Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
When I heard that the next DC animated movie was going to be Batman: Under the Red Hood, I cringed. For one thing, I’ve never been a big fan of Judd Winick’s writing. For another, when I originally heard that Jason Todd had come back from the dead, I did a facepalm. Must everything be constantly recycled in superhero comics for the sake of fanboy nostalgia? Can’t we just leave some things be? Not that Death in the Family was some great masterpiece (it wasn’t) but can’t we look at least a little bit forward instead of constantly looking over our shoulder, building castle after castle on sand?
So no, I wasn’t particularly excited to watch this latest Warner Bros. adaptation, expecting it to be something along the lines of that dreadful Superman/Batman affair or the horrid Wonder Woman film.
And just as that first film was based on the first arc of the Superman/Batman comic, this one adapts the second arc of the Jeph Loeb-written comic, which reintroduced Kara Zor-El, AKA Supergirl, to the DC Universe. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse will again star Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy as Superman and Batman, and Firefly/Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actress Summer Glau as Supergirl.
The movie follows Batman: Under the Red Hood, which comes out at the end of July.
Update: And not even 30 minutes after posting this, Warner Home Video sends out a press release on the animated film, which adds Ed Asner and Andre Braugher to the voice cast. You can read it after the jump.
Coming out of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo in April, there were reports that the DC Universe Original Animated Movies might be in trouble. An “exclusive interview” with Bruce Timm (that Timm says was no such thing but the author says was) and subsequent pick-up of it by other outlets kind of left an impression that the movies weren’t doing so well.
QUESTION: There’s been a lot of internet banter regarding the discontinuation of the DCU series based on quotes attributed to an interview in Calgary with you. True or false?
BRUCE TIMM: Kinda false. First of all, it wasn’t an actual one-on-one interview — quotes were taken out of context from longer answers I gave on a panel at the Expo. Bottom line: the DCU films are definitely continuing. We’ve got projects lined up for the next two years at the very least – lots of films in different stages of development and production. I know there are a lot of rumors circulating about future films. Some are true, some are not. I’ll tell you this much – anyone at our DCU/Batman: Under the Red Hood panel at Comic-Con will walk away with a very clear picture of the direction we’re taking the DCU animated movies in the coming year.
Warner Bros. sent out the first three images from the Jonah Hex animated short that can be found on the upcoming Batman: Under the Red Hood DVD.
This is the second DC Showcase animated short, following the Spectre one that appeared on the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths DVD earlier this year. “Jonah Hex “is scripted by author Joe Lansdale and features the voices of Thomas Jane, Linda Hamilton, Michelle Trachtenberg and Michael Rooker.
According to the press release, “In the DC Showcase story, the tough-as-nails bounty hunter Jonah Hex
always gets his man – until someone else gets to him first – in this case a murderous madam who wants to steal more than just her bounty from Jonah Hex.”
Batman: Under the Red Hood arrives in stores July 27. Check out a couple more images after the jump.
Judd Winick and artist Pablo Raimondi are teaming up for a new miniseries called Red Hood: The Lost Days — “a six-issue mini-series revealing the untold story of the man behind the Red Hood. It’s the tale of an angry young man’s transformation into a deadly villain,” according to DC’s The Source blog.
“I’m thrilled to return to this character, and it’s both a joy and challenge to tackle this new story,” Winick said. “LOST DAYS tracks the time from the Red Hood’s rebirth to his return to Gotham. In it, we get to understand this anti-hero in a new way. I think it explains both how he’s sympathetic, and an unrepentant monster. He’s a wonderfully complex character, and I hope this adds some even greater depth to his mythology.”
And here’s today’s “Why didn’t they start doing this sooner?” moment — the release of the comic will coincide with the release of the Under the Red Hood DVD, DC’s next entry in their animated movie series. Typically when a big blockbuster film hits theaters, comic companies release a barrage of comic tie-ins to maybe pull in new readers. I can’t remember DC doing anything like that, at least this overtly, with any of their previous animated DVD releases, but maybe I’m forgetting something. Many of the DVDs, of course, have been based on existing stories, like New Frontiers and the Death of Superman, so there’s always the opportunity to sell from the backlist, but actually creating a tie-in comic seems like something worth trying as well.
Update: Someone in our comments section points out that there was, indeed, a New Frontiers special that came out back in 2008 when the animated DVD hit that I, obviously, didn’t remember.
Confession time: I’ve always had a soft spot for the whole alternate universe concept vis a vis superheroes. The idea of folks like Superman having completely different adventures — maybe even being completely different people! — just thrilled me as a young comic book collector for reasons I can’t really quite to explain (although the cynic in me might say it might have had something to do with the fact that these stories were allowed the grace of an actual ending). Whatever the reason, imaginary stories, parallel worlds, alternate universes, Earths 1-52, I loved em all. As a kid my big addiction was trying to get a complete run of the first run of Marvel’s “What If?” series (it wasn’t that hard).
So when Warner Brothers announced that their next straight-to-DVD animated film was going to be titled Crisis on Two Earths I acted a bit like Hugh Herbert. On the other hand, the company’s last offering, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, was abysmal, and left a bad taste in my mouth for days. Would this new film run along similar lines? Was I foolish to get my hopes up?
Next month Warner Home Video will release their next DC Universe Original Animated Movie, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Included on the DVD will be a new short in what they’re calling their “DC Showcase” series. This first one features the Spectre. From the press release:
The Spectre focuses on a detective story with an ethereal twist, featuring the otherworldly character originally introduced by DC Comics in 1940. The short is written by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and directed by Joaquim Dos Santos (G.I Joe: Resolute). The voice cast is led by Gary Cole (Entourage) as the title character and Alyssa Milano (Charmed) as Aimee Brenner.
The Spectre will be distributed February 23 by Warner Home Video as part of the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Blu-ray/DVD.
Check out a couple of additional images after the jump.
Warner Home Video sent out a pre-holiday treat last week — four new images from the upcoming animated release Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, which comes out in February. The direct-to-DVD release pits the Justice League against their evil counterparts, the Crime Syndicate. Up above is the Jester, a heroic version of the Joker from the Crime Syndicate’s world. After the jump you’ll find a really angry Jimmy Olsen, the Flash and a Crime Syndicate group shot.
If you haven’t checked out the latest trailer, you can find it here.
Comic Book Resources posted the newest trailer for the the seventh entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movies series, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. The story pits the League and a good version of Lex Luthor against their classic enemies/doppelgangers, the Crime Syndicate.
If you’ve watched the entire trailer, then you know that they threw in a fun little touch in the form of the leader of the United States on Earth 2, a familiar-looking President Wilson. And in the picture above, sent out by Warner Bros. today, you can see that his daughter, Rose, will also be making an appearance.
The DVD comes out Feb. 23.
One thing I didn’t mention in my review of Superman/Batman Public Enemies yesterday was that it came with a preview for the next DC DVD, Crisis on Two Earths. The story is the old evil superheroes from alternate earth versus our guys and seems heavily inspired by this book, as well as lots of old Pre-Crisis Silver Age tales. James Woods, Billy Baldwin and Chris Noth are among the celebrity voices. You can learn more from the video below, which I ganked from Topless Robot.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is a new direct-to-DVD film set in an alternate DC universe where everybody takes ungodly amounts of steroids.
Seriously, that’s the only conclusion I can come to as to why every single character in this movie, even the civilians, has a neck — when they have a neck at all — that’s wider than their goddamned skull. Seriously, their heads look like they’ve been bolted on. And that’s to say nothing of the endless oceans of muscles that ripple across everyone’s bodies. The entire planet is obviously juiced to the max.
But the display of over the top physiques really shouldn’t surprise me. At it’s heart, Public Enemies is your typical uber-macho buddy action movie, and just as dumb and sexist as most of them to boot. It’s the comic nerd’s version of Tango and Cash.
World’s Finest posts the box art for the upcoming Batman/Superman: Public Enemies DVD, which reveals the name of the next DC Universe Original Animated Movie they’re working on: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
It also lists, as a bonus feature, “two bonus cartoons” by Bruce Timm on the two-disc version. I wonder if these are the animated shorts we’ve been hearing about, one of which is supposed to feature Jonah Hex?
Superman/Batman is due to come out at the end of September.
The new DC Universe Animated movie, Green Lantern First Flight, is basically a cop movie with a sci-fi setting. Its cast includes a wealth of strange-looking aliens and fantastic action scenes that defy the laws of physics (more on that later on) but the basic plot of the film comes out of a million other TV and movie police procedurals, right down to where the hotshot rookie is blamed for a crime he didn’t commit and forced to turn his badge in.
And really, that’s as it should be. That basic premise — “space cop with magic ring” — is one of the most appealing things about the character (really the most appealing thing if you ask me) so to focus on that aspect makes sense. What’s more, it remains a pretty sturdy premise, despite its age. You have to be either really lazy or incompetent to foul it up. Thankfully, the makers of this film are neither, making First Flight an entertaining, if somewhat shallow and unoriginal, film.
Friday’s programming schedule for the San Diego Comic-Con is up; you can check out right here. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights …
Comic-Con International has released the programming schedule for Thursday, July 23, as well as some special programming for preview night. You can check out the entire day’s worth of activities right here for yourself. Here are some of the highlights …