Month: October 2012

Package Art For Recent “Super Villains: The Joker’s Last Laugh” DVD Release

Warner Home Video has provided the back cover art for the recent Super Villains: The Joker’s Last Laugh two-disc DVD release. The two-disc set, released to shelves this past week, highlights episodes featuring The Joker or characters inspired by the classic villain. The material include is pulled from multiple DC Comics-based animated series – including Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Below is the package art, including the recently released back cover, along with studio-provided details.

Super Villains: The Joker’s Last Laugh

Synopsis: The Joker is Always Wild!- In DC’s rogues gallery, one criminal stands out above the rest, The Joker. Be there for the Clown Prince of Crime’s most devious schemes in 13 action-packed animated episodes together for the first time in an all-new 2-disc collection. From a sinister sneak attack with sidekick Harley Quinn to releasing all the criminals from Arkham Asylum, this wildly dangerous prankster will do anything to get the last laugh. But as he faces off against some of DC’s strongest superheroes, will the ultimate joke be on The Joker?

Episodes: Christmas with the Joker, The Joker’s Favor, Harley and Ivy, World’s Finest Part 1, World’s Finest Part 2, World’s Finest Part 3, Joker’s Wild, Harlequinade, The Bat in the Belfry, Hail the Tornado Tyrant!, Emperor Joker!, Rebirth Part 1, Rebirth Part 2

Stay tuned for further updates on other home titles from Warner Home Video spotlighting DC Comics characters here soon at he World’s Finest.

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“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One” Moves Over 200,000 Total Units In Home Video Sales

According to various home media retailing outlets and independent research, the recent Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One direct-to-video animated feature has moved over 210,000 units on home video in combined DVD and Blu-ray sales since its release. The latest DC Comics Premiere Movie title moved an estimated 157,500 units in its first week – the weekend ending September 30th, 2012, with 60,500 of those sales coming from DVD and 97,000 from the Blu-ray format. Sales dropped down to an estimated 53,500 combined copies in week two – the week ending October 7th, 2012. An estimated 211,000 copies of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One have moved from shelves since its initial September 25th, 2012 release date.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One is expected to maintain strong sales for the remainder of the year, partly due to the upcoming marketing efforts for the home video release of the The Dark Knight Rises theatrical feature and the early 2013 home video release of the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part Two animated movie.

Blu-ray sales have accounted for an estimated 71% of total Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One home video sales since its first week, with the high-definition format easily the dominant media. Keep in mind the sales numbers above do not take into account rental numbers, OnDemand numbers, or legal download numbers. Additionally, please note that the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One Two-Disc Special Edition DVD release is currently exclusive to all Wal-Mart chains until going wide as November 6th, 2012.

Above is the cover art for all three separate home video releases for the direct-to-video Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One animated feature. Click here to read the The World’s Finest review of the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One home video release and continue to the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One micro-site for more media and content from the animated feature. Click on the links below to discuss both the new Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One animated feature and its respective DVD and Blu-ray home video releases.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One DVD/Blu-ray Talkback (Spoilers)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Classic Comic Talkback (Spoilers)

A co-production of Warner Premiere, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the direct-to-video Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One animated feature is now available to own on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD, On Demand and for Download.

Stay tuned for further updates and much more, here soon at The World’s Finest.

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“The Dark Knight Rises” Arrives December 4th, 2012
On Blu-ray Combo-Pack, DVD, OnDemand, and Digital Download!
Click the above image to view the High-Definition Quicktime trailer!

Producer Eric Radomski Discusses Twenty Years Of “Batman: The Animated Series”

Having just celebrated its 20th anniversary last month, Batman: The Animated Series‘ pivotal role in the world of animation remains uncontested to this day. Based on the characters from DC Comics, Batman: The Animated Series brought in a wealth of talented professionals and creators, resulting in an unforgettable experience that revolutionized television animation and brought a stunning new look to the legendary Caped Crusader. Among its eclectic cast of talent, to vast here to list, the series was developed by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski. Both with a unique set of visual talents, Timm and Radomski ended up creating a landmark visual style for the series that, in effect, would still remain a heavy influence in animation to this very day. Timm and Radomski laid the groundwork for what would become the most revered superhero animated series of all-time.

The World’s Finest has the opportunity to talk to Producer Eric Radomski about his time on Batman: The Animated Series and much more…

The World’s Finest: I guess we’ll start with the basics. You’ve stated before that, before Batman: The Animated Series, you weren’t really a Batman fan. What drew you to this series and how did you prepare for it? Was it just another animation gig, or did you know something special was being created?

Eric Radomiski: Tim Burton’s Batman movie was my first exposure to the dark side of the character and his world, like most of us comic book illiterates, I’d only known the campy 1960’s TV interpretation which I watched mostly because my viewing options were limited at that time… As an adult, I came to appreciate that series for what it was. As a kid, I recall it being rather annoying and unfortunately the likely reason I avoided comics all together thinking that all comics would be as lame as that series… I was wrong.

Ironically I’d been ‘preparing for it’ all along, I just didn’t know it…

I began my art career with illusions of becoming a fine-art painter, which exposed me to countless concepts, techniques, and styles, I studied and practiced continuously until reality stepped in and finances forced me to pursue illustration, the kind of painting that actually pays the bills. All along, I maintained my fascination and experimentation with animation and at a certain point my interests converged.

Specific to Batman: The Animated Series; I had been working on Tiny Toon Adventures as a background painter two years prior to the birth of Batman: The Animated Series. Toward the end of Tiny Toon‘s run, WB opened up animation development on several WB-owned properties. I contributed development art on all of the titles they offered purely to participate, with hopes of sustaining my employment. That said, the Batman movie struck a personal and artistic cord in me… A blend of Impressionism, Catholicism and 70’s Illustrators – Fuchs, Peak, English to name a few – along with the [Max] Fleischer’s Superman series seemed to be the special sauce I thought Batman: The Animated Series needed to distinguish itself from most of the previous action adventure shows I’d experienced.

WF: Starting off, you stated that you and Bruce Timm were somewhat inexperienced as producers. Did that cause any problems early on, perhaps with other writers or editors working on the series? How did you overcome that to make the show as consistent in tone as it eventually became?

ER: In hind site, the 90-second test Bruce Timm and I created truly ‘sealed the deal’ as far as he and I working on the series… simply because we got it done and it looked so different. Even upon completion he and I thought we’d be art directors at best and we were fine with that. It was a bit of a shock when Jean MacCurdy, President of WB Animation at that time asked us to be the series producers and that WB wanted to produce 65 episodes right out of the gate. I swear, we must have looked like classic WB characters, stunned ‘jaw to the floor’ expressions. We thought “what the hell, the worst that can happen is they’ll fire us” and off we went.

The first few months were a bit clumsy as Timm and I were asked to work with two writer producers that were talented enough but didn’t really share our vision. Nor did they seem comfortable to collaborate with two newbies like us. I believe Jean recognized our passion and vision for the series and realized that was too important to sacrifice. Fortunately, she had the brilliant idea to introduce us to the shows narrative hero – Alan Burnett. Alan brought maturity, experience and collaboration to the team and that seemed to calm down any hesitation that remained. 85 episodes and a 70-minute film later we all stepped back in awe of the unique opportunity we’d all just experienced. Great memories and the start of several outstanding careers for many of the artists that were part of this series.

WF: As a follow-up to the previous question, while the show hit a consistent tone with story, there were obvious fluctuations with the animation and the different studios used. Did you ever see that as an issue, and did this cause any problems with what you wanted the show to achieve visually?

ER: The production design met resistance with all of our oversea’s studios, simply because our series was like nothing else they’d worked on. Some studios had more difficulty adapting to the style then others. We made every effort to help each studio understand the style. i believed from the beginning that if embraced, this style would prove to be simpler, more efficient, and serve to deliver a better looking product overall. Considering we had up to seven studios in four different countries working simultaneously for two years, our ratio of good versus average looking episodes was very high all things considered.

The series would look amazing using today’s technology. Reminder – BTAS was a traditional 2D production. Hand-made, shot on film with no digital assistance outside of the final music and sound effects mix. The days of hand-painted animation cels is quickly becoming a style of the past. Hang on to those series cels … the market will return sometime soon.

WF: Visually, your impact on Batman: The Animated Seriesis readily apparent. The black backgrounds and the title cards are two highly important visuals from the first 85 episodes that are basically owed to you. Can you run us through why you opted to use the black backgrounds, and how you came up with the idea for the title cards?

ER: Claude Monet, Bernie Fuchs, Coppola, Fleischer’s Superman – All had a technical impact on the concept of starting in the dark and coaxing the imagery out with light and color. It’s a visual storytelling technique that allows the viewers imagination to fill in the blanks.

From a production standpoint, I felt the technique allowed us to suggest more detail and atmosphere then actually existed (or we could afford), and it was easily transferable so that we could maintain consistency amongst all the hands involved.

WF: How did your experience in animation help you as executive producer for this series? Did that help you become so hands-on for this show? Why? Would you say your background allowed for some of the unique offerings of the show, such as the darker palette and more dramatic emphasis?

ER: We all learn by trial and error. My animation experience previous to Batman: The Animated Series was very hands on and from the bottom up. I started as coffee boy, Xerox-clean up, a background artist on commercials in the mid west. I even worked a 16mm Oxberry camera for a while. I earned my way up to assistant animator, board artist and eventually assistant director. I was fairly experienced and prepared for the production of Batman: The Animated Series, I just hadn’t been responsible for the whole process before.

Specific to the ‘darker palette and more dramatic emphasis’ question; that was more personal expression inspired by my maturing tastes for stronger animated content.

WF: This question is likely impossible to answer but, at the time, did you know you and the Batman: The Animated Series creative team was creating something that, even twenty years later, is still an obvious influence when it comes to animation? What are you most proud of about your work on the show?

ER: Agreed, no one could have predicted the lasting success and interest in the series. But I will say after we received the first episode “On Leather Wings,” Timm and I knew we had achieved what we set out to – creating a sophisticated animated series no one had seen since Fleischer’s Superman.

I’m most proud of being part of a team that truly cared about their work, and proved it by committing it to film for the next generation of creators to be inspired, to carry on the art form as we were inspired by the brilliant artists before us.

WF: That being said, is there anything you’d change? Perhaps find ways to push the envelope a little more? Do you think that would even be possible today, especially given the all-ages fanbase?

ER: The digital generation has changed the game completely, good and bad. Batman: The Animated Series would be an even prettier series today, but it’s likely the budgets and patience for a big and bold show like Batman: The Animated Series would be difficult to sell since most studio’s are interested in small investments, quick turnarounds and certain guaranteed high profits. Audience tastes have also shifted to the immediate gratification the internet offers.

That said, I believe in the theory of “quality content is king” and “if we build it they will come.” The past few summer superhero blockbusters give me hope. Digital effects have caught up to the superhero genre, the movies are looking better then ever and more diverse audiences are finding interest in the comic world. I believe its a bit of a rebirth, but time will tell.

WF: Just as an extension of the previous question, and somewhat off-topic, do you think there will be a place for dramatic adult animation here in North America? You worked on HBO’s Spawn and champion the drive for serious adult animation. There are countless animated comedies that air in prime-time, but do you ever think we’ll see an animated drama?

ER: Animation became difficult when it became profitable. The animation industry suffers and struggles equal to live-action television and feature films. As long as you can prove profit will exist, you have a very good chance of making content in any form. South Park is the perfect example. They’ve broken every rule most animators only dream about, considering the restrictions from Broadcast Standards and Practices. But South Park generates huge profits at a very low production cost. An easy sell, all things considered.

Animated drama is a harder sell since the merchandizing needed to accompany it would interest a very narrow audience, which makes financing these types of projects difficult.

WF: Getting back to Batman: The Animated Series, it’s well-know that show has frequent run-in with the network censors. Are there any particularly interesting instances of censorship for the series? Also, did you ever find said restrictions a problem that perhaps held the series back in your view?

ER: Actually the restrictions inspired many clever solutions for us to vent our action-adventure spleens. Watch closely, I promise in one episode you’ll see Robin punch a thug in the crotch … or did he?

One instance that always comes to mind when asked this question, this FOX Broadcast Standards and Practices note and solution: “Characters can not punch each other in the head but they can kick each other in the chest”

To be fair, the networks and studio’s have been badgered into these stupid rules by members of the audience that ignore “against fare warning” and “do not try this at home.” The results have been annoying and expensive, but eventually inspiring to the animators. We always seem to find a work around [laughs]!

WF: I realize this is likely a hard question but…how would you categorize your time and role on Batman: The Animated Series. Many consider you one of the unsung heroes of the series. Would you consider that true? How has your work on Batman: The Animated Series affected your career following it?

ER: Batman: The Animated Series was the pivotal point in my career. It made every other animation opportunity since then possible. I’ve enjoyed and learned from every series I’ve produced. I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to work on such an amazing property with so many incredibly talented artists.

Heroes sacrifice with no intention for reward, but this was no sacrifice. I was vfortunately part of great team that depended on each other working together toward the same goal. We all contributed what we could and all deserve equal credit for what we achieved as a team. Animation is without a doubt a team effort.

WF: Just in general, how do you find the animation landscape has changed since Batman: The Animated Series’s time. Based on your own experiences, do you find it more restricting, more freeing, or does that depend on where you work? And can you see the impact of Batman: The Animated Series even to this day?

ER: These days I often say “production is the easy part.” All the nonsense that has to be dealt with just to get a show started – let alone made – is where a lot of my time is spent. I do it because I love it and I refuse to allow the art form to die, so I make my best effort to work with the restrictions given and make the best show I can. All things considered, there’s no greater satisfaction then making something from nothing and finding an audience that appreciates the effort.

WF: So, the wrap this up with a couple ‘20th anniversary’ questions! First, do you have an absolute favorite episode of Batman: The Animated Series? Care to tell us what it is and why?

ER: “On Leather Wings” was our first born and closest to the vision we were searching for from the start, it defined Batman: The Animated Series.

WF: How do you perceive the legacy of Batman: The Animated Series and its fond remembrance twenty years later?

ER: I was inspired by a few of my favorite animated series when I was a kid. Knowing that so many artists, fans, and followers continue to enjoy and share our Batman: The Animated Series feels like I’ve given back the inspiration and opportunity to the next generation of artists with hopes and dreams of their own to pursue.

WF: Lastly, where can we expect to see your name next. You’re currently working at Marvel Animation, so how has that been going for you and what can we expect to see in the near future from you and Marvel Animation?

ER: Currently I have a rather long title – Senior Vice President of Animation and Development for Marvel Television. I’m responsible for all things Animated from Marvel:

-Season One and Two of Ultimate Spider-Man (season 2 starts in January 2012)
-Season One of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
-Season One of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble (which I’m the Supervising Producer of in addition to my overall Studio duties)

We have a few other surprises brewing as well, to say the least. I’m very busy these days and loving every frame of it.

The World’s Finest would like to thank Eric Radomski for participating in this Q & A!

Batman: The Animated Series is currently available on home video, OnDemand, and for legal download, among other outlets. Batman: The Animated Series also currently airs on The Hub, with listing details available through your local television provider. This interview can also be found on The World’s Finest Batman: The Animated Series subsite.

Ultimate Spider-Man currently airs Sundays at 11:30am (ET/PT) as part of the Marvel Universe programming block on Disney XD, with Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Marvel’s Avenger’s Assemble joining the block come Summer 2013.

Stay tuned for details for further details here soon at The World’s Finest.

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Teletoon Superfan Friday Airing “Justice League: Doom” Animated Feature This Month

The 2012 direct-to-video Justice League: Doom animated feature is slated for a special presentation airing Friday, October 26th, 2012 at 7:00pm (ET/PT) on Teletoon. Justice League: Doom, part of the direct-to-video DC Universe Animated Original Movie line released by Warner Home Video, features the superhero team facing off against threats that come from within. The Canadian network regularly airs assorted offering from the popular home video line. Official details on the Justice League: Doom animated feature, released by Teletoon, are available below.

Justice League: Doom
Teletoon, Friday, October 26th, 2012 at 7:00pm (ET/PT)

The Justice League consists of Earth’s finest super heroes and protectors of humanity. But in the mind of the Dark Knight, it contains potentially the most dangerous people on the planet. Over time, Batman has compiled top-secret contingency plans should any of them go rogue. When these files are stolen by a rising group of super-villains, the Justice League embarks on a collision course that will test the very fabric of its alliance. With a stellar voice cast headed by Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly and Nathan Fillion, this thrilling DC Universe Animated Original adventure will challenge what you know about the Justice League as well as redefine what heroes are made of!

Complete details on the direct-to-video Justice League: Doom animated feature can be found at the Justice League: Doom subsite here at The World’s Finest. Justice League: Doom airs Friday, October 26th, 2012 at 7:00pm (ET/PT) on Teletoon.

An all-new animated feature starring the Justice League – titled Justice League: Flashpoint – will hit shelves come Fall 2013. Kevin Conroy will be featured as the voice of Batman. Stay tuned for further schedule updates and details on the latest DC Universe Animated Original Movie titles here soon at The World’s Finest.

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Cartoon Network Canada To Air First Season “Young Justice” Episodes In November 2012

Episodes from the first season of Young Justice are set to air during November 2012 on the Canadian Cartoon Network channel. The network, which launched Summer 2012 in Canada, airs Young Justice Saturdays at 10am (ET/PT) and 7:30pm (ET/PT) and Sundays at 8pm (ET/PT). The first thirteen episodes of Young Justice aired on Teletoon, an animation-based network exclusive to Canada, before moving exclusively to Cartoon Network Canada. November 2012 schedule details, courtesy of the network, can be found below.

Young Justice
Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 at 10:00am (ET/ PT) – “Disordered”

Conner Kent’s pet Sphere has undergone a startling transformation, bringing it to the attention of the forever people of New Genesis. Turns out Sphere originally belonged to them… and they want it back!

Young Justice
Saturday, November 10th, 2012 at 10:00am (ET/ PT) – “Secrets”

On Halloween, Artemis and Zatanna go to Manhattan for a night on the town, only to be hunted by Harm, a psycho-in-training, hiding a deadly secret…

Young Justice
Saturday, November 17th 2012 at 10:00am (ET/ PT) – “Misplaced”

When every adult on the planet disappears, only the team, Zatanna and Billy Batson are left to defeat the five most powerful sorcerers on Earth…

Young Justice
Saturday, November 24th 2012 at 10:00am (ET/ PT) – “Coldhearted”

Wally West comes oh-so-close to fulfilling his birthday wish to finally fight alongside the Justice League. Instead, a massively disappointed Kid Flash is taken off the mission and tasked with a simple delivery job. But a few deadly surprises await the birthday boy along the way…

Please note schedule details are subject to change without notice.

Young Justice airs Saturdays at 10am (ET/PT) and 7:30pm (ET/PT) and Sundays at 8pm (ET/PT) on Cartoon Network Canada. Young Justice is currently on hiatus on the American Cartoon Network station.

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