Despite the fact that I still read a lot of super-hero comics (I’m especially enjoying DC’s Rebirth stuff right now), I haven’t found myself interested in watching the plethora of super-hero cartoons that have been produced in recent years, both on the DC and Marvel sides. The last super-hero cartoon I remember really enjoying was the original Batman: The Animated Series. Yesterday I spotted the Batman: The Brave and the Bold series on Netflix (and strangely, they only have seasons 2 and 3, and not the first one), and from the preview screen, I liked the character designs I was seeing (sorta 60s/Kirby-esque) and so decided to give an episode a try. Well, that led to me immediately watching 2-3 more episodes. I’ve having an absolute blast watching the series and am surprisingly in love with it, starting with the character designs and general look of the show, but also the fun and slapstick tone of it, which at times feels very self-referential. It’s also fun seeing Batman team up with so many characters (the premise is that each episode is a teamup with someone/someones). Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of classic animation.
A friend kept saying how good this was, so I decided to watch it, and yes, it is indeed one of the better DC animated films. It’s the storyline that sets up the reboot of the DC Universe from a couple of years ago, and although I had read the original comic series, it was nice seeing it again in a more condensed form – in fact, I found the story more interesting this time, probably because of the problem with big event series these days, in which the overwhelming number of spinoffs really dilute the main storyline (and the main series is often hard to follow if you don’t read some of those spinoffs). I’ve enjoyed quite a few of these DC animated films in the past, and my biggest gripe remains the same: I just wish the quality of animation was higher – it still comes off as barely above TV grade.
Can someone please explain to me what the hell DC Comics is thinking when it comes to the promotion of its Vertigo imprint? Vertigo is the home for creator-owned mature series over at DC, and its currently on a roll with a good number of great regular series (DMZ, iZombie, Northlanders, Sweet Tooth), as well as a growing line-up of one-shot graphic novels. These are the kinds of books that people who don’t usually read comics would probably like, and yet Vertigo’s website makes absolutely no sense for non-comics readers. The only pages found on the site are for individual issues, which is fine for a graphic novel, but not for a series. Last week I read through the current run of The Unwritten (#1-17), and wanting to recommend it to people, I had to link to the Wikipedia page because there was no decent page to link to on the Vertigo page, that would explain properly what the series was about.
Something needs to be done in order to give new readers — anyone who’s heard of a series and wants to know more about it — a place to do that. And even though I’m not a particular fan of all the publisher-specific iPad apps out there (all spinoffs of the Comixology app), the one that would make the most sense is a Vertigo-branded one, for people who have absolutely no interest in the super-hero fare that DC Comics mostly publishes. Sure, you can buy the Vertigo books through the DC app, but the mainstream audience that you could get reading these book are not going to find them there.
Pictured, the cover to The Unwritten #17, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, who has done all the covers for the series. That particular issue is rather amazing, presented in the form of an actual choose-your-own-adventure story (but I do recommend reading everything that comes before it first).