Kick off the month of May with today's links.
Batman may be the one turning 75 this year, but DC Collectibles' recent celebratory release schedule was big on the Clown Prince of Crime. Topping off the some 50 pieces of Batmerch coming from the company between now and the fall will be a Batman Black and White: The Joker by Dick Sprang statue. Though the posted prototype photo recreates Sprang's simulteaneously rubbery and wizened version of the Joker as was seen in his many decades drawing Batman in periodical comics as well as the newspaper strip, it's also a dead-ringer for the villain taking a moment in front of a mirror to take a selfie. Truly fiendish!
Q: Who do you find more psychologically interesting, the Joker or Lex Luthor? -- Jordan, via email
A: You know, it's weird. As much as you see Superman and Batman together in stories where they're continually contrasted against each other, full of endlessly terrible first-person narration about how "Clark likes pancakes because he can't understand what it means to be vulnerable" but "Bruce always told me Alfred makes the best French toast, he has so much trouble trusting others" or whatever, their arch-nemeses don't often get compared with each other in the same way. They team up from time to time, sure, but usually the focus is just on their common goal of murdering the good guys, so you don't get too much there. That said, I like both of those characters a lot, and after thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that as the World's Foremost Batmanologist, as someone who has written extensively about the Joker and his relationship with Batman, it's definitely Lex Luthor.
Boom. Y'all just got swerved.
Howard Carter discovered King Tut's tomb. Pierre-François Bouchard found the Rosetta Stone. Now, Redditor sneakylawyer has discovered another one of the great archaeological finds of our time: A building in Ronse, Belgium full of Batman graffiti art.
The grafitti is the work of local artist Pete One, who seems to be really into Batman, but has also tagged walls with Daffy Duck and Michael Corleone.
It's Thanksgiving today here in America, which means that the streets of New York City have been overtaken by the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! As usual, it was a pretty big deal for those of us who enjoy ushering in the holiday season with Pikachu, Spider-Man and, of course, Santa Claus himself. In 1989, however, there was another guest who appeared to kick off Christmas: Batman's arch-nemesis, The Joker.
It is... not the best public appearance a supervillain has ever made. It is, in fact, so terrible that it might actually be a supervillain plot. Check it out below!
Perhaps in an attempt to alleviate any worries about Mark Hamill not reprising his role as The Joker in the new Batman: Arkham Origins, the hosts of Saturday's New York Comic-Con panel on the game asked the new actor in the role, Troy Baker, to demonstrate his grasp on the character.
They didn't ask him to read any old lines, either. Baker read The Joker's ominous monologue to Commisioner Gordon about madness from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke, and he more than held his own. He got a full-on standing ovation. Check out the video of his reading after the jump.
Not to be overshadowed by its big-console brother, the WB Games handheld prison-action game Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is showing off some of the trick it's got up its "Metroid-Vania" sleeve.
Among them: A lot of bad guys, including The Joker, The Penguin, Black Mask, Deadshot, and the just-revealed Solomon Grundy. Catwoman's there, too (and also in a new screen shot from the game). See if you can spot any more in the trailer after the cut.
Launched in 2005 by what was then called DC Direct, the Batman: Black & White statue series is DC Collectibles’ three-dimensional spinoff of the hugely acclaimed, Eisner-winning 1990s comic book anthology edited by Mark Chiarello that invited some of the world’s best and most idiosyncratic artists to express their own uninhibited visions of the enduringly popular and graphically compelling Dark Knight. Like the original book, the Black & White statue line has become a favorite among collectors and illustration enthusiasts for its high quality craftsmanship and impeccable taste in collaborators. Some of the artists who’ve designed for the Black & White series include Paul Pope, Simon Bisley, Eduardo Risso, Mike Mignola, Steve Rude, Alex Ross, Frank Miller, Matt Wagner, Neal Adams, Bruce Timm, Cliff Chiang, Darwyn Cooke, Frank Quietly... the list is very long and almost embarrassingly auspicious.
Having collected numerous DC and Warner Bros. Animation-related statues from the days when they were still licensed out to sculptors like Randy Bowen, the artists of Graffiti Designs and the talents at the much missed Warner Bros. Studio Store, I’m obviously a great admirer of the work of DC Collectibles. There’s something very hard to describe about how a great statue or other three-dimensional representation of your favorite hero can express their true, well, awesomeness in a way that’s utterly distinct from line art or even film or animation. It’s arguable that no collectibles line possesses this power in greater quantities than Batman: Black & White, as the line’s success with fans and creative professionals continues to demonstrate as it releases its fiftieth statue this week, designed by longtime ComicsAlliance favorite Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus, The Wake).
To celebrate the occasion (which also syncs up nicely with the long-awaited return of Chiarello’s beloved anthology, for which a photograph of Murphy’s statue will serve as a variant cover), we connected with DC Collectibles VP - Creative Services Kevin Kiniry and Design Director Jim Fletcher to talk about the history of Batman: Black & White, the possibility of a Black & White villains spinoff, and why so many comic book artists consider working on the line a “badge of honor.”
A new trailer for WB Games Montreal's Batman: Arkham Origins offers a reminder that the Dark Knight's got "eight assassins after head," and offers up a pretty good look at what he'll be dealing with. Big boss Black Mask, The Joker, Bane, Deathstroke, Copperhead, and the just-announced Firefly all make appearances. Not only that, but pair of cutscenes with Alfred and James Gordon (presumably before he was a commissioner... maybe lieutenant?) are featured, too.
The trailer also gives fans their first good listens to the new voices for Batman and The Joker -- Roger Craig Smith and Troy Baker -- who seem to be doing their best Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill impressions. See it all in motion after the jump.
If you were just kind of excited about Batman: Arkham Origins, but really thought what the whole package needed was a statue of Batman hoisting The Joker up by his lapels, boy, does WB Games Montreal have something for you.
The newly announced collector's edition of the game includes just such a statue, standing 30 cm. Along with it come a 30-page art book, a metal case for the game disc, a pack of villain dossiers and a collector's box. Also included are the first three DLC packs: two costume packs and the Deathstroke challenge pack.