Filmation vs. Hanna-Barbera: the Golden Age of DC Comics Animation by Jerry Whitworth
With hits like The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, and the Yogi Bear franchise grown from series like The Ruff and Reddy Show and The Huckleberry Hound Show, Hanna-Barbera was a powerhouse in the burgeoning animated television series market. As shows like Atom Ant, Sinbad Jr. and his Magic Belt, Space Ghost, and Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles reached airwaves, the studio was quickly making superheroes a popular sight on Saturday mornings. DC Comics, who had previously seen its most popular character Superman animated for theaters in the 1940s and was about to take the nation by storm with the Batman television series, looked to edge into the lucrative market. In the 1950s, Adventures of Superman was a cultural phenomenon derailed by the untimely demise of its star George Reeves. A planned spin-off in the Adventures of Superboy never made it past the pilot but animation looked to be new ground to tread with the brand. Mort Weisinger, Superman editor for DC Comics and story editor for Adventures of Superman, approached young studio Filmation to tackle the project.
In the pages of Scott Snyder’s Justice League series, the proper Legion of Doom is finally making its way to the primary continuity of DC Comics. Finding its start in 1978’s Challenge of the Super Friends, the Legion of Doom is likely the most iconic and best-known super-villain team that interestingly enough never translated into the comics quite like its animated counterpart until now. Of course, the Legion of Doom was not the first super-villain team to combat the Justice League. The precursor to the Justice League of America in the Justice Society of America faced a team of foes known as the Injustice Society in 1947. Later, some of those villains teamed with Justice League enemies to form the Crime Champions in 1963. Earth-Two’s Wizard, Icicle, and Fiddler aligned with Earth-One’s Felix Faust, Dr. Alchemy, and Chronos to exchange identities and foes to get the better of the other world’s superhero team. This prompted the first team-up between the League and Society to defeat their assembled enemies. In time, the League would face an organized threat from their own cast of rogues but in a rather bizarre manner.
Tournaments are no stranger to professional wrestling and the independent scene has some notable ones: PWG Battle of Los Angeles (BOLA), ECWA Super 8, APW/PWR King of Indies. But arguably the most notable among these is King of Trios, the biggest event for one of the most dominant independent wrestling companies in the United States in Chikara. Attracting some of the finest wrestlers from across the planet including countries like Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, it’s a showcase of veterans (from companies like WWE, TNA Impact, and Ring of Honor) and future stars like A.J. Styles, Daniel Bryan, and the Young Bucks (the Jacksons having competed in four KOT tournaments). Just last year alone, WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne, inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate (and current NXT Tag Team Champion), and Mae Young Classic competitor Meiko Satomura were among the tournament entrants with Dunne, Bate, and fellow British Strong Style member and current NXT Tag Team Champion Trent Seven taking home the title (competitors are not separated by gender). In 2017, the three-night event took place in Wolverhampton, England but this coming August 31st, September 1st and 2nd, it comes home to the Palmer Center/Funplex in Easton, PA. Lets take a look at some of the sixteen teams competing.
While WWE remains the undisputed king of pro wrestling, the world’s second biggest promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling has been gaining a lot of attention of late due in no small part to the Bullet Club. However, New Japan can at times be a bit daunting to get into because, like WWE, it has decades of ongoing storylines composed of dozens of characters today alone. I myself have only followed the promotion for a couple years largely because of watching the weekly show on AXS TV which brought me to Ring of Honor’s weekly television show (which some don’t realize is often available on local stations). Friends of mine have started to follow wrestling recently and kept hearing about the Bullet Club and New Japan as I’ve tried to explain some of the company’s larger storylines without trying to lose them with an information dump. It’s with this in mind I thought to try and make an article that provides the basics so that new fans know what’s going on while tying it a bit to wrestling knowledge they already have.
Greetings! Some of you may know me as Kenny from the podcast and I am the newest member of the Nerdfect Strangers family. And here is the thing, I love reading comics and working at a comic book store I constantly get the question, “what am I reading and why?” So I thought I would share my love of comics with ya’ll. Some spoilers but not too many. Thanks and tell me what your reading. ✌🏾
In a recent interview with Newsarama, Black Lightning executive producer Salim Akil said that in the show’s second season, it will move towards assembling the Outsiders. Further, Akil mentioned the inclusion of Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) in the first season was a conscious effort toward this development. In the comics, when the Justice League refused to take action in a foreign country on Batman’s behalf, he left the group to work on his own with aid from Black Lightning. Therein, several more heroes emerged leading to the formation of the super team. Several members of the Outsiders have appeared thus far in the Arrowverse including Katana, Green Arrow, Arsenal, Indigo, Huntress, Dr. Light, and of course Black Lightning and his daughter Thunder. At this time, it’s unknown which Earth the Black Lightning series takes place upon as such won’t likely be known until the upcoming December five-part crossover that will introduce Batwoman. Further, with the upcoming Titans series dropping in the fall when DC Universe comes out of beta testing, it’s likely Nightwing, Starfire, Terra, Red Robin, and perhaps even Geo-Force (given Terra’s connection to the Titans) will be unavailable. Not to mention the likely upcoming Batwoman series which might embargo Batgirl/Orphan, Creeper, Owlman, and the Signal. Lets then see what heroes could show up to round out the team.
Two years ago, it was rumored Batwoman was coming to Supergirl. Such did not come to pass but next year, it’s expected the heroine will get her very own television series. At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, it was announced Batwoman will be joining the Arrowverse as part of a five episode crossover event that will also place Black Lightning in that same multiverse. At this time, it’s unknown what Earth the character will be placed upon (Bruce Wayne was only just referenced by name on Arrow last season as Batman has been alluded to but not named on Supergirl) or if such a question will even be necessary (details of the event are, again, yet known which then does not rule out an adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths). However, just after Comic-Con came the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour where we learned Batman exists in the Arrowverse but is not scheduled to appear, Batwoman lives in Gotham City, and that a pilot is being filmed for the mid-season to determine if there will be a series (however, it was also stated none of the Arrowverse shows are in any danger of being canceled which likely means executives are high on the brand and thus its extension). Recently, it was announced Ruby Rose (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, John Wick: Chapter 2) will be playing the eponymous character. Working with virtually no details, lets take a look at the character and speculate upon what a Batwoman television series could entail.
Al Rio Tribute Art Book Volume Three: Interview with Terry Maltos by Jerry Whitworth
The third volume of the Al Rio Tribute Art Book series has come to Kickstarter and it will be collecting work from the late artist’s 2008 portfolio. As with the past two crowdfunding campaigns, past volumes are available which are products of limited runs (meaning the only available copies of the first book are in fine condition with minor marks limited to only 60 remaining at the start of the campaign). Nerdfect Strangers had the opportunity to communicate with Al Rio’s friend and business partner Terry Maltos who is running the campaign for the eighty-page art book on behalf of the artist’s family.
Finally wrapping up news coming in from San Diego Comic-Con, I had planned to take a break from the continuous stream of articles I’ve been pumping out until I came across this:
A Toei live action tokusatsu Moon Knight series? This lead me down a rabbit hole of an alternate universe where Toei beat Netflix to the Defenders punch and cranked out a multitude of live action superhero television series putting the likes of Spider-Man, 3-D Man, Moon Knight, and the Silver Surfer on to Japanese airwaves. But before we get there, a little background. From an article I wrote just last week:
Recently, Collider broke the news that Jared Stern (LEGO Batman Movie, LEGO Ninjago Movie) will write and direct an animated film based on DC Comics’ Super Pets. At this time, few details are available about the project but DC Comics has a rich history with animal heroes. Comic books got their start collecting comic strips which frequently featured animal protagonists and when superheroes began to run out of fashion, animal characters made a return (in fact, Green Lantern found himself becoming replaced by his canine sidekick Streak in his own book). Animal analogies even emerged of these heroes as the Flash had a turtle version called the Terrific Whatzit and Superman received a similar treatment with Super-Turtle. By 1982, an entire animal version of the Justice League appeared in the Just’a Lotta Animals as part of the series Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! Regarding animal companions, heroes like Dr. Mid-Nite and Hawkman were some of the earliest adopters of the phenomenon with Hooty and Big Red, respectively. However, everything seemed to change around the start of the Silver Age when Superman acquired a Super-Dog in Krypto.