WDb interviews SUSAN EISENBERG

James Strecker and I recently had the pleasure of chatting with a major player in the DC Animated Universe, voice over actress Susan Eisenberg who played Wonder Woman in the JUSTICE LEAGUE animated series, in another segment of the 12th Level Intellects podcast hosted by the Watchtower Database channel.

Susan spoke about her experience working on the popular DC Comics series, the process behind voice acting, her gratitude and sense of responsibility playing such an iconic character, as well as her hopes and dreams for the character’s future.

The interview was especially timely as the highly anticipated WONDER WOMAN feature film, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, will soon premiere in theaters everywhere on June 2nd, and Susan Eisenberg herself was wonderful to speak with. We like each other’s pet photos on Instagram now.

NC Comicon Oak City 2017

I joined Jarrett Rutland in Raleigh, NC over the weekend of March 18th for the two day NC Comicon Oak City event to promote the all-ages ESCAPIST COMIX brand. We worked a table in Artist Alley where we sold copies of the first four issues of ROBOT SAMURAI PENGUINS, and first issues of new releases LITTLE PREACHER and DARK PLOTTER, along with extra swag like stickers, high quality prints, and T-shirts. It was a great success and so much fun to get feedback directly from fans.

NC Comicon

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Jarrett has been building his line of books over the last two years, but I came onboard as the Marketing Director only a few months ago to help with the technical aspects, hone in on the branding such as the name and logo, and develop an online presence, primarily through Patreon for monthly crowdfunding and ComiXology for digital sales. I’ve also started writing an upcoming series that will be announced down the road, but I can say it has a very exciting premise. I’ll come up with a fun Project Codename whenever I discuss the development process in a later post.

comical comics creators @nccomicon #artistalley #escapistcomix #comics #comicon #ncart #kidslit

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As this was my first convention on the other side of a table, I learned all about the patience required by artists when waiting for crowds to both arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon. Comic conventions are always colorful, exciting, but sometimes overwhelming events, especially when high profile creators are involved. I briefly said hello to Neil Adams, known for his work on characters like Batman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern in the 1970s, also had my issues of MOTHER PANIC signed by artist Tommy Lee Edwards, and picked up multiple signed copies of the BATMAN / TMNT ADVENTURES #1 Director’s Cut as gifts.

Attending discussion panels is also a fun element, and I found myself at two this time around. One was an action choreography panel from BEAT DOWN BOOGIE, the Raleigh based YouTube channel known for MARIO WARFARE, and the other was a discussion by the BATMAN / TMNT ADVENTURES team of Matt Manning, an Asheville based writer and friend who I had previously interviewed about the book for the WATCHTOWER DATABASE, and Jon Sommariva, an Australian based artist who had flown all the way to Raleigh to meet Matt in person (after completing the 6-issue mini-series together) and hang out with their publishers at IDW Comics.

While on the topic of Jon Sommariva, I commissioned him for a sketch on a blank cover of Superman / Batman #30. As the cheapskate I am, I couldn’t afford two characters, so I compromised for the oddball Composite Superman mashup villain whose face is half Superman, half Batman, as a way to cheat the system.

NC Comicon was an incredible event. Since they hold two per year, Oak City in March, and Bull City in October, I have no doubt I will surely return soon enough.

WDb // History of the Supersuits

I recently provided research and narration on another video essay through the WATCHTOWER DATABASE channel on YouTube. The DCAU has such a rich history after its long run of various interconnecting animated series, and Superman appeared more often than anyone, aside from perhaps Batman. THE SUPERSUITS is a follow up to similar THE BATSUITS video that went online last October, and provides an excellent look into the evolution of Superman’s design over the years using explanations and evidence provided from the animated series themselves.

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.

12th Level Intellects // recap

About a year ago, I participated in an extensive discussion with James Strecker on fan theories regarding the DC Animated Universe (or DCAU, if you will) which was a series of interlocking cartoons that began in 1992 with BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and concluded in 2006 with JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED. The DCAU started one of the first shared universes, a concept that Marvel Studios has now popularized over the last decade.

Since the DCAU experienced such a lengthy run with spin-offs like STATIC SHOCK and BATMAN BEYOND, these versions of DC Comics’ classic characters were truly streamlined to the bare essentials that made them work without all the baggage of 75 years of comic book history. Because of this, some characters were occasionally taken into new, unfamiliar territory, such as the romance between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl as well as a glimpse into the twilight years of Batman’s career.

The DCAU never ceased to surprise even long term fans of the characters and the internet took it upon itself to push the realm of possibility even further. The aforementioned discussion on these fan theories became the 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast, a continuing segment featured on the WATCHTOWER DATABASE YouTube channel, named for a term in the DCAU meant to describe the smartest beings in the universe. That would naturally be the hosts of the podcast.

We’ve discussed various ideas such as whether the Teen Titans belong to this universe, if Gear and Brainiac bonded to create a lineage in the far future, if villains such as Harley Quinn, the Scarecrow, Penguin, or Lock-Up ever had children, and the possibility that the Justice Leaguer Warhawk was actually the son of Hawkman rather than Green Lantern, among so many more discussions to come over the next few months.

Our biggest success was the Harley Quinn video, linked below, which went viral shortly after the premiere of David Ayer’s SUICIDE SQUAD. As of this writing, the video has gathered over 160,000 views on YouTube and countless comments debating who was actually the father of Harley’s children. Expect additional installments of the 12TH LEVEL INTELLECTS podcast at least once a month as it does take a moment to splice together such a video essay.

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.

WDb // COMIC RELIEF

Over the last few months, on every Wednesday afternoon, I’ve maintained a column called COMIC RELIEF where I recommend comics and graphic novels I’ve enjoyed over the years. The segment was originally posted to the LEGACIES OF THE DCAU Facebook page of which I was a curator, though the page has now been taken offline due to low traffic.

COMIC RELIEF will instead accompany the WATCHTOWER DATABASE social media outlets starting at the end of November and will post every Wednesday, the same day new comics arrive at local stores. I intend to mix old reviews with the new, sharing all in a more visual aesthetic rather than the plain text I used before.

I’m excited for a continuing platform to share some of my favorite books from an ever expanding medium. Be sure to hit ‘like’ on the WATCHTOWER DATABASE Facebook page so you don’t miss each weekly update of COMIC RELIEF!

WDb // History of the Batsuits

I recorded the narration on this video last year for WDb, looking back on the history, design, and functionality of Batman’s costumes throughout animated television. WDb is short for the WATCHTOWER DATABASE, a YouTube variety channel regarding all things DC Animated Universe, which was a series of interlocking cartoons starting with the Emmy award winning BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.

The video below was one of the first I contributed to the channel, so the sound quality isn’t as solid as I would prefer. Fortunately webmaster James Strecker’s editing skills are so natural and engaging, he could have substituted my voice with the sound of a lawnmower and still retained interest. All self deprecation aside, it actually is a pretty cool video and at the time of this post, at least 4,250 other people seem to agree. 102 of them even felt the need to thumbs up… not that life should be measured by your number of Likes, of course.

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!