Monday, August 27, 2018

Elements of the Batman Franchise Worth Recommending

Since his introduction in 1939, Batman has appeared in countless movies, animations, TV and
radio shows, books, comic books and newspapers. The franchise, complete with numerous
merchandising items, is believed to have made almost $24 billion. Let’s talk about a few
things that all Batman enthusiasts should have in their collections.

Batman Action Figures

The blockbuster movies are probably the main source of information about Bruce Wayne and
his dark alter ego for most people because it is something that has the best chance to reach
wider audiences. Plus, everybody likes to see an action-packed movie from time to time.
Since the first attempts to introduce the superhero to a big (or silver) screen in the 1940s,
about two dozen films, series and TV shows have featured his likeness. Naturally, some better
than the others. Adam West was the first memorable Batman. Starring in the 1966 series and
film, West was also making a living from his appearance in the batty costume in his private

Several other famous actors played the part afterward, and the choices were always widely
debated among the fans. And their verdict can sometimes be brutal. Val Kilmer and Ben
Affleck know something of this. But even they have nothing on “Batman & Robin,” which
was a disaster on many levels — even the star, George Clooney, joked about nearly killing the franchise. Still, the fashionable cast didn’t help much. However, a very different sentiment is
commonly shared by people about the period when Christopher Nolan took over the curse.
His trilogy, which includes “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight
Rises,” earned a lot of money and was praised by fans and critics alike. Especially “The Dark
Knight,” with a remarkable performance by Heath Ledger, who brilliantly portrayed the
psychopathic Joker, collected a lot of positive reviews.

The admirers of the Gotham City protector have even more to choose from when it comes to
animations. About 50 different cartoons, animated movies and series, either dedicated to our
beloved Caped Crusader or applying some sort of team-up format, were developed since
1993. Such was made possible by the success of “Batman: The Animated Series” that ran for
85 episodes between September 1992 and September 1995. It received substantial acclaim in
many capacities, with viewers appreciating the complex storyline, artistic value and the dark
undertone of neo-noir climate just to name a few. The cartoons, in general, also covered many
bases regarding the DC universe. We observe plenty of captivating narratives, elaborate
adventures and exciting villains’ schemes. Among the recommended titles to watch could be:
“Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders,” “Batman: Under the Red Hood,” “Batman: Year
One” and naturally, “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.” Then there is “The LEGO Batman
Movie” that was a fresh, comic approach to the superhero, which came out pretty well. Few
other LEGO cartoons featuring Batman are also worth noticing.

A critical, and quite profitable, part of any big franchise is gaming. Computer or video games
involving superheroes are quite popular because who wouldn’t enjoy impersonating a cool
character. Batman is no different here. While the statement of how much we like a specific
game might be an individual matter, highly dependent on personal taste and preferences, there
are propositions that most players would recommend. “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and
“Batman: Arkham City” are interchangeably mentioned as number one on many occasions
and occupy the top places on the popularity rankings all over the web. Those two are
appreciated by franchise supporters and players alike. Alternatively, those of us who enjoy a
little betting action on the side will be able to find interesting online slot machines with
graphics from the movies or comic books, also available for free play. Batman and his
enemies are still one of the most common motifs used in the popular superhero slot games
that are trending at the moment. In your face, Superman!

Nevertheless, for the Dark Knight to be able to rise in the first place, people had to fall in love
in comic books. Unsurprisingly, they did, and the craze began. The World's Greatest
Detective (sorry, Mister Holmes!) first appeared in “Detective Comics #27” from May 1939
under the name Bat-Man. Lastly, and not getting too much into details, we’ll leave you with
some of the much-admired Batman essential reading. In no particular order, they could be:
“Year One,” “Hush,” “The Killing Joke,” “The Court of Owls,” “The Dark Knight Returns,”
“A Death in the Family” and the year-long adventure series of 1996-97 called “The Long

Thursday, August 16, 2018

DC Comics Disrespects Comics Legend Matt Wagner

DC Comics Disrepects Comics Legend Matt Wagner

Matt Wagner is one of the most respected creators in comic books today. His status is legendary as the man that brought fans beloved characters like Mage and Grendel. His work on Batman over the years has been met with appreciation and reverence.

It should be noted that I’m a huge Wagner fan and devotee of his Grendel franchise, so this article includes plenty of my own opinions, which as the sole editor, writer and creator of Legions of Gotham, reflect that of the website.

Recently, Wagner had signed-on to do the cover and interior art for the upcoming Batman #54. The issue features a story about Batman and Dick Grayson…about father and son. A nice touch was the inclusion of Wagner’s son Brennan on colors. Brennan and Matt have been working together as a father and son team, so it was a special treat for the fans. When the project began, Brennan was given no guidelines and his prior work with his father’s art was plain to see. Unfortunately, the “higher-ups” at DC Comics made an abrupt decision to fire Brennan because he supposedly wasn’t going along with their color vision for the book…a vision that they never provided to him. This firing was an outright disrespect to Brennan as an artist and to Wagner as a comics legend. Way to burn a bridge, DC.
Batman #54

This is a hilarious and sad level of bureaucracy getting in the way of the best interest for Batman. This particular book comes out bi-weekly with various creative teams and without any clear vision that I can see for the title. To be honest, the inclusion of Wagner on the book is the first thing that has made me want to buy a Batman comic in years. The way that DC Comics has treated the Wagner team is laughable at best and a fantastic way to shoot themselves in the foot. The colors of Brennan Wagner perfectly compliment his father’s work and we look forward to seeing their collaboration for years to come…just not on Batman.

Matt Wagner posted the following to Facebook on August 8th:

“Hey gang…sad to say, I’ve got some distasteful news to share. As previously announced here, I recently signed on to provide the art for an upcoming issue of the monthly BATMAN title for DC Comics (#54) from a script by Eisner Award-winning writer, Tom King. Brennan Wagner was, of course, enlisted to color as well. I finished work on the issue several weeks ago and Brennan was nearing completion on his end of things, producing his typically beautiful, thoughtful and evocative color renderings over top of my B&W art. But just yesterday I received word from Batman group editor Jamie S. Rich that the DC “powers that be” found Brennan’s coloring to be too different from their regular fare (because, y’know…different is bad) and so have decided to pull him off the book and have the entire issue re-colored by one of their in-house colorists—at this point, I don’t even know who that will be. Even though Jamie went to bat for us, claiming that both he and Tom King loved the way things looked…he was over-ruled from the higher-ups. Tom’s script is a heartfelt look at a father-and-son relationship and, rather than capitalize on the fact that they had a celebrated father-and-son art team on board for this issue…DC instead elected to fire the artist’s colorist/son for producing distinctive work. Needless to say, I thought Brennan was doing a fantastic job and think this is a terribly shoddy way to treat not only him—this would’ve been his first full-length job for them—but also me, one of their longtime and supposedly respected creators. Regrettably, I’m now sorry I ever agreed to this gig in the first place…because this is just fucking bullshit.”

And an update on August 9th:

“Hey gang…first off, Brennan and I both want to say thanks for the generous outpouring of support in regards to our experiences producing the art for DC Comics’ BATMAN #54. Your kind words and shared indignation over this aggravating scenario have really meant a lot to both of us. Also, there seemed to be some confusion over the image I included in my original post with some folks assuming it was a panel from the interior of the book. In fact, that image was a detail of the cover art (seen here), which we had produced several months ago at which point it was approved and used for solicitation. Posting the detail upside-down was just my way of expressing how frustrating this situation has been. Brennan utilized both of the color schemes you see here in his approach to the interior art…before being told, after he was nearly finished, that this was wrong. Secondly, I’d like to share the latest updates in this controversy. Perhaps feeling the sting of public outcry from so many of you, the DC “powers that be” have back-pedaled a bit and offered to let Brennan take another crack at this issue…provided he conform his colors to match the style of Tomeu Morey, the series’ regular colorist. Nothing at all against Tomeu, but Brennan can’t simply change his stripes to be something he’s not, anymore than I could somehow crowbar my drawing style into looking like the work of Lee Weeks or Tony Daniels, the series’ regular (and incredibly talented) artists. Besides, this tone-deaf attempt at reconciliation basically amounts to a whole lot of too little, too late. Brennan was told to cease coloring BATMAN #54 and he did. But he then had to immediately shift gears and he’s now drop-dead busy finishing the colors to the next issue of a lil’ thing called MAGE: THE HERO DENIED. Any chance to make this right by him has passed. Lastly, I’d like to provide a bit of clarity. Several of the comics news websites that picked up this story have focused on the final lines of my original post with some claiming that I regret ever drawing this issue whatsoever…which isn’t quite what I said or meant. I regret nothing about the creative end of things. Jamie S. Rich is a sharp and supportive editor and I thought Tom King’s script for this issue was both clever and humane. I heartily enjoyed drawing it and Brennan loved coloring it. What I regret is accepting a gig that would subject our creative efforts to such arbitrary and heavy-handed corporate intervention. I’m no stranger to mainstream publishing…I know how things work. But I thought that they’d treat us both with more respect…and unfortunately, I was wrong. Thanks again, one and all.”

And again on August 14th:

“Hey's a follow-up to the whole Batman #54 debacle. I'd just like to this point none of the DC higher-ups responsible for this decision and controversy have made any effort to reach out to either Brennan or myself; no phone call, no apology and no attempt at any real reconciliation. So basically...still bullshit.”