Update on the WATCHTOWER DATABASE

The Watchtower Database continues to grow and evolve! Despite being in the middle of a pandemic, we’ve been lucky to continue creating steady content, and a lot of that energy and excitement goes to my channel cohorts James Strecker and Mattie Washburn. Bi-weekly coverage on BATMAN: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE digital comic book series by Paul Dini, Alan Burnett and Ty Templeton has provided a consistent topic for coverage, and time in the zeitgeist for this niche fandom.

In light of the “12th Level Intellects” podcast, we have also conducted interviews with various creatives who worked on DC Comics animated series, such as writer Eric Carrasco and director Sam Liu from JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. FATAL FIVE feature film, as well as director Dan Riba who worked on animated series like BATMAN, SUPERMAN, BATMAN BEYOND, STATIC SHOCK, and JUSTICE LEAGUE. Such an incredible opportunity to discuss the craft with these cartoonists, and we’ve got even more on the way. The Dan Riba video was only part one of three, and we also spoke with writer Randy Rogel about his work on BATMAN and ANIMANIACS.

Aside from interviews, I also worked on several other videos, particularly a preliminary reading list for BATMAN: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE where I compiled various books that Paul Dini and Ty Templeton had worked on in the animated DC Universe, and was joined by Owen Likes Comics who handled the latter half of the video where he revealed some of the mainstream Batman comics that featured characters like Deathstroke, Azrael, and Jason Tood who were set to appear in the DCAU for the first time in BATMAN: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE.

Near the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the Watchtower Database participated in the first At Home Comic Con. We spearheaded a panel with guests Chris Lord and Cameron Dexter from the Timm Talk podcast where we read through the script for THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES episode “Legends of the Dark Knight.” I was the voice of classic chummy Batman, Mattie was an excellent Joker, James Strecker was an A+ narrator, and the Timm Talk fellas were pretty funny too. At Home Comic Con was organized by Comic Drake, Matt Draper, and Owen Likes Comics, and featured many other prominent comics based YouTube channels, some you may even know yourself. I don’t know what you watch on the internet.

My most recent video essay was all about Batman and Superman aka the “World’s Finest.” I wrote a gigantic script tracing all of the team-ups between the two superheroes throughout the DC Animated Universe before their more regular meetings in the JUSTICE LEAGUE cartoon, which casual fans will recall was only three or four episodes, but I found many more obscure moments to relate.

Watchtower Database shares weekly free videos every Sunday on YouTube, but available earlier for supporters on Patreon. We have also started live streaming weekly on Twitch where every Tuesday, James Strecker reads an issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES to determine its canonicity with the animated series, every Wednesday is a live video game played by me (usually for the first time, so it can be funny feeling it out in front of an audience), and Thursdays with Mattie Washburn, currently working through a reading of the BATMAN: RISE OF SIN TZU video game novelization. Good times are happening on the Twitch channel these days.

I have more video essays in the works right now; the history of Wonder Woman in the DCAU and the long road before her appearance on JUSTICE LEAGUE (timed to coincide with the release of WONDER WOMAN 84 in October), also an essay on director Tim Burton’s early influence and involvement on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, another “Casting Call” episode spotlighting various voice actors in the DCAU on Elfrem Zimbalist Jr. who played Alfred and Tara Strong who has voiced Batgirl and Harley Quinn, and speculation on what the “Rann/Thanagar War” might have looked like in the DCAU, all leading up to a big livestream event to celebrate the channel’s five year anniversary on September 17th. Be sure to follow @dcauwatchtower on social media so you don’t miss that announcement and more!

12th Level Intellects: April & May ’18

James Strecker and I finally started reading the same monthly comic book series, so we can chat about them on the 12th Level Intellects podcast. We have enjoyed discussing METAL, written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo, the now classic team behind BATMAN comics over the last 5 years (starting in The New initiative with the acclimated “Court of Owls” storyline). METAL isn’t for the casual comics fan, but with many fun cameos by obscure characters, and easter eggs on a cosmic CRISIS Multiversal scale, the series is a joy for anyone familiar with such stuff. No, the thumbnail image is not a Batman Joker, but in fact a Joker Batman.

Steven Spielberg recently announced he will be directing a film about the Golden Age hero BLACKHAWK in a new DC Universe feature. The Blackhawks were a squadron of fighter pilots during World War II. This is not the first time Spielberg has attempted a film based on this character. An attempt in the 1980s with Dan Aykroyd eventually became the comedy classic 1941. In the world of animation, James Strecker and I review the latest DC animated movie SUICIDE SQUAD: HELL TO PAY, written by Alan Burnett, who we interviewed in a previous episode.

Of course we saw the new AVENGERS movie and had to talk about it. I thought it was everything you’d want in a comic book crossover event, now in a film format. Josh Brolin’s Thanos was a captivating villain, and the visual effects were not nearly as disorienting as last year’s JUSTICE LEAGUE with its poorly rendered villain Steppenwolf. Sure, we’ve seen SPIDER-MAN and IRONMAN in movies about a half dozen times now, but we’ve never seen them like this, pushed to the limits of their abilities, joined by all their Avenging allies. James and I also answer a questions pertaining to BATMAN BEYOND, and how Terry McGinnis’ Batman operates differently from the original Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne. Also TOY STORY puns.

BATMAN NINJA was hilarious. Truly a train wreck, but what I will recall as a fascinating chapter in the history of the Dark Knight. Almost no other character in comics is as adaptable for storytelling possibilities than Batman, so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a Voltron robot constructed of Joker, Harley, Penguin, and other Gotham villains fighting off against a golden monkey mecha fused with psychic bats. It makes a little more sense in the movie, but not really.

Ted & Daniel talk BATMAN BEYOND

Daniel Dockery, an editor for Cracked.com, approached me to start a “written podcast” looking back on the BATMAN BEYOND animated series by the legendary team of Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, et all. As one of the primary sources for the LEGACIES OF THE DCAU webcomic, I’ve already watched this series through many times, but it’s been a few years, and I have no doubt my memory needs refreshing.

We focused primarily on the first two episodes “Rebirth” which set the stage for the series. We discuss the growth of Bruce Wayne, changes that have happened to Gotham over the years, and the new villains such as white collar criminal turned glowing green skeleton Derek Powers and his scarred henchman Mr. Fixx.

Read the first post on Daniel’s blog Daniel Is Funny entitled “Great Villains Need Cool Eyeball Scars” and watch the classic theme song embedded below with music composed by Shirley Walker and animation by Darwyn Cooke.

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.