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.

Trivia Tuesdays (cont’d)

There have been a few more episodes of Trivia Tuesdays on the Watchtower Database, where I narrate comic book facts for a few minutes, relating back in someway to the DC Animated Universe. In these five episodes, I discuss topics pertaining to Superman, Aquaman, Shazam, Batman Beyond, and the voice actors that have also played characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. New episodes are released on the Watchtower Database YouTube channel every other Tuesday.

(+5) Trivia Tuesdays

In the latest batch of Trivia Tuesday videos hosted by the Watchtower Database, I provide narration and reveal a few more facts about little known topics within the DC Animated Universe. The goal is to transition between episodes with the next subject loosely connected to the previous. Research is provided by James Strecker.

These episodes look at voice actors who worked on both BATMAN and SUPERMAN animation, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.’s character career, Zorro’s inspiration for DC’s western hero El Diablo, who had a namesake in the SUICIDE SQUAD feature film but not the censored group in JLU, and a list of SUPER-FRIENDS nods in the DCAU.

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.

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.

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.

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.