|Backstage - Interviews - James Tucker
The first question is one I have to ask Ė Why another
Batman cartoon? How did this one come about?
We wanted to do something with Batman that hadnít been
done recently. Batman in recent years has been really
dark and tortured and angst ridden. We wanted to do
something that brought him back to his earlier roots of
a friendlier more approachable Batman. Everyone tends to
focus on the Rogues Gallery and with this version; we
had the chance to reintroduce a great cast of characters
who have been overlooked. Also, this new lighter tone
gave us a way to introduce younger viewers to Batman Ė
the same way we were as kids.
WF: Can you explain to the fans your basic role in
the production of this series?
As the showís producer, I oversee all aspects of
production, ranging from show idea development, hiring
and managing production to ensure the showís overall
quality. I was very involved in creating the concept and
really enjoy participating in the day-to-day activities
such as scriptwriting, character design, casting, and
WF: After watching the first episode, I found it to
be fun, light-hearted, and in the vein of DC's Silver
Age comics. Why take this approach to Batman, especially
with the darker version sweeping both the cartoons and
the big screen right now?
Again, we really wanted to create a show that was
appropriate for younger viewers and still be exciting
for parents and hard-core fans. This show is a great
homage to the classic Batman of the 40ís, 50ís and 60ís.
There is plenty of action, great characters and gadgets.
The show feels familiar and is true to its roots, but
the colors and style come across as new and fresh. The
good news is that there are several versions to choose
from - so there truly is a Batman for everyone at any
WF: How do you think this show will compare to not
only previous renditions of Batman, but also your
previous DC Animation work? How has working on this
series differed than the other DC Animated series you've
worked on? This seems to be a project that you have
fully embraced and made your own.
Of all the shows Iíve worked on, this one has allowed my
personal love of old school Batman to shine. I loved
working on all the DCUA shows from Superman through
Justice League Unlimited but, by our own admission, we
didnít do those shows to be overly kid-friendly.
Producing Batman: The Brave and The Bold allowed me to
capitalize on the influences from my first exposure to
the Batman 60ís show and cartoon. From there I got into
the comic books and learned there was more to him than
meets the eye. When I was a kid we had these great comic
book collections called 100 Page Spectaculars which
featured a new Batman story followed by reprints of
Batman from the 30ís, 40ís, 50ís and 60ís. I had the
opportunity to learn about Batman in all his different
incarnations, and they all blended into one for me. So
for this show, I drew from Batmanís whole history as a
hero, not just the very early year or so when he was a
dark vigilante who carried a gun or the last 20 years or
so since Frank Millerís Dark Knight Returns. This show
has influences from ALL of Batmanís history. So for me
itís a dream come true to work on this version of
Batman. It was a simpler, more lighthearted version of
Batman that lead me to become a passionate comics fan
and I hope this show will serve the same purpose for
WF: After watching the first episode, it seems like
we'll be seeing two guest-heroes an episode: one in the
pre-credit sequence and another during the actual
storyline. Can you tell us who we can expect to see in
the first batch of Batman: The Brave and The Bold
episodes, and what plans you have for at least for the
first 26 episodes?
You can expect to see Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Red
Tornado and Plastic Man. Each week there will exciting
new guest voice actors and new partners for Batman to
team up with. We are keeping most of these secret and
you will have to watch the show to find out.
WF: What types of opportunities, or road blocks, has
Batman: The Brave and The Bold given you for
usage of certain characters that you haven't had in
previous series, such as being able to use Plastic Man,
The DC universe is huge! We have literally hundreds of
heroes and villains to choose from. The hardest part was
really deciding which ones NOT to use. We knew early on
that the Penguin, Poison Ivy, the Joker had been core
characters to our earlier shows. So to change it up, our
first choice was to explore other characters like Clock
King, Black Manta and Gentleman Ghost. Many of the
characters we brought back have not been seen since the
60ís and 70ís, or outside of the actual comic books.
WF: Was it jarring to jump to Legion of Super
Heroes to Batman: The Brave and The Bold, in
terms of both jumping to a different network and dealing
with a different array of characters?
Legion was a difficult show to produce for many reasons.
I had some growing pains initially as it was my first
time being a sole producer. So it was a bit of a trial
by fire, but by the end of the first season I had come
to love the characters and the shows had found their
voice. I think we definitely found our groove by the
time we completed the ĎSuneaterí two episode story arc.
It was then that we were really clear on the shows tone
and we really came into our own in the second season.
Iím extremely proud of the episodes and think we
explored some very daring themes in that series.
Hopefully that creativity will get itís due on DVD
someday. With B:TBATB, there was no learning curve. I
have learned how to produce shows that are true to their
artistic vision and how to be flexible when the
inevitable hiccups arrive. This is the show I watched as
a kid, only with better stories, animation and
production values. We have recreated that sense of fun
and excitement for a whole new generation.
WF: Now, not to veer off-topic, but Legion of
Super Heroes fans are curious about a couple things
in particular. First off, can we expect full-season
releases for the two season of Legion of Super
Heroes on DVD? Secondly, fans are wondering what
your thoughts were when the series was let go after 26
episodes, and what plans did you have for the future
seasons of the series?
Well as I said, I had grown to love Legion of
Superheroes. Michael Jelenic and I were very attached to
the second season and had many plans for the 3rd season,
so switching over to Batman was daunting at first. It
wasnít until Sam Register specified that this show was
to be based on The Brave and the Bold that I got really
excited about it. With The Brave and The Bold, I was
free to explore all the different types of ways Batman
has been portrayed and create a broad range of stories.
Iíve worked on shows with Batman as a character for most
of my career but this was an opportunity to do something
different tonally with the character that hadnít been
As far as Legion goes, Iím not aware of any plans for
Season sets. Weíve not been approached to do any
supplemental features either. But it is a great idea.
Unfortunately, that kids programming block ended before
we could produce all of the great stories we had been
developing. When the timeslot was sold off it pretty
much ended any chance of us continuing with Legion
series. As far as future story arcs, we would most
likely have devoted time to Brainiac 5ís quest to redeem
himself after the events of the season 2 finale. I
personally wanted to introduce characters we hadnít had
a chance to yet. Legion simply had too many characters
to do justice to two seasons. Michael and I had also
talked about Ferro Ladís twin brother showing up in an
adaptation of ďThe Ghost of Ferro Ladí story, and I
wanted to introduce Wildfire into the Legion as a
replacement of Kell-El. Legions seemed to work better
with a loose cannon of the team.
WF: And, for one final off-topic question, fans are
still wondering if we'll ever see the Justice League
Unlimited again! Has there been any new developments
on the Justice League Unlimited direct-to-video
ďWorld's CollideĒ feature, or on the property at all?
No plans that Iím at liberty to talk about. But it does
come up periodically on our Ďto-doí list.
WF: Okay, let's get back to your current project -
Batman: The Brave and The Bold! I have a fan
submitted question that I'd like you to take a look at
and reply to, if you can. Here it is: ďWill see Hal
Jordan, Ray Palmer, Ted Kord and Ronnie Raymond? Or
Spectre, Hawkman and Hawkwoman? What about Batgirl,
Penguin, Joker, Catwoman or Riddler? Also, I would like
to see a tribute issue #28 of the The Brave and The Bold
28 comic, with Batman, Hal, Barry, Diana, Martian
Manhunter, Aquaman and Superman VS Starro! Is this
possible?Ē I realize that's a loaded question, but, any
Hoo-boy. Yes, No, Maybe, No. No. No. No. No. No. Maybe.
Maybe. Yes. No to the tribute issue, but Iíll have to
research that since it sounds interesting. We donít have
permission at this time to use Wonder Woman or Superman.
WF: Now, based on the available artwork, this show
seems to feature a host of characters with an array of
different designs from different eras of DC's long comic
history. For example, we have the classic Green Arrow
look, but we also have the new Blue Beetle design. How
did you decide on a look for this show? What inspired
This show is not set in any particular era. The series
was inspired by the 100 Page Spectacular comics of the
Ď70s where different versions of the same character
appeared in new stories and reprints, so you would read
a story about Batman set in the 70ís but the back up
stories were reprints from all the different eras. The
fact that Iím using the current Blue Beetle with the
original Green Arrow is purely a taste issue on my part.
The Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle was a character that tested
through the roof with kids so that was a no brainer. And
the lefty, bearded Green Arrow had appeared in both
Justice League and the Batman, so I didnít want to go
there again. I decided on the look of the show from
trial and error. I hundreds of sketches showing possible
directions the show could have taken before I settled on
the one that just clicked. I had previously storyboarded
and created character designs for a segment based on the
50ís Batman for a ĎBatman: The New Adventuresí episode
called ďLegends of the Dark KnightĒ and it was the most
fun I had ever working as a storyboard artist. So when
this opportunity came around, I went back to that as an
inspiration. I decided to try to attempt a thicker ink
line around the characters to make them look more like
old school comic book characters. This was something we
contemplated doing on the ĎLegends of the Dark Knightí
segment, but decided against it because the animation
studios back then werenít nearly as versatile as they
are now. In fact, it was a huge concern of ours when we
asked the studios to do it since for so long we felt it
was something that couldnít be done well in an action
adventure show. Thankfully, the studios have been
amazing and the animation weíve been getting back is the
most consistent Iíve ever seen on any series Iíve worked
on. For color design of the show, I worked with my lead
BG painter, Bill Dunn, and Craig Cuqro, the character
and prop color stylist, on a new brighter color palette
for the show thatís exciting and pleasing to the eye.
WF: And, naturally, fans want to know Ė can we expect
to see Batman's supporting cast and big-time baddies pop
in? What about Bruce himself? It seems as though we're
given a hint in the first episode in what we can expect
to see, in terms of Batman's supporting cast.
Every week Batman will team up with his friends Blue
Beetle, Green Arrow, Aquaman and countless others will
get a chance to uphold justice and go on great
adventures. Batman is still based in Gotham City, but
for this series, he will travel all over the world, into
outer space and even under the sea. The one thing to
keep in mind is that while we donít see Bruce Wayne, we
will hear him in voice over telling us what Batman is
really thinking. Itís a fun way for Batman to show his
sense of irony and humor.
WF: So, James, as we wrap this up, any final thoughts
on Batman: The Brave and The Bold? What can fans
expect when they flip on their television on November
Everyone can expect a lot of action and great animation
featuring stories with some of their favorite heroes.
WF: Is there anything you'd like to say to the staff
and readers at The World's Finest?
I have really enjoyed working on this series and it has
a fantastic new look that fans and reviewers are excited
about. We hope your readers all enjoy the show and be
sure to go online and check out
http://dcherozone.kidswb.com/ for more great stuff
from Batman: The Brave and The Bold.
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