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The Man Who watched Batman Vol. 1 now available free on Digital nerdage

Celebrating the Partnership between Digital Nerdage and Deadmen Ink Productions, The Man Who Watched Batman Vol. 1 is now available online in it’s entirety! for those unfamiliar with the book, The Man who Watched Batman is an episode by episode, in depth analysis of Batman: the animated series. the Digital nerdage playlist allows you to pick any of the 28 episodes from the show’s first season and check out my full and in depth reviews of each ad every episode.

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you can check out the Vol. 1 playlist  by clicking here, or click here to check out Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 both for sale on Amazon.

 

Ken Johnson to Write: The Man who watched the Super Friends

Sure BTAS is great and all, but I decided it’s time to write a book about the REAL best animated show of all time. it is with great pleasure that I’m announcing my newest and greatest project, “The Man Who Watched The Super Friends”. as the title would suggest, I’ll be going through the iconic series episode by episode in order to turly analyze the depths of this silver screen masterpiece. covering a variety of topics from the inner symbolism of Wonder Woman’s Invisible jet, to the romantic undertones of Wendy and Marvin, to Aquaman’s Deep seated Post traumatic stress disorder. This will be the tell all of the century everyone! The book will be launching on Kickstarter for the reasonable goal of $25,000. This humble budget will allow us to pay for not only our wages and printing costs, but for the required therapy of watching this show for such an extended period of time. the campaign begins today, April 1st. Thank you all for your suppport….

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and have a happy April fools day!

oh and in case anyone is interested in reading my REAL book,

You can find The Man Who Watched Batman Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 on amazon!

Basement Fodder episode 115

Dave and I are back talking the fallout from Lexcon, the return of Marvels: Agents of Shield, Supergirl and red kryptonite and the debate about superhero teams with powered and non powered members. A fun show as always!

The Man who Watched Batman now on Digital Nerdage!

I’ve spoken briefly about this before, but reconfirming that it’s official, The Man who Watched Batman has now found it’s home on Digital Nerdage! quite frequently, archived chapters of the series will be release on Digital Nerdage for you to check out and as always, if you like the series, follow the links available to find out where you can purchase a copy of your very own!

The man who watched Batman Vol. 1 is available for sale for $9.99 softcover on Amazon or Digital for $0.99 on drive thru comics.

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The following Article is a sneak peek into the series in which I discuss the opening theme of the show  as seen in the link below. also feel free to check out this promo video we shot at last year’s Grasp Con.

As this is my review of the Batman Animated Series, this is most likely the time best to talk about the opening theme. For several animation critics, this is seen as one of the best themes in the history of animation. I think one of the biggest reasons for this is the main function of any opening credits sequence is to convince your audience to watch the rest of the show. It is the audiences first impression of the show as a whole. This opening does an incredible job at this by highlighting many of the themes and prominent attractions this show has to offer. The First thing that grabs you immediately in this opening is the art style. For anyone who has seen a great deal of the television of the 80’s or 90’s, you will notice there is a shortage of shows animated in this style, the world of comics was pulling away from it’s era of the fantastical color coded animation era of He Man, Thunder Cats, G.I. Joe, etc. Moving into the 90’s most shows up to this point were moving towards a more Surreal, yet still unrealistic style of happy animation. For Reference, now cult following shows like Animaniacs, 2 Stupid Dogs, and The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, were all on their original run. So the idea that a TV series that was made in a Chiaroscuro, Art Deco, Dark and Ominous animation style (while it fits the tone of the show), is quite abnormal compared to what was considered popular at the time.  I’ll be talking more about how the animation holds up and reflects the tone of the show on an episode by episode basis.

The music is just as striking. While the music for the series is from composer Shirley Walker, The opening theme is Composed by Danny Elfman: The composer of the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film (of which quite a bit of this show is influenced by, but we will get there.) One of the main reasons this is important is that the 5 note Batman melody from the movie (bum ba dum baaaaa duuum) is Featured Quite Prominently in this series as a whole. The theme is striking, Dark, and will be stuck in your head till your ninety. It lines up with the on screen action of the opening perfectly.

Speaking of which, unlike most main themes that sing a synopsis of the show and show off all of the characters the series will explore, this theme contains no lyrics and despite the enormous selection of characters in this series, Batman himself is the only main character of this series to be featured in this theme. The story of the theme follows Batman as he tracks down a duo of bank robbers and leaves them for the police to pick up as he disappears to the top of a sky scraper. That’s it. very simple and streamline, and yet the way they animate it so fast paced and moving, you get a real sense of how batman is viewed in this series. Throughout the theme you don’t see Batman. You see the shadow of Batman; The legend of Batman. It’s as if we’re actually seeing Batman the way the thugs would see him: A quick glimpse of a large, frightening creature lurking in the shadows, stalking their every move. In fact, all characters are seen in this matter. The theme contains almost no faces. Mainly chiaroscuro outlines of characters presented in silhouettes. Only a brief glimpse of batman’s face is given before the ending as he takes down our bank robbers. Then right as that epic theme picks back up on those five notes, we pan up to see Batman perched on a skyscraper, heroically portrayed in silhouette, cape blowing in the wind, only to be illuminated by a lighting bolt striking behind him iconically on the final note (of which I literally just now discovered was a reference to the cover of Frank Miller’s Iconic Comic: “The Dark Knight Returns”).

All That from one Minute of Animation. As a child, I remember watching that theme and when that lightning bolt flashed,and I Saw him for the first time,  I thought to myself “Yeah. That’s Batman.” That opening theme became my earliest impression of how I saw, Appreciated, Critiqued, and Understood Batman. In that 60 Seconds, I learned batman was a Character who used shadows and Fear as his greatest weapons, He didn’t kill, he fought for justice, and to many was not seen as a man. He was a myth; A legend. He was simply: Batman

 

The man who watched Batman Vol. 1 is available for sale for $9.99 softcover on Amazon or Digital for $0.99 on drive thru comics.

 

The Force Goes Back to Sleep

Even though Star Wars movies have traditionally come out in May, Episode VII: The Force Awakens was slated for a December release. Most Star Wars fans assumed this was a one off due to some scheduling difficulties and wanting to have the best movie they could. Well, it seems Disney is starting their OWN Star Wars release tradition.

Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Episode VIII is being pushed back from its initial May 2017 release to a December 2017 release. Although it will be a nice 38th birthday present for me, waiting an extra seven months for the new entry is gut-wrenching.

Truthfully, after Episode VII was moved off its May release, and with Rogue One having a December release as well, it did seem odd that Episode VIII would stay on its original release date. However, after the excitement created by The Force Awakens it would seem Disney would want the movies releasing as quickly as possible. I would expect December to be the release window for all of the Star Wars franchise movies slated for release until 2020 even if that hasn’t been officially announced at this time.

Even though it is a bummer to see Star Wars moving seven months into the future, there is hope for some awesomeness in that vacated May 2017 slot. The new entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales, will be opening in place of Episode VIII.

Suicide Squad’s “Worst Hero Ever” trailer is beautiful anarchy

Oscar season be damned. you didn’t think superhero movies forgot about us did they? well, in the case of Suicide squad, it seems that recapturing our attention is thier main priority. but does the first full length trailer make you scream for more suicide squad? or should this movie be put back behind bars? let’s take a look.

 

 

The Good:

  • I have to admit, i was a little concerned when I realized that Bohemian rhapsody was going to be their backing song, the pacing and drive of the trailer very much benefited from it. although several members of the suicide squad are still shrouded in mystery, this trailer does do a better job at showing them off. inparticular Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as The Joker.
  • this is the first time we’ve gotten a real good sense of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and while I know a lot of purists haven’t gotten to the point of accepting her voice sounding different than the traditional Sorkin/strong version, I think that she’s going to come away a crowd favorite. her voice is a little bit more natural and her acting chops are definately on display. the key to her version is a sense of unpredictability. whether she’s skewing towards silly or psychotic, there lies an underlying feeling that she could switch to the other in a snap. the trailer mostly has her in funny mode, but the tension is still there.
  • Jared  Leto doesn’t get much screen time as i’m sure they want to keep all of his best scenes for the movie, but I feel the little bit of exposure he gets  will help worried fanboys a great deal.  for all the crap that people gave the tattoos of his design, seeing him in motion with admittedly a very unique and easily identifiable version of the traditional purple joker suit, and I’d definitely say Less is more when it comes to Leto. Save some for the movie, but I appreciate the sample.
  • for a movie that’s so dark in tone and taking place mostly so far in a asylum or in a down town what i presume is Gotham, they packed a lot of color into this trailer. and i’m not just talking just symbolically. the color pallet all around is really vibrant when it needs to be and even when it needs to be desaturated, it feels better than a lot of other fare like it.
  • this is a weird one to explain as a positive, but there are a lot of really good “trailer Bait” shots. these are shots that might make sense in the movie, but provide beyond no reason to be in the trailer other than to be cool looking shots. Joker is the focus of most of them, but other characters get some to. mainly I think they are using this technique to show off some awesome pieces of the Suicide mission of the movie without revealing exactly what the suicide mission actually is.
  • By far my favorite of the trailer is the reveal of the tagline “Worst Heroes ever.”  perfectly sets up the kind of tone their going for and plants them officially and intentionally as it sort of a middle finger to the early set Guardians of the Galaxy comparisons. these aren’t heroes with edge. these are straight up villains.

The Bad:

  • most of the other characters get just a brief action moment or a cool shot to show them off, but not much in terms of personality. I still don’t know a few by name and i’m pretty sure that most people know less than me.
  • While i did praise the trailer for keeping  stuff secret, i have to admit i would’ve liked maybe a little bit more as far as plot details or hints.  not too much, but a little.
  • while for the most part the song works well with the trailer, the points where it has to jump around to fit inside the parameters are too obvious. It’s a bit of a pain every time you can clearly hear the jump.

Conclusion

Suicide Squad is still the giant wild card of the DC cinematic universe. the only thing we know for sure is this does not seem to be a movie intending to play it safe. it’s either going to soar or fall in a blaze of glory. this trailer shows of the bombastic and out of control tone they are going for and I am so excited to see if they can pull this off.

 

Suicide Squad releases  August 5, 2016

 

Ken Johnson is a Writer and Podcaster best known for his book series “The Man who Watched Batman”, and In depth Analysis of Batman: the Animated series.

If you’d like to know more about Ken Johnson or his other work,  you can check him out online at the links below.

Check out the book on Amazon

Facebebook.com/deadmenink

youtube.com/deadmenink

Twitter.com/deadmenink

Deadmen Ink Productions Joins the Digital Nerdage Family

Hello people of the internet! if you are reading this than you may be interested who I am and what it is I do.  You may also be a friend of mine, in which case, most of this might be stuff you already know. regardless, I’m glad you’re here. so why don’t we start with the basics?

 

What is Deadmen Ink Productions?

Deadmen Ink Productions is a rag tag group of creatives who all get together to create everything from podcasts, Videos, Reviews and even a few comic collaborations down the road.

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Why Digital Nerdage?

Well, first off. Pat seems like good people….So far…..

mainly, it’s because I felt it was time for a change and Deadmen Ink needed to expand. one of the most difficult problems we have is not creating content, but trying to get new eyeballs on it. teaming up with a group like this that already is working with other comic connections I know helps bring us closer into Michigan’s inner nerd circle.

 

What Kind of stuff do you create?

well, I”m glad you asked that! I mean, Glad I asked that?….to myself?…

 

 

The Main project I create is a book series called “The Man Who Watched Batman“. it’s a step by step, episode by episode analysis of the critically aclaimed Batman: the animated series presented in a 4 volume book set. Vol. 2 is set for release soon and Digital Nerdage will be hosting several chapters of my book over time for you to try out and see if BTAS and my book is a good fit for you.

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The Bombvoyage Podcast is my first and favorite podcast i’ve created. while we mainly focus on Disney new releases, we are an all things Disney podcast and why we are a bit inconsistent with release, My co host Travis Stephens and myself have a great chemistry on the mic and I highly recommend you give it a listen.

 

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22 Minutes Later

22 Minutes later is a BRAND NEW Podcast from Deadmen Ink. So new that we don’t have any episodes yet!…. rest assured, we’ll be launching very soon. Hosted By travis and myslef again, but this time, we wanna focus on guests as often as possible. this is a podcast focused on reviewing television, but focusing on the art of individual episodes, TV movies, and everything in between. these are off the cuff reviews literally recorded seconds after the credits roll. I am really excited about this show and can’t wait to share it with all of you

 

 

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Saturday Morning Fever is one of my favorite things….No really it is. I love this show so much if literally nobody watched it, i’d make it still because it’s just so much fun. Saturday Morning Fever is basically MST3K for horrible and hilarious Saturday Morning cartoon shows. As evidence by 2 of my shows above, I love the genre of Saturday morning cartoons and will argue it is a very underrated genre. I will however not deny that there is a great percentage that varies from disposable to “How in the hell is this a thing!?!?”. sharing this with friends and Colleagues alike is an amazing experience and I can’t wait to show off how many more terrible shows we have to come.

 

I am truly thankful for this partnership and I hope that is leads to great things. Here’s to a new year and new Friends!

 

if  you want to check out more of our stuff or see what we’re up to check us out at

facebook.com/deadmenink

Youtube.com/deadmenink

Twitter.com/deadmenink

soundcloud.com/deadmenink

Bruce Timm speaks out about changes & Expansions To Killing Joke Movie

Warning: piece contains minor plot spoilers for Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke”

 

We live in a golden age of superhero movies my friends, but if you’re reading this,  you probably already knew that. My point however, is It feels like all of this comes in degrees. just because there was a time in which the idea that having The entire crew of the avengers not only getting thier own movies, but teaming up in one giant monumental blockbuster was considered a fan-boy dream, far beyond our possible comprehension, that doesn’t mean that there’s no room left to be surprised that certain comic book things are actually happening. Even in a world with Jessica Jones on Netflix and Batman, Superman and Wonder-Woman teaming up in live action for the first time in their 75 year existence, I’m not alone when I almost refused to believe the announcement that Bruce Timm, Mark Hammil, and Kevin Conroy, known by many as an untouchable dream team of the DC animated universe, were working together to adapt Comic Icon Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke” to an animated feature film.

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Mark Hammil (Right) and Kevin Conroy (Left) Officially cast In “The Killing Joke” as Joker and Batman respectively.

Now knowledge of this film’s potential development has been back and forth for several years, but we only found out less than a year ago that this was not only 100% green lit, but the DC Holy Trio would be heading the project. The impact of this project being done this way by these people has definitely drawn a lot of attention from DC super fans. Mark Hammil to this day has one of the most recognized portrayals of the Joker known to man. Both making their debut in 1992’s critically acclaimed Batman: the Animated series, Kevin Conroy (Batman) and
Mark Hammill (The Joker) have played their respective roles longer than any other actor in history, clocking in at just over 20 years. Bruce Timm, Director of the Killing Joke and one of the original Creators of Batman: the Animated series, produced and Co-created the longest running multi show continuity in the history of television, spanning so long that fans and official sources have grown to referring to this inter-continuity as “The Timmverse”. as for the Impact of Alan Moore, Creator of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and Co-creator of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,  he’s one of the most Iconic and recognized individual comic creator’s in the history of the medium. with this many powerhouses of creativity combined into one project, one could only imagine great things, but as a certain Marvel character once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”

 

 

 

While not much is known yet about the project, but during an interview with Comicbook.com, Bruce Timm had this to say about the project.

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Bruce Timm: Co- Creator of Batman: the Animated Series

 

 

“Whenever we do an adaptation of a really famous iconic comic… we try to stay very faithful to the comic, to the source material, as much as possible,” Timm said. “Killing Joke is a really tricky property because it’s really bleak, but we made a decision early on that if we’re gonna do it, then we kinda have to just jump in and just do it.  The one big difference about it… is The Killing Joke, the source material is really not long enough to make an entire feature film out of, so we actually had to add a lot more story to it. Which is tricky,” Timm continued. “But I think we came up with a really good solution on how that worked, and beyond that I can’t really say anything more until July, or whenever it comes out.”

 

 

 

 

 

Now this still leaves a lot of speculation as to what they will in fact change or keep the same in the same bleak, bloody, and insanely dark state that it was always in, and for a lot of fans, that’s all the confirmation they need to buy their copy. for some however, the news of them deciding to add additional content is definitely one to draw both curiosity and criticism. While everyone knows adaptation does require things to change, to a lot of Comic fans, the work of Alan Moore is practically next to scripture and the modifying of which is borderline nerd blasphemy. however their reasoning for changes is what I find the most interesting. Timm points specifically to the length of the original graphic novel as a reason for adding completely new content to fill in a full feature running time. with the original graphic novel being only 48 pages long, one can quickly see why expansion might be needed. while there is definitely room in the confines of the story for expansion, the only hint we get to what form that might come in is  a fifteen minute, completely original, prologue that helps set up the story. According to Timm, it “(gives) even longtime fans of the story something new to look forward to.” I’d speculate this most likely will come as an extension of the long visual credit sequences often opening these pictures, but this one offering a deeper context to the specifics of the relationship between this Joker and this Batman, as that relationship is a major component of the story.

 

As for things that might outright be changed, it’s mostly speculation at this point. one thing I personally am curious about is how they plan to handle “the Barbara Gordon Rape Controversy”. While several aspects of The Killing joke have been taken into the mainstream cannon in the past, the most prominent one is Barbara Gordon’s transition in to Oracle. in The Killing Joke, Joker shoots Barbara Gordon in the spine and paralyzes her from the waste down, takes several grueling pictures of her, and then kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and attempts to turn him insane within 24 Hours. the crux of the controversy in question is the fact it is clearly implied (and later confirmed by Alan Moore himself) that after Joker shots her, he removes her clothes and rapes during the taking of the photos. now while the impact of this book cannot be understated, and many comic fans have become more sensitive than ever to these issues, (made all the more relevant with DC’s removal of last years Batgirl #41 variant cover by Rafael Albuquerque) Bruce Timm and his creative team definitely have their work cut out for them.

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(top and Center) Excerpt pages from the Killing Joke. (bottom) Cancelled Variant cover of Batgirl #41.

 

 

Leaving on a speculative, yet positive note, the thing i’m happiest to pull from this interview is that Bruce Timm confirms their confidence in their convictions. He makes it clear that no matter where they plant their feet on issues of  controversial content, length, or adaptation, The seem confident that the decisions they make will be theirs alone, exiled from fans demanding they land on one side of the fence or the other. If we’re being honest with ourselves, there is not a group of filmmakers alive that could make a Killing Joke movie that will be accepted by everybody, but with a crew like this at the helm, I think this movie is in good hands.

While no public release date is yet known, The Killing Joke will make it’s debut at San Diego Comic con this summer.

 

Ken Johnson is a Writer and Podcaster best known for his book series “The Man who Watched Batman”, and In depth Analysis of Batman: the Animated series.

If you’d like to know more about Ken Johnson or his other work,  you can check him out online at the links below.

Check out the book on Amazon

Facebebook.com/deadmenink

youtube.com/deadmenink

Twitter.com/deadmenink

 

Grand Rapids Comic Con 2015

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Grand Rapids Comic Con at the DeVos Center. I have been reflecting on this show all week, trying to find the right words to talk about it. This has been difficult for many reasons, but here goes!

Grand Rapids Comic Con was an enjoyable time, but the growing pains were evident in this third offering of the event. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that the show has continued to grow at a rate that has prevented them from staying in the same venue two years in a row. Moving from a church gymnasium, to the DeltaPlex (a 23,000 square foot arena), now to the DeVos Center with a sprawling 162,000 square feet of exhibit space. Only 2/3 of that was used as the main show floor, but the other third was a main stage area for costume contests and major panels.

Entering the show was a bit of a challenge. I was fortunate to have had a Press Pass to the event, but directions at the front doors was all but non-existent. They had also run out of lanyards for their badges by the time I had arrived…30 minutes after the doors opened on Saturday. After standing in three different lines to try to enter the show, one of the people standing near a barrier that separated the exit line from the entrance noticed my pass and waved me into the show.

The show floor was massive, but poorly designed. I am a fan of interacting with creators at shows, and GRCC had them either buried in the back of the show floor, or interspersed within the vendor areas. Artist Alley was as far away from the entrance as was possible and seemingly separated from the rest of the show floor. In talking with some of the artists, it was apparent that their position on the floor had negatively affected their ability to make any money or even to interact with con-goers.

The problems with the show floor may have been alleviated by a good map, or an effective layout to the program but neither was there. There was a tremendous amount of color throughout the program, but all the maps were a flat black and white. A little color-coding would have gone a long way. Also, alphabetizing guests, artists, and vendors would have helped as well.

Panel content was varied and interesting, but there were way too many happening at once. At any given time during show hours there were at least 4 panels happening. The panels were scattered all over the DeVos center with almost no direction as to how to get to them. This came to a head as the celebrity that was the subject of one of the panels that I attended got lost on their way to it and it took 20 minutes to find them and help them get to the panel room.

Even with all of the complaints I have put here, I definitely think GRCC is a worthwhile show. I can see the potential in the event, and the region is hungry for this type of attraction. I am sure they will continue to learn each time they put on the show and will eventually find their sweet spot. Just having the event in the same venue two years in a row will be a big help. If you are near the area Grand Rapids Comic Con is DEFINITELY worth a visit and I have every confidence that the show will improve and expand!

Whosoever Holds This Hammer…

As most of you know the word fan is actually short for fanatic, and YouTube user Sufficiently Advanced shows us just WHY that is. Not satisfied with just creating and excellent recreation of Thor’s preferred weapon, Mjölnir, he actually wanted to make it so only HE could lift it!

Using a combination of high powered magents, an Arduino, and a fingerprint scanner a viral video was born. Check it out!