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Thirty Years Ago Today: The Bat hits the big screen

Batman Michael KeatonArguably the best Batman film in history was released on June 23, 1989, directed by Tim Burton with Michael Keaton as the titular hero, Jack Nicholson as the villainous Joker, and Kim Basinger as the love interest. While the franchise fell off considerably when Keaton left in 1995, Batman and Batman Returns were instantly classics.

Not only was Batman a box office smash, the music was also successful. Danny Elfman composed the score, and his main theme has become an iconic piece. It was later in animated series, video games, and the 2017 film Justice League.

In addition to the musical score, the soundtrack was also a popular release, written and performed by Prince. Initially, producers wanted Michael Jackson to write and perform ballads for the hero, with Prince handling songs for the villain. Due to contractual issues, Jackson was unable to participate. “Batdance” was the first and most popular single from the album.

I don’t know how well Robert Pattinson will perform as the Caped Crusader, but it will take a lot for him to topple Michael Keaton’s place in my opinion.

Is DC Universe worth the price?

Doom Patrol DC Universe

Marvel rules the world folks, but that doesn’t mean others don’t want a piece of the comic book world pie. DC, the home of Superman, Batman, and the rest of the Justice League, recently launched their own streaming service ahead of Disney/Marvel called DC Universe. $7.99 a month doesn’t seem like a terrible deal, but what is actually available currently at that price?

Exclusive programming: Two brand new series are being produced for DC Universe. Titans has aired 11 episodes so far, while Doom Patrol just premiered over the weekend. The trailer for Titans looked amateurish, but Doom Patrol‘s trailer looked good and has some talent in the cast with Brendan Fraser and Timothy Dalton.

Live-action television: Wonder Woman (starring Lynda Carter), The Flash (with John Wesley Shipp, not Grant Gustin), the old Superman series (with George Reeves), and Lois and Clark are probably the most well-known programs being offered. DC Universe also offers Superman Serials, The Adventures of Superboy, Birds of Prey, Constantine, and Human Target. What’s missing? Adam West’s Batman, Smallville (which is currently on Hulu), and the various CW programs (most of which can be seen on Netflix).

Movies: There are quite a few animated Batman and Superman animated movies, as well as some Justice League cartoon titles. As for live-action, you can see Michael Keaton, George Clooney, and Val Kilmer all dressed up as the Bat, and the first Superman film starring Christopher Reeve is there, as well as the 1974 pre-Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. What’s missing? The rest of the Reeve films, Superman Returns, The Dark Knight trilogy, Green Lantern, Supergirl and the current Justice League-related films.

Animated Series: Eighteen different titles here, new and old. The one I am most interested in is the nine seasons of Super Friends. I couldn’t begin to tell you what’s missing here.

So, is it worth $7.99 a month? I’m going to say no at this point. Marvel will have the advantage of partnering with Disney, and will likely have many more titles to choose from. I can only hope the price is not astronomical.

Christmas gift ideas for your aspiring DC Comics writer/artist

Now that Halloween is over, is it safe to start talking about Christmas gift ideas? A couple of years ago I did a series of posts highlighting some ideas that might delight fans of various topics, and one of the most popular posts in that series related to comic book art. That particular post continues to get hits today, so I thought I would follow it up with a more streamlined version: Christmas gift ideas for your aspiring DC comic book writers/artists. Take a look at these titles in this series of “DC Comics Guide” books:
Batman

I have not personally reviewed any of those titles, but they seem to be geared toward an older, more serious dreamer. If your aspiring artist is a beginner, or is just getting his feet wet with sketching, the following books may be more his or her speed:
Wonder Woman

Goodbye, Adam West

(September 19, 1928 – June 10, 2017)

Adam West Batman

He didn’t have to go around telling everyone he was Batman. Everyone knew. The star of the 1960s television show that made the Caped Crusader a household name, Adam West has died at the age of 88 after a short battle with leukemia.

Star Wars > Dawn of Justice, but still…

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

The new trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been leaked. Assuming it hasn’t been taken down yet, here it is. Enjoy, fanboys.

Halloween ComicFest is tomorrow!

Halloween ComicFest

Pick up free Halloween-themed comics at participating comic shops on Saturday, October 25! Find out which local stores are participating here.

This is the comic I’ve got my eye on…

Batman Scooby Doo

R.I.P. Lorenzo Semple Jr.

(March 27, 1923 – March 28, 2014)

Lorenzo Semple Jr Batman writer passes away

Screenwriter for the 1966 Batman movie and 1976’s King Kong, as well as episodes of the “Barman” television series starring Adam West and “The Green Hornet,” Lorenzo Semple, Jr. passed away Friday at the age of 91.

In regards to his career, Semple said, “I think Batman was the best thing I ever wrote, including those big movies. As a whole work, it came out the way that I wanted it to and I was excited by it. I once went down to a fancy wine tasting benefit in Princeton. When people found out I wrote Batman they mobbed me! I was astounded, but that was the way it was.”

Read more about Semple on Variety.com.

Catwoman

Lee Meriwether. Eartha Kitt. Julie Newmar. Sofia Moran. Michelle Pfeiffer. Julia Rose. Halle Berry.

What do all these women have in common? They have all played the role of Catwoman from the DC world of Batman (click on the names to see which movie/television series they appeared in if you don’t already know).

Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. have officially announced the newest Catwoman to grace the big screen: Anne Hathaway.

While I don’t necessarily have anything against Hathaway, I have my doubts about her in this role. I could be wrong. I hope I am. I love the Dark Knight reboot series, and think Nolan is doing a fantastic job with these movies. Hopefully I am wrong and she will be the best Catwoman ever…time will tell.

Interesting bit of trivia…Julie Newmar also appeared in the Get Smart television program, while Hathaway appeared alongside Steve Carell in the 2008 big-screen adaptation (which I quite enjoyed).

There is nothing new under the sun in Hollywood.

What gets me more excited than the Giants/Rangers World Series?

1. The fact that it’s not another Yankees/Phillies World Series. I’m sorry, I can’t really get excited about the Giants or the Rangers, even though those were the teams I was rooting for in the LCS. I’m glad Josh Hamilton is going, and I expect Mickey Mantle-ish things from him. Mantle hit 18 home runs in 65 World Series games.

2. The Dark Knight Rises. That’s the title of the new Batman film. No Riddler, though. The director did provide this bit of insight: “We’ll use many of the same characters as we have all along, and we’ll be introducing some new ones.” Wow. How intriguing.

3. Star Wars in 3D. To be honest, I think this is a terrible idea, but Lucas is a genius so I’m sure he will change my mind about it.

4. This Reggie Jackson baseball card. I was always a Reggie fan. He was on his way out when I started following baseball. Plus I love art cards. The 30-Year Old Cardboard blog just posted scans of the whole subset of Reggie Baseball Heroes cards today. Check ’em out.

5. Halloween. ‘Tis the season, y’know.

6. Speaking of October 31, that’s the launch date for FearNET HD. We just dropped our cable, but one of my favorite On-Demand channels was FearNET, and if it’s being made available as a regular channel, that’s just awesome. If you have HD, then contact your provider and find out when they are planning to add FearNET to their channel lineup.

7. Halloween at the Reds Hall O’ Fame.

8. Moving. If all goes well, I’ll be in a new house in a few weeks. We should be closing Friday (still waiting for final word from the bank) and then move a couple of weeks after that. Which means I’ll be able to finally get my baseball cards organized and start some new projects that I have jumping around in my brain.

9. Neil Gaiman’s awesome idea to give scary books to other people on Halloween. Seriously, are you ever going to read “Cujo” again? Let someone else read it.

10. New Star Wars movies. Sorry, let me try that again…

NEW STAR WARS MOVIES!!!!!

Yeah, baby. I don’t even think the Reds in the World Series could top that one.

Am I late to Tom Smykowski’s party?

Video mash-ups are great, and this has to be the funniest one I have ever seen. Read the rest of this entry

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