It's hard to work out how Robot Chicken creative director and increasingly busy comic book writer Kevin Shinick found the time to complete 100 episodes of Mad for Warner Bros. Animation, but he did it, and it's an accomplishment he and the studio are celebrating with a double-sized anniversary show tonight on Cartoon Network. Perhaps most enticingly for ComicsAlliance readers, the episode's centerpiece is what's surely to be a biting Man of Steelparody starring "Weird Al" Yankovic as Superman and Henry Winkler as Jor-El.
Devised and written by (and usually starring) Shinick, the Mad cartoon is, in his words, the magazine brought to life in animation. It's a bold statement but honestly Shinick isn't wrong. Besides just being very funny, Mad translates the venerable humor magazine's signature irreverence, silliness and other naughtiness for television, segueing from one sketch to another with animated page tears and everything. The series actually employs some of the cartoonists who continue to define the voice of Mad, including Sergio Aragonés, who contributes all-new in-the-margins strips that find their way into every episode, as do topical film and television parodies, fake commercials and, of course, Spy vs. Spy. In every case, sketches are presented in visual styles reminiscent of Mad masters like Don Martin, Mort Drucker and Al Jaffee, and by way of different animation techniques such as Flash, stop-motion and puppets, to further honor the stylistic diversity of the magazine. But the series updates the magazine's scope for the extremely memetic world of today, going all-in on mashups (the ThunderLOLcats comes immediately to mind) and other highly bloggable jokes.
That any contemporary animated series makes it to 100 episodes is remarkable, but Mad has the additional distinction of being explicitly based on a comics magazine -- and with the help of that comics magazine's current contributors like Aragones and Tom Richmond -- makes the Emmy-nominated series that much more interesting. It's obvious from talking to Shinick (who's also writing Superior Carnage for Marvel) that the mantle of Mad is hugely important to him. In the following interview you'll find out why that is, as well as an inside look at Mad's impressive production workflow, Shinick's philosophy about comedic content for children, and what else to expect from tonight's 100th episode.
From 1996-2000, Superman: The Animated series followed in the footsteps of Batman: The Animated Series by introducing an entire generation to a version of Superman who fought to do what was right no matter what and always found a better way in the face of adversity. Sure, he had to wear a suit to survive the vacuum of space long term and got banged up by lasers once in awhile, but when it came to raw characterization, most would agree that the cartoon presented a definitive version of the last son of Krypton. A true hero. Then there's this past summer's Man of Steel, which... did not necessarily communicate the same characterization. Screen Junkies contrasts the two versions of Supes in a new "Man of Steel: The Animated Series" mashup parody, which you can see after the cut. Spoiler warning if you haven't quite seen MoS yet, although if you've read the comics internet at all since June you don't have too much to worry about.
As part of the ongoing celebration of the 75th anniversary of Superman, Warner Bros. Animation'sBruce Timm and Man of Steel director Zack Snyder collaborated on a two-minute film that observes some of Superman's more memorable adventures. The animation includes homages to original creators Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster to contemporary artists like Jim Lee, with stops along the way that give props to Curt Swan, Dan Jurgens, Neal Adams, Andy Warhol, Fleisher Studios, Alex Ross, the Smallville television series, Christopher Reeve, George Reeves, Henry Cavil and Timm's own work on Superman: The Animated Series.
David S. Goyer, prolific writer of superhero movies such as the Blade movies (including the third one), the Dark Knight movies (including the third one) and David Hasselhoff's Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD TV movie, spoke about the controversy surrounding his most recent work, Man of Steel, at the BAFTA/BFI Screenwriter's Lecture last night. Spoilers for the movie ahead, if you were lucky enough to dodge that bullet.
People have OPINIONS about Man of Steel, but one thing I think fans can all agree on is that it was pretty tasteful of the movie not to make actor Michael Shannon echo Terence Stamp's iconic "Kneel before Zod" line from Superman II. Or maybe the movie could've used it? Whatever the case, now fans can recreate or totally not recreate whatever scenes they want from MoS thanks to Hot Toys' upcoming 1/6 scale General Zod figure. Packed with just a few spare pairs of hands and his spooky Prometheus-lookin' Kryptonian space Helmet, Zod's appropriately pretty Spartan. This seems to be a pattern with the MoS line from Hot Toys, which is putting more emphasis on sculpts and suits than a raw batch of accessories. I guess dudes like Batman and Tony Stark just tend to need more toys than DC's solar-powered race of super aliens.
The sequel to this summer's Man of Steel, which director Zack Snyder confirmed at Comic-Con would feature a new actor in the role of Batman, is only in the script stage, so it may be a tad early to speculate about who might be the next actor to wear the cape and cowl.
So let's speculate. Some of the names floating around include Drive's Ryan Gosling, No Country for Old Men'sJosh Brolin, True Blood's Joe Manganiello and Watchmen's Matthew Goode.
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