Tag Archives: DC Comics

Young Justice: Phantoms of Mars

Young Justice: Phantoms of Mars by Jerry Whitworth

With the surprise release of the first two episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms to coincide with DC Fandome, the two year wait for the fourth season of the cult favorite series Young Justice has ended. Focusing on the lives of the proteges and offspring of the Justice League of America along with other young heroes, Young Justice first aired in 2010. The show was canceled in 2013 after two seasons despite its popularity when toy sales for it and other DC properties failed to perform well enough at the time. However, it was given a new life as an exclusive series for the new streaming service DC Universe and returned with a third season in Outsiders in 2019. Unfortunately, DC Universe struggled in the emerging streaming service climate and Young Justice lingered for years before returning from the dead yet again now as part of HBO Max. Little is known what this new season will entail but thus far, the latest offering has delved heavily into the alien world of Mars. Lets take a look at what we’ve seen thus far and how it relates to the source material. Warning: there will be SPOILERS.

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Make It So: Super7 ReAction Super Powers

Make It So: Super7 ReAction Super Powers by Jerry Whitworth

The 1980s was the golden age of the toy industry. The likes of G.I. Joe, Transformers, and the Masters of the Universe grew to become multi-billion dollar industries. One of the lesser known yet financially successful brands that has endured to today is Super Powers. Featuring the characters of DC Comics rendered in plastic masterfully crafted by the sculptors at Kenner, Super Powers acquired its name from the mechanical motion the action figures produced from squeezing hidden trigger levers. Initially releasing an impressive twelve figures in its first wave in 1984 including Superman, Batman, Robin, Joker, Lex Luthor, and Wonder Woman, Super Powers grew to produce 34 figures, eight vehicles, and one playset over the span of three years. Crashing alongside the rest of the action figure market in 1986, toy historian Jason “Toy Otter” Geyer uncovered a myriad of figures that were in the pipeline including a sub-line known as Power Plus. In the years since, the brand has consistently re-emerged time and again, notably in maquettes from Sideshow/Tweeterhead, statues from Kotobukiya, and action figures from Figures Toy Company and Mattel within the last decade. With this in mind, the time is ripe for Super7 to tackle Super Powers for its ReAction line.

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What Could Have Been: He-Man/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

What Could Have Been: He-Man/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Jerry Whitworth

Late last month, creator Freddie E. Williams II began selling pencil studies for a proposed He-Man/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover comic book series. At the time, Williams simple stated the project was delayed twice over the last year before being canceled. Williams had previously worked on such crossovers as Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I-III, He-Man/ThunderCats, and Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe. The art sold depicted mash-ups between various characters from both franchises showing Leonardo as He-Man, Michelangelo with Orko magic wand nunchaku, Raphael in Teela-inspired armor, Donatello with Man-at-Arms-based equipment, Prince Adam dressed as a ninja with the Ninja Turtles’ weapons, and an amalgamation of Shredder and Skeletor dubbed Shreddator. Recently, the creator spoke with the Raging Bullets podcast to discuss the defunct story.

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What Could Have Been: The CW’s Unproduced Arrowverse Shows

What Could Have Been: The CW’s Unproduced Arrowverse Shows by Jerry Whitworth

When Arrow made its television debut in 2012, no one knew it would explode into what became the Arrowverse (or the CWverse) with the Flash, Constantine, Vixen, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Freedom Fighters: The Ray, Black Lightning, Batwoman, Stargirl, Superman & Lois, and Naomi (not to mention all the connections made through Crisis on Infinite Earths). However, with the establishment of HBO Max, it seems its time is quickly coming to an end as recent attempts to continue to grow the brand have mostly collapsed while the streaming service picked up Doom Patrol, Titans, Peacemaker, Green Lantern, Strange Adventures, Justice League Dark, Constantine, and an untitled Gotham PD project (as Netflix plays with Lucifer and Sandman). Before the CW gives up being the superhero channel to whatever form it will take next (undoubtedly featuring young, attractive people that make poor decisions), lets take a look at what shows almost joined the Arrowverse/CWverse but didn’t make it to television.

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Top 10: DC Rogues’ Galleries

Top 10: DC Rogues’ Galleries by Jerry Whitworth

A hero is only as good as the villains they face. Captain America and the Red Skull, Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, X-Men and Magneto, Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom, Iron Man and the Mandarin, Thor and Loki, Wolverine and Sabretooth, Hulk and the Leader, Daredevil and the Kingpin, Dr. Strange and Dormammu, Ghost Rider and Mephisto, Punisher and Jigsaw: good villains define great heroes. DC Comics quickly became the ground bed of superheroes following the popularity of Superman and equally gave rise to its share of memorable supervillains. Lets examine which rogues’ galleries are the best the multimedia brand has to offer.

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Make It So: The DC Cinematic Multiverse

Make It So: The DC Cinematic Multiverse by Jerry Whitworth

With the announcement of Batman ’89 and Superman ’78 from DC Comics following in the footsteps of series such as Batman ’66, Wonder Woman ’77, Smallville: Season 11, and assorted Arrowverse comics, the stage is set to tell a comic book story in the DC cinematic multiverse. A lot of the groundwork for this kind of series has already been established in the Arrowverse thanks in no small part to its Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. Therein, the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline was adapted in a toned down version featuring characters from the 1990 Flash television series, Smallville, and the DC Extended Universe, to name a few, as several Earths were merged into one and cutoff from the rest of the greater multiverse. Lets take a look at what a DC cinematic multiverse comic book series could entail.

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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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