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SDCC 2009 Coverage
BOF was at Comic Con International San Diego 2009! Click on one of the links below to go to the following reports:

1) KICK-ASS Panel/Interviews by Chris Clow
2) DC's Batman Panel by Chris Clow
3) Megan Fox @ JONAH HEX Panel
4) Warner Bros. Comic Con Panel/Press Conference by Jett
5) BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD Panel Highlights by Sean Gerber
6) THE BRAVE & THE BOLD: Interview w/Michael Jelenic by Sean Gerber
7) THE BRAVE & THE BOLD: Interview w/Diedrich Bader by Sean Gerber
8) THE BRAVE & THE BOLD: Interview w/James Tucker by Sean Gerber
9) Micheal Uslan's Joker Panel by Sean Gerber
10) WATCHMEN Director's Cut Panel/BD Live Event by Sean Gerber
10) ARKMAN ASYLUM Videogame Demo Review by Sean Gerber
11) Interview w/ARKMAN ASYLUM's Sefton Hill, Game Designer by Sean Gerber
12) Interview w/ARKMAN ASYLUM's Kevin Conory - The Batman! by Sean Gerber
13) Interview w/ARKMAN ASYLUM's Writer - Paul Dini! by Sean Gerber
14) Interview w/ARKMAN ASYLUM's Cast & Crew Panel Report by Sean Gerber
15) Jett Talks SDCC '09 on "THE ROD RYAN SHOW"
16) BOF's Batman @ SDCC '09 Podcast

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Talking SDCC '09 II
Posted by: Jett @ 9:05 AM CENTRAL on 8/2/09

One LAST SDCC '09 report -- I think. Anyway, below is a podcast with Sean and Brad detailing Sean's experiences at Comic Con last week. If you've read Sean's reports below, you know he covered BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, the ARKHAM ASYLUM video game, and Michael Uslan's Joker panel for BOF. Good stuff here, so give it a listen!

DOWNLOAD IT HERE or listen via the MP3 player below.

This and all BOF podcasts are also available on iTunes.

Talking SDCC '09 I
Posted by: Jett @ 6:12 AM CENTRAL on 7/31/09

Once again, I was a guest on THE ROD RYAN SHOW (94.5 "The Buzz") on July 27, 2009 to talk a little Comic Con International San Diego 2009. >>> CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.

ARKHAM ASYLUM Cast & Crew Panel Report
Posted by: Jett @ 7:21 PM CENTRAL on 7/28/09

OK, this is if for our coverage of CCISD '09! To close out, here's our report on the ARKHAM ASYLUM cast and crew panel:

Game director Sefton Hill, writer Paul Dini, and stars Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill introduced the new BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM game to Comic Con International San Diego Saturday evening.

In terms of information on the actual game that was the subject of the panel, there wasn’t too much in there that I didn’t already get to cover in my demo and interviews with the men behind the scenes. According to Paul Dini, the decision to bring in Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill was “a given from the get-go.”

Dini revealed that Killer Croc’s nickname for those working on the game was “Godzilla in pants.” The writer of the game also spilled the beans on some of the unlockable content in the game being audio from therapy sessions between Dr. Harleen Quinzel (voiced by Arlene Sorkin from B:TAS, of course) and Hamill’s Joker.

When asked about the change in his Joker voice, Hamill said that he actually gave the game creators a variety of light and dark takes for all of his lines and left it up to them to decide what was best for the game.

The best parts of this panel, for me, were some really cool revelations about B:TAS and the DC Animated Universe that spawned from it. Hamill said that BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER came about because he said he would only be a part of that series if he could play the original Joker.

Dini recalled that Harley Quinn was never intended to be a character that would last, but rather a one-off “hench wench.” He’d been friends with Arlene Sorkin and wanted her to do the voice. Oddly enough, Harley’s aesthetic was actually inspired by Dini seeing Sorkin wearing a jester outfit on an episode of DAYS OF OUR LIVES. It was actually other directors and writers on B:TAS who wanted to keep bringing her back. Hamill noted that he took a great deal of pride in that a character that originated on the show became a lasting character in the comics.

If you read BOF’s coverage of the BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD panel [See below - Jett], you know that Julie Newmar is playing Martha Wayne in an upcoming episode entitled, “Chill of the Night.” In addition to that, Mark Hamill revealed in this panel that he will be playing The Spectre, Kevin Conroy will voice The Phantom Stranger, and Adam West will be Thomas Wayne in that same episode. Mark Hamill mentioned a few times that this may end up being his “Swan Song” as The Joker, but if he could, he’d love to do a book on tape for THE KILLING JOKE.

Without even being asked about the subject, Mark Hamill gave his thoughts on the most recent Joker, “Heath Ledger was spectacular.” Hamill said the approach that Christopher Nolan and Ledger took with the character in THE DARK KNIGHT -- a kind of “Joyless Joker” -- was something he never would have even thought of.

In closing, Hamill gave the live audience exactly what they wanted with one great Joker laugh as Conroy provided some of his classic Batman vocals. - Sean Gerber

That should do it for BOF's CCISD 2009 coverage. Like I said, BOF aimed to go Batman heavy and I think we accomplished that goal as we covered everything "Batman" at the Con. Looking forward to 2010!

Thanks again to Sean and Chris for their coverage at the Con so I could get it edited and posted ASAP. There's no way I could have gotten as much Batman info for BOF without their help.

So once again, thanks to you BOF'ers for reading and we'll do it again in 2010! - "Jett"

Interview: ARKHAM ASYLUM's Writer, Paul Dini!
Posted by: Jett @ 7:21 PM CENTRAL on 7/28/09

I told y'all we were going to be "Batman Heavy," didn't I! Here's Sean's interview with ARKHAM ASYLUM's writer -- the legendary Paul Dini:

BATMAN ON FILM/Sean Gerber: What’s the biggest difference between writing Batman in a video game compared to comics and animation?

Paul Dini: “There’s a lot more writing involved for a video game than there is for a movie because you’ve gotta write every movement that [Batman] does, basically. At the same time, you have to write everything that he says, so if he runs down and talks to a guard and the guard has just been beaten up, so the guard is really pissed off at Batman. You have to keep thinking, where are the scenarios leading you to a different outcome. It’s a lot more labor intensive, but at the same time, you have to keep in mind that you are writing a game. Whereas a feature film would have a little bit more texture to it, as far as maybe a subplot with Bruce Wayne or a love interest or a villain’s story, you find yourself not dealing with that as much because you got to satisfy the needs of the game first and make sure this is an involving experience for the game player.”

“At the same time, you have to make it interesting for the long-time Batman fan who doesn’t want to just have another typical Batman adventure. You want to make this as unique, as different, as involving, and as true to the Batman lore that you can be, so it’s a big responsibility.”

Other: Were there ever any drastic changes that you had to make [to your story] to accommodate changes in the game play?

PD: “I left myself open to that because I knew that early on in the planning stages we had come up with certain plot elements and character elements that were discarded for whatever reason because they just impeded the game play or it was straying too much into the real of a feature film or graphic novel. It’s hard to cut those things out, but it must be done. In some cases, we were limited by the characters that we could build and if we’re going to bring in certain characters for a line or two, we have to be judicious with how we do that because you have to build the character from the ground up. You can bring in a whole variety of enemies and allies for Batman, but is the cameo value worth setting the schedule back a little bit and the expense involved in constructing these characters? There were things that we dropped along the way, but at least in my head, I said that this was a collaborative effort, much the same as animation only much more so. This is really a team project and not the same situation as if I’m writing a book, giving it to the artist, and the artists says ‘Well I can’t draw pages 4 through 9’ and I wonder what’s the problem because obviously he can. Here, you’ve got a whole team and you’re kind of limited by what the game can do.”

Other: When you talk about straying too much into the realm of a graphic novel or film, does that include the size of the set pieces or just the subplots?

PD: “It was a little bit of both because we sort of imagined that there are going to be big set pieces. You don’t want to have too much action happening during a cut scene because the question is ‘Why isn’t this a part of game play?’ You don’t want to add a lot of extraneous characters during a cut scene because it’s like a cheat, but also if that character doesn’t fit into the game play, you can’t really have that character involved in [the cut scenes]. You just have to keep the flavor of Batman and try to be as true to his world as you can, but at the same time, you’ve gotta keep the action moving forward.”

Other: Does the visual aspect of a game, comic, or cartoon influence the way you write Batman?

PD: “I tend to take my cues from the visuals. If this was [B:TAS], I might have toned down some of the violence or some of the dialogue, but also, when you see the character fighting these huge thugs in there… when I saw the designs for some of the criminals, I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want Batman going in there either! He’s really going to get hurt! I don’t want him to go in, those guys are scary!’ But [Batman] steps up to the plate, so he’s goes in wearing this armored up outfit that looks like he was bolted into it and he really gives these guys a lot of hell as he smashes them around. If that’s the arena we’re in, then I tailor my writing a little more toward that intensity. In some cases I wanted to go a little bit farther because if you have guys that are that big, realistic, and scary looking, their dialogue is going to be a lot more raw than it actually is in the game, so I would find myself using…even though the language is harsh, it’s more PG-13 hard. It’s not really R-rated and I kept wanting to go toward R-rated because these guys aren’t going to say ‘Oh darn it!’ so you want to amp up the dialogue a little bit.”

BOF/SG: Mark Hamill’s voice in the game sounds noticeably different from what he did in B:TAS. Kevin Conroy said it’s just because Mark’s getting old…

PD: *laughs*

BOF/SG: So, was Mark intentionally modifying his voice to match the tone of the game?

PD: “He did modify it to match the look of the game. The look was so dark and gritty that his voice went to match that. [The Joker] is a killer, he’s a sadist, and he’s playing this very grotesque life and death game with Batman. Even though his voice had the same shifts and the same up and down cadence that you kind of love about Mark’s voice, he did keep it rooted in the gutter almost and in the dark. This is the voice of a murderer, not a whimsical clown who uses whoopee cushions and stuff like that.”

Other: Did you learn anything new about Batman in this process?

PD: “Yes I did. There are a few scenes where I was really able to push him, get inside his head, get to where he lives, and see the different defenses he puts up to keep his inner-self from getting out to his enemies, but also keeps his inner-self from himself. To look at when those barriers are shadowed, how he deals with that and how he comes back from that. I think that’s the most intense level of the game and I think that’s probably what most mirrors a subplot in a movie. You can’t go into a scenario like ARKHAM ASYLUM and be unchanged by it. You have to go in and confront your demons and you have to try to confront that line that separates you from the guys you put in there. That, to me, is the most fascinating realm of this game.”

- Sean Gerber

Interview: ARKHAM ASYLUM's Kevin Conroy (Batman)
Posted by: Jett @ 1:57 PM CENTRAL on 7/28/09

Here's Sean's interview with ARKHAM ASYLUM's Batman -- the legendary Kevin Conroy:

BATMAN ON FILM/Sean Gerber: Was there much difference for you in recording for a video game compared to animated films and television?

Kevin Conroy: “*laughs* Oh God, do you know how difficult it is to record a video game? You’re in a booth alone for 4-hour sessions, usually two per day, so eight hours [each] day and it’s usually [done] over two days. It’s kind of 16 hours straight of just doing different variations of line readings. It’s very, very tedious and very hard to keep it all fresh and do different takes on it. When we did the shows, the nice thing about Warner Bros. is that they always get all of the actors together, so we do them like radio plays and there’s a lot of interaction, but that’s unique to Warner Bros. Not all of the studios insist on that, but [WB does] and it makes a big difference. When you’re doing the game, it’s just you doing a variety of takes on each line and depending on the way the player plays the game, it’s going to go in a different direction, so there’s a whole new script. You can use your imagination to figure out how many variables there are to record depending on the way the game is played, so it’s very complicated to create.”

BOF/SG: In getting a chance to play the game yesterday, it sounded like Mark Hamill has changed the tone of his Joker voice a little bit to match the darker tone of the game. Were you aware of that at all when you were recording and did it impact your performance at all?

KC: “Well that might just be because we’ve gotten a little bit older. *laughs* I hope Mark doesn’t hear me say that, but I don’t think it was intentional. We try to be true to the characters. I mean, have you ever seen footage of him doing the voice? It’s amazing! He becomes Joker and practically devours the microphone. He takes over the room. He can’t sit down; he’s never sat down during a Joker recording in 18 years. I like to sit down.”

BOF/SG: Did you miss not being able to go up against Mark in recording sessions?

KC: “Yeah! It’s harder to do. Some of it we did off of each other, but most of it was just a harder project for everybody.”

Other: What kind of preparation did you do?

KC: “What’s hard about doing a game is keeping your focus and your energy up because you’re really moving along. It’s challenging, but preparation, to be honest, I’ve been doing this character for so long, I understand him. I don’t want to sound narcissistic, but I understand him and can kind of click into him really easily.”

Other: With the difficulty in recording this game, would you do another one?

KC: “Oh yeah! Everyone likes to be challenged. Well, I shouldn’t say everyone, but most actors that I know love to be challenged. I’m sure there are some that don’t, but I enjoy it. My favorite episode of [B:TAS] was one called ‘PERCHANCE TO DREAM.’ I thought it was brilliant. A lot of it was in black and white, it was very noirish, and I got to do five voices in one episode. They all had to be believably related -- old Bruce Wayne, young Bruce Wayne, Batman, Batman on drugs, and Bruce Wayne as an adolescent. They had to be believably related, but distinct so that the audience could follow it. Andrea [Romano] let me record it in real time, so I was plugging in and out of each voice as we were recording rather than going through and doing each voice for the whole show. She knew it would be a real trick, if I could pull it off, and I did. People love doing that kind of stuff, that kind of acting acrobatics. *laughs*”

BOF/SG: So you haven’t seen any footage of the game at all?

KC: “No. Well, only a little bit when they showed us what it was going to look like, so I knew what the computer-generated graphics were going to look like.”

BOF/SG: I was just wondering if it was any different from how you and Mark Hamill were shown the opening sequence to B:TAS in order to give you an idea of what they were trying to do in the game.

KC: “Yeah, because it’s very different. It’s a very different look as you could see, so they had to let us see enough to work off of.”

Other: Will you play the game when it comes out?

KC: “Oh yeah! It’s part of my deal, they have to give me a free one. *laughs*”

BOF/SG: I’m not sure if they told you this, but [game director] Sefton Hill was telling me yesterday that there’s a competition amongst Batman fans online with rankings for players based on the scores they get in the game, so people might be challenging you to be the best Batman.

KC: “Oh cool. Maybe I should [play] it through an avatar or something so people know it’s me… and I’ll WIN! Then I’ll take over the world! *laughs*”

Other: For this game, was there a way you approached it to make it different from other incarnations of Batman that you’ve done?

KC: “I don’t want to say that I’m lazy because I don’t mean to sound that way, but I think it’s important to be consistent with the character in whatever incarnation it is and whatever genre it is [a part of]. What audiences react to is the character, the guy, in whatever situation he’s in. I think it’s important for me to be the consistent thread in any different kind of project, so I’m not saying that as kind of an acting cop-out to sound like I’m not trying hard. I think it’s important for me to be the same in each one.”

BOF/SG: In the long time that you’ve been voicing this character, there have been some new guys under the cape and cowl. What are your takes on Diedrich Bader and Christian Bale and what they’ve added to the Batman character that you have been such a large part of?

KC: “Everyone adds to the Batman character. The thing that I was really impressed with was how gracious Adam West was when I first met him because he came on our show as the Grey Ghost. This is something he really put his stamp on 40 years ago and he couldn’t have been more gracious to me, so I think it’s important for me to extend the same kind of courtesy to anyone else who comes along. It’s a timeless character and everyone can bring their take on it. Christian Bale is fantastic and I thought Michael Keaton was fantastic, so there are a lot of interesting interpretations on it. [Diedrich Bader] is terrific. I think all of us who’ve had the very good fortune to be a part of this appreciate that you borrow the cape for a while. For me, I’ve been lucky to have borrowed it for 18 years, which is probably the longest of anybody and that’s a very lucky break, so it’s Diedrich’s turn now.”

- Sean Gerber

BOF's Sean Gerber (L) and Kevin Conroy (R)

Interview: ARKHAM ASYLUM Game Designer Sefton Hill
Posted by: Jett @ 1:08 PM CENTRAL on 7/28/09

Here's Sean's interview with ARKHAM ASYLUM game designer Sefton Hill:

BATMAN ON FILM/Sean Gerber: Why did you guys decide to go with an original story for this Batman game rather than something based on a film, comic, or cartoon?

Sefton Hill: “For us, video games have a very specific structure and it was a great opportunity to create a story specifically for a game that’s a 12 to 15-hour experience. If you take a film and stretch it over that time period, you’re gonna go off and do things that aren’t that important to the main story. We wanted [the story] to fit really well with the medium. It was a great opportunity because we could look back and go through 70 years of Batman history and then turn it into that 15-hour experience where everything that happens has value. It was a great opportunity for us because very rarely do you get to work with such a great character, but do it in your own style and put your own stamp on it.”

BOF/SG: I noticed when playing it that you really have to be Batman in this game and think like him.

SH: “Yeah, that was really the driving thing behind the whole game right from the start. It was this concept of having to think like Batman. Batman’s all about being prepared for any kind of situation and with the right amount of time, he can take anyone down. It’s great to get that feedback [from the demo] that people would study areas and study the way [opponents] were moving and take them down because that’s how Batman would act. If you rush in, it’s a much higher risk and if you go in fists flying against opponents with guns, you’re likely to get shot and killed.”

BOF/SG: The entire game takes place at Arkham Asylum, but is there any open gameplay?

SH: “As a player, you’ll start off and go through the introductory part of the story, but the game does open up and you’re free to explore different areas and find different gadgets as events happen in the story. If at any point you want to go back to an area to find secrets or solve puzzles, you can go back there anytime. There’s a story that pulls you through, but you are free to go wherever you want.”

BOF/SG: In the Challenge Mode, there is a competitive element for online players. Can you talk about that?

SH: “Yeah, you have the online element and there’s been a lot of competition at [the studio] about getting the highest score. Unfortunately, we got kind of blown away by one of the testers who got a 150-hit combo and I got about an 85. Players will be able to compare their scores as well and find out who’s #1 in the world.”

BOF/SG: Fans are already hearing some very familiar voices in the game; why did you decide to bring in some of the B:TAS cast?

SH: “When you’re using The Joker and Batman, you really want to go with people who get it and for us, Mark Hamill was the quintessential Joker. As soon as he started recording lines, it was amazing.”

BOF/SG: And his presence his felt throughout the game, right?

SH: “He continually taunts you. He is the main antagonist of the story and he’s always just out of reach. He’s really taking this opportunity to play [with] Batman. The Joker’s not just about trying to kill Batman; he’s trying to get his kicks out of Batman. That’s the great thing about their relationship is that it’s continuously adversarial and fascinating. That’s what we really wanted to get across in the game and do justice to the personal relationship that they have.”

BOF/SG: The results from previous Batman games have been mixed, at best. For all the Batman fans out there, what separates this game from previous entries?

SE: “For us, the main thing was to focus on what it means to be Batman and not just one element of the character, but all elements. It’s not just the fighting, but the fighting in combination with the detective, the forensics element, the high-tech gadgets, exploration, and the relationship with the antagonist. It’s all of those components together and we didn’t want to make a genre game; we wanted to make a Batman game. It spreads across a load of different genres and we hope that fans enjoy it when they get to play it. Our goal was to create an experience that was unique to Batman where you couldn’t take Batman out and put any other character in. It’s uniquely Batman and that’s what we really wanted to get across.”

- Sean Gerber

Posted by: Jett @ 9:56 AM CENTRAL on 7/28/09

Here's our report on the upcoming Batman videogame, ARKHAM ASYLUM:

I was fortunate enough to get a private tutorial/demo on the forthcoming BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM game from “Jeff” of Warner Bros. Interactive, who actually worked on the game. The game started off easily enough as I (or I guess Batman) had to take down a few random thugs. This is the kind of task you expect a lot of in a Batman game, but what separated AA immediately was just how unbelievably fluid the fighting engine was. Batman moved, kicked, punched, and grappled just like…well…Batman! The control system is very basic, allowing players to take out unarmed thugs with ease. Some gamers may complain about the fight engine being too intuitive, but really, fighting unarmed thugs is relatively easy for Batman, so it should be easy for any gamer controlling him as well.

Of course, hand-to-hand combat is only a small part of this game, unlike previous entries in the Batman video game franchise. If you think you’re going to make it all the way through this game by running straight at all of your opponents and taking them out with a flurry of punches and kicks, you better think again. Simply put, you are controlling Batman and for the first time ever, you really need to be Batman to be successful in a game. You will have to utilize the game’s Detective Mode to find clues and also form strategies for your attacks. In Detective Mode, you can see which of your opponents is armed and even see their heart rate to know what effect your presence is having on them, or if they are even aware of your presence at all.

The next thing I got to take a look at was the Challenge Mode, which is separate from the story portion of the game. There are various levels here all designed to test your Batman skills. In one level, you’ll be checking to see how many hits you can string together successfully in a combo. In another, you’ll be battling against the clock to see how quickly you can to take out a room full of armed thugs. If you’re playing online, all of these levels will factor into the first competitive element ever seen in a Batman game. Players can compare their scores in the various challenge levels online and find out who really is the best virtual Batman. You can map out your environment and see where your best points of attack will be. This really is a necessary function because you are not going to survive if you try and attack five gun-toting opponents at once. You don’t have superpowers and armor can only stop so much. As Batman, you will need to employ great timing and the use of distractions to isolate armed criminals and take them down.

The next thing I got to take a look at was the Challenge Mode, which is separate from the story portion of the game. There are various levels here all designed to test your Batman skills. In one level, you’ll be checking to see how many hits you can string together successfully in a combo. In another, you’ll be battling against the clock to see how quickly you can to take out a room full of armed thugs. If you’re playing online, all of these levels will factor into the first competitive element ever seen in a Batman game. Players can compare their scores in the various challenge levels online and find out who really is the best virtual Batman.

As I’m sure many have already heard, The Joker can be downloaded as a playable character in Challenge Mode on the PlayStation 3 console. What makes this even better is that The Joker will have his own unique move set. There’s no need to worry about having to watch The Joker perform moves designed for Batman since the Clown Prince of Crime has his own arsenal of brutal attacks to unleash on some of his fellow inmates. In only 30 minutes of playing this game, I’m already convinced that BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM is going to be the best Batman game we’ve ever seen BY FAR. It’s not just about fighting like Batman, but really thinking and behaving like him order to make it all the way through the game successfully. It’s a gaming experience that is truly unique to the Batman character. Batman doesn’t exactly have a strong reputation in the world of video games, but that’s about to change. - Sean Gerber

Gotta say that I'm really looking forward to playing this game -- and I really only play sports games!

Zack Snyder's BD Live WATCHMEN Event
Posted by: Jett @ 3:19 PM CENTRAL on 7/27/09

Zack Snyder participated in one of those "BD Live" events at Comic Con this past weekend for the "Director's Cut" of his film WATCHMEN. Here's the report:

Director Zack Snyder, star Jackie Earle Haley, and WATCHMEN comic artist Dave Gibbons were all on hand to introduce the new Director’s Cut of WATCHMEN, which hit stores back on July 21, 2009. Snyder wanted to be clear that releasing this version of the film was not about throwing in additional scenes just for the sake of squeezing a few more bucks out of fans. Rather, this is the cut at which Snyder originally felt he was finished with the film, before the studio had him go in and make additional cuts to reduce the film’s running time. This Director’s Cut is WATCHMEN as Snyder intended.

The panel was very brief and quickly opened up to questions from the audience. Aside from Snyder being asked about the squid, yet again (more on that later), there were some interesting questions. When asked about how he came up with Rorschach’s voice, Haley said that the voice he used in the film was the one he heard inside his head when reading the graphic novel. There wasn’t a discussion of how the voice should sound. Haley just went with what he was hearing in his head and even sent Snyder an audition tape of Haley acting out a scene as Rorschach in his own living room.

Dave Gibbons was asked by a fan if he had any problems with all of the merchandising that has occurred because of the film. Gibbons pointed out all of the merchandise has been for the film and he feels that the graphic novel still stands on its own and is thus separated from all of that.

A brief recess was taken between the panel and the Director’s Cut screening, at which point I was lucky enough to meet Snyder and Haley for a few minutes. Snyder then returned to provide live commentary for the audience on hand while someone else transcribed his commentary so that it could be read by thousands of fans joining in via BD-Live.

Unfortunately for Snyder and many of us listening to his commentary, just about every other question being submitted by the BD-Live community read something like this, “Why did you change ‘X’ or ‘Y’ from the comic?” Even the squid question came up again! Snyder was polite and took such questions in stride, while occasionally (and rightfully) critiquing certain fanboys’ questions about his film.

Snyder was nice about it, which I’ll be the first to pat him on the back for, but so many of these questions were just ridiculous. It’s amazing how a director can make a film as accurate and faithful to its source material as Snyder has done with WATCHMEN yet still have to endure the questions of spoiled fanboys who feel EVERYTHING from a comic book should be replicated in a film with 100% accuracy. These fanboys are an embarrassment.

Moving on, Snyder was able to provide his thinking behind certain aspects of the film that go beyond what was changed from the graphic novel. When asked about how they came up with Dr. Manhattan’s voice, Snyder said it was a much different experience than Rorschach’s voice, which had been automatic. With Manhattan, Snyder said that he and actor Billy Crudup put their heads together and decided that Dr. Manhattan would have chosen to be soft-spoken. He would have been aware that all of his powers made him very imposing and very intimidating to the rest of the world, so he would make his voice as non-threatening as possible in an attempt to sooth people’s fears and put them at ease.

On the topic of The Comedian, Snyder acknowledged that the studio was not exactly comfortable with the scenes in which the character was extremely violent towards women. The studio feared that audiences wouldn’t know what to make of the character and asked whether he was a “good guy” or a “bad guy.” Snyder won the argument by telling them that the moral ambiguity that the studio was concerned about was the entire point of the character. The audience isn’t supposed to know exactly how they feel about him, which Snyder said could also be extended to many other characters in the film, as well as the film’s ending.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how funny and entertaining Snyder was throughout the screening. He knew when to point out something funny (like a certain object to the left of The Comedian’s television in the opening fight scene) and played well off of the live crowd in attendance. A particularly funny part of the screening was when fans in the room started bringing up food to the stage for Snyder. It began with a jar of peanut butter (after someone asked him “Crunchy or smooth?”) and an entire food drive ensued. Snyder had enough there to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so he did. Oh, and if you were watching the screening from home and read Snyder referring to something as a “masterpiece,” he was talking about his sandwich and not his film. - Sean Gerber

While I certainly wish certain fans had held up their end of the bargain, Snyder did his best and really made this a fun, informative experience for fans and it was a treat to be present for it. - Sean Gerber

Michael Uslan's Joker Panel:
"Is the Joker a Psychopath: You Decide!"

Posted by: Jett @ 1:17 PM CENTRAL on 7/27/09

BOF Sean Gerber attended Michael Uslan's Joker panel Saturday afternoon and here's his report:

As if the all-star list of talent in that description wasn’t enough, the panel started off with a bang thanks to a surprise appearance by Batman himself – well, at least one of them -- ADAM WEST! Mr. West wasn’t just saying hello either; he was joining the panel!

The presentation began with Robin Rosenberg and Travis Langley educating the audience a little bit on the concept of psychopathy and how it is different than terms often (and incorrectly) used interchangeably with it, such as psychosis and insanity. All of this was done upfront to help the audience participate in what was stressed as an amateur and primarily FUN analysis of The Joker. The panel certainly didn’t want any fanboys thinking they could go home after the panel and begin diagnosing their friends and relatives.

Once characteristics of psychopathy (shallow feelings, pathological lying, lack or remorse, etc.) had been discussed, examples of The Joker displaying such behavior were shown across the various mediums he’s appeared in including comics, animation, and film.

All of the evidence presented drew a consensus amongst the panel and the audience that yes, The Joker is a psychopath. Bare in mind though, this doesn’t necessarily mean The Joker is insane, which is a separate issue that was largely left for another discussion. The quick diagnosis of The Joker as a psychopath probably comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been reading Batman comics and/or watching Batman films and cartoons featuring The Joker, but there was a whole lot more to this panel than simply answering the main topic.

The highlight was a lengthy discussion by Jerry Robinson of how he -- with the help of Bill Finger (whom Robinson rightfully acknowledged as the co-creator of Batman) -- came up with the idea of The Joker in the first place. At the time, most comic book villains had been gangsters. They were comic book representations of real-life criminals such as “Pretty Boy” Floyd or John Dillinger. Batman comics had featured a mad scientist (Dr. Death) and a vampire/werewolf (The Monk), but Robinson wanted something really original for a villain when Batman was set to have his own quarterly title.

Robinson believed that great characters had contradictions and that’s what inspired him to create a villain with humor. The name Joker, as one would expect, came from the playing card of the same name, as did The Joker’s look. The white skin was done simply to make The Joker look more like the jester on the playing card.

Though Robinson agreed with the rest of the panel that The Joker would be considered a psychopath by today’s standards, he and Finger never really thought of The Joker in psychological terms in the beginning. To them, The Joker was a master criminal and a remorseless murderer.

As far as origins are concerned, Robinson stated that the decision to not give The Joker an origin was indeed deliberate. Robinson felt that an origin would detract from the character and thus The Joker’s past and his “look” were better off not being discussed. In Robinson’s opinion, it has been The Joker’s lack of definition that has helped allow other writers, artists, and filmmakers to reinterpret the character and expand on him throughout the past seven decades.

Of course, even though Robinson didn’t want The Joker to have an origin, he has been given one in the comics, which brought things back to the main topic. The panel’s psychologists, Rosenberg and Langley, both agreed that a single traumatic event (like an acid bath) could not make someone into a psychopath. As Langley put it, “Psychopaths are grown.” This is a condition that develops over years and perhaps decades, not a single event in one’s life.

This turned the discussion even further into The Joker’s possible background, about which Adam West offered his own theory. According to West, The Joker is “slightly antisocial” and he believes that The Joker was kidnapped as a young child by a perverted clown.

Jerry Robinson replied, “That would do it.”

A fan question prompted the panel to discuss how the relationship between Batman and The Joker related to the topic at hand and if deep down, each character actually likes that the other one is there. West felt that on his show, the Batman/Joker relationship was more superficial and comedic. As a side note, West added that Cesar Romero’s secret preparation when playing The Joker was to take a little snooze in his chair between takes.

Rosenberg opined that just as people in this world can thrive and bring the best out of each other through competition, so do Batman and The Joker. It is The Batman who pushes The Joker to be the best (or perhaps worst) criminal he can be and The Joker who motivates Batman to become a better crime fighter.

Michael Uslan pointed out that one of his favorite aspects of the relationship between these two icons is the contradiction that lies within them. Batman is the hero wearing the costume of a monster while The Joker is the villain dressed as a clown.

Harley Quinn was brought up by a fan and when Robinson was asked is he could see The Joker having a girlfriend, he said that he could. Michael Uslan added that he was less concerned about what The Joker would do with a girlfriend than what he would do with a pencil. Awesome!

Uslan and Rosenberg both agreed that the reason the relationship between Batman and Joker has and will continue to endure for decades is the fundamental struggle between order and chaos that they represent. Rosenberg added that The Joker’s unpredictability helps keep the character alive, as he can be taken in almost any direction.

While this panel began with a question to which the answer seemed rather obvious, it was still a great discussion that expanded into The Joker’s rich history, including his humble beginnings thanks to Jerry Robinson.

In closing, Michael Uslan permitted himself a fanboy moment regarding Adam West’s surprise participation in the panel and shouted “Holy S**t!”

My thoughts exactly. - Sean Gerber

Random CCISD Pics III!
Posted by: Jett @ 10:29 AM PACIFIC on 7/26/09

A few more pics....

Suits from IRON MAN


The Batpod!

THE BOOK OF ELI Press Conference

Interview: B:TBATB's James Tucker
Posted by: Jett @ 8:36 AM PACIFIC on 7/26/09

As you all know by now, BOF's Sean Gerber attended the panel and presser for BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Below is his interview with James Tucker, the show's producer and self-proclaimed Batman nerd:

BATMAN ON FILM/SEAN GERBER: You’re obviously one of the long-time Batman fans on this show.

JAMES TUCKER: “Yeah, I keep it honest.”

BOF/SG: How did you discover Batman?

JT: “For me, I was young so I don’t remember if it was the 60s show I saw first or the Filmmation cartoon; it was one or the other. I don’t know if it’s because at the time I had a black and white TV, but I took the Adam West Batman deadly serious. It wasn’t jokey, I didn’t catch any of the humor, and it went way over my head. I was just enthralled with the whole world of Batman. I think that’s a testimony to the greatness of the character is that you can interpret him in a lot of different ways, if you have the basic things in place. People catch onto him like crazy. He’s the most accessible character because he’s got all these iconic things about him like his origin. Even if you don’t know his origin, there’s things about him everyone knows. He’s a great character and so it was probably Adam West and the 60s version of the character that I was exposed to.

BOF/SG: Are you at all surprised by how older fans have taken to the series even with the “darker” Batman being as popular as it is right now?

JT: “I’m not surprised because I love that Batman too. I love the 50s Batman, but I also love the Neil Adams/Denny O’Neil 70s Batman. To me, they are all the same guy. I never made a distinction between them and Batman works on different levels. You can pick and choose which one you like, but you can’t say, like some people try to say, that there’s only one way you can do Batman. There’s lots of ways to do Batman. The fact that he’s been around for so long, I mean, if Batman had remained dark, he would not have survived the 50s. He would not have lasted through the 60s. It’s a testimony to his character, how strong and adaptable he is. I’m really grateful that the fans understood that I too was a fan and would never do anything to denigrate Batman, that I know Batman’s history, and that I know there’s more to him than just 1939 jump ahead to 1989. There’s a whole lot of Batman in between those two dates.”

“Another thing I’d like to address is that for a long time Batman fans were told not to like Adam West and to vilify that show. I think if you really know the history of Batman, [you’d] know that a lot of those episodes were adaptations of Silver Age stories. The concept of Mr. Freeze that we know now as legitimate started in the BATMAN TV show. They adapted a lot; I mean the Mad Hatter episodes were adapted from comic books, so you can’t say that show did not understand the source material. They were making a show of [those] times and I think it’s a brilliant show. I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoyed it, I still enjoy it, and in the show I made, I wanted to embrace stuff from that show as well as stuff from all the other Batman [incarnations]. The old movie serials, the 50s comic books, the 60s comic books, the 1989 BATMAN, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. I have a whole wealth of Batman to pick and choose from and I’m a huge fan.”

BOF/SG: I think fans were skeptical and wondered if the character would be made fun of on B:TBATB.

JT: “Yeah, a lot of fans were skeptical. No one wants to go through every article that talks about comics beginning with ‘BIFF,’ ‘BAM,’ ‘ZAP!’ The thing is that the Adam West show was so iconic and so amazingly brilliant that it set the standard for what average people think of comic books. We Batman fans knew that Batman was so much more that. He got locked into that [standard] for a long time, which isn’t necessarily the fault of the show and more the fault of short-sighted reporters, I think, and executives who thought that was the only way to do superheroes. It wasn’t the fault of the show itself, but the way people reacted to it and ran with it. For me, it’s all one thing. That Batman stands right next to Michael Keaton’s Batman and Denny O’Neil’s Batman and Carmine Infantino’s Batman. It’s all the same to me.”

BOF/SG: There have been so many references to Batman’s rich history on the show, which has helped win over a lot of fans. Are there any specific references that fans should keep an eye out for next season?

JT: “We’re doing a couple of adaptations of some Golden Age and Silver Age stories with Batman tracking down his parents’ murderer. Not just Joe Chill, but there was another guy involved who a lot of people nowadays don’t know about. We’re also doing another famous story where Batman meets another Batman on Planet X. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh will appear on B:TBATB.”

BOF/SG: But it won’t be the Grant Morrison version, right?

JT: “No, this is the real one, not a hallucination or whatever the hell that was, no offense to Grant. We’re not doing comics; we’re doing television so we can be as fantastical as we want. We don’t have the comic book fandom saying, ‘You can’t do that.’ That was, I guess, a hallucination in the comics, but in our show it really happened. [Batman] actually meets another Batman and nobody questions it. That’s the great thing about the show. As long as Batman is grounded and straight, you can put him in any situation. It’s like having all the James Bonds who ever existed in one character. You get a little Sean Connery, but you get a little Roger Moore too and a little Daniel Craig kickin’ butt.”

BOF/SG: I know it’s been one of the rules on the show, but are there any plans to bring Bruce Wayne to the forefront?

JT: “Hmmm… How do I comment on that? Yes and no. That’s the answer. *laughs*”

BOF/SG: As a huge Batman fan, what were your thoughts on THE DARK KNIGHT?

JT: “It wasn’t exactly my favorite version of Batman, but it touched on a lot of things that were iconic to him. I personally like Batman being a winner and to me, he wasn’t a winner in that movie in a lot of ways. But I thought it was trailblazing in a lot of ways. It was visually stunning and it allowed me to do this show because if it didn’t exist, this show wouldn’t exist. Because it was so dark, it allowed us to go in the opposite direction and embrace some of the lighter aspects of Batman, so for that, I’m eternally grateful to everyone who had anything to do with THE DARK KNIGHT.”

Nice! That just about does it for our Comic Con coverage of BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Man, I love that show! Anyway, stay tuned for our final CCISD reports in which we'll discuss the new "ARKHAM ASYLUM" video game, IRON MAN 2, Michael Uslan's Joker panel, and the director's cut of WATCHMEN.

- Sean Gerber

Random CCISD Pics II!
Posted by: Jett @ 6:49 PM PACIFIC on 7/25/09


Me and "Friend of BOF" Lee Bermejo

Me and my good friend F.J. DeSanto at the WIRED.COM party


Oh the high jinks and tomfoolery that was had by all!

B:TBATB's Batman (Diedrich Bader) Speaks!
Posted by: Jett @ 6:12 PM Pacific on 7/25/09

BOF's Sean Gerber had a better gig than I did at CCISD, no doubt. He got to cover WAY more Batman stuff than I did! Below is his interview with Batman himself -- the B:TBATB version that is -- Diedrich Bader:

BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM/Sean Gerber: So you guys just killed in there with “Mayhem of the Music Meister!“ What was it like recording that episode?

Diedrich Bader: “That was the first time that I had seen it and that was a very good episode for me. Usually, we record it as a radio play where everybody sits in a semi-circle and all of the actors are together and know what the tone of the show is going to be. One of the things that I’ve really focused on is being there as much as I possibly can. I’ve given up a little bit of on-camera work so that I could be Batman and be there when they record because the tone of the show is so different from any other incarnation of Batman. Batman really has to be there for you to get it, but that said, this episode was like a movie in that you go in, do your gig, and then leave. I don’t know if you noticed, but Batman said very little in this episode, so I just did like ten lines. I came in, I was by myself, and then I left. I went to see the orchestra [record] a little bit, but I didn’t see the whole thing. To see it all cut together was amazing. It was mind-blowing. I was really happy with the animation, the jokes were hilarious, and when they’re on the telephone wires and [ride] the musical notes, it was just really good.”

BOF/SG: It seemed like everyone in there was getting what you guys were going for.

DB: “Oh my God! It was a huge response! I was really delighted with the response and the standing ovation. It’s exciting to be a part of something like that. I thought it sounded great too.”

BOF/SG: It did, and Neil Patrick Harris [as the Music Meister] was excellent.

DB: “He’s such a great singer, but I thought Grey [DeLisle] did a great job too and James Earl Taylor; I had no idea he could actually sing that well.”

BOF/SG: Are you having as much fun playing Batman as we’re all having watching him?

DB: “Thank you. Yeah, it’s my favorite role without a doubt. For my son, it’s really exciting on the playground because what else does he have to say? Come on, what have you got? My dad’s Batman.”

BOF/SG: You were actually addressed as Batman during the panel. Does that happen often?

DB: “Yeah and it’s funny. I never think that people will recognize me as a voice over because I’m not on camera, but real fans know. It’s really exciting to be a part of it.”

BOF/SG: I was asking Mike [Jelenic] about this a few minutes ago, with the popularity of THE DARK KNIGHT and the darker Batman interpretations, has it surprised you how adults have embraced this show?

DB: “At first, we were really swimming upstream as far as the concept was concerned. Our reception last year was not the most positive. I think a lot of people were tentative about that view because they really see Batman as [he is in] THE DARK KNIGHT and this is really the other side of the coin. As we said in the Bat-Mite episode, there are really different incarnations of Batman and they’re still true to the character. That’s the thing, we never betray the character. I really believe that and that’s one of the fun parts of the show.”

BOF/SG: As Batman, you’ve had some pretty awesome one-liners on the show. My personal favorite is “The hammer of justice is unisex!” Do you have a favorite?

DB: “*laughs* That was a great one! That’s a good question. I so truly love the character that it’s hard to think of one more than any other, but I think there’s one where Aquaman is feeling really depressed and we go to another dimension and he basically says that there’s no point in being a hero and Batman says ‘He’s not feeling very well.’ For some reason, it really cracked me up that he was making excuses for Aquaman. I know that’s a strange one, but it stuck out.”

BOF/SG: How did you first discover the Batman character?

DB: “When I moved back to the States, BATMAN, GET SMART, and STAR TREK were the TV shows that I watched the most. I used to love [the 60s] BATMAN. I watched it every day when I came home from school. I think Adam West was fantastic as Batman. I know a lot of people say it’s too campy and blah, blah, blah, but I really loved it. I loved the original movie with the whole rogues gallery and I thought Julie Newmar was SO hot as Catwoman. It’s just really cool that we brought her on the show.”

BOF/SG: And now she’s your mom.

DB: “Yeah, now she’s my mom, which is kind of Oedipal and cool. *laughs*”

BOF/SG: So is there anything you’re hoping to see Batman go through in the next season?

DB: “Well, I’ll tell you because I know I’m talking to a real Batman fan. There’s an episode coming up and I don’t know how much I’m allowed to talk about, but I alluded to it on the stage -- closure for Batman. We kind of combined two comic books that real fans will be able to figure out once they’ve actually seen the episode. As I said in the panel, it was an extremely emotional episode for me and it’s strange playing a character for so long because you really do start to identify with the character. Initially, you do all the work to try to make it as real as possible. The longer you play it, the closer it gets to you and that episode was amazing to do. It was really incredible for me to realize how close I had become to Bruce Wayne, which is really strange.”

- Sean Gerber

Again, well done Sean! I L-O-V-E THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD -- never thought I would!

Random CCISD Pics I
Posted by: Jett @ 1:39 PM Pacific on 7/25/09

A few pics I snapped walking the floor -- more nerdness photos coming soon...

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD: Interview w/Michael Jelenic
Posted by: Jett @ 11:46 AM Pacific on 7/25/09

Below is Sean's interview with Michael Jelenic -- the producer, writer, and story editor for BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Enjoy!

BOF/Sean Gerber: Are you surprised at all by the way even fans of the “darker” Batman have actually taken to this series?

Michael Jelenic: “You know, I think it’s all about how you do something. It’s execution. If you do something well, people are going to like it. I think we sorta do what we’re trying to do well. It’s not campy for campy’s sake. I think people are worried about a lighter Batman because they’ve seen a lighter Batman that hasn’t worked. The good thing about our show is that we’ve got a hundred guys on the show who all love Batman and they love the gritty Batman. They love THE DARK KNIGHT but they also know enough about the history that you can tweak the character a little bit. And quite frankly, James [Tucker] and I have worked on other Batman shows before that were darker and we didn’t want to necessarily repeat ourselves with this. “

BOF/SG: The show definitely has its own identity.

MJ: “Yeah, it’s a FUN show! One of the things on the writing side just to make my job easier is that there’s no concrete rules. I’ve been on shows where you’re writing a script and you have a deadline and you have one way to solve some sort of issue, but that wouldn’t work in our universe and I didn’t want that for this show. Anything can happen. The fun of the show is taking the absurdness seriously. There’s no sort of blueprint that any of us are following from show to show.”

BOF/SG: You debuted “Mayhem of the Music Meister” today at the panel…

MJ: “Did you like it?”

BOF/SG: I absolutely loved it! How did that episode come about?

MJ: “James and I had been talking about doing a musical for a couple years. Because of the tone of B:TBATB, I mean, if this was THE BATMAN or BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, it just wouldn’t mix, but on B:TBATB it works. We decided that we weren’t gonna have this opportunity again. There’s a lot of people who had to approve and we were just waiting for someone to say ‘No.’ Nobody said ‘No’ and we just sorta ran with it and it’s been a lot of work, but it paid off.”

BOF/SG: One of the things that’s helped you guys win over older and “more serious” fans is all of the references to different spots in Batman history like B:TAS or the GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT graphic novel. Was that something that you had always wanted to do in the show?

MJ: “James, the producer, is the Batman expert. He’s the superhero/DC expert and he knows everything. He wanted this to be a show that he wanted to see when he was a kid. If he could get a story out of it, he wanted to see it [on the show] and put in every reference he remembers. We have a whole crew of people who love the Batman character and have so much knowledge, so a storyboard guy might throw in a little easter egg that’s not in the script or a director might do the same. When you watch the Bat-Mite episode, there is so much knowledge of the character and animation that you see. The Bat-Mite episode is so popular because, if you know your Batman, it’s a lot of fun to spot all of the references. I think the references do help us.”

BOF/SG: One of the characters, or side of a character, we haven’t seen much of yet is Bruce Wayne. Are there any plans to bring him out of the shadows next season?

MJ: “One of the rules that we had is ‘No Bruce Wayne’ and I will say that you saw the Julie Newmar bit and that may be an episode where may, or may not, see Bruce Wayne. I don’t know… I won’t give it away!”

- Sean Gerber

Nice interview Sean! Also, Sean says that the B:TBATB folks love BOF and you BOF's, FYI.

Posted by: Jett @ 12:10 PM PACIFIC on 7/25/09

The overwhelming success of Thursday night’s World Premiere of GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT at Comic-Con International –- which drew a SRO crowd of 4,200+ fans, yet turned away 1,500 more – has led Warner Home Entertainment Group to add an encore presentation of the film at CCI on Sunday, July 26 at 2:15 PM.

Sunday’s encore presentation will be held in Room 6BCF. CCI credentials/passes are required to gain admittance to the Convention Center and, thus, the screening.

Damn! I missed the first screening Thursday due to traveling issues and I'll miss this one as well for the same reason. *sigh*

THE BRAVE & THE BOLD Panel Highlights
Posted by: Jett @ 12:00 PM PACIFIC on 7/25/09

Sean Gerber covered the panel for BATMAN: THE BRAVE & THE BOLD and here's the highlights:

The cast and crew were kind enough to premiere a brand new episode, "Mayhem of the Music Meister." This is the rumored "musical episode" featuring a guest spot by Neil Patrick Harris and it was AWESOME! It got a standing ovation from the live crowd in attendance. I’ll have a full review of this episode later.

When pressed by fans about when, if ever, we’ll see Superman on the show, producers admitted to having “thoughts” about including Superman and Wonder Woman, but nothing set in stone at this point.

When addressed as "Batman" by a young fan and asked what his favorite Bat gadget was, Diedrich Bader (in his Batman voice, of course) went with the Batarang.

Bader’s favorite episode so far has been "Deep Cover for Owlman."

The funniest part of the panel was John DiMaggio, who voices Aquaman and Gorilla Grodd on the show, citing his favorite moment on the show as what he called his “300 speech” that he delivered, in whale, during an episode. Mr. DiMaggio was kind enough to speak a little whale for all of us.

The surprise announcement from the panel was that Julie Newmar will be lending her voice to a future episode entitled "Chill of the Night" and will be playing none other than Martha Wayne!

That’s it from the panel, but I was also lucky enough to snag interviews with Diedrich Bader and producers Michael Jelenic and James Tucker, which will be up on BOF soon enough. - Sean Gerber

Check back later for more B:TBATB goodness from Sean!

Warner Bros. Presentation
Posted by: Jett @ 11:46 AM PACIFIC on 7/25/09

I covered WB's presser at Comic Con yesterday afternoon, and you can check out my report HERE.

Posted by: Jett @ 5:21 PM PACIFIC on July 24, 2009


A complete rundown on JONAH HEX is coming soon.

DC's Batman Panel
Posted by: Jett @ 4:07 PM PACIFIC on July 24, 2009

Chris Clow attended DC's Batman panel. Here's his report...

When FINAL CRISIS #6 came out late last year, it signified a shift in the direction of the Batman books. Batman -- as far as anyone in the DC Universe knows -- is dead. A battle for the right to wear his colors ensued, and Dick Grayson -- the original Robin -- came out on top. Now, Dick Grayson leads the charge as the new Dark Knight in the absence of Bruce Wayne. With a new Robin, an old Robin convinced that his mentor is alive, new villains, and new main characters, it’s hard to argue that whether you like the direction or not, it is definitely interesting.

Friday afternoon, DC held it’s Batman panel at San Diego Comic-Con. MC’ed by Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, the panel which consisted of -- BATMAN group editor Michael Marts, current BATMAN AND ROBIN artist Philip Tan, STREETS OF GOTHAM/GOTHAM CITY SIRENS scribe Paul Dini, STREETS OF GOTHAM artist Dustin Nguyen, SOG inker Derek Fridolfs, BATGIRL writer Bryan Q. Miller, DETECTIVE COMICS writer Greg Rucka, QUESTION writer Marc Andreyko, AZRAEL writer Fabian Nicieza, and RED ROBIN writer Chris Yost -- the panel represented the majority of Batman’s current brain trust. Noticeably absent was BATMAN AND ROBIN writer Grant Morrison, who did not attend SDCC this year.

Sattler discussed the status quo in the books right now, and introduced everyone. Philip Tan discussed his B&R issues (#s 4-6) and Tan described Grant Morrison’s scripts as “crazy,” and said that he was pretty much done with issue #4. He said he hopes it delivers something different, but something consistent with Morrison and Quitely’s standards on the first few issues. He said that there are two new characters, a new Red Hood, and a character named Scarlet.

Paul Dini discussed SOG and GCS by talking about how Hush’s return could bring about looting everything that Bruce Wayne owns and how he will be in a confrontation with the GCS cast. In a bit of newer news, he says that the Joker will catch wind of Harley stepping out on him. In SOG, Mr. Zsasz will be a main player and will seek a new agenda that Dini described as “frightening.” Sattler highlighted the greatness of Nguyen’s artwork on SOG and DETECTIVE.

Bryan Q. Miller divulged that Bette Kane is NOT the new Batgirl, and that there “would be waffles” in the first issue. The panel called out to see who they thought the new Batgirl was, nobody seemed to think it was Cassandra Cain, a few hands went up for Stephanie Brown, only one for Barbara Gordon, and fans shouted other names like Squire, Harley Quinn, and even “waffles.”

Sattler said that the new BATGIRL ties into much of the Bat universe and will feature characters that people should be “pleased about.”

Rucka spoke about DETECTIVE, and said that the artwork of J.H. Williams III continues to get better looking as each issue comes along. Rucka went on to say he believes Williams is changing the form of comics itself, and that the style change ups he throws in is a wonderful part of what he describes as, a “hand and glove, perfect” collaboration. Rucka described that the Question co-feature will be moved to 10 pages in a few months time.

Chris Yost discussed RED ROBIN, and said that Tim Drake has had a rough couple of years, and that the book examines where Tim is and how he’s dealing with the shock and trauma that he’s endured. He says that issue #3 lays out how bad his life is, and that it’s even worse than we think. Tim is on a “crazy, delusional” quest to find Bruce Wayne, and he says that some “great and surprising things are going to happen.” Sattler discussed Tony Daniel is coming onto BATMAN for a series of issues, and wants to make the Bat books a cohesive universe with long lasting changes to Gotham City. It was then turned over to questions.

Fans then asked questions and received a bunch of non-answer answers.

And with that, the Batman panel ended. Sattler and Marts, along with Rucka and the other fans, gave the entire thing a very fun, upbeat vibe. If you ever have a chance to attend a DC panel with Sattler as the emcee, I encourage you to give it a shot. You’ll have a blast. - Chris Clow

KICK-ASS: The Movie Panel
Posted by: Jett @ 7:00 AM PACIFIC on 7/23/09

BOF's Chris Clow attended the KICK-ASS panel yesterday afternoon. >>> CLICK HERE FOR THE REPORT.

On To San Diego!
Posted by: Jett @ 6:12 AM CENTRAL on 7/23/09

OK, I'm about to board the plane and head west out to San Diego for Comic Con. BOF's Chris Clow is already there and will be covering the KICK-ASS stuff there later today. Also, I *think* Chris is attending the GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT screening tonight. If so, we'll have a short review of the film that's actually being released on DVD and Blu-ray next week.

BOF's coverage will be as "Batman-Heavy" as possible. We'll have reports on BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, the video game ARKHAM ASYLUM, DC's Batman in comics panel, and Michael Uslan's panel on The Joker.

We'll also have rundowns on various other things (like SHERLOCK HOLMES, JONAH HEX, IRON MAN 2, etc.) that tickle our fancy, so stay tuned. Hope to meet many of you BOF'ers out there, so if you see me, come say hello. I should be easy to spot -- I'll be that guy wearing the Batman shirt. - Jett

Michael Uslan's Schedule @ SDCC '09
Monday, July 13, 2009
Posted by Jett @ 12:51 PM CENTRAL

Michael Uslan -- The "Godfather" of the modern comic book movie -- will be at SDCC next week and participating in three panels. Here's the schedue via Michael's office:

Thurs July 23/11:30-12:30 (Rm. 4)
ARCHIE ANDREWS MARRIES VERONICA LODGE PANEL It's the wedding of the century, but that is just the start, with plenty of surprise announcements about the future of Archie Comics, including the latest news about Archie on television and in feature films! The creators and staff of Archie Comics are coming to San Diego to talk to the fans directly about all the excitement. Panelists include legendary BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT executive producer and Archie writer, Michael Uslan, NEW Archie Comics CEO, Jon Goldwater, iVerse CEO, Michael Murphy, IDW Publishing COO, Greg Goldstein, Archie Comics President/Director of Circulation, Fred Mausser, and Archie Comics Vice President/Managing Editor, Mike Pellerito. The panel will be moderated by Archie's Public Relations Coordinator Rik Offenberger and will feature a question and answer session with the fans. An Archie Marries Veronica poster will be given to everyone attending the panel.

Fri July 24/6:00pm
Michael Uslan: Godfather of the modern comic book film Michael Uslan (Batman, Constantine, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) celebrates the 20th anniversary of his landmark movie Batman (1989) by recounting what it took to make it happen, and how the industry has changed since then, advising newcomers how to make their comic book movie dreams come true. Q & A and surprise announcements will cap off the hour. Moderated by Tony Panaccio.

Sat July 25/10:30am-12:00pm (Rm. 30AB)
Panel includes Michael Uslan, Jerry Robinson, and Steve Engelhart.

If you haven't read my latest interview with Michael Uslan for the 20th Anniversary of BATMAN '89, you can RIGHT HERE.

BATMAN ON FILM, © 1998-present William E. Ramey. All rights reserved.