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1. Dog Butts and Love: Review Haiku

Happy Bunny guy
is a worthy successor
to John Callahan.

Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. by Jim Benton. NBM Publishing, 2014, 96 pages.

0 Comments on Dog Butts and Love: Review Haiku as of 1/1/1900
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2. Get ready to binge Batman: The Brave and the Bold in one week (or less)

batmancover

It’s come to our attention that Batman: The Brave and the Bold will be leaving Netflix streaming on March 30.

Outrageous!

If you’re a Netflix-binge pro, you might be able to finish off the 3 seasons of this underrated show in the week left (and really, it’s more like 2.5 seasons, with season 3 being only a partial order). But if you’re not able to move that fast, we’ve pulled together a list of the best episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold so that you can catch the highlights before this one drops out of your queue.

Season 1

batmanseason1

Episode 3, Evil Under the Sea: It doesn’t get better on this show than Aquaman, and his debut episode is the perfect place to start. Aquaman episodes are consistently hilarious, and this one is no different – Batman foils a plot from Black Manta to conquer Atlantis, while Aquaman remains oblivious.

Episode 8, Fall of the Blue Beetle: This episode focuses on Blue Beetles, both the present incarnation of Jaime Reyes and his predecessor, Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle. It’s interesting to see Batman struggle to accept Jaime as a replacement for Ted.

Episode 9, Journey to the Center of the Bat: When Batman is stricken with disease by Chemo, the Atom and Aquaman shrink and fight the disease within Batman’s body. Aquaman befriends and rides a lymphocyte he names “platelet” – need we say more?

Episode 12, Deep Cover for Batman: Batman takes the place of Owlman on a parallel Earth, turning to a parallel world version of his usual villains and finding them as allies.

Episode 13, Deep Cover for Owlman: While Batman is off pretending to be Owlman on a parallel Earth, it turns out that Owlman has been posing as Batman and has gone on a crime spree. The flip side to the previous episode, Batman returns to find himself considered a villain and hunted by his usual allies.

Episode 15, Trials of the Demon: Batman time travels to 19th century London to help Jason Blood, who’s been framed for crimes committed by Jim Craddock. The twist to this one is that the two “World’s Greatest Detectives” join forces when Sherlock Holmes and Watson assist in the investigation. As long as you can handle Etrigan rhyming, this one’s a winner.

Episode 17, Menace of the Conqueror Caveman: Booster Gold episodes are usually great for much of the same reason Aquaman ones are: Batman plays the straight man to a humorous, egotistical sidekick.

Episode 19, Legends of the Dark Mite: Bat-Mite is the Q to Batman’s Picard, and his fifth dimensional powers allow him to express his fandom in painful ways. Bat-Mite is a recurring character on the series and plays a heavy role in the finale, so this character’s intro is worth watching.

Episode 25, Mayhem of the Music Meister: Featuring Neil Patrick Harris as the Music Meister, this is a musical episode and easily one of the best of the series.

 Season 2

batmanseason2

Episode 2, Long Arm of the Law: Plastic Man tries to keep his home life stable by taking Baby Plas to the museum,  only to be attacked by Kite Man. Batman tries to assist, but this episode sees Plastic Man’s past deeds catch up with him and threaten his family and wife, Ramona.

Episode 4, Aquaman’s Outrageous Adventure: Aquaman serves as the POV character here, and the episode centers on Aquaman’s boredom with his family vacation and secret attempts to escape and help battle evil during breaks. Again, Aquaman = the best.

Episode 9, The Super-Batman of Planet X: Batman travels through a wormhole and ends up in a distant planet called Zur-En-Arrh, where he goes to “Gothtropolis” and meets the Batman of this world. This is a sort of Superman-Batman mash-up, because Batman has super powers on this planet. The best part of this episode is that it stars Kevin Conroy as the voice of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. Double Batman! (there’s also the always great Clancy Brown and Dana Delany).

Episode 10, The Power of Shazam: With a title in homage to the 1990s Captain Marvel Comic, The Power of Shazam pits Captain Marvel against Black Adam and Doctor Sivana, along with Sivana’s wonderfully hilarious children.

Episode 11, Chill of the Night: This episode makes most best-of lists for this series, and has a guest star list featuring Adam West, Julie Newmar, Kevin Conroy, and Mark Hamill to boot.  When The Phantom Stranger and the Spectre make a bet on whether Bruce Wayne will kill the person who murdered his parents, Batman is guided through his painful past and comes to learn about his parents’ assassin, Joe Chill.

Episode 15, Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster: Featuring multiple incarnations of The Flash working in tandem with Batman to investigate Barry Allen’s death, this episode also guest stars John Wesley Shipp (star of the 1990s live-action The Flash) as Professor Zoom.

Episode 17, Menace of the Madniks: Recalling plot threads introduced in Season 1, this episode focuses on Booster Gold, who travels to the past to spend time with his now-deceased friend, Ted Kord (Blue Beetle). Both Batman and Booster Gold considered Ted a close friend, so their rivalry and possessiveness over his friendship was touching (and entertaining). It’s also a nice reminder that shows like this don’t have to shy away from confronting death.

Episode 18, Emperor Joker: This episode is kind of like The Edge of Tomorrow in that we get to see Batman die dozens of different ways at the hands of The Joker, who gains the powers of Bat-Mite.

Episode 19, The Criss Cross Conspiracy: One of the few problems with Batman: The Brave and the Bold is that it is primarily consumed with male characters. This episode isn’t exactly much different or particularly kind to women, unfortunately, but it’s still an amusing one – Batwoman and Batman switch bodies, and we get to see Diedrich Bader pull off some of his most comical voice acting.

Episode 21, Cry Freedom Fighters: In which Plastic Man finally gets his big heroic spotlight. Basically every Plastic Man related plot point in the series culminates here, and he gets to join his fellow Quality Comics stable-mates The Freedom Fighters, including a particularly “taken so straight it’s hilarious” version of Uncle Sam.

Episode 22, The Knights of Tomorrow: More or less, this is the Grant Morrison tribute episode, taking place in the future and giving viewers the set-up of his classic Batman and Robin run, with Dick as Batman and Damian Wayne (this time, the son of Bruce and Selina Kyle) as Robin, with even a little wink and nod to Damian’s future and one of the easter eggs of Batman #700.

Episode 23, Darkseid Descending: Set-up gloriously in the previous episode’s prelude, the oncoming threat of the hordes of Apokolips compels Batman, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter to reform the Justice League…and it ends up taking a shape that’s rather familiar to fans of the Giffen/DeMatteis iteration of the team. Wonderfully epic, this could have been/maybe should have been the finale to the second season.

Episode 25, The Malicious Mr. Mind: The best possible follow-up to a Captain Marvel/Shazam episode is one that includes the entire Marvel family, Mr. Mind, and the Monster Society of Evil. While many writers have struggled to make the fairly cheesy Marvel family “relevant” for today’s audiences, The Brave and The Bold creative team embraced everything that’s weird and wonderful about the old Beck/Binder comics and this episode is their ultimate tribute.

Season 3

batmanseason3

Episode 1, The Battle of the Superheroes: For better or worse, it’s hard not to notice the Superman shaped-hole that filled the entirety of series’ first two seasons (barring one brief flashback cameo), but with the third season’s premiere, viewers were treated to the best possible love letter to Superman’s Silver Age past. You get a giant Turtle Boy style Jimmy Olsen, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and some rather hilarious examples of “Superdickery”. Season 3 was, on the whole, not as successful as the brilliant second set of episodes before it, but this episode was a stone cold classic.

Episode 7, Sword of the Atom: Remember “Journey to the Center of the Bat” back in season 1? This is basically part 2 of that fantastic episode and once again sees Aquaman team up with (the new) Atom and shrink to microscopic size to save Batman.

Episode 9, Bold Beginnings: When Aquaman, Plastic Man, and Green Arrow get together, it’s a can’t lose combo. And sure to form, this story that details how each first met Batman not only superbly entertains, but also provides just a tiny bit of character backstory for Batman’s core three supporting cast.

Episode 13, Mitefall: Best. Finale. Ever.

Have fun!

batmite17

6 Comments on Get ready to binge Batman: The Brave and the Bold in one week (or less), last added: 3/24/2015
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3. What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, March 2015 Edition — Now With More Frozen!

frozen-fever-elsa-anna

This icy force both foul and fair has a frozen heart worth mining.

Well, I had hoped to wait until May before updating my movie calendar, but then Bob Iger had to go and hold an annual shareholder’s meeting for Disney.

…which means that all sorts of stuff got announced, so here’s the latest.

NOTE:  My colleagues have noted the confusion over Warner Brothers’ superhero schedule.

To be clear: past Suicide Squad, WB/DC Entertainment has not matched announced movies with opening dates.

So, you will see a listing like:

Unknown 2018 Flash

and

3/23/2018 Untitled DC 

That does not mean that there are two movies scheduled, only that DCE is planning movies, and has claimed dates.  Other news sites have linked titles to dates.  This has not been officially announced or confirmed by Warner Brothers, and until I see official confirmation, will continue to list the names and dates separately.  When do I expect to see that confirmation?  Either at a shareholder’s meeting, or sometime in July or August, just like last year.  Like last year, I expect Marvel, via D23, to make a bigger splash than DC, although DC could try to win Comic-Con this year, given Marvel Studio’s suspected absence.


Updates in BOLD.

5/1/2015 The Avengers: Age of Ultron Marvel
6/19/2015 Inside Out Pixar
7/10/2015 Mininons Universal
7/17/2015 Ant-Man Marvel
7/24/2015 Pixels Sony/Columbia
8/7/2015 The Fantastic Four Fox
8/14/2015 Underdogs (Metegol) Weinstein
10/23/2015 Jem and the Holograms Universal
11/6/2015 The Peanuts Movie Fox
11/25/2015 The Good Dinosaur Pixar
12/18/2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney
Unknown 2015 Popeye Sony
 —
Unknown 2016 Untitled Lego Movie Warners
2/12/2016 Deadpool Fox
3/4/2016 Zootopia Disney
3/25/2016 Batman v Superman DCE
5/6/2016 Captain America: Civil War Marvel
5/27/2016 X-Men: Apocalypse Fox
6/3/2016 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Paramount
6/17/2016 Finding Dory Pixar
7/8/2016 ??? (Was Doctor Strange) Marvel
7/8/2016 Star Trek 3 Paramount
7/22/2016 Power Rangers Lionsgate
8/5/2016 Suicide Squad DCE
8/5/2016 Untitled Smurfs Movie Sony
8/19/2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Focus/Laika
9/23/2016 Ninjago Warners
10/7/2016 Gambit Fox
10/7/2016 Monster High Universal
11/4/2016 Doctor Strange Marvel
11/18/2016 HP: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Warners
11/23/2016 Moana Disney
12/16/2016 Star Wars: Rogue One Disney
 —
Unknown 2017 Wonder Woman DCE
Unknown 2017 Justice League, Part One DCE
Unknown 2017 Lego Batman Warners
2/10/2017 Untitled Warner Animation Group Project Warners
3/3/2017 Untitled Wolverine Fox
3/10/2017 Captain Underpants Dreamworks
4/14/2017 Ghost in the Shell Disney
5/5/2017 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Marvel
5/26/2017 Untitled LEGO Movie Warners
5/26/2017 Star Wars: Episode VIII Disney
6/2/2017 The Fantastic Four 2 Fox
6/16/2017 Toy Story 4 Pixar
6/23/2017 Untitled DC DCE
7/7/2017 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Disney
7/28/2017 Unititled Spider-Man Sony/Marvel
11/3/2017 Thor: Ragnarok Marvel
11/17/2017 Untitled DC DCE
11/22/2017 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
 —
Unknown 2018 Flash DCE
Unknown 2018 Aquaman DCE
Unknown 2018 Lego Movie 2 Warners
Unknown 2018 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
2/9/2018 Untitled Warner Animation Group Project Warners
3/9/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
3/23/2018 Untitled DC DCE
5/4/2018 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 Marvel
5/25/2018 Untitled Warner Animated Film Warners
6/15/2018 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
7/6/2018 Black Panther Marvel
7/13/2018 Untitled Fox / Marvel Fox / Marvel
7/27/2018 Untitled DC DCE
11/2/2018 Captain Marvel Marvel
11/16/2018 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
11/21/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
 —
Unknown 2019 Shazam DCE
Unknown 2019 Justice League Part Two DCE
4/5/2019 Untitled DC DCE
5/3/2019 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 Marvel
5/24/2019 Untitled Warner Animated Film Warners
6/14/2019 Untitled DC DCE
7/12/2019 Inhumans Marvel
 —
Unknown 2020 Cyborg DCE
Unknown 2020 Green Lantern DCE
Unknown 2020 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
4/3/2020 Untitled DC DCE
6/19/2020 Untitled DC DCE
11/20/2020 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
 —
UNKNOWN Untitled Frozen sequel Disney
UNKNOWN Sinister Six Sony

 

2 Comments on What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, March 2015 Edition — Now With More Frozen!, last added: 3/13/2015
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4. Interview: Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi team up with First Second to further explore the world of The Dam Keeper

still_5

By Harper Harris

In one of the most visually and emotionally striking films nominated for Best Animated Short Film at this year’s Academy Awards, The Dam Keeper has garnered a lot of well-deserved praise. The creators, Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, have worked as art directors on such films as Toy Story 3, Ratatouille, and Ice Age, but got together to create The Dam Keeper as a very personal short film, and it shows. The film, done in a gorgeous painted style with almost no words, is unique and heartbreaking despite its short running time of only 18 minutes. What’s more exciting than such a great short? Why, how about a series of graphic novels by the creators, published through First Second, that explores this world?

The Dam Keeper is set in a sort of post-apocalyptic world with anthropomorphic people living in a valley, the only safe haven from the dark and dangerous clouds that surround it. Keeping this darkness at bay is Pig, a young boy with no family who must wind the windmill every day to blow back the clouds. In the short, he meets a girl his age, Fox, and through a series of wordless interactions, they become friends. However, a misunderstanding causes a rift between the two that has drastic consequences for the entire valley, which leads to the dramatic climax. Kondo and Tsutsumi recently announced that they plan to elaborate on the world of The Dam Keeper through a series of new graphic novels. I got a chance to speak with both creators to hear about this interesting cross-media expansion on their celebrated short film. The below answers come from the team collectively.

Where did the initial idea for the short film spring from?

The Dam Keeper was our first effort to write and direct together as a team.  Initial ideas of an unsung hero in a polluted world went through different variations in discovering our creative process.  Along the way, we rediscovered a childhood folktale, The Little Dutch Boy, about a boy whose little act of sacrifice ended up saving his town.  We wondered, “What if our character held the responsibility of saving his town not just once but every day?”How did you decide on the very unique visual style for the short film?

We spent time thinking about what might distinguish us as a team.  Because we worked closely together for over seven years at Pixar and had influenced each other’s artwork, we actually could paint like each other.  This made us unique within the art department there and it felt like the unique thing we could apply to our film.  Not to mention, creating a painted look seemed a more natural route for us at the time than building a 3D CG pipeline.

With over 8,000 painted stills, it must have been a painstaking process! How long did the film take to create?

still_4The actual production and post-production ran for 9 months — a long process, but considering we all had full-time jobs during the day, it was an extremely well run production thanks to our producers Megan Bartel and Duncan Ramsay.

Part of what makes the short so interesting is how little we as an audience really know about the circumstances in this world where a dark cloud constantly threatens the valley beneath. What made you decide to explore this world more deeply?

For us, on one level, the dark cloud represents our character’s internal demon.  On another level, it also speaks to us quite literally, and so we have always imagined other cities and people living on the other side of the dam.  It feels natural for us to explore how different societies might deal with this deadly fog and how the particular inhabitants of each civilization would have their own respective social issues, just as we saw with Pig’s idyllic-seeming town in the short.

Speaking of, will the book series focus primarily on Pig’s future as he grows up, or will there be a look into the past of this world as well?

There will be elements of both, with a very emotional storyline for Pig and his friends set against the ticking time bomb of their polluted world.  But there will be a lot of laughter along the way, too.

One of the many things that makes The Dam Keeper so endearing is its lack of dialogue…do you plan to keep the companion graphic novels in the same silent style?

Dialogue will be an important addition to the story and we hope to use it while maintaining the feeling and tone of the short.

Will these companion pieces be graphic novels in a comic book style, or more along the lines of illustrated novels?

Much as we did with the short, we are exploring different ways to execute this new form of storytelling, not just in terms of format but as a team, since we haven’t done a book together before.

Why a graphic novel series to continue the stories in this whimsical world instead of, for example, an animated series?

We are concurrently pursuing an animated feature adaptation of The Dam Keeper.  Our company, Tonko House is open to telling stories in different formats.  We believe graphic novels are different than films, but are great vehicles for narrative just the same.  We are inspired by stories like Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki‘s This One Summer and Gene Luen Yang‘s American Born Chinese.

What kind of adventures can we hope to see Pig, Fox, and Hippo get into?

Pig and Fox’s adventures will be epic, wondrous, revelatory and daunting all at the same time — they will be taken out of their element and challenged as they come of age.  And they will be joined on this journey by a most unexpected ally or enemy, depending on whose point of view it is.

What inspired you to jump the story ahead to their teen years rather than continuing to explore their youth?

The early teen years are such an interesting rite of passage, when innocence challenged by one’s awareness of the world forces growth in character.  The underlying story is based upon a personal anecdote that fits well at this point in our characters’ lives as they are forced to engage with who they are and who they want to be.

While the short covers some darker territory, it maintains a childlike tone that is both charming and quite beautiful; can we expect the story to get a little more adult in tone in the continued story as the characters grow older?

still_8We believe in the balance of light and darkness, and we will strive to capture both to connect with international audiences of all ages.  We want the choices our characters make to have real consequences, whether it is neglecting your responsibility and letting the darkness in, or something new and possibly more far-reaching.  We feel that if our characters and their motivations ring true, then this journey of boys becoming men will be enjoyable by many regardless of age.

How did you come to choose First Second as the publisher for this series?

We are big fans of First Second first and foremost as readers.  As creators, since conceiving the larger story of The Dam Keeper, we have been searching for the right people to work with in both film and publishing to help protect it and take it to the highest level of work we are capable of.  When we met our editor, Mark Siegel, there was an instant connection and the kind of partnership we had sought after.  We feel we are in great hands to learn this new medium for Tonko House.

How many books do you foresee being in the series?

It’s a bit of wait and see!

Do you feel that you may hand the reins over to a different writer or artist at some point to let them explore this world, or will this always be a personal project for the two of you?

We would most likely always be involved with how the world of The Dam Keeper expands. The story we are working on now is based on our own personal life experiences, and we hope any artists or writers we work with will bring the same level of personal investment and motivation into this world.   Coming from big feature animation studios where teamwork is essential, we hope always to collaborate with and learn from other artists since those experience have proven to be extremely rewarding time and time again.

When can we expect the first book to release? Where can fans follow both of you and your work?

We’ll be working around the clock to have the books ready as early as possible.

Any news related to The Dam Keeper will be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/TheDamKeeper
http://www.simplestroke.com
https://instagram.com/robertkondo/


The first of two graphic novel sequels to The Dam Keeper will arrive in 2016 from First Second.

2 Comments on Interview: Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi team up with First Second to further explore the world of The Dam Keeper, last added: 3/12/2015
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5. What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, February 2015 Edition

pixels3Here’s the updated dance card for superhero movies, selected animated films, and geek-centric films.

Updates are in bold.

2/13/2015Kingsman: The Secret ServiceFox
5/1/2015The Avengers: Age of UltronMarvel
6/19/2015Inside OutPixar
7/10/2015MininonsUniversal
7/17/2015Ant-ManMarvel
7/24/2015PixelsSony/Columbia
8/7/2015The Fantastic FourFox
8/14/2015Underdogs (Metegol)Weinstein
10/23/2015Jem and the HologramsUniversal
11/6/2015The Peanuts MovieFox
11/25/2015The Good DinosaurPixar
12/18/2015Star Wars: The Force AwakensDisney
Unknown 2015PopeyeSony
   
   
Unknown 2016Untitled Lego MovieWarners
2/12/2016DeadpoolFox
3/4/2016ZootopiaDisney
3/25/2016Batman v SupermanDCE
5/6/2016Captain America: Civil WarMarvel
5/27/2016X-Men: ApocalypseFox
6/3/2016Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2Paramount
6/17/2016Finding DoryPixar
7/8/2016??? (Was Doctor Strange)Marvel
7/8/2016Star Trek 3Paramount
7/22/2016Power RangersLionsgate
8/5/2016Suicide SquadDCE
8/5/2016Untitled Smurfs MovieSony
8/19/2016Kubo and the Two StringsFocus/Laika
9/23/2016NinjagoWarners
10/7/2016GambitFox
10/7/2016Monster HighUniversal
11/4/2016Doctor StrangeMarvel
11/18/2016HP: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemWarners
11/23/2016MoanaDisney
12/16/2016Untitled Star WarsDisney
   
Unknown 2017Wonder WomanDCE
Unknown 2017Justice League, Part OneDCE
Unknown 2017Lego BatmanWarners
2/10/2017Untitled Warner Animation Group ProjectWarners
3/3/2017Untitled WolverineFox
3/10/2017Captain UnderpantsDreamworks
4/14/2017Ghost in the ShellDisney
5/5/2017Guardians of the Galaxy 2Marvel
5/26/2017Untitled LEGO MovieWarners
6/2/2017The Fantastic Four 2Fox
6/16/2017Toy Story 4Pixar
6/23/2017Untitled DCDCE
7/7/2017Pirates Of The Caribbean 5Disney
7/28/2017Unititled Spider-ManSony/Marvel
11/3/2017Thor: RagnarokMarvel
11/17/2017Untitled DCDCE
11/22/2017Untitled Pixar AnimationPixar
   
Unknown 2018FlashDCE
Unknown 2018AquamanDCE
Unknown 2018Lego Movie 2Warners
Unknown 2018HP: Fantastic BeastsWarners
2/9/2018Untitled Warner Animation Group ProjectWarners
3/9/2018Untitled Disney AnimationDisney
3/23/2018Untitled DCDCE
5/4/2018Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1Marvel
5/25/2018Untitled Warner Animated FilmWarners
6/15/2018Untitled Pixar AnimationPixar
7/6/2018Black PantherMarvel
7/13/2018Untitled Fox / MarvelFox / Marvel
7/27/2018Untitled DCDCE
11/2/2018Captain MarvelMarvel
11/16/2018Untitled WB Event FilmWarners
11/21/2018Untitled Disney AnimationDisney
   
Unknown 2019ShazamDCE
Unknown 2019Justice League Part TwoDCE
4/5/2019Untitled DCDCE
5/3/2019Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2Marvel
5/24/2019Untitled Warner Animated FilmWarners
6/14/2019Untitled DCDCE
7/12/2019InhumansMarvel
   
Unknown 2020CyborgDCE
Unknown 2020Green LanternDCE
Unknown 2020HP: Fantastic BeastsWarners
4/3/2020Untitled DCDCE
6/19/2020Untitled DCDCE
11/20/2020Untitled WB Event FilmWarners
   
UNKNOWNSinister SixSony

6 Comments on What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, February 2015 Edition, last added: 2/14/2015
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6. Save a Life: Furry Cartoons That Care

In case you haven’t obsessively been checking my Instagram feed (hehe) I wanted to share with you the animation I made for a WONDERFUL cause…help save some doggies’ lives and support @ShihtzuSwag ‘s fundraiser with @WagAware benefitting @ICareDogRescure ! Please do head on over to www.WagAware.com, 50% of every purchase goes directly to helping rescue our furry friends. :)

—-More Info From My IG Caption:

The closest thing to my heart has four legs. Please, Friends, help save doggie lives and support @icaredogrescue , the incredible @shihtzuswag created a fundraiser by teaming up with @wagaware to make a real difference!! Between February 2-16th WagAware will donate 50% of ALL SALES to @icaredogrescue !!! Such an amazing act and the #WagAware charm will be a friendly reminder of all the furry friends you’re saving, so please head over to www.WagAware.com and buy yours today! If you buy three you’ll automatically get another FREE!! Whoohoo…charms for everyone!! Thank you and help spread the word. :) #BuyaCharmSaveaDog

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7. Sunday Morning Motivation: Numbers

Be inspired by many, aim to inspire at least one.
ballerina with balloon

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8. Wild Thornberrys – An Insider look at Illustrating Licensed Art for Picture Books.

A Wild Thornberrys Book Illustrated by Bob Ostrom

When I first started doing children’s books I focused mainly on licensed properties. I did work for all the big guys… Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and lots of others. It was a pretty sweet gig with the exception of one thing. Illustrators who work in the world of licensed art can tell you that it’s kind of a lonely business. Your work is everywhere but you are rarely recognized for it unless of course you are the creator. Unfortunately even creators are sometimes not given the credit they deserve depending on how the art was developed.

This art was from a Wild Thornberry’s book I did. Most of the books I did for licensed properties were a little stingy with the credits but not Scholastic and the Wild Thornberry’s. The first time I saw the actual printed book was in at Barnes and Noble on display and my name was right on the front cover in big 20 pt type. I wanted to run around the store flinging copies into the air and dancing like a fool but I figured that would just be bad form. So instead I high-fived my son who was about 4 or 5 at the time and did the dad-dance. He thought it was pretty cool too. He used to love it when I got books from properties he knew from TV because they always came with a video that we would watch over and over as I tried to get the poses just right. He would often run around the house quoting lines from whatever series we had just watched. As he got older the fun kind of wore off and the cool factor faded a bit but every now and then we’ll spot one of my books in the book store or at the library and it’s cool all over again.

wild-thornberrys-b-w1 art by bob ostrom wild-thornberrys-sketch by bob ostrom wild-thornberrys-Sketch2 art by bob ostrom wild-thornberrysb-w3 art by bob ostrom Wild-Thornberrys-B-w2 art by bob ostrom wild-thornberrys-b-w4 art by bob ostrom wild thornberry art by bob ostrom

 

 

 

 

Q: Hey Bob? Can we still pick up a copy of these books?

A: You better believe it buster buddy. Amazon still has them on their site and lucky for you I just happen to have a couple of affiliate links you can use. If you ever wondered what an affiliate link is here’s how it works. You click on the link and it takes you to Amazon’s site. If you purchase the book Amazon looks at the site you just came from and see’s it’s from me. then Amazon says,”Hey, Bob something really cool just happened. Someone came and bought a book using a link from your website. We think that’s so cool we want to send you a tiny bit of money…. here you go!”

So if you like this book, you like Amazon and you like me (and I know you do) feel free to use these handy links down below.





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9. WB Animation debuts trailer for Batman vs. Robin

sonofbatman WB Animation debuts trailer for Batman vs. Robin

Earlier this week, WB Animation announced the voice cast for Batman vs. Robin, the 23rd feature in their DC Universe Animated Film line-up. Today, they debut its initial trailer via IGN…take a look below at the first animated appearance of the Court of the Owls.

Batman vs. Robin hits stores in the Spring.

5 Comments on WB Animation debuts trailer for Batman vs. Robin, last added: 1/18/2015
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10. Review: Justice League Throne of Atlantis Animated Goes Deep

By Davey Nieves

JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS

justice league throne of atlantis blu ray cover 95 236x300 Review: Justice League Throne of Atlantis Animated Goes Deep

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is the animated film follow up to last year’s Justice League: War that introduced the New 52 to DC Animation. The last few movies have been a roller coaster of quality. Flashpoint Paradox was excellent while War and Assault on Arkham suffered from execution problems. While the film has a few standout moments Justice League: TOA doesn’t quite parallel the emotional strength of its Geoff Johns Aquaman source material.

Directed by Ethan Spaulding, the film blends two of Johns early New 52 Aquaman arcs as the audience is presented the origin of Arthur Curry. Then we shift to the mysteries of the deep and totalitarianism of Orm (Ocean Master) as he attempts to wage war on the surface world. Also dealing with the fallout from the War film are the members of the Justice League. We have to continue to see them come together as a team because apparently Darkseid’s invasion just wasn’t enough of a reason to form on a regular basis. The team crosses paths with Atlantis and the brooding enigma that is Aquaman when weapons of mass destruction are stolen from an underwater military submarine. Along the way to recovering the missiles, the league must find Arthur Curry to avoid an all out war between Atlantis and the surface world.

Where ToA stumbles isn’t so much in the execution but in the little things that you can’t ignore. Not following the books is understandable. Building the DC Animated into its own universe is a great way to create a unique identity for the brand. Plus, I’ve always been of the mindset: why make something where the intended audience already knows what’s going to happen next. That being said, ToA has an overall compacted feeling. It rushes through so much of its material causing it to feel diluted and unnecessary. The Superman/Wonder Woman relationship, Cyborg’s coming to terms with being more machine than man; it all could have been better played with or at the very least given more screen time.

Screen Shot 2015 01 13 at 4.40.14 PM 300x168 Review: Justice League Throne of Atlantis Animated Goes DeepJason O’Mara, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore and Sean Astin return as Batman, The Flash, Cyborg and Shazam. Joining them are Jerry O’Connell, Rosario Dawson, and Sumalee Montano as Superman, Wonder Woman and Mera. Voice acting performances feel a bit unbalanced due to what seems like bad writing. Nathan Fillion has always been a great Hal Jordan but here the performance is so short that he never really gets a moment. Which is true of almost the entire cast and a big problem for having Justice League on the box art. Rosario Dawson’s voicing of Wonder Woman was superb and the film could have used more of it. Most of the weight was carried by Matt Lanter voicing Aquaman whom on his own turned in an adequate performance. Though that isn’t what you want out of a Ferrari or the title character of your movie.

Screen Shot 2015 01 13 at 4.38.57 PM 300x168 Review: Justice League Throne of Atlantis Animated Goes Deep

Justice League has some things that did land on target. The animation is as crisp as any of the better-animated movies like Under the Red Hood and Flashpoint. Where animation excels even beyond film is in the action and this movie has some great scenes like the tidal wave and VR submarine reenactment. One thing that the film did well more so than most recent DC Animated movies is the acting drawn into the characters. Eye movements, twitches, and the fluidity of there movement in battle all surpass previous entries. Visually, everything just clicks on this movie. The credits scene also raises some questions because I’m curious to hear what it leads to since the next films are based on Court of Owls, and an original story by Bruce Timm called Justice League: Gods and Monsters. Both of which are set for 2015 releases.

Ultimately Justice League Throne of Atlantis probably suffers more from its scheduling than anything else. So many of its moving parts feel rushed and uncoordinated that it doesn’t serve the tremendous material it came from. My advice, rent it or watch it once on your favorite digital platform.

Justice League Throne of Atlantis is available now on Digital HD and on Blu-Ray and DVD January 27, 2015.


If you’ve got a hankering to rate DC Animated films follow Davey on twitter.

 

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11. Voice Cast announced for Batman vs. Robin

batman vs robin  Voice Cast announced for Batman vs. Robin

Via The Hollywood Reporter, WB Animation has unveiled its cast for the upcoming feature Batman vs. Robin, which despite sharing a title with a Grant Morrison arc, is actually based on the Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo “Court of Owls” storyline that opened up their run in the New 52 era.

The film will act as a sequel to the preceding Batman and Son, with Jason O’Mara, Sean Maher and David McCallum reprising their roles as Batman, Robin and Alfred respectively.

New cast members joining on include:

Jeremy Sisto as Talon (Sisto, you may recall, played Batman in Justice League: The New Frontier)

Grey Griffin as Samantha

Weird Al Yankovic as The Dollmaker

Robin Atkin Downes as Grandmaster

Peter Onorati as Draco

Kevin Conroy as Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father, not the other one)

Batman vs. Robin will arrive in stores this Spring, its the next entry in WB’s shared universe of animated films that include the previously released Justice League: War, Batman and Son, and the upcoming (and to be reviewed in short order by Davey Nieves on this very site) Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. It’ll be directed by Jay Oliva, who took the helm for Batman: Assault on Arkham and the animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, among others projects.

I haven’t enjoyed any of the offerings from this animated line in some time, probably not since Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, but I continue to hold out hope that the next entry will be the point where they bounce back. Snyder and Capullo’s enjoyable first arc together is as good a starting point as any.

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12. Guest commentary: Who Stole Superman’s Undies?

movies man of steel henry cavill Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

Guest post by T Campbell.

Can the soul of Western civilization be found in a pair of red briefs? Was our first great superhero at his strongest, his noblest, his superest, before modern interpretations stripped him of his underwear? Is there a connection?

A generation ago, when those red briefs were an inseparable part of Superman’s design, he was the most familiar superhero by a wide margin, leading the field in film adaptations,[1] headlining cartoon shows,[2] and even winning over famous media critics who were fiction writers in their own right. Even now, if you believe superheroes have anything to say to American culture or the human experience, you sort of have to start with him, because he’s the prototype.

Umberto Eco called him “the representative of all his similars” [3]  and Harlan Ellison described him as one of “only five fictional creations known to every man, woman, and child on the planet.”[4] Born in the early hours of a visual, easily reproduced medium, he was popular enough to codify most of what being a superhero meant. The Oxford English Dictionary even mentions him by name in its definition of “superhero”:

su·per·he·ro ˈso͞opərˌhirō noun: superhero; plural noun: superheroes; noun: super-hero; plural noun: super-heroes. a benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers, such as Superman.[5]

And yet, Batman emerged a year later with no superhuman powers at all, and he was far from the only superhero to flout that membership requirement.[6] What really seemed to make a superhero a superhero, in the minds of the public, was the benevolence, the codename and the costume.

Superman is a strong man created by weak boys. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were nerdy teens when they came up with their first “Superman,” a madman with mental, not physical, powers.[7] Their second draft, far closer to the version we know, had what appeared to be a streak of white in his hair and a bare chest.[8] And those trunks, which persisted through other versions for eighty years.

01 originalsuperman Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

Lacking any personal experience being strong, S. & S. took Superman’s powers from their beloved science fiction, and his costume from the circus.[9]

01 ActionComic1 Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

Underpants on tights were signifiers of extra-masculine strength and endurance in 1938. The cape, showman-like boots, belt and skintight spandex were all derived from circus outfits and helped to emphasize the performative, even freak-show-esque, aspect of Superman’s adventures. Lifting bridges, stopping trains with his bare hands, wrestling elephants: these were superstrongman feats that benefited from the carnival flair implied by skintight spandex. Shuster had dressed the first superhero as his culture’s most prominent exemplar of the strongman ideal, unwittingly setting him up as the butt of ten thousand jokes.

Grant Morrison [10]

 

Actually, Siegel and Shuster thought of Superman’s other clothes as the mockable ones. To fully understand the significance of Superman’s costume, look at him when he’s out of it—when he’s Clark Kent.

01 clarkkent Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

In virtually every version of Superman, Clark is an exercise in patient self-restraint, the ultimate man pretending day by day to be the ultimate common man. In his early days, this restraint was a superstrongman feat all its own, because Clark was extra pathetic—the better for Siegel, Shuster and the readers to identify with him.

I had crushes on several attractive girls who either didn’t know I existed or didn’t care I existed. So it occurred to me: What if I was really terrific? What if I had something special going for me, like jumping over buildings or throwing cars around or something like that?

Jerry Siegel [11]

Kent looked like Shuster, who later lifted weights for five years but never developed the bodybuilder’s confidence.[12] If Kent’s daily humiliations echoed Siegel’s past, they also predicted part of Shuster’s future.[13] When Shuster’s worsening eyesight drove him out of cartooning, he went back to deliveries, showing up at his former publisher carrying a package and wearing a ratty, worn-out suit.[14]

It’s not hard to imagine nerdy Shuster stammering “Sign here, please” in the same voice that Kent used to ask Lois, on their first date, if it wouldn’t be “reasonable” to let a bullying gangster have just one dance with her.[15]

008 shusterman Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

Yet Shuster also drew Clark with a rock-hard physique that threatened to burst out of his jacket and pants at any moment. Every so often, after meekly tolerating an editor’s blustering or Lois’ icy contempt, “Clark” would crack a smile: if only they knew. For him, the angst Siegel and Shuster had felt in real life was just a pose, a suit he put on sometimes. And then he’d hear someone in trouble and strip off his shirt to reveal the S-shield underneath. The red trunks would soon follow. Underwear, for the underself.[16]

01 alex ross Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

It was all just a game. Everything was going to be all right. Superman cheerfully presided over a world of bright rainbow colors where hurts and humiliations were temporary. Indeed, after a couple of years he developed a code against killing—a code most superheroes also followed.[17]

They also imitated the briefs, especially his most immediate peers—the original versions of Batman, Robin, Hawkman, Hourman, Starman, Dr. Fate, the Spectre, the Atom, and the Star-Spangled Kid all rocked the look as seen below. [18] And yes, more than half of those heroes also followed his “Somethingman” naming convention.

01 Justice Society of America Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

The 1960s and 1970s still saw plenty of new trunks-wearers among Avengers like Giant-Man and the Vision, mutants like Magneto, and gods like Orion. The Thing wore only trunks, and the Hulk torn purple pants. Other gods and mutants (Thor, Darkseid, the early X-Men) wore onesies broken up with a belt.[19] Strangely, two X-Men who each disdained the other’s sense of style—Cyclops and Wolverine—went full trunks-over-pants from the 1970s into the 1990s.[20]

01 Jim Lee X Men 11 Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

This tendency to assign the look to gods and mutants, though, instead of more central figures like Captain America, Mister Fantastic, and Spider-Man, may have been an early sign that it was on its way out. These newer Marvel characters stood out from the first generation by being more fully realized people in their civilian identities, if not eliminating the dual identity altogether. Of the marquee Marvel heroes, only Thor, whose fashions and godly nature made him the exception that proved the rule, was introduced with a Clark Kentish self-denying secret identity.[21]

Superman’s influence continued to erode as the decades wore on. Newer heroes showed less interest in the code against killing or in names ending in “-man.”[22]  And costume redesigns left the trunks behind. The X-Men got into black leather for a while, and their later, more colorful costumes still left the briefs out.[23]

Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film “de-briefed” comics’ second most famous underwear wearer. Batman never went back to the briefs in any succeeding movies: they began to fade from the comics as well, as shown in this sample of Ben Moore’s larger survey of Bat-suits seen in various media, covering the period from 2005-2012.[24]

01 batman infographik e1419850900988 Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

The look could still show up in the deliberately retro stylings of a film like The Incredibles; despite fashionista Edna Mode’s disdain for capes and insistence that “I never look back, darling, it distracts from the now,” her creations had an old-fashioned flair that matched the traditional values of their wearers, the kind of nuclear family that seemed to headline most sitcoms from the 1950s to the 1980s.[25]

 Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

Superman, for many years, seemed content to be a bit old-fashioned. His brand hadn’t been about “cool” for a long time: it was more about safety and stability. The comic-book Superman of 1962 or 1988 was more scientist than slugger, often approaching problems from a cool remove. His peers honored him as the one who came first, and therefore someone who didn’t need to follow the trends. He had, after all, defined them.[26]

002 comic superman Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

Nevertheless, as superheroes and popular entertainment in general grew increasingly impatient with the “no kill rule,” the temptation to challenge Superman for wearing last year’s morals was overwhelming. The movies of the 1970s and 1980s danced around the issue by making Superman’s foes inanimate[27] or leaving their fates uncertain.[28] But many of his best-loved adventures, the ones that could claim to influence his canon, saw him sorely tempted to end a life—or even saw him succumb.

However, this was always an ending for the character as we knew him, as proved by what came next. In one such story, Superman instantly punished himself by giving up his super-powers and retiring.[29] In another, he died along with his foe.[30] In a third, he had a mental breakdown and went on a long journey of soul-searching before returning to duty with an even firmer vow, “Never again.”[31] In multiple stories of a world not our own, a world gone wrong, Superman deciding to kill is his first step toward villainy.[32] And at least once, he used magicians’ stage tricks to fool the world into thinking he’d broken his rule—just to show how terrible a Superman unchecked by restraint would be.[33]

01 superman nobody has the right to kill Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

The conservatism is unmistakable but charming.  Nearly all fictional franchises create a moral universe that rewards readers for following them, and Superman is no exception. However much he struggled with it, refusing to kill would always be The Right Choice. Other heroes would always look to him for guidance, saluting his cape as if it were the flag. Underwear on the outside of your pants totally works.

The super-briefs stayed on for generations, in comics, movies, TV, Halloween costumes and branded, official kids’ underwear—an incentive to finish toilet training if ever there was one. [34]

005 super underoos Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

And then everyone seemed to reject them at once. In 2011, Jim Lee redesigned all DC Comics’ top-selling characters, giving them the scratchy, slightly self-conscious “edginess” that had made Lee famous.[35] But the artist who had kept Cyclops and Wolverine in trunks now broke precedent. The red of Superman’s trunks shifted to his belt, and its buckle took a shape echoing the chest symbol. The trunks vanished.

I think you have to go for the core elements that are critical to the costume and freely change what looks dated… For me, the red trunks on Superman, you didn’t notice. It gets colored in blue anyhow.[36]

003 comic superman postpants Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

In the same year’s Action Comics, Grant Morrison and Rags Morales emphasized the populist strain in Siegel’s early, Depression-era stories. Theirs was a Superman for the 99 percent, and his costume was the believable result of a reporter’s salary: a screen-printed T-shirt, short cape, and jeans. [37] Morrison explained:

We felt it was time for the big adventures of a 21st-century Paul Bunyan who fights for the weak and downtrodden against bullies of all kinds, from robot invaders and crime lords to corrupt city officials. The new look reflects his status as a street-level defender of the ordinary man and woman.[38]

004 action comics superman Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

The filmmakers of 2013’s Man of Steel found the trunks clashed with their concept of the costume as alien armor. Even director Zack Snyder, whose adaptation of Watchmen had featured two trunks-over-pants designs to the comic books’ one,[39] now found himself breaking precedent.

The costume was a big deal for me, and we played around for a long time. I tried like crazy to keep the red briefs on him. Everyone else said, “You can’t have the briefs on him.” I looked at probably 1,500 versions of the costumes with the briefs on.[40]

006 man of steel Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

Who stole Superman’s undies? Morrison takes responsibility for his part in it, Lee shrugs about careless colorists and readers, Snyder bows to the input of unnamed advisors. Their earlier output, though, suggests they had no dislike for the design, just a need to follow popular taste rather than acting as if Superman still shaped it. But fashion, as ever, sends a message about its wearer.

In Man of Steel, the blue is navy, the yellow rusty and gritty. Smallville’s Clark operates without a costume at all. Both versions of Superman are painfully unsure of themselves, closeted, desperate, and far less successful than earlier versions at preventing collateral damage.[41] Smallville averaged one death per episode in each season.[42] Superman’s first TV outing, The Adventures of Superman, averaged none—and lasted six seasons to Smallville’s ten.[43]

Analyst Charles Watson puts the Man of Steel death toll at 129,000, with the last of those deaths by Superman’s own hand.[44] Contrast this with Superman: the Movie, in which Superman saves everyone at risk from a devastating earthquake except Lois Lane, whom he then rescues via time travel. Man of Steel opened in eight times as many theaters as Superman: The Movie.[45] An influential new beginning, and by his old standards, an inauspicious one.

Man of Steel Superman may scream in anguish after killing General Zod, but unlike in the other stories where he crosses that line, he seems to get over it pretty fast. One scene later, he’s cheerfully knocking an Army drone out of the sky. He actually seems more relaxed and happy after the killing is done! No doubt Lois’ approval helps, but even so.

01 man of steel close e1419854857831 Guest commentary: Who Stole Supermans Undies?

Man of Steel screenwriter David Goyer appears to be weaving some acknowledgments of that issue into its sequel.[46] He would like to assure you that the Superman you remember from your childhoods isn’t gone—he’s just not fully reborn yet.

Our movie was, in a way, Superman Begins; he’s not really Superman until the end of the film. We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he’s Superman and because people idolize him, he will have to hold himself to a higher standard.[47]

It’s true that Smallville and Man of Steel focus on a young Superman who hasn’t had a chance to become the graceful legend of earlier works. But these have been the portrayals to reach the widest audience in the last decade. [48] Even in current comics, though they have a lighter color scheme and mood, he’s an impulsive younger man with a quick temper.[49] The latest Superman project to be announced, TV’s Krypton, will take place thirty years before his birth.[50]

Put it all together and you’re left with the impression that Superman’s 21st-century caretakers would rather invoke the smiling, life-preserving, cool-headed circus superstrongman than actually show him. Will the next film change that? Will it give him the power and certitude to preserve all intelligent life in his path with a calm soul and a wink at the viewer? Or is that Superman no longer filmable, a relic to be tossed out like a pair of outgrown briefs?

Tights may tell.


[1] 1978’s Superman: The Movie earned nearly six times its budget and spearheaded the only superhero film franchise of the following decade.

[2] Some variation of Super Friends, always with Superman as the headliner, appeared on TV from 1973-1986.

[3] Eco and Natalie Chilton. “The Myth of Superman. The Amazing Adventures of Superman. Review.” Diacritics, 2(1), pp. 14-22. Spring 1972.

[4] Ellison, Foreword to Dennis Dooley and Gary Engle, Superman at 50: The Persistence of a Legend, 1987.

[5] Oxford English Dictionary entry, 2014. Found via Google search, November 22, 2014.

[6] Batman later used gadgets as sort of substitute super-powers, but other figures—the first Atom, Wildcat, and the Spirit, among others—used nothing but ordinary fists.

[7] Jerry Siegel (illustration by Joe Shuster), “The Reign of the Superman,” Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization #3, 1933.

[8] Les Daniels, Superman: The Complete History, 2004, p. 17.

[9] Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Action Comics #1, 1938.

[10] Grant Morrison, Super Gods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human, 2012.

[11] Gerard Jones, Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the American Comic Book, 2005, p. 63.

[12] Tom Andrae with Geoffrey Blum and Gary Coddington, “The Birth of Superman,” Nemo #2, 1983.

[13] Craig Yoe, Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster, 2009; Brad Ricca, Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster—The Creators of Superman, 2013.

[14] Joe Simon, My Life in Comics, p. 188, 2011.

[15] Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Action Comics #1, 1938.

[16] Alex Ross for Alex Ross and Paul Dini, Superman: Peace on Earth, p. 7, 1938.

[17] Editor Whitney Ellsworth was the driving force behind this rule, as early as 1940, years before the Comics Code Authority.

[18] Art by Jerry Ordway, Who’s Who in the DC Universe #12, 1986.

[19] Tim Leong, “A Venn Diagram of Superhero Tropes,” Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe, 2013.

[20] Art by Jim Lee for X-Men #11, 1992.

[21] Dr. Donald Blake is more complicated than we can cover here,

[22] Wikipedia’s “List of notable superhero debuts” shows a tapering off of such names after the 1960s.

[23] Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, New X-Men #114, 2001; Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, Astonishing X-Men #1, 2004.

[24] Selected from Ben Moore’s 2012 “Batman Infographic: Every Significant Bat-Suit Ever,” found at Screen Rant, http://screenrant.com/batman-infographic-every-batsuit-benm-144238/.

[25] Brad Bird, The Incredibles, 2004.

[26] Image by Jim Lee for DC Comics.

[27] In Superman: The Movie and Superman Returns, natural disasters are the chief problem; in Superman III and IV, the main villains are destroyed but arguably not truly alive.

[28] Superman II.

[29] Alan Moore, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger, Action Comics #583, 1986. Source of the image below and the last “Silver Age” Superman story.

[30] Dan Jurgens, Superman #75, 1992. The famous, notorious “Death of Superman.”

[31] John Byrne, Superman #22, 1988; Jerry Ordway, Adventures of Superman #450, 1989; Roger Stern and Kerry Gammill, Superman #28, 1989; George Perez, Action Comics #649, 1989. John Byrne’s last Superman story, and a heavy influence on Man of Steel in terms of who Superman kills and why.

[32] Central premise of the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, released in 2013, ongoing storyline in the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited animated series (2001-2006) and invoked in the climax of 1996’s Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross.

[33] Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke, Action Comics #775, 2001. Adapted into a 2012 direct-to-DVD animated film, Superman vs. The Elite.

[34] Photo from http://savinginsalinas.blogspot.com/2011/09/yard-sale-finds.html. Superman has had many adaptations but this was true of virtually all of them until 2011.

[35] Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, Justice League #1, 2011 (image source), and George Perez, Superman #1, 2011. Lee’s career goes back to 1987.

[36] WonderCon 2013 panel, “WC13: Jim Lee Talks DC, Answers Fan Questions and More!,” Comic Book Resources, March 30, 2013, http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=44604.

[37] Grant Morrison and Rags Morales, Action Comics #2, 2011.

[38] Dareh Gregorian, “Bird? Plane? Superdude!,” The New York Post, July 18, 2011.

[39] Nite Owl wore them in both versions, but Ozymandias picked them up in the movie. Comics 1986-1987, film 2009.

[40] Reed Tucker, “‘Steel’ this movie,” The New York Post, November 25, 2012. Image from Man of Steel, 2013.

[41] In addition to the film itself, see Emma Dibdin, “‘Man of Steel’: Zack Snyder defends Superman’s ‘collateral damage,’” Digital Spy, August 30, 2013.  

[42] According to smallville.wikia.com. In some seasons it was as high as three.

[43] 1952-1958; 2001-2011.

[44] Graphic by Chris Ritter, “The Insane Destruction That the Final ‘Man Of Steel’ Battle Would Do To NYC, By The Numbers,” Buzzfeed, http://www.buzzfeed.com/jordanzakarin/man-of-steel-destruction-death-analysis, June 17, 2013.

[45] Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com.

[46] Devin Faraci. “Find Out Superman’s Situation In BATMAN V SUPERMAN,” Badass Digest, December 15, 2014.

[47] 2013 speech at the BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture series.

[48] 2006’s Superman Returns was far less profitable and problematic in a different way.

[49] Johns, Lee, and Morrison have confirmed this is deliberate.

[50] Lesley Golberg, “Syfy, David Goyer Developing Superman Origin Story ‘Krypton,’” The Hollywood Reporter, December 8, 2014.

13 Comments on Guest commentary: Who Stole Superman’s Undies?, last added: 12/31/2014
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13. A Crowd Gathered and Began Chanting for Santa to Jump.

family santa picture at grants

That’s me in the back with the glasses waiting for Santa to jump.

When I was a kid we used to go to New Jersey to visit my grandmother for the holidays. This usually took place in November for Thanksgiving but to me it felt more like a Christmas. It was a very long drive to Toms River New Jersey followed by a lot of adults sitting around talking. Us kids would eventually head down to the basement to try and find something to watch on grandpa’s old 3 channel- no remote TV. For a kid there was a lot of boredom at that time of year but that all changed when we would load up the station wagon and head over to Macy’s. As we arrived the parking lot would be full of families all looking up at the sky. They were waiting to hear the old familiar buzz of that single engine Cessna as it sputtered through the cold gray November sky.

It seemed to take forever but eventually it would appear and the crowd would suddenly come to life. As the tiny plane drew closer the anticipation grew until finally it bagan circling the parking lot. Kids and parents would shout and cheer as they pointing toward the sky. Then in a brief moment a tiny red shape would separate from the fuselage plummeting toward the ground. A hush would fill the chilly air as a trail of billowing marker smoke bloomed from behind the shape. IT’S SANTA!!!, the crowd would erupt into cheers.

Santas-parachute

If you look closely you can see the top of Santas hat as he landed in the parking lot.

Soon a parachute would appear and Santa would glide slowly toward earth slowly zigzagging lazy circles across the cold gray New Jersey sky. The crowd would hush again for a brief moment as Santa aimed for his mark. Eventually he would make his landing hitting his mark as always. The crowd would go crazy as tiny candy canes and peppermint swirls flew into the air, quickly snatched up by the lucky few close enough to reach them. Santa would run through the parking lot shouting his Ho, Ho, Ho’s and Merry Christmas’s then quickly duck into to an old nearby beat up van that sped off, rushing him to the North Pole so he could get ready for Christmas.

Our family would eventually pile back into the old Ford Country Squire wagon, kids all pumped up on parachuting Santa and the promise of Christmas right around the corner. Eventually we’d wind up back in the basement watching the three channel TV waiting for the magical night Santa would slide down the chimney to deliver his toys to good girls and boys.

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14. GIft Guide: Get your own Venture Brothers Sheet Set and snuggle in them until the show is back January 19

VB Special Preview GIft Guide: Get your own Venture Brothers Sheet Set and snuggle in them until the show is back January 19

The Venture Brothers cartoon show/religion has been off the airwaves for a long time, with the last new episode airing on July 21, 2013. But the long drought is about to end, with an hourlong premiere for season six on January 19th, 2015 at midnight ET/PT. The Beat ran into co-creator Jackson Publick on one of his very, very rare forays out of his studio at New York Comic-Con, and he confirmed that he and Doc Hammer had been slaving away for the last two years.

And now the wait is over.

And just to tide you over those last few perilous weeks, Adult Swim is selling a sert of Venture Brother sheets.

Venture Bros Sheet Set GIft Guide: Get your own Venture Brothers Sheet Set and snuggle in them until the show is back January 19

Venture Brothers SHEETS. In 300-thread count comfort.

Tragically they are only available in QUEEN SIZE, which for NYC apartment dwellers who huddle entire families into tiny twin-sized bunk beds is a sad sad thing. Maybe we can just buy a set and make a dress out of them. The sheets go for a merer $50.

Whether you dream about Brock Samson, Molotov Cocktease or just seeing a new episode of the Venture Brothers, these sheets are sure to swaddle you to slumber.

UPDATE: Although the FAQ confirms that these sheets are 300 thread count, it is not known if they are 100% cotton or the dreaded “percale” polyester blend. The Beat only sleeps in 100% pure cotton, so this is troubling.

0 Comments on GIft Guide: Get your own Venture Brothers Sheet Set and snuggle in them until the show is back January 19 as of 12/11/2014 10:08:00 PM
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15. IDW announces Thompson and Campbell on Jem and the Holograms

jem idw IDW announces Thompson and Campbell on Jem and the Holograms

Beloved 80s cartoon icons Jem and the Holograms are coming back big time, with a Honda ad (below), a movie in the works for the end of next year starring Aubrey Peeples, and a new comics from IDW, to be written by Kelly Thompson (Storykiller, The Girl Who Would Be King) and drawn by Ross Campbell (Glory, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Sub covers will be by Sara Richard (My Little Pony, Kitty and Dino).

Thompson is also a long running columnist for CBG (She Has No Head) that The Beta has quoted many times, so congrats on netting such a great gig!

 

 It’s the 21st century, and Jem and The Holograms are 21st century girls! Meet Jerrica Benton, the gifted singer of The Holograms, a band that has the right look and the right sound… But one thing is holding them back—Jerrica’s crippling stage fright. Luckily, Jerrica is about to find help in the most unlikely of places when she discovers a forgotten present left by her father. And what she finds is truly outrageous!

 
“As a kid I was a huge fan of the original 80’s JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS cartoon and so the chance to breathe new life into it for a savvy modern audience, not to mention to work with Ross, an artist practically destined to draw this book, is really a dream come true,” said series writer, Kelly Thompson.
 
Don’t miss the chance to get the five stunning rainbow foil covers that will be available for Issue One—one for each Hologram by artist Amy Mebberson (My Little Pony, Pocket Princesses), plus the whole band by series artist Ross Campbell—in a deluxe rainbow foil and hologram collectible box. A second box set for Issue two will feature another set of four covers by Mebberson and a group shot by Campbell—this time starring Jem’s greatest nemeses, The Misfits!
 
“Getting a JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS comic going was a top priority for me when I started at IDW,” says Senior Editor John Barber. “It took three years, but Kelly and Ross came in with a style and attitude that really got Jem. They understand Jem’s appeal—I can’t overstate the impact Jem has had on generations of fans and readers.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxokHywIlEs

1 Comments on IDW announces Thompson and Campbell on Jem and the Holograms, last added: 12/2/2014
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16. Disney to release Studio Ghibli titles on Blu-Ray: Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Tales from Earthsea

February 3rd will see the release of three Studio Ghibli films on BluRay for the first time. Porco Rosso, the tale of a World War I flying ace, is a beloved Hayao Miyazaki classic. The other two are by other Studio Ghibli directors—Isao Takahata’s environmental saga PomPoko, and Tales from Earthsea, Goro Myazakis take on the Ursula K. Leguin fantasy The Farthest Shore. Good viewing!


30EB22A5 29BE 41AE B6AA 75D7B94115C5 Disney to release Studio Ghibli titles on Blu Ray: Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Tales from Earthsea

 
Synopsis:                                 POM POKO
Studio Ghibli presents a film about the clash between modern civilization and the natural world from acclaimed director Isao Takahata. The raccoons of the Tama Hills are being forced from their homes by the rapid development of houses and shopping malls. As it becomes harder to find food and shelter, they decide to band together and fight back. The raccoons practice and perfect the ancient art of transformation until they are even able to appear as humans. In often hilarious ways, the raccoons use their powers to try to scare off the advance of civilization. But will it be enough? Or will the raccoons learn how to live in balance with the modern world? Celebrate the magic of the forest and the beauty of the creatures who live among us in “Pom Poko”—now on Disney Blu-ray for the first time ever.

 
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PORCO ROSSO
Take flight with “Porco Rosso,” a valiant World War I flying ace! From tropical Adriatic settings to dazzling aerial maneuvers, this action-adventure from world-renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki is full of humor, courage and chivalry. When “Porco”—whose face has been trans- formed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell—infuriates a band of sky pirates with his aerial heroics, the pirates hire Curtis, a rival pilot, to get rid of him. On the ground, the two pilots compete for the affections of the beautiful Gina. But it’s in the air where the true battles are waged. Will our hero be victorious? For the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray, “Porco Rosso” is a thrilling ride you’ll never forget!

 
E1180595 FCDB 4FFB 9044 405F6CD2B1A2 Disney to release Studio Ghibli titles on Blu Ray: Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Tales from Earthsea

 

TALES FROM EARTHSEA
An epic animated adventure directed by Goro Miyazaki, “Tales From Earthsea” features the voices of Timothy Dalton, Willem Dafoe, Cheech Marin and Mariska Hargitay. Based on the classic “Earthsea” fantasy book series by Ursula K. Le Guin, “Tales From Earthsea” is set in a mythical world filled with magic and bewitchment. In the land of Earthsea, crops are dwindling, dragons have reappeared and humanity is giving way to chaos. Journey with Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, a master wizard, and Arren, a troubled young prince, on a tale of redemption and self-discovery as they search for the force behind the mysterious imbalance that threatens to destroy their world. Featuring a timeless story and magnificent hand-drawn animation, “Tales From Earthsea” is now available for the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray.

 
US Cast:                                  POM POKO  – Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “Starship Troopers”) as Gonta, J.K. Simmons(“Spider-Man,” “The Closer”) as Seizaemon, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (“The Lion King,” “Home Improvement”) as Shokichi, John DiMaggio (“Futurama,” “Adventure Time”) as Ryûtarô and Olivia d’Abo (“The Wonder Years,” “Conan the Destroyer”) as Koharu.
 
PORCO ROSSO – Michael Keaton (“Batman,” “Toy Story 3”) as Porco Rosso, Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride,” “Saw”) as Curtis,Kimberly Williams-Paisley (“According to Jim,” “Father of the Bride”) as Fio, Susan Egan (“Hercules,” “13 Going on 30”) as Gina, David Ogden Stiers (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Pocahontas,” and TV’s “M*A*S*H”) as Grandpa Piccolo and Brad Garrett (TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Ratatouille,” “Finding Nemo”) as Mamma Aiuto Boss.
 
TALES FROM EARTHSEA  – Mariska Hargitay (“Law and Order: Special Victims,” “Leaving Las Vegas”) as Tenar, Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man,” “Finding Nemo”) as Cob, Timothy Dalton (“The Living Daylights,” “License to Kill”) as Ged, Cheech Marin (“The Lion King,” “Nash Bridger”) as Hare.
 
Directors:                               POM POKO – Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies”, “Heidi: A Girl of the Alps”)
PORCO ROSSO – Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Goro Miyazaki (“From Up on Poppy Hill”)
 
Original Story and              POM POKO – Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies,” “Heidi: A Girl of the Alps”)
Screenplay:                           PORCO ROSSO – Hayao Miyazaki (Concept)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Based on the “Earthsea” series by Ursula K. Le Guin (Novel), Inspired by “Shuna’s Journey” by Hayao Miyazaki (Concept), Screenplay by Goro Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa (“The Secret World of Arrietty,” “From Up on Poppy Hill”).
 
Producers:                             POM POKO – Ned Lott (“My Neighbor Totoro,” Howl’s Moving Castle”), Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
                                                      PORCO ROSSO – Rick Dempsey (“Howl’s Moving Castle”, The Real Ghost Busters”) and Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Steve Alpert (“Spirited Away,” Princess Mononoke”), Javier Ponton (“Malachance,” “Souvenir Views”) and Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
 
Release Date:                       February 3, 2015
 
Bonus Features:                  POM POKO – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers
PORCO ROSSO – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailer, Interview with Toshio Suzuki, Behind the Microphone
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers & TV Spots, the Birth of the Film Soundtrack, Origins of Earthsea
                                                                    

2 Comments on Disney to release Studio Ghibli titles on Blu-Ray: Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Tales from Earthsea, last added: 11/26/2014
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17. Sunday Morning Running Motivation: Life’s short…

While I may play running shoe favorites, you get the idea. ;) Get running and in any shoe that meets your fancy…cuz ‘stopping’ just aint all it’s cracked up to be.
nike running shoes

——
More RUNNING MOTIVATION

#SweatsintheCity Runnerchick Chic

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18. Living in my Illustrations

img004.jpg

Being an illustrator is great fun.  Why?  Because you can use your imagination to go places you’ve never been and do things you’ve never done. For instance, I have always wanted a log cabin up in the mountains.  As a teen, I used to imagine having a studio up a flight of wooden steps to a big room. It would have rafter ceilings and a window seat for me to look out of.  It would be warm and cozy and I could sit and do my art all day long near a roaring fire in the wood stove.

When I began thinking of places for my character Burl the bear to live in, I made it just like “I” wanted it!  Warm and inviting!  When you walk through the doorway of my story, you will find a home that lives in my imagination. It will be a place that I love and I will revisit it many times as the story progresses. I must be passionate about what I draw or it becomes listless and boring. This process is what makes a story believable.

My experience tells me that children notice the tiniest of details.  I did a school visit after Peepsqueak was published by Harper Collins Publisher.  I read the book to the children and then we talked.  Through out the story there was another story going on in the book. It was a little tiny mouse who appeared on many of the pages.  The children did not miss it. They even commented on the mouse as I read to them.  I let them in on a little secret.  I named the mouse Elliot.  When I told them his name they all squealed with delight and pointed to the cutest little boy in their classroom who was named Elliot!   He was beaming.  Suddenly he became part of the story. He was so happy!

These are the things that make a story magical in the eyes of children and adults alike.  Its also why I continue creating images.  I love seeing characters develop.   I love finding their voices. .. what they are like… what they like to do.  It does not stop when I leave the studio.  I think about them all the time, until I finally know how they would react in any given situation. That way they become very believable creations and loved by all.

Stay posted,  Burl and Briley are growing on my heart daily.  I can hardly wait to illustrate the books that are in my mind!


Filed under: how to write, My Characters

6 Comments on Living in my Illustrations, last added: 11/21/2014
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19. RIP Saturday Morning Cartoons 1962-2014

ch890909 RIP  Saturday Morning Cartoons  1962 2014With the cancellation of CW’s Vortexx cartoon block, broadcast television has ceased showing cartoons on Saturday Morning.

With it, a cherished memory and ritual vanishes, as technology, economics, and regulations force changes to a way of life.

The decline of Saturday Morning television began in 1992, when NBC began airing a Saturday edition of Today, followed by live action shows aimed at teens.

PBS e i bug2 RIP  Saturday Morning Cartoons  1962 2014In 1990, after years of politicking by Action for Children’s Television, Congress passed the Children’s Television Act of 1990, requiring television stations to broadcast three hours of “educational and informational” children’s programming per week.  (Here’s a listing of what is replacing Vortexx this Fall.)

With that requirement, and the rise of niche cable channels which are exempt from the E/I bug, Saturday Morning programming slowly withered over the next two decades.

Wikipedia lists several causes:

  • The rise of first-run syndicated animated programs…
  • Increasing regulation of children’s programming content … [see above]
  • Station owners that owned a large number of network affiliates…
  • The over reliance on common tropes and clichés.  [TV Tropes has the lowdown.]
  • The rise of cable television networks like Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network …
  • The entrance of more adult-oriented cartoons into the mainstream…
  • Concurrent with their film successes, Walt Disney Television Animation and Warner Bros. Animation also began producing content for television in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both companies invested far more money into their productions than Saturday morning cartoons had done up until that point, raising the standards much higher than most television animation companies were able to reach.
  • Increased awareness of childhood obesity and lethargy; advocates often targeted Saturday morning cartoons as the culprit.
  • The proliferation of commercial toyline-oriented animated programs in the 1980s also led to advocacy group backlash and a decline in such programming…
  • The increased availability of VHS tapes and later DVDs, Blu-rays, iTunes and videos on the World Wide Web, which, like cable, allowed children to watch their favorite cartoons at any given time.
  • The development and rapid improvement in quality of video games…
  • An increase in children’s participation in Saturday activities outside the home.
  • A 1984 decision legalizing infomercials on American television; profits from Saturday morning infomercials were potentially much more than those from children’s programming. …
  • The 1984 Supreme Court ruling in NCAA v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Oklahoma, which greatly expanded opportunities for college football on television. …
  • Television networks becoming part of larger corporations. These networks included ABC (purchased by the The Walt Disney Company in 1996), CBS (purchased by Viacom in 1999, before splitting in 2005) and The WB (created by Time Warner in 1995, before merging with UPN in 2006 to create The CW). Since the parent companies already owned television animation studios, the networks preferred to air shows from these companies with programming blocks such as “Disney’s One Saturday Morning”, “Nick on CBS” and “Kids’ WB” rather than contracting out independent television animation companies.
  • Many of the same networks that often showed Saturday morning cartoons began airing similar programs on weekday afternoons…
  • The success of live action teen sitcoms, starting with NBC’s Saved by the Bell, which led to the rapid development of more live-action teen programming, with networks slowly squeezing out the cartoons.
  • The gradual loss of most of the American companies which were, at one point, iconic and prolific producers of animated children’s shows. …
  • The 2005 to 2009 decisions by breakfast cereal companies and fast food restaurants to reduce their advertising towards children. …

——————-

Some links from across the web:

Mark Evanier recollects his experience as both a viewer and employee of Saturday Morning cartoons, explaining the lucrative economics of early series, how toy companies

That was often cost-effective and deficit-financing became even more the norm for syndicated shows. Toy companies found it paid off to underwrite the cost of a series that promoted their products. A Mattel or Hasbro could easily sink a few million up front into a show about characters they were marketing to make those characters more famous. Not every time but often enough, having the show out there, five days a week in syndication, would boost toy sales enough to make that a good investment.

With such shows siphoning viewers away from networks, the networks did the logical thing: They stopped paying high license fees for Saturday morning programming. Thereafter, if you wanted to get your production on in one of those time slots on a broadcast network, you had to give it to them for a very low price and make up the rest of your costs elsewhere. Selling it cheap usually meant doing it cheap and there was a change in priorities.

No longer was it all about doing a show that would be a hit on Saturday morning because that alone was no longer enough to make a profit. It was just a way to pay part of the cost of production. You had to have your eye on foreign sales and merchandising. I wasn’t approached a lot to work on such shows because, well, I wasn’t the cheapest talent available. But the times I was asked, the producers made it clear they didn’t care that much if show drew an audience on Saturday morning. That was no longer where the game was.

And of course, since airing cartoons on Saturday mornings became a lot less lucrative, one by one the networks stopped doing it. Which got us to where they are today: They don’t do it at all anymore.

TV Party has a great rundown of the many seasons of Saturday Morning cartoons!

NPR offers an elegy.

Some memories, slightly sugar-coated…

  • In The News, quick two-minute news bites on CBS.

  • School House Rock (My Hero Zero)

  • Levi’s Jeans and Chords

  • Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (and the rest of the Kroft Super Show!)

  • Pee Wee’s Playhouse

  • Thundarr the Barbarian (Gerber, Kirby, Toth, Pasko!)

  • Space Ghost

  • Land of the Lost (A perpetual schedule filler, usually in the summer, along with Super Friends.)

  • Galaxy High (Aimee Brightower, *SIGH*)

  • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (afterwards, I’d hike two miles, uphill, both ways, sometimes in the snow, to buy comics).

  • Too young to remember the Banana Splits, but wondering who they were as I saw vague images here and there, like a light-switch cover in the late 70s at Montgomery Wards. Which…I can’t find on Google.

  • Also, one-season wonders, which only exist now in Gold Key comics, or the rare lunch box. Like this…
  • Shazam! (I owned a pair of socks when I was six…) (…and the cartoon was pretty good, too!)

  • …and a decade later:

  • Those crazy TV specials shown Friday night, right before the new season.
      • Avery Schreiber and Jack Burns meet Superman and Bugs Bunny in the flesh! 1973

      • Boss Hogg tries to swindle Charles In Charge, 1982

      • ALF Loves A Mystery! 1987

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7P6Fk5PdzI

  • Bronze Age comicbook collectors will remember the two-page advertising spreads featured in superhero comics.  Retrojunk offers a selection found in comics and TV Guide.

wpid Uncanny X Men  37   Page 18 RIP  Saturday Morning Cartoons  1962 2014

  • Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures; Don’t Touch That Dial (A great satire of American and Japanese animation!)

So, cartoons on television continue, mostly on Cartoon Network and Disney XD. There’s YouTube and Warner Archives, and streaming and downloads. Gone is the joy of uncertain discovery, and unspoilt wonder. But it does make it easier to share!

Part of me wonders if kids will find other distractions, like shown in the satirical and prophetic “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” from 1990?

And part of me knows that kids will seek out the stuff that’s cool and fun and bad in large quantities, like pre-sweetened breakfast cereal. They’ll laugh uncontrollably, and some of them… well, they’ll make their own cartoons!

For those who want one last sample of just how special Saturdays were when I was younger and life was unscheduled…

We’ll be right back after these messages…

15 Comments on RIP Saturday Morning Cartoons 1962-2014, last added: 10/6/2014
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20. #Inktober and New Illustrator Courses

Bob-at-burningoak-video-art

inktober logoWow, time flies. We’re already into our second week of #Inktober and I’ve seen some really amazing art out there. I’ve been a little bummed that my deadlines have kept me from fully diving into the fray. I figured I’d try and post at least a couple of drawings for the #Inktobers so I don’t feel like a total spectator. It’s looking like I’ll probably have to go the 5k route with the nondigital stuff this year. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about here’s a link that will tell you ever thing you need to know about #INKTOBER. Oh and by the way, make sure you check out the galleries from previous years on Mr. Jake Parker’s site. You’ll be glad you did, his work is amazing. 

 

Digi-Inktober

If on the other hand if you’re into Illustrator and digital inking I’ve got some fun stuff to show you. I’ve been working on putting together some new classes for the BobTeachesArt.com site and the first one is going to focus on how to create great line art using Photoshop and Illustrator, the main focus being on illustrator of course. This will be a soup to nuts course starting right from the beginning and working our way through all the tools you’ll need to know to make things happen. This is one I’ve been planning to get out there for some time now and have had many requests for it. If you think you might be interested or know someone else who is here’s your link! 

cartoon illustration by bob ostrom

 

Ok Inktober fans that’s it for now see you all again next week.

The post #Inktober and New Illustrator Courses appeared first on Bob Ostrom Studio - 919-809-6178.

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21. Marvel Teases X-Men ’92, One More day and yet more events of the past

x men 92 111328 Marvel Teases X Men 92, One More day and yet more events of the past

Let me see, we kind of left off last week’s parade of Marvel event teasers, as it was beginning to get a little same-old, same-old, but here’s one that  got hearts pounding on a Monday morning,  a call back to the 1992 animated show that—along with Batman: The Animated Seris—helped start the whole  of the comics industry. Or as Comicbook.com wrote:

Marvel has released their latest teaser image exclusively to Comicbook.com, offering the possible return of the early 90’s-era X-Men team. Anchored by Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Jubilee, Beast, Jean Grey, and lots (and lots) of pouches, the X-Men of the early 90s were one of the franchise’s most prevalent in pop culture. X-Men #1, published in 1991, still holds the world record for the highest-selling comic with almost four million copies sold, and X-Men the animated series, which ran from 1992 to 1997, still remains a fan-favorite take on the characters.

I’m sure you can hear the theme music now¯ esp. that”Whoop whoop whoop” at the end.

 

Last week MArvel released several other past event teasers, calling back to One More Day, Age of Apocalypse, Future IMperfect and even AvX, which is barely dry in our minds eye.

As you may recall, all of this is believed to be a teaser for next summer’s Secret Wars event which will bring back various Marvel universes to battle one another, just as DC’s newly announced Convergence event is expected to present THEIR multiverses in the arena.

Secret Wars vs Convergence — which side are YOU on?

 

Avengers vs. X Men 2015 Marvel Teases X Men 92, One More day and yet more events of the past Amazing Spider Man Renew Your Vows 2015 Marvel Teases X Men 92, One More day and yet more events of the past Future Imperfect 2015 Marvel Teases X Men 92, One More day and yet more events of the past Age of Apocalypse 2015 Marvel Teases X Men 92, One More day and yet more events of the past

 

 

5 Comments on Marvel Teases X-Men ’92, One More day and yet more events of the past, last added: 11/4/2014
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22. Live action/CGI Sock Monkey movie in the works from Millionaire and Danner

You guys! You guy! Ohmigod! Cartoonist Tony Millionaire and animator Matt Danner are trying to make a hybrid CGI/live action movie based on Millionaire’s Sock Monkey books. Danner—WWE Slam City, Hotwheels—has penned a script and the duo re attempting to line up financing for the film.

61p2KK9EDVL. SY344 BO1204203200  Live action/CGI Sock Monkey movie in the works from Millionaire and Danner
Sock Monkey is the star of several children’s books by Millionaire, the most recent, Sock Monkey Into The Deep Woods Live action/CGI Sock Monkey movie in the works from Millionaire and Danner,
co-written by Danner, is a pilot for the film. All of them feature Millionaire’s intricate retro artwork and hauntingly wistful, sad and eerie stories that suggest loss and sorrow even when things seem to be going well. Just like all great kids books. And if you watch the test above, you can see that tone is lovingly captured—and good call on the Saint-Saens clip from “The Aquarium.”

Story follows stuffed hero Uncle Gabby as he and his doll pals venture across sea, land, and air to save their human, Ann-Louise, whom they fear has been kidnapped by a vicious monster. The Sock Monkey project was initially envisioned as a film, but when Danner wrote the treatment as a children’s book, Millionaire’s publisher Fantagraphics caught wind of it and agreed to publish it in print form first. The book hits shelves November 16.

Danner and Millionaire are going out to studios and financiers with the script and teaser, which Danner shot on his own over the course of one day with a small crew. Using five different “digi-nette” puppets on a practical set, they shot live-action footage which was later blended with CG to create a surreal look and feel.


Deadline suggests the film would have a “Coraline” feel to it—a nice log line for Hollywood.

Millionaire’s comic strip Maakies was previously adapted into the more raucous and alcohol-fueled Drinky Crow Show which aired on Adult Swim for a couple seasons.

1 Comments on Live action/CGI Sock Monkey movie in the works from Millionaire and Danner, last added: 11/6/2014
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23. Not a Drill! Cutest Show Ever ‘Bee & Puppycat’ Premiers Tomorrow!

by Zachary Clemente

bee and puppycat 300x169 Not a Drill! Cutest Show Ever Bee & Puppycat Premiers Tomorrow!

The number of Puppycats is how excited I am.

FREDERATOR STUDIOS DEBUTS PREMIERE SEASON OF EAGERLY ANTICIPATED ANIMATION HIT: BEE & PUPPYCAT

Created by Adventure Time Artist Natasha Allegri, Most Successfully Funded Animation Project in Kickstarter History, Premieres November 6 on Cartoon Hangover YouTube Channel

Now, this is super-exciting news! When the first two episodes (collected here) of Bee & Puppycat first hit Cartoon Hangover’s channel, people literally dropped on the floor and rolled around out of sheer glee with how good it was. I’m definitely not speaking from personal experience with this, I swear. After a ridiculously successful Kickstarter campaign, netting supporters (at least) 9 more episodes of the magical girl cartoon, it’s been in rapid production with only soft release dates promised, but now we have a date. IT’S TOMORROW 8PM EST.

It’s finally here! Following the breakout success of its pilot that sparked a record breaking Kickstarter campaign with nearly $900,000 raised to fund new episodes, the first season of the hugely original Bee & PuppyCat will debut November 6 on Channel Frederator’s Cartoon Hangover YouTube channel. Created by Adventure Time artist Natasha Allegri, one of the freshest new voices in animation, and produced by Frederator Studios, the studio headed by animation icon Fred Seibert (Adventure Time, The Fairly OddParents, Powerpuff Girls), Bee & PuppyCat originally debuted on Cartoon Hangover in July 2013 as a 2-part 10-minute short and became an immediate hit, amassing more than 4 million views.

Bee & PuppyCat follows Bee, an out-of-work twenty-something, who has a life-changing collision with a mysterious creature that she refers to as PuppyCat, because she is not sure if it is a dog, cat, or both. Between space and time, Bee & PuppyCat take intergalactic babysitting gigs to pay another month’s rent, and embark on adventures that include betrayal, intrigue, and magical transformations. As a “traditionally animated” series, all elements of Bee & PuppyCat are drawn by hand. The new season will feature 10 six-minute episodes with several animation and YouTube stars providing guest voices including Hannah Hart (My Drunk Kitchen, I Heart Harto), Stephen Root (The Office, Finding Nemo), Kent Osborne (Adventure Time, SpongeBob SquarePants).

Bee and puppycat part 1 on cartoon hangover 004 0012 300x168 Not a Drill! Cutest Show Ever Bee & Puppycat Premiers Tomorrow!

Oh yes.

With its distinct look and feel, stylistically unlike anything currently seen on the animation landscape, and outlandishly original characters and storytelling, Bee & PuppyCat is poised to become the series that defines a new breed of animation. The initial short struck a chord outside the traditional animation fanbase, with a huge female audience gravitating to the content along with a strong male demographic. The appeal has also sparked an avid fan following of Bee & PuppyCat cosplayers who show up in droves at comic conventions, and drive sold-out merchandising lines of t-shirts, comic books and plush. Amazing for a property that to date exists as just a 2-part 10-minute short!

Fred Seibert, head of Frederator Studios, said, “Bee & PuppyCat is one of those series that comes along only once in a long while. It’s such a singular vision and we couldn’t be more proud of the direction its taken. Natasha is a distinctive voice in animation and we can’t wait for fans to see what she’s done with this first season of episodes. There is no doubt in my mind that Bee & PuppyCat will establish itself as a true defining moment in animation.”

Natasha Allegri added, “I’m super excited to finally put more Bee & PuppyCat out in the world. The response from fans has already been so humbling and inspiring. I just hope this series satisfies them as much as it does me.”

Bee & PuppyCat debuts on Cartoon Hangover, Channel Frederator Network’s flagship channel, which boasts more than 430 million views and 11.6 million subscribers who tune in for such signature franchises as Bravest Warriors, Simon’s Cat, and David Firth’s Salad Fingers.

Frederator Studios raised $872,133 in funding from a Kickstarter campaign backed by more than 18,000 people to produce the first season of episodes. The campaign exceeded its goal of $600,000 and now ranks as Kickstarters’s most funded animation project and the fourth biggest Video and Film campaigns to date – alongside the Veronica Mars movie, projects from Spike Lee and Zach Braff, and ahead of the digital sensation Video Game High School 2.

CARTOON HANGOVER YOUTUBE CHANNEL

0 Comments on Not a Drill! Cutest Show Ever ‘Bee & Puppycat’ Premiers Tomorrow! as of 1/1/1900
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24. Hasbro may be buying Dreamworks Animation—and you may have forgotten some of the properties involved

hasbro dwa logo Hasbro may be buying Dreamworks Animation—and you may have forgotten some of the properties involved

Insiders have been whispering that Hasbro the toy making giant, may buy Dreamworks Animation. The two companies would definitely find some of what they’re missing in one another.

A combination of the two companies could accelerate efforts at each to move beyond their core businesses. DreamWorks Animation has expanded into consumer products in recent years but lags behind Walt Disney Co. , and Hasbro had just changed tack on its entertainment business, selling off some of its stake in the Hub cable network withDiscovery Communications Inc. Hasbro, which has been contemplating such a deal for years, has clout with big retailers that DreamWorks could benefit from too, the person familiar with the talks said.


Hasbro has been pretty heavily involved in animation, despite the Discovery/Hub sell-off, so you can see why they’d want a full fledged animation studio. They just launched Allspark Pictures, a film division, which is already working on Jem and the Holograms ad My Little POny movies. Dreamworks Animation has been trying to get acquired, and a deal with Japanese telecom SoftBank Corp. fell apart just weeks ago.

Now its obvious what Hasbro brings to the deal: G.I. Joe, Transformers and My Little Pony. But Dreamworks has its own huge portfolio of characters: the Classic Media library which it purchased two years ago, including all the Harvey Comics characters, including Casper the Friendly Ghost, the Lone Ranger, Lassie, He-Man and She-Ra, Gumby, Voltron, AND all the Gold Key heroes, currently licensed to Dynamite. A huge list of characters, many of them still ripe for reboots, something HAsbro would probably be eager to do.

Scott Mendelsson at Forbes, has an interesting analysis of the move, pointing out that DreamWorks has been the victim of a lot of sky is falling reporting. As soon as one of their movies open at a mere $60 million, reporters say it’s a bomb even if it is a worldwide hit:

This has been a pattern for the animation giant. They have had a major film that opened perhaps somewhat below expectations or below unrealistic expectations which caused analysts to proclaim failure and DWA stock to take a hit, with few mea culpas being offered when said films went on to worldwide box office glory after the fact.


Shrek Forever After was written off as a stunning disappointment after it opened to “only” $70 million in May of 2010. Yes, that was far below the $122m debut of the third Shrek film, and that time I was absolutely among the guilty in presuming an eventual financial disappointment. Shrek Forever After displayed strong legs over the summer and eventually earned $238m domestic (still larger than any non-Shrek DWA feature) and $752m worldwide (DWA’s third biggest global grosser and 55% larger than the $484m worldwide cume of the original Shrek). Kung Fu Panda 2 was written off over Memorial Day 2011 when it “only” debuted with $66m over its Thurs-Mon debut (Kung Fu Panda opened with $60m over its Fri-Sun debut in 2008). Yet even as the film earned $165m domestic, well-below the $215m cume of the first film, it went on to earn $665m worldwide, above the $631m cume of Kung Fu Panda and still DreamWorks’ second-biggest non-Shrek film after 2012′s Madagascar: Europe’s Most Wanted ($746m).


So yeah, maybe a little Disney whispering there. If Hasbro does buy Dreamworks Animation, this could possibly jeopardize their deal with Disney/Marvel to make toys, as Disney and Dreamworks are rivals, with Dreamworks having been founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg after he stormed away from Disney in a huff long ago.

Obviously this is all still in the talking stages. Dreamworks stock is up, Hasbro is down since rumors surfaced; consider this a REAL life version of Convergence/Secret Wars!

7 Comments on Hasbro may be buying Dreamworks Animation—and you may have forgotten some of the properties involved, last added: 11/17/2014
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25. Umizoomi – Children’s Book Illustration

Children’s book illustration – Working with Licensed Art

umizoomi children's book illustration cover art christmasA few years ago I teamed up with a good friend of mine to work on some children’s book illustration for Random House and Nickelodeon. We were hired to create two different Umizoomi books, one for Christmas and one about a lost kitten. Umizoomi was completely new to me and when the request came in I actually had to look the characters up on line. When I was younger my children used to watch all the kid shows so it was easy to get familiar with them. Now that my kids are older I have to watch them all on my own. I must admit it’s not nearly as fun but I do still enjoy working on the books.

Putting together illustrations like these was a bit of a challenge because they were originally created in 3D animated and I work mainly in 2D. Even though we had to imitate a 3D look the creation process is basically the same no matter what kind of book it is, starts with sketches, ends with finished art. To build each illustration requires me to become familiar with the characters, the sets, their personalities, how they move, the mannerisms they use and all the other little things the animators masterfully build into the property to bring it to life. That means reviewing each episode over and over again until I’m sure I’ve got it right. By the time the project is complete I’ve probably watched each video 50 times or more but it all pays off when I get to see the printed book sitting on a shelf in the book store. I love working on licensed properties and am always looking for something new. Each one holds a separate challenge and requires a different skill set. My ultimate goal is for my work to match the original so closely no one can even tell it was illustrated by me. Unlike my other books the best compliment I can receive when I working with a licensed property is when someone looks at it and says, “You did that? That doesn’t look anything like your work.”

 

Umizoomi children's book illustration 7 Umizoomi children's book illustration 2 umizoomi children's book illustration cover art christmas Umizoomi children's book illustration 5 Umizoomi children's book illustration 3 Umizoomi children's book sketch1 Umizoomi children's book illustration 4 Umizoomi children's book sketch 2

The post Umizoomi – Children’s Book Illustration appeared first on Bob Ostrom Studio - 919-809-6178.

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