Click on the links below to check out thousands and thousands of archived news stories. News coverage includes episode and comic previews, interviews, artwork and so much more. Features programs and movies include Batman: The Animated Series, Young Justice, the DC Universe Animated Original Movie line and much, much more.
First off, apologies for the rather bland subject line up there. It comes off more ominous than it should. Sorry about that! Anyways…
With 2014 now done and over with, the last news story from The World’s Finest has officially been posted up. As I mentioned on this site a year ago, it’s time to ease back on the overall workload of this site, and that starts with wrapping up the daily news post for the foreseeable future. Thousands and thousands of news posts, including three straight years of news posts at least five days a week, without a single weekday missed. And, with 2015 now here, that ends as The World’s Finest will return to its roots as an unbeatable resource for fans. An archive of content, a collection of materials covering a host of different shows and movies, a wealth of information – call it what you will, but The World’s Finest will be embracing that once again.
What does that all encompass? Well, don’t get alarmed … it’s all good! As the site shifts into a content destination, certain aspects of the site will stop while an emphasis will be placed on others. Daily news posts will cease, as I said, and no new subsites will be added to the site as of this time. Does that mean the end of updates and new material? No – there will always be new content added here, but the site will now just be easier for me to manage.
Site updates will continue going forward, reviews will still be posted, more content will be added (images, behind-the-scenes material, etc.), along with the odd interview. However, now, the site updates will now fall more onto the resource side of things. As I said, there will be no new additional subsites added to The World’s Finest going forward, with the possible exception of smaller pages dedicated to installments of the ongoing DC Universe Animated Original Movie line. Assorted DVD, Blu-ray, and other media releases will also still be covered. A new Batman: The Brave and The Bold Blu-ray? We’ll cover and review it – 100%. New soundtrack release? We’re on it – count on it. The only thing really changing is the end of daily news posts (which, honestly, it didn’t seem like a lot of people noticed anyway, given how so many stories broken here went unnoticed or stolen over the years).
A lot of factors played a role in this decision. For one, this site is too unwieldy for one person to handle. I cover about 95% of the work on the site, the forums and social media outlets. This includes emails, press work, reviews, finding reviewers and content, all of that. I spend many hours a day working on this site, volunteering countless hours. Juggling that with a regular job, a family, etc., and, well, something has to give. I have more responsibilities than ever before and there are just not enough hours in the day. But I can’t just abandon the site – no way. Given how long I’ve been working on this site, from its first iteration back in 1997, and how attached I am to it, I opted not to pass the torch. I did ask for help, more than a few times, but no one came to bat. So, I opted to scale the site responsibilities down to its skeleton in order to keep it going. I am expecting to reduce my presence and update rate overtime, though. The forum duties will be passed over to someone else entirely, for example. Still, with this, I’m able to balance my workload easier, have a bit of a better life, and explore other options.
This site is not going away. It’s not going anywhere. It’s going to stay right here. There’s no way I could let it go, anyways. All the content that you see here is not budging an inch. The only thing really changing is the removal of daily news updates and an easing back on the frequency of updates. This site will always be here for you to access and explore. In fact, to this day, there are some nifty secrets still not uncovered here on the site, which tells me there’s plenty for all of you still to explore.
For those worried, this isn’t the end. All you need to do is keep an eye on the “Site Updates” section to see that. Over the next few days, you’ll see the main page here change a little. The news will be replaced with links to the major site sections here, and the daily news shuffled off into an archive (where it will be readily accessible to look through). All portions of this site, I think, will be more easily accessible for those wanting to look around and just see what we have to offer. This site is the biggest DC Comics-animation (and Batman animation) site out there to this day, and I doubt that’ll change, even with the evolving trends of internet culture. But hey, no matter how much all of that changes, The World’s Finest will always be right here.
If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to drop a line. The social media portals for The World’s Finest will remain up until I decide what to do with them. I can be easily reached there, or through the contact links scattered throughout the site here. If all that fails, just catch me on the forums.
I’d like to express a quick “thanks” to all the folks who have helped me over the years. Zach, Ian, James, Barry, Eileen, Brian, Michael and a wealth of other people I can’t thank enough. This seems like a nice moment to tip my hat to them as I follow the site through a few minor changes and lifts. For your daily news fix, which plenty of you are clearly already getting elsewhere, I suggest you keep it tuned to Toonzone and DCAU Resource. The forums right here are also a good spot for any developments or concerns, as well. I may post the odd piece up from time to time there.
And that’s all from me for now, folks. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask. Don’t hesitate. That’s what I’m here for. Thanks!
Otoy has released the following press release announcing a joint ventures with Warner Digital Series and DC Entertainment to bring the Batcave from Batman: The Animated Series to life via virtual reality. Bruce Timm, producer on Batman: The Animated Series, is involved with the project. Using Otoy’s OctaneRender and light field technology, the look and feel of the animated series will be reproduced in 3D with unprecedented detail and immersive technology. The complete press release, along with promotional images, are available below.
Click on the included images for a closer look.
Warner Bros., DC Entertainment and OTOY take fans inside the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series in industry’s first commercial holographic video deployment for virtual reality and light field displays
Fans can explore the Batcave from the Emmy Award–winning television series
in a fully immersive DC Comics animated universe; OTOY’s ORBX holographic
video powers groundbreaking cinematic experience on consumer VR devices
Warner Digital Series, DC Entertainment and visual effects pioneer, OTOY Inc., today announced work on a groundbreaking immersive entertainment experience that will see the Batcave from the acclaimed Emmy® Award–winning Batman: The Animated Series brought to life via interactive holographic video for virtual reality displays. The interactive narrative experience will give fans the opportunity to explore Batman’s world like never before, allowing them to feel what it is like to be inside the show’s stylized universe on devices such as the Samsung GALAXY Gear VR, the Oculus Rift, and on forthcoming ‘glasses-free’ light field displays that will power future TV and mobile devices.
First aired on network television in 1992, Batman: The Animated Series defined the classic DC Comics character for a generation of fans. The success of the highly influential show led to a multi-decade run of critically acclaimed television series and animated original movies set in the DC Comics animated universe it helped establish.
Using OTOY’s OctaneRender™ and light field technology, Warner Digital Series and OTOY are faithfully recreating the look and feel of the animated series in unprecedented detail, collaborating with Batman: The Animated Series producer Bruce Timm. Timm is guiding the meticulous adaptation of the original 1992 designs into a fully realized universe with volume and depth. OTOY is also developing tools that perfectly preserve the show’s distinct visual drawing style in 3D space, without requiring any post-production work or manual artist intervention. OTOY’s OctaneRender™ scales this process through light field rendering on the cloud, translating the show’s unique aesthetic, immediately recognized by millions of fans, into cinematic virtual reality.
The project represents the first of many commercial endeavors leveraging OTOY’s rendering and holographic streaming technology which aim to deliver next-generation media and entertainment experiences to emerging content platforms in the coming years.
“We are continuously exploring new and exciting ways to tell stories and share experiences with audiences around the globe, and we’re excited to be working with OTOY on this cutting-edge adaptation from Batman: The Animated Series,” said Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series. “More to the point: It’s super-cool, eye-popping stuff, and fans are going to love it. We can’t wait for them to have the chance to see the Batcave from the show again — for the very first time.”
“Warner Bros. has always been at the forefront of technology and entertainment, exemplified again today in its partnership with OTOY in bringing this Batman: The Animated Series experience to new audiences through holographic video,” said Jules Urbach, Founder and CEO, OTOY. “We’re thrilled to be part of this project. Our work with Warner Bros. validates the tremendous potential of VR as a new cinematic medium.
Work on the Batman: The Animated Series project is already underway with a first release targeting this winter through the ORBX viewer app.
About OTOY Inc.
OTOY Inc. is the definitive cloud graphics company, pioneering technology that is redefining content creation and delivery for media and entertainment organizations around the world. OTOY’s Academy Award®-winning technology is used by leading visual effects studios, artists, animators, designers, architects, and engineers, providing unprecedented creative freedom, new levels of realism, and new economics in content creation and distribution powered by the cloud. For more information, visit www.otoy.com.
About DC Entertainment
DC Entertainment, home to iconic brands DC Comics (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables) and MAD, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating its content across Warner Bros. Entertainment and Time Warner. DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment and interactive games. Publishing thousands of comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Entertainment is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world.
Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion & Kristopher Carter – also known as Dynamic Music Partners – are scheduled to appear in Austin, Texas to attend the premiere of a suite of music from the classic animated series Justice League performed by the Cinematic Symphony. The performance will be in the Rotunda of the Texas Capitol building on Saturday, March 15th, 2014 at 12:00pm local time. Additionally, Dynamic Music Partners will also be giving seminars on the art and business of film composition. Details on those seminars will be available shortly, with Dynamic Music Partners providing further updates of the event on their official website.
Cinematic Symphony is a non-profit community ensemble dedicated to performing the memorable scores of film, television, and video games. Cinematic Symphony was organized to provide education, entertainment, and cultural enrichment, as well as to promote and renew interest in the great music of motion pictures. In addition to performing professional-caliber music, Cinematic Symphony concerts include large-screen visuals, costumed characters and unique demonstrations.
Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion & Kristopher Carter – also known as Dynamic Music Partners – have created hundreds of hours of music for a variety of different genres, including TV series, independent films, video games and live performance events. They have collectively earned twenty-eight Emmy Award nominations and six Annie Award nominations as composers for Batman: The Brave And The Bold, Justice League, Teen Titans, Batman Beyond, The Zeta Project and The New Batman Superman Adventures.
Stay tuned for further updates here soon at The World’s Finest.
The World’s Finest caught up with Greg Weisman, co-producer of the recent fan-favorite Young Justice animated series, to discuss his new novel Rain of the Ghosts. Rain of the Ghosts is the first in Weisman’s new book series about an adventurous young girl, Rain Cacique, who discovers she has a mystery to solve, a mission to complete, and the ability to see ghosts. In the following interview, Weisman discusses the origin of his new book series, why fans of his animated work should check it out, and where readers can have the opportunity to meet him and receive a signed copy of Rain of the Ghosts. Continue below for more from Weisman…
The World’s Finest: To start things off, can you give us a spoiler-free rundown of your new book Rain of the Ghosts, and maybe toss in some back-story on what inspired you to write this tale?
Greg Weisman: Rain Cacique is a thirteen-year-old girl, who lives on San Próspero, the largest island of the Prospero Keys – known to locals as the Ghost Keys, or more simply, The Ghosts. Rain’s mother runs the Nitaino Inn, a bed & breakfast; her father, a charter boat service. And Rain, who works for them both, believes her life is destined to remain an endless cycle of making beds and cutting bait for tourists. She feels trapped. The one person who gives her hope is her maternal grandfather Sebastian Bohique, who gives her a precious family heirloom: a golden armband comprised of two intertwined serpents. Unfortunately, ’Bastian passes away shortly after giving Rain the armband, and Rain’s grief is overwhelming… which may explain why she’s starting to see dead people. But soon enough Rain learns (with the help of her best friend Charlie Dauphin) that the armband has granted her the power to communicate with ghosts. She has a destiny and a larger purpose. Not to mention two mysterious new enemies: the Australian mercenary Callahan and the Hurricane-Goddess Hura-Hupia. The former wants Rain’s armband at any cost. The latter wants to put an end to Rain’s quest, specifically at the cost of Rain’s life.
Rain of the Ghosts is a project I originally developed at DreamWorks, right after doing Gargoyles for Disney. It was chockfull of all the ingredients that I love about a concept: a rich, largely unknown mythology; engaging protagonists; dangerous, smart villains; a unique semi-exotic setting, and a driving story. We never got to do it as an animated series, but I couldn’t get the story and characters out of my head. Jeffrey Katzenberg at DreamWorks kindly sold the rights back to me, and over a decade ago I wrote a novel, which failed to sell. But after finishing Young Justice, I revisited the story, did a rewrite and sent it off to St. Martin’s Press. The result is the novel that just came out.
WF: This is the first installment of a planned multiple book series. How far along are you in the development of the ongoing story? Do you know how it’s going to end? And how does that present a challenge in approaching each book, especially when any installment could conceivably be someone’s first?
GW: I know the entire story in rough form for all nine books, and even for the start of a second series of nine books set in the same universe. Having said that, I don’t pretend to have every single detail worked out for books three through nine, and I like to leave myself open to discovering things along the way. I’ve completed the second book, Spirits of Ash and Foam, which comes out in July of 2014, and as I was writing it, two very minor characters began to take on much more important roles. In essence, they were telling me they weren’t going to be minor players anymore. And those kinds of voices – manifesting from the writing process or from my gut instinct or from some kind of parallel-world-telepathy or from wherever and whatever – are voices I always listen to.
It can be a challenge to have to set things up all over again. It’s much easier in a visual medium, where I don’t have to physically re-describe things like characters and settings: they’re just there on screen or on the comic book page for the audience to see. It never feels repetitive, for example, to see Superboy or Spider-Man or Goliath again. But in a prose novel, I have to make sure that someone who hasn’t read the previous book or hasn’t read it recently can get up to speed quickly. And yet I don’t want it to feel repetitive or boring for someone who has just put down Rain and picked up Spirits and doesn’t necessarily want to hear me describe Rain or Charlie using the exact same language from the previous book. But I like to think I found a path to walk that should satisfy all readers.
WF: Can you run us through how you came up with Rain of the Ghosts‘s main character – Rain – and why you thought a young protagonist was key to the story. Do you find it easy to write these young teen characters? Why?
GW: Well, I’ve been writing teen characters for quite a few years now. But Rain’s younger than most of the sixteen and seventeen-year-olds that I’ve been writing in The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice. For Rain, I wanted a character who had all the drama of a teenager, but less of the cynicism. Someone who wouldn’t always feel the need to pretend that the amazing stuff she was seeing wasn’t amazing. In addition, I truly like writing female characters, and I’m a fan of diversity. You don’t see a lot of thirteen-year-old female Native Americans as leads in stories set in the present. This was a chance to try something that felt new to me.
WF: Rain finds herself in very specific, very intriguing surroundings. Care to walk us through why you chose this setting? It definitely falls along the works you’ve done before, a mix of realism and mysticism.
GW: One reviewer referred to the book as magical realism, which I take as a high compliment. The Caribbean is a melting pot in microcosm. So many cultures – dating back to before the Taíno people that were there when Columbus “discovered” America – make up its modern landscape. And much of the mythology of the region hasn’t really been explored in popular culture. Add in the fact that a kid who grows up in an inn, with strangers (i.e. tourists) constantly coming to stay at her home, also felt fresh to me, and the Ghost Keys seemed like a no-brainer.
WF: Whether it’s with Rain of the Ghosts or your assorted projects, how much planning goes into creating the world and its rules. Is it something you’re always conscious of when writing (so and so can’t do this because of this rule, etc.)? Does it help keep you in check and perhaps keep the story as grounded as possible, even with some of the otherworldly elements?
GW: As most folks familiar with my writing know, I’m big on both planning and rules. I have timelines for almost every television series I’ve ever developed (for example, the timeline for Young Justice is nearly three hundred pages long). The world of Rain of the Ghosts is no different. A document that I created for Rain and originally labeled “Cheat Sheet” because it was a single page of “reminders,” is now – after writing Spirits a whopping 169 pages long. It’s loaded with facts about the eight islands that make up the Ghost Keys, details about all the characters (major and minor, living and dead), and rules for how the universe works. Not all of this stuff is revealed in Rain or even Spirits, but, in success, the onion will be peeled away in layers across all nine volumes of Rain’s story.
As for writing each individual book, I plot everything out meticulously on many, many colored index cards. (Spirits of Ash and Foam required 693 cards.) But, again, I leave myself open to serendipity and discovery once I actually sit down to write. You never know…
WF: You stated plenty of times that kids aren’t given enough credit when it comes to understanding and accepting ideas some might see as complex. How does that drive your writing? And does that allow you the opportunity to explore more weighty issues – such as loss here in Rain, for example?
GW: Well, the main thing this belief does is free me up to write about what I want to write about and not worry whether or not my potential readership is going to “get” it. I do write on layers, so I believe that kids get as much as they need to get. And basically, I just don’t censor myself or my characters’ emotions. Death is a biggie, of course, and so are age-appropriate romantic entanglements – both of which can sometimes be difficult to explore in network cartoons. So it’s great to have the freedom to do that here. And even said age-appropriateness is set by the age of my characters, not by any arbitrary Standards and Practices idea of what’s appropriate for my readers.
WF: Rain of the Ghosts‘s narrator provides a genuine mystery to the reader, and is definitely an interesting take on how to tell Rain’s story. Without giving anything away, why did you choose this approach to the narration?
GW: The book is narrated using a First Person Omniscient (or nearly Omniscient) Narrator. That’s fairly atypical, but it seemed like the best way to tell the story. The narrator, whom the other characters know as Opie, has his own point of view, agenda, attitude and interests, all of which gain in clarity with each succeeding book in the series. Yet even here in this first book, the reader gets a few major revelations about him, including the fact that he’s omniscient about the present – the now – with that omniscience extending even to being able to read the thoughts of others. (In contrast, Opie cannot foretell the future, and his knowledge of the past, while extensive, is not encyclopedic.)
As for the why… part of the reason, admittedly, was the novelty of it. But Opie-as-Narrator plays into the mythology of the region and of the series. And he seemed like a perfect vehicle for exploring this new world I was trying to create in all its various facets.
WF: Can you drop any last teases for Rain, and where we could possibly see this story going to with the release of the second installment?
GW: As Spirits of Ash and Foam begins, Rain is on a quest in nine parts. She knows she’s completed the first step, but she has eight more steps to take. The second book begins to explain the rules of the world in more detail, introduces and/or develops more characters, and has a couple of new and dangerous opponents: a child-stealing Taíno mermaid and a murderous Taíno vampire that isn’t like any vampire you’ve seen before.
WF: For fans of your work on Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Gargoyles, and even your upcoming Star Wars Rebels show, why do you think they’ll enjoy Rain of the Ghosts?
GW: I think for my fans, the things they’ve enjoyed about my past work includes the world-building of a cohesive and dynamic universe with its own mythology, populated by well-drawn characters that come in all shapes, sizes, races, ethnicities, genders, orientations, etc. Rain of the Ghosts – the book and the series it launches – has all of that and more.
WF: To wrap things up, can you fill us in on all the details for the signings/appearances you’ll be doing for Rain of the Ghosts? When, where – the whole nine yards!
GW: I have two signings coming up in the next few days:
On Saturday, February 15, 2014, I’ll be selling and signing copies of Rain of the Ghosts at Gallifrey One. For $10 you get a signed copy of the book and (while supplies last) signed copies of the original inspirational character designs (drawn by artist Kuni Tomita) for the animated series version of Rain that we developed but never made back at DreamWorks in 1997-98. Gallifrey One is at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel, 5855 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045. And I’ll be signing at Christopher Jones’ table from 2pm-3pm, then again after our Young Justice panel from 6pm-6:30pm in Program Room B. And finally in the Lobby of the hotel from 6:30pm until I’m out of books or folks stop showing up. The 6:30pm signing is open to everyone, even folks who have not paid to attend the convention. For more information, go to http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?rid=1132 or http://www.gallifreyone.com/.
Then on Tuesday, February 18, 2014, I’ll be doing a reading, discussion and signing of Rain at 7:00pm at Vroman’s Bookstore: 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, California 91101. For more information, check out: http://www.vromansbookstore.com/greg-weisman2014.
Rain of the Ghosts, the first installment of Weisman’s new book series, is now available at retail and digital outlets everywhere. Check out Ask Greg! for more details on Rain of the Ghosts.