Month: November 2011

James Tucker On Fan Response To Final “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Episode

The World’s Finest caught up with Batman: The Brave and The Bold producer James Tucker to discuss the response to the series finale episode “Mitefall!,” which aired on Friday, November 18th, 2011. The episode revolved around Bat-Mite trying to get Batman: The Brave and The Bold canceled. Response to the series finale, and the series as a whole, has been very positive. Tucker shares his thoughts below.

“Its been very gratifying to read and hear the responses the fans of the show have given it,” Tucker says. “Their support and well wishes have been the life-blood of this crazy little show. Its been a bit overwhelming actually.”

Tucker says the response proves that fans dont just want grim and gritty, and that the world of superheroes is rich enough to support a variety of interpretations as long as they are handled with integrity.

“I dont need to rehash it because Bat-Mite said it best in Legends of the Dark Mite.” Tucker adds. “I cant imagine how my life would have been if there hadnt been a kid friendly version of Batman out there when I was growing up, so I hope this show can serve as an entry point for parents who want to introduce their young kids to the world of DC superheroes.”

Tucker says that just because the show is over, doesnt mean things arent over for the world of Batman: The Brave and The Bold. There could always be the chance for a revival of the characters in a different format.

“I also hope everyone will buy the DVDs of the remaining seasons and also let Warner Home Video know that there is an audience for an actual DTV [direct-to-video animated movie] featuring the Batman: The Brave and the Bold world,” says Tucker. “I wont feel were fully done until weve been able to do a proper 75-minute DTV.”

Media and reviews for Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode “Mitefall!” are available at The World’s Finest.

The Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode “Shadow of the Bat!” is scheduled to air December 2nd, 2011 at 7:00pm (ET). Please note the episode “The Mask of Matches Malone” currently remains unaired on Cartoon Network, despite airing in multiple territories worldwide. Batman: The Brave and The Bold airs on Cartoon Network every Friday at 7:00pm (ET).

Further details on the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series are available here. Stay tuned for further Batman: The Brave and The Bold coverage here soon at The World’s Finest.

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Three New Production Images Released From “Batman: Year One” Animated Feature

Three new production images from the recent Batman: Year One animated feature have been provided to The World’s Finest by Warner Home Video. The images provide a look at some of the production artwork from the acclaimed DC Universe Animated Original Movie title. The Batman: Year One animated feature, released in October 2011, adapts the acclaimed comic book storyline of the same name. Click on the thumbnails below for a closer look at each image.

Additional content is also available at the The World’s Finest Batman: Year One micro-site. A review of the Batman: Year One Blu-ray release and animated feature can also be found at The World’s Finest.

Click on the links below to discuss both the Batman: Year One animated feature and its respective DVD and Blu-ray home video releases, along with the included DC Showcase: Catwoman animated short.

Batman: Year One Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
Batman: Year One DVD/Blu-ray Talkback (Spoilers)
DC Showcase: Catwoman Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)

A co-production of Warner Premiere, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the direct-to-video Batman: Year One animated feature is now available to own on Blu-ray disc and DVD from Warner Home Video, as well as legal download. Stay tuned for further updates here soon at The Worlds Finest.

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“Justice League,” “All-Star Superman” Writer Dwayne McDuffie Posthumously Honored

Announced last week, Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress are set to receive the Writers Guild of America, West Animation Writers Caucus 14th annual Animation Writing Award posthumously. The honor recognizes their animation writing work and their efforts to organize animation for the guild. McDuffie worked on plenty of high-profile animation projects, including Justice League Unlimited, Static Shock, and the All-Star Superman animated feature. He passed away earlier this year. Continue below for the official press release.

Earl Kress and Dwayne McDuffie Receive 14th Annual WGAW Animation Writers Caucus Writing Award

Animation writers Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress have been posthumously named co-recipients of the Writers Guild of America, West Animation Writers Caucus (AWC) 14th Annual Animation Writing Award, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the craft of animation writing, as well as their work with the Writers Guild in organizing animation.

The AWCs lifetime achievement award will be presented to McDuffies and Kress widows, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie and Denise Kress, at the AWCs 2011 meeting, reception, and awards ceremony held tonight at WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles. 2003 honoree Mark Evanier will present this years award to Kress, and AWC member Matt Wayne will make the presentation to (Fullerton) McDuffie. WGAW Vice President Howard A. Rodman is set to introduce the evening.

This year, animation lost two talented, hard-working people who have given much of themselves and their talent to our field. Dwayne McDuffie was a talented writer and creator of comics and animation who worked hard for others, particularly for minority writers. Earl Kress was a writer whose career included both feature and TV animation and hard work on behalf of all animation writers as a member of the WGA Animation Writers Caucus and the Animation Guild Board of Directors. Both were people I was glad to call friend and colleague, and whose efforts, it can truthfully be said, made all of us the better for them. They left us much too soon and too young, and I’m pleased we can commemorate their work and their memory with this year’s award, said AWC Chair Craig Miller.

Earl Kress spent 30-plus years working tirelessly to improve the lot of animation writers. He leaves behind a legacy of iconic cartoons and well-deserved awards, along with scores of fellow animation writers who have health and pension benefits because of Earl, and Earl alone, commented AWC member and 2009 AWC Animation Writing Award honoree Stan Berkowitz.

Dwayne McDuffie came to L.A. to work on Static Shock, the animated adaptation of an African-American comic book hero he co-created, and it wasnt long before he was one of the leading lights of superhero animation. Though his stories were often set at the edges of the universe and in other dimensions, they invariably reflected Dwaynes all-encompassing humanity, added Berkowitz.

Born on August 22, 1951, and a WGAW member since 1994, Kress recently died on September 19, shortly after turning 60, of complications due to liver cancer.

Launching his career in 1975 with The Oddball Couple, his cartoon adaptation of The Odd Couple, Kress animation writing credits over four decades include Transformers, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain, Tom & Jerry Tales, The Smurfs, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, The Little Rascals, The Berenstain Bears, Ghostbusters, DuckTales, Pound Puppies, Tiny Toon Adventures, Kim Possible, Krypto the Superdog, and the memorable, final Road Runner Looney Tunes short Little Go Beep (co-written with Kathleen Helppie-Shipley), among many other animated programs. Kress animated feature co-writing credits include story work on Disneys The Fox and the Hound (1981), as well as several direct-to-video animated features such as the recent Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes (2010) and Wakkos Wish (1999). His live-action TV writing credits include Down to Earth and Wally and the Beaver.

In 1998, Kress earned an Annie Award for his work on the Pinky and the Brain episode The Family That Poits Together Narfs Together (shared with co-writers Charles M. Howell IV and John Ludin). A five-time Emmy nominee, Kress shared two Daytime Emmys over the course of his career, one for Pinky and the Brain in 1999 (Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, the other for Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain in 2000 (Outstanding Childrens Animated Program).

Over the course of his career, Kress worked at studios such as Warner Bros., Universal, and Disney, and animation production companies including Hanna-Barbera, Marvel, DePatie-Freleng, and Filmation.

In 1995, Kress joined the Animation Guilds executive board and was elected vice president of the Animation Guild (Local 839) in 2004, a position he held until his death earlier this year.

In addition to writing comic books for The Simpsons and Looney Toons, Kress most recently ghostwrote Life is a Pic-a-Nic: Tips and Tricks for the Smarter Than Av-er-age Bear with Yogi Bear, published in 2010 as a tie-in for the recent big-screen animated feature Yogi Bear. He also co-authored the 2009 autobiography of voiceover legend June Foray, Did You Grow Up with Me, Too? with co-writer and close friend Mark Evanier.

A man of diverse talents, Kress worked as a voice actor and a puppeteer for The Muppets, in addition to serving as a sought-after animated programming historian, playing a key role in producing several DVD box sets of classic Warner Bros. cartoons and contributing special feature supplemental materials to many animated TV series DVD collections, as well as working with Rhino Entertainment to release several CDs of vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoon soundtracks, among other animation-centric industry projects.

Well-respected comic book and animation writer McDuffie, who died at age 49 this past February 21 of complications after undergoing unsuccessful emergency open heart surgery to repair a ruptured aortic aneurysm, was co-founder of Milestone Media, a ground-breaking company that created multi-cultural comic lines which introduced black superheroes such as Hardware and Static.

As a comic book author, McDuffie contributed to Marvels Fantastic Four and DCs Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight and Justice League of America, among other popular comic book titles. As a television animation writer, story editor, or producer, his animated series writing credits include Static Shock (which he co-created with Christopher James Priest), Justice League, Ben 10: Alien Force, and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Whats New, Scooby Doo?, Teen Titans, and Friends & Heroes, among other animated programs. McDuffie also penned the 2011 animated feature All-Star Superman, based on the comic book series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, as well as several animated features in the DC Animated Universe Original Movies franchise series, including the upcoming Justice League: Doom, McDuffies adaptation of Mark Waids Tower of Babel JL story slated for release in 2012, and the videogame Justice League Heroes. McDuffies final work was developing the latest version of his global hit Ben 10 franchise for Cartoon Network, set to premiere in 2012.

Born on Feb. 20, 1962, and a WGAW member since 2003, McDuffie attended the Roeper School for gifted children in the Detroit suburbs of Bloomfield Hills. Later, he earned a bachelors degrees in both Physics and English, as well as a Masters degree in Physics, at the University of Michigan and attended film school at New York Universitys Tisch School of the Arts.

Launching his career in 1987 as a special comics editor at Marvel Comics, McDuffie wrote for Spider-Man and other major Marvel characters, and co-created the limited series Damage Control, centering on the novel idea of a firm that repairs property damages caused by epic battles between super-heroes and super-villains.

In 2003, McDuffie shared a Humanitas Prize for penning the Jimmy episode of Static Shock (teleplay by Dwayne McDuffie, Story by Alan Burnett, Dwayne McDuffie), which explored the topical issue of gun violence in schools. Over the course of his TV animation writing career, McDuffie earned two Emmy nominations, including a Daytime Emmy Award nom for Static Shock in the Outstanding Special Class Animated Program category (shared with Sander Schwartz, Alan Burnett, Denys Cowan, Swinton O. Scott III, John Semper, Len Uhley, and Andrea Romano), and in 2005 McDuffie shared a Writers Guild Award nomination for co-writing the Justice League episode Starcrossed (Written by Rich Fogel, John Ridley, Dwayne McDuffie, Story by Rich Fogel).

After several years spent freelancing as a comic book writer, in 1992 McDuffie co-founded Milestone Media, whose comics were distributed by DC Comics. The company, like McDuffie himself, championed a more multicultural and inclusive approach to comics.

The WGAWs AWC Animation Writing Award is given to members of the Animation Writers Caucus or Writers Guild who have advanced the literature of animation in film and/or television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the animation writer. Founded in 1994, the WGAWs Animation Writers Caucus represents over 600 animation writers and works to advance economic and creative conditions in the field. Through organizing efforts, educational events, and networking opportunities, the Guilds AWC is a leading proponent for animation writers. Recent AWC Animation Writing Award honorees include Mike Scully, Al Jean, Michael Reiss, Brad Bird, Linda Woolverton, and Stan Berkowitz

The posthumous award was announced late last week. Click here for further coverage.

McDuffie wrote the recent direct-to-video All-Star Superman animated feature for the Warner Home Video “DC Universe Animated Original Movie” line, released in February 2011, which has moved more than 400,000 copies on DVD and Blu-ray since its release.

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Producer James Tucker Discusses Final “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Episode

The World’s Finest caught up with Batman: The Brave and The Bold Producer James Tucker to discuss the final episode of the acclaimed animated series, “Mitefall!” The all-new episode debuts tonight, Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 7:00pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. The episode features Bat-Mite trying to cancel Batman: The Brave and The Bold after he tires of the cartoon. Continue below for the all-new exclusive Batman: The Brave and The Bold Q & A with Tucker.

The World’s Finest: As always, let’s start with the teaser. Batman, President Lincoln, and a crazy robotic John Wilkes Booth. Please, walk us through how this teaser came to be! Any significance to the ‘Parallel Universe 5501’ mention?

James Tucker: All the credit for this teaser has to go to the shows co-producer/story editor, Michael Jelenic. He was pitching this idea of Batman teaming up with Lincoln probably as early as the end of season one. It always sounded too over the top for me, particularly at that stage of the show. I felt the audience that we were building just wasnt ready for something that radical. By the third season, I guess Michael had worn me down and our audience had come to expect the crazy stuff wed been doing, so I finally said lets do it. Mind you, when he was describing it to me at first, it wasnt fully fleshed out. When it was finally pitched to me in its entirety, I loved it. It was cool, poignant and brilliant and was such a nice intro for our series finale.

WF: Moving on to the episode itself, this is…it, isn’t it? The final episode. Where did the inspiration for this episode come about? Why bring back Bat-Mite?

JT: At first I was torn with the idea of actually doing a series finale. I think, and still do, that a lot of the well-remembered shows that live on in peoples hearts are shows that were left open ended. So that whatever the show was, its just on a continuous loop in the minds of the audiences. But when you actually have a series finale, youre kind of closing the door on the show. Do people really want to relive a series that has a locked down ending? But given how we ultimately ended the show, that concern seems irrelevant now. Plus, Batmans forever, pun intended…there is no ending really. Using Bat-Mite as this episodes ‘villain’ made sense because in a way, the first episode he appeared in (“Legends of the Dark Mite”) was the one that really clued our audience into what this show was all about, the idea that we were celebrating Batman as a pop culture icon, and pulling elements from the entirety of his long history and trying to give nods to every era in his development as one of the most famous heroes ever created. Using Bat-mite as the ultimate Batman fan boy, we were able to literally have him deliver the shows manifesto in that speech he gives in the scene at comic convention. Once we did that, I think the part of the audience that was nervous about whether they could trust us or not just exhaled and were able to really embrace the show. The haters crawled back under their rocks (Just jokin). So it seemed to make sense to have Bat-mite be part of our ‘ending’ since he was responsible in a way for giving the show life.

WF: One can only assume there were many ideas left on the cutting room floor with Bat-Mite’s plans to cancel Batman. Any canned ideas that you can fill us in on? And what about the many, many meta jabs? How far did this episode go with them? Also, Batman…shooting a gun. How did you get that by censors?

JT: By the time wed gotten to this episode, we had discussed it so much, throwing ideas around, all season long that when the time came to do it, it seemed like it was fairly fully formed. I dont recall any ideas that had to be discarded. As far as Batman shooting the gun, I have to say Cartoon Networks standards department has always been good with understanding the context of any given scene in the series that might be questionable. Clearly, this episode was very meta from the first scene, so it was pretty obvious that we werent advocating Batman really shooting a gun. I think at the most we may have cut any scenes where Batmans directly shooting at someone. The few scenes where hes firing the gun, hes shooting off screen. I think.

WF: Did you find it approach that Henry Winkler voices Ambush Bug in an episode where Bat-Mite thinks Batman has jumped the shark? Was this intentional casting?

JT: Oh sure, its almost mandatory that you have to cast Henry Winkler in an episode thats about a series jumping the shark and we were lucky enough to get Ted McGinley as well. Im sure the younger viewers wont get the connection, not that they read whos in the credits anyway. But of course, we were referring to the infamous Happy Days episode where Fonzie jumps the shark. Both were great sports about it actually and were really cool to work with.

WF: Do you think this episode sums up Batman: The Brave and The Bold? How do you think fans will react to the final moments of this episode? How did you react to it?

JT: As I always say, the mandate we strive for on most of our episodes was to always have heart, humor and heroism. Those three things when you have them in the right proportion leave the audience with a good feeling (we hope). So I knew that even though this was the series finale, we should leave on an upbeat yet poignant note if possible. There are sad parts because, frankly, those of us who made the show were a bit sad that it was ending. I wanted Batman to directly address the audience, and I specifically wanted him to call them “boys and girls” because we always tried to have this show appeal to that inner little boy or girl that first saw Batman, whether it was the comic books, the 1940s movie serials, the 66 TV series, Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman, Burton, Schumacher, Nolan, or whatever version. Id like to think the fans that ‘got’ us still had that little boy or girl inside of them that went ‘wow!’ when they first laid eyes on Batman like I did when I was a kid. Also, I literally wanted Batman to address the actual kids for whom this was their first exposure to Batman. Im hearing some folks get misty eyed when they see the ending and I know I did!

WF: Do you have any final words you’d like to say to those who stuck by this show from beginning to end?

JT: I just want to thank the fans that stuck with the show supported and defended it. It made my job easier because they always had our back on the forums, in the media, and I assume on the playgrounds, water coolers and comic books shops. It was very liberating to know that we were appealing to a fan base that had been shouted down and shamed whenever they wondered why cant there be a fun superhero show that doesnt just come from an angle of pessimism and negativity? I think these fans understood that we were making the show for the kids they used to be and for the kids some of them have now and they gave us their unconditional support. That was very cool and gratifying.

WF: And now to our standard final question! Now, we all know fans are going to tune in to check this out, so let’s try something a shade different. Can you drop us a tease for one surprise that fans can expect for this final episode (that is, unless ‘The Mask of Matches Malone’ airs…)?

JT: Are than any real surprises in this age of omnipresent media and YouTube? I guess I can tease that there will be a sneak peek at the series that will be replacing us (in Bat-mites universe anyway!). But I cant imagine anyone who reads these boards doesnt already know about that. But there ya go!

The Batman: The Brave and The Bold series finale episode “Mitefall!” debuts tonight, Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 7:00pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. Continue to the Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite for further details on this episode, including video clips and images.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold airs on Cartoon Network every Friday at 7:00pm (ET).

Additonally, The World’s Finest recently conducted three interviews with members of the Batman: The Brave and The Bold creative team. Click here for an interview with Batman: The Brave and The Bold director Ben Jones, click here for an interview with Batman: The Brave and The Bold producer James Tucker, and click here for an interview with Batman: The Brave and The Bold story editor Michael Jelenic. All interviews look back at the acclaimed series and provide a closer look at the “Mitefall!” finale episode.

Further details on the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series are available here. Stay tuned for more Batman: The Brave and The Bold content right here at The World’s Finest.

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Story Editor Michael Jelenic On “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Finale, Looks Back

To commemorate the airing of the Batman: The Brave and The Bold series finale episode “Mitefall!,” The World’s Finest presents the latest in a series of themed Q & As focused on the acclaimed cartoon. Batman: The Brave and The Bold story editor Michael Jelenic sat down for a short Q & A with The World’s Finest to discuss both the finale episode “Mitefall!” and to look back at the fan-favorite Batman-centric animated series. The series finale episodes air tonight, Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 7:00pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. Click on the image below to continue on the Q & A.

The Batman: The Brave and The Bold series finale episode “Mitefall!” airs tonight, Friday, November 18th, 2011 at 7:00pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. Click here for media – including images, clips and more – from “Mitefall!” Batman: The Brave and The Bold airs on Cartoon Network every Friday at 7:00pm (ET).

Additonally, click here for a recent interview with Batman: The Brave and The Bold director Ben Jones and click here for a recent interview with Batman: The Brave and The Bold producer James Tucker. Both interviews look back at the series and discuss the finale episode.

Further details on the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series are available here. Stay tuned for more Batman: The Brave and The Bold content right here at The World’s Finest, including further exclusive coverage of the series finale episode.

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