Fatman on Batman: The Dini Dossiers
“Happy Batman Day” to you!
To finish our day devoted to “The Bat” I’d like to do another shout-out to one of the best Bat-related things out there right now…Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman! If you’ve followed us for awhile, this may sound familiar to you from an earlier entry in the fall, but Mr. Smith has returned for a Volume 2 of this wonderful podcast series in which he gets a bat-related guest and dishes all things Batman. Previous guests have included Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Ralph Garman, Walt Flanagan, Mark Hamill, and a slew of others!
Paul Dini started out this series as the first guest and has returned to lead off this second season or volume of podcasts. For those who are unfamiliar with the talented Mr. Dini, he has probably written anywhere between one and ten of your favorite cartoons of all time, is an esteemed comic book writer, and an all around awesome guy! This time in the Fat-Cave, both Smith and Dini provide color commentary for episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. The first installment includes the episodes “Heart of Ice” and “Over The Edge,” both of which are amazing episodes on their own, but the commentary really brings them to a new level. If you haven’t watched them, “Heart of Ice’ is a take on Mr. Freeze which was so well done that it has literally become cannon in comics in general, and “Over The Edge” is simply amazing, and I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t watched it yet…take it from me, watch that episode…RIGHT NOW! (You will not be disappointed!) I have listened to them twice already, and plan a third time this weekend with the episodes running. Its so cool to hear the commentary, one from a fans perspective and the other from the writer. This is not to be missed.
The second podcast with this new dynamic duo is all about the 1993 Batman: The Animated Series movie called “Mask of the Phantasm.” Fatman on Batman is the most amazing show simply because it teaches you so much about the Bat-world from the creative point of view. I have been so overjoyed over the past year and change because it really has focused on BTAS and it goes into a lot of what happened back-stage on the show. For example, Phantasm was originally made as a stop-gap measure to keep the crew working in-between seasons and was originally created for a direct to video release. With part of the film already completed, Warners decided to change it to a theatrical release, which really changed the way that it had to be made. In the world of 1993, people did not have widescreen TV’s, so originally the movie was being made for the 4:3 square-like tube TV ratio and had to be changed to the 1.85:1 movie reel ratio, which is not an easy task. Also, since they wanted it as a theatrical release, the studio only gave the BTAS crew 8 months to get this thing ready! Phantasm was an interesting story because it’s almost a crime-noir romance that really gives you a look into Bruce Waynes’ past and his motivations for becoming the Batman of the DC Animated Universe. The commentary on this one was so spot on and the stories behind the film were so interesting that any bat-fan out there really needs to listen to this one a couple times. C-Mart watched the movie with the commentary in the background just yesterday and said that it was ridiculously enjoying from a fans perspective. So again, this one is not to be missed! Also, next week they are going to go over Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker! Which is (and get this) a story where something so brutal happened, that they had to make a different version after people complained, so definitely get your hands on the unrated version of that flick. It’s funny, these things are 15 or 20 yrs old, but still I’d rather you watch them yourself than have me sum them up for you in a paragraph or less, you really gotta check ‘em out!
So, even though I loved these episodes, there was something that really got me angry with this though. Basically, in 1993 Warner Brothers didn’t really know the correct way to market an animated feature. In their minds it was simply another Loony Toons movie, nothing more and Disney was really the only one who knew how to market this kind of film. This was also pre-internet days, so although nerds in comic shops and fans of the show knew about it, the mass populace did not. And it was a friggin’ shame because not only is it an Animated Batman on the Silver Screen, but its really an amazing movie in general. The creators did not lean on the show whatsoever, you could walk into the theatre and understand everything without any back-story what so ever because it really is that good! It debuted on Christmas Day in 1993 and was in theatres for a limited amount of time. It was the kind of thing where they would only have one or two showings a day and usually as a matinee. There was never a premier; hell there wasn’t even a real marketing campaign. This thing came and went in an instant, and that just made me feel bad for everyone who kicked so much ass to get this thing made. So anyway this got me thinking (which is never a good thing! ☺) Next year, 2013, will mark the 20th anniversary of the film and I propose that the nerd community celebrates the living hell out of this! So The Brotherhood of Evil Geeks is asking New York Comic Con to do something special for everyone who loves this movie! We would love to see a panel including the wonderful talents of all or any of the following: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Michael Reaves, Martin Pasko, Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Dana Delany where they just talk this thing up and give the fans the story behind making it and what they feel looking back…a retrospective of Mask of the Phantasm if you will! And hey, if he’s down, maybe the notorious Mr. Smith could even host the panel! Also, NYCC usually shows flicks on the first or second night of the con, so they could even show the movie and the fans of the genre could give the creators the “premier” that they never received but whole-heartedly deserved! (Warners…this could be a helluva kickoff to a Blu-Ray launch that you know would make you bank!) In all honesty, I know it sounds like a lot to ask, but many of these talents are usually at NYCC and I truly believe that although 20 years later, these creators deserve to be recognized for their achievement, bringing an animated Batman to the silver screen in a serious way that makes you proud to be a Bat-Fan.
Again, I know it’s a lot to ask…but hell, it’s awesome to dream right! So The Brotherhood is calling on you to spread the word! Sign our petition here. Then, start talking this thing up on Facebook on the New York Comic Con page. Also, start spreading the word on Twitter and lets get this thing trending with:
New York Comic Con can be reached at @NY_Comic_Con and uses #NYCC as their hashtag, so lets get to work nerds!
Have a great time watching Dark Knight Rises tonight!
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