NYCC 2015 Friday Panels – Our Picks!...

Written by David Henehan. Welcome to Day 2 of NYCC. You made it through Thursday, the day of NYCC that is least packed, in terms of both attendance and what creators are there, but now it’s Friday! More people at the Javits Center! More panels! That said, there seem to be less MUST ATTEND panels than Thursday. BUT the good Friday panels are AWESOME Friday panels, which is going to make for some hard choices when it comes to time conflicts. DC Comics – The Dark Knight 30th Anniversary – 11:00-12:00 Main Stage 1-D Wow, talk about a star-studded panel. Jim Lee, Klaus Jansen, Andy Kubert, Brian Azzarello and surprise guests. Could the surprise guests possibly be Scott Snyder and Frank Miller?! What do you think? (Wristband required) Dark Horse: CLASSIFIED – 11:00-12:00 1A21 Dark Horse lost the Star Wars license at the end of 2014. What would have been a mortal blow to another company inspired this company to really go all out in producing new quality product. Dark Horse has long been a home of great independent work and licensed comics. With the loss of their biggest license, they doubled down on the creator owned titles, giving us such gems as Brian Wood’s Rebels. Wood will be at this panel, as will Matt Kindt, Mike Richardson and more. Come here to see what Dark Horse has planned for 2016. Dan Parent Drawing Workshop – 11:00-12:00 Family HQ 1C01 Here’s a fun one to bring the kids. Dan Parent of Archie Comics will be hosting a drawing workshop. Learn how to draw your Archie faves. YogaQuest: Narrated Yogic Adventures – 1:15-2:15 Family HQ 1C04 “A mix of yoga and fan-fiction storytelling.” Okay, you’ve piqued my interest. Hmm, maybe this is the day I’ll...

Andrea Romano Talks Justice League: War Nov19

Andrea Romano Talks Justice League: War...

Justice League: War is the next release in Warner Bros Home Video’s line of direct-to-DVD animated movies featuring DC superheroes. The official release date is February 4, 2014. I expect that Best Buy will once again have an exclusive version of the DVD that comes packaged with a mini-action figure. There has been no word yet as to what that figure will be. My guess is on Cyborg, since his origin story makes up a large portion of Justice League: War. If not him, then Darkseid, the main villain of Justice League: War. At New York Comic Con this year, I had the chance to sit down with casting director Andrea Romano about Justice League: War. Andrea and DC animated projects go back. She’s the woman who originally cast Kevin Conroy as Batman in Batman: The Animated Series. Since then, she’s cast Batman enough times to lose count as to what the actual number is. “I’m looking for someone to tell me how many times I cast Batman. I think it’s somewhere around 17.” said Romano. Justice League: War is the first of DC’s animated movies set in the New 52 universe. For those unfamiliar with the New 52, in 2011, DC rebooted their entire line of comic books, calling the new universe and continuity the New 52, which was the number of titles DC put out that month. Origins and costumes have been modified and modernized. When asked if she approached casting for Justice League: War differently than how she cast prior movies, Andrea said “(It was) pretty much the same process. We all looked for the best possible voices.” I asked Andrea if there was a mandate from on high this time about not repeating voices. Andrea said there was, but that...

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 – Review Jan31

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 – Review...

After months of waiting, it’s finally here, the conclusion to the animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s epic, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.  Like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, the folks at DC’s animated division have once again created a movie worthy of the source material. When I first heard that DC was dividing The Dark Knight Returns into two movies, the cynic in me saw this as a cash grab. But now that I’ve seen both movies, I’m glad the decision was made to divide the story into two movies. Nothing feels rushed, nothing feels left out. Michael Emerson did a great job voicing the Joker. His Joker is not Mark Hamill’s Joker, but it is terrific in its own way. While I love Batman: The Animated Series, and hear Mark Hamill’s Joker and Kevin Conroy’s Batman when I read those characters, I like that Andrea Romano was tasked with finding all-new voice talent for the two Dark Knight Returns movies. The climatic fight scene between Superman and Batman was awesome, as was the scene where Superman is hit by the nuclear bomb. Both scenes were like seeing what my mind’s eye sees in the gutters of the comic brought to life. The producers did an amazing job with both. My only complaints about the movie are minor. The lighting seemed too bright for some of the street level action. I would have expected more shadows and murkier colors. The comic is full of a lot of blacks and  grays, but the animated movie has a more colorful overall palette. There were two character designs that stood out for me that seemed very off from their comic book counterparts. In The Dark Knight Returns comic, Bruno, the Joker’s swastika-adorned, Neo-Nazi goon always...

Batman: Year One – Review Jan24

Batman: Year One – Review...

5/5 – Perfect adaption of THE Batman origin story. Batman: Year One might be my favorite comic book story ever published. Like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, it’s a story that I’ve come back to year after year and it’s never felt old. When I heard that DC was planning an animated adaptation of Year One, I was a bit worried. Would they change the story? Would they stay true to Mazzucchelli’s line work or attempt update the art style? My worries proved to be unfounded. Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano have once again put together the pieces to make a great animated movie. Batman: Year One should be considered a must-see for any Batman fan. I would also say that Batman: Year One, the comic this movie was based on, is mandatory reading for any Batman fan. After hearing Bruce and Andrea talk at New York Comic Con, and seeing the quality of Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, I’m very excited for everything coming down the DC Animated pipeline. This movie shows Batman at his most fallible. He’s inexperienced and unsure of himself. He doesn’t have the super computer, all the fancy gadgets (though he does have some), the fancy car or the network of crime fighting colleagues to call upon. It’s cool to see Batman make mistakes, like when he attempts to foil a home burglary. And I was very happy to see that the coolest scene from Year One, which was also used in Batman Begins, was kept in the animated movie, namely Batman calling the cloud of bats to come to his aid when fleeing the Gotham PD. Batman: Year One is much Jim Gordon’s story as it is Bruce Wayne’s. This isn’t only Batman’s first year...

Justice League: Doom – Review Jan15

Justice League: Doom – Review...

5/5 Great adaptation of a great story Like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, Green Lantern: First Flight and Batman: Under the Red Hood, Justice League: Doom is part of DC Comics/Warner Bros direct-to-DVD line of releases. It is based on a story from the JLA comic book called Tower of Babel. Why the name chance? In the original JLA story, Ra’s Al Ghul builds a tower that will render all forms of communication on Earth useless. This titular plot point is dropped from the animated movie (as is Ra’s Al Ghul as the story’s villain), necessitating a title change. Not to mention that Doom sounds much more menacing. In the animated movie, the immortal villain Vandal Savage gathers an Injustice League made up of villains of each member of the Justice League. It’s a 1-for-1 match. If Vandal Savage wanted a higher chance of success, I’m surprised he didn’t stack the odds in his favor by hiring three villains for each hero, seeing as he seems to have an abundance of resources. Hubris is clearly Savage’s kryptonite. Clothing is Star Sapphire’s kryptonite. If you were a fan of the Justice League cartoon from a few years ago, you will like the voice cast on this movie. Kevin Conroy is Batman. Tim Daly is Superman. Carl Lumbly is the Martian Manhunter (and also pulls double duty as the villainous martian Malefic). Michael Rosenbaum is the Flash, though here he’s playing Barry Allen instead of Wally West. Susan Eisenberg plays Wonder Woman. A big addition to the cast is Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern. Fillion played Green Lantern in Green Lantern: First Flight, so it was nice to see him reprise the role here. If I were to nitpick any part of the film, it would be Mirror...

Andrea Romano Interview at NYCC 2012 Nov13

Andrea Romano Interview at NYCC 2012...

I was able to sit down with both Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano at New York Comic Con this year to talk about Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2 and Batman: The Animated Series. You can read my Bruce Timm interview here. Andrea Romano has been casting Batman for the past 20 years. “Somebody told me that I’ve cast Batman 13 or 14 times over the various different projects,” said Romano. She is one of the people responsible for the incredibly good casting of  Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman for Batman: The Animated Series. When Kevin Conroy came in for this audition int he early 90s, Andrea had already listened to 500 auditions for the role of Batman, and had auditioned 150 people in person herself. After Kevin’s audition,  Bruce Timm and Andrea looked at each other and said “We have found Batman.” In the two decades since Kevin Conroy began being the voice of Batman, people have come up to Andrea and told her that “For my entire life, I’ve heard Kevin Conroy as Batman.” Andrea knows the feeling. According to Andrea, “When I prep a script, regardless of what incarnation of Batman it is, when I’m preparing for recording, I hear Kevin’s voice. Even though it may be somebody else I’ve cast to play Batman, I hear Kevin’s voice. That sets the bar.” Andrea described the casting of Batman as “incredibly hard.” But the benefit, according to her, is that “it’s a character you don’t have to pitch. You don’t have to go, “There’s a guy named Bruce Wayne, and he’s got this problem because his parents were murdered.” Everyone knows who he is.” She also pointed out that these actors may never get the chance to...