WDb on TWITCH!

Watchtower Database is streaming weekly on Twitch! James Strecker spends every Tuesday reading an issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES and taking detailed notes, every Wednesday involves myself attempting to blind play some DC Animated Universe related video game for the first time, and Thursday features Mattie Washburn, currently reading through the novelization of BATMAN: RISE OF SIN TZU. You can stream for free on Twitch, either live or later in the archive collections which are embedded below. Subscribe on the Twitch channel or follow @dcauwatchtower across social media so you don’t miss any reminder posts.

I will be first to admit, it took me a few weeks to figure out how to best facilitate the stream. My laptop is eight years old and could barely handle streaming and video game softwares simultaneously, but I upgraded my hardware for more powerful processing, purchased a wireless controller, and slowly but surely learned how to best manage the lifestream. Some of the first few videos playing through BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on Game Boy were a little wonky, but I got the hang of it eventually, and now it’s become something that I greatly enjoy.

Once I completed that game over six episode installments, I played SUPERMAN, also for Game Boy, which I beat over an hour and a half in a single session, though I won’t ignore that I had to use cheat codes in order to stay alive to the end. The game was based on SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and released in 1997 just before Game Boy upgraded in quality, so the gameplay doesn’t totally hold up, but certainly not as terrible as the infamous SUPERMAN 64 video game for Nintendo 64. I’m sure viewers got a kick out of me stumbling my way through it anyway.

I moved on to BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER for Game Boy Color next, and beat the game after two sessions with no cheat codes! I found that this was the easiest out of all the games so far. If I died, I could respawn with all three lives and full health out of the last door that I had entered, so it was simple to pick up wherever I left off. Interestingly, the game did not completely follow the same events as the animated feature film that it was adapted from, including various scenes that never happened like Batman Beyond fighting through the Arkham Asylum ruins, and glancing over the death of the Joker, a flashback event that was depicted differently in both the traditional and uncut releases of the film.

Next on the lineup, I plan to tackle THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (aka SNES). I played this game when I was a child, so I’m looking forward to returning to it again. THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN was also released on SEGA CD, SEGA Genesis, and Game Gear, which were all slightly different in plot and design, so I’ll be working my way through each of them in time, but alternating with other DCAU games so the extensive BATMAN & ROBIN comparison content doesn’t eventually become confusing. You’ll just have to see for yourself, every Wednesday at 12pm PT / 3pm ET for the foreseeable future only on the Watchtower Database Twitch channel!

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.

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!

LEGACIES Special // “Prebirth”

LEGACIES OF THE DCAU returns for a special six-pager entitled “Anno Domini: Prebirth”. Anno Domini means “the year of our lord” in Latin, which informs the AD in our society’s current calendar listing. The issue was released on June 21st, 2019, which the Watchtower Database team deduced was the exact canonical date that Bruce Wayne retires from being Batman based on a BATMAN BEYOND promotional comic issue retelling the events of the cartoon’s premiere episode “Rebirth, Part 1.” The issue was pencilled by Marcelo Millicay with the cover art by Rick Celis.

“Prebirth” occurs prior to the opening scene in BATMAN BEYOND’s first episode, and reveals what Bruce Wayne was doing mere hours before his final night as Batman. Between appearances by Jim Gordon, Veronica Vreeland, and Derek Powers, the issue is ripe with Gothamites whose stories could use a little more fleshing out before the beginning of BATMAN BEYOND. The issue was an absolute pleasure for me to write, and can be read online in its entirety at the link below.

Click the cover to read “Anno Domini: Prebirth”!

This particular issue of LEGACIES had various coloring duties shared by James Strecker and Mark Daniel Martinez, lettering by myself which insures my script stays in tact, with story editing input from James Strecker and Mattie Washburn. The promo video also featured music by Adam Mullen. “Anno Domini” is the overarching title given to special issues set within the year 2019. Provided all goes to plan, expect more chapters within the “Anno Domini” arc before the year is up.

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: 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.

12th Level Intellects on TEEN TITANS

Over the last year, I’ve been heavily involved with the WATCHTOWER DATABASE, a specialty YouTube channel focused on the DC Animated Universe, a series of interlocking television shows that ran from the early 1990s with BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES to the mid-2000s with JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED. The DC Animated Universe (or DCAU, if you will) is notable for being one of the first major shared universes, a concept only recently made popular by Marvel Studios. The DCAU remains dear in my heart to this day thanks to its mature storytelling, top notch direction, and stellar A-list voice talent.

12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS, a term from the DCAU used to describe some of the smartest people in the universe, is also a series of podcast discussions by myself and webmaster / editor James Strecker where we nitpick certain hot topics from the DCAU. Most of the time, this entails dissecting fan theories. Around the end of July 2016, James and I were joined by Mattie Washburn, who is known for his comprehensive DCAU Timeline Tumblr page, for a special installment of 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS where we discussed whether the TEEN TITANS animated series belongs in the same universe as the rest of the DCAU.

Despite differences in animation and whatnot, there was evidence on both sides of the argument. Though to be fair, we definitely entered the conversation planning to debunk the theory from the start. The three of us spoke for nearly an hour and a half, yet somehow James was able to dissect 15 minutes of compelling conversation into an interesting and highly informational video. At the time of this post, the discussion has gathered nearly 1000 views over the span of a week. Not too shabby for a such a niche YouTube channel!