Devotees of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy — particularly those who hoped a follow-up might center on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake — may find a lot to enjoy in The Dark Knight Legacy, a seven-minute fan film that debuted this morning on Machinima.
Directed by Brett Register from a script by Woody Tondorf and Chris Landa, the short picks up a year after the events of The Dark Knight Rises, as Blake (as Nightwing) tries to “protect the symbol of Batman from the lethal, relentless attacks of a masked vigilante known only as the Red Hood.” (Fan-favorite character Stephanie Brown also makes an appearance.)
The producers hope to transform The Dark Knight Legacy into an actual series, and to that end they’ve turned to Indiegogo in an effort to raise $30,000. Watch the video below.
Welcome to “Report Card,” our week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is typically a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.
So read on to find out what we thought about Brain Boy, King’s Watch and more
The classic Batman TV series has gotten a push from Warner Bros. lately — headlined by the Batman ’66 digital-first comic book from DC Comics, and including various toys and merchandise. But this latest tribute comes from an independent source: Dustin McLean of DustFilms, who produced a faithful shot-for-shot remake of the show’s opening sequence with homemade costumes and supplies (and soundtrack) rather than special effects.
It’s part of McLean’s “Homemade Movies” series, whose past entries included the Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness trailers. Homemade Movies in the midst of “Batman month,” and as part of the festivities also recreated the famous “I’m Batman” scene from Tim Burton’s 1989 film. For more insight into how McLean and friends make the recreation magic happen, there’s a behind-the-scenes video.
DC Entertainment may not have planned it this way — “planning” being something with which DC may be only tangentially familiar — but I doubt its high-ups wanted to release these December solicitations the Monday after what had to be a pretty rough weekend. When you’ve just had to deal with a celebrated creative team walking off a fairly successful book — citing “editorial interference,” and reminding people that the character’s original writer also left after increasing frustration with DC — you might not want to follow that up by calling attention to all the other changes coming before the end of the year.
And don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of Batwoman and “sucky personal life” talk before we’re done. Solicits first, though …
If the first week of Villains Month is any indication, a good bit of the decimal-point issues will feature stories set in the early stages of the Crime Syndicate’s takeover. This wasn’t that apparent from the September solicits, and subsequent months also appeared light on explicit crossovers. December is about the same, with Teen Titans dropping out of the crossover lineup, and Pandora and Phantom Stranger joining the three Justice League books, the three Forever Evil [Colon] miniseries, and Suicide Squad.
I’m still kind of flummoxed by Dan DiDio’s comments last weekend at Baltimore Comic-Con explaining why Batwoman can’t marry her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer. “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives,” he said at the start of the DC Nation panel, according to several sources. “They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests. It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand with our characters.”
I don’t disagree with the idea that main characters ought to struggle. A sunny walk through the park doesn’t make for much of a gripping adventure yarn. That is pretty basic writing strategy for drama: Put your characters through hell and watch them climb out. Serialized superhero stories, and in fact most Western narratives, are structured around that up and down of going from seeming defeat to triumph. It’s particularly appropriate for Batman and his family of books: The Dark Knight is built around tragedy, and his obsession over fixing that tragedy is what drives him. Bruce Wayne continually sacrifices his personal life in his constant pursuit to make sure what happened to him won’t happen to anyone else. It’s that drive that’s turned him into something of a social misfit — he can play the part of Mr. Debonair but getting emotionally close to him is almost impossible.
So on that level, I don’t disagree with DiDio.
In a real-life crossover, two men dressed as Batman and Captain America rescued a cat from a house fire in Milton, West Virginia, on Saturday.
Unlike other would-be superheroes like Phoenix Jones, the pair — aka John Buckland and Troy Marcum, respectively — weren’t out on patrol; the trouble came to them. Buckland, a former firefighter who served with the Department of Defense in Iraq, runs a service called Heroes 4 Higher that sends costumed superheroes to parties and other events to “bring an age-appropriate, positive message of inspiration, safety and daring to dream.”
Buckland and Marcum were doing just that at an American Legion post when a fire broke out in a house nearby. Seeing the smoke, they dashed to the house to check whether there was anyone inside. Marcum broke the window, and as the smoke poured out, Buckland said, “I reach down and grab something furry.” That was the cat; the homeowners turned out to be out of town, but their cat was overcome by smoke and had to be resuscitated by Buckland.
These last few days, the good burghers of the Essential Sequential agency have been posting sketch after sketch by Italy’s Matteo Scalera to their Instagram account. Scalera might not be the biggest name in their stable of artists (which includes Dave Johnson, Andrew Robinson and Dan Panosian), but he’s producing stylish work, redolent of another couple of Essential Sequential artists, Eric Canete and Sean Gordon Murphy. I’d throw Declan Shalvey and Robbi Rodriguez in as another couple of touchstones, too. A little further digging reveals Scalera’s blog and his DeviantArt page are the places to find better-quality, less ruthlessly cropped, versions of these illustrations. His DeviantArt account reveals him to be an absolute sketch machine — he’s numbering them, and has reached 533.
David Lasky (Urban Hipster, Don’t Forget This Song) created a strip he calls “The Ultimate Batman Comic,” and he’s pretty much right. If Bill Finger and Bob Kane had known then what we know now, Detective Comics #27 would’ve been 14 panels long — all of which you can read on Lasky’s Flickr account.
Some might say we’re experiencing the Golden Age of superheroes in film, but in reality it’s just live-action catching up to animation. Warner Bros. Animation has been a trailblazer in that area, with 26 feature films based on DC Comics’ characters since 1993. And with the recent release of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, based on the 2011 Flashpoint crossover, we’ve come up with a half-dozen other DC series or arcs Warner Bros. could (and should) look to for future animated films.
Matt Cowan’s handle on DeviantArt is “Matt Can’t Draw”, which isn’t necessarily true. Sure, he is more of a designer, a conceptual artist, than a straight-up “drawer.” His latest series, “Sounds Like,” is possibly a thinly veiled dig at the lack of imagination of Hollywood casting departments. Or is it just an excuse to draw his favorite characters together?
In any case, check them out below. And if you harbor some irrational prejudice against DeviantArt, Cowan’s work is also posted to his Tumblr.
It’s hard to believe that after the 2005 miniseries Batman/Scarecrow: Year One, Sean Murphy hit a rough patch where he couldn’t land work at DC Comics. Since then, he’s cut his own path through the publisher beginning in 2008 with two issues of Hellblazer and then continuing with Joe the Barbarian, Hellblazer: City of Demons, American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest, his creator-owned Punk Rock Jesus, Batman Beyond and now his collaboration with Scott Snyder, The Wake.
On Wednesday, Murphy returns again to the Dark Knight with a story (written by John Arcudi) in the debut issue of the revived Batman: Black and White, which was preceded last week by the release of his Batman: Black and White statue, the 50th in the DC Collectibles line. That’s quite the turnaround.
Whether you think Warner Bros.’ selection of Ben Affleck as Batman is the worst franchise casting since Arnold Schwarzenegger donned blue paint as Mr. Freeze, or if, like Matt Damon, you think all of the grousing is ridiculous, RedBubble.com has a T-shirt for you!
Designed by robinzson, the shirt comes in two designs, both mimicking the logo of the 1960s TV series: “Batman: The Dark Horse RISES!,” with “Affleck” where “Batman” should be, and “Batman: The Dark Horse!,” features the no symbol. They’re $24.54 each.
Conventions | Next week, Salt Lake City will get its first comics convention, Salt Lake Comic Con, which has already sold a reported 23,000 tickets (the event’s website says 20,000). But founder Dan Farr expects attendance to far exceed 40,000, surpassing the 33,000 recorded for New York Comic Con’s inaugural year.[Deseret News, The Salt Lake Tribune]
Conventions | Oni Hartstein, the co-founder of Intervention, talks about why she established the Washington, DC-area convention and why its DIY aspect sets it apart. [Comic Riffs]
When DC Comics published the final issue of Geoff Johns’ eight-year, 150-ish issue run on the Green Lantern character in May, it came in a massive package: An 80-page, $7.99 comic book with a spine, its 66-page story by Johns and his many artistic collaborators complemented by eight pages or so of “Congratulations, Geoff Johns!” from his bosses, his colleagues, his collaborators, his admirers, his family members, a few celebrities and a few “celebrities.”
When DC published the final issue of Grant Morrison’s seven-year run on the Batman character this July, it was simply a regular, $2.99, 24-page issue of Batman Incorporated, the second ongoing monthly created specifically for Morrison to tell his Batman story.
The actual celebration and send-off of Morrison’s tenure on the character— or at least the last few years of it – came out this week, and, in a move that seems appropriately off-beat, Morrison himself had next to nothing to do with Batman Incorporated Special #1, a series of short stories featuring Morrison creations and resurrections of long-retired characters by various creators, only one of whom actually worked with the writer during any of those seven years’ worth of comics.
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The character-specific capsule collections, each containing 30 to 35 pieces, will roll out over the next six months, beginning this month with Tweety. The final collection, based around Superman, will arrive in stores in February.
The collections, which include silk-screened T-shirts, dresses and tote bags priced from $98 to $202, will be available at online locations like Bloomingdales.com, as well as Lester’s, Singer22 and the Lauren Moshi flagship store in Los Angeles. “These iconic characters are part of my childhood and the Lauren Moshi customer can really relate to them,” Moshi told Women’s Wear Daily.
You can see more pieces from the Wonder Woman collection below.