15 October 2009

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Batman the Super Friend

Beginning in 1973 through 1986, The Dynamic Duo appeared on various incarnations of the Super Friends animated series (covered in detail in the History of the Justice League) as well as the live action variety show.

During the run, only once did The Boy Wonder appear alone, not just tagging along Batman.

Notable Bat villains included The Riddler and Scarecrow (members of the Legion of Doom) and eventually the Joker and Penguin during the Galactic Guardians years.

Over 13 seasons, Batman was featured alongside other "Friends" in most of the 100+ episodes produced.

Oh, and by the way, of course there was a cereal tie-in.

Up Next: The New Adventures of Batman

14 October 2009

DC DVDs Sales Go Up, Up, and Away

Just like Marvel's 6th Direct to Video animated feature, the throwdown heavy Superman Batman Public Enemies release saw an increase in sales over previous DC movies as shown in the first week sales numbers chart below (click to enlarge).

The first week sales of the Worlds Finest team-up mustered 194,593 units amounting to $3,222,460. This figure was nearly 90% more copies than the Wonder Woman feature, and over 20% more than Green Lantern. Ironically, the only DC movies to have sold better have been the Superman and Batman solo features. In any case, it seems likes these figures can only be viewed positively as the line of films remains viable. Next up is the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, but I am betting that either Batman or Superman will be getting another feature or team up again soon.

*Just for a bit of objectivity, Barbie and the Three Musketeers sold over $5.6 million worth of DVDs in its first week a couple weeks earlier. And other Barbie entries have sold nearly $30 million worth of DVDs total. Disney's Tinker Bell DVD made $52 million. Yikes.

13 October 2009

Superhero DVD Updates

A couple of new superhero DVDs are on the horizon. Here's the lowdown with some box art.

On October 20, the 1979 Plastic Man series arrives.

Then on November 3, also from the Ruby-Spears studio comes the short lived 1988 Superman series.

On January 5, 2010, the first season of Super Friends (with non-powered Wendy and Marvin) finally makes its way to DVD. Oddly, this first season of the show was not the first released, nor will it probably be the last. For some reason, the folks at WB thought a good release order would be 3, 4, 7, 8, 2 part 1, 2 part 2, 6 part 3, and now 1 part 1 (1 part 2, 5, and 6 parts 1 and 2 remain to be announced)

Last but not least the Planet Hulk DVD will arrive on February 2, 2010. This is the 7th in the Marvel Comics line of DtVs.

Next on my wish list is the animated Shazam! show from 1981, the rest of the Super Friends, and a season set release for the current Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Hopefully those announcements will be coming soon.

12 October 2009

Retrospective 1983

Superman III
Superman III is 1983's superhero show that most people will remember (although they may cringe at its mentioning). Sadly, at least in my mind, this marked the end of the first golden age of superhero films. The Superman series had been phenomenal. Superman I was epic, and II even with its flaws stands as my favorite Superman movie to date. Superman III took a respectable hero and surrounded him with bumbler and idiots. Just check out this "comedic" opening sequence where apparently everyone in Metropolis is a freaking moron:

Having said that, at least Superman III had some redeeming aspects. Dark Superman was an interesting turn, and the Superman vs Clark Kent fight was pretty cool even though it may not really make sense. Also, the part when the supercomputer turns that chick into a robot used to freak me out.

So, even though Superman III was a big step down for the franchise, it didn't kill the film series and I would say it deserves to exist (hey, its embezzlement plot even inspired the plot for Office Space). The same can't really be said for 1983's other offering.

The Return of Captain Invincible

Oh dear. Part comedy, part action, and part musical... Not really a good mix. The Return Of Captain Invincible (don't mind the title, this isn't a sequel) was about a hero forced into retirement by McCarthy (because of his red "commie" cape and for flying without a license). Years later, he was called back into service when Mr. Midnight stole a government hypno-ray. Its just really not a very good movie, the songs are weird and not very good, and its hard to tell if this is supposed to be a parody or not. I mean, its about as silly as Superman III which wasn't a parody (or at least wasn't supposed to be). Lets just say its no accident most people haven't heard of this one.

So, 1983 wasn't a great year for heroes. And even I, who have a soft spot for Superman III, admit the genre would probably only be helped if this year were erased from the time line.