13 August 2010

Spotlight on Darkseid

Darkseid, one of DC comics most powerful and dangerous big bads first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 arriving in 1970. This upcoming year looks to be a big one for the Lord of Apokolips who will be featured in an upcoming animated movie and will also be the main villain of Smallville's final season.

Darkseid made his onscreen debut in 1984 on the Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show series. Of course, like any other great villain, Darkseid's ultimate aim was to enter into holy matrimony with the heroic female, in this case Wonder Woman. He was foiled in this and in every other diabolical scheme that followed.

Darkseid was slowly revealed as the ultimate villain of the 1996 Superman: The Animated Series. Not only was he the culprit behind the murder of a main character if the series, but he ended up nearly forever tarnishing Superman legacy on Earth.

After the Superman series, Darkseid would return to plague Superman in the Justice League series where he teamed up with Brainiac. Superman had finally had enough and it appeared as though Darkseid met his end in the episode Twilight.

Darkseid's legacy continued in the Justice League Unlimited series, but the man himself would eventually be resurrected in Alive! leading to one of the most epic Superman battles of all time.

Darkseid next appeared as a floating head in 2008's Justice League: The New Frontier.

Hopefully no punches will be pulled when old Darkseid plays a much more significant role in Superman Batman: Apocalypse based upon the Supergirl story arc of the Superman Batman comic.

12 August 2010

Marvelous Animation Tour - Fred and Barney Meet the Thing (1979)

In 1979, Fred and Barney from The Flintsones "met" The Thing, well they didn't actually meet but they shared a cartoon block. This Thing did not have three fantastic friends. Instead, transformed into the rock-skinned hero by touching together magic rings and reciting the words "Thing ring, do your thing!" after which he was pummeled by rocks.

The next year, Fred and Barney continued to air with The Thing on Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo.

11 August 2010

Retrospective 1990

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit the big screen in March of 1990 with a surprisingly dark (though somewhat truer to the source material) tone. The darker tone would be a theme for the live action movie that followed, perhaps a result of the Burtonified Batman the year previous. The film cost $13.5 million and banked 10x that. Though slow at times, this movie is a step ahead of the sequels that followed.

Dick Tracy

Hoping to replicate the previous summer's Batmania with Dickmania, Dick Tracy employed Danny Elfman to write a dark score to this visually interesting film. It also had an all star cast including Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Dick Van Dyke, and Madonna. Not a bad movie, but Tracy is no Batman. The movie broke $100 million, but while Batman received sequels and reboots aplenty, Dick Tracy #2 never materialized.


Before there was Spider-Man, Sam Raimi brought us Darkman. The movie is about a dude who is attacked, has his face burnt off, and seeks revenge as the masked Darkman. The movie spawned two sequels and a failed TV pilot, so in all a pretty decent run for an original character.

Captain America

Marvel's Captain America did not come to "theaters everywhere "in the spring of 1990. IThe poorly made movie was instead dumped on the poor Aussies down under late in the year and would quietly arrive in VHS bargain bins in the US a few years later. Thanks to youtube, its crappiness will not be forever forgotten.

Captain Planet and the Planeteers

On TV, Captain Planet and the Planeteers launched an incredibly successful series producing 113 episodes in combination with the sequel series The New Adventures of Captain Planet. Apparently heart was the 5th element that went along with earth, wind, fire, and water.

Its not to say the show was very good, but somebody must have been watching it.

Swamp Thing: The Series

Another "green" series, Swamp Thing, also faired better than one would expect lasting 72 episodes.

Death of the Incredible Hulk

Still on the topic of green, the last of the Jade Giants TV specials aired in 1990 titled Death of the Incredible Hulk. This outing unsurprisingly featured Hulk dying. Although there were plans for another TV special, it was not to be and the TV Hulk would rest in peace.

The Flash

Another Danny Elfman scored project was the one season wonder The Flash. Following in the footsteps of the dark Batman film, this series featured a grittier Flash. Later in the season, the tone lightened up a bit to allow for characters such as The Trickster portrayed by Mark Hamil, a role that may have won him the job of voicing The Joker in the Batman Animated Series.

Basically 1990 was a low budget year for the heroes of super. Even though there were a fair amount of shows produced, sadly none of them proved too long lasting.

10 August 2010

Under the Red Hood DVD Underperforms

Sales estimates have arrived at The-Numbers.Com and they do not tell the greatest tale for Batman: Under the Red Hood. The DVD allegedly sold 148,098 units for a total of $2,312,832. According to my home made figure of first week sales below (click to enlarge), if accurate, this is DC's second lowest debut edging out only Wonder Woman.

I cannot for the life of me understand the dip in sales. DC's latest efforts have been solid and this is Batman! DC's flagship. Perhaps the DVD market itself is just screeching to a halt in this economy. Hopefullt hings will pick up with next months Superman Batman: Apocalypse team-up.

09 August 2010

DVD Art for Superman / Shazam Materializes

I'll will give WB this, the DVD case for Superman / Shazam is going to trick a lot of soccer moms into buying a collection of shorts when they think they are buying a full length movie. I know the word "short" is on display, but the epic art seems to be selling something more than a 22 minute feature. Having said that, it looks great. And I guess if good sales guarantee more shorts, then well played.

Raging Red Lantern Atrocitus to be Animated...?

According to ComicsContinuum.com, Jim Kriegg story editor on the upcoming CG Green Lantern animated series, the show will focus on Hal Jordan, Kilowog and a Red Lantern. It will not be in continuity with the movie franchise.

There really aren't too many Red Lanterns in the comics and by far the best known is Atrocitus. So, unless they create a new character for the series, or go with enraged housecat Dex-Starr instead, my money is on the atrocious one. I am definitely interested to hear more about this series coming next year.

Green Lantern's Brightest Days Honorary Mentions

The countdown of Green Lantern's greatest onscreen moments has concluded, but I would be remiss not to mention some of the runners up that didn't quite make the cut.

In Justice League Unlimited's Kid Stuff, John Stewart was de-aged into a youngling (no, that's not the cool part). For most of the series run, the Justice League series featured a John Stewart with a very practical approach to the powers of the Green Lantern ring. John typically used the ring to construct spheres around himself or his enemies, beam-blasts, and other visually simple devices.

Kid Stuff, the kid Lantern finally got to have some fun with his ring creating all sorts of imaginative constructs including a missile launching mecha. Through the entire Justice League run, this was perhaps the most fun we got to have seeing some of the creative, though not ridiculous, uses for the power ring.

Smallville's 9th season introduced the Justice Society of America, the team of which Green Lantern Alan Scott was a key member. Although the episode focused on some of the other Society member, Alan Scott was given a couple of frames of screen time, giving the hero his onscreen debut.

The episode also put on display key Lantern artifacts such as the power ring, the lantern, and the mask.

Lastly, although the Super Friends series focused on Superman, Batman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman (before expanding the line-up in the years to come), the All-New Super Friends Hour episode Flood of Diamonds gave Green Lantern Hal Jordan a guest appearance his first such on the long running series.

Great moments for GL, but not quite up there with the 25 best.

#25 - Justice League Unlimited: Initiation - John Stewart's new look
#24 - Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Death Race to Oblivion! - Guy Gardner's Lanternmobile
#23 - Justice League of America: Pilot - Doesn't air
#22 - Justice League Unlimited: The Once and Future Thing: Time Warped - Hal Jordan joins the league
#21 - Legends of the Superheroes - Lantern goes live-action
#20 - Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths - Darker shade of green
#19 - Batman Beyond: The Call - Lantern of the future
#18 - Static Shock: Fallen Hero
- Hero worshiped
#17 - Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Revenge of the Reach! - Loads of Lanterns
#16 - The Batman: Ring Toss - Gotham by greenlight
#15 - Justice League: Hearts and Minds - More to the Corps
#14 - Justice League Unlimited: The Return - The Corps is greener yet
#13 - Justice League: The Savage Time - Ringless
#12 - Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Day of the Dark Knight - Guy is the man
#11 - Justice League: Legends - The Green Guardsman
#10 - DC Heroes: Justice League of America: Between Two Armies - Joining the League
#9 - Challenge of the Superfriends: Secret Origins of the Superfriends - Secret origin of Hal Jordan
#8 - Duck Dodgers: The Green Loontern - Looney Lanterns
#7 - Justice League: Secret Origins - John gets the limelight
#6 - Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Eyes of Despero! - Guy the hero
#5 - Justice League: In Blackest Night - Green Lantern goes mainstream

#4 - Superman: The Animated Series: In Brightest Day - Welcome to the DCAU
#3 - DC Heroes: Green Lantern: Evil is as Evil Does - Green Lantern begins
#2 - Justice League: The New Frontier - Green Lantern leads the League
#1 - Green Lantern: First Flight - Green Lantern takes flight