Last week, while exploring the mystery of the vanishing Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode, I discovered that—despite being yanked from the schedule at the last minute—my Green Lantern story, "Scorn of the Star Sapphire," was available for download at the iTunes store. Today I discovered that my next scheduled episode, "Time Out for Vengeance"—which was originally supposed to air this past Friday—is also on iTunes. "Time Out," which features Batman, the JLI and Rip Hunter (as well as a cameo by the Creeper) is a fairly epic time-travel story and, having just watched it, it's instantly become one of my favorites of all the B & B episodes I've written. Producers Michael Jelenic and James Tucker, director Michael Goguen and the whole Batman team did an incredible job with this one. (One of these days—soon, I hope—I'll devote a post to explaining what it's like, from a freelancer's perspective, writing for these animated shows.)
Both "Scorn of the Star Sapphire" and "Time Out for Vengeance" will air sometime in the near future, but if you want to see them now, hop on over to iTunes and hit that download button.
I really loved this episode. Out of them all, prehistoric Batman's section was the one I dug the most. Guy Gardner's little day dream about kissing Ice was surprisingly cute, I thought it was well-executed as was the Booster Gold and Blue Beetle pairing. The dialogue was so entertaining in this one.ReplyDelete
1) Were the 4 Batmen based on something from the comics?
2) I remember Catman's robot from Detective Comics, but I can't place the name of it. Do you happen to know it or what did you refer to it in the script?
3) Were "Scorn of the Star Sapphire!" and "Time Out for Vengeance!" the original titles? If not, what were they?
1) I think the three Batmen from the past can all be found, in some form, in those wonderfully goofy Batman comics of the 50's and early 60's. But I can't name any specific issues or stories.ReplyDelete
2) It came up in the story conference and I just assumed that, back in the day, this was part of Catman's arsenal.
3) "Time Out for Vengeance" was the original title. "Scorn of the Star Sapphire" was originally called "Curse of the Star Sapphire."
Glad you enjoyed the episode, Yojimbo. I'd love to see a JLI series spinning out of this. They're perfect for animation.
Hi, can't wait to see both of these episodes as I think Hal Jordan has been criminally underused on Batman: The Brave and the Bold and I love the sound of the JLI travelling to different points in time.ReplyDelete
I was wondering, which of these episodes did you write first? (I'm interested to know the order they might air in.)
The Green Lantern episode was written a few months before the JLI story, Paul. Hope you enjoy them both. Check back in here and let me know your opinion.ReplyDelete
At least here in Canada they are advertising a 'new" Batman: B&B this Friday. Odds are I'd say that the Green Lantern epi. will air--though don't hold me to that. : ) Either way, I look forward to seeing them on my wide screen TV soon.ReplyDelete
Canada is clearly more evolved, A. Jaye! :)ReplyDelete
Hell of a way to run a railroad.ReplyDelete
I'm sure there's some reason for all this that makes sense to the programmers, but, honestly, I'm just happy the episodes are available while we wait for them to air.ReplyDelete
A JLI spin off would be a welcome sight (second place would be Superman one..."Superman: World's Finest". After I saw that one Superman episode "Battle of the Superheroes!" I wanted more).ReplyDelete
Any characters left that you wish you got a chance to write for on Batman: The Brave and The Bold?
And as always, I hope you get a chance to write more scripts for DC Comics animated series.
Off the top of my head, Yojimbo, I would have loved to have written some of Kirby's New Gods characters -- imagine an animated take on the Forever People! -- and the Phantom Stranger.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the good wishes...and for always being a smart, informative voice about the DCAU.
I saw this and thought it might be relevant:ReplyDelete
“We’re taking a franchise approach to the brand and investing in original animation targeting children,” Schwobthaler says. “This will ensure that the brand has something to offer superhero fans of all ages, lives beyond a single movie release and claims its position alongside superheroes such as Batman and Superman.”
I'm glad to see an even bigger committment to children's animation. I tend to prefer it to the mainstream superhero comics the days. When superhero comics stopped seeing the intelligent child as their primary audience, they suffered in a way they've never fully recovered from.
So much so that 'comics aren't just for kids anymore' seems like a push where the industry won the battle but lost a good chunk of its soul--and its readership.
There's much wisdom in what you say, David. I think there's room in comics for genuinely mature material, imaginative children's material...and I think mainstream superheroes benefit most from the kind of stories you're talking about: stories that work on multiple levels: kid-friendly, but also parent-friendly. Smart and challenging tales that embrace a broad audience.ReplyDelete
By the way, David, could you source that quote for me? What was the context?ReplyDelete
One of the best examples I can think of is this exchange from "Hail the Tornado Tyrant!"ReplyDelete
Tornado Champion: But why is there evil in the world?
Red Tornado: Human philosophers have endeavored to answer that question for thousands of years, Son, and have yet to find an adequate answer.
Tornado Champion: Do you have an answer, Father?
Red Tornado: No answers. Just an observation: human kindness is far preferable to human cruelty.
Tornado Champion: Why is it preferable?
Red Tornado: Because.
Tornado Champion: "Because" is not a logical answer, Father.
Red Tornado: Perhaps not, but based upon my studies of humankind, it is the only answer.
To my mind, this whole conversation illustrates why writing to kids tends to elevate one's game. I think there's this misconception that kids are naive or simplistic, but I tell you, if you ever want to challenge your assumptions about the world then look no further than an inquisitive six year old! :)
It's all about boiling your story down to that core concept, the same way RT boils the conversation down to "Kindness is preferable to cruelty."
Yes, it was a treat to write an exchange like that in the context of a half hour animated superhero show. (And it says a lot about B & B that it fit and it worked.) You slip in the truths where you can!ReplyDelete
Here's the link to the article, entitled "There Will Be No Escaping the DC Universe":ReplyDelete
It's about DC's push to expand their market...pretty exciting times for them ahead, it would seem.
Thanks for the link: I'll check it out.ReplyDelete
I can only imagine that your experience in children's entertainment came in handy with BD, too. It reads like a series of random tangents, and yet no matter how random it appears it's all held together by the central metaphor of that night in jail.ReplyDelete
Kids demand stories that can take them anywhere but bring them somewhere, too,--and that's what BD is, after all.
You're not suggesting that BD is for kids, are you, David? You're just making a link between styles of storytelling, right?ReplyDelete
Of course, BD COULD be for kids if you took out all the references to drugs and sex and all the foul language. :)
LOL! No, I'm not suggesting BD is for kids.ReplyDelete
I'm saying that kids' superheroes, maybe more than any other genre, have a tendency toward that metaphor that holds everything together. They wear the metaphor on their sleeve, so to speak. There's this opposing tendency for wild spectacle (re:tangent) and creative unity.
Peter Parker sees himself as an oddball, for instance, and Ditko reflects that in the awkward poses Spider-Man assumes.
Catwoman is a cat burglar and she's got that cat personality to go with it.
A man named Octavius gets octopus-like powers and calls himself--big surprise--Doctor Octopus!!
So in mainstream comics, you get this tendency--conscious or otherwise--to try and tie all the wild explosions and superpowered fights together with this suggestion of unity. A hero or villain's powers are tied into their personality.
Does that make sense?
Maybe at the end of the day I'm just saying that storytelling is storytelling.
It does indeed, David!ReplyDelete
I've just watched that JLI episode and it was just superb.ReplyDelete
Also if you do meet Will Friedle (Blue Beetle) and John DiMaggio (Aquaman) again, thank those two guys and their work back in Disney's Kim Possible for making this JLI episode very very funny!
Very glad you enjoyed it, Nelson. And you're right: Friedle and DiMaggio did a fantastic job on this episode.ReplyDelete
Don't know if you're a fan of the X-Men movie franchise, JMD, but FIRST CLASS is fantastic.ReplyDelete
It's on par with X2 (assuming you like X2).
I liked X-2 very much, David. I saw FIRST CLASS over the weekend and liked it even more. I don't think I've ever connected to, or understood, those characters more than I did while watching that movie. A terrific film.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I hope we'll see McAvoy and Fassbender reprising their roles in the near future. They transcended the source material much in the same way IRON MAN did.ReplyDelete
That's EXACTLY how I feel, David.ReplyDelete
Then I'm in good company!ReplyDelete
As long as we're in Marvel Movie Mode: are there parts of the Spidey films which you feel directly evoked your work? Norman haunting Harry seems a particularly obvious example but there may be others as well...ReplyDelete
I'm so dumb, Jeff, that I never connected the "Norman haunting Harry" material to my work until you just pointed it out! Of course, the death of Harry came from Spec #200...although in a very different form. Other moments? I honestly don't know.ReplyDelete
I'm in the middle of a re-read of The Child Within and it hit me that Chabon (who did the story for Spider-Man 2) likely read it as well. Sal Buscema's art, by the way, becomes more impressive with every revisit. I don't think he's ever done better work than he has with you!ReplyDelete
That collaboration was magical, Jeff: Sal and I just meshed from the first panel he drew.ReplyDelete
I've always thought SM3 was directly influenced by your SSM work; right down to Harry sacrificing himself at the last moment to reverse the damage he'd done.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, SM3 diluted the impact with multiple storylines. In SSM 200, Harry's sacrifice was a moment to itself, and didn't fall in the midst of a fight with two supervillains, or Peter and MJ breaking up. SM3 is one of those films that isn't a total loss by any means, but it certainly didn't transcend or even live up to the source material.
And sometimes that middleground is more frustrating than if they'd just botched everything! As Adele says, "We coulda had it all..."
I'm a big fan of the first two Spidey movies, David -- especially the second one. Number three was a little too cluttered for me. And you're right about the impact of Harry's death being diluted because it was just one element out of too many.ReplyDelete
All that said, Sam Raimi deserves a HUGE amount of credit for bringing Spider-Man to the screen in a faithful, heartfelt and incredibly entertaining, way. Overall, he did a spectacular job.
Oh, I'm absolutely agreed that Raimi deserves all the credit in the world.ReplyDelete
SM2 is still tied with X2 and possibly FIRST CLASS as my favorite comic movies of all time. (But there's SUPERMAN II as well...)
By all accounts, Raimi didn't even want Venom involved, but was pressured by the studio to include him. Gotta sell those toys!!!
I'm more of a SUPERMAN I fan myself, David. It was the ground breaker in the genre. (In fact, I'm listening to the soundtrack right now. I've got an iTunes playlist with TWILIGHT ZONE, STAR TREK, LOST, SUPERMAN, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and other fun sci-fi music that I sometimes listen to while I work.)ReplyDelete
I'd add the first IRON MAN to that list of all-time great superhero movies.
At the risk of sounding juvenille, SUPERMAN II has what every fan really wants: Kryptonians throwing buses at each other!!! :)ReplyDelete
Actually, it's more than that. SMII is such a beautiful balance of charm, humor, over the top villainy and a tragic 'torn between two worlds' love story. It's the comic book film Shakespeare would have written.
And I will never, ever get over my love for Terrence Stamp's Zod. The only comparable villain is Alan Rickman's Hans Grueber from DIE HARD--who not surprisingly, is also an over-the-top villain with a British accent!
IRON MAN is great, too.
And I'd also add Tim Burton's BATMAN films. I don't know why I forgot those! Burton immediately immerses you in his Gotham City in a way that no one else does. Michael Keaton is THE Batman as far as I'm concerned. Such wonderful absurdity ("You have a beautiful eye") and it's more intelligent, truthful and sincere than Nolan's films.
Maybe it's because Burton doesn't spend the entirety of his film yelling, "I'm intelligent, truthful, and sincere!" at his audience. (I like Nolan's films, but they are a weeee bit pretensious.)
Burton's Batman movies, like the Superman films, broke new ground in the genre. They're a little schizophrenic, the tone jumping around too much, but they're bold, creative, fun and they brought the superhero movie to a new level.ReplyDelete
I think the second movie -- if it could be stripped of the Penguin story, leaving only the Batman-Catwoman arc -- would be as perfect a superhero movie as you could find.
I need to watch BATMAN RETURNS again! You might be right. I don't know that I was ever a big fan of DeVito's Penguin, as I preferred him awkward but able to mingle with high society. Flipperless, as it were! But the Batman/Catwoman Bruce/Selina romance, that was gold.ReplyDelete
And as an added note, one of the best things about the Spider-Man films is the Bruce Campbell cameos. I've been watching BURN NOTICE, where he plays Sam Axe, and it's Bruce at his best!ReplyDelete
"Scorn of the Star Sapphire!" and "Time Out for Vengeance!" both aired in the UK last month and have now been shown a few times. I just wanted to say that I greatly enjoyed both of them. Seeing more of Hal Jordan was a treat (great to hear more of Loren Lester) and I was very impressed with this take on Star Sapphire - I was reminded of Dark Phoenix from X-Men. It was also a pleasure to FINALLY see the Creeper, and the identity of the baddie in "Time Out for Vengeance!" was very satisfying.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Paul! As much as I enjoyed writing Green Lantern -- one of my all-time favorite characters -- I really LOVED working on "Time Out..." And, yes, writing the Creeper was a blast. Now there's a character with lots of potential.ReplyDelete