel characters like Captain America and the Juggernaut in a taut politically charged thriller. For over four decades, fans have eagerly awaited a series adaptation of the first black superhero.

    Here is a description of the first two episodes:

    Episode One, January 16, 8:15pm

    In a top-secret Washington meeting, Intelligence Agent Everett Ross briefs the government on the history of the Black Panther, the warrior king of the African nation, Wakanda. Meanwhile on the other side of the world, the Black Panther must compete to defend his throne in hand-to-hand combat. Featuring the voices of Djimon Hounsou, Kerry Washington, Alfre Woodard and Jill Scott.

    Episode Two, January 16, 8:40pm

    Having been crowned the new Black Panther, T'Challa must contend with jealousy in the royal court while searching for the man who murdered his father. Unbeknownst to him, a deadly assassin named Klaw is assembling a team of super-villains to attack Wakanda.

    There has still been no word as to the Black Panther premiere date on its home network, BET, but you'll hear it here as soon as it's announced!

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Weekend Round-Up - December 4-6

    Here is a list of new superhero cartoons debuting this weekend in the US:

    Saturday, December 5, 2009
    Cartoon Network, 7:30pm (ET/PT)
    The Marvel Super Hero Squad Show - Tales of Suspense!

    Doom has a scheme to destroy Iron Man, and ol' shellhead's foes, Crimson Dynamo are the Melter, are in on the sinister plan. Fortunately Iron Man's best pal, James Rhodes, armors up to help.

    Please note:
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold will return next week with new episodes.

  • Here is a list of new superhero cartoons debuting this weekend in the Canada:

    Sunday, December 6, 2009
    Teletoon, 8:30am (ET/PT)
    The Marvel Super Hero Squad Show - Deadly is the Black Widow's Bite!

    A new heroine named the Black Widow joins the team and shows the boys she can kick butt even better than them.

    Please Note:
  • Teletoon has not yet scheduled the season two premiere of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures will return soon with new episodes.
  • Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Annie Award Nominiees Include Green Lantern

    The nominations for the 37th Annual Annie Awards, the industry's animation awards ceremony, have been announced and there are a few categories that involve superhero animation:

    Green Lantern: First Flight has been nominated for Best Home Entertainment Production. It will be up against Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (Universal Animation Studios), Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), Open Season 2 (Sony Pictures Animation) and SpongeBob vs. The Big One (Nickelodeon).

    In the INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIES, Adam Van Wyk has been nominated for Storyboarding in a Television Production for his work on Spectacular Spider-Man, Final Curtain

    Adam is no stranger to storyboarding. In fact, he has lent his talent for boarding big action/adventure shows to a number of productions, including Superman, Batman Beyond, X-Men: Evolution, Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, Superman: Doomsday, Teen Titans, Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, Justice League: The New Frontier, Legion of Super Heroes, Wonder Woman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold...and that's just the superhero shows! It is really great to see such talent recognized.

    There are a few other awards that will be dished out, including the Winsor McCay Award which will go to Tim Burton, Bruce Timm, Jeffrey Katzenberg. Bruce Timm, as we all know, is co-responsible for Batman: the Animated Series which led the way in the resurgence of television animation in the 90s.

    Getting the June Foray Award this year is Tom Sito who is an expert animator, director and storyboard artist. He was a major storyboard artist for Filmation in the 80s, working on multiple shows including He-Man and Ghostbusters. In the 90s some of his best work included character animation for the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast and the Genie in Disney's Aladdin. More recently, Tom lent his skills as a storyboard artist for Ultimate Avengers: The Movie.

    Congratulations to all the nominees and award recipients! The 37th Annual Annie Awards is scheduled for Saturday, February 6th, 2010 in Los Angeles.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    The End of DCAU - A Retrospective

    With the end of the decade coming up soon, ToonZone has been taking a look back at the last ten years of animation, compiling the best and the worst of the 2000s into a series of retrospective articles.

    Last week, they posted Toons of the 2000s: The End of DCAU - A Retrospective which remembers some of the finest moments from the fourteen years of quality shows known as the DC Animated Universe. These shows include Batman: the Animated Series, which debuted in 1992, Superman: the Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited, which concluded in 2006.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    James Tucker Talks Aquaman

    Over at The Aquaman Shrine, an excellent blog devoted to all things Aquaman, Rob has posted an interview with Batman: The Brave and the Bold producer James Tucker about the creation of Aquaman for the series, as well as plenty of other information about the show. Here are some snippets that I found interesting:

    I immediately thought of Aquaman as a less obnoxious version of Miles Gloriosus, from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum musical. We wanted to play up the kingly aspect of who he was, but not make him the angry King Arthur under the sea type we had portrayed him as in Justice League.

    Mera and another family member of Aquaman's will appear early in season 2. It's a totally off the wall episode, but I think it shows us a side of Aquaman we haven't seen on the show and be a favorite of longtime Aquaman fans.

    We give Mattel our list of preferred characters who will be featured more than once. There's some give and take between us and them, for instance, if they have a toy promotion designed around Plastic Man, then we will try to make sure he's well represented over the course of the season.

    Usually that means at least a teaser and then an episode devoted to him. Blue Beetle was treated that way and so will Metal Men in the second season. Other than those concessions, the toy company really gives us free reign to do our shows as we see fit.