Batman: The Brave and the Bold returned to Cartoon Network a few weeks ago for its final season. I've got three episodes coming up and the first one airs this Friday at 6:30 pm: "Shadow of the Bat" features vampires, Jack Kirby's Demon, the Giffen-DeMatteis era JLI (well, the animated version, which uses the current Blue Beetle, Jamie Reyes, in place of our old friend Ted Kord) and it's one of my absolute favorites among the eight episodes I've written for the series.
My final two episodes feature another round with the JLI (this time accompanied by Rip Hunter, so expect some time-traveling) and an adventure with Green Lantern (not unexpected given the coming movie). It's been an absolute pleasure working on B & B—thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of producers Michael Jelenic and James Tucker. Both as a writer and a viewer, I'm sorry to see the show reach its end.
I, too, am sad to see this show end. The whole show is just a love note, not just to comics, but to HAVING FUN in comics. The fact that they would bring you in to do two JLI episodes is more than enough proof of both of those facts. I'm really excited for your next three episodes. I've really liked the episodes you've written so far, especially "The Eyes of Despero!" and "The Last Patrol!".ReplyDelete
You hit the nail right on the head, Josh: B & B was all about the fun, the sheer joy, of the DC Universe; yet it always remained respectful of, and true to, the characters. (And also unafraid to change the tone and go dark, as we did in the Doom Patrol episode you mentioned.)ReplyDelete
It was a wonderful show and a great gig. Glad you enjoyed it. Best -- JMD
I'm sad to see it go, too. B & B has a Goldlilocks appeal that's just about perfect for any mood. When Adam West is too campy and TAS or the Nolan-verse are too dark, this one's juuuuuust right.ReplyDelete
Well said, David...and I totally agree.ReplyDelete
Sounds good. Will try to catch them for sure!! I think we get them the same time you do, J.M. It's been a really good run. Fun is the optimal word for Batman: The Brave and the Beautiful--I mean Bold! : )ReplyDelete
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BEAUTIFUL: Every week Batman teams up with another stunningly gorgeous female crime-fighter and they spend the entire episode lip-locked. I've gotta go pitch this to Warner Brothers! And I'll be sure you get your share of the credit (or blame), A. Jaye!ReplyDelete
Ha! That's either great, go for it, or ... No! Stop, I'll be the laughing stock of Hollywood! : ) Whatever the case may be, if the 'Soap Channel' (if there is such a channel) is looking for a new show, there you go ... or maybe the sub-title would be more fitting for a new 'Birds of Prey' soap opera series. : ). But I insist WE BOTH share credit (I'm not going down in flames alone when, er, I mean, if it bombs).ReplyDelete
I'll call my agent today, A. Jaye! :)ReplyDelete
Best of luck selling that concept to ten year old boys, guys!ReplyDelete
We'll make sure there's enough punching and hitting to keep them happy, David!ReplyDelete
I'm gl...er, I mean my son will be happy to hear that! :)ReplyDelete
Oh, we can make it fly! I know we can! How can it fail? Kissing and romance (we got the women hooked), punching and hitting (good call J.M.) and we have the guys hooked. Uh ... what else would you need?? Dialogue? Character arc? Story-line? Bwaa-haaaa! Yeah, right! : )ReplyDelete
With all that kissing and hitting we won't have time for stories...!ReplyDelete
BIFF! SMOOCH! KA-POW! will be a hit the world over.ReplyDelete
The perfect title, David!ReplyDelete
I love this show. It makes me laugh and is entertaining as heck, respecting the inherent nobleness of the characters while gently kidding them as well.ReplyDelete
My gf's nephew watches it from his house, and he has texted me during it to ask "Who's that?" He loves it, too.
Why oh why only three seasons?!?
I agree, Rob: with the whole DCU to play with, this show could've gone on for years.ReplyDelete
Give Batman some time off, and change the title to B'wana Beast and The Bold!ReplyDelete
B'wana Beast? B'WANA BEAST?!?!ReplyDelete
Honestly, Rob, given the great work they do, the producer could probably make that work!
I'll admit I haven't followed SMALLVILLE much since it moved Fridays, but it looks as though tonight will see Booster Gold and Blue Beetle make their live action debuts:ReplyDelete
Sounds like Booster will have an impact on Clark's transition to Superman.
LOVED the show, JMD! From the appearance of Black Mask (an underrated Batman villain, IMO), Aquaman reading comics, Ice crushing on Aquaman, and the fairly-intense scenes at the end, it made for a great episode.ReplyDelete
I've only seen a few SMALLVILLE episodes myself, David, but I saw Max Lord's appearance last year and I'll try to catch up with Booster's on the web.ReplyDelete
Hey -- how about a live-action JLI next?
Very glad you enjoyed the show, Rob. I haven't seen it yet -- I was away last night -- but I'm going to sit down and watch it tonight. It's always interesting seeing how things change from the script to the screen.ReplyDelete
I won't tell you the ending then!ReplyDelete
Well, I saw the episode, Jeff, and, overall, I was very happy with it; but the tag at the end threw me. In my script -- and keep in mind that the scripts are usually developed from premises cooked up by the B & B team, who oversee every stage of the story development -- there wasn't even a suggestion that Batman's vampiric adventure was any kind of dream/hallucination: it was very clear that Bats' adventure as a vampire really happened. I'm assuming the change came from a network note, but I can't say for sure.ReplyDelete
That said, I think it was a fun ride -- incredibly well=executed by the director and animators -- and very intense given the all-ages venue.
I said it before and I'll say it again: as a writer and a fan, I've totally enjoyed BRAVE AND THE BOLD and I'm really going to miss it.
The Giffen/Dematteis League would be a natural for an eventual series of their own, don't you think? Animation really lends itself to the non-serious approach and would present the opportunity to go all-out with some of the adventures they would encounter. And boy, wouldn't it be something to have Keith 'n' Kev storyboard such a show!ReplyDelete
I would LOVE to see an animated JLI show, Jeff. Keith and Kevin storyboarding? Brilliant. And I want to write lots of episodes!ReplyDelete
I really didn't think the ending was something you'd give us! There were so many Dematteis touches in the Sattelite scenes (especially with "smoky Batman" and Fire&Ice)- and then it all concluded with something very unlike you! I guess when you follow a guy's work for 3 decades, you develop a kind of instinct for someone else's fingerprints on it!ReplyDelete
The truth is, Jeff, when it comes to television, no matter whose name is in the credits, it's always a collaboration...and the primary vision for the show comes from the producers, not from the freelance writers hired to write individual episodes.ReplyDelete
I consider myself part of a team when I write these stories -- and as essential as it is to bring my own unique POV to the table, I also know that a huge part, the primary part, of my job is executing the vision of the show runners.
Considering that I spend so much of my time alone in my office, coaxing, cajoling and sometimes wrestling my own stories to the ground, it's great fun to be part of the larger process that goes into writing television. Especially on a show like B & B.
That's the fun when one of your episodes comes along-- looking for the parts that stand out as uniquely you!ReplyDelete
Speaking of collaborative efforts, I recently finished up your Ghost Rider run with Budiansky and enjoyed how you (and he, as co-plotter) managed to put together the fragments of a lot of wildly different approaches from the previous decade and give it a satisfying back-story and conclusion. Now it's on to re-reading the Prine Namor mini from that same era!
GHOST RIDER was a long, long time ago, Jeff...but I have very fond memories of working with Bob B. It was the first time I ever co-plotted stories with an artist and it was a delightful experience. As with all my early work, I look at it and see the warts in the writing, but, at the same time, there was an excellent story at the core of our run and I think it holds up.ReplyDelete
And I'd love to see Bob B drawing comics again. The guy knows how to tell a story!
Thank you for another great episode, Mr. DeMatteis.ReplyDelete
1) After hearing your thoughts on the ending of the episode, are you allowed to post a snippet of your draft (so we fans can compare)?
2) Was it always Dala as the vampire villain or were others such as The Monk in earlier drafts?
Just saw the episode. It was great! One of my favorites yet! I'll never understand why some critics insist that you (or Keith Giffen) write stories that are "too goofy". To me, you have achieved such a strong balance of drama and humor, and this episode is a great example of that. And isn't that how life is, anyway?ReplyDelete
By the way, it just occurred to me that three of my favorite J.M. DeMatteis-related superhero things are ending really soon. Brave and the Bold, of course. Plus, the last of your and Keith's run on Booster Gold was just released (I loved the whole run, by the way). And, though you were not directly involved (Keith was, in the beginning), Justice League: Generation Lost concludes this week! What am I going to do now? I might have to go outside!
Although Brave and the Bold is ending, is Will Friedle going to continue his work as Blue Beetle/Jaime Reyes in future DC cartoons and movies?ReplyDelete
I'm Jaime Reyes' biggest fan and he's the funniest DC hero ever! PLus nobody under any circumstances can voice Jaime Reyes better than Will Friedle!
A live action JLI would be a logical follow-up to SMALLVILLE. Where SMALLVILLE recast Superman as a teen drama, JLI would be a buddy sitcom: CHEERS for the superhero crowd.ReplyDelete
BTW, NETFLIX is now instant streaming THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and they bought the rights to STAR TREK.
I watched a few episodes with my son, including "Time Enough at Last," "What You Need," and "Mr. Denton and Doomsday," and "No Time Like the Past."
No snippets of the script, Yojimbo; but the ending was basically a short conversation in the sick bay -- with the recovering Leaguers on hand -- as J'onn and Blood razzed Batman about how easily and naturally he took to vampiring. (If there is such a word!)ReplyDelete
And, yes, it was always Dala. No Monk.
Glad you enjoyed the episode!
That's absolutely how life is, Josh; and sometimes the humor and the tragedy are happening in the same moment.ReplyDelete
If you're looking for more Giffen-DeMatteis, take heart: Keith and I are doing a JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL one-shot for DC as part of their "Retro-Activce" event and the great Kevin Maguire is drawing it. We'll be bringing back our favorite incompetent villains, the Injustice League, and I think it's going to be a very fun ride.
Sorry to say I don't know anything about Blue Beetle's future in the animated DC Universe, Nelson.ReplyDelete
He was certainly a popular part of B & B -- I suspect he made more guest appearances than any other hero -- and I very much enjoyed writing the character.
Keith Giffen has always felt that the best way to do our Justice League would be as a sitcom, David: BARNEY MILLER in tights.ReplyDelete
"Time Enough At Last" is the first TZ I remember seeing: I was five or six and it imprinted very deeply on my brain. How did your son react?
The fact that you could do a JLI series in that vein, JMD, seems like a selling point in terms of cost. It also occurs to me that Booster Gold is more relevant than ever in the era of reality television.ReplyDelete
My son liked the twist in "Time Enough at Last," though he would have preferred things not have ended so badly for poor Mr. Bemis!
I love that NETFLIX allows us to share such a wealth of material. My parents introduced me to TZ and TREK via reruns, but we were at the mercy of sydnication. One of my most vivid memories was watching "Balance of Terror" with my father on a tiny black and white television. He laughed when the actors who would later play Sarek said "Perhaps in another lifetime we could have been friends."
Also cool, I had to explain the H-Bomb to my son. So it's nice to know that kids today don't see the possibility of nuclear war as a daily reality.
And a side note to my rant, my earliest (or perhaps just the most vivid) memory of TZ is "To Serve Mankind"! I could not shake that one.
I remember telling my daughter the story of "TIme Enough At Last" when she was about seven and she burst out in tears just hearing it. She avoided watching it until very recently and it still devastated her.ReplyDelete
The good news is that, far from melting our little brains, watching TZ as kids expanded our imaginations and opened our minds to a whole new view of the universe.
Amen to that!ReplyDelete
A fantastic study in storytelling, too.
Talk to Geoff Johns about giving Blue Beetle/Jaime Reyes his own animated series and get Will Friedle & his best friend Jason Marsden to voice Jaime Reyes and Paco again.ReplyDelete
They're not very busy at the moment, Will will be voicing Lion-O in the rebooted Thundercats & Jason is currently voicing Duke in GI Joe: Renegades, that's all what I heard from them.
Also introduce Jaime's girlfriend Traci 13.
Overall I'm really certain Boy meets World, Batman Beyond, Kim Possible & of course Batman: Brave and the Bold fans will be watching this because Will Friedle is in it and he's just that hilarious!
I'm afraid I don't have the power, or the influence, to get a Blue Beetle animated series off the ground, Nelson. Best bet is to write to Warner Bros. animation. With your enthusiasm, you may convince them!ReplyDelete
Speaking of Thundercats: I've written three episodes of the new series. Last I heard, it's starting up, on Cartoon Network, in July.
My personal favs have been Aquaman and Red Tornado.ReplyDelete
I watched Thundercats and Silverhawks religiously as a child, but I can't say I remember much about them. Might have to revisit before July.
I didn't remember much about THUNDERCATS either, David, beyond the fact that my son watched it when he was a kid (truth is, we were more of a HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE family). That said, the folks behind the new series -- including BRAVE AND THE BOLD producer Michael Jelenic -- have done a great job of revamping the mythos, making it fresh for 2011, yet staying true to the T-Cats' roots. I think it's going to be a very popular show.ReplyDelete
Sounds cool...I'll check it out.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, too: saw the live action film two or three times in theatres.
And one of these days, I'll convince you to take a crack at GI JOE's Snake Eyes. A war-scarred ninja with clan ties to his arch enemy: what's not to love? Given your talent for mysticism and pyschological realism, there's a lot to play with there.
And the back-stabbing inter-office Cobra politics are a lot of fun, too.
If not, oh well--it was worth a shot!
I don't know much of anything about G.I. JOE, David, but, hey, I'm willing to be educated!ReplyDelete
I'll help in any way I can, JMD.ReplyDelete
I must be pretty good at this sort of thing. Every time I've educated my son about my favorite franchises, he ends up knowing more about them than me!
Well, then, maybe HE should educate me!ReplyDelete
LOL! Probably so. By week's end, you'll both be teaching me the finer points of the JOE franchise!ReplyDelete
Have you heard about the new JLI comic currently being rumored?ReplyDelete
Thanks for the insight, Mr. DeMatteis.ReplyDelete
When you said this episode was originally titled "Batman Bites!", it made me wonder if any of your previous ones were retitled, too?
1) Day of the Dark Knight! - Batman and Green Arrow help Merlin take on Morgaine le Fey and Etrigan.
2) The Eyes of Despero! - Batman teams up with Guy Gardner, G'Nort and Sinestro.
3) Hail the Tornado Tyrant!
4) Revenge of the Reach!
5) The Last Patrol!
Are you talking about the JLI "Retro-Active" one-shot I'm doing with Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire, Robert...or something else?ReplyDelete
Except for "The Last Patrol," they all had different titles, Yojimbo. "Day of the Dark Knight" was "Knight Shift." "The Eyes of Despero" was "The Odyssey of the Ring." "Hail the Tornado Tyrant" was "In His Image" and then "The Birth of the Tornado Tyrant." "Revenge of the Reach" was "Revenge of the Scarab."ReplyDelete
I think most of those changes were for the better, although I still prefer "In His Image" for the Tornado Tyrant story.
I have my fingers crossed that the next Justice League cartoon series to be made will be based on the animated Justice League: International and I really hope they'll get the same voice cast who voiced the members from Brave and the Bold. It saves time and money rather than recasting which also won't have many happy fans.ReplyDelete
Also Will Friedle (Blue Beetle/Jaime Reyes) & John DiMaggio (Aquaman) have been hilarious ever since they've worked together on Disney's Kim Possible. Which reminds me, never do a DC Cartoon without those two guys whether it's dark or campy.
If they decided to do a JLI cartoon, Nelson, no one would be happier than yours truly.ReplyDelete
Please tell me you have some involvement with this new JLI ongoing that was announced in the Generation Lost book!ReplyDelete
Either way, I'm looking forward to the one shot, but you having any involvement with a new JLI ongoing would be the most exciting comic news I have heard in years.
Sorry, Drew: I'm not involved with the new JLI book; in fact, this is the first I've heard of it.ReplyDelete
The good news is, I just finished scripting the one-shot and I think it's going to be a lot of fun.
It's the classic JLI, their old (incompetent) enemies the Injustice League, and a threat from Apokolips. The great Kevin Maguire is drawing away as we speak.