Saturday, December 03, 2011

Geek TV #10.1: Batman: The Animated Series

batmantas1Yes, it's another installment that'll go on for at least two posts, thanks to my going a bit overboard with it!

Concept: The Caped Crusader as you'd never seen him before, combining elements of pretty much every variation of Batman (especially the comics) and picking out which pieces to use. The best Batman presentation ever done outside of comics, in my opinion.

Total Episodes: 85

Original Air Dates: 1992-1995

Original Network: Fox

Geek Factor: 10

Batman/Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy): After his parents were killed by a criminal when he was just a child, Bruce Wayne vowed to battle crime, eventually being influenced to take the identity of Batman, the Gotham Guardian!
Alfred Pennyworth (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.): Faithful butler to Bruce Wayne, and one of the few people aware that Bruce is Batman.
Commissioner James Gordon (Bob Hastings): The man in charge of the Gotham Police Department, and one of Batman's greatest allies.
Dick Grayson/Robin (Loren Lester): Youthful ward to Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson is the only surviving member of “The Flying Graysons,” avenging their deaths by taking on the identity of Robin to put their killer to justice.
Summer Gleeson (Mari Devon): Television news reporter.
Detective Harvey Bullock (Robert Costanzo): Tough-as-nails police detective, apparently anti-Batman, but will admit that the Caped Crusader has his uses when pressed.
The Joker (Mark Hamill): Crazed clown prince of crime... who is the scariest person in Gotham? Some say Batman, others say The Joker!
Harvey Dent/Two-Face (Richard Moll): Former district attorney, “Apollo” Dent's face was horribly scarred by acid on one side, bringing Harvey's evil alternate personality to the surface. Obsessed with duality and the number two.
Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin): The Joker's sidekick, slavishly devoted to “Mister J,” as she calls him, no matter how often the Joker mistreats her.
Mayor Hamilton Hill (Lloyd Bocner): Harried mayor of Gotham City, one wonders how he gets himself re-elected!
Lucius Fox (Brock Peters): The man behind the daily operations of Wayne Enterprises.
Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing): Plant-obsessed eco-terrorist who's not beyond using her looks to accomplish her goals. Best friend with Harley Quinn, the two of them occasionally team up together.
Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Adrienne Barbeau): Feline temptress and cat burglar, she is more than a little attracted to Batman (and the feeling is mutual).

Geek Guest-Stars:
George Dzundza, who voiced Arnold Wesker/The Ventriloquist and Scarface, had previously appeared in a 1986 episode of The Twilight Zone, and went on to do the voice of Perry White on Superman: The Animated Series, continuing to voice the Ventriloquist in The New Batman Adventures. His most recent geek credit is an episode of Stargate SG-1.
Neil Ross, who voiced a number of characters, has had a major career in voicing animation; prior to Batman: The Animated Series, he was the voice of Norman Osborn on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as well as the concurrent Spider-Man syndicated series, voiced Shipwreck on G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra and added Buzzer and Dusty in the subsequent G.I. Joe animated series, voiced Keith, Pidge and others on Voltron: Defender of the Universe, voiced Slag, Bonecrusher, Hook, and others on The Transformers, voiced Nightcrawler on the Pryde of the X-Men pilot (direct to video), Morocco Mole on Yo Yogi!, and did voices for The Pirates of Dark Water, The Little Mermaid (TV series), Darkwing Duck, Animaniacs, and many other shows. Since Batman, his roles included Doctor Doom, the Puppet Master, the Super-Skrull, and others on the 1994-1996 Fantastic Four, Fin Fang Foom, Blizzard, Yinsen and others on the 1994-1996 Iron Man, had two parts on Superman: The Animated Series, voiced Lt. Mitch Kellaway on The Mask animated series, reprised his role of Norman Osborn on the 1995-1998 Spider-Man, reprised his role of Keith (and voicing other characters) in Voltron: The Third Dimension, voiced Vulturo, Dr. Benton Quest and others on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and did a multiple of voice roles in other cartoons as well as video games.
Paul Williams voiced the Penguin, and prior to that, he played Virgil in Battle For the Planet of the Apes, Swan in Phantom of the Paradise, and provided the voice of Garen on The Pirates of Dark Water. He also voiced Mr. Cairo on Phantom 2040, was Mother of Invention in the 1995 The Tick, played Taq in an episode of Babylon 5, reprised his role of the Penguin on Superman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, and appeared in episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and Dexter's Laboratory.
Aron Kincaid,who voiced Killer Croc, had previously played Sky Lynx on The Transformers, and has done additional voices for a number of other animated shows, as well as on-screen appearances in minor roles in Planet Earth (TV movie), Mr. Merlin, Get Smart, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, and others.
The always-amazing Frank Welker, a legend in voice work, provided the voice of Catwoman's pet, Isis, in nine episodes, and his credits would make this the longest post ever if I listed them all! He also did voices on Superman: The Animated Series.
Ed Asner voiced the gangster Roland Daggett, but he had previously appeared in episodes of The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Girl From UNCLE, The Wild Wild West, The Invaders, Mission: Impossible, had a regular part in some little-known sitcom called Mary Tyler Moore, and then started doing some voice acting in animation, beginning with playing Chief Abalone in Fish Police, and providing voices in an episode (or more) of Animaniacs, Dinosaurs, Duckman, Gargoyles )Hudson), Captain Planet and the Planeteers (he was Hoggish Greedly), Freakazoid! (Sgt. Mike Cosgrove), the 1994 Spider-Man (where he played J. Jonah Jameson), and other shows, also making single appearances in The X-Files and Hercules. Oh, and let us not forget Superman: The Animated Series, where he voiced Granny Goodness, reprising that role in an episode of Justice League. His most recent geek credits are voicing Uncle Ben Parker on the 2008 Spectacular Spider-Man and vocing Carl Fredricksen in the great Pixar film Up.
After doing the voice of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl from 1992 to 1994, Melissa Gilbert also appeared in three episodes of Babylon 5, and a 1998 episode of The Outer Limits.
Linda Gary, a noted voice actress, voiced Dr. Nora Crest and two other parts. She's also done additional voices for Scooby-Doo and Scrappy Doo, was the voice of Webwoman on Tarzan and the Super 7, did Mara and a few other characters on Blackstar, voiced Miss Grimm on The Kid Super Power Hour With Shazam!, was Aunt May on the 1981-1982 Spider-Man, voiced Teela, the Sorceress, Evil-Lyn and others on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, did several parts on The Transformers, voiced Shadow Weaver and others on She-Ra: Princess of Power, and played Aunt May Parker again on the 1994-1997 Spider-Man animated series. During this period of time, she voiced bit parts in many other animated tv shows and movies. She died in 1995, apparently having already done all the voicework needed for those last Aunt May appearances.
David Warner was an inspired choice for Ra's Al Ghul, but prior to that, his best-known geek role was probably Ed Dillinger/Sark/Master Control Program in TRON or Evil Genius in Time Bandits (or maybe playing Jack the Ripper in Time After Time). He also played the Monster in a 1984 TV movie version of Frankenstein, appeared in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (in the latter as Chancellor Gorkon), playing Professor Sumerlee in The Lost World and Return to the Lost World in 1992, an appearance on Tales From the Crypt in 1992, playing Gul Madred in Star Trek: The Next Generation, appearing in an episode of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., playing Jor-El in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, appearing in an episode of Babylon 5, as well as several other parts in cartoons and other genre pieces before Batman: The Animated Series. He later voiced Archmage in four episodes of Gargoyles, voiced The Lobe on Freakazoid!, voiced Herbert Landon and The Red Skull on the 1995-1997 Spider-Man, voiced Doctor Vic Frankenstein on Toonsylvania, appeared in two episodes each of Total Recall: The Series and the 1995-1999 The Outer Limits, voiced Alpha on Men in Black-The Series, returned as Ra's in Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, and many other parts since, including Lord Azlok on the 2009 TV Mini-Series Doctor Who: Dreamland

Next week: The Conclusion! 

Of Mice and Magic: The Cartoons #14

This week, we're looking at the early development of Pluto in the Disney Cartoons! The first appearance of Pluto was in "The Chain Gang" in 1930:

Well, technically this was the first appearance of Pluto where he's named Pluto!

Norman Ferguson is credited with developing the animated style of Pluto, and Leonard Maltin wrote that Ferguson believed animation was an instinctive art. Good examples of this (as noted by Maltin) were in "Playful Pluto" and "On Ice", both below!

Next week: Three toons showing the development of Donald Duck!

Christmas Countdown 2011 #3: Bugs Bunny's Christmas Funnes #1, Part 3!


Friday, December 02, 2011

Toy of the Week #14: AHI Spider-Cycles!

Of all the various Spider-Man toys AHI produced, a lot of them really didn't fit Spider-Man very well... this one comes pretty close to fitting, because for a short time in the comics, Peter Parker did ride a motorcycle! But I don't think he ever did as Spidey. Still, since AHI seemed to be stuck in the idea that everything they made for Batman, they had to make an equivalent version for Spider-Man (as well as the Hulk), kids of the 1970s got treated to some Spider-Cycles!
This one, from 1974, was pretty cool, all things considered. I'm sure they basically took the same molds they used for their Remote Controlled Batcycle, used some different color plastic, and then used Spider-Man stickers where they had Bat-stickers... and of course, also created a Spider-Man figure for it... but look closely at the Spidey figure... something weird is going on with it... check out the gloves and boots! Did AHI actually just modify slightly some previous motorcycle rider mold to make it look more like Spidey? You can tell that the gloves and boots were molded from red plastic, while the rest of the figure was blue with some red paint on it... Still, it was a remote-controlled Spider-Man motorcycle, and that's pretty cool if you're a kid in 1974!

Give-A-Show Fridays: 1974 Kenner Star Trek and Archie!

Kenner's second Star Trek Give-A-Show story... and this one isn't much closer to Star Trek than the previous one was!

Apparently nobody at Kenner was familiar with the Tractor Beam, eh?

Christmas Countdown 2011 #2: Bugs Bunny's Christmas Funnies #1, Part 2!


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Cool Stuff: DC Stuff and More!

More DC stuff coming your way this week, beginning with this Shrinky Dinks set -- how the heck did I not ever see this one in the stores? Note that while Batman's bodysuit is colored (properly) gray on the box, the manufacturer didn't include a gray marker with the kit, so whoever first owned this made his bodysuit kind of a magenta!

The Indexible Hulk #14

Amazing Spider-Man 014Issue: Amazing Spider-Man #14

Title: “The Grotesque Adventure of The Green Goblin”

Credits: Written by Stan Lee, Illustrated by Steve Ditko, Lettered by Art Simek

Supporting Cast: None from the Hulk's book.

Villain: The Green Goblin, The Enforcers (Ox, Fancy Dan, Montana).

Hulk Intelligence: Brute

Guest-Stars: Technically, the Hulk is the guest-star here!

Plot: As the story opens, the Green Goblin is putting the final touches on his flying broomstick before meeting with the Enforcers, whom Spider-Man had just defeated in Amazing Spider-Man #10. Later, in a Hollywood film studio, producer B.J. Cosmos is approached by the Goblin, who promises him a movie hit starring himself, the Enforcers, and Spider-Man. B.J. Goes for it, and the Goblin leaves to make the arrangements. Later, in New York, Peter Parker and his fellow classmates are leaving school when a radio conveniently announces that a green-garbed figure on a flying broomstick has been seen in Manhattan. Pete ducks out and changes into Spider-Man, and swings to Manhattan, where he sees the Goblin for the first time. Approaching the Goblin, Spidey asks what he wants, and the Goblin presents the movie deal to him. B.J. Is in New York just to meet with Spidey, and Spidey meets with the producer and accepts the deal, signing a contract. The next morning, Peter shows up at the Daily Bugle, where news has already reached about Spidey's movie deal, and Pete manages to get the photo assignment. Much later, back in Hollywood, Spidey shows up for his first scene, thinking that the Enforcers on the set are just actors doubling for the originals. They head out on location, where they're filming a scene in which the Goblin and Enforcers are attacking Spider-Man, and shortly Spidey realizes the Enforcers are the real McCoy, and that it's a trap. Spidey could normally defeat the Enforcers quite easily, but with the Goblin and the Goblin's gizmos, Spidey is hard-pressed to win. When it appears Spider-Man is down, the Enforcers move in for the kill, but Spidey's just playing possum, and blows up some dust to cover his escape into a convenient cave. The Goblin spots him, however, and they follow him in, blocking the cave entrance with a huge boulder. Spidey uses strategy this time, hiding in the shadows and taking the Enforcers on one at a time, defeating each one, but then he runs into... The Hulk! Yeah, you were probably wondering when Greenskin was going to show up! The Hulk assumes Spidey's there to capture him, and the two start to fight, even though Spidey tries to convince Greenskin that there's no reason for them to battle. The Hulk doesn't listen, so the fight goes on! Spidey finally comes up with a plan to trick the Hulk into destroying the boulder blocking the cave exit and leaves, soon followed by the Goblin. Spidey decides to tackle the Goblin, but he's too worn out from fighting the Hulk to win, and he drops into a nearby lake. The Goblin leaves him for dead. The Hulk then emerges from the cave, but Spidey avoids him and sneaks back into the cave to pull out the unconscious Enforcers. Outside the cave, Spider-Man spots an army helicopter and, realizing that they'll land to investigate, leaves the Enforcers there and leaves the scene. Back at the studio, B.J. learns that the Goblin fled, the Enforcers are captured, and Spidey has vanished. When he learns the Hulk has been spotted, however, he wants to sign Greenskin to a contract! Spidey shows up at that time to collect on his contract, but the fine print says Spidey only gets paid when the movie's finished... but he'll pay Spidey's expenses anyway. The Goblin returns to Manhattan ahead of Spidey, and realizes that he needs to plan his future plots more carefully.

Invention Exchange: The Green Goblin's equipment

Reprinted In: Marvel Tales #9, Marvel Treasury Edition #1, Marvel Tales #152, Marvel Masterworks #5, Spider-Man Classics #15, Essential Spider-Man #1.

Notes: This was a very odd story to guest-star the Hulk, given that it really just introduces the Green Goblin, whose future modus operandi would be very different! Who could tell from this story that he would go on to kill Peter Parker's first true love? The Hulk's appearance seems mostly just to fill some pages and remind readers that Greenskin is around. The Goblin's plot, to entice Spider-Man with movie money, was similar to one in which Sub-Mariner learns the Fantastic Four is broke, and lures them to Hollywood to star in a movie in which he'd battle them – although the FF movie is completed, unlike Spidey's!

Christmas Countdown 2011 #1: Bugs Bunny's Christmas Funnies #1, Part 1!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Comic Book Advertisements!

This week's first ad comes from Thirteen "Going on Eighteen" #28 (geez, that's how many weeks in a row that I've pulled ads from this title? You'd think I was simply going through my files of stuff that'll eventually be showing up at the Comic Reading Library some day, eh?). Now, I've heard a lot of things about the Famous Artists School over the years... there are at least a few comic book artists, when interviewed, said they got trained there. On the other hand, I actually know someone -- someone who's an amazing artist -- who did their art test, and got a response back that they wouldn't be an acceptable student (he's told me he figures they want students who need to learn, not ones who are already accomplished artists). You decide which is the case!

Castle of Frankenstein #17!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kirby Kovers #12

This week's Kirby Kovers begins with Journey into Mystery #76... Do I overenthuse over some of these covers? Because if that's the case, I'm about to do it again... Look at this cover! Look at that genie coming out of the smoke! It just screams mass and power and "you are in SOOOO much trouble now!" This seems to be another inverted pyramid design, mostly in the form of the genie and smoke itself, although it's echoed with the guy standing just to the right of the genie and the person to the right of him (even the shapes in the background help divide it into pyramids), and if you add in the blurb box, it makes for another big pyramid shape!

CBT: 1961 Lassie Coloring Book, Part 2!

You may recall that last time, Timmy entered Lassie in a dog show being held at the fair, and now Timmy and Lassie are enjoying the sights before the show starts!

Kirby Kovers #12

This week's Kirby Kovers begins with Journey into Mystery #76... Do I overenthuse over some of these covers? Because if that's the case, I'm about to do it again... Look at this cover! Look at that genie coming out of the smoke! It just screams mass and power and "you are in SOOOO much trouble now!" This seems to be another inverted pyramid design, mostly in the form of the genie and smoke itself, although it's echoed with the guy standing just to the right of the genie and the person to the right of him (even the shapes in the background help divide it into pyramids), and if you add in the blurb box, it makes for another big pyramid shape!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dog of the Geek: The Shaggy Dog/DA!

shaggydogBreed: Were-Sheepdog

Original Appearances: The Shaggy Dog (1959), The Shaggy D.A. (1976), The Return of the Shaggy Dog (1987, made-for-tv).

Other Appearances: Remade in 1994 and 2006 (although the latter version bears about as much resemblance to the original film as Eddie Murphy's Doctor Dolittle resembles the original Rex Harrison version).

shaggydaBiography: In The Shaggy Dog, Wilby Daniels (played by Tommy Kirk) is constantly misunderstood by his father, Wilson (Fred MacMurray) because of Wilby's often dangerous inventions. Wilson, a retired mailman, hates dogs, and doesn't understand why his younger son, “Moochie,” wants one. When Wilby and his rival Buzz Miller take a new French girl to the local museum, Wilby gets separated and runs into Professor Plumcutt, who tells him about the legend of the Borgia family, who used shape-shifting against their enemies. On the way out, Wilby hits a table of rings, one of which lands in his pants cuff. When he later finds it, he reads the inscription on it and turns into Chiffon, the French girl's sheepdog. When Wilby (in dog form) goes back to the Professor, he's told he's invoked the Borgia curse upon himself, which can be broken through a heroic act of selflessness. When Wilby tries to go home, his father chases him out (since he doesn't know it's his son), and then has a series of misadventures while changing between human and dog forms, and eventually gets mixed up with a group of spies, who plot to kidnap the French girl, whose father is evil and wants to be rid of her. Eventually, Wilby gets the best of the spies, and saves the girl with the help of his father, who has to give up his dog-hating attitude. Wilby's released from the curse as a result.
In The Shaggy D.A., 16 years later, Wilby is a successful attorney who is married and has a son. When the return home from a vacation, they discover their house has been robbed, and Wilby blames the local DA. When his family is robbed again, Wilby vows to run for DA to make his town safe again. Meanwhile, the thugs who robbed them see the Borgia ring at the museum and decide to steal it. They can only sell it to an ice cream salesman who owns a large Old English Sheepdog, and plans to give it to his girlfriend. Later, Wilby hears that the ring has been stolen from the museum, and and then tells his wife about his prior shape-shifting experience. She doesn't believe him, even after he warns that if the inscription on the ring is read out loud, he'll turn into a sheepdog again. When the girlfriend is given the ring, she reads the inscription, and Wilby starts to change again, his wife warning him about the changes occurring, and he flees the scene. Later, trying to find the ring, it's learned the girlfriend may have lost it in a vat of cherry pie filling, and eventually, the ring winds up in the hands of the thugs again, who try to pass it to an undercover cop! The ring's eventually returned to the museum, but when the inscription is read again, Wilby transforms once more. The current DA figures out what's going on, and gets his hands on the ring, planning to keep Wilby transformed and put in the dog pound. Eventually, Wilby gets the evidence that the DA is connected to organized crime, and all's well that ends well.

Powers: Aside from changing to dog form, Wilby is also able to speak in his dog form.

Group Affiliation: None

Miscellaneous: The Shaggy Dog was somewhat based on The Hound of Florence by Felix Salten. When Scholastic published a novelization of the book, changes were made in the plot. The Shaggy Dog was one of the top movies of 1959, grossing more than Ben-Hur! The 1987 TV movie Return of the Shaggy Dog doesn't really fit properly between the previous two films, as intended, because the mythology about the Borgia ring is changed again.

Monster Monday!

This week's Monster Monday begins with this cool, stylized Polish poster for Godzilla Vs. Gigan!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fandom Library: CPL #11!

A precursor of sorts to Charlton Bullseye!

Puzzle Sunday!

Last week's solution:

This week's puzzle:
(if you want to solve this one, you'll probably have to open the picture in a new window or save it to your hard drive and open it up in PhotoShop or something like that).