Friday, September 29, 2017

Batman: The Animated Series - Adrienne Barbeau Blogathon

When MovieMovieBlogBlog called for the blogathon with a picture of Catwoman, I knew it was a perfect chance to talk about Batman: The Animated Series.  There were a number of animated comic book adaptation that came in the early 90s, like X-Men and Spider-Man, but Batman: TAS was easily the cream of the crop, with top-notch animation and a dark and gritty style. 

The cartoon gave us the definitive versions of many of Batman's characters, casting incredible voice actors that are still some of the most beloved actors to fill the roles.  Ask anyway who the best portrayals of Batman and the Joker and you'll hear a lot of them say Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.  The rest of the cast was just as memorable, with Ron Perlman (Hellboy) playing Clayface, Richard Moll (Night Court) as Two-Face, John Glover (Smallville) as the Riddler.

Adrienne Barbeau gave Catwoman a sultry edge that wasn't normally put into a kids cartoon, sneaking innuendo into almost every scene she was in.  I was kinda surprised by how much they were able to get in there, but it didn't feel out of place within the show's more mature storylines.  This version of Catwoman took a lot from Tim Burton's Batman Returns, which came out in the same year this show debuted.  Selina Kyle, Catwoman's alter ego, was a blonde, and her costume kept her hair tucked into the suit instead of flowing out of it, like many of her comic costumes did at the time. 
I always felt like she was short-changed a bit in the series - she didn't make that many appearances, even though the movie had just come out and featured her heavily.  You'd think that would give her a bigger role in the cartoon as well, but Hamill's Joker took center stage most of the time and there were so many other villains in the mix that she just didn't show up much.  It's a shame too, it would have been interesting to see her more often, toeing the line of villainy while sometimes helping Batman catch other criminals, all the while riling up Robin or Batgirl.  It's a role that would have had a lot of potential, and maybe show Batman's lighter side. 
And that could have been more opportunities to hear Adrienne's voice in the cartoon as well, something I know I wouldn't have minded.

Out of all of the cartoons we got that were adaptations of comics, Batman: The Animated Series is easily the best.  Compared with the two other big ones at the time, X-Men and Spider-Man, Batman's show was clearly the highest quality.  The animation was more fluid, it had a gritty style, and it didn't have nearly as many errors.  The creators obviously cared for this show a lot, and it shows by how much of a lasting impact it's had on the bigger Batman story.  This is the show that gave us Harley Quinn, one of the most popular Batman - and comics in general - characters, not to mention the definitive versions of Two-Face and Clayface.  This show spawned an entire DC animated universe, followed by Superman, Justice League, and Batman Beyond.  This show deserves so much credit for shaping DC comics, television, and their cinematic universe - Bruce Timm and Paul Dini showed us what it would be like seeing the whole of DC on screen together, and arguably did it better than the movies are trying to do now.  But that's a topic for another post.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 9/27/17

I went to my first Con!  Here in Reno, one of the casinos holds it's own miniature Comic-Con, I think this is its 4th year, and this is the first time I attended.  I only went for an hour - it's that small - to check out what it was like.  One of my friends in my critique group was there peddling her wares.  She had a few books and shared a table with another writer.  There were two other authors there and a few comic writers, but most were comic and toy vendors.  And, no, I didn't find any toys I wanted.  Seeing the crowd and how little attention the authors were getting had me worried about doing a con myself, but it's something I'll have to push myself into doing. I had my wife come with me to get some insight from her.  She's offered to sell some related crafts at the table with me, which would be awesome!

It turns out the other big comic-con in Reno, WizardWorld, has canceled its appearance this year.  I think its first appearance was only last year, so it might just not happen here again ever.  There is one other convention in town that I know of, but I'm not sure it still happens or not.  It's SNAFU - Sierra Nevada Anime Fans Unite! and I've heard authors say they get a ton of business at anime conventions, so it's worth it to check out as well.

Other than that, I've been editing the first book again, doing one last draft to get it fully polished.  I'm so close to finishing it, then I can put it aside - at least until I can afford to have an editor take a look at it.  Once that's done, it's all logos, insignias, and onto the cover.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 6 - Big Boss vs. Dr. Scarab

Yes, I watched both cartoons in one week!  13 episodes each of COPS and Bionic Six, and I actually liked them!  This is the first time I've seen this much of Bionic Six, and I loved how off the wall Dr. Scarab could be - it's not often you see a main bad guy in a cartoon that was as funny as him (besides Filmation's shows).  Big Boss was a lot less interesting, portraying the stereotypical mob boss and not doing much else.  Just take a look at this:

Big Boss didn't do too much at all in the episodes I watched.  Unlike Dr. Scarab who usually leads his forces against his protagonist, Big Boss sits in his office and orders his goons around.  There's one episode I saw when he was out with his crew - "The Case of C.O.P.S. File #1, Part 1" had Big Boss on site of Dr. BadVibes's test site for a new invention, the Ultimate Crime Machine.  That's the episode where he's holding the gun above, but he doesn't fire it. 

This is the same episode where he shows that his robotic hand has any enhanced strength - he crushes a desk phone in it like it was made out of paper.  Actually, this is the only episode I watched where he shows any kind of ability whatsoever.  It's a pretty pathetic showing, especially because in another episode, "The Case of the Bulletproof Waldo," when faced with a replica BP Vess, he drops to his knees and grovels, even offering to launch himself into space to avoid being thrown in jail. 

Big Boss does have one slight advantage - Scratch.  This is his pet Weasel with the same cybernetics as Big Boss.  Generally, it doesn't do anything but sit in his lap, get petted, and run away when Big Boss slams his fist on his desk (while not damaging the desk like it should).  There is one exception: When Big Boss needed to get some supplies to a goon in prison, he had Scratch fly in, using some wings on its back.  I'm not certain if this was something he can do regularly or if it was added to his robotic parts, but I'm willing to give that to him.

Dr. Scarab, thankfully, has a lot more to draw from.  While he generally leads his minions into battle, he does, however, let them do most of the heavy lifting.  He has shown a few abilities though, like this bionics-detecting cybernetic eye.  In the episode "Bionics On: The 1st Adventure" he was able to find Bionic 1 while he was hiding behind a rock. 

He's also got some semblance of enhanced strength - in "Happy Birthday, Amadeus!" he and two of his minions were punching holes in a cement wall.  It took them a number of hits to do it, but he was making as much progress as the Mechanic, who usually is portrayed as having super-strength.

He's obviously got more technical intelligence - while Big Boss has to depend on Dr. BadVibes for his criminal inventions, Dr. Scarab is able to make them all himself.  In his inventory is a Bionic Masking device, which makes him and his minions look like anyone else; darkness grenades, which emit a thick black smoke; a laser pistol; a giant vtol craft, which looks eerily like the Ultimate Crime Machine from COPS; and a robot army, the Cyphrons.  Granted, the robots are easily destroyed by just about everything and are hardly armed - in the episode "Brain Food," one was armed with a freaking whip.  Not even a laser whip like Vanessa Warfield in MASK, just a regular leather whip, like T-Ray in Tigersharks.  How lame.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top 5 Cartoon Crushes

My friend Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews tagged me on Twitter with her 5 Flaming Hotties post and asked for my two cents.  While I can't say much about her choices, I've been meaning to post my own cartoon crushes for quite a while and this has given me ample opportunity. 

Before I begin, let's talk a bit about the rules given to me.

The rules (which you who are tagged can cut and paste)…

  1. You must add the name of the blog who tagged you AND those of the 2 Reel Quirky Cats, Thoughts All Sorts and Realweegiemidget Reviews with links to these sites as given here.. and use the natty picture promoting this post (found later in this post).
2. List 5 of your all-time greatest hotties from TV or Film. ie crushes/objects of your affection.
3. Say how you were introduced to them, and why you like them (keep it clean)
4. Link to 7 other bloggers.
5. Add lovely pictures of those you selected.
6. Oh…and post the rules.

April O'Neil

Okay, let's start off with the obvious one. What preteen kid could see this scene and not be instantly enamored with this yellow-jumpsuited reporter?  As soon as she came on screen, we all looked just like Michelangelo there.  The little pervert.  April was the first real crush for so many kids of my generation, and it's no question why.  Almost every episode had her either tied up like above or slung over someone's shoulder.  As often as she was kidnapped, you'd think she took some lessons from her ninja friends - something later incarnations of her finally figured out.


Introduced in Transformers: The Movie, Arcee has become a mainstay of the Transformers roster. From her kickass attitude to the metal buns on her head, pretty obvious robotic take on Princess Leia, while gaining the motherly overtones with fellow newcomer, Daniel Witwicky.  While many may not have liked her for the overly girly representation - all that pink was a little over the top - there was no doubting this fembot knew how to kick Decepticon ass.  Sure there were a few female Autobots that showed up before Arcee is Season 2, but she was the first one to have a prominent regular roll in the cartoon, and I for one was glad she stuck around. 


The Thundercats started out in one of the weirdest ways possible - every one of the characters was depicted nude in their introductions.  Sure there were some clothing lines around the crotch and shoulders to try to hide the nudity, but we all knew what was going on, and that made it all the harder not to stare at this cat-lady.  It certainly didn't hurt that she was the most capable of the females on this list, able to take out scores of Mutants at a time, running at top speed and blurring through the battlefield. 

Now on to the bad girls...


There's something about a woman who could blast you into smithereens with just a few words.  Evil-Lyn, oftentimes Skeletor's second-in-command and perpetual schemer to wrest control from him, was sometimes portrayed as the only competent villain in the show.  She knew how to cast spells that rivaled Skeletor's own, and she could hold her own against her nemesis, Teela, in hand-to-hand combat.  She had a perfect evil laugh and under that headwear of hers, she had surprisingly short white hair.  It all came together to make one of the very best of the bad girls.

Vanessa Warfield

There's something special about a woman who wears a skintight suit and has a whip as a weapon.  Just like Evil-Lyn, Vanessa was sometimes portrayed as the only competent bad guy in M.A.S.K., while her fellow cronies, Cliff Dagger, and Sly Rax were falling on their faces and asses all the time.  She was gruff and aggressive, very take charge, and if you didn't comply with whatever order she gave you, you got spanked with the energy whip her mask was named after.  I gotta admit, even to this day, that doesn't sound like a bad prospect.

And now for the bloggers I'm tagging!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 5 Results

“We’re coming up to it now, Doc,” Hacker said as their ship drifted through space.
“Excellent.”  Doc Terror looked through the monitor at the planetoid.  It had first shown up in the solar system a week ago and appeared to be on a collision course for Earth.  While Doc Terror didn’t care about the casualties the impact would wreck on the human race when it smashed into the planet, he certainly did not want to lose Dominion, his base in the Arctic region and the predicted point of impact.  After further readings, he determined the asteroid to be hollow, full of processed metal, and not just drifting through space, but creating its own propulsion.  The object was no mere asteroid, he knew, but some kind of ship in disguise.  A ship he planned to take and use in his conquest against the human race.
“Are the Doom Drones ready for deployment?” he asked his cyborg henchman.
Hacker tapped a few buttons with his one human hand and nodded. 
“Still no reaction from the surface?”
“Negative.  And no life-signs from within it.  What if there’s no one inside?”
“Then the easier it will be to take control of it. As soon as we make contact,” Doc Terror said, “send out the land forces to break through the surface.”
                As the Shadow Star cruised through space towards the Earth, Umbra acknowledged the lime green ship coming close to it and dismissed it just as quick.  If it wasn’t the Mighty Orbots, Umbra determined it to be no threat.  Once the ship landed on the outside of his space-faring base, though, the massive supercomputer reconsidered.
“Perhaps, the Galactic Patrol has come to surrender,” Umbra mused, as the holographic image from the surface that filled the Star Shadow morphed into the multi-eyed projection Umbra had adopted.  The theory quickly died as a massive robotic force spilled out from the ship and began working on drilling through the hull of his fortress.  “Fools, attempting a frontal assault on Shadow Fortress will be your undoing!”  As the Shadow Star had no exterior defenses, Umbra began amassing his Shadowbots at the invading force’s entry point.
The drone force broke through the surface, small at first as drilling robots fell through the breach, then a stream of jet-like robots flew through and spread out to search in interior.  Umbra’s flying Shadowbots, looking more biological with pointed heads and long flapping wings, engaged the invaders, streaking after them and firing laser blasts from their eyes.  Even as the interloping robots were blasted out of the sky a second wave flew in through the expanding hole in the Shadow Star’s surface. 
Lasers filled the expanse, joined in by missiles fired by the drones.  Advanced targeting systems in the projectiles found target after target, blowing Shadowbots out of the sky.  In the middle of the carnage, the invader’s ship lowered into the Shadow Fortress and found purchase on a metal-plated plateau. 
“Shadowbots, destroy the ship!” Umbra ordered, his voice echoing within the Shadow Star.  More robots – these resembling steel pumas – pounced on the ship and began ripping its hull to pieces. 
“Deploy the Traumatizers!” rang out from within the ship, and a platoon of humanoid robots poured from the ship, lasers firing from their arms and face monitors.  The two robot armies tore into each other until the Traumatizer robots flipped over and fired a volley of missiles from their torsos.  The ordinance took out Shadowbots in waves as they advanced on the ship, but the Shadowbots kept coming and the invading army dwindled like rocks against a current. 
Above it all, Umbra’s visage watched in satisfaction.  When the assault has been repelled, Umbra would enjoy watching the leader shredded by his Shadowbots.
“Our Doom Drones are getting destroyed out there, boss!” Hacker shouted, watching a Traumatizer’s head being bitten off by a cat-like robot.  He shot at it from the metal mace on one end of his robotic arm and ordered another Traumatizer to take its place. 
Doc Terror slid a rocket into his cybernetic arm’s barrel and launched it at a group of robots, blasting them to pieces.  He looked out at the expanse, filled with broken and deactivated robots.  “Start the portable cyborg-making machine; I’ve got an idea.”  He commanded a second squadron of Doom Drones, six-wheeled robots built for speed and maneuverability, to find the Shadowbots that still functioned and bring them back to the ship.  “We’ll turn that hologram’s forces against itself!”
Hacker flipped an array of switches in the ship’s cargo bay lit up, shining light at the mechanical orb.  The top half of the machine rose up on stilts.  The biggest technological feat of Doc Terror, the cyborg-making machine was capable of turning any creature into a cyborg, increasing its strength, adding loads of firepower and most importantly, putting them solely under Doc Terror’s control.
The Doom Drones retrieved dozens of robots as they tried to fight back and tossed them into the open half of the machine.  Doc Terror switched on the machine, closing the machine and infusing the machine with light and cybernetic energy.  When the machine opened again a few moments later, twisted metal robots emerged, multiple Shadowbots merged together to form a powerful dragon-like Borg, awaiting orders.
Doc Terror examined the robot with pride as a pair of Shadowbots broken into the ship.  “Take them out!” Terror shouted, gesturing at the intruders.  The Borg launched itself at the Shadowbots and ripped one to pieces with its massive claws, then jumped at the other and coiled around it until the Shadowbot was crushed to death.  “Perfection!” Terror said, “Hacker, begin mass production!” 
The machine closed on pile after pile of pulverized Shadowbots and rose again, each time creating a different combination of robot parts, each one more devastating than the last. The hologram projection floating in the sky could do nothing more than watch on as his forces were turned into metal monstrosities and betrayed him.  As the metal abominations spread through the Shadow Fortress and ripped the remaining Shadowbots to shreds, Umbra had one final option: Destructitron.
Bay doors opened, spilling robotic corpses into gigantic robot’s lair.  Rockets ignited, carrying the automaton into the air, where it loomed over the invading force’s ship.  It took the craft into its monstrous claws, preparing to tear it in half, but the combined number of the mangled former Shadowbots overwhelmed the Destructitron, devouring it in a swarm of fangs and claws.  Umbra’s last line of defense was gone, and nothing stood between his data banks and the invaders. 
Umbra’s projected face flared in the hollow planetoid as the red and blue cyborgs crossed the expanse to the interior of the Shadow Fortress.  “Do not go any further!” he shouted. 
The red one looked up at him and sneered.  “Doc Terror goes where he wants!”  He placed a claw-like weapon into the barrel on a mechanical arm and gripped the entry door before pulling it clean off its hinges.  Inside, he found the gleaming computer array that made up Umbra’s neural network. 
“You’ve fallen into my trap,” Umbra said with a deep, grating laugh.  “You’re within my mind, where I rule all.”  The computer systems melted away, replacing the intruder’s vision with a view of a scorched Earth.  Dominion lay open and ruined, where the full weight of the Shadow Star had impacted, wreaking havoc on a global scale and ending all life on the planet.  The blue cyborg dropped to his knees and cried out at the prophetic imagery, but the red one stood firm. 
“Enough of these tricks!” he yelled, unloading a barrage of lasers around him.  The blasts flew harmlessly through the illusion, but found their target at the hidden computer network.  As the systems that made up Umbra deactivated, the hologram of Earth’s destruction shimmered away.  Umbra’s face flashed once more in the Shadow Fortress then faded from sight, with the cyborg’s maniacal laugh the last thing the supercomputer registered before going offline forever.
 Click here and here for respect threads.
Both Umbra and Doc Terror had access to huge robotic armies, but only one of them showed a capability to create new ones.  Umbra's forces don't show an origin, so we have to assume he'd either had created them a while ago or had them brought in.  Considering Umbra doesn't really show any capability of building them himself - he even needed others to build stuff within the Shadow Star and operate them.  Doc Terror, on the other hand, has a cyborg-making machine and has been able to build himself an army in mere hours.  I might have fudged it a bit since the fodder for the machine was robotic and not biological, but a. the Shadowbots looked plenty biological to me and b. how hard would it be to add robotics to more robots instead of animals?  I'm also assuming as easily as the Shadowbots were able to overwhelm Mighty Orbots in the beginning, that a bunch of Shadowborgs would be able to do the same to the Destructitron.  And lastly, the illusion in Umbra's memory unit only held back the uncertain Orbots for a few minutes - someone with the confidence of Doc Terror wouldn't have been phased by it for more than a few moments.

The Winner

Click here for last round - Megatron vs. Miles Mayhem!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 9/13/17

Hasn't been a particularly productive week.  I spent a lot of time during last week finishing a friend's book for a critique session on Sunday.  I'm not a big fan of romances, but she sure knew her stuff.

The rest of the week, I've been working on a few designs for the appendix I'm going to include in Old School Evil.  While I've got all the production bibles written up and ready to go, I need insignias for each of the cartoons.  I've got a rough draft done in Illustrator for some of them - Ultra City Ultra Twins, Defenders of Dino City - and the Hurricanines is completely done.  There are a few that I haven't done anything with yet besides sketching. 

One of those is Genius InQ, an Inspector Gadget-type cartoon with three super-smart kids inventing the craziest things and their adopted father, Chairman Brain, trying to steal their inventions and selling them to the highest bidder.  The kids - Rico, Hiro, and Tito - foil Brain's plans all by accident, with the help of their supercomputer, Mama.  Here's my very basic idea for the title image.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bad Guy Beatdown Round 5: Umbra vs. Doc Terror - Part 2

Before we go into Doc Terror's abilities, I do need to amend Umbra's entry.

Since both of these combatants rely heavily on robot armies, I should take a moment to go over Umbra's Shadowbots.  These are the main defense force for Umbra within his Shadow Fortress. There are two types of Shadowbots, a dog-like land version, and a bird-like flying version.  Both are pretty big as it took a dozen or so to cover Mighty Orbots.  As Mighty Orbots measures to be about 150 feet tall, that would make a single Shadowbot about 18 feet tall.  It appeared that in total there were easily over a hundred of them.  Both are equipped with lasers and are susceptible to ice attacks.

Now on to Doc Terror.  Doc's Doom Drone army is no slouch.  Made up of four main borgs - The Strafers, the flying drones, the Traumatizers, the walking drones, a 6-wheeled tank drone, and a water-based drone - he's got more than enough firepower to match Umbra's.  While the last two drones don't get a chance to show off their abilities besides laser cannons, the first two do.  Strafers are capable of space flight, and the Traumatizers have a torso-mounted missile launcher.  Traumatizers are said to be two tons, but are also easily beaten; three of them were defeated by just throwing rocks at them.

In addition to his Drone's, Doc has a portable cyborg maker, capable of turning any living thing into a cyborg.  He does it in three episodes I watched, making various borgs out of fish, dinosaurs, and lastly, a gang of punks.  Yes, they're all extremely stupid looking, but it's very fast.  He was able to make his fish bog army in a matter of hours.  The borg maker can be moved from base to base and he has it stored on his big green spaceship, which is also capable of space travel.  So he'd have no trouble making it to the Shadow Star.

Now let's look at Doc Terror himself.  Being half-robot comes with a lot of perks, namely weaponry built into his robot arm.  Normally it is an open barrel blaster, which also houses a strong electromagnet. His strength is also above normal, as he's able to break a desk in half and knock down a metal door with it.  The blaster can also be fitted with a capture claw and a missile launcher.  Unfortunately, since he has a henchman in Hacker, he generally stays at his base and doesn't engage the Centurions himself.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday Wrap-Up - 9/6/17

Here it is, another week without a Bad Guy Beatdown post.  I am having so much trouble finding the time to watch these cartoons lately.  And it's not like I don't enjoy this cartoon either; I love Centurions.  I had Jake Rockwell as a kid, and I think even the Wild Weasel pack, even though it got stolen or broken by one of my friends.  Actually, I remember one of my friends throwing a tennis ball at the figure and his freaking leg fell off - the toy not my friend.  I promise to get it posted on Monday though so I can get back to the rankings.  I think I'm going to start doing polls with them as well, at least on Twitter to see who people think will win.

My new computer seems to be screwing up.  I can connect to the internet, but the connection is so week apparently that it can't even load up a single webpage.  It's freaking terrible.  I've contacted IBuyPower to get it fixed and they're sending me a new wifi card.  It hasn't stopped me from loading up Scrivener and Evernote though, so I'm still working on formatting it and coming up with new chapter titles.  There are some pretty cool ones I found and I'm looking forward to getting them all picked.

Over Labor Day, we went to my parent's house for a barbeque and my parents asked me about my book.  I got pretty excited because they hardly ever ask about it.  They've known for a few years I was writing this book but keep forgetting about it.  I told them all about my plans and my sister asked if this was the book I had written a long time ago about the kid whose eyes were burned out. Long before I wrote Old School Evil, I worked on a fantasy novel.  I did a ton of world-building on it and over the course of ten years finally finished the damn thing.  It took that long because I wasn't really interested in it, with my attention divided between it and a few more interesting projects.  A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to finish it just to say I've written something and there I had a completed first draft.  I think it stinks, but she got me considering a second go at it.  Maybe once I finish up with Old School Evil - whenever that might be - I'll give it another chance.