12th Level Intellects: February & March ’18

The 12th Level Intellects keep on keepin’ on through February and March with new episodes of the podcast every other week, available on both iTunes and YouTube. James Strecker and myself are the usual hosts, but were joined by a few other folks in some of the segments this round, who you’ll be introduced to shortly.

Comics writer Matthew Manning joined us on the podcast to discuss his work on last year’s BATMAN / TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ADVENTURES series, and some various stand-alone issues for DC Comics such as JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES, THE BATMAN STRIKES, and BEWARE THE BATMAN, as well as his sole artist credit drawing a necklace on Mera in on a random 1990s AQUAMAN comic. Manning is a local to Asheville, so I was able to visit his home, record in the living room, and check out his amazing collection of Batman memorabilia.

For episode #11, James and I go back to the roots of the Watchtower Database channel and discuss something specific to the DC Animated Universe. Particularly, we take a look at the Flash, and whether Barry Allen existed in this world when all we ever saw was Wally West in the superhero role. Personally, I lean towards no.

Nothing more notable for the 12th Level Intellects than its twelfth episode. Mattie Washburn was our guest on this one while he and James were at the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately, my audio recording glitched, so James and Mattie navigate the main conversation themselves of what events happened ‘for sure’ between animated series JLU and BATMAN BEYOND. This episode goes out to all the fans who know the Plasma Rifle was invented in 2005.

While at ECCC, James and Mattie had the opportunity to chat with Phil Lamarr, the voice actor behind major DCAU characters Static from STATIC SHOCK and Green Lantern, John Stewart from JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, as well as many other familiar voices in animation like SAMURAI JACK and FUTURAMA. While I missed the meet and greet with Mr. Lamarr, you can still hear me talk about upcoming movies and comics in the News and Comic Relief segments of the podcast episode.

NC Comicon Oak City 2017

I joined Jarrett Rutland in Raleigh, NC over the weekend of March 18th for the two day NC Comicon Oak City event to promote the all-ages ESCAPIST COMIX brand. We worked a table in Artist Alley where we sold copies of the first four issues of ROBOT SAMURAI PENGUINS, and first issues of new releases LITTLE PREACHER and DARK PLOTTER, along with extra swag like stickers, high quality prints, and T-shirts. It was a great success and so much fun to get feedback directly from fans.

NC Comicon

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Jarrett has been building his line of books over the last two years, but I came onboard as the Marketing Director only a few months ago to help with the technical aspects, hone in on the branding such as the name and logo, and develop an online presence, primarily through Patreon for monthly crowdfunding and ComiXology for digital sales. I’ve also started writing an upcoming series that will be announced down the road, but I can say it has a very exciting premise. I’ll come up with a fun Project Codename whenever I discuss the development process in a later post.

comical comics creators @nccomicon #artistalley #escapistcomix #comics #comicon #ncart #kidslit

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As this was my first convention on the other side of a table, I learned all about the patience required by artists when waiting for crowds to both arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon. Comic conventions are always colorful, exciting, but sometimes overwhelming events, especially when high profile creators are involved. I briefly said hello to Neil Adams, known for his work on characters like Batman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern in the 1970s, also had my issues of MOTHER PANIC signed by artist Tommy Lee Edwards, and picked up multiple signed copies of the BATMAN / TMNT ADVENTURES #1 Director’s Cut as gifts.

Attending discussion panels is also a fun element, and I found myself at two this time around. One was an action choreography panel from BEAT DOWN BOOGIE, the Raleigh based YouTube channel known for MARIO WARFARE, and the other was a discussion by the BATMAN / TMNT ADVENTURES team of Matt Manning, an Asheville based writer and friend who I had previously interviewed about the book for the WATCHTOWER DATABASE, and Jon Sommariva, an Australian based artist who had flown all the way to Raleigh to meet Matt in person (after completing the 6-issue mini-series together) and hang out with their publishers at IDW Comics.

While on the topic of Jon Sommariva, I commissioned him for a sketch on a blank cover of Superman / Batman #30. As the cheapskate I am, I couldn’t afford two characters, so I compromised for the oddball Composite Superman mashup villain whose face is half Superman, half Batman, as a way to cheat the system.

NC Comicon was an incredible event. Since they hold two per year, Oak City in March, and Bull City in October, I have no doubt I will surely return soon enough.

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.