Tag Archive: Batman


One of the standout artists of the past 20 years, British artist Jock’s work has appeared on comic book covers and movie posters, and his concept art has provided the vision behind the look of movies like Dredd, Ex Machina, Battleship, and in the works is next year’s Star Wars: Episode VIII.  A new high-quality hardcover from Insight Editions available this month is showcasing some of his best images.  The Art of Jock establishes a new standard for photographic reproductions, with some of the very best color and crisp detail found in any recent coffee table edition we’ve reviewed.  It features hundreds of illustrations from a creator really only at the early stages of his career.

Born in Scotland as Mark Simpson, Jock broke into comics with the British sci-fi comic book 2000 A.D., and today is an internationally-recognized artist and Eisner Award nominee.  We’ve seen his work in DC Comics series like Green Arrow and Batman, in Marvel series like Savage Wolverine and Daredevil, in the Image series Wytches, and in Vertigo series Scalped and Losers.  Highlights of early sketches and final versions of his work on these series can be found in this book in large, full color pages.  Fans of Jock will love the many original comic book covers and interior art included.


The Art of Jock was written by DC Comics editor Will Dennis, with commentary by Battleship director Peter Berg, and DC Comics’ Jim Lee and Scott Snyder.  But the most valuable insight is provided by the artist himself.  Jock recounts his process and critiques his own work, comparing his style between phases of his own development.

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JLD animated movie

Warner Bros. confirmed that Justice League Dark would be its next animated movie project this weekend at its panel at San Diego Comic-Con.  Now a behind-the-scenes feature included on the home release of Batman: The Killing Joke is online, and not only confirms Justice League Dark is the next animated movie coming from the DC Expanded Universe, but that it’s pretty far along in production.  Fans of NBC’s short-lived, Constantine television series will be happy to hear series lead Matt Ryan will voice the character in the animated movie.

Unfortunately DC did not choose to base the designs or stories on Mikel Janin’s gorgeous run on the Justice League Dark New 52 comic book series, except for the updated look for Zatanna.  Batman will be a key feature of the movie, along with JLD members John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, and Deadman.  The movie will also feature Etrigan and Black Orchid.

In addition to Matt Ryan reprising his role as Constantine (from his series and on CW’s Arrow), Nicholas Turturro (Burn Notice, White Collar) will voice Deadman, Camilla Luddington (Grey’s Anatomy) will voice Zatanna, prolific voice actor Ray Chase plays Etrigan, and Jason O’Mara (Complications, Life on Mars, The Closer, Terra Nova, Band of Brothers, Monarch of the Glen) is Batman.

Justice league Dark

Wonder Woman, Superman, and Green Lantern will have cameo appearances in the movie.

Check out this behind the scenes look at Justice League Dark:

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night court

More than fifty years ago Newton Minow, the first FCC commissioner, called television a vast wasteland.  The prospect of 500 channels available and nothing to watch was forecast back in the 1970s and today it sometimes seems like it’s a truism more often than not.  But if you get tired of new programming–and make no mistake plenty of great television shows are airing this year–a few recently added channels to your local line-up may remind fans of classic TV why they jumped onboard in the first place.

Three channels: MeTV, COZI TV and LAFF, are a destination for those who just want to pop in now and then for a dose of the past.  Even pay channel Starz has begun broadcasting classic television series.  No doubt much of the programming may not hold up to current audiences.  Clothes, hairstyles, and stale, formulaic half-hour and hour plots may not keep your 21st century attention.  Yet many shows seem to hold up quite well.  As time goes on two of my favorites, Simon & Simon and Magnum, P.I., seem to drift farther and farther away, yet the comedy of Night Court and Cybill remains laugh-out-loud funny.

Simon & Simon

Classic TV gold, like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, may be a bit much in big doses.  Only a diehard fan would stream these beginning to end.  Yet, try popping in once in a while and it’s like visiting an old friend.  M*A*S*H and The A-Team hold up quite well.  In particular, the formula established by The A-Team, no doubt based on decades of series that came before it, can be found continuing on to this day in series like Leverage and Burn Notice.  Even series like Wonder Woman and Charlie’s Angels can be fun, if you don’t take their 1970s approach to TV too seriously.  And you may find yourself engrossed in Quantum Leap all over again.

So what’s playing, where, and when?

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Batman Killing Joke movie poster

The first ever DC Comics animated movie to be rated “R” is coming to a theater near you next month in advance of its home edition release.  Batman: The Killing Joke will be screened Monday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. local time at select theaters across the country.  Fathom Events has teamed up with Warner Bros., and DC Entertainment for this rare opportunity to see the adaptation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland.

Batman: The Killing Joke reunites Batman: The Animated Series executive producer Bruce Timm and voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Batman and the Joker.  It co-stars Tara Strong (Teen Titans, Batman: Arkham games) as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, RoboCop) as Commissioner Gordon.

killing joke clip

Experience a special introduction from Mark Hamill plus a never-before-seen documentary about how Hamill was cast in this project and what the role means to him as an actor and a fan. The event will conclude with a special behind-the-scenes look at how the Joker’s memorable, yet disturbing song and dance number was recreated for the film.  Based on the acclaimed DC graphic novel of the same name, Batman: The Killing Joke takes a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime – from his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever.  Years later, and now escaped from Arkham Asylum, The Joker devises a plan to prove that one bad day can make anyone as insane as he is – setting his sights on Commissioner Gordon.  It’s up to the Dark Knight to put a stop to The Joker’s latest scheme and save one of Gotham City’s finest. Following a gripping prologue introducing Barbara Gordon’s heroic adventures alongside Batman as Batgirl, Batman: The Killing Joke stays true to the authentic tale that has held fans’ imaginations for nearly three decades – spotlighting the birth of a Super-Villain, the fortitude of a Super Hero and the punchline that will leave you speechless.

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What?  They still make slot cars?

Back in the 1970s we were fans of the Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am and highway patrol cars in our slot car race sets.  Auto World now has plenty of great movie and TV tie-ins in their slot car sets.  They even offer a Smokey and the Bandit set:

Smokey and the Bandit slot cars

Auto World also offers a Knight Rider:

Knight Rider slot cars

… a Ghostbusters set:

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Killing Joke animated film clip

If you’re talking about animated adaptations of classic DC Comics Batman comic books, three book series and movies should come to mind.  First there was the well-made adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, which we reviewed here at borg.com back in 2012.  Then there was the faithful, two-part adaptation of Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, with Part 1 reviewed here in 2012 and Part 2 released in 2013 reviewed here.  The animated Batman adaptations will soon be complete with the third key classic Batman book of the modern era coming to animated video.

This year Warner Bros. is releasing an adaptation of the 1988 controversial story Batman: The Killing Joke.  Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, and John Higgins teamed up to create the definitive origin story of the sadistic villain The Joker in a shiny and colorful prestige format never before seen by comic readers.  The cover sold the book, but inside the darkest story of Gotham ever told was born in only a way Alan Moore could concoct.  As with his original story that became Watchmen, Moore took beloved characters, specifically Commissioner Gordon and daughter Barbara aka Batgirl, and made them victims.  The origin of Oracle was born here, and Moore for the following decades has defended his handling of the story and treatment of Barbara.

original Killing Joke cover

Most appropriately, the animated movie will receive an R rating–a must if the film is loyal at all to the original source material.  Then there’s the solid cast list.

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Tech Manual A

Although the film is taking its lumps in the critics’ arena, you can’t deny that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has plenty of clever new tech to show off, especially for the newest big-screen version of Batman.  Not only do we have a new Batsuit, we have Bat armor, and a new arsenal of fun toys aka weaponry.  And then there are the vehicles–a new Batmobile, a new Batwing.  Any art director that gets to dabble in the world of Batman knows what it’s like to be a kid with the keys to the candy store and whether you’re a fan or not of Zack Snyder’s story, he did manage to create an interesting new look for DC on film.

A new book from Titan Books takes a detailed and deep dive into the making of the movie.  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Tech Manual, a full-color, quality hardcover released this month, is a nicely crafted behind the scenes tie-in, offering plenty of cross-appeal.  If you’re a fan of the movie, or if you’re a fan of Batman and Superman at all, you’ll enjoy this look behind the scenes at the props and costumes of the film.  If you’re a fan of the moviemaking process, you’ll appreciate the presentation of the set design in hundreds of images and interviews about the creative process.  And if you’re looking to cosplay Batman, Superman, or the new Wonder Woman, you now have unprecedented access to detailed costume photos, especially for Batman, with all you need to fabricate your own utility belt, cowl, cape, and Batarangs.

Bat Supes A

Most of the book is about Batman, primarily since the Superman of this new film is in essence the Superman from Man of Steel–so little was needed to be updated for this movie, whereas Batman and the Batcave were entirely re-imagined.  Superman and Wonder Woman and their costumes only receive a few pages each.  The book features concept art, blueprints, set design and construction detail, and graphic design pieces made for the movie.  Look for interviews with concept artists, the Batmobile builder, the propmaster responsible for weapon design, and director Zack Snyder, all providing insight into the movie’s visual narrative.

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Batman TMNT Freddie Williams II art

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s hard to beat a great crossover and we’ve seen many come and go this year.  Take two superhero titles from the shadows of the big city and put them together and you have a pairing that will only have you ask why it hasn’t been done before.

The best Batman book you’ve likely read in years is waiting for you at your local comic book shop right now.  Issue #1 of the new Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is now on the shelves and it’s simply the best series opener to a Batman story I’ve read since Issue #1 of Jim Lee’s Hush mini-series.  You can evaluate the first issue as either a strong Batman title or a loyal-to-its-roots TMNT book, and either way writer James T. Tynion IV, artist Freddie Williams II, and colorist Jeremy Colwell have a winner on their hands here.

You won’t need to worry about thumbing slowly through an issue featuring one part of the title’s crossover only to wait next month for the next, as Tynion has weaved together both Batman, the Turtles, as well as Killer Croc, the Foot Clan, Splinter, and Strider, all into one exciting introduction issue.

Freddie Williams II Turtles Batman

And the design layout and look of this view of Gotham is unique and intriguing.  It’s about time that Freddie Williams II had his own Bat-book.  He’s been drawing Batman for years and some of the best Batman renderings I have seen from any Batman artist can be found in his sketchbooks and other drawings.  Always strong in his characterizations and environments, and with his signature ink wash style, each page could stand alone as a poster print, especially the giant splash pages of Batman.

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Kubert main cover DKIII     DK II The Master Race alt cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

I am truly hoping Frank Miller’s eight issue The Dark Knight III: The Master Race does what I hope J.J. Abrams will be successful at with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  If the first issue is any indication, the series might be better than The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the sequel to the seminal work Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

Why the comparison to Abrams?  Unlike DKI and DKII, which was written and illustrated by Miller with colors by Lynn Varley, DKIII is “co-written” by Brian Azzarello, and illustrated by Andy Kubert with inks by Klaus Janson (who also inked the original Miller pencils on DKI).  It’s this concept of expanding an original story to new creators that may allow this Dark Knight Elseworlds story to regain some steam.

Dark-Knight-III-The-Master-Race-12     Jock DKIII cover

With Issue #1, Kubert has drawn the beginning of a continuation story that looks like it was drawn by Miller.  Miller’s original four-issue series included many unique design concepts, including frenetically rendered heroes as well as psychedelic street thugs, TV screens delivering the backstory of the world view as the plotline moved forward, and plenty of grim, dystopian future-Gotham characterizations.  All of these are back, yet in an updated style, including the attention to current technologies that weren’t around in the 1980s like texting to deliver the view of the state of Gotham as part of its world building.

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Freddie Williams Batman TMNT SDCC 2015   Freddie Williams II Batman TMNT Comic-Con 2015

Yes, San Diego Comic-Con is still first and foremost about comic books, and the biggest news released this weekend of the comic book sphere comes from IDW Publishing.  The publisher revealed that writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II will be taking on the ultimate fan mash-up:  Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The cover art to issues 1 and 2 of the crossover series were released at SDCC 2015.

Coming this November, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, already being called the “greatest crossover ever,” unites the Dark Knight Detective and the Heroes in a Half-Shell in a six-issue mini-series.  Here’s the description from IDW:

In the ongoing power struggle between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, General Krang, and the Foot Clan, allegiances have shifted and the battle lines have been drawn.  Krang concocts a plan to rid himself of both the Turtles and Shredder by transporting them to another dimension, where they land in the dark and dangerous streets of Gotham City.  It isn’t long before they encounter Gotham’s most famous resident, Batman.  The Caped Crusader may be their only hope of overcoming their enemies and getting back home.  But not before they encounter a whole cast of Gotham’s most infamous rogues.

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