SDCC ’14 [The Bible Scale, Pt. III]: Bat-imated Assault on San Diego!
Our third (of fifth) entry onto The Bible Scale brings us back to those ol’ youthful Saturday mornings, eating cereal, watching cartoons.
Or, basically what I was doing yesterday?
No, silly, when you were 6 or 7-years old (and only about 6 or 7-inches away from the TV screen)! Welcome to your childhood, the wacky world of ‘toons and animation.
Join (from left to right) “Brother” Myke Ladiona, “Minister” Gabe Carrasco (w/ Mr. Johns), and the “Monsignor” Travis Moody, as we…pretty much celebrate the 75th anniversary of Bruce Wayne, and a couple other really kooky things from San Diego Comic-Con 2014.
Bob’s Burgers (FOX) – Out of the many cases where writers, directors and actors claim that they would be “nothing without the fans,” it was actually true for this panel. Sure, most of the cast showed up — and they gave us free swag and showed some clips from the upcoming season — but there’s a reason why moderators are hired. I’ve been a fan of Loren Bouchard since Home Movies, but does he really need to write, direct, AND run the panel for the show? Because he really seems to hate doing at least ONE of those things. Thankfully, the fans Q&A saved the day, ranging from adorable 5-year olds asking surprisingly insightful questions, to John Roberts (voice of Linda Belcher) covering famous songs as Linda. The highlight of the panel featured an older man walking to the mic with a ukulele, which prompted the adorable Kristen Schaal (who voices Louise) to ask him to play the theme song for the crowd. And he did so amazingly, ending the entire messy affair on a high note. Judging solely by the panel, he wasn’t the fan that Bob’s Burgers deserved, but he was the fan that they needed. – Myke Ladiona
Star Wars: Rebels (Disney XD) – Moody! “Just how in the hell did your beloved SW: Rebels end up with only 3.5 Bibles?” Easy. They didn’t show panel-goers the pilot episode, despite the fact it was screened for critics at the Reading Cinemas that Thursday (I had a prior engagement; you know, something called “open-bar”). Personal shit aside, you could do much worse than watch creator Dave Filoni, and voice actors Freddie Prinz Jr. and Steve Blum talk about their beloved animated Star Wars; this, despite the fact their dry host often drowned some of the fun out. One of the main deals with Rebels was renewing weaponry, such as the new bad-ass Inquisitor’s lightsaber, which was last used in 2008’s The Force Unleashed video game. But as far as the usage is concerned, expect those bad-boys to only come out during “pivotal moments,” according to Filoni.
(Cont.) As much as he and co-producer Simon Kinberg (Fantastic Four, X-Men) love opening up that Lucasfilm toolbox, they still intend to create a more self-contained, pre-New Hope origin for the Rebels — even comparing it to the American Revolution. “The world will eventually grow” considering the synergy between Lucasfilm’s expansive and cinematic universes. Of course, with the tighter, family-orientated vibe of Rebels comes more organic comedy than Clone Wars. “Kanan’s a tricky guy, a cocky Jedi. It’s sort of like Jumbo Shrimp…but not Cliff Huxtable!,” yoked Prinze Jr. about his character’s balance of levity and seriousness. Also expect TIE Fighters, a wide variety of Storm Troopers, and a more suspenseful tone between lighthearted moments. “The threat is real,” Filoni warned, comparing the hierarchic tension to leveling-up. “When Vader [arrived] on screen, you got out of the building!” – Travis Moody
Archer Screening and Q&A (FX) – Rather than witness “exclusive Comic Con” footage that would only be released the next day, some lucky Archer fans were able to check out the January premiere in addition to a clip animated just for SDCC. That’s right suckers, everyone at the panel has seen what Sterling Archer is up to next season. Without spoiling too much, we checked out the new renovation of the ISIS headquarters (the best bit of the ep), we learn more since the “dad” reveal, and got to see the brand new credits featuring a title card for Lucky Yates (Krieger) who has just joined the main cast. The theme of the panel seemed to be crossovers. Fans in the audience seemed to think that creator Adam Reed was taking requests. Obviously Bob’s Burgers was mentioned, since H. Jon Benjamin (voice of Archer) also voices Bob, but all Reed could say was “I don’t think the FX business affairs would be happy with that.” He said that phrase so much, it became a running joke that Reed got money every time he said “business affairs”. While he was dismissive the whole time about any — let’s face it — impossible crossover, there was mention of a nod to his old series Frisky Dingo. For the sake of not getting him in trouble, I’ll let the fans try and spot that one. – Myke
***World Premiere of Batman: Assault on Arkham*** (WB) – Instead of watching clips of future movie releases that max out at 5-minutes, Minister Gabe and I decided to catch an ENTIRE MOVIE PREMIERE instead. Batman: Assault on Arkham is another technically stunning DC animated film with a skillfully crafted story arc. First off, one thing Myke and I agree on is: This is not a children’s movie. I feel bad for all the well-meaning moms out there whose 9-year old wants a Batman cartoon, and ends up with cartoon-boobs and exploding heads on the screen. That being said, as 20-something year-old dudes who love cartoon-boobs and exploding heads, this movie is fantastic. With Conroy returning to the screen, and Troy Baker doing an amazing “Mark Hammil-style” Joker, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for the classic animated series. And since the feature is geared towards an older audience, it felt like the same old characters in more adult situations. It’s as if my childhood cartoon just grew up with me! If it wasn’t obvious by the name of the movie, Assault on Arkham takes place in the same universe as the Arkham Asylum/City/Origin and Knight video-game series and it’s fun to see several locations making cameos.
(Cont.) The action even takes place at the same fast clip as the games. I constantly wanted to mash X while watching Batman’s first fight scene in the intro and was frustrated because the movie wasn’t telling me how big my combo was. That feeling of watching a movie version of the games quickly dissipated when the Dark Knight disappeared from the screen for almost 20-minutes. Batman shows up maybe 3 times throughout the movie, and the film is focused on the Suicide Squad, AKA “Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and the Obscure DC Rogues”. Riddler is essential to the plot, but shows up less than Batsy. Penguin squawks out a few lines towards the beginning. Hell, even Two-Face, Bane, and Poison Ivy make some cameos, but like any lucrative Bat-plot, this quickly becomes a Batman vs. Joker and Harley story, and I love it. A short panel and Q&A was held after the screening, and it was a ton of fan service: Hearing Bruce Wayne, err, Kevin Conroy talk to the fans, and watching John DiMaggio (King Shark) threaten a kid — who called the movie sexist — in an evil-Bender/Joker voice that resulted in a laugh-off between he and Baker. So, have your crappy 30-second clips, Hall H; fans of this particular DC movie universe will be the ones having the last laugh. – Myke & Gabe Carrasco
Children’s Hospital (Adult Swim) – What happened in Room 25ABC on the first night of the Con wasn’t a panel; it was an all out comedy show. Creator Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine, The Daily Show) and star Rob Huebel (Human Giant) came out with a bang, running around the audience doling out high-fives– doing their best frat-boy schtick. Before they even sat down, Huebel picked up the schedule and said that they had to make the panel fast, because “in this room next there’s going to be a Stormtrooper f***fest.” Corddry continued to throw all the unused chairs from the stage, WWE-style. Even the moderator was a producer that had been fired from Adult Swim, but was asked to run the panel…just because. No question was answered seriously, and anyone with the balls to come up to the mic got a healthy roasting from the panelists. Yes, we loved it. We MAYBE got about 20-minutes of actual CH talk, but the other 50 minutes (including the three times they received a 5-minute warning) of banter caused me to forget my notes. If there ever was a Children’s Hospital Live — I’m pretty sure that we all just witnessed a preview. – Myke
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (Hasbro) – HEY– WAIT! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?? C’mon, don’t skip ahead! This is good, I promise! Now, while I’m not here to sell you on the show, we can’t just sit around and pretend this fandom isn’t fucking huge. Whether you’re a casual SDCC attendee, or a die-hard Hall H camper, you cannot escape the phenomenon that is PONY. The MLP panel has seriously been one of my fav panels for the past 2-years, since they know exactly what we want. Present was songwriter Daniel Ingram, show writer Meghan McCarthy, director Jason Thiessen, and of course all of the fantastic voices. With loads of info on Season 5, fans also witnessed an entire, fully-animated song from the upcoming Equestria Girls sequel Rainbow Rocks.
(Cont.) For those of you who already follow the show, the two most appealing teasers are definitely, One: an entire episode about Pinkie Pie’s family, including the return of Maud Pie(!), and Two: Season 5 includes the show’s 100th episode, which will (finally) feature the background characters the fandom has fallen in love with through fan-made art, music and fiction. After that finale where Twilight’s home was turned to rubble in the intense laser battle between her and Tirek, the writers weren’t sure how to make this coming season even more monumental. But judging from the premiere’s animatic, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Equestria, which can only mean the stakes are even higher for the Mane 6! – Gabe
Batman 75th Anniversary (DC) – Happy anniversary to The Goddamn Batman! This panel was absolutely amazing. For those of you who know anything about the Dark Knight and his history through popular media, these names just might ring a bat-bell: DC Chief Creative Officer, Demi-God Geoff Johns, Batman: The Animated Series writers (and Harley Quinn creators!) Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, THE voice of Batman himself Kevin Conroy, comic book artist legend Jim Lee, Batman ’66 writer Ralph Garman, and DC Animation Senior Vice President Peter Girardi. The panel gave us some bat-insight through the years from Batman’s beginnings in Detective Comics, through the teaser image of the upcoming Dawn of Justice. We were able to see two badass animated shorts of both old-school Batman saving a woman from Hugo Strange in Strange Days, and Batman Beyond fighting a small army of Batman lookalikes from across his different media renditions. The panelists discussed everything from the Adam West series to B:TAS to the Tim Burton films to the Nolan trilogy, and we even saw some early art for Geoff Johns’ upcoming Batman Earth One, Vol. 2. Altogether, it’s always awesome seeing Batman creators talking about Batsy in all the different projects they’ve been a part of, because after all is said and done, they’re really just huge fans of the character like any of us are. – Gabe