WDb // Trivia Tuesdays (cont’d)

A few Tuesdays have passed, and with them, new episodes of my Trivia Tuesdays segment on the Watchtower Database channel on YouTube. I narrate a fact related to the DC Animated Universe, such as easter eggs or behind-the-scenes info on cast and crew. Clips and pics are edited in accompaniment by James Strecker and Mark Daniel Martinez. All are roughly one minute long, and drop every other week.

First, we take a walk on the dark side, and dive into the similarities between the SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES episode “Legacy” and SUPERMAN: THE DARK SIDE graphic novel from the Elseworlds imprint. Both stories feature a Superman who never grew up on Earth, but was raised by Darkseid on Apokilips instead.

Next, we analyze the actors who have portrayed DC Comics characters in both the DC Animated Universe and CBS’ THE FLASH from the early 1990s. Most notably would be Mark Hamill, who played the Trickster on THE FLASH, and also reprised the character in JLU. Hamill also played Solomon Grundy in JUSTICE LEAGUE, and his most famous role as the Joker, which Hamill has provided for over twenty years.

Last, we look at BATMAN: THE LOST YEARS, which was a comic book tie-in to the BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Several chapters of the series were later produced as episodes of THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES. Though the art from THE LOST YEARS used designs from the previous incarnation of the series, the comic was actually based off scripts for the show, and not the other way around.

Trivia Tuesdays with Ted

In an effort to create steady and ongoing content, the Watchtower Database has tapped me for its new Trivia Tuesdays segment. Every other week, we release a one-minute video relating a random fact about the DC Animated Universe, usually pertaining to behind-the-scenes elements such as voice acting or production.

Our first installment was entitled “Tim Drake, Boy Wonder of Many Voices” where we look at the five different voice actors to lend their talents to the second Robin.

Next, we look at Superman and his cheekbones of steel, digging into why Superman’s appearance changed so drastically between his look on SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and JUSTICE LEAGUE, and the subsequent redesign for the latter series’ second season, and beyond into JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED.

12th Level Intellects: January 2018

January was a busy month for the Watchtower Database as we released three more episodes of the 12th Level Intellects podcast, hosted by James Strecker and myself.

With episode #6 scheduled on New Years Day, we decided to run an interview that we conducted a few months ago with Scott Peterson, editor on THE BATMAN ADVENTURES and writer on BATMAN GOTHAM ADVENTURES, both ancillary comics series to the legendary BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Peterson has worked on countless other projects in the comics realm, and his interview is well worth the listen for its inspiration and look behind the initial creative process.

For episode #8, we appropriately discussed STAR WARS, EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI. I must admit that I was a little rusty since I had only watched it once, and it had been a few weeks since my viewing, but James and I managed to cover the gist. There were aspects to both appreciate and critique, from the production to the plot. When you get down to it, Mark Hamill’s return to playing Luke Skywalker was a big deal, whether you thought director Rian Johnson approached that correctly or not, an argument that will be sure to permeate among fandom for years.

Another guest joined the show for episode #9 where we discussed the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Jesse Dellea, a rabid MCU fan who digests every piece of content you can find from MARVEL. We talked about recent films like last year’s SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, NETFLIX series THE DEFENDERS and THE PUNISHER, content on other channels such as AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and RUNAWAYS, as well as shows from FOX’s X-MEN universe like LEGION and GIFTED. The future looks bright for MARVEL as they prep for INFINITY WAR and beyond to phase 4, which could possibly be fantastic.

12th Level Intellects: November 2017

12th Level Intellects has maintained its biweekly schedule. Not that it should come as a surprise, but it feels good to be consistent. In November, we released our third and fourth episodes, embedded below via the Watchtower Database on YouTube.

Our third episode “Arrowverse vs DCAU” consists of an analysis between popular television adaptations of the DC Universe. We compare the CW’s “Arrowverse” from Berlanti Production (ARROW, THE FLASH, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, and SUPERGIRL) with Warner Bros. Animation’s DC Animated Universe (BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, BATMAN BEYOND, and JUSTICE LEAGUE), which is regarded by many as the most pure and distilled version of DC Comics’ characters.

The fourth episode “More DCAU Fan Theories!” discusses just that… more DCAU fan theories. James and I started this podcast by reviewing fan theories that present possible plot points that may have occurred behind the scenes in the DCAU, and then we weigh their plausibility. We particularly discuss how Gorilla Grodd may have induced visions of Brainiac in Lex Luthor’s mind in JLU season 3, the alleged supernatural powers of Andrea Beaumont’s Phantasm, and J’onn J’onzz getting replaced by the Justice Lord version from a dark parallel universe.

LEGACIES OF THE DCAU // webcomic

A few years ago, artist and filmmaker James Strecker of JTS Entertainment was deliberating on the relaunch of the WATCHTOWER DATABASE, his fan-made tribute to everything regarding the DC Animated Universe (DCAU), a series of interlocking cartoons which began with the Emmy award-winning BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, and continued into SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, BATMAN BEYOND, STATIC SHOCK, and JUSTICE LEAGUE to name a few.

After seeing James’ designs for how characters may have appeared during the time period between JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED and BATMAN BEYOND, I proposed an ongoing webcomic on the lost years of the DCAU. This concept grew into the LEGACIES OF THE DC ANIMATED UNIVERSE webcomic, written by myself, illustrated by James Strecker, and hosted by the WATCHTOWER DATABASE.

Though the tribute website is still in development, the WATCHTOWER DATABASE has since become a hub for all fans of the DC Animated Universe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. We’ve grown in notoriety from our recent interviews with industry professionals like Matthew Manning and Alan Burnett.

As long as our followers enjoy reminiscing about the DCAU as much as we do, I’m sure the content will keep on flowing. Over the last year, we have released three installments of LEGACIES with more to come. Find the issues linked below:

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WDb interviews ALAN BURNETT

Earlier this month, James Strecker and I had the amazing opportunity to conduct an over-the-phone interview for the WATCHTOWER DATABASE with writer / producer Alan Burnett, one of the main forces behind the DC Animated Universe.

We discussed Alan’s history in animation on shows like SUPER-FRIENDS and SCOOBY DOO! as well as fond memories from his time working on projects like BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, STATIC SHOCK, and BATMAN BEYOND.

It was such a trip to speak with one of the people responsible for some of my all-time favorite stories, most notably BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM, which I still believe is the best Batman film yet, animation, live-action or otherwise.

12th Level Intellects // recap

About a year ago, I participated in an extensive discussion with James Strecker on fan theories regarding the DC Animated Universe (or DCAU, if you will) which was a series of interlocking cartoons that began in 1992 with BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and concluded in 2006 with JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED. The DCAU started one of the first shared universes, a concept that Marvel Studios has now popularized over the last decade.

Since the DCAU experienced such a lengthy run with spin-offs like STATIC SHOCK and BATMAN BEYOND, these versions of DC Comics’ classic characters were truly streamlined to the bare essentials that made them work without all the baggage of 75 years of comic book history. Because of this, some characters were occasionally taken into new, unfamiliar territory, such as the romance between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl as well as a glimpse into the twilight years of Batman’s career.

The DCAU never ceased to surprise even long term fans of the characters and the internet took it upon itself to push the realm of possibility even further. The aforementioned discussion on these fan theories became the 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast, a continuing segment featured on the WATCHTOWER DATABASE YouTube channel, named for a term in the DCAU meant to describe the smartest beings in the universe. That would naturally be the hosts of the podcast.

We’ve discussed various ideas such as whether the Teen Titans belong to this universe, if Gear and Brainiac bonded to create a lineage in the far future, if villains such as Harley Quinn, the Scarecrow, Penguin, or Lock-Up ever had children, and the possibility that the Justice Leaguer Warhawk was actually the son of Hawkman rather than Green Lantern, among so many more discussions to come over the next few months.

Our biggest success was the Harley Quinn video, linked below, which went viral shortly after the premiere of David Ayer’s SUICIDE SQUAD. As of this writing, the video has gathered over 160,000 views on YouTube and countless comments debating who was actually the father of Harley’s children. Expect additional installments of the 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast at least once a month as it does take a moment to splice together such a video essay.

WDb interviews MATTHEW MANNING

The first issue of DC Comics, IDW, and Nickelodeon’s best-selling comic series BATMAN / TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ADVENTURES dropped on November 9th after selling out its first printing two weeks in advance! I had the pleasure of sitting down with the series writer and fellow Asheville resident Matthew K. Manning for an interview about the project.

I had been hounding Matt to sign my copies of JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES #14 and #33 for years. We finally made that happen, and he also graciously agreed to geek out with me on the 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast where we discussed everything from the first issue itself, upcoming plans for the series, our favorite versions of Batman and the turtles, their histories in animation, and many other nuggets of interesting nerd knowledge.

12th Level Intellects on TEEN TITANS

Over the last year, I’ve been heavily involved with the WATCHTOWER DATABASE, a specialty YouTube channel focused on the DC Animated Universe, a series of interlocking television shows that ran from the early 1990s with BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES to the mid-2000s with JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED. The DC Animated Universe (or DCAU, if you will) is notable for being one of the first major shared universes, a concept only recently made popular by Marvel Studios. The DCAU remains dear in my heart to this day thanks to its mature storytelling, top notch direction, and stellar A-list voice talent.

12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS, a term from the DCAU used to describe some of the smartest people in the universe, is also a series of podcast discussions by myself and webmaster / editor James Strecker where we nitpick certain hot topics from the DCAU. Most of the time, this entails dissecting fan theories. Around the end of July 2016, James and I were joined by Mattie Washburn, who is known for his comprehensive DCAU Timeline Tumblr page, for a special installment of 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS where we discussed whether the TEEN TITANS animated series belongs in the same universe as the rest of the DCAU.

Despite differences in animation and whatnot, there was evidence on both sides of the argument. Though to be fair, we definitely entered the conversation planning to debunk the theory from the start. The three of us spoke for nearly an hour and a half, yet somehow James was able to dissect 15 minutes of compelling conversation into an interesting and highly informational video. At the time of this post, the discussion has gathered nearly 1000 views over the span of a week. Not too shabby for a such a niche YouTube channel!