Batman: The Animated Newsletter
Weeks of March 27 – April 8/9, 2000
Rated: PG for some “low-key coarse language and occasional griping”
THIS ISSUE’S SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: “CONGRATS TO BATMAN, SUPERMAN, AND BEYOND ON THE EMMY AND PRISM AWARDS THEY’VE WON (and been nominated for)!”
MAKE US LOOK LIKE FOOLS AND SEE YOUR NAME IN PRINT!
Yep, you heard right! Ever since the issue #1, my hasty editing procedures have always left not just a few, but sometimes a whole horde of simple errors, grammatical problems, untrue facts, and whatnot. Just no typos – you’ve gotta be more creative than that! Here’s where YOU come in. If you can find any mistakes in this issue (we’re not purposely making mistakes – any mistakes you find will be ones we were too blind to see), we’ll print your name in the following issue in a special column. Sound fun?
Come on. Make us look like idiots. We dare ya. Grrrr.
-Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
the tremendously warped editor
THOSE WHO POINTED OUT OUR FAULTS
No one. HA! Does this mean our newsletter was flawless? Hardly…
Due to forthcoming exams, essays, finals, and other damnable academic intrusions into the lives of both editors, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED NEWSLETTER will be taking yet another two-week break. See you all on April 10th!
Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
New episodes are on the horizon! Here’s what we can expect in the near future…
Batman Beyond #34
Air date: April 1, 2000
Because of an assignment in Family Studies class, Batman must chase down a gang of thieves – Ma Mayhem and her sons – while caring for a computerized egg baby.
Batman Beyond #28
Air date: April 8, 2000
Batman joins forces with the military to recover a robotic assassin, until he discovers that the robot has escaped the government’s clutches because it no longer wants to be a killing machine. Batman jumps sides and helps the robot escape.
For synopses of all other upcoming second season BATMAN BEYOND episodes, check out of
BTAN at this address:
WB ANIMATION SCHEDULES:
(courtesy of Brian Cruz and/or the official BTAS/STAS site)
THE NEW BATMAN/SUPERMAN ADVENTURES air Mondays thru Saturday; BATMAN BEYOND also airs on these
days. Check local listings each day for what show is on at what time.
If our schedule is not updated, then go to the following URL. It will ALWAYS contain the most
up-to-date schedule possible.
Mon 03-27-00: Superman #34 Heavy Metal
B-BEYOND #17 Lost Soul
Tue 03-28-00: Batman #67 A Bullet for Bullock
Superman #51 Superman’s Pal
Wed 03-29-00: Superman #13 Two’s A Crowd
Batman #109 Judgement Day
Thu 03-30-00: Batman #18 Beware the Grey Ghost
Superman #45 Knight Time
Fri 03-31-00: Superman #22 Speed Demons
B-BEYOND #19 Hidden Agenda
Sat 04-01-00: Superman #49 The Demon Reborn
B-BEYOND #34 The Eggbaby ————> NEW!!!
Mon 04-02-00: Batman #100 Cult of the Cat
B-BEYOND #09 Spellbound
Tue 04-03-00: Batman #70 House and Garden
Superman #27 The Prometheon
Wed 04-04-00: Batman #76 Baby-Doll
Batman #94 Love is a Croc
Thu 04-05-00: Batman #96 The Ultimate Thrill
Superman #52 Little Big Head Man
Fri 04-06-00: Batman #107 Chemistry
B-BEYOND #14 Joyride
Sat 04-07-00: Superman #54 Fish Story
B-BEYOND #28 Zeta —————> NEW!!!
All episodes #86 and onward of BATMAN are considered THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES while the original 85 are considered BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (BTAS) episodes.
CANADIAN EPISODE SCHEDULE
(BATMAN, SUPERMAN, and BEYOND on YTV)
(courtesy of our friends at YTV)
-To find the episode guide and airing schedule of BATMAN and BATMAN BEYOND on YTV then please go to //www.ytv.com and click on the YTV GUIDE icon at the bottom of the screen. To check out the schedule then click on BATMAN or BATMAN BEYOND in the time grid and it will have the schedule for the current week.
BTAS will air at Noon on weekdays (in all time zones), and BATMAN BEYOND will air at 2:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. YTV has the rights to show all 109 BTAS episodes. They also have the rights to air the first 26 episodes of BATMAN BEYOND (all of season 1 and the first half of season 2).
YTV will be making some schedule alterations very soon. Thanx to WF’s official newsman Mr. Eye, we were able to get a hold of some of them! And here they are…
Mon 03-27-00: BTAS #42 Moon of the Wolf
Tue 03-28-00: BTAS #45 Terror in the Sky
Wed 03-29-00: BTAS #38 Heart of Steel (Pt. 1)
Thu 03-30-00: BTAS #44 Heart of Steel (Pt. 2)
Fri 03-31-00: BTAS #40 “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?”
Sat 04-01-00: BEYOND #15 Earth Mover
Sun 04-02-00: BEYOND #16 Splicers
Check out //www.ytv.com for updated schedules for this week!
CARTOON NETWORK WB ANIMATION SCHEDULE:
(courtesy of Brian Cruz)
THE CARTOON NETWORK was able to get the exclusive rights to 52 episodes of the classic BTAS, as well as both animated movies. BTAS airs Monday-Friday at 6pm (ET) and then repeated again at midnight. If our schedule listings is not complete or up to date then please go to either of these sites for the schedule:
To see the 52 episodes that the CARTOON NETWORK does show, go to this link:
NOTE: The schedules at Brian Cruz’ site are currently unavailable; if anyone knows of any other place where people can get listings for BTAS on the Cartoon Network, please e-mail us!
EPISODE REVIEW: (SPOILERS!)
(by Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton)
All of Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton’s reviews of the new-style BTAS episodes and BATMAN BEYOND can be found via these links, which link to “Two-Face’s Tower of Tranquility and Terror”:
MAIN PAGE: //www.angelfire.com/tx/TimTwoFace/index.html
BTAS PAGE: //www.angelfire.com/tx/TimTwoFaceText/bats.html
The creative “team” for this column alternates between Zanna and Justin Chen, two loyal subscribers and great friends of ours here. Any other reviews printed here are written by editor Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton. Enjoy!
Story by Alan Burnett
Teleplay by Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Dan Riba
Animation by Dong Yang, Koko
Original Air Date: March 25, 2000
Rating: **** (out of 5)
DESCRIPTION: A gossip reporter uses advanced technology to become incoporeal and walk through walls. He uses this to discover Batman’s true identity and reveal it to the world.
HIGHS: Pretty interesting concept, Terry/Bruce interaction, good all-around dialogue, mob makes a (brief) return, and the peek scenes are hilarious!
LOWS: Somewhat abrupt ending, the secret identities part could’ve been played even more.
OVERALL: The good eps are back again!
Alright, the last couple of Batman Beyond eps haven’t exactly been groundbreaking material. “Final Cut” was OK for action but not great, “Last Resort” was at best average, and “Armory”…ugh. (My opinions may differ from Zanna’s shown previously). Thankfully “Sneak Peek” makes up for all that with an ep that’s got a cool plot, plenty of Bruce screentime, and a bit of humor to boot.
A boxing trainer caught with the champ’s girlfriend. A rock star who’s illegally spliced her genes. And Paxton Powers seen at a private party, where we can tell by the women he’s not too interested in Batman. All of these stories are broadcast on “The Inside Peek”, a tabloid show hosted by gossip reporter Ian Peek. The stories are indeed hot material, and even Terry’s hooked. How does he obtain all that up-close footage? By walking through walls.
By using some sort of strange device (which is explained later), Ian Peek can lose his solid state and go virtually anywhere. The first stories are mostly harmless small talk, but when he spies on a Tong (an Asian mob of some sort) member cutting a deal with D.A. Sam Young, things get pretty serious. Batman catches Peek while escaping from the meeting, and is shocked to see his punches go right through. As long as Peek is incorporeal, Bats can’t touch him, but Peek can certainly hit back. The reporter easily escapes Terry. When Terry sees the Tong footage on the Web (that’s their TV equivalent in BB time), he pays Peek a visit at the studio. The Tong bursts in to kill Peek, and Terry is forced to fight them off. Peek slips out, and notices the batmobile. Seeing the chance, he secretly places a video camera inside. We can see where this leads very easily. Peek catches both Bruce and Terry in the act, and plans to broadcast it to the world. Unfortunately for him, the reporter’s got bigger problems to worry about…
This ep was definitely better than the last few. Not only is the plot refreshingly new, but Bruce gets some real airtime in this one. All the characters here are given good lines as well. Bruce’s relationship with Terry is made quite clear here. When Bruce gets exposed, Terry flies into Peek’s office to plead on his behalf.
Peek: “He was the original Batman, wasn’t he? Wasn’t he?”
Terry: “I don’t care what you do to me, but he doesn’t deserve this. He’s done too much for this city to wind up in the middle of a media circus.”
Peek: “He means a lot to you, doesn’t he?”
Terry: “Yes…he does.”
The broadcast part isn’t all of the story…that takes a back seat in the end to a major problem of Peek’s caused by overuse of the technology. This episode ties up the loose ends quite nicely before it closes, giving us some new insight into Peek’s character. The ending itself was rather sudden, and it causes me to think of Peek as a one-shot villain. In any case, this ep was probably the most enjoyable BB episode in a long time.
-Justin Chen, aka The Overseer
(by Kelly Tindall)
Note: Kelly has supplied TWO articles for this issue of the newsletter – scroll down past the first to find the second. Enjoy!
THE JOKER CONNECTION
You know, until 1992, I did not like the Joker at all. There was something about him that I just did not like, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Perhaps I felt he’d never been given a proper voice or look, or maybe I just hated how damned skinny he was.
Then, Batman: The Animated Series came along and ruined everything.
The Bruce Timm/Mike Mignola/Kevin Nowlan/others designs recreated a Gotham City vague to most and well-known to almost none. They messed around with things and threw out what didn’t work, and the result was gold. My personal favorite twist was to hand over the Clown Prince of Crime to a funny-animal writer named Dini and see what he could do with him.
I’d already been impressed with the new designs. Man-Bat was terrifying and monstrous. Mr. Freeze was heartbreaking, and Catwoman was voluptuous and sleek. I’d seen the Penguin and a good deal of the other villains, but I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of the Joker.
Then, five minutes into “Joker’s Favor”, he turned and winked at Charles Michael Collins, and I swear to God I thought he was looking at me.
>From there on in, it’s been part hero worship, part total revulsion. He’s an unrepentant monster, an evil man who kills for fun and takes pleasure from torturing and humiliating everyone around him. But LOOK at him! Debonair profile, impeccable taste, personal style, and a devil’s wit. Coupled with the Grace Allen of the cartoon world, Harley Quinn, he became droll. No longer a cartoon misfit, the Joker had become a sly, sleazy, narcissistic con man, whose strength was mad genius and whose weapons were words as much as guns.
Mark Hamill’s voice brought a vaudevillian twist to the character…no longer was he simply a scattered maniac, but spoke as though he had carefully chosen his own personal dialog. He spoke with the burr and tilt of a classic actor, convinced that the high-level crimes he was pulling off were more like psychopathic performance art. The whole world was watching, and that’s what the Joker wanted. Who in their right mind would have ever considered Luke Skywalker for the part of the greatest comic-book villain of all time?
The hair…nobody I’ve ever talked to has noted the hair, but it has to be said. Look how much better he looked with sleek, tilted-up hair, an emerald green so deep it appeared black. As a logical extension of his head beyond his gruesome jaw, the hair gave him a profile that is totally unmistakable. I didn’t miss the curly locks one bit.
The writing was, of course, marvelous. Dini mined the history of the character, and threw in everything from the Joker’s famous ability with explosives to his novelty weapons. The laughing fish were in there, but so was Joker’s knack for disguise. We saw him fly an airplane, we saw him play the piano. We saw him swallow swords, and we saw him deal cards. Not only the Joker of his personal deck, but a Jack of all trades, and a King in his own mind. And his own world. With Harley as his Queen (and phantom Ace as well), the Joker proved time and time again that it’s okay to root for the bad guy. As long as you realize that the man in
the bat suit is not going to be in on the joke.
* * * * *
WHO IS THE JOKE ON, ANYWAY?
Perhaps the most curious enigma of the entire Batman cartoon empire that has dominated the minds of young boys for nearly a decade is Harleen Quinzel, doctor of psychoanalysis and total nutbag. Yes, this high priestess of the cracker factory has somehow tunneled her way into the collective dim unconscious of those who know of comic books. She has, of course, catapulted directly into the forefront of those who simply love her. With her own title, a la Catwoman, on the way, let’s take a look at the merry little misfit, shall we?
And let me be the first to say that it better not stink to hell like Catwoman does. Every month, there it is, right next the Batman titles, just waiting to suck.
Harley is innocent. She’s also sexy, and innocent sexiness is perhaps one of the most endearing traits of a woman in ANY popular culture arena. Particularly a blonde. Let’s not forget Chrissie on Three’s Company, shall we? Goldie Hawn giggled to fame on Laugh-In, and any toffee-topped mendicant on anything from Full House to whatever teen nightmare is ‘genre-bending’ mindless t.v. audiences this week is bound to attract both female and male attention.
Harley is capable. She’s deceptively intelligent, incredibly agile, and thanks to a slight overhaul by overseer and Joker guru Paul Dini, is now commander of superhuman powers. This is not a bad thing. It’s good to see a woman so clearly hooked on a man be perfectly capable of taking her life in her own hands. She can take care of herself, where a lot of women can not.
She’s also the anti-bad girl, which is something comics need these days. Bad girls can’t be explicit on television, but Catwoman and Harley are NOT a good match…and thus, have never really met. Except for the time Harley tried to kill her, but any henchmen would do the same.
It’s also refreshing, sort of, to see a woman in a book be truly in love with somebody, and try to change that person for the better. The Joker is not going to become a hero any time soon (and if he does, I’m moving to Nebraska and calling myself ‘Spud’), but his characters wrinkles are definitely more in evidence when his awesome ego is conflicted by a flighty little, as he calls her, ‘minx’.
It remains to be seen how the comics are going to treat Harley now that she’s dipped below the radar of the savvy tv viewer…Let’s hope she’s not put in situations where she gets to deal with terribly pathetic villains such as the Hellcats or Catmans that Catwoman has had to deal with. Let’s hope she finds her voice and becomes an important addition to DC’s lineup, and not another Anarky or Creeper, waiting patiently to be cancelled.
After all, kiddo…we’re rootin’ for ya!
Now, why didn’t Dini and Timm come up with any other characters so successful? All I see is Montoya and, uck, Lock-Up….
AND THAT’S THE FACTS
(by “Reliable Source”)
(Yes, I understand that the title is grammatically incorrect. So sue us. Actually, nix that. Don’t sue us.)
(DISCLAIMER: For those of you who are not yet familiar, Reliable Source is an anonymous character who first surfaced on Batman: The Animated Message Boards, spewing forth ridiculous predictions about the future of Batman Beyond under the guise of spoiler warnings. His controversial posts created quite a buzz, and have landed him a temporary column with this newsletter. The thoughts and ideas expressed by this shady character are in no way officially connected to Kids WB, Batman Beyond, this newsletter, or anything that is decent or holy. That said, on with the show.)
SPECIAL IN THIS ISSUE (#1)
Jay Allman is a long-time subscriber to BATMAN: THE ANIMATED NEWSLETTER, and recently decided to submit an article in direct opposition to my Paul Dini article WAY back in . Anyhow, enjoy!
A DEFENSE OF PAUL DINI
Tim “TWO FACE” Leighton fell into heresy a few months back – he actually denied the divinity of Paul Dini. Paul Dini! They guy who wrote “Heart of Ice”! And created Harley Quinn! Who wrote Batman: Animated! Clearly ol’ “Two-Face” needs to be tossed back into Arkham with the other loonies.
But seriously, folks. “Two-Face” likes a lot of Dini’s stuff; the man’s “got talent, that’s a given,” our editor wrote in issue 40. But he thinks Dini’s gone soft: Instead of “in-depth scripts, delving into the human psyche, now all his scripts [are] filled with lame jokes and cheap sex shows.”
To which the obvious response is: What’s wrong with lame jokes and cheap sex shows?
OK, that’s a poor response. And I’m not going to argue that “Joker’s Millions” and “Harlequinade” are terrific. In fact, to defend him I’m going to have to argue for a deep reappraisal of his work.
You see, most Batman watchers think Dini has only two modes: Tragic and Comic. Sometimes he mixes them together, but usually he leans one way or the other – though lately though he’s mostly gone the comedy route. But I think Dini’s got three modes, not two: what I’ll call “Heavy Psychodrama,” “Light Psychodrama”, and “Artifice.” Understand this, and you’ll understand why “Joker’s Millions,” though not to all tastes, is not the horrible betrayal a lot people take it to be.
When people praise Dini, it’s usually for his sympathetic villains, like Mr. Freeze. Of course, Dini isn’t the only Batman writer to make his villains sympathetic, but I think he’s up to something deeper. True, Dini’s villains are victims, but they are really victims of their own illusions, and these stories are cautionary tales about self-deception.
The clearest instance of this is “Mad as a Hatter.” Jervis Tetch starts (and ends) sympathetically, as nothing more than a man in love with a girl who is by no means outside his class. He’s not a freak or a madman, only a shy man progressively overwhelmed by his insecurities, and who becomes a villain only when he uses his mind-control devices to win her affections. That is, his failure is one of imagination: He simply cannot picture Alice loving him as he is. His great mistake is in trying to change the world instead of himself (or his self-image); and his tragedy is that he finally prefers the illusion of love to the real thing. This is how a purely psychological delusion leads to the tragic deformation of the real world, and how the action of the episode doubles as the dramatic expression of Tetch’s inner turmoil.
Tetch knows what he wants, but drives himself toward an unsatisfactory substitute. “Joker’s Favor” is also about a man suffering under an illusion, but escapes. Collins, the Joker’s victim and catspaw, spends most of the episode thinking that he only needs to escape, and that if he runs far enough and fast enough he can make it. But escape would be unsatisfactory, because in running from the Joker Collins is also running away from his own self-respect. Fortunately, he realizes this in time, and turns, confronts and beats the Joker on his own terms and turf. His is a tragedy averted, but it is still the story of an individual trying to right his psyche.
These stories (and I would include “Heart of Ice,” “House and Garden,” “Babydoll,” and “Over the Edge” among them) are deeply interiorized, in that they are fundamentally about some character confronting (or avoiding) their own true selves, desires and needs, and use the external action mainly to dramatize these inner states; they are stories about inner distortions projected onto the outer world. And they are serious not because they lack humor or rely on pathos, but because they illustrate a serious theme: the havoc that can result from a dangerous lack of self-knowledge and the unwillingness to confront oneself unsparingly.
Usually, an episode like “Heart of Ice” will be contrasted (favorably) with one like “Harlequinade,” because the former is serious and the latter comic. But if “Heart of Ice” stands as just a particularly dark instance of Dini’s desire to probe the psychology of his characters, then the real contrast should be with something completely lacking in character and psychology: something like “Almost Got ‘Im.”
That episode is a game, and a game only, on every level: villains at a card-game, swapping stories about the fun they’ve had trying to “get” Batman, with one of them being Batman in disguise, playing along so he can find out where the Joker’s stashed the kidnapped Catwoman. And Dini’s playing a game too, abandoning story and psychological exploration so he can tease us with the games that comic books play to keep our attention. By giving us a series of set- pieces and climaxes, with neither set-up or pay-off, he kiddingly accuses us of having only the shallowest kind of interest in cartoon adventure.
It’s a highly stylized episode, which by manipulating story and character in superficial and artificial ways emphasizes the superficial and artificial nature of the comic-book genre. So, too, “Holiday Knights” concentrates on the absurd notion that criminal loonies should tailor their plots to the particular season, and impudently reminds us of the way that villains glom onto and exploit a schtick to all lengths. “Joker’s Wild” asks us to root for the Joker, and so teases us into admitting that, secretly, we oftentimes want to see the villain win. “The Man Who Killed Batman” reminds us that absurd heroics and villainy require an absurdly over-endowed hero, and does so by giving us the adventure while keeping the hero off-screen as much as possible.
These are remarkable and entirely successful attempts to explore the limits of the genre: By concentrating on the artificial conventions that sustain it, an episode like this reminds us that it is a brittle genre that works only through the awesome suspension of disbelief, and tempts our capacity for disbelief (and hence our capacity to enjoy the genre) by presenting wildly stylized stories. A proper enjoyment of these stories presupposes a certain distance between story and audience, the better to appreciate the games being played. But there’s also an attendant risk, that they will create just such a distance, and wind up confusing or alienating the audience. So it is quite remarkable that these episodes haven’t provoked much outrage.
Instead, that wrath winds up being almost wholly directed againt Dini’s third mode, best typified by “Harley’s Holiday” and “Joker’s Millions.” These episodes strike many people as ill-conceived, a fact I grant in the oxymoronic name I’ve applied to them: How can a “psychodrama” be “light”?
But a close look shows that “Harley’s Holiday,” despite its farcical tone, is structured just like “Heart of Ice,” as the psychological exploration of a particular character. Harley Quinn, released from Arkham but still trapped inside her own reality, is altogether oblivious to the effect she has on the outside world, and the episode shows how even innocent misunderstandings lead to large complications. As in the “heavy” psychodramas, then, external action is entirely a function of Harley’s inner turmoil; unwittingly, Harley warps the world so that it conforms to her own imagining of the way it is or should be. But the episode is “light,” not because it has a funny tone (“Joker’s Favor” is quite funny), but because the world she creates proves trivial and unrealistic. That is: it shows Harley to be as psychologically complex as Freeze or Tetch, and relates her to the world in just the same way. But because her actions have only cartoony ramifications, they cannot be treated with the same seriousness. Psychological exploration can make a character and her world deep; equally, as is proved here, they can make it shallow.
These episodes, then, use the same techniques that the heavy ones do, but, like the artificial, game-playing episodes, they point up the limitations of the genre by diminishing the characters. So “Joker’s Millions” starts with the Joker honorably plying his craft in difficult circumstances (he’s broke), and then tempts him into abandoning his true calling (the life of crime) by bestowing on him inordinate and unearned wealth. When that wealth evaporates he must again adapt, this time by returning to crime while also abandoning his usual style of robbery. Psychologically, this is quite sound: Dini doesn’t cause the Joker to act uncharacteristically (it’s not like he suddenly starts going to church); he merely gives him an extraordinary opportunity and lets him react in a plausible manner. And the Joker reacts plausibly again when circumstances change: To avoid exposure and humiliation in the eyes of his fellow rogues, he must humiliate himself in his own eyes by forgoing his trademark schtick.
In short: Dini doesn’t betray the Joker; the Joker betrays himself through a series of foolish choices. He’s just like Tetch in this regard. Both lose sight of who they really are, and both think they can escape a certain predicament, but they only end up destroying themselves. The difference is that Tetch starts off as a real, recognizable human being, so that his fall (however bizarre in consequence) reminds us of our own fragility. But the Joker is entirely a creature of a cartoon universe, and his fall is only a departure from that starting point, so it only reminds us of how artificial that universe is. That is why this (and similar) psychodramas feel so artificial, manipulative, and exploitive. It also probably explains why they are so disliked in many quarters.
Nonetheless, in these episodes Dini remains true to his psychological focus, for even at their most stringently absurd they prove that character is the gravity well that shapes the universe, and character development the logic that guides the story. Because Harley is fundamentally a comic character, her presence will always bend the rules like rubber, and when her presence is central she will pull down the walls of the universe in cosmic, comic calamity. And when an unrealistic character like the Joker violates his own rules, he will make nonsense of himself and everything he touches.
So how should we appreciate and approach Dini? Certainly not on bended knee: One can accept everything I’ve said above, and still dislike certain tendencies. And it’s true that he often fails to live up to his standards. But I think he still deserves great respect, as a writer whose love for and dexterity with the genre make him at home in both its shallows and its depths, and who thus affords us the greatest possible range of perspectives on it.
SPECIAL IN THIS ISSUE (#2)
The following was brought to us by our long-time friend and scooper THX1138. He found this article, written by a guy named Moriority at the AIN’T IT COOL NEWS website. Enjoy!
DINI GOES BEYOND IN A BIG WAY
Speaking of sins, Warner Bros and the professional chickenheads who are in charge of the Batman property at the studio continue to demonstrate time and time again that they not only lack any understanding of the character whatsoever, but that they resent anyone who does get it. If you’re like me, eagerly awaiting the release of BATMAN BEYOND: THE RETURN OF THE JOKER at some point this year, then you understand what I’m talking about.
Warner Bros has treated their Batman programming on Saturday mornings so badly that, I’ll admit, I got tired of tuning in. Slowly but surely, POKEMON has taken over the entire lineup, and it’s a shame. It was exciting to see smart, emotionally mature stories being told in animation week in and week out by the crew of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. It’s gone through several incarnations, each of them offering a wealth of pleasures. BATMAN BEYOND was a show
that was born out of the needs of merchandisers that somehow, impossibly, was really good. Paul Dini’s keen understanding of the Batman archetype allows for radical reinventions like the introduction of Terry McGinnis and the new technologically advanced Batsuit because he never loses sight of what makes the character function. His aged Bruce Wayne is at least as solid an interpretation as Frank Miller’s in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.
The first time Dini wrote a BATMAN film, it was MASK OF THE PHANTASM (TWO-FACE’s note: actually, Alan Burnett wrote the script, Dini just touched it up in some places, as did some other writers), a very good film that highlights many of the show’s virtures. There’s an economy to the storytelling, ironic when you consider how much more liberating it is to tell a superhero story in animation than in live-action as with Schumacher’s painful BATMAN IN RUBBER. Dini did permanent things to Bruce Wayne in MOTP, things that had permanent results for the character. In the Gotham City that Dini imagines, these characters grow and age and build up scar tissue that makes them different people over time. It’s similar to what happened to James Bond in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, except Dini’s never just shrugged off the history of the characters. He remembers, and the work is better for it.
Now, with the first feature length BATMAN BEYOND story, Dini takes a major step forward as a storyteller. This is a brutal, sad story that I didn’t expect at all. If you’ve ever wondered what the real toll of being Batman is, this film shows it. There are answers given to us here that the series raised, like what happened to The Joker? What happened to Tim Drake, the second Robin? Just when exactly did Batman hang it up and why? When the Joker reappears in Gotham, seemingly without having changed a bit, both Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis are pulled into a bizarre mystery that is not only genuinely disturbing, but also affecting. The climax of the piece is one of the single finest moments I’ve ever read involving the characters, summing up so many thoughts about the entire idea of being a hero, of doing these remarkable things. It’s daring, and it’s not what I would call “comic book” on any level. Not many mainstream live action films have taken the time to lay the groundwork that’s present, the history that’s been established, and there’s a weight here that can’t be denied because of all that.
I know this isn’t going to be released until October of 2000, but I’m hoping it will show at the San Diego ComiCon this year or some other similar event so that I can sneak an early peek. It’s been a long time since I was this excited about an upcoming Batman film. It’s been a long time since there’s been a major Batman story involving the Joker, simply my favorite character in comic history. I’m just glad that even with all the heartbreaks that Batfans have had to withstand this decade, there’s been one team of people at work to consistently make sure that we didn’t simply give up altogether. I sincerely believe that RETURN OF THE JOKER is a fitting cap to their spectacular run.
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED TRIVIA
(by Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton)
This is one of my favourite sections, where I get to boggle the minds of all our readers! *EVIL LAUGH* This trivia is all animated-related in some form, and can deal with ANY aspect of the show or comics based on the show. Remember, answer the questions WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE ANIMATED CONTINUITY. Now have fun – let’s see how well you do! Answers are provided below.
Entitled: “ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU NEVER WOULD HAVE CONCIEVED ASKING”
291. Which character is sometimes referred to as “The Demon’s Head”?
A: Klarion the Witch-Boy
B: The Demon/Jason Blood
C: The Joker
D: Ra’s Al Ghul
292. Which of the characters that survived in the movie “Mask of the Phantasm” died in a story printed afterwards (“Elseworlds” tales don’t count)?
A: Rupert Thorne
B: Andrea Beaumont
C: Arthur Reeves
D: Jack Napier
E: Salvatore Valestra
293. Which of the following episodes did Dong Yang NOT animate?
A: HOLIDAY KNIGHTS
B: JUDGEMENT DAY
C: ANIMAL ACT
D: MEAN SEASONS
E: MAD LOVE
294. Two of the new-style BTAS episodes featured a direct homage to Bob Kane (using the word “Kane” in the episode in some way) – which episodes were these?
A: ANIMAL ACT
B: OVER THE EDGE
C: WORLD’S FINEST (any part)
D: SINS OF THE FATHER
E: GROWING PAINS
295. Which of the following people have NOT provided a voice for a costumed heroine on BTAS?
A: Melissa Gilbert
B: Kath Soucie
C: Mary Kay Bergman
D: Anndi McAfee
E: Tara Charendoff
AND THESE ARE OUR FINAL ANSWERS (to the trivia)
Answer to #291: D
Answer to #292: C
Answer to #293: D
Answer to #294: A, E
Answer to #295: B
LITTLE FACTS AND BLOOPERS
(by Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton)
Here is a section that just points out various little facts and bloopers that we have noticed while watching BTAS and STAS countless times. If you have anything to contribute, feel free to do so! Enjoy!
CONTRIBUTED BY STAFF:
Alas, we here at the newsletter were unable to spot any new little facts OR bloopers over the past week. For that, we apologize. Really.
CONTRIBUTED BY OTHERS:
(by “Ken All Night Rocker”)
1) At the end of the Dick Sprang/Bill Finger segment in “Legends of the Dark Knight”, where the Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder put the Joker into custody (so to speak) Batman says to Robin, “Well done, old chum!” and they shake hands. This looks almost exactly like the hands-shaking bit in the opening cartoon sequence in the 1960s BATMAN television show. Is it an homage? OF COURSE!
MERCHANDISING: WHERE THE REAL BAT-CASH IS MADE
(by anyone who cares to contribute)
Come on, contribute! Someone! Please? 🙂
(BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES by Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton)
(BATMAN BEYOND by Tim Wan)
(SUPERMAN ADVENTURES by Dick Grayson)
BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES
ISSUES: “Missed Connections” (#24)
WRITTEN BY: Scott Peterson
PENCILLED BY: Terry Levins
INKED BY: Terry Beatty
ISSUED: March 1, 2000 (cover date, May 2000)
RATING (out of 5): ***1/2
It seems like Peterson is finally getting a grasp on this title. When he started nine issues ago, he had a few stand-out issues, but they alternated with a number of very poor ones. Recently these said poor ones have been upgraded to “good”, and occasional great issue still remains. He’s not the same as Templeton, but he’s getting closer and closer. Either way, the title is still a great read.
I’m growing accustomed to Peterson’s splash on page one – it’s a great way to introduce the story. The story itself is very simple, but a good one. Robin and Nightwing are captured by an unknown individual while attempting to save a fellow Gothamite; even Killer Croc gets trapped.
When Batman and Batgirl investigate, the story finally begins to take shape. Catwoman – a total surprise to me – shows up and gives us all the details. Her last meeting with Batman, way back in Issue #4 (great issue, too – go pick it up) resulted in a big change in her relationship with him; she had become a lot darker, more violent, and even more distant from the object of her affections. Here, she tries to make ammends – by trapping Batman so he and she can have their long-overdue conversation. Of course, Catwoman doesn’t get her wish, and of course, she gets away; Batgirl’s conversation with Batman on the final page is quite enlightening, though. Does Batman still have SOME feelings for her, deep down inside?
And that’s not all! There are many other little things to notice in here. Levins and Beatty are a terrific team, as always…the shading used when Robin and Nightwing are trapped is terrific, the colours used during the bridge sequence were terrific, and Batman and Catwoman’s chase through Gotham was superb. Sure, the dialogue lacked during that sequence, making this issue a rather quick read, but I still really enjoyed it.
It’s nice to see Dick dating other people now – it’d be interesting to see an issue dedicated to this, and how Barbara would react. I see that Batgirl’s “scar” under her right eye (that I pointed out in my review of ) is still present, too. I DID notice, however, that Catwoman’s ghostly complexion was absent – she’s gone back to having a nice peachy skin-tone now. But why the change? I also wish that Killer Croc got to do a bit more than just be brainless, tough, and mean – but hey, I’m not complaining. His inclusion was kinda fun.
Overall, a great issue. I can’t wait until the double-sized issue next month!
COMIC SCHEDULES & COVERING THE BASICS
This section gives a little bit more in-depth look into each monthly issue of BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES, BATMAN BEYOND, and SUPERMAN ADVENTURES. Below each comic listing is a link to the cover of that comic. TALK ABOUT SERVICE!
The price for any of these issues, unless otherwise posted, is $1.99 in the US and…grrrrr…a whopping $3.25 in Canada. (Both our editors and many subscribers are Canadian, hence the “grrr”.)
If we are unsure of the exact date of when an issue is being released, just check out “DIRECT CURRENTS” at //www.dccomics.com for details.
BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES #25
Synopsis: A team-up between Batman and the Flash.
Synopsis: Everyone from the CIA and the FBI to the local Gotham mobs (Russian, Italian, Jamaican, Chinese) are in search of Kristov…and they’re willing to kill to get it. Batman doesn’t know what Kristov is, but he’s not going to let anyone kill – or die – for it. Here is the cover:
BATMAN BEYOND #8
FOLLOWING MONTH: Issue #9.
Synopsis: Batman VS. Curare. Oh, and Bruce Wayne, too.
SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #44
NEWS AND RUMORS
-Terry Beatty has been and will be selling Gotham Adventures and Batman Beyond original art on eBay. His Seller ID is: firstname.lastname@example.org Do yourself a favor and check out some great art! -Craig Rousseau has been and will be selling Gotham Adventures and Batman Beyond original art on eBay. His Seller ID is: email@example.com Feel free to check it out! You don’t wanna miss it!
-The award-winning WORLD’S FINEST site now has an easily accessible chat room up. Check it out at:
ANIMATED SERIES (BTAS, STAS, BEYOND)
-Want news on the Emmy Award Nominations, Paul Dini’s future projects, and RETURN OF THE JOKER? Go to this URL:
-Kids’ WB! Animated series The New Batman/Superman Adventures and Batman Beyond earned a total of 9 Daytime Emmy Award nominations on Wednesday, including special nominations in special categories. The New Batman/Superman Adventures was nominated in the Outstanding Children’s Animated Program category (to be broadcast as part of the televised Emmy Awards ceremony on May 19th ), while Batman Beyond was nominated for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program.
Both shows were nominated – included Batman/Superman twice – for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition, as well as for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing Special Class. Batman Beyond was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing Special Class. The Emmy winners will be announced on May 13.
-The first six issues of BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES will be collected in tradepaperback form, being released on May 17. These six issues feature great stories by Ty Templeton and great art by Rick Burchett and Terry Beatty; characters in the spotlight are Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing, Joker, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, Clayface, Deadman, and more. It will cost $9.95, and the cover will be the same as the cover of GOTHAM ADVENTURES #1.
-BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES #27 is as follows: A popular college professor of law who teaches a class on organized crime is in jail for the murder of a known mob boss. Has the professor stepped over the line and become judge, jury and executioner? Or is he being framed by a new player on the mob scene in Gotham? It comes out on June 7.
-BATMAN BEYOND #10: A new, improved Golem returns on June 28.
-Ed Brubaker will be filling in for Larry Hama on BATMAN for at least six issues following 0.
-BATMAN: 80 PAGE GIANT #3, written by Chuck Dixon, will be one triple-length story featuring Batman and Robin vs. Calendar Man.
-DETECTIVE COMICS #747, focusing on Two-Face and Montoya, comes out on June 14. Here is the cover:
-DARK VICTORY #9 features the first team-up of Batman and Robin. Check out the cover:
-Devin Grayson will be revealing the narrator of the GOTHAM KNIGHTS series in a five issue story beginning in issue #8, this August.
-Dale Eaglesham and Paul Ryan will be dropping their pencilling duties at GOTHAM KNGIHTS and move onto other projects once Roger Robinson (of AZRAEL fame) comes in with issue #8.
-Check out the following URL for a rather amusing Budweiser commercial featuring clips from that wonderful show, “Superfriends”. You must have Quicktime 3 or higher to view it.
LIVE ACTION TELEVISION
-Wanna see a pic of the actor that’ll play the Joker in the upcoming ONSTAR commercials? Here’s the URL – remember him from REVENGE OF THE NERDS?
-For more info about the ONSTAR commercials, go to:
-The second ONSTAR Batman commercial will premiere on ABC during the Oscars this Sunday. Here’s how it is described.
“Before swooping down the side of a Gotham City skyscraper, Batman uses his wrist communicator to ask an OnStar Advisor to unlock the door of the Batmobile. The cockpit canopy slides open just long enough for Batman to drop into the driver’s seat and roar away in the Batmobile. Seconds later, the ‘low fuel’ warning light prompts Batman to contact his OnStar Advisor for the nearest filling station with jet fuel.”
All three Batman commercials were directed by Andrew Davis, who also directed The Fugitive. The visual effects for the commercials are being supervised by William Mesa of Flash Film Works. Mesa is a long-time collaborator with director Davis and producer Peter Macgregor-Scott, having worked on The Fugitive and Batman and Robin.
TOYS, BOOKS, AND OTHER MERCHANDISE
-Alfred FINALLY has a figure of his own! He’ll be included in a four-pack including Batman, Robin, and Clayface. Thanks to Bobby Simic for pointing that out! Go here for the pics:
-Here are two pics of the forthcoming Stalker figure from the BATMAN BEYOND line:
For more BATMAN, SUPERMAN, AND BEYOND news throughout the week, check out the WORLD’S FINEST NEWS PAGE at:
FEATURED BAT-SITE FOR THIS ISSUE
(feel free to submit your own for our consideration)
ROGUE AVENUE, GOTHAM
This page consists of several unique “hideouts” created by some of Gotham’s most elite criminals, as well as polls, episode reviews, and more.
ANIMATED BATMAN/SUPERMAN SITES:
* – indicates a shameless plug for a site a certain double-faced editor created with his bare hands – in other words, a cheap advertising technique.
THE NEW BATMAN/SUPERMAN ADVENTURES
BATMAN:THE ANIMATED SERIES
BATMAN BEYOND VIDEO SITE
YTV’S BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES PAGE
YTV’s BATMAN BEYOND Page
SUB-ZERO: THE DEFINTIVE GUIDE
RAVING TOY MANIAC
*TWO-FACE’S TOWER OF TRANQUILITY AND TERROR
BATMAN, SUPERMAN, & BEYOND: THE WORLD’S FINEST DISCUSSION CENTER
THE DISCUSSION CENTER (same as above)
BRIAN CRUZ’ WB CARTOON PAGE
BATMAN UK (BRIAN’S BATMAN PAGE)
RA’S AL GHUL’S THE LAZARUS PIT
THE DARK KNIGHT
BATMAN BEYOND: WELCOME TO THE FUTURE
TIM WAN’S BATMAN BEYOND
HARLEY’S HAVEN OF HEDONISM
GOTHAM CITY LIMITS
BATMAN: DEFENDER OF GOTHAM
THE RIDDLER – EDWARD NYGMA’S PUZZLE WEBSITE
THE BATMAN ACTION FIGURE PAGE
CHARACTERS ON THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN
JLA: THE ANIMATED SERIES
A TRIBUTE TO BATMAN
ANIMATED STYLE ARTWORK ARCHIVE
BATMAN CEL SITE
ROGUE AVENUE, GOTHAM
THE BATMAN BEYOND INFO PAGE
QUESTIONS, SUBMISSIONS, AND FAN-MAIL
If you have any questions, problems, links do not work, or anything else, then please e-mail this address with your problems and we’ll try to fix them as soon as possible. Also if you’d like to send any fan-mail then please send it to this address:
As for submissions, feel free to submit an article or opinion on anything pertaining to BTAS. Keep in mind that as the editors, we have the right to edit your submissions if we deem it necessary. Such instances would include problems with length, grammar, and language. If we do feel we must edit something, however, we will do our utmost to ensure that the opinion and the basic message of the submission does not change, as that is the most important part of any artcile, and everyone is entitled to it. And if you do submit something, please don’t just submit a basic review of an episode or a comic or something (because we have people writing for those purposes already) – write about an issue you’d like to discuss.
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED ARCHIVES
The very kind people at TOONZONE were nice enough to give us our own little section of their huge and diverse website. The archive contains past newsletters and is semi-regularly updated with the latest one. To check it out go here:
TOONZONE’s BATMAN: THE ANIMATED NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES
LIKE WHAT YA SEE? WANNA SUBSCRIBE? HERE’S HOW!!!
For those of you who are seeing this at the WBC HOMEPAGE BTAN ARCHIVES section and want to subscribe, just follow these simple instructions:
To subscribe email firstname.lastname@example.org, put SUBSCRIBE in the subject line, and put the e-mail address you’d like the newsletter to be sent to in the body of the message.
For more information about the newsletter just email email@example.com Thank you for your time, and thanks for reading! Tell your friends!
-Tim TWO-FACE Leighton and Dick Grayson, editors
TO ALL GOOD THINGS…
…there must be an end. We would like to thank the endless amount of contributors for contributing their editorials, columns, news, jokes, reviews and other articles. We hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as we’ve enjoyed making it! Thank you for reading! See ya next time!
CREDITS FOR BATMAN: THE ANIMATED NEWSLETTER
EDITOR AT COLLEGE, NOT IN A DORM: Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
EDITOR AT COLLEGE, BUT IN A DORM: “Dick Grayson”
AIR DATE SCHEDULES: Brian Cruz, RiddlerWB (at the official BTAS/STAS site), and YTV.com
EPISODE REVIEWS: Zanna/Justin Chen, and occasionally Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
EDITORIAL: Kelly Tindall
AND THAT’S THE FACTS: “Reliable Source”
COMIC REVIEWS: Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton, Tim Wan, Dick Grayson
MERCHANDISE REVIEW: Various
“BTAN ARCHIVES” MODERATOR: Eileen Delgadillo
TRIVIA: Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
PROMOTIONS AND JUST GETTIN’ THE WORD AROUND: Dick Grayson, Eileen Delgadillo, Brian Cruz, Brian Davis
THOSE WHO FILL IN FOR OTHERS WHEN THEY FOUL UP:-Y Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
DELIVERY: Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
E-MAIL RECEPTION HANDLING: Tim “TWO-FACE” Leighton
BATMAN CREATED BY: Bob Kane & Bill Finger (who else?)
Batman and all related indicia are trademarks of DC Comics, Copyright c 2000.