Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Why Alan Brennert Won’t Be Watching Fox’s “Gotham”

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Barbara Kean, from Detective Comics 500

Barbara Kean, from Detective Comics 500

WHY I WON’T BE WATCHING FOX’S “GOTHAM” THIS FALL:

Back in 1981, in a story called “To Kill a Legend” in DETECTIVE COMICS #500, artist Dick Giordano and I created a character named Barbara Kean, the fiancée of Lt. James Gordon.  (This was set on a parallel Earth where counterparts of the “real” Batman and his cast were twenty years younger.)  A Golden Age “Mrs. James Gordon” (no first or maiden name) had appeared in 1951, mother of a son named Tony, but my character, later picked up by talented writers like Frank Miller and Barbara Randall Kesel, was clearly the prototype (with the same first name) for the “Post-Crisis” first wife of Lt. James Gordon, and—as Barbara Kean Gordon—became a supporting player in Batman continuity, and even made two movie appearances in BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT.

And this fall on GOTHAM, Fox’s prequel to the Batman mythos, one of the supporting characters will be…Barbara Kean, fiancée of Lt. James Gordon.

Ironically enough, on the same day that DC’s online news site listed the results of a fan poll in which I was chosen one of “the 75 greatest Batman artists/writers,” an executive at DC Entertainment—let’s call him “Johnny DC”—dismissed my request for “equity” (a percentage of income received when a character you create is used in other media) in the character.  The justification?  Because I had given her the same name, profession, and appearance as her daughter (at the time, just a sly wink to the reader), she was “derivative” of her daughter Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon and equity “is not generally granted” in derivative characters like wives, husbands, daughters, sons, etc., of existing characters: “this is the criteria by which all equity requests are measured.”

I then pointed out to him that writer Mark Waid had been told by then-DC management that DC did, in fact, give equity in “derivative” characters, just a smaller percentage—and indeed Mark and artist/co-creator Mike Wieringo received equity in the “derivative” character of Bart Allen/Impulse (grandson of Barry Allen/Flash) and received payments when he was used on SMALLVILLE.  I suggested DC grant a similar reduced percentage on Barbara Kean, and I was willing to limit this to her appearances on GOTHAM and forget the movies.

How did Johnny DC respond to this?  Did he rebut my argument?  Nope.  When confronted with the, shall we say, lack of veracity of his statement, he simply stopped responding to my emails.

Classy, right?

Now, let me be clear:  I’ve since learned that the amount of money involved here can be as little as $45 an episode for a full equity character.  So clearly I’m not in this for the money, but the principle.  This is small change compared to the fact that the estate of Jack Kirby receives no share of the billions in dollars that Marvel/Disney makes from movies based on characters he co-created.  But I suspect DC counts on the fact that the money is low enough that hiring an attorney to pursue it would cost more than you’d ever receive in equity payments.  They also count on the fact that their freelancers depend on DC for work and thus will not publicly call them out.  (And sometimes these freelancers are the very ones for whom that little bit of extra money would mean a lot.)

But as a novelist I depend in no way on DC for my livelihood, and have no problem recounting the bad faith they have demonstrated to me.  But I take little satisfaction in it.  There was a time—under the management of Jenette Kahn, Paul Levitz, and Dick Giordano—when DC went to great lengths to credit and compensate creators. They felt it was money well spent, because it brought other creators to the company and everyone benefited.  I was actually proud to be associated with a comics company with a conscience.  I hope my experience with the “new” DC is not typical, and that they still have a conscience.  But I sure don’t see it from where I sit.

(If you’re a fan of my comics work, feel free to share.)

(more…)

Batman versus The Terminator

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014


Terminator Batman by ChrisWeyer on deviantART

It is an animated fan film conceived by Tony Guerrero and animated by Mitchell Hammond. I like it.

Best Batman moments from JLU

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

I haven’t even watched this yet, because it’s almost 30 minutes long.  All I can say is…”Rich boy” better be in there!

The Batman got too much spite

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Mark Pellegrini, the guy who runs the TMNT Entity blog, wrote a comparison between the Batman cartoon immediately after the Dini/Timm Batman/Justice League animated cycle and its predecessor, arguing that objective overall superiority of the DC Animated Universe stuff aside and the 1990s series especially, The Batman and its five seasons got short shrift.

now that both the DCAU and The Batman are but memories distanced by years and a multitude of newer cartoons and straight-to-video animated films clogging our DVRs, I think it’d be a good idea to discard the bitterness of the Bat-Embargo and judge The Batman against its holy brethren of the 1990s, Batman: The Animated Series, a bit more objectively.

Okay, so even objectively, Batman: The Animated Series wipes the floor with The Batman; like Hell I’m here to argue that. Instead, I think the safer activity to pursue is determining what aspects of the Caped Crusader’s mythos The Batman actually succeeded over Batman: The Animated Series in adapting and improving upon.

It is disturbing how correct he is. There is much to rip on in the first season of The Batman, including but not limited to how many of the characters’ first appearances involve less profitable crime and more the destruction of the city as facet or totality of the evil act.  There is also at least two episodes early on where Gotham City’s fate hinged on unlikely city planning.  In the episode where Killer Croc intends to flood the city that fate literally hinged on a switch that would “flood” or “not flood” the city.  The initial Mr Freeze episode was predicated on the entire metropolitan area having central heating and air systems.

There was also the far more naked use of concepts designed for toys, the Batwave coming to mind immediately.

The article does not mention any of that and it is absolutely correct to do so.  The article exists to extoll virtues of the program, not pound endlessly on what was wrong, which we in the internet and on our couches have certainly done already, far too much yet completely fairly.

So the article touches upon what The Batman did correctly, especially where The New Batman Adventures failed in a comparative place.

That said, I like these paragraphs:

On one hand, it wants to be a gritty and intelligent look at the psychological aspects of Batman’s adventures with daring plots and grim consequences, but then it also wants to be a fun and lighter take on the character where he eats enchiladas, pilots a giant robot and has kung-fu battles with the Penguin. The Batman wanted to be both kinds of shows and while it did strike that necessary balance from time to time, mostly it was a whole lot of nonsense and Greg Weisman phoning it in while waiting for that Spectacular Spider-Man gig to come along.

Perhaps its greatest hurtle during its initial run, though, was just the fact that it was the successor to the DC Animated Universe and that meant it was going to have a lot of guys in their early twenties who were going to hate it simply for existing. The fact that it ran concurrently with the last season of Justice League Unlimited, resulting in the infamous “Bat-Embargo” surely didn’t help (the Bat-Embargo prevented Batman’s supporting characters and villains from appearing in JLU as The Batman had exclusivity rights to them).

In other words, The Batman performed certain bits better because The Animated Series failed.

Mark Hammill finds out Data is the Joker

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

James Tucker replaces Bruce Timm as WB Animation Overlord

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Comic Book Resources reports the story.  It does not mention the cause.  The article chronicles the start and finish of the DC Animated Universe, from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited.  The article also does not fail to credit the other co-architects of that Batman cartoon.  Timm’s last work in his former role was the second chapter THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.  Bruce Timm is being replaced by James Tucker, another DCAU creative.

My enthusiasm for all of these projects is less than my joy every minute of Justice League Unlimited, with its own continuity and well-built world.

Podcast 7: Our 2009 Christmas Gifts (Lost Podcast #1)

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

In January 2010, Erik Burnham and I recorded a fun discussion of what we had gotten for Christmas.  And then, for reasons technical and personal, editing took forever and then they fell by the wayside…but were not forgotten!  Just in time for Valentine’s Day 2013… it’s “What did you get for Christmas 2009?”  This is the first of several “Lost Podcasts” that we will be rolling out in rapid succession, to then be followed by new podcasts.

Discussed in this podcast:

Batman Watches, Femme Noir, PS238, X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Bone, The Art of Joe Jusko, Bloom County … oh, and kvetching about the 2009 Star Trek

Batman Maybe

Monday, August 20th, 2012

The Keeper Box: Detective Comics #526

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Amongst my collection of some 30 boxes of comic books, I have one long box of precious comics that I won’t sell.  Now, at long last, I reveal…what is inside…THE KEEPER BOX!

Detective Comics #526

The cover of Detective Comics #526

Aniversary issue

Writer Gerry Conway
Artist Don Newton
Inker Alfredo Alcala
Colorist Adrienne Roy
Letterer Ben Oda
Cover Artist Don Newton, Dick Giordano
Editor Len Wein

In this special anniversary issue marking Batman’s 500th appearance in Detective since issue #27 (and yes, that’s right, #526 is the right number, not #527… though that’s one of those “when is the real millennium?” puzzlers that reveals you as a math nerd).  After building up in Batman #359 with the origin of Killer Croc and his claim as the new king of Gotham’s underworld who will finally kill the Batman, this story opens with a gathering of many of Batman’s arch-foes.

All My Enemies Against Me!

The Batman Rogue's Gallery

This two-page shot knocked my socks off back when I was 13.  Even back then, I realized that these gatherings of Batman super-villains were uncommon.  These days, I know, it’s pretty much nothing to see so many villains together.  Still… what a shot! (more…)

did anyone really know that Bane wasn’t a white guy?

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Why Chris Nolan’s BATMAN Isn’t Racist | Obsessed With Film.

nearly complete Batmobile history

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Admittedly a lot of this was redundant information in my case. Now stop to take in

this nearly 166-inch-long timeline at CarInsurance.org — created using information and images culled from BatmobileHistory.com — charts the 70-year evolution of the Batmobile… Perhaps just as interesting is the inclusion, when applicable, of the actual cars on which the various Batmobiles were based.

Although the inforgraphic is detailed in its real world chronology it is less so in regards to continuity. That’s not a complaint. It would also be cool if some day we have a visual concordance linking Batmobiles to specific issue numbers and dates, as well as issue artists and likely Batmobile designers.

It would be really cool if the visual concordance had a 360 degree perspective of each car. My primitive internet service as of this writing would never be able to handle that.

So: what is YOUR favorite Batmobile? Mine was the model featured in the present day scenes of Untold Legends of the Batman.

The graphic is also too large for dial-up services to handle comfortably so the graphic is below the fold.

(more…)

Which do you think are the most significant Super-Heroes and are the number of the most important only seven?

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Adherents has had a website dedicated to exploring the respective religions of various fictional characters for some time now and whenever I wander over there (which is very rarely) I find it fascinating.

One of their side pages is The Significant Seven: History’s Most Important Superheroes.

It is, for the most part, an excerpt from a book by Mike Benton that I never read entitled The Comic Book in America: An Illustrated History. So when I dispute adherents’ conclusions, I dispute Mike Benton’s ideas, but considering that at the end the site wants us to contact them if we find what needs correcting, I suppose we should contact them for the one thing I find factually incorrect in Mister Bention’s assertions. The rest is historical speculation, opinion, or genuinely correct.

I notice he limits himself to only comic book super-heroes, of course, as Batman and Superman have slightly limited originality if you count their pulp fiction fore-bearers. There is also only characters that are currently owned by DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Although then the characters were genuinely significant Plastic Man and Captain Marvel were owned by Quality and Fawcett Comics respectively.
The Significant Seven are as follows:

Superman
Batman
Wonder Woman
Spider-Man
Captain America
Captain Marvel
Plastic Man

My questions are not whether these characters are significant for they surely are and certain I can dispute just how much more significant they are than most other characters. Yet I wonder if they really are only seven significant super-heroes in the fashion that the author intended.

Superman is Superman, that which other costumed characters follow. Wonder Woman is the Woman, and regardless of the creator’s intent she is now the female super-archetype in comics for better or for worse (usually for worse). Batman is the peak human being; his presence is the indicator that one need not be superhuman to fight evil. So we have Super-Man, Super-Woman and Man-Man.

What they’re missing is Green Lantern.

For my point any Green lantern will do, from the original to the modern to the one that was simply in print the longest consistently.

Batman is a normal human being with no special powers beyond what a man can gain or obtain with extra-normal amounts of time and ambition. Leaving aside the factor of talent there are professional athletes that could be real life comparisons. Superman’s core attributes when it comes to sheer ability and power are beyond us mere mortals obviously but then comes Green Lantern. He is a mere mortal, a normal human like us, that wields the power of gods through an artifact, a mcguffin. Green Lantern is a man and not a god (although that really could be arguable). Superman would have to be someone else entirely to not be Super; Green Lantern just needs to remove the ring, not recharge the ring, or in the contemporary comics discharge the weapon completely. He possesses abilities but they do not come from him; they are not internalized. His identity like Batman is of a man but his abilities as a super-hero are separate because of his powered artifact, and those capabilities are closer to Superman than a mere mortal.

Green Lantern is the midpoint of Superman and Batman. That is precisely why he is Significant.

I also think the article should have the first hero that only has one power but I cannot say for sure who that is.

I used to love comic books. Then Batman peed his pants.

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Topless Robot’s blog gives the details:  Batman Peed His Pants.  (Language warning for the blog’s content.)

Kevin Smith takes one of the most awesome scenes in Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” and has Batman recap it.  For the effect, Batman wired up some explosives.  One of them went off too hot and it caused Batman to pee his pants.

Now…if Batman was having an out-of-his-weight-class battle with Killer Croc or Bane, and the rascal punched Batman so hard in the gut that he lost bladder control… I might quibble that that is a little TMI for a Batman comic, but it also conveys the dirty tactics of the opponent or how tooth-and-nail the fight is getting.   If Batman was on stakeout for hours, perched on top of a gargoyle, and in his thought balloons he said that he needed a bathroom break, I’d be surprised that DC permitted such a reference, even though it shows his human vulnerability.  (After all, Superman processes 100% of what he eats, which means he doesn’t need to use the bathroom.) But recounting years later how he had an accident in his costume during one of his great set pieces?  Appalling.  Adam West is rolling in his grave.

But, what do you expect from Kevin Smith?  Sadly, his name has enough cache to generate sales even though his comic book writing is fanzine-level at best.

Over on Chuck Dixon’s message board, contributor DesScorp made this point:

Honestly, how far are we from someone on JLA monitor duty rubbing one out to pass the time? Or being caught watching porn by his relief? We’ve already had Speedy and Hawkgirl with after-sex scenes. How long until everyone realizes that these are no longer mythic heroes as much as they’re instruments of writers and artists self-fantasies? It’s like the very horniest fanboys have been handed the reigns at the major companies, and they think a scat joke would be just awesome in print.

It seems like Garth Ennis is the chief editor at DC a little more every day.

Frankly, there isn’t far to go on that front.  A similar scene has already played out.

Not just that Red Arrow and Hawkgirl were having sex, but Red Tornado (at the time inhabiting the satellite’s computer) was watching them.  When he told this to Kathy Sutton, his common-law wife, she said, “All these monitors up here and you don’t get porn?”

In the JLA comic book, this happened!

There’s been something I have wanted to say all year, and I’ve been holding back:

Comic books were better under the Comics Code Authority.

Censorship can chafe, I know.  But I now honestly believe it made people better writers because they had to find a way around sleazy shocks and low humor.

It’s dumb when you can’t show a dead body in a war comic; but drop the CCA and suddenly Gorilla Grodd is eating the severed limbs of superheroes while laying around on their piles of corpses, Black Adam shoves a gold mask through Psycho Pirate’s skull, Black Mask makes Catwoman’s sister swallow her husband’s gouged-out eyeball, entire families with little children are getting high-speed shredded in JSA, and Green Lantern Corps members get showered in a rain of hundreds of eyeballs from their dead relatives.  Restrictions on the portrayal of sex under the CCA may have made it difficult to even show Green Arrow and Black Canary having a physical relationship out of wedlock (as recently as 1986, they showed Black Canary sleeping on Ollie’s couch), but say good-bye to the CCA, and now under-aged superheroes are having sex in Pa Kent’s barn, Sue Dibny’s getting abused so graphically that it makes the attempted rape in Watchmen look quaint, and Superman comics (SUPERMAN COMICS!) now have a Kryptonian villain who has brutal sex with Earth women until they’re dead from the hours of punishment.  Red Tornado watching a couple have sex because he doesn’t have access to a porn channel is one of the tamer examples.

Maybe comics were never just for kids, but now they are not for kids.  If I saw a kid in a comic book store asking for a Superman comic, I’d have to alert his parents that they need to read it first to see if there are any women getting ripped apart in Preus’ bedroom.  I can’t tell you how sad that makes me feel.

Batman 3 and Superman reboot news

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Batman 3 to Begin Filming in March 2011?.

comic book super-heroes tv themes

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

This was rescued from the ancient vintage ComicBookResources’ Apr 20, 1999 TV Themes website. Incredibly a lot of the sound-files are now on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine servers and are not just dead links so they are available for download. (more…)

Superman and Batman team-up really worth it?

Friday, November 13th, 2009

UPDATED: Coding corrected.

Podcast 3: Batman Movies, Part 3

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Tune in for our third and final Batman podcast, sponsored by TooManyLongboxes.com. No, we’re not doing the podcast quarterly! We now have better equipment and will turn them around much faster. Here is the last of the three Batman podcasts that I recorded in January with Erik Burnham.  The sound is improved, but after this one they should all sound as good as my introduction to this third installment.


Discussed:

Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
What’s Next?

In case you missed them:

Batman movies podcast Part 1
Batman movies podcast Part 2

YouTube – GREMLINS FAN FILM – Gremlins 3 Warmup

Friday, September 11th, 2009

This is just amazing! In Gremlins 2, there is a scene where the film breaks. This fan proposes an alternate sequence that could be used for the home theatre audience!

Podcast 2: Batman Movies, part 2

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Our second podcast is finally here, sponsored by TooManyLongboxes.com. In honor of the 20th anniversary of Mr. Mom playing Batman, Erik Burnham and I review the Batman movies directed by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher.

Podcast coming!

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I’m leaving to pick up my wife while this huge MP3 is being produced.  When I get back, this will go live.

Finally!