Zounds! Can it be true? Did I work on more than ONE incarnation of Animated Batman?
Yup. I’ve worked on a few different animated Batmans. Long before there was Batman the Animated Series, there was the cartoon Batman commercials I did for Zellers Department stores back in the 80s.
As regular readers of this blog might know, I drew practically every frame of this commercial (and a few others), except the last few seconds with Penguin fighting off the words at the end. Killing Joke had recently come out, and I had a Brian Bolland thing in my head (which is why Bats looks like that), mixed with my Mad Magazine/Kurtzman/Elder style at the time (which is why all the characters overact like that) ..but this isn’t what I’m talking about… I’m talking about this:
When the new, animated Brave and the Bold DC series started up a while back , I wanted in, and called up DC to practically BEG them to let me draw an issue of the tie-in comic book. I’m a bit of an animated Batman fan, you know…
and the fine folks at DC comics were kind enough to let me twist arms, threaten family members and offer to do it for free if need be. So I got a script for an issue and started plugging away…
It was a fun tale, with damn near every guest star you could think of: Aquaman, Green Arrow, Guy Gardner, Plastic Man, Animal Man, and a PILE of others!
…including some delightful surprise guest stars who have never been on the TV version of the show, so I had the wonderful fun of getting to design them in the new style.
I won’t tell you who the guest stars are, or show you my designs quite yet…because DC never printed this story, and in theory still MIGHT some day, and I don’t want to put out any spoilers or give away the ending. But it’s been a couple of years since I drew this issue, and when I asked about it at the office recently, I was told they had no record of the story being drawn, or even existing….and with the new re-launch of everything DC coming up, I’m starting to believe it will never see the light of day anywhere but here.
I’m a little disappointed in that outcome, as it was a full 22 pager which I penciled and inked, and it got lost in the office shuffle somehow. Crossed fingers, and good behavior might eventually lead to it being published, but I’m currently in a not-holding-my-breath mode, so at least I get to show off some of it here. At least the not-ruining-the-story pages.
There’s MORE non-Dini-Verse animated Batman lying all over the house, including pages I did for the Super-Friends series like this one:
There’s a few of these puzzle pages, penciled, inked, lettered and coloured by me, which was a rare treat, as I usually don’t get to do that. At least the Superfriends stuff got published, but I’ll bet none of you ever saw it.
That’s the nature of the job. I’m just a dancer and DC calls the tune, my friend. But at Art Land, it all eventually gets shown off.
Stay tuned for more B&B pages in the near future, more puzzle pages, and some of my super-secret animated Justice League pages from before there WAS a Justice League Adventures. Written by Roger Stern, penciled by Me the Guy, and inked by Burchett, in a story never published in a DC comic!
Who says this isn’t the Batmanimated Age of Blogging?
Ty the Guy OUT!
Here now, your BONUS Batman Brave and the Bold moment:
If the “not a reboot” flounders like many online seem to fear it will, your “Brave and the Bold” might be all DC has confidence to publish by March. This isn’t about the merits of that, though. I had never seen that Zeller’s commercial (or even heard of Zeller’s until now), but I dig it. Dunno who voiced Robin, but he had a lot more gravitas than I’m accustomed!
Also, I miss the Silver Age Penguin design. It kind of reminds me of what Steven Van Zant once said about Silvio Dante (his character on “The Sopranos”). He said that Silvio owned the Bada Bing strip club because he wanted to go into entertainment, but was so classless that he didn’t even realize that a strip club wasn’t even a way to get his foot in the door to that world. The S.A. Penguin look suggests a guy who thinks he’s sophisticated, but instead comes off as a fashion nightmare. Yellow cummerbund with blue jacket? Really?
As for your work, I empathize with your frustration. Until now, I was blissfully unaware that an entire issue of your Bat-work was stuck in purgatory. Now I’ll be annoyed every time I think about this until DC eventually gets their Bat-act together and publishes it! These teaser pages look fun!
As any artist can tell you, there’s always an issue or two that somehow never comes out. We all have them. I once penciled a 22 page story for the Legion of Super-Heroes that was never inked, and sat on the shelf until the entire Legion status quo changed, making the story unpublishable (I’ll run that here someday). My buddy Dan Slott claims he’s the king of unpublished pages, with far more than a hundred pages of never-seen-work (though as a writer, it involves less work-hours than a penciler and inker would have done). And since this Batman: B&B piece is only about two years old, and the series is still active, there’s a much bigger chance it’s not quite dead yet, just resting. It’s not yet “no more”. It hasn’t officially ceased to be. It’s not bleeding demised, bereft of life, or having dropped the curtain and joined the choir invisible. But it does have beautiful plumage. (All that pining for the fjords!)
These posts containing unpublished work or the progression of works are by far the best, Ty! Thank yee!
HOW? How do they not publish this?? HOW??
I have no memory of that Zellers commercial, but it is mighty cool! Is it just me, or does Batman sound vaguely British?
I think you just taught me two new things Ty. One, that the “hook” assassin you used in your Deadman origin issue of Gotham Adventures was in fact based on a mainstream DC character (and not completely made-up) and two, that I have another reason to hold my breath with excitement and check back at your blog on a daily basis – UNpublished Justice League Templeton art? (Perhaps from the Superman/Batman mag, if I had to guess?) Do I even dare to hope there’s some Wonder Woman goodness in it?