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Bob Hastings, The Voice Of Commissioner Gordon On ‘Batman: The Animated Series,’ Dies At 89

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For a certain generation of TV viewers, Bob Hastings will always be Lt. Elroy Carpenter from McHale's Navy. For another generation, he'll forever be the voice of Police Commissioner Gordon. We may not have known his name or even thought about who was providing Gordon's voice on Batman: The Animated Series, but for our entire lives, his voice will be the voice we hear in our heads when we read a comic with Gordon in it.

Hastings died Monday after a long battle with prostate cancer, according to the Burbank Leader. He was 89.

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She’s A Problem Solver: Animator Brianne Drouhard Talks DC Nation’s ‘Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld’ [Interview]

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Warner Bros. Animation's DC Nation shorts produced some pretty fantastic material and shined a mass media spotlight on a lot of obscure DC Comics characters. But my favorite, hands down -- and that of many viewers -- was the animated reimagining of Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Ernie Colon's Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. Over the course of seven 75-second shorts produced, directed and designed by artist and animator Brianne Drouhard, Amy Winston was upgraded from an '80s straight-faced sword-and-sworcery concept to a a synthesis of gamer culture and magical girl anime, starring a contemporary young woman pulled into a funny and dangerous video game world where she's a princess of destiny set on a quest to battle skeletons, slay dragons and save the world.

With the series of shorts concluded and available to watch online, we spoke to Drouhard about how she pitched the fan-favorite story, the trials of adapting her illustrating style for animation, and why it was important for Amethyst to have video games in her life. We also got plenty of gorgeous Amethyst art from Drouhard in the process.

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Doyle & Masters’ ‘The Kitchen’ Cooks Up A Crime-Infested 1970s New York

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Comics fans are likely to at least have some familiarity with New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood as a setting for crime stories -- the area provides a location for many of Marvel's Daredevil comics. In reality, the area has been substantially gentrified since the early 1990s -- and Daredevil doesn't really live there.

That's why artist Ming Doyle (Mara) and writer and comics newcomer Ollie Masters are taking things back to the 1970s for their eight-issue Vertigo Comics series The Kitchen, when the neighborhood was still under-developed and plagued by crime. The series follows the lives of three mob wives whose husbands get shipped off to prison, leaving them to take up the family business. Check out covers, preview art, and a video interview with editor Will Dennis.

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Here’s The Thing, Episode 14: Why Is Destro So Great?

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If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he dives into comics history to explain why you're wrong and he's right.

This week, a reader wants to know why Chris, who is often so opposed to romanticizing villains, loves Destro so much. What is it about an arms dealer who supplies a terrorist organization bent on world domination that makes him different from other villains -- and makes him so easy for us to identify with?

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The Avatar’s Family Dynamic Is Explored In ‘Legend Of Korra: Book 2′ Bonus Feature [Video]

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If you're a fan of Avatar: The Legend of Korra, then you're probably having a pretty good week. Not only did Book 3 start up this weekend with the promise of Korra re-founding the Air Nation and going up against a team of super-powered crooks bent on destruction -- including an Water Bender who uses tendrils of water and ice in place of her missing arms, which is awesome -- but today marks the release of Book 2 on home video, for anyone who needs to catch up.

As you might expect, the Blu-Ray/DVD has more to offer than just the episodes of the show. There's a whole list of special features, including one where show creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko discuss the family dynamic that influenced the second season.

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Stop The Press: Vicki Vale And The Superficial ‘Strong Female Character’

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Ah, I thought, as the camera panned lovingly down Vicki Vale’s high-heeled, black-pantyhose-clad legs — here she is. The Strong Female Character. The 1989 model had fluffier hair than her successors, but that's really the only significant difference. She establishes her Totally Empowered cred early, makes eyes at the hero, then gets the hell out of the way as he and the (male, naturally) villain go about the business of advancing the plot. She snaps a photo once or twice to remind us that she's a globe-trotting photojournalist — the kind of photojournalist with no compunction toward sleeping with her subjects, but hey, whatever. She ends the film in the hero’s arms, fulfilling her role as reward for his victory, with nary a whisper of the professional goals that drove her to him in the first place. She is pretty and in need of rescue and almost entirely in service to the male characters’ plot and characterization—but she gets to be vaguely spunky and is slapped with a typically male career, so it’s totally okay.

I can only imagine the interviews that took place upon the release of Batman, touting her modernity, her break with the damsels of the past, her ineffable 1989-ness. I’m sure the crew patted themselves on the back heartily for providing the women and girls of America with such a vibrant reflection and role model.

I'm sure of these things because 25 years later, very little has changed regarding how women like Vicki are portrayed: superficially empowered and ultimately disposable.

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Plot Is Overrated: ‘Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe’ Cartoonist Tom Scioli Reviews ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

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I love my job. I make Transformers vs. G.I.Joe comics on a monthly basis (with the help of my co-writer John Barber). As part of due diligence, it's my duty to see Transformers: Age of Extinction. My ticket is a business expense. I'm making my comic not just for fans of Transformers and G.I.Joe, but for the rest of planet Earth, too. As a Transformers author I need to know how the larger world percieves Transformers so that I can play up to certain expectations and run counter to preconceived notions. In that capacity, I documented my observations about the film.

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Number One Guy: Why Michael Keaton Is Cinema’s Best Batman

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There have been five men to portray Batman in the character's eight live-action feature-length films, from Adam West in Batman '66 to Christain Bale in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. All five actors came with their strengths and weaknesses, but the best was Michael Keaton, who played the DC Comics superhero in 1989's Batman and 1992's Batman Returns.

In the first major scene of Batman '89, Keaton famously grabs a terrified mugger by the collar, holds him off the side of a building, pulls him close to his face, and hisses, "I'm Batman." As a 12-year old watching that moment on a VHS tape in my living room, I believed Michael Keaton. And I still believe him as a grown man watching it on DVD in my office 25 years later, even after having seen a half-dozen different Batman movies since.

I realize declaring Michael Keaton's performance as Batman to be not only my favorite Batman but the best Batman is a somewhat controversial statement, even (especially?) among my fellow writers at ComicsAlliance, but allow me to make my case.

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After String Of Crimes, Times Square Considers Its Own Superhero Registration Act

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Spider-Man, no!

Following a few incidents of costumed characters in Times Square committing crimes --most recently, one where a Spider-Man allegedly groped a tourist, which came after another Spider-Man was convicted of harassment -- the president of Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins, is putting his foot down. He's calling for all the Times Square characters -- superheroes, Sesame Street characters, Disney princesses and all others --to be licensed and regulated.

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Here’s The Thing, Episode 13: Where To Start With Jack Kirby [Video]

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If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he dives into comics history to explain why you're wrong and he's right.

This week, a viewer writes in with a question about where to start with the King of Comics, Jack Kirby. With a career that spanned six decades and a masterpiece (or three) in every era, the sheer amount of work that Kirby produced can be daunting for a new reader. Fortunately, we've got some suggestions.

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