WATCHTOWER DATABASE video essays

Since the conclusion of GRAPHIC CONTENT, and continued brainstorming before the relaunch of the 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast, I’ve been creating random video essays for the WATCHTOWER DATABASE. Most recently, I focused on voice actor Mark Hamill, who played various characters in DC Animation like Solomon Grundy, the Trickster, Swamp Thing, and most notably, The Joker from BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. This video might read a bit like an audible IMDb page, but that’s exactly the purpose behind WDb’s CASTING CALL series which spotlights various voice actors who have participated in the DC Animated Universe.

I also lent my voice to a recurring character called Dr. ManHatTed, an amalgam of WATCHMEN’s Dr. Manhattan and the Mr. Nobody villain from DOOM PATROL, who has been interfering in the cosmic construction of the WATCHTOWER DATABASE video continuity in an extensive story that began with Mattie Washburn’s missing chair, and made its way into the chaotic rant that is the following video. Naturally, the character is a man, myself Ted, wearing a hat, with a deep voice modulation.

Lastly, I also recently wrote the script, and narrated the below video essay spotlighting characters from the traditional JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, a superhero team made up of magical characters that take on cases too mysterious or disturbing for the primary Justice League to handle. Since the JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK did not premiere until 2011, and the JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED cartoon wrapped in 2004, the team was never showcased in the DC Animated Universe (DCAU), though many of its members, such as Zatanna, Etrigan, and Deadman appeared in multiple episodes, and the team received their own animated feature film in 2017 as part of the DC Animated Movie Universe (DCAMU) continuity.

GRAPHIC CONTENT conclusion

My comic book and graphic novel review show GRAPHIC CONTENT has officially come to a close after its 26th and final episode, which fulfills a complete biweekly year long run on the Watchtower Database YouTube channel. The following episodes showcase creator owned original series like UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY and NO ONE LEFT TO FIGHT, an independent graphic novel by Jeff Lemire titled FROGCATCHERS, and Batman focused comics like THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS written by Scott Snyder with art by Jock, and THE BATMAN ADVENTURES HOLIDAY SPECIAL by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Glen Murakami. The first two episodes immediately below were also filmed at a friends’ house in front of an extensive collection of DC Comics Archives editions which made a great backdrop.

The last few episodes focused on books like GREEN LANTERN: BLACKSTARS which was an interlude mini-series before the launch of GREEN LANTERN SEASON TWO by Grant Morrison, then the first of an original graphic novel series from Image Comics titled NOVEMBER written by Matt Fraction with art by Elsa Charretier, Gail Simone’s run on BIRDS OF PREY that inspired the film adaptation which featured Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn (and my episode coincided with the film release date), the MARTIAN MANHUNTER origin retelling mini-series written by Steve Orlando with art by Riley Rossmo, and ended with an episode on MAGE by Matt Wagner who wrote and illustrated the Image Comics series over several decades.

I’ve been lucky to have a forum to share my appreciation and speculation regarding what books I have been following, and grateful for the thousands of people who tuned in each episode to watch my take. Despite some experience in podcasting, being a talking head and internet personality took some adjusting for me, and even then I didn’t always correctly set the video focus or sound levels, but I grew and enjoyed the endeavor nonetheless, and look forward to continuing to produce content for the Watchtower Database. Catch me chatting with James Strecker and Mattie Washburn in the reboot of the 13TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast, and read my work in upcoming issues of the LEGACIES OF THE DCAU webcomic.

12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS and beyond

The 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast reached the landmark of 52 episodes, and at its consistent biweekly release schedule, that means a complete full two year anniversary! However, the podcast will soon be taking a break after the finale episode in order to reexamine our approach, format, and technology. For this last batch of episodes, we comment on a funny fan-made “Exposed” video focused on the WATCHTOWER DATABASE, the host YouTube channel for podcast, review the latest MCU film SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, recap all the relevant news that came out of 2019 San Diego Comic Con, discuss the drama behind Spider-Man’s in-and-out relationship with Disney and Sony, and review Jim Henson’s original cult-classic fantasy film THE DARK CRYSTAL with podcast guest Rome Widenhouse.

The 50th episode was a discussion on the final story arc in YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS as well as the induction of Mattie Washburn as an official 12th Level Intellect, though he had been making regular appearances on the podcast for some time. Now a total of three geeky incels (that’s a joke), we review the JOKER film directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, and consider whether the upcoming action figure line “Batman: The Adventure Continues” will be considered in DCAU continuity as the package bios by Paul Dini seem to suggest. Look for a bold new direction from the 12th Level Intellects in early 2020 and beyond!

12th Level Intellects: Mar-June ’19

12th Level Intellects— the geek news podcast co-hosted by myself, Ted Kendrick, and James Strecker– is continuing steadily forward on its bi-weekly schedule with the Watchtower Database, available for listen on Apple, YouTube, and several other podcast platforms. Ironically for this batch of episodes, we lived in a world where superhero cinema received two Captain Marvel movies in one month; the Marvel Studios entry with Brie Larson and DC Entertainment’s SHAZAM!, though the character stopped using the name Captain Marvel within the last decade.

We took a swerve in topic to discuss the launch of GAME OF THRONES season 8 with my friend and GOT expert John Morse, which ended up getting one of the lowest listening counts in the podcast’s history. I suppose the audience didn’t transfer into wanting to hear us talk about GAME OF THRONES. The rest of the world didn’t seem satisfied with how season 8 ultimately played out either. After that flop of an episode, we stuck to discussing AVENGERS: ENDGAME and going through THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES episodes like the fanbase truly wants.

X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX was the final chapter in FOX’s X-MEN franchise after its acquisition by Disney, the film landed with a more expensive flop after an attempt to recreate the same storyline from X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, regarded by many to be the worst installment of the series. On a more positive note, 12th Level Intellects tried its first livestream video podcast, which went pretty well after about 15 minutes of technical difficulties, to chat about the release of the latest LEGACIES OF THE DCAU webcomic issue, “Anno Domini: Prebirth”, the first installment of stories set specifically in the canonical year of 2019 in the DCAU.

Watchtower Database at ECCC ’19

The Watchtower Database met in Seattle during Emerald City Comic Con which occurred from March 14th through the 17th. The production team involves myself Ted Kendrick, James Strecker, and Mattie Washburn. Our YouTube channel is known for its video content such as the DCAU video essays, “Vanishing Point” timeline analysis show, “12th Level Intellects” podcast, “Legacies of the DCAU” webcomic, and “Graphic Content” comic book recommendation series.

We managed to conduct several interviews with writers and artists who were all loosely creatively involved in some capacity with the DC Animated Universe, the shared world and continuity that includes the likes of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, JUSTICE LEAUGE UNLIMITED, and STATIC SHOCK. We made connections with Will Friedle who provided the voice of Terry McGinnis, the hero of BATMAN BEYOND, which should lead to an exciting upcoming interview. Stayed tuned.

The gathering was a productive and celebratory experience, essentially a creative summit for the content creators. My wallet whined after an excessive stack of signed comics, but my heart was full from a super-charged weekend with cherished collaborators. Our series of interview videos from the convention floor are available to view on the Watchtower Database channel and embedded below.

Mattie Washburn and I met previously when he visited Asheville while based out of Savannah, Georgia at the time. He recently moved to Seattle, Washington, and served as the home base while we all met at the convention. James Strecker, who lives near Portland, Oregon, and I had never met in person before, despite being podcast co-hosts, artistic collaborators on the LEGACIES webcomic, and longtime internet friends from a history of shared comic book message boards. It was apparently a moment to document, and I recorded the video vertically like a jerk.

12th Level Intellects: Aug-Nov. ’18

The 12th Level Intellects biweekly geekly podcast hosted by James Strecker and myself, Ted Kendrick, continued its 2018 schedule from August to November, which was actually a bit of a feat considering that the Watchtower Database took an extended break during the month of November. However, James and I still found some time to get an episode recorded whenever necessary though.


This batch of episodes sees the podcast’s first anniversary with episode #26, an exciting landmark, and partly why we pushed ahead to maintain the schedule. We also started recording at nights rather than in the morning, which I think has created a more energized air around the show. The Watchtower Database has since grown to include 27k subscribers, and each episode of 12th Level Intellects receives a few thousand views with each episode. It’s great to see the show grow.


In these episode, we discussed everything from the DEATH OF SUPERMAN animated feature film, live action blockbusters like MANDY and VENOM, THE TITANS both animated and live action, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES nostalgia, MISTER MIRACLE comic series review, as well as interviewed the music composers behind DCAU cartoons, and answered some questions from our followers and fans.

LEGACIES Special: “Scary Things”

LEGACIES OF THE DCAU premiered another issue of the webcomic on October 31st, Halloween day itself. The concept for “Scary Things” was pitched by James Strecker, who also provided the composite visual effects over the finished pages. He suggested the story be written as a poem, mimicking the tone of the legendary gothic writer Edgar Alan Poe, and explaining the Scarecrow’s design shift between BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and its revamped follow up THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES.  The issue and cover was pencilled by Mark Daniel Martinez.

“Scary Things” examines a version of the Scarecrow at his wit’s end, simply rotting in his cell at Arkham Asylum, and craves escape in some fashion. At the chance to seize true freedom from his situation, the Scarecrow jumps at the opportunity, and lands himself in a potentially more damaging situation at the end of it all.

Click the cover to read “Scary Things”!

LEGACIES has multiple specials similar to “Scary Things” in the works, focused on certain characters, featuring them in stories that fits neatly into pre-established continuity within the DC Animated Universe. The issue has a cameo appearance by a classic mythological character who has battled countless times against Wonder Woman and the Amazonians, and will plague them again in an upcoming issue.

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.