Celebrate Batman’s 75th birthday at AFX

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Creators Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen have combined their talents to deliver one of the most bizarre monthly Bat-books on the shelves. Miniature versions of the caped crusader, the clown prince of crime and more do battle across a water colored backdrop that may appear innocent and juvenile but is actually… different. Now you can bring these pint-sized crime fighters and criminals home.

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BASED ON THE ART OF DUSTIN NGUYEN. The characters of Gotham City get an adorable make-over in the newest figures from DC Collectibles! Based on the designs by fan-favorite artist and co-writer of BATMAN: LI’L GOTHAM comes Batman like you’ve never seen him before.

I’ve been a big fan of Dustin Nguyen’s artwork since I first saw it grace the pages of Batman and later Detective Comics back in the day and am happy to see that he has the opportunity to branch out with his outlandish visions of Gotham City and its off-kilter denizens.

Order from AFX: http://www.shopafx.com/

Be sure to look at their other Bat offerings!

Batman’s beginnings explored in Gotham TV series

Joining Arrow and The Flash is another weekly TV series, this time centered on one of DC Entertainment’s top tier characters, Batman. Gotham has been in development in one form or another since the success of Smallville, but Warner Bros has held off until now to bring a program that will delve into the early years of the dark knight detective.

batman-gotham-official-logoThe series will feature Ben McKenzie as the lead character James Gordon and supporting actor Sean Pertwee (son of Jon Pertwee the Third Doctor Who) as Alfred Pennyworth. Bruce Wayne himself will be portrayed as a pre-teen by David Mazouz. Other characters such as the Penguin, Selina Kyle (Catwoman) have also joined the cast and more announcements are expected to follow.

Strangely, the series will be screened on Fox rather than CW. It’s clear from the casting that the series will take liberties with the source material in this latest version of Batman on screen, but will it live up to the pop culture icon’s legacy?

Batman Arkham Knight swings onto the PS4

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The Dark Knight detective is back once more in the latest video game adaptation of Batman’s Gothic crime-addled world. Armed with his wits and state of the art technological gadgets, Batman faces a city of crime gone mad. While he has had a spotty history in the past, Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Arkham Origins have firmly established the caped crusader for the next generation home console. Harnessing the raw fighting power, keen detective mind of Batman and his vast rogue’s gallery from the page, the Arkham series has popularized the hero for a whole new generation while paying homage to his rich history in print.

Set one year after the events of Arkham City, Arkham Knight will see a return of many popular game-play mechanics from the previous versions. For the first time in the Arkham franchise, the Batmobile will be included. A veritable street-tank, the Batmobile can be called upon at any time and is capable of crushing through the opposition. In addition to the Riddler, Penguin, Joker, Two-Face, Harley Quinn and Scarecrow, a new character named the Arkham Knight (created by Geoff Johns) will be introduced.

Via AintItCool

Developed by Rocksteady, the finale to the Arkham series Arkham Knight will hit the shelves on October 14, 2014

For more information, bookmark the official website: https://www.batmanarkhamknight.com/

Batman vs. Superman becomes a trinity with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

The Amazon Princess is joining the still untitled ‘Superman Vs. Batman’ movie from Zack Snyder and David Goyer that will pick up from the events of The Man of Steel. Henry Cavill returns as Superman and will be facing off against Batman played by Ben Affleck, the latest in a growing line of actors to take up the cowl of the caped crusader.

The plot remains a mystery, but may be influenced by Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns comic from 1986 since Snyder has been meeting with the author.

The addition of a third hero to the film could make an already busy movie all the busier, but it could also quicken the pace toward a fully fleshed out Justice League of America, thus fulfilling many a comic book fan’s dreams.

Announcement below via SuperHeroHype
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Warner Bros. has announced this morning that Gal Gadot, most well known for appearing in the “Fast & Furious” films, has landed the role of Wonder Woman/Diane Prince in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman vs. Superman film.

In a statement, Zack Snyder stated: “Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”

Batman vs. Superman will feature the return of Henry Cavill as Superman, facing off against Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Also starring Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne, the Zack Snyder-directed Batman vs. Superman hits theaters on July 17, 2015.

Quick review: Batman #25

Dark City

batman_25Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Greg Capullo and Danny Miki

Hot on the heels of Batman the Zero Year comes Dark City, the next installment in what is becoming the Snyder/Capullo era of Batman, an era that is making waves in the comic book realm and setting a new high standard for the caped crusader. Zero Year was a retelling of the dark knight’s origins, resetting Gotham City as well as the early days of our ebony-clad hero. Like many readers, I was hesitant to read yet another retelling of Batman’s early years, but what Snyder has accomplished is very impressive and I am happy that the decision was made to continue that story from there.

In the close of Zero Year, Bruce Wayne stood up against the Red Hood gang only to realize that their reach was far deeper than he could imagine. The corruption led to not only Wayne Industries but the police force as well.

Taking control as only he knew how, Wayne contributed to the police with a force of dirigibles (so that he can also spy on them) and built a powerful arsenal of weaponry as the Batman.

As he attempts to control the situation, a new villain called the Riddler strikes – knocking out Gotham’s generators and plunging the city into darkness. With a newly designed battle suit and a magnificent Batmobile, Batman fights a new kind of battle against impossible odds… and another threat arrives called Doctor Death. Alfred can only look on in worry as Bruce proudly wears the scars of his conflicts as ‘kisses’ from his city. Dark days are in store for Batman.

Over the past few years, Snyder and Capullo have been recreated he Batman in a new vein, a more dangerous and edgier version than we have seen before. This has gotten a bit too intense for my liking in parts (the Joker wearing his face like a mask) but with the Zero Year reset it is interesting to see the comic take on a new spin of the Golden Age tales (he even has the purple gloves).

Batman isn’t the young turk that we saw in Batman Year One by Miller and Mazzuchelli. In Snyder and Capullo’s comics he is a determined and driven man who gets his nose bloodied only to come back smarter and tougher.

My only complaint is that I wish that the New 52 Batman had started with this story.

If you have been looking for a jumping on point and missed the sold out Zero Year run, this is a good one.

Batman- Mask of the Phantasm

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A strange wraith-like creature stalks the streets of Gotham, killing off old mobsters. When Batman is spotted on the scene, he takes the blame for the murders and becomes a wanted man, hunted by Gotham police under the guidance of Councilor Reeves, a slimy individual eager to make a grab for power. The deeper Batman investigates the mystery, he is surprised to find old wounds opening that he had thought long scabbed over with time. An old love, Andrea Beaumont, has returned to Gotham just as the murders are on the rise. As the death toll rises, he becomes overwhelmed with emotion and must make a choice which life takes precedence, Batman’s or Bruce Wayne’s.

Released on Christmas day in 1993, Mask of the Phantasm was a bomb for Warner Bros., mainly due to the lack of support from the studio and poor marketing. But it is a marvelous testament to the Batman mythos and a celebration of the animated series.

I understand that the film was rushed into theatrical release. Using the talented animators, directors and superb voice actors, Mask of the Phantasm is a remarkably moving drama with romance, action and even humor (thanks to the marvelous Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Alfred). The mystery of the Phantasm is enough on its own, but the addition of the Joker raises the stakes and the clown prince of crime is at his most outlandish in this story.


Watching this movie, I must admit to feeling frustration that the live action films never achieved this level of excellence. I do enjoy the Burton films, but they fall flat in so many places such as action and dialog. The Chris Nolan movies are outstanding but sacrifice much of the Batman mythology in order to tell a bold and daring story about Western civilization. Mask of the Phantasm, in contrast, is a well executed Batman story through and through, weighing in heavily on gritty pulp crime, Gothic atmosphere and much more.

I had the good fortune to watch the film on the big screen at the NC Comic Con this past weekend and it was a fantastic experience, reminding me why I had embraced the Batman animated series long ago and why it continues to hold a special place in my fanboy heart.

Recommended:

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate -Under New Management

Since Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Dark Knight has enjoyed a reigning seat in the video gaming world. Utilizing innovative combat techniques and the inclusion of special sequences that employed the hero’s detective skills in a hellish crime-ridden world, these games have given fans a glimpse of what it might be like to *be* Batman.

And the grand tradition continues with Arkham Origins and a new handheld game Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. Featuring Catwoman and Solomon Grundy, the handheld game will build on the Gotham City experience and allow more opportunities to lay down some vigilante justice.

BatmanVia GeeksofDoom:

Convicts. Criminals. Blackgate Prison is under new management.

batman_blackgate-2Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate brings the Batman Arkham games to a handheld format for the first time to Sony and Nintendo handheld systems. Featuring stealth gameplay, free-flow combat, and Batman’s infamous gadgets, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate captures the genuine Arkham feel players have come to appreciate. With gripping 2.5-D graphics, fully voiced narrative, and a captivating storyline, you’ll will explore deep inside the bowels of this remote island penitentiary that plays an important role in the Arkham universe.

Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate are both available worldwide on Oct. 25, 2013!

Ben Affleck is the new Batman

Batman_wallpaper_NguyenHe has come a long way since Daredevil, but I am still shocked to read that Affleck would go anywhere near a comic book movie again. Even he swore off comic book movies, as evidenced in this MTV interview excerpt:

“No, I would not do another,” he said, insisting that he’s sworn off comic-book films for good. “I was cured of that.”

However, more recently he was more positive about the prospect of wearing tights and… well… he’s Batman.

Despite Nolan’s trilogy being a complete story, we all knew that Batman would be back. After Man of Steel transformed Superman into a grim killing machine, I have to wonder what kind of Batman this will be. Warner Bros has a blank slate from which to develop a new Batman  which means he could be almost anything.

Batman and SupermanI am hoping that the studio remembers that Batman and Superman are essentially opposites who compliment each other and take direction from that rather than just asking Affleck to put on a Christian Bale impersonation.

Ben-Affleck-800x600Via MSNUSA Today, Huffington Post,  LA Times’ HeroComplex, CBS News, Entertainment Weekly, and Variety  :

Ben Affleck is set to play Batman opposite Henry Cavill in the untitled “Man of Steel” sequel that will be directed by Zack Snyder, Warner Bros. announced on Thursday.

The studio has slated the film to open worldwide on July 17, 2015.

Project brings Batman and Superman together for the first time on the big screen.

“Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane are also set to return.

The rest of the announcement is below:

Last month’s surprise announcement of the new movie featuring both Superman and Batman created a wave of excitement and immediately fueled discussion and debate—among fans as well as in the media—about who would put on the cape and cowl of Bruce Wayne’s alter ego.

Snyder successfully re-imagined the origin of Clark Kent/Superman in the worldwide blockbuster “Man of Steel,” which has earned more than $650 million worldwide to date, and climbing. The director will now create an original vision of Batman and his world for the film that brings the two DC Comics icons together.

In the announcement, Greg Silverman stated, “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”

Snyder also expressed his excitement about the casting of Affleck, noting, “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”

Sue Kroll added, “We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.’ remarkable legacy with the character of Batman. He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes.”

Affleck recently starred in the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture “Argo,” which he also directed and produced, earning acclaim and a BAFTA Award nomination for his performance in the film, as well as a number of directing honors. In 2010, he starred in and directed the hit crime thriller “The Town.”

His recent acting work also includes “The Company Men,” “State of Play,” and “Hollywoodland,” for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Earlier in his career, Affleck starred in and co-wrote (with Matt Damon) “Good Will Hunting,” for which he won an Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay.

The new Super Hero film is being scripted by David S. Goyer from a story he co-created with Zack Snyder. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan and Wesley Coller serving as executive producers.

Production is expected to begin in 2014.

The film is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Batman characters created by Bob Kane, published by DC Entertainment.

Whodathunkit?
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When Batman Killed The Joker At The End Of The Killing Joke

(Video and image via BleedingCool) On Kevin Smith’s radio show, Grant Morrison discusses why Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke is important… because Batman kills the Joker at the end. (unnecessary foul language… because it’s Kevin Smith, I guess) Like many guys my age into comic books, I got this way back when it was first printed and even met Brian Bolland and got him to sign the thing. But I never interpreted the last few panels as Batman killing the Joker. Apparently this discussion was going on back in the day but via word of mouth rather than on the non-existent internet chat rooms and in blogs (like this one).

When it was first printed, it was clear that this was not a story set within continuity. The level of violence and disturbing imagery was so outside of the norm that it was clear how this was a story that could not exist in the same world as the Batman monthly books. However, since the events have been enveloped into continuity such as the Joker crippling Barbara Gordon, that line has become blurred. Of course the tone of the monthly DC comics has also changed so that questioning this story’s placement in continuity seems absurd. Therefore, Batman could not have killed the Joker, right?

But look at the evidence…

joker-600x941 There has been much fuss over this since the story took over the net yesterday. Then the script was shared which has gotten a healthy amount of notice and puts an end to this debate over the ‘Did Batman kill the Joker?’ question. As can be seen in the actual script, Batman does not kill the Joker… so where did Grant get this from or is it just a situation in which he misinterpreted the source material?

Or was this just a simple publicity stunt?

KillingJoke Thoughts?

The Superman – Batman movie

comics-batman-superman1-3Close friends, co-workers and more are contacting me about the major announcement at SDCC regarding a Superman – Batman movie. I can’t help to roll my eyes as this has been in development since 2001 and has struck me as a bad idea from the get go. That’s not to say that I don’t think a good batman/Superman (or Superman/Batman movie is possible, I just don’t trust the WB to pull it off.

Look at the animated Batman series, the Superman cartoon and the Batman/Superman movie and you will see a series of sophisticated character-driven tales paying homage to decades of comic books and more with plenty of action and the eventual development into the Justice League followed by a full blown animated DC Universe.

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Look at Man of Steel and you can practically hear the screeching of gears as Zack Snyder struggles to modernize Superman into a harder, grittier hero more akin to Chris Nolan’s Batman.

This makes the meeting of Superman and Batman a moot point. Granted, this movie will likely require a new version of Batman, but the fun of having these characters meet is routed in their differences. As they are so dark and moody, this could be the most un-colorful comic book movie since the Dolph Lundgren Punisher flick… and that’s just weird.

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After Batman and Robin, Warner Bros was at a crossroads with several opportunities avaiulable to them from Batman Triumphant to Batman Beyond with Paul Dini, Neal Stephenson and Boaz Yakin all on board to adapt the cartoon of a possible future Batman for the big screen and Darren Aronofsky’s Batman Year One. In addition, there was the double-hitter of bad ideas, a Batman/Superman movie.

Why bad, you may ask? Check out the trail of tears regarding this monster compiled over on the Wikipedia:

Warner Bros. abandoned J. J. Abrams‘ script for Superman: Flyby, which had been greenlighted with McG to direct.[58][59] When McG dropped out in favor of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,[60]Warner Bros. approached Wolfgang Petersen to direct Superman: Flyby,[61] however, in August 2001,[62] Andrew Kevin Walker pitched Warner Bros. an idea titled Batman vs Superman, attaching Petersen as director. Superman: Flyby was put on hold,[61] and Akiva Goldsman was hired to rewrite Walker’s Batman vs. Superman.[46]

Goldsman’s draft, dated June 21, 2002, had Bruce Wayne going through a mental breakdown after his five-year retirement from crime fighting. Dick GraysonAlfred Pennyworth andCommissioner Gordon are all dead, but Bruce’s depressed emotions become resolved with fiancée Elizabeth Miller. Meanwhile, Clark Kent is struggling because of a recent divorce with Lois Lane. Clark and Bruce are close friends, and Clark is Bruce’s best man. After the Joker kills Elizabeth on the honeymoon, Bruce plots a revenge scheme, while Clark tries to hold him back. In return, Bruce blames Clark for her death, and the two go against one another. Part of the script took place in Smallville, where Clark goes into exile with Lana Lang. However, Lex Luthor is held to be responsible for the entire plot of Batman and Superman destroying each other. The two decide to team up and stop Luthor.[63]

Christian Bale and Josh Hartnett had turned down the roles of Batman and Superman. Bale, who was also approached to play Batman in the unmade Batman: Year One, would eventually portray the same role in Batman Begins.[60][64] Principal photography was to start in early 2003, with plans for a five-six-month shoot. The release date was set for mid-2004.[65] Within a month of Warner Bros. greenlighting Batman vs. Superman, Petersen left in favor of Troy (2004).[46] Warner Bros. decided to move forward on Superman: Flyby and on a Batman reboot.[46] A fictional billboard for the film could be seen in the background of the 2007 Warner Bros. film I Am Legend.[66] Petersen and Bryan Singer are interested in directing the project sometime in the future, with Bale as Batman.[67][68]

As you can tell, this news has prompted a rant, so be prepared.

I would like to point out that I adore the Nolan Batman trilogy as it modernizes the concept of a costumed vigilante and uses the myth of Batman to tell a story of the modern world’s decline. It’s a more of a brilliant set of movies on its own than it is a great Batman story and I applaud that. If a director can utilize a concept to tell an important story (much like Alan Moore did with Watchmen), that should be applauded.

But the stumbling block for me is that Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy is being misinterpreted as how the DC Universe of heroes should be presented to a modern audience.

Very few details are available right now, but I just cannot muster up any excitement about this as anything that builds off of Man of Steel has a sharp uphill climb or a piercing downfall. I haven’t seen anything, so my judgement is based on a continuation of the look and feel of The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel. I envision a bloodied, armor-torn Batman surrounded by ash and debris with a CGi Darkseid gloating over him, holding a limp Superman who looks like a side of tenderized beef.

When we could have this-
Batman and Superman
I thought it was the fact that I am now a parent with a son who would love to see his heroes on screen that makes my frustration with these grimly violent films so palpable, but I am hearing similar stories from single childless friends. There is potential here to make a family-friendly action-drama that knocks it out of the park with mind-blowing visuals, iconic characters and a story that honors these modern mythological characters rather than cutting them down, brutalizing them into ‘our world’ where hope is buried in a sea of skulls and the Batmobile is no longer a technological marvel but instead a military assault vehicle.

You could say that the Tim Burton Batman movie began this trend toward grittier more grounded heroes, but at least his movies had a weird sense of style and cartoon-ish madness to them. What spun out of this was a Batman who killed, and a deadbeat dad Superman who broke the neck of his opponents and struggled to maintain anonymity from the public that he should have been protecting, thus assuring that they suffer for his inaction.

And these are two of the more colorful and popularized comic book characters  known all over the world. Not so much today. Are we, as a culture, so cynical that we cannot conceive of a world where real heroes are possible?
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