June 30, 2015

JACK CARTER DEAD AT 93



Comedian and actor Jack Carter died on June 28th at the age of 93. You can read the full story here.

Carter's Saturday credits include guest appearances as Larry Madison in an episode of Saved by the Bell: the New Class, Harry on an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, and Tiresias on an episode of Hercules: The Animated Series.

June 27, 2015

NINTENDO CEREAL SYSTEM

NINTENDO CEREAL SYSTEM


Ralston



            In 1985, Nintendo brought its Famicom gaming system over for Japan and dubbed it the Nintendo Entertainment System. Boxed with it was the second game in the spin-off series starring Donkey Kong’s Mario: Super Mario Bros. The system, and game, became hits as kids helped Mario and his brother Luigi rescue the Mushroom Kingdom from the evil reptilian Bowser and his minions.



            Nintendo’s next hit came the following year with the Japanese release of The Legend of Zelda as one of the launch titles for Famicom’s new Disk System. Created by the same people who produced Mario, the game featured a young boy named Link who sought to protect the kingdom of Hyrule from the evil Ganon by uniting the pieces of a powerful artifact known as the Triforce. Who’s Zelda? She’s the princess in distress Link is often tasked with rescuing. When it was released in America in 1987, it became the first Nintendo game to sell over a million copies. The sequel was released in Japan in the following months and in America in late 1988.

Print ad for the cereal.

            With two hit games, Ralston saw an opportunity to give the best of both worlds. Acquiring the license to both franchises, in 1988 Ralston produced a fruity cereal for Mario and a berry cereal for Zelda. Mario’s cereal featured shapes representing Mario, Bowser, Super Mushrooms and the two common enemies Goombas and Koopa Troopas. Zelda’s cereal featured Link, health hearts, boomerangs, keys and shields.



            But the most unique aspect of the cereals was that Ralston combined them both in a single box. Dubbed the Nintendo Cereal System after the NES console, each box contained the cereals in their own separate bag inside and a perforation along the top flap allowed you to pour out one at a time. The boxes depicted several scenes from both the originals and sequels of both franchises, although in drawings meant to mimic the graphics rather than actual screenshots. During Ralston’s promotional offer for a hologram t-shirt, the box joined the others in Ralston’s line with special holograms of Mario and Link in place of the usual box art.

Trading card offer box.

            The cereal’s commercials were the first animated effort to feature the new Super Mario design for Mario and the first for Zelda, a year before they received their animated series as part of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! The commercial also made use of Koji Kondo’s score for the underground levels of the original Super Mario with lyrics talking about the cereal.

Several of the box designs.

            A regular feature of the box was the offering of tips for both franchises’ games on the side panel. The cereal also came with a variety of premiums, including 12 different trading cards to cut off the back of the box, a mail-away poster of either franchise, stickers, an iron-on transfer for clothing, a miniature pinball game inside, a chance to win the NES Power Set, a Game & Watch game or the Nintendo Power Glove, and money off of a subscription to Nintendo Power magazine. Unfortunately, the cereal didn’t prove as popular as the games on which it was based, resulting in its lasting a little more than a year on shelves.

DONKEY KONG CEREAL

DONKEY KONG CEREAL


Ralston



            After several failed attempts to break into the American video game market, Nintendo finally scored a hit with its game Donkey Kong in 1981. The game featured the titular ape kidnapping Pauline, the girlfriend of carpenter Mario (later known as a plumber and Nintendo’s mascot). Mario was tasked with rescuing Pauline from Donkey Kong at a construction site, jumping over thrown barrels and fireballs along the way.



The game became incredibly popular and profitable, spawning a diverse line of merchandise featuring the characters. The following year, as Donkey Kong’s first sequel was set to hit arcades, Ralston entered into a licensing agreement with Nintendo to produce a cereal based on the game. Released in 1982, the cereal was shaped like barrels, and those who remember it often compare its taste to that of Cap ’n Crunch. It did not prove as popular as the game and only lasted a year.

The baseball card promotion box.

The commercials for the cereal were the first animated appearances of Donkey Kong’s characters, as it wouldn’t be until 1983 when the game was adapted to be a part of CBSSaturday Supercade. They featured Mario chasing Donkey Kong around a live-action breakfast table as kids looked on. The cereal offered several premiums, including baseball cards and stickers. A sweepstakes allowed kids a chance to win either the Game & Watch version of the game or the actual arcade machine.

The instant win box.



COMMERCIAL BREAK: SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Celebrating Sonic's 24th anniversary and our 1st, a collection of Sonic commercials you may or may not have seen while watching on Saturday morning! Enjoy!











WHERE ON EARTH IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?

WHERE ON EARTH IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?
(FOX, FOX Family Channel, February 5, 1994-January 2, 1999)


DiC Entertainment, Brøderbund

MAIN CAST:
Joanie Tucker (season 1), Justin Shenkarow (season 2), Asi Lang & Joanie Pleasant (season 3-4) - Player

In 1983, Brøderbund Software, Inc. co-founder Gary Carlston proposed an idea to programmer Dan Bigham the idea of a computer game that would get kids interested in geography; a hobby of Carlston and his brother and fellow co-founder Doug. Gene Portwood, Lauren Elliott and David Siefkin developed the script, graphics and humor (puns, rhymes, alliteration) featured in the series, while Bigham used another game interface he was developing as the basis for the game. Early drafts included basing the series in England and chasing around King Henry VII while collecting treasures, while another idea had the game based on the Time Life series of books about world cities. Gary ultimately decided to use The World Almanac as inspiration.

Title screen.

Siefkin developed an early script for the game based on his experiences with the game Colossal Cave Adventure. While players there would search an underground cavern for treasures, he expanded the concept to include real treasures in real countries around the world. Through trial and error, players would learn about those countries as clues would be based around languages, cultures and geography. Several villains were included in his script, including Carmen Sandiego who was named for Brazilian singer and actress Carmen Miranda and the American city of San Diego, California. Carmen was eventually elevated to being the main villain of the game.

Game screen.

In 1985 Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? was released, the first in a series. The game casts players as members of the ACME Detective Agency in pursuit of the eponymous rogue agent (originally a spy of multiple allegiances) who had turned to crime after finding no challenge in stopping it. The player would traverse the world, following clues in pursuit of Carmen and her henchmen from the organization V.I.L.E. (Villain’s International League of Evil) after they had committed a spectacular theft in order to arrest them within the allotted time.  And, along the way, the player learned a little something about the locations and objects they encountered. As players progressed after Carmen’s henchmen and successfully captured them with the correct warrant, they earned promotions and advanced in the ranks of ACME.

Modern Carmen.

Carmen, a woman of Latin descent, was depicted always wearing a red trench coat and fedora with a yellow stripe, and leather gloves. Both or one of her eyes would always be covered by her hat, hair or in shadows. For most of her appearances, she wore a dress matching the stripe on her hat and red high-heeled shoes, although in later games she was given a catsuit and practical footwear. Her henchmen often featured pun-laden names, such as Justin Case, Sarah Nade, Patty Larceny, Dee Pockets, Dinah Myte, Don N. Hout, Anita Bath, Rob M. Blind and others.

In space, no one can hear you steal.


The game became Brøderbund’s third successful release on the Commodore 64 system, and Brøderbund was quick to provide the world with more Carmen. In 1986, they released Where in the U.S.A., followed by Where in Europe in 1988 and Where in Time in 1989. In 1989/1990, Brøderbund produced a prototype for a state-specific Carmen game called Where in North Dakota, in time for the state’s 100th anniversary. Intended to be the first in a line of state-based Carmen games, it never went beyond North Dakota’s 5,000 copies and instead Brøderbund returned to the broader scope of the series with Where in America’s Past in 1991.

Lynne Thigpen and Greg Lee on the live game show.

As the games continued to be profitable, PBS was looking for a way to combat the growing concern over American’s lack of knowledge about geography. Partnering with Brøderbund, PBS created a gameshow entitled Where in the World, which would feature three contestants between 10-14 years-old answering questions to determine the location of Carmen’s henchmen and ultimately track down and arrest Carmen herself. The show starred Greg Lee as the host, Lynne Thigpen as the Chief, and featured musical accompaniment by acapella group Rockapella for the first four seasons. It ran for a total of five between 1991 and 1995. It returned in 1996, retooled as Where in Time and ran two additional seasons. Thigpen reprised her role for a 1996 update of the game Where in the U.S.A.

The player.

Back in 1990, Brøderbund attempted to bring Carmen to animation with DiC Entertainment, developed by Phil Harnage. It took until 1993 to sell the series to the fledgling FOX network and its FOX Kids Saturday morning programming block, as FOX needed a show to meet the requirements of the Children’s Television Act. Because of FOX’s other offerings, usually leaning towards the violent, Brøderbund insisted on reading and approving every script in order to ensure the focus was on edutainment and not mindless action.

Carmen's final taunt.

Like the games, the show focused on the ACME Detective Agency’s endless search to capture the notorious thief and former agent Carmen Sandiego (Rita Moreno). Each episode would begin with a live-action segment with the player (Joanie Tucker, Justin Shenkarow, Asi Lang and Joanie Pleasant) logging on to the game on a computer and occasionally even interacting with Carmen, typically at the end of an episode for Carmen’s final words after she made her escape. The player remained unseen for the rest of the episode, but was responsible for helping the detectives by sending them where they needed to go and opening files for them for researching clues.

Zack and Ivy.

In the first episode, the player’s detectives were selected: the brother/sister pair of 14-year-old Zack (Scott Menville) and 18-year-old Ivy (Jennifer Hale). Both were experts in different things, which balanced each other nicely on cases. However, as they were brother and sister, they often got on each other’s nerves with their contrasting personalities. Ivy was a more of a no-nonsense type who focused on the cases, while Zack would goof around and call Ivy “sis,” which she hated. Ivy was also the more physical of the two, while Zack was the tech whiz. Interestingly enough, although Zack’s name was spelled traditionally in his introductory scene and in the credits, his army jacket always had his name spelled “Zak.”

The CHIEF.

The head of ACME was a giant hologram head called CHIEF (Computerized Holographic Imaging Educational Facilitator, voiced by Rodger Bumpass) who provided exposition, information and alerts to his detectives. He was also the show’s primary source of comic relief; often speaking in a hyper-active manner, pulling random images out of his databanks in relation to what he was saying, and popping up in unexpected places to converse with the detectives. The main character designer on the series was Bill Sienkiewicz, along with Glen Hill, Donn Greer, Kurt Conner, Todd White and Ed Lee.

Carmen in the midst of a theft.

Unlike the games, the show would show how the spectacular thefts were committed. Carmen, in the spirit of fun which she approached her crimes, would leave clues behind for Zack and Ivy to find and deduce her next location. Zack and Ivy would travel through an instantaneous transportation method known as the C-5 Corridor; a computer-generated hallway rendered by Rez.N8 that allowed the player to access information about their destination with accompanying images or graphics. A map would appear showing where their destination was in relation to their current location before they entered the Corridor. A running gag on the show was that the Corridor was glitchy, often depositing them in an uncomfortable landing zone a bit away from their intended stop. Zack and Ivy would always recover what Carmen stole, but her master plan continually allowed her to escape.

Animatic about William Shakespeare.

Carmen’s minions consisted of gray-suited faceless men, covered from head to toe with only their noses and mouths exposed. They were little more than cannon fodder for Zack and Ivy to plow through on their way to solving the mystery. However, Carmen’s henchmen made frequent appearances to provide even more of a challenge and give Carmen extra support. Like the games, many of them had pun-laden names, such as athletic Olympic-themed thief Abe L. Body; Clay Tandoori, who stole anything related to India; con-man and master art thief Touriest Classe; Paige Turner, a literature expert who played out her crimes as inspired by books; ultra-greedy Lars Vegas; Hawaiian expert Hannah Lulu; and Carmen’s lawyer Lee Galese.

Promotional artwork.

The series debuted in February of 1994 after a post-production delay. Producers always wanted Moreno for the role of Carmen, but her schedule made auditioning an impossibility and they used a different actress. When she became available, they loved her audition so much that they had her re-dub all of Carmen’s lines for the first season, pushing its debut back. The series’ theme was a re-recording of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” using pop instrumentation and a backbeat, coupled with lyrics by series composer Tom Worrall. The series’ animation was handled by the Rainbow Animation Group. Leading into a commercial break, one of the characters would read a trivia question pertaining to something discussed in the episode and gave the answer upon the show’s return.

Those dolls aren't the only things hard to find.

The show ran on FOX Kids through the first two episodes of the fourth season before being put on hiatus. It wouldn’t be until 1998 that the remaining episodes of season four, except “Cupid Sandiego,” would play on the FOX Family Channel. The show’s second run began with a special 3-day marathon of all three parts of “Retribution.”

Ivy in the Roman games.

The second season would introduce the recurring element of time travel much like in the games after Carmen developed her own time machine. Gradually, the show began to abandon its own format as writers began to focus more on the character of Carmen. Carmen was shown as having her own ethical code; stealing for the fun of it but never intending to harm anyone. Her better nature began to shine through and her weaknesses explored. During the fourth and final season, Carmen began teaming up with Zack and Ivy in order to keep genuinely evil criminals from ousting her from her control of V.I.L.E.  Amongst them was Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom (Tim Curry), who wanted revenge on Carmen for his capture at her hands when she was an ACME agent; Mason Dixon, Carmen’s former criminal partner who made use of her time machine to steal her title as the world’s greatest thief; Lee Jordan (David Coburn), another ACME agent who grew bored and turned to crime, but was too conceited for Carmen to become a part of her V.I.L.E. organization; and Dr. Sarah Bellum, Carmen’s mad scientist and gadget maker who posed as Carmen in order to take over V.I.L.E.

Zack, Ivy, the CHIEF and Carmen in Junior Detective.

Where on Earth was nominated for the Daytime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Children’s Animated Program” in 1994, 1996 and 1997 and won it in 1995. Also in 1995, Brøderbund utilized the characters from the series, as well as some new ones, in their next installment in the Carmen Sandiego franchise with Carmen Sandiego: Junior Detective. The voice actors all reprised their role for their respective characters, although Carmen’s design was reminiscent of the other games in the series rather than the show. The game had little else to do with the show. It was intended for a younger audience and featured a simplified version of the typical Carmen gameplay. Carmen games would continue to be made expanding into other educational fields beyond geography, although ownership of the franchise changed hands when The Learning Company bought out Brøderbund in 1998. Moreno would go on to voice Carmen two more times in the planetarium films Where in the Universe and its sequel, joined by Thigpen once again as the Chief.

The first season DVD.

20th Century Fox released several VHS tapes with two-episodes each beginning in 1995. In 2003, Sterling Entertainment Group released the three-part episode “Retribution” and “When it Rains” on a DVD called Into the Maelstrom and  “The Remnants,” “Can You Ever Go Home Again?” and “Follow My Footprints” in No Place Like Home as part of their Animation Station line, which were re-released in 2007 by NCircle Entertainment. In 2006, Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment released the first season on DVD. The release sold poorly and future releases were cancelled. Beginning in 2008, LionsGate Entertainment released the two three-part episodes “Retribution” and “Labyrinth” as Carmen’s Revenge and Time Traveler. The episode “Timing is Everything” was included with some versions of the 2001 game Treasures of Knowledge.  In 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to the series and released it in its entirety on a four-DVD set in 2012, as well as a 10-episode best-of collection on the same day. Later that year, Mill Creek released the second season as part of their TV Toons to Go! collection. In 2015, Mill Creek released another best-of collection as part of their Retro TV Toons line.

EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“The Stolen Smile” (2/5/94) – Zack and Ivy try to figure out why Carmen is stealing body parts from various paintings, rather than the whole painting.

“A Higher Calling” (2/12/94) – Carmen brings stolen loot to Ayer’s Rock in order to contact aliens.

“Dinosaur Delirium” (2/19/94) – Carmen steals four powerful helicopters to use in her plot to create dinosaurs.

“Moondreams” (3/5/94) – Carmen travels the world to steal a toy, a rocket and the space shuttle in order to acquire her main target: the moon.

“By a Whisker” (3/12/94) – Carmen abducts white lion cubs to put in her own personal game preserve.

“The Good Old, Bad Old Days” (3/19/94) – Carmen accepts the player’s challenge to commit a low-tech crime and sets her sights on the Orient Express.

“Rules of the Game” (4/9/94) – Carmen’s clues lead Zack and Ivy to Hawaii for a chess game.

“Music to my Ears” (4/23/94) – Carmen steals musical talent and gives it to two of her henchwomen to give a concert after stealing the Sydney Opera House.

“Chapter and Verse” (4/30/94) – Literary-themed thefts lead Ivy and Zack to discover Carmen’s memoirs.

“The Play’s the Thing” (5/7/94) – An actress upstages Carmen in a theft, so Carmen decides to upstage her in a play.

Season 2:
“A Date With Carmen Part 1” (9/10/94) – Carmen goes back in time and her thefts begin to alter history.

“A Date With Carmen Part 2” (9/17/94) – Ivy and Zack follow Carmen through history in order to prevent her from stealing the un-cracked Liberty Bell.

“Split Up” (9/24/94) – When Zack’s new invention fails to stop a Carmen theft, he and Ivy end up in an argument that causes them to go their separate ways on the case.

“Skull and Double-Crossbones” (2/4/95) – Zack and Ivy team-up with Russian and Jamaican ACME detectives to stop Carmen from stealing a Russian submarine.

“Hot Ice” (2/11/95) – Carmen creates a large diamond that allows her to disrupt ACME’s systems.

“All For One” (2/18/95) – After Carmen rescues two henchmen from the police, she has them engage in teamwork-building thefts before attempting their botched theft again.

“Scavenger Hunt” (2/25/95) – It’s Carmen’s birthday, and she’s decided to celebrate by stealing famous gifts around the world to give to herself.

“When It Rains” (3/4/95) – Zack and Ivy track down Carmen after a very uncharacteristic theft only to discover her scientist Sarah Bellum is trying to outdo Carmen.

“Déjà Vu” (3/11/95) – Carmen steals specific items to lure her ex-partner Suhara out of retirement.

“Boyhood’s End Part 1” (3/18/95) – Zack takes a vacation, leaving Ivy paired up with Lee Jordan who rubs Ivy the wrong way.

“Boyhood’s End Part 2” (3/25/95) – Lee is revealed to be working for Carmen in an attempt for the biggest heist ever.

Season 3:
“The Tigress” (9/16/95) – Carmen’s thefts are being constantly interrupted by another high-tech thief called The Tigress.

“The Remnants” (9/23/95) – A Wizard of Oz-themed crime spree leads Zack and Ivy to discover Carmen was an orphan.

“Curses, Foiled Again” (9/30/95) – Zack believes he’s cursed when he loses his lucky rabbit’s foot, and Carmen tries to teach Hannah Lulu not to be superstitious.

“Birds of a Feather” (10/7/95) – The law has trouble figuring out how Carmen managed to steal the Star of Africa, the largest diamond in the world.

“Shaman Spirits” (10/14/95) – Carmen seeks a Native American shaman to interpret her recurring nightmare.

“Follow My Footprints” (10/21/95) – When Carmen is reported dead, Zack and Ivy have to solve her final caper without the CHIEF before one of her henchmen becomes the new head of V.I.L.E.

“Labyrinth Part 1” (10/28/95) – Zack and Ivy are discovered attempting to infiltrate Carmen’s secret underground training facility.

“Labyrinth Part 2: Woman of the Year, 2101” (11/4/95) – Carmen travels to the year 2101 to stop a theft while Zack and Ivy try to deal with the wacky future version of the CHIEF.

“Labyrinth Part 3: When in Rome” (11/11/95) – While Zack and Ivy are put into the Colosseum games in ancient Rome Carmen plans to steal the entire Colosseum.

“Just Like Old Times” (11/18/95) – Carmen gives the CHIEF a virus, making him believe Carmen is good and Zack and Ivy are thieves.

Season 4:
“The Trial of Carmen Sandiego” (9/9/96) – Zack and Ivy must defend Carmen against a crooked judge in a mock trial.

“Trick or Treat” (10/31/96) – Carmen sets up a haunted house with her latest acquisitions as payback for a trick played on her in China.

“Retribution Part 1: Unsinkable Carmen Sandiego” (3/30/98) – Maelstrom escapes from prison and seeks revenge on the one who put him there: Carmen.

“Retribution Part 2: In Memoriam” (3/31/98) – Believing Maelstrom dead, Carmen plans to give him a Viking funeral until he appears and challenges her.

“Retribution Part 3: Maelstrom’s Revenge” (4/1/98) – Maelstrom goes on a crime spree and frames Carmen for them, ruining her reputation.

“Timing is Everything” (12/5/98) – Mason Dixon steals Carmen’s time machine to become the head of V.I.L.E.

“Cupid Sandiego” (??/??/??) – Carmen distracts the detectives with love-themed thefts in order to hide her true objective.

“Can You Ever Go Home Again Part 1” (12/26/98) – Carmen discovers a painting representing her mother while Lee Jordan decides to take over V.I.L.E.

“Can You Ever Go Home Again Part 2” (1/2/99) – Carmen is forced to steal to rescue her father from Lee, and top on his list of demands is the destruction of ACME.

HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY!




Look! We've got cake!


            Well, here we are. The 1 year mark of SATURDAY MORNINGS FOREVER. For those not in the know, SMF began as a book concept I had. There were books about every Saturday-like subject, from cereals to cartoons, but never anything focusing SPECIFICALLY on Saturday morning fare. Saturdays were very memorable for me, and I’m very nostalgic for the times when I had nothing to do but relax after a long week at school and veg out for an entire morning. I know many of you out there are too, otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this thing today.




            So, why the blog? Because I got impatient working on entries and not being able to show them to anyone until I was ready to publish who knows when. These things take a LOT of work, from research to writing to fact checking to finding episode guides to work off of when full episodes are not available to re-watch. We live in the information age, that’s true, but sometimes I find myself being the pioneer of said information. It’s not always easy, and my schedule doesn’t always allow me to spend ages doing it. But, I try, and I share, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed my efforts thus far.


Celebrating Sonic's 20th.


            When I decided to do the blog, it was the week of Sonic the Hedgehog’s 23rd anniversary. Since I was a fan of his SatAM show (as its fans know it), I decided to begin there. To celebrate mine and his anniversaries, I had planned to bring you another Sonic offering with Sonic Underground, but somehow I had mistakenly gotten the idea that it was a Saturday show. How? I don’t know. That was a product of early initial research. To replace it, I had planned to do Sonic X—a Japanese import that WAS actually on Saturday, but that thing proved to be a bit complicated for a quick research and write-up, so I need to dedicate more time on that. You’ll also notice Baby Looney Tunes never made it up during our Babyfication month. Same reason. Hey, I’m not perfect, but I try to make as few mistakes as possible. Hopefully, the smattering of Sonic commercials I’ve posted will make up for that.

A smattering of Saturday toons and friends.


            Where does that leave us? Well, minus the two goofs, we’re 78 shows into our 1,000 show journey to recreate Saturday morning memories for everyone. Along with sonic, we’ve celebrated the anniversaries of Saved bythe Bell, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters and Hello Kitty with their related shows. We marked the release of Dumb and Dumber II with our first theme month (not counting the recurring Halloween theme preceding it) celebrating cartoons based on Jim Carrey movies. We joined the rest of fandom in commemorating the historic and long-awaited release of the 1966 Batman series on DVD with the one cartoon starring both Adam West and Burt Ward in their iconic roles. In 2015, we began our monthly theme months with Black History Month, and have many more coming up this year and planned for next. We also began increasing our focus, going into comics based on Saturday shows. How cool is that?

We're going on..to the future!


            So, here’s to the next however many years I’ve got left to go on this thing before I can compile it all, re-edit it and make it into the book of my dreams. Thanks for joining me for the ride so far, and hopefully you’ll continue to stick around. If we hadn’t gotten to your favorite show yet, I’m sure it’s coming soon.

June 23, 2015

DICK VAN PATTEN DEAD AT 86


Dick Van Patten died on June 23rd. You can read the full story here.

Although appearing in virtually everything, Van Patten's sole Saturday morning credit was as a burglar on The Weird Al Show.

June 20, 2015

REVIEW: BATMAN BEYOND (2015) #1

Warning: May contain spoilers.
 






BATMAN BEYOND #1
 
Release date: June 3, 2015
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Bernard Chang
Colors: Marcelo Maidlo
Letters: Dave Shapre
Editors: Dan Didio & David Pina
Covers: Bernard Chang & Marcel Maidlo (regular), Kalman Andrasofszky (variant)























Batman Beyond was an animated series by the people who brought you Batman: The Animated Series and the rest of the DC Animated Universe from 1999-2001. Set in the future, Bruce Wayne had long-since retired and Gotham City, now Neo-Gotham, continued on without him. Teenager Terry McGinnis stumbled upon Bruce's secret and wormed his way into becoming the new Batman; utilizing a technologically advanced suit that could fly, turn invisible, and gave him enhanced physical abilities.

Beyond's integration into the DC main continuity.


In the decade since the series ended, DC Comics has resurrected the franchise. A six-issue mini-series leading into an ongoing incorporated elements of the cartoons with current DC history, setting it in the future of the comics' universe. From 2014-15, New 52: Future's End, a weekly event series set 5 years in DC's future, saw Terry traveling back to the past to stop Brother Eye, an A.I. created by Mr. Terrific and Batman, from conquering his home in the future. During the series, McGinnis died and a retired Tim Drake, aka Red Robin, took up his mantle. The series ended with Drake shunted forward into McGinnis' future.

Tim Drake comes to the future in the series preview during Convergence.

Now, this isn't your older brother's Batman Beyond. Neo-Gotham is now the only city left unaffected by Brother Eye's takeover. McGinnis' mother is gone and his little brother Matty now lives with one of the resistance against Brother Eye. Also, Batman's suit has an A.I. program named after and based on Wayne's faithful butler Alfred. After taking out some Jokerz, Batman promises Matty to rescue those imprisoned by Eye and looks to infiltrate one of Eye's concentration camps.

The Jokerz ain't no joke.


GRADE: B-. DC has tried very hard to suck all the fun and joy out of their books since the New 52 reboot in 2011, and it's finally reached their future. While some of the names are the same, there's very little here tying this book into the animated series on which it's based. That's not to say that Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang haven't delivered a well-done comic; but considering the brand they're playing with it will come as a surprise for anyone who was a fan of the original series and hadn't read or read-up on Future's End. In fact, they've gone so far as to alter the title logo to drive that fact home. Carried over from Chang and Marcelo Maiolo's run on Green Lantern Corps is the colorization of certain action panels with just red and white. It adds an interesting touch to some action scenes, emphasizing the impact much in the way the screen would flash during fights throughout the original DC Animated Universe.

Bats from above!


This issue came with two covers, seen below. What did you think of this issue? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook by clicking the link on top of the right-hand menu.



REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS GET REAL #1

Warning: May contain spoilers.
 





GHOSTBUSTERS GET REAL #1
 
Release date: June 17, 2015
Writer: Erik Burnham
Art: Dan Schoening
Colors: Luis Antonio Delgado
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Tom Waltz
Covers: Dan Schoening & Luis Antonio Delgado (regular, convention, Nerd Block), Erica Henderson (subscription)

















The first issue to IDW's ongoing series.



When IDW acquired the Ghostbusters license back in 2008, they had a bit of trouble finding their footing; producing two lackluster mini-series. Things changed when they began releasing a series of one-shots, before finally beginning a new ongoing series by Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening. Set in the movie universe and following Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the series was well-received by fans new and old. 



The series was rebooted with a new #1 when the main cast was trapped in another dimension and replacements were filling in for them, running an additional 20-issues before ultimately ending again. However, just in time for both franchises' 30th anniversaries, IDW released the crossover everyone dreamed about: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters. 



Now, IDW gives us another unlikely combination, as their Ghostbusters team-up with the versions from The Real Ghostbusters animated series. A primordial god named Proteus has a grand scheme and aims to remove the Real Ghostbusters from the equation before they can think about stopping him. However, a good turn the Ghostbusters performed saves them and has them ending up in the IDW Ghostbusters' universe.



GRADE: A+. While the Real team had shown up in a fashion during the ongoing (particularly through Easter eggs drawn by Dan Schoening), this is the first time they've been central to an IDW comic. As the primary team for the duration of IDW's ongoing series, the creators here continue to bring their A-game in respect to that franchise.



Story-wise, not much happens beyond setting up the rest of the series. However, what a set-up it is. Erik Burnham's writing is as spot on as it has been for the duration of his run on the main book. The dialogue is sharp and crisp, blending comedy with pseudo-science almost as if he actually wrote the movies himself. This story also builds on the previous crossover mini, utilizing the teleportation device the team used to send the Turtles back to their own universe as a potential way to send the Real team back.



But the standout portion of the book is Schoening's artwork. He gets a chance to shine by rendering all characters in the Real universe as if they were drawn by the Korean animators who worked on the show; although you can see a bit of his style shining through. And his style is in all its glory with his IDW standard characters. If anything, this series will showcase Schoening is not just a one-trick pony and can adapt his style as required.



Luis Delgado's colors drive everything home. Everything in the Real universe keeps shadows minimal as the were in the show, but he adds more to those characters when they're in the IDW universe. In fact, all scenes in the Real universe almost seem as if they were ripped straight off of the show's DVDs. While the contrasting styles are a bit jarring, it works as well as it did when the Turtles had their own crossover in animated form for their 25th anniversary (however, in contrast, the comic is a lot more respectful of their 80s counterparts).

This issue came with four covers. What did you think of this comic? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page by clicking the link at the top of the right-hand menu.