Human Target: The Unlikely Television Hero

Human Target: The Unlikely Television Hero by Jerry Whitworth

With series like The Adventures of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, DC Comics’ characters were no strangers to television and often times proved to be culturally iconic. Beyond the trinity and their assorted supporting characters (Supergirl, Batwoman, etc), the likes of company heavyweights such as the Flash, Captain Marvel/Shazam, and Green Arrow made their marks across airwaves as well. But there were also some peculiar characters that made the transition and caught on with viewers. One such character was Swamp Thing, the star of two feature films, two live action television series, and an animated series with accompanying toyline. Undoubtedly, this development arose from the critical acclaim of Alan Moore’s run with the property and a likely desire to diversify from solely superheroes. But arguably a more interesting choice for adaptation was the Human Target.

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Superman Lives: Tim Burton’s Man of Steel

Superman Lives: Tim Burton’s Man of Steel by Jerry Whitworth

With the announcement of Batman ’89 and Superman ’78, the memory of an entity that almost was can be stirred up. 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace effectively ended the life of Superman at the box office while Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) brought superheroes back into theaters. Warner Bros. sought to tap Burton to apply his magic touch to the Man of Steel with Superman Lives. However, three weeks before filming, the motion picture was abruptly canceled. For years, stories have been told about the doomed project with a snapshot of star Nicolas Cage dressed as Superman one of the few relics of this mysterious work. Filmmaker Jon Schnepp finally got to the heart of Superman Lives and revealed its secrets in his 2015 documentary The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?

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Make It So: AEW Comics

Make It So: AEW Comics by Jerry Whitworth

With the recent release of their first mobile game and announcement of new waves of their Unrivaled line of action figures (as well as the upcoming Unmatched line), All Elite Wrestling is expanding its reach beyond pro wrestling by leaps and bounds. It only makes sense then that the brand would reach the printed comic book page. Fans were teased such a development in September 2019 when DC Comics produced posters of some of AEW’s biggest stars. Sam Linsky, senior vice president and co-head of scripted originals for TBS, TNT and truTV, confirmed a more direct collaboration being on the horizon when he told Variety last year, “We have an opportunity to use all facets of WarnerMedia in a way that most places can’t…We’ve got a comic book company. We’ve got video game companies. We’ve got merchandising people. We’ve got people who make animation for television. We’ve got reality television producers. It’s all in house. So we have a real opportunity to spread this IP and grow it across WarnerMedia.” Lets take a look at what that could entail.

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Make It So: Superman ’78/Wonder Woman ’77

Make It So: Superman ’78/Wonder Woman ’77 by Jerry Whitworth

Announced earlier this month, Robert Venditti and Wilfredo Torres will be bringing back Richard Donner’s Superman (1978) film for the limited comic book series Superman ’78. Little to nothing is known about the title but it’s speculated to take place between the events of the first two motion pictures. While only slated to last six issues, if the book performs well, it could easily lead to more entries. A popular option could be teaming the iconic portrayal of Superman by Christopher Reeve with the equally iconic Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. Something of a double header, Superman dominated the big screen while Wonder Woman was a hit on the small screen in the late ’70s. A combination of the two has been a dream of fans for decades that thus far has only been a fantasy. Lets take a look what such a series could entail.

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Make It So: Batman ’89/TMNT ’90

Make It So: Batman ’89/TMNT ’90 by Jerry Whitworth

Announced earlier in the month, Sam Hamm and Joe Quinones will return to the world of Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman in the limited comic book series Batman ’89. Set to tackle elements that didn’t find its way into the sequel Batman Returns (1992) such as the introduction of Robin and Harvey Dent’s transition to Two-Face, time will tell if the title will prove popular enough to be picked up for more adventures. If so, one route that fans will undoubtedly clamor for would be a crossover with the 1990s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films. Featuring stunt work from Golden Harvest and the puppetry of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the TMNT movies were the most successful independent films of its time and helped fuel the franchise’s cultural phenomenon. In recent years, the two brands have certainly been no strangers to each other.

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Bat-Snacks: The History of Batman and Mystery, Inc.

Bat-Snacks: The History of Batman and Mystery, Inc. by Jerry Whitworth

On March 27th, the first digital chapters of Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries will begin being released teaming the Dark Knight and Mystery, Inc. The two entities have a history of teaming together dating back nearly five decades beginning in The New Scooby-Doo Movies. A team up series that saw the likes of the Addams Family, Harlem Globetrotters, Three Stooges, and Laurel and Hardy crossing over with Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo, the Dynamic Duo of Batman and Robin appeared for two episodes to help combat the Joker and the Penguin. The appearances were viewed as something of a pilot for Filmation losing the DC Comics license to Hanna-Barbera making way for the failed first season of Super Friends. While Filmation focused on action for its adaptation, Super Friends followed a tone much more in line with Scooby-Doo avoiding violence and went so far as to feature an intelligent canine named Wonder Dog and teenagers Wendy Harris and Marvin White. The series lasted one season but returned a few years later to coincide with the success of the Wonder Woman television series (sans Wonder Dog). It took nearly four decades for Batman and Scooby-Doo to again cross paths.

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Make It So: Flash ’90

Make It So: Flash ’90 by Jerry Whitworth

Recently it was announced DC Comics will be publishing Batman ’89 and Superman ’78, comic book miniseries based on the Tim Burton Batman and Richard Donner Superman film series, respectively. Not long after, Jamal Igle offered the services of Sterling Gates and himself for Flash ’90, a sequel to the 1990 Flash television series. In 1988, Warner Bros. wanted to start adapting its properties for live action television again with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in the rear view mirror of being hits in the respective ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. CBS had interest in a series based on the adventures of the Flash and tapped Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo to adapt it for the small screen. The release of Batman (1989) proved to be heavily influential for the series, setting a darker tone with a detailed, molded superhero suit, a modern setting in a background with a 1940s aesthetic, and an orchestral soundtrack. Already an expensive prospect, the special effects nature of the character’s adventures made the show carry a high price tag (the pilot alone cost six million dollars with the average episode costing nearly two million, which accounting for inflation would be worth double that today). Sadly, the show ended after a single season of 22 episodes when it failed to defeat NBC’s The Cosby Show and Fox’s The Simpsons, television juggernauts of their time with pre-existing audiences. Lets see what a Flash ’90 series could entail.

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From Screen to Page: Superman ’78

From Screen to Page: Superman ’78 by Jerry Whitworth

Recently it was announced DC Comics will be publishing Batman ’89 and Superman ’78, comic book miniseries based on the Tim Burton Batman and Richard Donner Superman film series, respectively. The latter will feature the work of Robert Venditti and Wilfredo Torres but few details have thus far been released about the plot. Torres has a long history of producing fan art of the Christopher Reeve Superman and scenes from Donner’s films of the character. An intriguing aspect regarding the Donner Superman movies is that the first two motion pictures of the series were filmed simultaneously with a reported 75% of the sequel completed before the first entry was finished. Donner, however, wouldn’t have the opportunity to finish the follow-up when disagreements led to his removal from the project. The world finally gained a better semblance of Donner’s vision for Superman II (1980) in 2006 with the release of the Donner Cut which tried to set a more serious tone with a greater focus on action. Donner had plans for a third and fourth Superman film before his removal which may inform what Superman ’78 could entail.

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From Screen to Page: Batman ’89

From Screen to Page: Batman ’89 by Jerry Whitworth

Recently it was announced DC Comics will be publishing Batman ’89 and Superman ’78, comic book miniseries based on the Tim Burton Batman and Richard Donner Superman film series, respectively. The former will feature Batman (1989) screenwriter Sam Hamm and artist Joe Quinones tackling story elements that didn’t make it into Batman Returns (1992). Following Batman ’66, which was based in the world of the 1966 Batman television series, and Wonder Woman ’77 based on The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, Joe Quinones and Kate Leth pitched a Batman ’89 series in 2015. Quinones revealed this series would have seen the return of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent transition to Two-Face, and Tim Burton-inspired versions of Robin, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy. This series was rejected but could indicate some of what’s to come especially with Quinones’ involvement in the upcoming title. Lets take a look at what Batman ’89 could entail.

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Top 10: Cartoons That Need to be Revived

Top 10: Cartoons That Need to be Revived by Jerry Whitworth

Nostalgia is a powerful force and with the kids of the 1980s, arguably the most creative decade in modern history, hitting middle age, the time is ripe to mine those happy memories. While reboots are nothing new, sequels to pre-existing television series have exploded in recent history. Akira Toriyama returned to his hit Dragon Ball with Dragon Ball Super, Young Justice was revived for the DC Universe streaming service (and now HBO Max), Rocko’s Modern Life developed Static Cling and Invader Zim returned to Enter the Florpus in 2019 for Netflix, Animaniacs added more baloney to their slacks on Hulu, Masters of the Universe: Revelation will continue the story started by Filmation for Netflix, Disney+ will make the Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, Tiny Toons is going back to school for HBO Max‘s Looniversity, and the rumor mill has X-Men: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series returning. Lets take a look at what other cartoons could be getting a sequel in the future.

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Top 10: Episodes for Dark Side of the Ring Season 3

Top 10: Episodes for Dark Side of the Ring Season 3 by Jerry Whitworth

Vice’s hit documentary series Dark Side of the Ring is well into production of its expanded third season with eight of its fourteen episodes allegedly revealed. Wrestler Mance Warner shared an image via Twitter claiming season three will include among its topics Brian Pillman, Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW), Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW), Nick Gage, WCW/NJPW Collision in Korea 1995, Smith Family (including Jake “The Snake” Roberts), and Ion Croitoru. Mike Johnson of PWInsider also claims an episode on Chris Kanyon is in development. With over half the season revealed, the only question that remains is what will fill out the rest of the series’ third installment. We already know what will not be included in Chyna/Joanie Laurer. Following the announcement of the third season, it was revealed plans included featuring the deceased performer but were scrapped when it was learned her family was already well into producing a documentary film on her life and untimely passing. Lets then take a look at what could still emerge in the series this year.

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Top 10: Characters for Batman: The Animated Series Return

Top 10: Characters for Batman: The Animated Series Return by Jerry Whitworth

Since the end of Batman: The Animated Series and its sequel series The New Batman Adventures and Batman Beyond, fans have clamored for a return to that world. Giving rise to the so-called DC Animated Universe which included shows like Superman: The Animated Series, Lobo, Gotham Girls, Static Shock, The Zeta Project, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited, the brand has seen a recent resurgence with films like Batman and Harley Quinn (2017) and Justice League vs. the Fatal Five (2019). However, if rumors are to be believed, Batman: The Animated Series will be getting a sequel web-exclusive series. Entertainment insider Daniel Richtman reported earlier in the month that HBO Max is well into development of the project with acclaimed director Kevin Smith recently claiming he has also heard this rumor about a month ago from his own insiders. Breaking the internet, the world now eagerly awaits official confirmation. While we wait, lets look at what characters might be making the transition to the DCAU in this upcoming proposed series.

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Top 10: Villains for Fantastic Four (2023)

Top 10: Villains for Fantastic Four (2023) by Jerry Whitworth

Teased at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 and formally announced at Disney’s 2020 Investor Day, the Fantastic Four are coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Likely emerging in 2023, Jon Watts of the MCU Spider-Man films is set to direct the upcoming motion picture. Fans have speculated the groundwork for the movie will be set-up everywhere from the upcoming Spider-Man film to the WandaVision series on Disney+ (both projects allegedly tied to 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) to 2022’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to Secret Invasion on Disney+ (likely dropping in 2022). However way by which Marvel’s first family makes the transition, the first question in the audience’s mind is what threat the team will face in their movie. Given the presence of the Kree and Skrull in the MCU already, odds are they’ll be employed elsewhere. With the abject failure of the Inhumans, that project and its characters may never be heard of again in the MCU. As the theatrical rights status of Sub-Mariner remains unknown, Atlantis could likely be overlooked as well. Thus, lets look at what villains could show up in the upcoming Fantastic Four movie.

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From Page to Screen: Armor Wars

From Page to Screen: Armor Wars by Jerry Whitworth

Announced during the 2020 Disney’s Investor Day, War Machine James Rhodes (portrayed by Don Cheadle) will get to spotlight his own Disney+ series in Armor Wars. Described as featuring ‘Tony Stark’s technology falling into the wrong hands,’ the plot is not dissimilar from that of the first two Iron Man films. Therein, Stark’s business partner stole his technology and donned the Iron Monger suit in the 2008 movie while the son of his father’s partner used arc reactor technology to build a drone army for the 2010 sequel. Arguably, 2013’s third entry in the brand’s series could fall into this category when the Iron Patriot armor was stolen but that was to further a revenge plot rather than replicate Stark’s technology. 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home also featured Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio acquire Stark’s orbital weapons platform from the titular hero. Lets take a look at what an Armor Wars series could entail.

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Top 10: Mutant Teams for the MCU

Top 10: Mutant Teams for the MCU by Jerry Whitworth

Following the Fox acquisition by Disney, Marvel Studios gained the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four. When Kevin Feige, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, teased the fifth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he mentioned the addition of ‘mutants’ rather than the X-Men. Perhaps this statement is something as simple as accounting for the Deadpool franchise as a separate entity. Or, this could mean a broader plan for the slate of characters from the brand beyond simply X-Men movies. Lets take a look at some of the teams that could form the foundation of new brands in the Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond the X-Men.

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