Thoughts On Justice League

JL Film PosterIt’s been years since I’ve written a review of anything, but after seeing Justice League on opening day, I’ve had some thoughts percolating in my mind.

First up, I’m a big Justice League fan. I’ve always been a DC Comics diehard and have been devouring comics since before puberty, so I have thirty years of minutiae stored up in my brain to “impress” my friends and answer the occasional quiz question. When DC rebooted their entire line with the New 52 initiative, I pretty quickly stopped feasting on superhero comics, but I do enjoy the occasional nibble.

In short, I was disappointed with the JL film. Yes, there were some good things about it, and there was some serious behind the scenes issues that led the film to not being all it should’ve been, but with that in mind, here are a few bullet points.

I like Ben Affleck. He’s a great actor and director, and is actually a pretty good choice to play an older Batman. However, just because he has pointy ears and a gruff voice doesn’t make him the Dark Knight. When asked what his superpowers are, Batman answers, “I’m rich.” That’s not something Batman would say. That’s a Tony Stark line. It doesn’t belong here. With the Flash and Cyborg, the film has enough humour. Don’t drag Batman in to it too. Let him be Batman. Not everyone needs to be witty.

The first scene is all about how Superman inspires people, and how his death at the hands of Doomsday at Batman v Superman has united the world in a sense of loss. In the two Superman films we’ve seen starring Henry Cavill prior to this, there’s nothing inspiring about him. He doesn’t inspire. He terrifies! He’s not warm, and smiling. Thor has taken the role that Superman should have. If you ask anyone (kids or adults), who’d they’d love to hang out with, I’d imagine most would easily choose the happy god of thunder over the glowering, morose Man of Steel. This is a Superman who allowed his earthly Dad to die, caused massive property damage and killed Zod infront of a traumatised family, when he had so many other options available. (Fly him up to space! spin him round so he loses consciousness! even break his limbs! anything but neck snapping!). The Superman who has existed for almost a century in pop culture, and who will outlast all film makers, is someone who cherishes life and only takes it as an absolute last resort. The last time Superman was properly portrayed was in the 1980s with the maginificent Christopher Reeve. Who else could say, “I like pink very much Lois,” with a straight face, let alone with gravitas and sincerity? The world would not mourn the death of this version of Superman. They barely knew him, let alone embraced him.

There was a cleaner who showed up briefly at STAR Labs. They could’ve made him Rudy Jones, who becomes the Parasite, and as Kevin Smith pointed out – even the thief at the start of the film could’ve been a DC character, rather than a generic bad guy. Again, the terrorists who Wonder Woman stops could’ve been anyone from DC’s rich history, like Cheetah, or the Royal Flush Gang, or even someone linked to Steppenwolf, to give the villain  much needed dramatic weight. Speaking of which…

Steppenwolf had no visible motivation. A scene where he’s speaking to a hidden Darkseid would’ve helped tremendously. Perhaps he could be sent off to earth amidst cheering crowds from Apokolips, or he’s failed to conquer other planets before and this is his last attempt before Darkseid executes him in dishonour, and he thinks earth will be an uneasy target. As it is, Steppenwolf just shows up to cause havoc and..be bad.

There was no need for the jokes at Aquaman and the approach they took to make him the tough guy was desperate. I can imagine the writers thinking, “Quick! Let’s make fun of Aquaman before the audience does, and then we’ll show how grumpy and angry he really is. That’ll shut them up!” Aquaman is a great character, as Peter David has shown with his tremendous run on the comics. When your film stars apologizing for a great character, it’s not off to a good start. The acting here is great though, and Jason Momoa, like his castmates does a great job with these versions of the characters.

The Russian family at the final battle was odd. Perhaps it was meant to be a microcosm of the potentail destruction the rest of the world would face, like the family at the end of Batman v Superman was.

Okay, now the good points….

It was pretty awesome to see Superman unleashed and take on the whole League single-handedly. Oh yeah.

The humour generally works, with the scene with Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s lasso a nice touch.

The Mother Box battle/Amazonian escape was thrilling.

Both end credits scenes are great, and even the actual credits thanked comics creators such as Jack Kirby, and I noticed Detective Crispus Allen, who eventually becomes The Spectre, listed as a character. Nice.

DC’s animated films have a much better track record of their live action output, barring the last two (The Killing Joke, Batman and Harley Quinn) and I’m excited to see the two Death and Return of Superman animated films that kick off next year.

Geoff Johns is a legend and super talented writer, so his continued involvement in any live action DC films is a huge step in the right direction. I am cautiously optimistic about what DC has planned next, and the Wonder Woman film showed that they can get it right. Come on DC. You can do it!

DC’s Animated Shared Universe

Thanks to what Marvel Studios have been doing with their films since Iron Man debuted on the silver screen, the concept of a “shared universe,” is now in fans’ minds. Of course, comics have been doing that for decades, and it’s called “continuity. It’s a lot harder to do on film though, and now that with the Man of Steel sequel and its myriad DC Comics character cameos is underway, they can focus on unifying the animated films.

Since Warner Bros./DC Comics released their first animated film based on their massive library of comics tales in 2007 focused on The Death of Superman tale, they’ve been producing about two such films a year. They have varied greatly in terms of tone and cast, but with Justice League: War and the upcoming Son of Batman, that looks set to change.

“This will definitely be the first salvo in doing new movies that are in continuity with each other,” producer James Tucker told Comic Book Resources. “Our next movie is going to be Son of Batman, and that Batman will be the same Batman that you see in Justice League: War. Basically, we’ll have two concurrent series of Justice League movies and Batman movies, and they’ll be in continuity with each other. So it’s kind of world-building.”

The new continuity will not be limited to adapting storylines from the current New 52 line of DC superhero books, according to Justice League: Wardirector Jay Oliva. “We can do original content, we can do New 52 stuff,” he said. Indeed, Oliva’s next animated project will be Batman: Arkham Asylum, based on the successful Batman: Arkham video games.

Warner Bros. plans to put out two home releases each year based in this shared continuity, with an additional DC animated project every year as a stand-alone, continuity-free project (Batman: Arkham fills that spot for 2014), although Tucker told CBR that such plans are “always subject to change.”

You can read the whole story at The Hollywood Reporter, and below is the Sneak Peek from Justice League: War showing a glimpse at the epic Son of Batman film.

Justice League: War Clip

DC Comics/ Warner Bros. have been making great animated films for the last few years, at the rate of about two a year it seems. These are always accessible to those new to comics, and are always based on some classic and recent tales, and come with entertaining and informative bonus features. Since DC have a hit (Young Justice, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and miss (quickly cancelled Beware the Batman!) ratio when it comes to their cartoons on TV, these animated films are a much safer bet.

Their next one is called Justice League: War and is based on the first few issues of the 2011 comics tale told by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee about how the League first met. Below is the first official clip, which seems to follow the comic pretty closely, and a description.

When the powerful Darkseid and his massive, relentless forces invade Earth, a group of previously unaligned super heroes – misunderstood and, in some cases, hunted by the authorities – discover the only way to fend off the attack will be to work together as a cohesive unit. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Shazam and, in his origin story, Cyborg combine their respective talents in an all-out battle to save the planet. Based on the 2012 graphic novel, “Justice League: Origin,” by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee, Justice League: War provides a glance into the world before the Justice League was created, and offers the initial animated incarnation of DC Entertainment’s “The New 52.”

“Justice League: War” arrives via Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digitial HD on February 4, 2014from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

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Brave and the Bold Season 1 and JL: War

Finally! There’s no mention of any special features, and putting B’wana Beast on the cover seems an odd choice, but one of the funnest and funniest animated shows of recent years is now on Blu-ray. Official details below.

Courtesy of Warner Archive comes the complete first season of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” on Blu-ray this Tuesday, November 5. This 2-Disc, 26-Episode collection presents the series’ inaugural season in all its crisp and clear 1080p High Definition, as it was meant to be enjoyed.  A galaxy of Bat-tastic team-ups await as they face any peril including other heroes OUTRAGEOUSLY stealing the show ­in their relentless pursuit of justice. And fun.
Under the aegis of producer James Tucker, Batman: The Brave and the Bold” bravely challenged modern fan conceptions of The Dark Knight while boldly utilizing the richness of the entire DC Comics universe. The result is a sly and skillful blend of Dick Sprang’s Batman, TV’s timeless 1966 incarnation, Bruce Timm’s animated series and scores of others which creates a unique show that appeals to fans both new and old. Lead voice actor Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show, Office Space) uses his crack comic skills to channel Kevin Conroy’s Caped Crusader, making his Bats the ultimate straight man in the world’s funnest cape cartoon. And he’s aided by a legion of vocal acting titans (and directed by legendary voice director Andrea Romano) that includes John DiMaggio (Aquaman), Paul Reubens (Bat-Mite), James Arnold Taylor (Green Arrow), Will Friedle (Blue Beetle), Tom Kenny (Plastic Man), Grey Delisle (Black Canary) and Neil Patrick Harris (The Music Meister).
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In related DC Comics animated news, the trailer for the latest film, Justice League: War has been released. It’s based on the first few issues of the title’s relaunch in 2011, and features Wonder Woman in an unpleasing costume, and the first meeting of the JLA. It’s also the first animated film of the New 52 approach, but I hope we still get pre-New 52 films in the future. DC/Warner Bros. have a great success rate in their frequent animated films, and with all their bonus features, they serve as a great entryway to the DC Universe. Official details, trailer and box art below.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will distribute JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR as a Bu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and for Digital Download on February 4, 2013.When the powerful Darkseid and his massive, relentless forces invade Earth, a group of previously unaligned super heroes – misunderstood and, in some cases, hunted by the authorities – discover the only way to fend off the attack will be to work together as a cohesive unit. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Shazam and, in his origin story, Cyborg combine their respective talents in an all-out battle to save the planet. Based on the 2012 graphic novel, “JusticeLeague: Origin,” by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee, JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR provides a glance into the world before the Justice League was created, and offers the initial animated incarnation of DC Entertainment’s “The New 52.”

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR features the voices of Jason O’Mara (Vegas, Terra Nova), Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs), Justin Kirk (Weeds), Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory), Serenity, Firefly), Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible III), Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Sean Astin (LOTR films), Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness) and Steve Blum (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox). Producer is James Tucker and director is Jay Oliva from a script by Heath Corson.

 
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Justice League: Doom Review

I was very impressed with DC/Warner Bros’ latest animated film, based on the classic Tower of Babel story from the comics, in which Batman inadvertently betrays his fellow Leaguers.

Check out my review here.

Tim Daly Interview for Justice League: Doom

On Feb 16 the West Coast Premiere at the Paley Centre takes place, but on Feb 28, Justice League: Doom, the latest animated DC Comics film, will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray. Below is an interview conducted by Warner Bros. with regular Superman voice actor Tim Daly.

The quintessential voice of the Man of Steel – primetime television star Tim Daly – once again returns to his original animated role of Superman in JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM, the next entry in the popular, ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movies.

Daly set the standard as the voice behind the world’s ultimate super hero for Superman: The Animated Series as well as in several animated movies and video games. While fanboys hail his vocal performance as their point of recognition, the Emmy nominated actor is known well throughout the world for his primetime television series roles, including eight seasons on Wings, an intense recurring role on The Sopranos, a memorable turn on HBO’s landmark mini-series From The Earth To The Moon, and his current ABC hit series, Private Practice.

QUESTION: What’s the crux of JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM from Superman’s perspective?

TIM DALY: Well, as usual, it’s all about saving the planet. But first, the Justice League has to save the Justice League. Batman disappoints his colleagues in the Justice League by having a plan to stop any rogue Justice League member, and by allowing those plans to be stolen. Superman understands Batman, though – he really has created these contingency plans for  a pretty noble reason.  He’s trying to protect the world by inserting some checks and balances into this system, realizing that the Justice League has an incredible amount of power, and he wants to make sure that they always use that power in a way that’s not destructive.

QUESTION: Are you able to turn on and off the Superman voice without hesitation, or is there some sort of warm-up involved – mentally or vocally?

TIM DALY: There’s just a lot of technical things to keep in mind. You get warmed up like you do with anything and, after a little rehearsing, it’s all second nature. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to go back and do a few lines over again – you want these things to be just right. But you don’t necessarily jump straight back in. I mean, it’s not like I walk around being Superman in real life.  But when you read the script and put yourself in the position that Superman is in – I mean, he’s always saving the planet, for God’s sake. When you realize that, it’s not difficult to take the gravitas of the situation and make your voice do what it needs to do.

QUESTION: As well as you know this character after all of these years, are you ever shy to offer suggestions about how certain dialogue might be presented or altered?

TIM DALY: Usually the writing is pretty great, but then again, I can’t keep my mouth shut.  If I think something can be better, I’ll speak up and say so. But I will explain why I’m making the suggestion. I actually find that writers respond very well to being asked questions.  “Why would Superman say that?”  “Would it be better if I said it this way?” You don’t just want to be critical – that doesn’t benefit anyone. The best creative work usually comes from a collaboration.

QUESTION: Have you ever found yourself using the Superman attitude or voice in real life?

TIM DALY: I did a little bit when my kids were young.  And I found that it worked much better on my daughter than my son.  I would say to her, (beefs up his voice), “Stop that right now.” And she would be suitably taken aback. But my son, he didn’t really care.

QUESTION: Has providing the voice of Superman helped you learn anything about yourself or changed you in any way?

TIM DALY: Maybe a little bit.  Maybe some of what gets you through your walks in the world is attitude.  Certainly Superman has a lot of power and he doesn’t have to be showy, rather he carries that confidence quietly.  He knows what he can do. I certainly am not capable of pulling that off in my own life.  But knowing that, I can fake that attitude to help me out now and then.

QUESTION: What Superman memorabilia have you collected over the years?

TIM DALY: I have a beautiful wooden Superman statue with a removable cape – I really love that piece. I have a cel from the original Superman series cartoons.  And I have a gold Superman “S” pin. And then there’s my tights, uh, but don’t tell anymore.

QUESTION: TV and film is usually a one-way experience for you.  You don’t really get to see the final product with an audience very often.  But you’re coming back to the Paley Center in Los Angeles for the premiere of JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM – and this will be your second time seeing one of the DC Universe animated movies alongside the fans. What was your experience like watching Superman/Batman: Apocalypse last time?

TIM DALY: It was really great because the fans were so into it.  Fan reaction is really wonderful to experience in person, especially fans of this genre. They’re so passionate. And it was also fun because it was just my voice and Superman’s image.  Usually when I see myself in a film or on television, there’s about a six-month period where I can’t look at it because all I’ll see are the mistakes. I’m just appalled by the person that I see.  The camera sees me from angles that I’ve never seen myself, so I never think it’s me.  I look at that and I think, “My God, that’s me.” But with these films, I can look up and it is Superman on the screen.  So I don’t have to go through all that. He has no flaws.

QUESTION: What’s the magic of working with dialogue director Andrea Romano?

TIM DALY: The great thing about working with Andrea is that she loves it so much, and she’s so positive about it.  You can’t fake that.  Even after all this time, doing 41 shows at a time, all the series and films, she’s right there with the same enthusiasm and love for the material. I don’t know how she keeps it all straight. Plus, she really loves actors – you always feel like she’s rooting for you.  And that makes it very easy.

 

Justice League: Doom Clip

On February 28 the next animated film to be released is Justice League: Doom, and here’s a new clip from it showing Batman and his buddies fighting the Royal Flush Gang.

Justice League: Doom Box Art

Inspired by Mark Waid and Howard Porter’s excellent Tower of Babel storyline from the Justice League comics in the ’90s that had Batman unwittingly defeating his teammates, is this next animated film From DC Comics and Warner Bros. The only new info we have is the release date of February 28, and the box art below. Judging by the previously released trailer, it does seem a loose adaptation though, with Cyborg now in the team, and the immortal Vandal Savage as the main villain. It is the last screenplay written by the late, great Dwayne McDuffie though, so it should be entertaining.

The film features the voices of primetime stars Nathan Fillion (Castle), Tim Daly (Private Practice) and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) in addition to a cavalcade of voiceover alums from the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated television series.

 

 

Extra Sequential Podcast #34-Elephantmen and Nonplayer

40 mins. Mladen and I occupy the same space once more as we talk about 2 new Image comics debuts we liked plus Ninja Turtles, April Fool’s Day office pranks, iPad 2 queues, and animated Plastic Man.

LISTEN TO IT BELOW, DOWNLOAD IT HERE OR ON ITUNES


00:56 NEWS

Writer Jonathan Hickman’s new creator owned series

Justice League film set for 2013

Amy Adams has been cast as Lois Lane in the Superman reboot

Wonder Woman’s TV costume changes. Now with less shininess!

6:40 WHAT WE’VE BEEN READING

Kris – IDW’s Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters

FF #1, the new Fantastic Four relaunch. Spider-Man joins the team and it’s black and white costumes all round!

Mladen – Sequelcast film podcast

20:14 FEATURE REVIEWS

Elephantmen: Man and Elephantman by Richard Starkings and Axel Medellin. We find it to be a good intro for new readers, love the art and its effective colour palette and just the general noir vibe of the whole tale.

Nonplayer #1 by Nate Simpson. A very entertaining genre mash-up of a sci-fi world and a fantasy virtual world, with art that you’ll fall in love with. See a preview here and an interview with Simpson here.

Our rambling and amusing conclusion.

 

Hip Heroes

Superheroes can be interpreted any number of striking ways, especially superhero teams. For example, the Justice League by Dan Hipp, and his version of Batman’s rogues gallery,

the Guardians of the Galaxy and New Warriors from Patricio Oliver,

and finally Franco Spagnolo’s Justice League.

All these great artists’ blogs are worth checking out for more impressive pics of pop culture interpretations.

Young Justice Cartoon Sneak Peek

I have to admit, I’m getting more excited about DC’s new animated series and films than I am about most of their comics these days. Just screened at Comic Con was this little gem; a behind the scenes look at the new Young Justice series, with producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti. With the new Aqualad, plus less familiar characters to outsiders, such as Artemis, Miss Martian and Speedy/Red Arrow, this looks set to be a ‘toon for older viewers than Batman: The Brave and the Bold. What’s interesting about this series is a 16 strong Justice League, a new DC Universe (Superman has only been around for a decade) and a teen cast, some of whom will die. Plus the sleek designs look similar to those in the recent Crisis on Two Earths film.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Preview

Below is the first sneak peek at next month’s animated JLA film. Oh yeah! There’s alternate evil versions of Elongated Man, Vixen and Black Lightning so far by the looks of it.

To save our world and all those like it, Superman, Batman and their caped colleagues must go toe-to-toe with their evil mirror images in JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS, an all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie coming February 23, 2010 from Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation. The full-length animated film will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def , as well as single disc DVD, On Demand and Download.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an original story from award-winning animation/comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League) rooted in DC Comics’ popular canon of “Crisis” stories depicting parallel worlds with uniquely similar super heroes and villains. Bruce Timm (Superman Doomsday, Green Lantern) is executive producer. Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern) and Sam Liu (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) are co-directors.

In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, a “good” Lex Luthor arrives from an alternate universe to recruit the Justice League to help save his Earth from the Crime Syndicate, a gang of villainous characters with virtually identical super powers to the Justice League. What ensues is the ultimate battle of good versus evil in a war that threatens both planets and, through a diabolical plan launched by Owlman, puts the balance of all existence in peril.

The movie features an all-star voice cast led by Mark Harmon (NCIS) as Superman, James Woods (Ghosts of Mississippi) as Owlman, Chris Noth (Sex and the City, Law & Order) as Lex Luthor, William Baldwin (Dirty Sexy Money) as Batman, Gina Torres (Serenity, Firefly) as Super Woman and Bruce Davison (X-Men) as the President.

President Deathstroke Speaks

Thanks to Warner Bros. for their interview with actor Bruce Davison, who plays President Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke in Feb 23’s animated film, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Having one of the meanest hombres in the DC Universe as President in an alternate earth is an awesome move.

VETERAN ACTOR BRUCE DAVISON MAKES ANIMATION VOICEOVER DEBUT IN JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS

Bruce Davison is no stranger to political office – at least in a fictional situation. He’s played an ambassador, senator, congressman and judge, but Davison steps up in class – in his first voiceover for animation – as President Wilson in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, an all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie coming February 23, 2010 from Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation.

In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, a “good” Lex Luthor arrives from an alternate universe to recruit the Justice League to help save his Earth from the Crime Syndicate, a gang of villainous characters with virtually identical super powers to the Justice League. What ensues is the ultimate battle of good versus evil in a war that threatens both planets and puts the balance of all existence in peril. Davison’s President Wilson is caught in the middle of the battle, attempting to find a balance between leading the human citizens of the parallel Earth and not being crushed by the powerful Crime Syndicate.

Davison’s credits stretch through film and television to the tune of 160 different movies and series roles, catching the world’s attention in 1971 as the title character in the benchmark rat-attack thriller Willard. He has since been a regular on primetime series, covering the gamut from The Waltons, Murder She Wrote and thirtysomething to Seinfeld, Lost, Close to Home and Knight Rider. Davison’s film career has featured memorable and critically acclaimed roles in X-Men and X2, Six Degrees of Separation, Short Cuts, Grace of My Heart and Longtime Companion, the latter performance garnering an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe Award, an Independent Spirit Award, and top honors from the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. Though he has recorded numerous books-on-tape, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths represents Davison’s first foray into the animated world.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an original story from award-winning animation/comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League). Bruce Timm (Superman Doomsday) is executive producer, and Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight) and Sam Liu (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) are co-directors. The full-length animated film will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, as well as single disc DVD, and On Demand and Download.

During his recording session, Davison had a few minutes to discuss his inaugural animated role, his personal history with super heroes, an early adoration for EC Comics, and his ascent up the fictional political ladder. We’ll let his words take it from here …

QUESTION: What’s it like being one of two characters without super powers in an all-super hero movie?

BRUCE DAVISON: Well, it’s par for the course. In X-Men, I played Senator Kelly and, as my son likes to say, I didn’t really have any powers – I just melted. It’s tough when your action figure can’t stand up. I had to stick it in a glass of water because it didn’t have any feet, just this sort of drippy stuff off the bottom (he laughs). So I’m used to not having any real strength powers. But President Wilson is a pretty macho guy, which is great.

QUESTION: And you’ve got a nice progression here. Marvel makes you a senator, DC makes you President …

BRUCE DAVISON: Yes, I AM the President (he laughs). And I actually have feet in this one, plus an eye-patch. So I’m definitely moving up in the super hero world.

QUESTION: How did you enjoy your maiden voyage into animation voiceovers?

BRUCE DAVISON: I’ve done books-on-tape, including a Stephen King book and a few other things. But it’s really interesting to be a character that will then be created as opposed to trying to fit in. I’ve spent a lifetime voicing over (looping) myself in films over the years. But it’s a lot easier to just create something and then let the animators put it together. Oh, and it’s just a blast doing the recording – it’s like being six years old again.

QUESTION: Were you picturing the character in your head while recording, or just focusing on conveying certain emotions?

BRUCE DAVISON: Well, I always try to look at my characters as being better than I am. That’s one of the reasons I guess I became an actor – because you get to create a persona that’s bigger or better or more interesting than your own. I sort of found President Wilson to be like Dale Dye, the guy that does all the military shows on History Channel. The guy who gets in the trenches. He’s been there, done that. So, I’d better shape up.

QUESTION: Did super heroes play a role in your youth?

BRUCE DAVISON: I hate to date myself, but my earliest memories are Flash Gordon. I would love playing Flash Gordon in the neighborhood. We lived outside of Philadelphia in Drexel Hill, and I would be Flash Gordon and my friend was Dr. Zarkov – and we’d get beat up by the Catholic kids, who were the clay people, on the way home from school. And then we’d have auditions for Dale Arden. So that was sort of my childhood fantasy.

QUESTION: Do you remember any first experiences with Superman or Batman?

BRUCE DAVISON: Oh, yeah – George Reeves working with “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” – you know, in the ’50s when there were just three channels on the TV, and you watched the Indian on the Test Pattern until nine when things started coming on. I did have a cape and I did jump off my stairs – and survived (laugh). I really loved running around the hill, trying to do the whole “Truth, Justice and the American Way” thing (hums the theme song). I’d try to take off just like he did, and end up sliding on my face down the hill. But that was always off camera for me and I figured they didn’t see that part, just the great take off (laughs).

QUESTION: How did comic books influence your upbringing?

BRUCE DAVISON: I was a major EC Comic freak. I just loved them all. “Tales Of The Crypt,” “Weird Science” … all of the older stuff. I just really loved the artwork – Wally Wood and all of those great artists. But they scared the bejesus out of me as a kid. I remember one very vivid comic in which a baseball player would spike people, sliding into everybody, so they cut him all up and played baseball with his head and used his legs as the bats. I think they used his trunk as home plate. That really scared me (he laughs). It was a really interesting time. They used to run articles in the comics about how people in Congress were trying to make it a Commie plot to ban EC. I found that really interesting – that was really the dawning of my first understanding of politics and censorship.

QUESTION: Why are superheroes important for us?

BRUCE DAVISON: I think it gives us a sense of idealism and strength that we don’t have but we wish we did. It’s like, why do we create religion? Because we need super heroes to take care of us, to live up to.

QUESTION: You’ve done so many different things. What do people most often recognize you for?

BRUCE DAVISON: Well, if they’re my age, probably Willard, because that was an impressionable movie when you’re young. The younger people know me from X-Men. And then if you’re 12, it’s Knight Rider. It’s as though every few years something comes along and then I’m sort of remembered for that. But people don’t really know that I can do anything else until the next time.

QUESTION: Did you learn anything from your first animation voiceover experience?

BRUCE DAVISON: I learned it’s a lot of fun. It really is. And you just have to sort of wing it with the other actors. You do have to work within the iambic pentameter of the technical world of the medium. You can’t pop things and you can’t get too close to the microphone and you can’t get too breathy. You really have to sort of create a character vocally within a framework of technology. So you can’t step out of it in order to do something that maybe you would do as an actor on film or on stage. When you’re on stage, even a whisper, you have to reach very far away. In film, you can be much more intimate. But just using your voice, you have to create something that’s somewhere in the middle so that it paints a picture and yet it’s not intimate enough to get lost.

For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s official website at www.JUSTICELEAGUECRISIS.com.

New JLA: Crisis And Halo Legends Pics

Courtesy of Warner Bros. comes a nice Christmas present; brand new pictures from the latest DC animated film adaptation and the Halo anthology movie.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths features on our must-have list in next month’s debut Arcana magazine and is released on February 23. Halo Legends based on the hugely popular game franchise consists of 7 short films created by different Japanese animation studios, and arrives on February 12.

Four core members of the Justice League’s parallel world entity, the Crime Syndicate: (from left) Johnny Quick, Ultraman, Superwoman and Owlman.

The Flash … in a free fall (no, he can’t fly)

Superman wrestles with the parallel Earth’s bulked up Jimmy Olsen.

The Jester, a member of the parallel Earth’s Justice League, helps Lex Luthor break free from the Crime Syndicate.

The villain ultimately responsible for the core issues within The Duel.

The battle rages.

A prime example of the detail within the CG anime of The Package episode.

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