Being a fan of comic books can try anyone’s patience. Titles are revamped (see: Hulk), canceled (see: Frankenstein, agent of SHADE) or taken in entirely new directions (see almost all of DC Comics). Throughout it all there can be tremendous stories and art but it is also difficult to keep up. However, fans of cartoons based on comics such as Avengers and the Justice League have it even harder. Both cartoons are incredibly well-received by fans, but both have also been plagued with scheduling changes and threats of cancellation.
Young Justice has primarily focused on the ‘sidekicks’ of the DCU who have the legacies of the elder heroes; Kid Flash, Robin, Speedy, Aqualad Superboy, Ms. Martian and Artemis. However, other characters have also been introduced including a large roster of Justice Leaguers and their villains.
At the conclusion to its first season, several members of the senior Justice League of America came under villainous mind-control of Vandal Savage. Batman, Hawkwoman, John Stewart, Martian Manhunter, Superman, and Wonder Woman all disappeared for 16 hours that the heroes cannot remember. When the second series started, a time jump of five years has shown a very different vision of the DCU effected by the consequences of those mysterious 16 hours.
Young Justice is one of (if not ‘the’) most amazing efforts in translating a comic book universe to the small screen, so of course it’s airing dates has been moved and delayed (with sometimes six months between episodes, mid-season), this challenging viewers to keep up or jump. Through it all, Young Justice has retained its strong following while developing a compelling and expansive story.
But it appears the worst is not over.
First, the good news: More new DC Nation, including new episodes of Young Justice, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and DC Nation shorts are coming.
That’s the confirmation Newsarama received from a Cartoon Network representative Tuesday, as all three, Young Justice, Green Lantern, and shorts including Amethyst that was due to premiere October 13, 2012, will return to the network.
Now, the bad news: They won’t air again until January, 2013.
Despite being a mere three weeks into the schedule of new episodes, and both series ending their second episodes on cliffhangers, the erratic presentation of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros Animation’s superhero themed television programs by Cartoon Network continued Saturday, October 13, 2012 when the network suddenly and without warning pulled the programs from air, airing an hour of How to Train Your Dragon spin-off Dragons: Riders of Berk in place of the hour-long DC Nation block.
The only indication of this to fans was a single tweet from the official Cartoon Network twitter account at 4:19pm, after already receiving many upset inquiries:
“Hey #DCNation fans! Have you heard?? DC Nation will return in January with all new episodes!”
The tweet did not go over well with fans or the creators involved with the shows. Angry, curse-filled tweets filled @CartoonNetwork’s reply box quickly (don’t look below that linked tweet if you don’t want to see several F-bombs), but the more interesting responses came from those actually involved in the production of the shows.
Young Justice made it all the way to #2 on iTunes’ most downloaded list for television – not for kid’s television or animation, but for television overall.
Brandon Vietti, Producer, Writer, and Director for Warner Animation on Young Justice, started with simply, “I hate waking up to bad news,” while Giancarlo Volpe, Producer on Green Lantern tried to joke about it right away, saying, “So allegedly there will be no new DC Nation until January. Did anyone remind Cartoon Network that the end of the world is this December?” before posting to tumblr his “official response” showing a video of Al Pacino screaming “It was not what I wanted!” The producer also directly addressed CN’s tweet, saying “”Hey #dcnation fans! Have you heard?” Is the new way to start ridiculous tweets.”
Sam Liu, director of several episodes of Green Lantern, as well as multiple DC and Marvel animated films was disappointed in the decision, and gave fans their only hint as to why. “Shows I’d have went crazy for as a kid now considered ‘not popular enough to air’” It’s unclear who he is quoting in the tweet, or whether that’s any kind of official statement, however.
Brianne Drouhard, animator for Amethyst, was a little more visceral in her reaction, prompting her followers saying, “Hey everyone tweet @cartoonnetwork . U R BUTTS. #DCNation.”
Interestingly, the new episodes of both series went up on iTunes and Amazon as planned, before being pulled later in the day. Young Justice made it all the way to #2 on iTunes’ most downloaded list for television – not for kid’s television or animation, but for television overall, proving there is a demand for the series. Likewise, a fan petition is fast approaching their initial goal of 10,000 signatures – a number that likely means far less to CN than the iTunes stat, as it represents only a tiny fraction of the viewers needed to successfully produce and air a network television program.
Both Young Justice and Green Lantern have had strange releases for their episodes leading to this time already. Rather than the traditional half-season in the fall, 4-6 week hiatus, remaining half in the late winter and early spring airing schedule that most television programs have, the series have both had erratic airdates.
Young Justice teased the series with an early premier of its first two episodes, followed by episode three two months later. After two months and 9 total episodes of Season One, the series took a hiatus for six full months, then picked back up for only three. The remaining Season One episodes aired four months later, with Season Two starting the week after Season One’s completion, with the five-year jump in story time. Seven episodes aired before a three-month hiatus, followed by two episodes and now the new four-month hiatus.
Vietti did give fans some hope, saying the team had put their all into “the last ten” episodes that have currently been produced of Young Justice, and said that while they haven’t received a third season pick up, he is hopeful. Volpe likewise advised fans to keep hope alive like “Saint Walker would want,” using the Blue Lantern to try to cheer up fans.
Neither Warner Bros nor Cartoon Network provided further comment on exactly why the block was pulled, keeping their statement to the January 2013 return and the clarification we received above.