Lego Batman Gets His Own TV Special

After a breakout performance in The Lego Movie (and his own earlier film), Lego Batman is getting his own TV special.

Lego DC Comics: Batman: Be-Leaguered

Lego DC Comics: Batman: Be-Leaguered will air on Cartoon Network on Monday, October 27 at 6 PM Eastern/5 PM Central.

Based on this clip, Batman is his usual solo grumpy self, even when Superman wants him to join the Justice League.

It’s being promoted as “a funny, lighthearted tale new to the DC Comics universe”, which we can certainly use more of. Here’s the full description:

Batman prides himself on being a loner, a totally self-sufficient one-man band. He is understandably irritated when his nightly cleanup of Gotham City villains is interrupted by Superman, who pesters Batman to join his new Super Hero team, the Justice League. After Batman makes it quite clear to the Man of Steel that his invitation has been declined, Superman flies off disappointed… whereupon he is overcome with a STRANGE ENERGY and VANISHES!

With Earth’s mightiest super-being missing, it’s time for the World’s Greatest Detective to spring into action. With no time to lose and the entire planet to search, Batman enlists the aid of the fastest man alive, The Flash. Together their high-speed search leads them to the villainous Captain Cold, who is stealing an ancient artifact in Egypt. After the Flash has likewise vanished at the end of their battle with evil, Batman teams up with Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg to fight famous costumed super-villains before vanishing one-by-one at the hand of a mysterious enemy. It now falls to the Dark Knight, who alone must free the newly- formed Justice League from a powerful foe. But can Batman learn the value of being a team player before the Justice League is lost forever?

I’ll be watching!

Young Justice: Invasion on Blu-ray Available for Pre-Order

The second season of Young Justice will be available on Blu-ray via the Warner Archive on November 18. You can pre-order the collection of 20 episodes now at that link.

Young Justice: Invasion

Unlike most Warner Archive releases, this one will also have new bonus features. The series finale episodes “Summit” and “Endgame” will feature a commentary by creators Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti and voice actors Jason Spisak (Kid Flash) and Stephanie Lemelin (Artemis). There’s also a “Behind the Scenes” featurette.

Young Justice: Invasion, the second season, jumps five years into the future. Robin has become Nightwing, and new team members include Wonder Girl, Blue Beetle, Batgirl, Bumblebee, and Beast Boy. As the copy has it, “an alien presence has infiltrated Earth, while certain members of the Justice League are forced to stand trial at the criminal hearing off-world. Watch as The Reach, spearheaded by the quick-talking Ambassador and backed by the muscle of Black Beetle, manipulates a trusting public while maintaining its shadowy maneuvering with The Light.” Here’s a clip:

DC All Access Lists Upcoming Warner Superhero Films

DC All Access ran down an announcement of all the upcoming Warner/DC superhero movies in this segment:

Or if you’d rather jump right to the news, here’s a screen shot of the final run-down:

DC Warner upcoming movie list

That’s two superhero movies a year for five years, starting in 2016, plus unscheduled solo Batman and Superman movies. Warner Brothers is clearly stepping up its competition with Marvel significantly; let’s hope they can also capture the cross-generational appeal of those films by combining action, characterization, and humor.

Eternals: A Marvel Knights Animation Motion Comic

I was surprised when Eternals arrived, since I didn’t remember a comic by Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. about a race of super-powered Jack Kirby creations hiding as humans recapturing their memories and powers. (Turns out it was a limited series that ran from 2006-2007.)

This Marvel Knights Animation production consists of ten episodes, each ranging from 10 to 13 minutes. There’s minimal animation — figures moved against a background, lips and eyes opening and closing — an approach I found appropriate. As expected, there’s a lot of conversation. In a Gaiman comic, you want to keep a lot of the text, right? The discussions also establish the characters, helpful for the unfamiliar viewer (which I suspect most will be).

The story opens with the identification figure of Mark Curry, an intern studying to be a doctor. A mysterious being shows up and tells him there’s more to his life that he doesn’t remember. He spins a story of the Celestials, giant beings who caused humanity to advance and created the super-powered Eternals. They also created the Deviants, a race of monsters.

My favorite exchange takes place during this introduction, when the demigod asks, “What would you say if I told you that you were an immortal, indestructible being put here by aliens to preserve and safeguard the earth?” Mark responds, “I guess I’d say, ‘please leave me alone.'”

Iron Man appears in one of the several story threads. Beyond Mark’s tale, there’s a woman named Circe (uh oh) wanting to be a party planner; a woman from Tony Stark’s company building a weapon; a kid celebrity named Sprite; a reality show featuring young people with powers; and the demand to register superheroes with the government. Not much is done with the TV show piece, so I’m not sure why it’s there, and I’m guessing the registration part dates this to a loose tie-in with the Civil War crossover event.

I was disappointed by the look of the female warrior. I found, in this tale of normal people with lives changed by exceptional beings, the design of the usual busty superhero woman out of place. That’s a rare feeling for me, since I’ve read so many superhero comics I can usually overlook it. I suspect it was the contrast with the deeper characterization than is usual in this kind of story.

That kept me interested, until all this mythology became a relatively standard “bad guys vs people who have to step up to their chance to be heroes” story. Since I wasn’t previously familiar with the comic, I got invested in the twists and turns of the cast, although by the end, this turned into gaudily costumed mostly men arguing with each other. Still, one of the better Marvel motion comic offerings, I thought, and watchable for those looking for cosmic superhero stories.

There’s a 10-minute extra called “Looking Back With John Romita Jr.”, where he talks about the Kirby influence. There are a good number of clips from the episodes we’ve presumably just seen included, which makes it feel a bit light in new content. The sticker on the front of the package promotes

Best-Selling Author Neil Gaiman And Superstar Artist John Romita Jr. Team Up For The Extraordinary Tale of Eternals And A Brand-New Retrospective!

That suggests that Gaiman also participates in the new content, which isn’t true, so beware the false advertising if you’re a fan. Here’s the trailer for the release.

(The studio provided a review copy.)

View Monsters University Cartoon “Party Central” by Joining Disney Movies Anywhere

The new Monsters University cartoon “Party Central” was originally supposed to run with The Good Dinosaur, a Pixar movie moved to November 2015. The MU short ran instead with Muppets Most Wanted. (Strangely, the short got a PG rating, when the two Monsters movies are G.)

Now, to drive more signups for its Disney Movies Anywhere service, Disney has made the full short available to those who download their iPad/iPhone app. Here’s a trailer:

My favorite gag: the code names “Beachball” and “Throw Rug”.

DC All Access Holding Popularity Contest for New Co-Host

DC All Access, the weekly promo show on YouTube, is looking for a new co-host.

To enter, you need to make a video and then get tons of retweets. Those with the most before November 11 will be considered. (DC Entertainment and Telepictures will make the final decision.) I’m curious to see who’s selected… and where they live, since picking someone in NYC or LA will be a lot easier in setting up coverage.

Action Lab Republishing Katie Cook’s Gronk

Beginning in 2011, Katie Cook has released a collection of her adorable Gronk webcomic every year. This year, instead of putting out book four, she’s announced that she will be publishing through Action Lab Entertainment. They will begin by reprinting the first three books before releasing a new fourth volume.

Gronk from Action Lab

This gets Cook into the comic direct market store system without any additional work on her part, I’m assuming, so that’s a good thing, particularly for stores looking for more cute all-ages comics and/or those who want something else to sell from the writer of the popular My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic comics from IDW. Action Lab has several all-ages titles, including the recent Hero Cats and the popular Princeless, but they also promote heavily such adults-only books as the tacky Zombie Tramp. (Methinks it’s beyond time for them to clarify their imprints.)

Gronk is a young monster who winds up living with a human woman, her pet cat, and a very large Newfoundland dog. The weekly strips generally revolve around quiet observations of how silly behavior can be, with Gronk sometimes acting as a child would and inadvertently destroying parts of the home. Says Cook,

“Gronk has always been a very personal project for me… I developed the character back in college YEARS ago and had always planned on doing something with her. It wasn’t until I kicked myself in the pants and started the webcomic that I started in on the journey that became Gronk: a monster’s story… a project that has seen me through years of my life. Every change my adult life has faced, leaving a comforting job for full-time freelance, becoming a mom (twice!), and more, I’ve always tried to get a Gronk strip up that week! It’s my true “me” creative time every week. It’s a strip that has grown with me as a person and a creator.”

Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow

As part of Archaia’s continuing line of Jim Henson-related works — such as their publication of Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand and Fraggle Rock comics — they’ve put out Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow, a print version of a never-produced Thanksgiving TV special by the puppet master.

The adapter and illustrator is Roger Langridge, a talent who’s previously demonstrated how well he understands Henson’s creations in his work on The Muppet Show comics, which were outstanding.

This is a simpler fable than that multi-layered show, but charming all the same. It’s set in 1968, giving us a reminder of a simpler time, and making the kids’ hobby of folk music a bit more sensible. Timmy and Ann like to play guitar in the woods, but an evil neighbor covets their land and chases them away with a pitchfork. He’s the wealthiest turkey farmer in Turkey Hollow and a bully. (His characterization is not subtle.)

Timmy goes to practice one day only to find himself accompanied by odd-sounding harmonies. The musical monsters, seven voyagers from space of different furry shapes, help him get the songs right. Portraying music in comics is difficult, and Langridge handles it both by lettering lyrics and having display text float through the panels, punctuated by drawn musical notes, as shown here.

The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow panel

Timmy’s new friends cause trouble as they follow him to school, and when the bad guy sees them, he riles up the townspeople to drive out the “demons” among them. There are accusations of theft and fear-mongering and the problem of dealing with those different from us, until everything wraps up neatly as Thanksgiving is celebrated with friends and feasting and music. Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow isn’t a deep or challenging book, but it’s a comfortable one, suitable for all ages, and a holiday pleasure to read.

The book opens with an explanatory note by a Henson Company archivist, giving the history of the project, and a photo of Henson’s daughters with the original puppets, built but never used. It closes with biographical sketches of the creators and some insight into the development process. Finally, there’s an amazing drawing of what it might have looked like to see the puppets being operated, creating in me a closing fondness for the genius and talent of Jim Henson. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)




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