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!

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.

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.

WDb // website update

The WATCHTOWER DATABASE upgraded its website to serve as more of a landing board for all things related to the channel, including the YouTube video essays, 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS biweekly geeky podcast, LEGACIES OF THE DCAU webcomic which bridges the gap between the JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED and BATMAN BEYOND animated series, and much more. Check it out at the link below.

http://www.watchtowerdatabase.com

Posted by Watchtower Database on Sunday, November 18, 2018

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.

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.

LEGACIES Special: “Powers That Be”

“Powers That Be” is the latest issue of LEGACIES OF THE DCAU, now available to read online as of Saturday, February 24th. This special follows up plot threads established in “Asylum”, both of which were written by myself, with art by Marcello Millicay, James Strecker on composite effects, and covers by Robert Castellano.

The issue picks up mere hours after Killer Croc’s capture at the hands of the New Arkham security force. We reveal where he was taken, and why his appearance is more monstrous than the last time we saw him in the DCAU. Originally, the script was written as issue #5 with “Asylum” being the other half, but we split the story into specials to speed up the production process. “Powers That Be” also brings a few new characters into the DC animated universe, particularly Geri and Warren Powers, a husband and wife team with the entrepreneurial drive to force Bruce Wayne out of business, which sets up plot threads later seen in BATMAN BEYOND.

Click the cover to read “Powers That Be”!

The characters established in this issue will continue to appear throughout LEGACIES, and their connections to our other story elements will be revealed over time. Issue #5 is currently in production as the first part of a new arc called “Shadow Play” which will feature some of the DCAU’s more familiar villains, and show what they have been up to since the fall of the Secret Society, and their “five minute head start” at the end of the JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED series finale.

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.

LEGACIES #4: “Destroyed, Part 3”

Another issue of LEGACIES OF THE DCAU dropped on Saturday, November 25th. Issue #4 concludes the first major story arc “Destroyed”, which takes place days after the conclusion of the JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED series finale episode “Destroyer”, and sets the stage for LEGACIES’ future as it ventures into uncharted territory, setting up a confrontation between the Justice League and black ops agency Checkmate, led in part by the political powerhouse Amanda Waller.

This issue is essentially a love letter and homage to the Fourth World characters created by comic book legendary creator Jack Kirby. After an action packed intro where Mister Miracle saves the day, Superman leads a peace treaty between the New Gods and the World Assembly of Earth. Orion is the focus of one sequence where he reclaims the throne of Apokolips after his father Darkseid’s apparent demise at the end of the JLU animated series, which was one of my favorite scenes to write so far. Read the full issue linked below on the webcomic’s official website.

 

Click the cover to read LEGACIES #4!

Six-page special “Powers That Be” is coming soon, following up on last summer’s “Asylum”, both of which were written by myself and drawn by Marcello Millicay. These Gotham based specials will culminate in a thematic series of issues leading into the eventual aesthetic of the BATMAN BEYOND animated series.

LEGACIES Special: “Asylum”

The next issue of LEGACIES was released, a special 6-pager titled “Asylum” which was written by myself, pencilled and colored by Marcelo Millicay, composite effects by James Strecker, with a gorgeous cover by Robert Castellano. Serving as a companion to the issue’s release, Strecker animated a 20-second teaser trailer with voice acting from Brizzy Voices as Batgirl and Zizzoro as Killer Croc.

“Asylum” is set in Gotham City, shortly after Darkseid’s siege destroyed Arkham Asylum off-screen, resulting in the early release of its inmates with Robin and Batgirl the only ones around to clean up the mess. I thought it was important to put all of Batman’s villains back on the table for LEGACIES after they were noticeably missing in the JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED animated series due to the studio imposed Bat-embargo. Many familiar Bat-villains will return in future installments. 

Click the cover to read LEGACIES!

“Asylum” was originally written as the first half of issue #5, but we split the issue into two 6-page specials instead. Expect the next special entitled “Powers That Be” to follow up on similar plot threads that will continue to unfold over the series.