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  1. #1

    Batman: The Animated Thread

    (Inspired by my seeing the new Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman DVD last night.)

    This is possibly the greatest action cartoon of all time, in most of its incarnations. (Teen Titans sucks pretty hard, but everything else rocks!)

    First, on the heels of the films, there was Batman: The Animated Series. This defined a new, abstract design for cartoons that continues today in series like JLA and Masters of the Universe (despite the overall increasing trend toward anime). Taking visuals from the first two movies and Frank Miller's work, the series created a totally new continuity that, in many ways, was better than the comics themselves. With top-notch voice talent (Mark Hamill, Richard Moll, Kevin Conroy) and stories that were far grittier than any other mainstream cartoon to date, adults liked the show as much as (or even more than) their kids. The show even aired in primetime for a short while.

    My personal favorite episodes are "Almost Got Him" (in which various villains describe almost killing Batman, and Batman disguises himself as an appropriately dense Killer Croc) and "The Laughing Fish" (mainly for the sidesplittingly funny television commercial produced by the Joker).

    Animated Batman made his big screen debut in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Despite doing poorly in the theater (due to its unexpectedly adult content) and dooming all future films to video release, this remains the best Batman film ever. The Joker gets his butt whomped on (with blood and teeth flying everywere), and Batman gets his groove on. All set to a great score by Shirley Jackson that's right at home with Elfman's Batman scores.

    I believe next was the switchover from Batman: The Animated Series to The Adventures of Batman and Robin. This was set a few years in the future, with Dick Grayson now Nightwing and a young Tim Drake as the second Robin. (Jason Todd never existed in this continuity, although this Tim's origin is basically Jason's comic book origin.) Batgirl began appearing more regularly , and the animation style became much more cartoony. Most characters were redesigned, all for the worse except for the Joker and Mr Freeze. Sadly, by this point, my schedule prevented me from seeing most of these episodes.

    Next came Batman: Sub-Zero. Featuring a tale of Mr Freeze vs Batgirl, this was obviously created to cash in on the "craze" of the craptacular Batman & Robin movie. Despite some rather clunky CGI effects, this one was pretty good, but no Mask of the Phantasm.

    Superman wasn't exactly a Batman show, but employed many of the same creators. Batman met Superman in the creatively titled The Batman/Superman Movie, in which Joker and Luthor team up. Another solid film. (And from the little of the Superman series I saw, another solid series. Especially since the Main Man himself, Lobo, showed up! )

    Batman and Superman team up on a more regular basis in JLA, also starring Flash (Barry Allen with Wally West's personality), Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern (John Stewart). Still airing on Cartoon Network, but I think maybe a total of six episodes have been produced. Very good show, but I think every time I turn it on, I see the Gorilla Grodd or Aquaman episodes.

    Teen Titans features Robin, but that's where it ends. Let's just forget I mentioned it.

    Mystery of the Batwoman, which came out last week, is yet another great movie. Someone is wearing a suit modeled on Batman's to cause some pain to the Penguin and Rupert Thorne, but who is she? (Hardcore Bat-afficianados will catch a clever homage to the secret identity of the Golden Age Batwoman, which I won't mention here so as not to spoil.)

    This movie ends with the mystery unravelled (duh), and the supposed death of Bane, but we know that can't be the case. A few years earlier, Batman Beyond, set years in the future with an elderly Bruce Wayne acting as mentor to the new Batman, showed Bane's true final fate. A different feel in this series, which isn't lousy like most other "take a familiar character and put him in the future" shows.

    And the final step (chronologically) is the excellent Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker movie. Not the best Batman animated movie, but definitely the darkest. In fact, Warner initially censored it for release, then released the uncut version when fans complained. The fate of Tim Drake is enough to make you wish he'd gone out the same way as comic-book Jason Todd (minus the Lazarus Pit, turning to evil, and all that other stuff from the Hush storyline) just to make it easier on him.
    That's my jacket!

  2. #2
    Not possibly the greastest action cartoon of all time, it is the greatest cartoon of all time. This series shows Batman in a way that has never been achieved before. These cartoons are what made me love Batman. Bruce Timm and his team made this show great. I remember it first airing in 1992, and I loved it then at the age of eight. It appealed to kids, because I knew a lot of other kids who loved it then, too. One of the greatest Fox cartoons ever! Everything was perfect with it. The animation style, the voice acting, the look of the characters.

    I love how the series worked by introducing characters. Like Harvey Dent, they actually had used him as a character in the episodes before the two part episode "Two-Face." They set Harvey up, and they we got to see him fall and become Two-Face. That's something kids shows don't offer.

    As a kid, I never really gave it much notice, but now I'm 19 and I buy the dvd's of these episodes when they're released because I still love watching the episodes. I have a good friend of mine, he's 39 years old, and we've talked about how much we loved this show. It's great to see a cartoon like that appeal to so many people of different age groups.

    Sadly, once the show went to the WB was when I stopped watching it. Didn't have the WB available at the time, so I couldn't watch them. I've seen a few, though. JLA and Teen Titans I don't like so much. I don't like Robin and JLA isn't about just Batman, so I don't enjoy it.

    The animated films, excellent, top-notch entertainment. Mask of the Phantasm was worthy of much more than what the box office returns gave it.

    As for Batman Beyond, I don't know why some people don't like the show for. I think it's a worthy heir to the show Timm and Co. started. Not to mention Timm was involved with it. The first five minutes of the episode "Rebirth" are what really drew me into loving it. Batman is reduced to holding some thugs up with a gun....and seeing how he's not able to keep being Batman, very sad. And the line he says, "Never again," as he shuts off the Bat Cave forever. Powerful stuff I thought. Beyond is a very adult themed show at times. Seeing Bane after living a life being pumped full of his drugs, I never expected it. It didn't hurt the show at all. Return of the Joker, wow. That's all I can say after watching that one. The uncut version, mind you. Batman getting stabbed, going berserk on the Joker, and the whole premise behind the Joker coming back. Great film!

    That being said, I love the Batman series!
    Back and more bearded than ever before

  3. #3
    I forgot to mention: the new Batman/Catwoman short on the Mystery of the Batwoman DVD ("Chase Me") is worth the price of the disc alone.

    Now that I finally know what the difference is between the two versions of Return of the Joker, I want to go out and get the uncut version!
    That's my jacket!

  4. #4
    It wasn't bad, one thing that seemed really out of place was the Penguin's activity. In The New Batman Adventures (TNBA) which was a redux of the animated series, the Penguin became a "legitamite" businessman, just don't ask where he got the watch.

    However in this movie, he's all criminal again. Even going as far as to shoot at Batman for no reason when he's in the water. Yes he doesn't like the bat, but shooting at him when Batwoman was the criminal definitely bad for business.

    If you watched the online Gotham Girls series, you'll probably understand when I say both MOTB and Chase Me were alot more like a Gotham Girls episode.

    Anyways, a few things about MOTB. Did anybody else think the Dukane chick looked a heckuva lot like Halle Berry?

    Also if you remember episodes very well, if you look in the scene right after Bane captures Batwoman and they're all gathered there. There is a misc. cronie with a rifle standing next to'em, the exact same guy was also in TNBA episode "You scratch my back" trying to run over Nightwing with a forklift.
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  5. #5
    I've really liked the modern animated Batman series, even Batman Beyond, but I personally like the style and feel of the 2nd series from '97 which went by several different names (referenced above as "The Adventures of Batman & Robin" although I believe there is some confusion about which series is which). I especially like that version's batmobile, which is the one still being used in the current Justice League show.

    If you look at the action figures from the various series, you can see several major design changes from the rounded and slightly less angular '92 show to the very angular and smooth '97 series where Batman was very wide at the shoulders, to the Justice League design which takes the '97 series design aesthetic and takes away some of the more outrageous oversized characters. In this new JL line, Batman's design is almost back to the way he was when he first started almost 65 years ago and it really looks great. (Hasbro's Batman Beyond line didn't emulate the look of the show unfortunately so it gets no mention or respect. )
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  6. #6
    scruffziller's Avatar
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    Did you happen to notice how the Duquraine daughter looked alot like Hallie Barry? And pairing her up with Bruce. Kinda gives a Catwoman story scenario
    feel to it. I wonder if that was a way to set up the feel for Hallie's Catwoman coming in the future?
    No matter how I die, even if there is a suicide note; it was murder. Cheers!

  7. #7

    Re: Batman: The Animated Thread

    Figured I'd drop it in here, since it seems to fit. But Toon Zone has some information about the upcoming DVD release of Batman, Superman, and Superfriends.
    Bonus Material, Disc Count for animated "Batman," "Superman," and "Superfriends" DVDs
    By Jim Harvey 03-24-2004, 02:37 PM

    WB has informed Toon Zone's Jim Harvey that the upcoming DVD releases of Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, and Challenge of the Superfriends will not disappoint fans. The first set of DVD releases focusing on the popular animated heroes will come in the summer.

    Fans worried that WB will release underwhelming sets of their iconic animated properties can breathe a sigh of relief. A representative for WB said that every Batman: The Animated Series DVD boxed set release will contain four discs. Each set will also feature between 24 - 28 episodes and retail for around the same price of WB's current four disc animated releases, such as The Flintstones. Superman: The Animated Series and Challenge of the Superfriends will be released as two disc sets, much like the upcoming Samurai Jack: Season One title.

    A representative for WB Home Video was also quick to correct recent false information, stating only Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, and Challenge of the Superfriends will be coming out as multi-disc boxed sets for the foreseeable future. Future releases of other super hero properties, such as Teen Titans, Justice League, and possibly Batman Beyond, will only be released as single, episodic DVDs. These single disc DVDs will hit shelves the same time the larger, multi-disc sets are released.

    And what about extras? Don't worry fans, WB is listening. On each set - single or multi-disc - expect interviews, commentary, videography about villains and heroes, and much more. Participants already recorded for commentaries and interviews include Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett, among others. Several members of the voice cast and creative team for each animated series are heavily involved in production of these releases. Also, expect a few surprise creators from the world of comic books to featured on these DVDs.

    When asked about their plans for these DVD sets, the representative for WB said the plans are to release every episode for each animated series. The first wave of these DVD box sets, and new single volume releases, begins this summer. Expect an official announcement from WB shortly.

    MTFBWY and HH!!

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  8. #8

    Re: Batman: The Animated Thread

    I can't wait for the Batman DVDs! This was one of my all time favorite cartoons.

    I liked "Mask of the Phantasm" but I wasn't too impressed with "Mystery of the Batwoman," (the only 2 Batman animated movies I've seen) the animation was clunky at times and the villians were lame. Bane seemed like an afterthought and Penguin was wasted. And too little Robin.
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  9. #9

    Re: Batman: The Animated Thread

    I actually REALLY enjoyed Mystery of the Batwoman. It was different which is why I liked it. Also I liked the music in a it a lot and wish there was a soundtrack (mostly for the song Betcha Never, which ALWAYS gets stuck in my head after I watch it). I do agree too little Robin though...

    Speaking of Robin, has anyone noticed the major contradictions with him lately? In Return of the Joker, its stated that it took Tim a year (or was it 2?) to get over what joker did to him, Batman forbade Tim to be Robin AND he gave up trying shortly after...

    Yet, as seen in not only 2 episodes of Static Shock, but in Mystery of the Batwoman and Titans as well that not only is Tim still Robin, but he's older than when Robin was tortured by Joker (which is all the more confusing because the first crossover ep with Static Shock featured Joker and an older Robin).

    The only explination I could come up with for this was that for artistic reasons, Robin was kept the young age we knew him most as from the series as well why Joker was drawn in his more classic version from the original animated batman show rather than in the form we see say in the Batman/Superman movie.)

    The other thing that gets me confused is, why does Robin's outfit change when he's with the Titans as apposed to when he goes back to visit Batman? (There are 3 eps of Static Shock in which Batman crossoves over, not including Justice League crosses). First he has the red/black outfit, then when Batman crosses again with Static, he mentions Robin being with the Titans (in which he wears a more traditional Robin outfit of green/red/yellow)..okay..but when they crossover again, robin is back in his red/black outfit.

    uhg....Titans is just a horrid show...
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  10. #10

    Re: Batman: The Animated Thread has some more news on the first set of dvd's for this excellent cartoon!
    Back and more bearded than ever before


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