"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Bruce Timm’s Justice League: Gods & Monsters, the direct-to-video animated feature the re-envisions Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in a darker, alternate universe, won’t just spawn a comics prequel. The DC Universe Original Movie has inspired a line of action figures as well.
DC Collectibles has unveiled a first look at the 7-inch figures from the first wave, arriving this fall: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (although in Gods & Monsters, none of them is the hero fans have come to know). As you can see in the images below, each features interchangeable hands, while Batman also comes with an alternate, unmasked head, and Wonder Woman with her sword.
This fall has been particularly exceptional television adaptations: The Walking Dead season premiere pulled in more than 17 million viewers, while more than 8 million watched the first episode Gotham, making it Fox’s best fall drama debut in 14 years. More than 6 million raced to see The Flash pilot, giving The CW its highest ratings ever. About 5 million are regularly tuning in for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and nearly 3 million for the third season of Arrow.
It’s not limited to live-action series, either: 2 million people watch Teen Titans Go!, and more than 1 million tune in to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon.
On the big screen, all four feature films starring Marvel characters — X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — each grossed more than $700 million each worldwide. So far, comic book movies have generated more than $3.8 billion dollars this year. While it’s unknown how many of those dollars are from repeat viewings, that’s still a lot of people.
Warner Bros.’ oversized totes, considered the must-have accessory for Comic-Con International, are returning to San Diego — and they’re wearing capes. This year’s version is a backpack, rather than a traditional bag, so the capes make sense, at least visually. Don’t worry, though, they’re detachable, and can be worn separately.
More than 130,000 backpacks will be given for free to attendees throughout the convention, promoting Warner Bros. television series Arrow, Teen Titans Go! (complete with Beware the Batman cape), The Big Bang Theory, The Following, Revolution, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries, the classic Batman TV series, the DC Universe Original Animated Movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and the forthcoming films Godzilla, The LEGO Movie and 300: Rise of an Empire.
Each backpack features the official Comic-Con 2013 design on one side, and the Warner Bros. property on the other. Unfortunately, art wasn’t released for all of the backpack designs, but you can get a pretty good taste below.
Comic-Con International kicks off Wednesday with Preview Night.
Last week a slip of the tongue by longtime Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy revealed that DC Entertainment is possibly working on an animated adaptation of last year’s Flashpoint event series. If true, that would be one of the quickest turnarounds from page to screen, and this potential return got me to thinking: What if DC returned to Flashpoint in comics?
We’re not talking Flashpoint 2: Electric Bugaloo or anything of that nature (although Ambush Bug might approve), but superhero publishers and fans have shown an immense love for juggling alternate universes with a different set of rules and a different continuity. DC is debuting Earth 2 this week, and in the past has shown a fiery propensity to see how the other side lives. And across town at Marvel, they’ve made several successful jaunts to alternate timelines: from miniseries revisiting the Heroes Reborn and 2099 worlds to the ongoing Age of Apocalypse.
DC invested a whole lot of time, money and shelf space last summer to developing and publishing the Flashpoint titles, and one of the complaints people had at the conclusion was the number of loose ends, as well as characters they wanted to see more of. This could be just a fun return trip if taken with measured steps — maybe a single ongoing series delving into this world.
And come to think of it, it might be a good place for Wally West to show up next.
Although Comic-Con International’s yearly WonderCon show usually likes to spend its springtime in scenic San Francisco, this year it’s taking a road trip down south to spend some time in the happiest place on Earth … or right next to it, anyway. WonderCon runs this weekend, March 16-18, at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center.
Special guests at this year’s show include Arthur Adams, Renae De Liz, Mark Evanier, Michael Golden, Joe Hill, Rebekah Isaacs, Carol Lay, Jim Lee, Mike Mignola, Todd Nauck, Steve Niles, Eric Powell, Humberto Ramos, Bob Schreck, Scott Snyder, Ryan Sook, Fiona Staples, Richard Starkings, J. Michael Straczynski, Mark Waid and Marv Wolfman. On the media side, the con will welcome Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Jorge Garcia, Joshua Jackson and John Noble, among many others. No Mickey Mouse, but Disney is offering special deals on tickets to the park for WonderCon attendees.
You can find the complete programming schedule on the CCI site, and here’s a round-up of various things you can do, buy and expect to find out about at the show …
The New York Comic-Con is coming up Oct. 13-16, and Warner Bros. has revealed some animated plans for the show.
Warner Home Video, Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation will present “an action-packed hour of first looks” at DC Universe Animated Original Movies that Friday from 3 to 4 p.m., which will include the premiere of the animated short Catwoman, starring Eliza Dushku as the voice of title character. The 15-minute short will be included on the release of Batman: Year One, which arrives Oct. 18 on Blu-ray, DVD, for Download and On Demand.
The panel will also include the first footage to be seen from Justice League: Doom, the next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
Panelists will include the voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, DCU executive producer Bruce Timm and casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano … and quite possibly welcome a few surprise guests to the stage. An autograph session with the panelists will immediately follow the panel.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, the latest foray in Warner Brothers’ collection of straight-to-DVD animated movies, is a tired collection of military cliches interspersed with some impressive fight scenes. Words like honor, sacrifice and bravery get batted around like a well-used hacky sack at a Grateful Dead concert, but to little effect, other than to remind you that there’s a big screen, live-action movie starring Ryan Reynolds that will be coming out in theaters any day now.
If you’re a bigwig at an animation company and have your pick to adapt a story from anywhere in the DC mythos, where do you go? After animation has covered just about every major character in DC’s pantheon, they have begun focusing in on specific story arcs to translated into animated movies, and rumors now have them aiming for the top of the mountain: Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.
BleedingCool.com is reporting an unsourced rumor saying that the DC Entertainment animation wing is in the “early stages of development” on a animated adaption of this, which could prove to be the darkest animated work they’ve done. There’s been no confirmation or denial by official sources, leaving fans to speculate on the veracity of this and also who could voice the characters — notably an aged Batman.
Thanks to its connection to parent company Warner Bros., DC Comics’ animated properties have long outpaced Marvel’s and the recent string of straight-to-DVD animated features only further cements that dominance. In recent years Marvel has made big strides to close that gap, but DC’s animated track record of Batman: The Animated Series, Teen Titans GO! and the Justice League series put them ahead.
Would you like to see this epic series animated? And going further, what other DC stories could be great as a cartoon?
Warner Home Video announced yesterday that the animated movie Green Lantern: Emerald Knights will arrive in stores June 7, 10 days before the release of the big Green Lantern feature film.
The movie has Hal Jordan telling a newly recruited Arisia six interlocking tales of various Green Lanterns, including Abin Sur, Kilowog, Laira and Mogo. The six stories are written by Geoff Johns, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim, Dave Gibbons, Peter J. Tomasi, Eddie Berganza, Alan Burnett and Todd Casey.
It features the voice talent of Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), musician Henry Rollins, wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper and Wade Williams (Prison Break). The film is executive produced by Bruce Timm and directed by Lauren Montgomery, Jay Oliva and Christopher Berkeley.
The press release also noted that the film will include a preview of the next DC Comics animated movie, Batman: Year One. You can find the entire release after the jump.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights will have its world premiere tomorrow, April 1 at 6 p.m. at WonderCon in San Francisco. A panel discussion by filmmakers and voice cast will immediately follow the screening.
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Warner Bros’ animated adaptation of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman is so reverent and faithful toward the source material that the film, to a certain extent, feels like a pale copy of its inspiration.
That’s not necessarily a damning criticism. Bruce Timm and company took the right approach in attempting to get as close a conversion from page to screen as possible (to do otherwise would have pleased no one). But the comic itself is so rich in detail and episodic in nature that even a trim, streamlined version like this that still manages to hit a number of the right high points feels a bit flabby in comparison. Saying “the book is better” is a rather easy cheat for a critic — the book is almost always better, but I suspect that fans of the comic won’t be able to watch this without running a compare/contrast checklist in their head and find the film coming up a wee bit short. The good news is that those coming fresh to the material probably won’t notice anything wrong at all.
Warner Home Video announced this week that the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman will arrive on DVD and Blu Ray Feb. 22.
Here’s how the press release described the film: “In All-Star Superman, the Man of Steel rescues an ill-fated mission to the Sun (sabotaged by Lex Luthor) and, in the process, is oversaturated by radiation – which accelerates his cell degeneration. Sensing even he will be unable to cheat death, Superman ventures into new realms – finally revealing his secret to Lois, confronting Lex Luthor’s perspective of humanity, and attempting to ensure Earth’s safety before his own impending end with one final, selfless act.”
The film will feature James Denton (Desperate Housewives) as Superman, Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) as Lois Lane, Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace, Happy Feet) as Lex Luthor, Ed Asner (Up) as Perry White and Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as Jimmy Olsen.
The release didn’t mention the inclusion of an animated short, but it will include a preview of their next original animated film, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.
The complete press release can be found after the jump.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse isn’t a travesty, the way the previous Superman/Batman animated film, Public Enemies, was. It wasn’t an affront to my sensibilities or a 80-minute cringe-fest. But it’s not a particularly good film either, and bears a multitude of sins on its shoulders, including clunky exposition, poor to downright confusing characterization, inane dialogue and some surprisingly sloppy animation.
MTV shares the trailer for the upcoming animated DVD All-Star Superman, which adapts Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s excellent run on the comic of the same name. The animated movie features the voice talent of James Denton, Christina Hendricks and Anthony LaPaglia.
James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace, Happy Feet) have been cast as the voices of Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor in the upcoming All-Star Superman original animated movie. Warner Bros. announced the direct-to-DVD project in San Diego this past summer.
Bruce Timm is executive producing, and Sam Liu, who directed Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, will direct this one as well. Dwayne McDuffie, who wrote Crisis on Two Earths, Justice League Unlimited and many other animated programs (not to mention comics) wrote the script.
The DVD will be released next spring.
Warner Home Video announced today that they plan to release a DVD collecting the animated shorts that have appeared on their other DC Universe Original Animated Movie DVDs thus far. The DVD, titled DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection, will include a new short starring Superman, Shazam! and Black Adam.
The collection, which will include the Spectre short from Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Jonah Hex from Batman: Under the Red Hood and Green Arrow from the upcoming Superman/Batman: Apocalypse DVD, comes out Nov. 9.
Another preview image and the complete press release can be found after the jump.