Archives for August 2009

Back Cover Artwork For Upcoming “Justice League: The Complete Series” DVD Collection

The back cover art for the new Justice League: The Complete Series DVD collection, featuring all 91 episodes from the classic Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series combined plus new bonus features, is now available to view. To view the artwork, click on the thumbnail image below.


Further details on this released are expected shortly. Click here to view hi-res cover art and initial details released by Warner Home Video. The Justice League: The Complete Series DVD Box Set is scheduled to hit shelves November 10th, 2009.

Stay tuned for further updates, including the official press release and detailed information on this DVD title.

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Teletoon Releases “Justice League” Animated Series September 2009 Episode Schedule

Below are official descriptions and airdates for the episodes of the classic Justice League animated series slated for September 2009 on the Canadian network Teletoon. The information listed below is provided by Teletoon.

Friday, September 4th, 2009 – “A Knight of Shadows, Part One”
Assisted by the demon Etrigan, the Justice League must stop an ancient sorceress, Morgaine Le Fey, from finding the Sorcerer’s Stone – a legendary object that would give her the power to rule the world.

Friday, September 11th, 2009 – “A Savage Time, Part One”
When the Justice League returns from a mission in space, the superheroes find that the world has changed and that it is now ruled by a ruthless, repressive dictator named Vandal Savage. To restore life as they know it, the members of the Justice League must travel back in time and team with Sgt. Rock and The Blackhawks to refight World War II.

Friday, September 18th, 2009 – “A Savage Time, Part Two”
When the Justice League returns from a mission in space, the superheroes find that the world has changed and that it is now ruled by a ruthless, repressive dictator named Vandal Savage. To restore life as they know it, the members of the Justice League must travel back in time and team with Sgt. Rock and The Blackhawks to refight World War II.

Friday, September 25th, 2009 – “A Savage Time, Part Three”
When the Justice League returns from a mission in space, the superheroes find that the world has changed and that it is now ruled by a ruthless, repressive dictator named Vandal Savage. To restore life as they know it, the members of the Justice League must travel back in time and team with Sgt. Rock and The Blackhawks to refight World War II.

Justice League regularly airs every Friday at 8:30pm (ET) on the Teletoon “Superfan Fridays” programming block. Click here for further details on Justice League. Stay tuned for further updates.

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Writer Stan Berkowitz Discusses Upcoming “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” Feature

The World’s Finest continues its series of presenting studio-conducted interviews, provided by Warner Home Video, for the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-video animated feature. Continue reading below for the latest installment featuring screenwriter Stan Berkowitz.

Screenwriter Stan Berkowitz successfully adapts another classic DC Comics graphic novel to film with Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Justice League: The New Frontier writer brings Jeph Loeb comic to life in all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie for distribution Sept. 29

Screenwriter Stan Berkowitz guides another classic DC Comics graphic novel to animated glory with the September 29 Warner Home Video
release of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

Berkowitz brought Darwyn Cookes landmark Justice League: The New Frontier from pages to screen in 2008, and this year hes converted the words of Jeph Loeb into a summer popcorn-style blockbuster with the crafting of the script for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.



Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation will present the all-new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies in a Blu-Ray Hi-Def edition, a special edition 2-disc DVD, and a single disc DVD. Warner Home Video will distribute the action-packed movie, which will also be available OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download on Sept. 29.

In Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, United States President Lex Luthor uses the oncoming trajectory of a Kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and declare a $1 billion bounty on the heads of the Man of Steel and his partner in crime, Batman. Heroes and villains alike launch a relentless pursuit of Superman and Batman, who must unite and recruit help to stave off the action-packed onslaught, stop the asteroid, and uncover Luthors devious plot to take command of far more than North America.

Berkowitz has been actively writing for 30 years, focusing his efforts on animated properties for the past dozen years. His animated credits range from Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League, The Batman and Legion of Super Heroes, with stops on shows like Static Shock, Batman Beyond and Spider-Man along the way. Prior to moving into the animated realm, Berkowitz garnered credits writing episodes of T.J. Hooker and the latter-day versions of Dragnet and Adam 12.

Berkowitz pushed the keyboard aside to discuss the differences between his film and Loebs initial take on the tale, the importance of great voice actors and a fine director, reaching into the DC vault for his childhood memories, the little things Alan Burnett does to make a big impact, and the ideal writing environment. Read on Stan Berkowitz is speaking.

QUESTION:
Why was this story right for you?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
I love the political aspect of it. In the comic book that Jeph Loeb wrote, it was assumed that everyone knew the backstory to how Luthor got elected President. But we needed the movie to show an audience, who might not be familiar with the comics, exactly what would have to happen for Luthor to be elected. I sort of envisioned Luthor ascending to the Presidency somewhere around 2012. I didn’t quite predict the catastrophe we’d be seeing in 2008. But I figured that something bad would happen, and then Democrats would be elected in 2008, they wouldnt be able to solve the problem and, in 2012, a tough, Ross Perot-style third party bid would be the one who’d be elected.

It was kind of fun for me to envision the political atmosphere that would have to take place in order for that to happen. And I also had a wonderful time going with Jeph’s depiction of Luthor’s descent into insanity always keeping in mind that Clancy Brown would be enacting the dialogue. It was just great to write that.

QUESTION:
Superman/Batman: Pubic Enemies follows Justice League: The New Frontier as your second DC Universe film adaptation of a classic DC Comics graphic novel/com series. Are there specific challenges to adapting a well-known story?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
Each adaptation is different, and presents different challenges. In New Frontier, the challenge was compressing all the material into a coherent 75-minute story. In Public Enemies, the challenge was making the thematic concerns concrete because the comic author had the luxury of a narrator to talk about the themes. And when we did the
screenplay, we had to show the themes in action, having things happen to illustrate those themes.

For Public Enemies, there was also the issue of credibility. We were concerned that if a person who vaguely knows Superman and Batman grabs this off the shelf and sees Lex Luthor as President, he might think, hey, what’s going on here? It might just put them off, or make them think this was an alternate world story. And thats not how its advertised. The other credibility issue is that in the comic, Luthor believes that the meteor is coming to Earth because of Superman. As a reader, I could not get past the fact that the public buys Luthor’s explanation. I didn’t believe an audience watching this as an animated production would buy Luthor’s explanation. So Alan (Burnett) and Bruce (Timm) and I had to figure out an alternate way for Luthor to frame Superman. I think it worked very well.

QUESTION:
What makes Lex Luthor such a great villain?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
I think anytime you do a story, you have to ask yourself, What does the villain want? And the more complex the villain, the more unusual a thing it is that he wants and, thus, the better the story will be. In Luthor’s case, he’s like Salieri to Superman’s Mozart. Salieri would have been the era’s greatest composer had it not been for Mozart, and Salieri knows this. In the same vein, Luthor would have been the leading light of our generation except for Superman, and there’s nothing that he can do about it. He’s cast into the shadows, and that’s why he has that pathological hatred of Superman.

QUESTION:
You’ve written Batman, and you’ve written Superman. Now youve gotten to write them together? Whats that dynamic like to combine them and use that chemistry to bring out the personalities?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
Well, Batman and Superman are opposites. Superman has always been presented as the character from the light, the daytime; Batman from the nighttime. They have decidedly different outlooks. Superman is the ultimate kid from Kansas, who had a real healthy upbringing. Batman is the tormented orphan. In a way, Superman’s outlook is too sunny, and Batmans is too dark. The two of them work against each other, trying to temper each other’s attitude.

Superman wants to cheer up Batman to a certain extent, and Batman wants to make Superman aware that there is a darker world under what Superman normally sees. Its fun to create banter between them. It was also fun to adapt the banter that was in the graphic novel, and we used a lot of it. Jephs words were so good, we just pulled dialogue directly from the pages of the novel.

QUESTION:
Are you thinking of the casts voices when you’re writing and, if so, does that help you write?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
Im definitely thinking of the actors’ voices. Not to denigrate Superman and Batman, but this is Luthor’s story. Luthor has more
dialogue than either Batman or Superman. And frankly, I actually gave him even more dialogue in those long speeches because I was hoping Clancy Brown would get the part, which he did. Its so pleasurable to watch and hear Clancy do those Luthor lines, to watch Clancy’s descent into madness. It just brought me back to the days when I got into this medium in the first place. Suddenly, I was just a 13-year-old with a movie camera having fun with my friends and doing these little movies. It had that same visceral pleasure for me. Tim (Daly) and Kevin (Conroy) are sensational, too those were also the voices I had in mind while I was writing. But this really is Clancy’s vehicle this time.

QUESTION:
Do you remember your first experience with Superman and with Batman?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
Easily. The reason I remember this so well is that when I started working on the show Superboy in Florida, I was flown to New York to meet Mike Carlin and Andy Helfer at DC Comics. And we talked for most of the day about the Superboy show and then they just casually mentioned, Oh, by the way, we happen to have a library here of all
the comics that DC has ever done. Well, I got to go see it. I went into that library and found the very first two comics I’d ever gotten. One of them was an issue of Batman Detective Comics with a character called Garth, and it involved a crossbow being used to kill someone in an empty room. The strings had been held back by a cake of ice. And when the ice melted, the crossbow let go and killed the guy sitting in this deserted room. And the other one was a SuperboyAdventure Comics from August of ’58, where Superboy played all the positions on a baseball team, thanks to his super speed. And I remember I’d been sick in the evening, and my father went out and got the medicine for me, and also picked up those two comic books. So it was kind of cool, almost like reaching into a time capsule, because I hadn’t seen the comics in over 30 years.

QUESTION:
What is your strength in this industry?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
I think part of my strength is work habits. One of the lessons I learned from my very first job after film school was from Russ Meyer. He said that from the time you wake up ’til the time you go to sleep, when youre on a show, the show owns you. You don’t own the show. There’s no going home at 6:00 at night. I have no idea if there’s any creativity involved (he laughs), but I’m fairly certain that the conscientiousness might explain some of the longevity.

QUESTION:
Which presents more challenges: writing an original Stan Berkowitz story or adapting someone else’s work?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
Doing an original presents more challenges. The adaptations are already there the studio knows they want to do it. In both the case of New Frontier and Public Enemies, I was approached by the studio and asked if I wanted to adapt them. Getting your own thing off the ground is much, much more difficult because even in our little world of animation, the, pre-selling is an important factor. And in both the case of New Frontier and Public Enemies, you had best-selling comics that the fans already knew.

QUESTION:
What’s the perfect environment for you to write in?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
I like an empty room, and that’s all I really need because there are absolutely no distractions. No TV, no internet, just a quiet room. It works for me. And it helps me to work faster. From the day they decided to do Public Enemies until the day that the first draft of the script was ready, it was exactly 60 days which is really, really
fast for a feature-length project.

When I started writing in film school, I’d have the TV on. Now I can’t even have music on. It just has to be dead quiet with nobody around, nobody coming to bother me. Its all about concentration. I can go for about two hours before I need a distraction, then I come back and go for another two hours. If you plan your whole day carefully, you can
get in eight hours of work and probably six to seven pages of finished screenplay a day. There are other writers who can do 10 or 12, but they’re probably burned out after about a week or two.

QUESTION:
Beyond the narrative, are there any other key differences between Jeph Loeb’s version and what we’ll see in the movie?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
I think the largest one involves what Superman is framed for. We just didnt find it credible that the American public would believe that Superman was somehow drawing the meteor to Earth. We thought we needed something that made a little bit more sense.

My first instinct was to have Superman accused of an attempted murder on Metallo, and then have this whole thing where ultimately Metallo plays a key role by donating his skeleton to be the nose cone of the rocket. That didnt work, and then Alan (Burnett) suggested having Metallo murdered and framing Superman for that. Then Alan asked the next question and answered it himself. Why would anybody believe that Superman had killed Metallo? And the answer that Alan gave for why people would believe that Superman would kill was that Superman’s mind was already being affected by the kryptonite radiation coming from the approaching meteor. Suddenly, the public is afraid that a crazed Superman could just go off the handle and kill anyone. I felt that that was a very effective way of framing Superman.

QUESTION:
Whats the influence of Alan Burnett on the DC Universe films?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
Alan Burnett has become an uber editor of all of the DCU DVDs, and hopefully that remains his role from now on. I started working for Alan in 1996 and, in my opinion, you could not ask for a better guy in that position. Hes almost always one of the few adults in the room. Inevitably, he’ll come up with something that seems really small, but then changes the whole story and makes it work. The radiation effecting Supermans mind is a perfect example. I never would have thought of that. But then heres Alan sitting quietly and then saying something that fixes everything. That’s what Alan does. His criticisms are always constructive. And you never, never see much ego involved at least I havent in the past 12 years.

QUESTION:
What it’s like for you to hear your words take life in a recording session?

STAN BERKOWITZ:
Its fun, but it makes you appreciate just how good everyone else involved really is. For starters, Andrea (Romano) makes it look very, very simple, but I urge anyone who thinks it’s simple to actually try to direct actors. Its hard. Very hard. They speak a different language. We were working on an episode of Justice League, and I happened to get to the recording session early and the only other person there already was the lead villain. We started chatting and, of course, the conversation turned to How did you see this guy? So I tell him my concept of the character. I swear to God, it took Andrea an hour of recording time to undo the damage I’d done because I spoke to him from the wrong perspective. An actor wants to know the internal emotional aspect of how the character feels, and I was describing the character from the outside, as how you would see him.

Ive been blessed in that Andrea is one of the few dialogue directors Ive worked with since 1996. When you hear an actor whos either bad or whos badly directed doing your dialogue, you start thinking, Oh my God, I’m a terrible writer. And then you hear your words being directed by good director, working with good actors, and you say, Hey, I’m good. I can write dialogue. That’s the pleasure of being in a recording session for one of your scripts.

For more information, images and updates, please visit the films official website at www.SupermanBatmanDVD.com.

Suggested captions for attached images:

Stan Berkowitz.jpg
Stan Berkowitz wrote the script for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next DC Universe animated original movie, which is set for distribution September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video. (Photo courtesy of Gary Miereanu)

Lex_14.jpg
U.S. President Lex Luthor claims an oncoming kryptonite meteor has driven Superman mad, leading the Man of Steel to commit murder in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The DC Universe animated original movie will be distributed September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

B_02.jpg
Bruce Wayne runs calculations in the Batcave, trying to stop an oncoming kryptonite meteor in the next DC Universe animated original movie, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. Warner Home Video will distribute the film on September 29, 2009.

Silver Banshee.jpg
Silver Banshee is one of the dozens of super villains who try to capture the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight in Superman/Batman:
Public Enemies
, the next DC Universe animated original movie, which is set for distribution September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

S_27.jpg
Superman is forced into one battle after another as both super heroes and super villains alike seek to capture the Man of Steel in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The DC Universe animated original movie will be distributed September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

Trademark information for the images:
SUPERMAN Warner Bros. Ent Inc. BATMAN Warner Bros. Ent Inc. “SUPERMAN” and BATMAN and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and DC Comics. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, the direct-to-video Superman/Batman: Public Enemies animated feature will debut Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 on DVD and Blu-ray disc. Stay tuned for further Superman/Batman: Public Enemies updates.

Stay tuned for further Superman/Batman: Public Enemies updates coming soon!

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Writer J. Torres Discusses New Issue Of “Batman: The Brave And The Bold,” Now Available

Batman: The Brave and The Bold #8, the latest issue of the spin-off comic series from DC Comics, arrives in comic book stores today. The World’s Finest caught up with J. Torres, the acclaimed writer for the Batman: The Brave and The Bold comic series, to take a closer look at the issue.

“I guess you can say this issue’s ‘theme’ is Asian superheroes of the DCU,” says Torres. “Not only do Accomplished Perfect Physician, August General in Iron, Celestial Archer, and Yeti from the Great Ten feature in the issue, but another member of the Global Guardians also appears in the teaser.”

“And I’m sure that pretty much gives it away…” jokes Torres.

Official details for the latest issue of the Batman: The Brave and The Bold comic series are available below.

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #8

Written by: J. Torres
Art by: Carlo Barberi and Terry Beatty
Cover by: Scott Jeralds

Things get hairy when Batman teams up with The Great Ten, China’s ultimate super team, in a battle that finds our heroes fighting against an army of yelping Yetis. Yikes!

The cover price for Batman: The Brave and The Bold #8 is $2.50US.

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New “Batman: The Brave And The Bold – Volume One” DVD Release Now Available To Own

Collecting four episodes from the popular animated series, Batman: The Brave and The Bold – Volume One is the first DVD volume release for the series. While no bonus features are included with this release, Batman: The Brave and The Bold – Volume One does include the episodes “Rise of the Blue Beetle!,” “Terror on Dinosaur Island!,” “Evil Under the Sea!,” and “Invasion of the Secret Santas!” Cover art for this new release is available below.


To view the official press release for this new DVD title, please click here. Warner Home Video has already announced the release of Batman: The Brave and The Bold – Volume Two, scheduled for a November 2009 release. Further details on that upcoming release can be found here.

In related news, The World’s Finest can confirm that actor Tyler James Williams will be providing the voice of Firestorm in upcoming episodes of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series. Further details on upcoming episodes are forthcoming.

Stay tuned for further updates.

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Go deeper with the new Batman: Arkham Asylum video game, now available to own!


Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum – Gotham’s psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City’s most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum. Using a wide range of Batman’s gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker’s demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series. Batman: Arkham Asylum also features Kevin Conroy, Mark Hammill, and Arleen Sorkin of Batman: The Animated Series fame reprising the roles they made famous on the groundbreaking animated series, as Batman, Joker, and Harley Quinn.

Batman: Arkham Asylum is Rated T.

Check out the official Batman: Arkham Asylum website for more details on the game of 2009!

Believe the hype! This is the Batman game you’ve been waiting for! Batman: Arkham Asylum is now available to own.

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Direct-To-Video “Green Lantern: First Flight” Second Week Sales Take Respectable Dip


According to various home media retailing outlets and independent research, the new Green Lantern: First Flight direct-to-video animated feature took a predictable dip in its second week of sales on the home video DVD charts, but still managed to make a fine showing. The direct-to-video animated featured slid down to #25 on the charts, down twenty slots from its debut week, selling an estimated 48,250 copies for the week ending August 9th, 2009, bringing the DVD total sales of Green Lantern: First Flight to an estimated 206,500 united sold since its debut on July 28th, 2009. Keep in mind the sales numbers above do not take into account Blu-ray numbers, rental numbers, OnDemand numbers, or legal download numbers.

To compare, Green Lantern: First Flight is on track to eclipse the sales of the previous “DC Universe Animated Original Movie” title Wonder Woman, the sleeper direct-to-video animated hit release which debuted in March 2009.

Above is the cover art for both the Blu-ray and Two-Disc Special Edition DVD release of the direct-to-video Green Lantern: First Flight animated feature. Click on the links below to discuss both the new Green Lantern: First Flight animated feature and the DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Green Lantern: First Flight Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
Green Lantern: First Flight DVD/Blu-ray Talkback (Spoilers)

Check out the Green Lantern: First Flight subsite here at The World’s Finest for further coverage and information on the Green Lantern: First Flight direct-to-video animated feature. Stay tuned for further updates.

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Teletoon Releases September 2009 “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Episode Schedule

Below are official descriptions and airdates for episodes of the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series slated to air September 2009 on the Canadian network Teletoon. Please note the information listed below is provided by Teletoon.

Sunday, August 30th, 2009 – “021 Duel of the Double Crossers!”
When Mongul recruits Jonah Hex to bring new gladiators to War World, the old west bounty hunter wrangles the Dark Knight. After a change of heart, Hex and Batman team up to take down the violent empire.

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 – “022 The Last Bat on Earth!”
Gorilla Grodd travel’s to the future where intelligent animals rule humans –Batman follows him and teams with Kamandi (the last boy on Earth) to bring him down.

Sunday, September 13th, 2009 – “023 When OMAC Attacks!”
The all-American fighting machine OMAC is pitted against the equally destructive Shrapnel in a chaotic fight to the finish, but the architect behind the battle is the mysterious, balance-obsessed villain “Libra”

Sunday, September 20th, 2009 – “024 The Fate of Equinox!”
Batman has his final battle with the balance-obsessed villain Equinox as the maniac tries to remake the universe in his own image.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold airs every Sunday at 9am (ET) on the Teletoon “Action Force” programming block, with Sunday-premiering episodes re-airing Fridays at 7pm (ET) as part of the “Superfan Fridays” programming block.

More details on the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series are available at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite. Stay tuned for further details on upcoming episodes and exclusive content.

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Actor LeVar Burton Discusses Upcoming “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” Feature

The World’s Finest continues its series of presenting studio-conducted interviews, provided by Warner Home Video, for the upcoming Superman/Batman: Public Enemies direct-to-video animated feature. Continue reading below for the latest installment featuring actor LeVar Burton.

LeVar Burton is electric as Black Lightning in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Star Trek: The Next Generation star adds sci-fi cache to all-star cast of
sixth DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie

As the voice of Black Lightning, LeVar Burton adds another level of fanboy cache to a cast thick with legends of the super hero genre in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe animated original PG-13 movies.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies boasts a cast headed by the definitive voices of its three central characters Kevin Conroy (Batman), Tim Daly (Superman) and Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor), the original voices from the landmark Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series.

Burton is forever beloved by the sci-fi crowd for his memorable performance as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its feature film versions. However, Burton has done far more than go where no man has gone before.

In a career that essentially launched with his breakthrough performance in the landmark miniseries Roots, Burton has garnered seven Emmy Awards, three Image Awards, a Peabody as well as a Grammy, and in 1990 was permanently enshrined as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Along the way, Burton has been a virtual fixture on television screens from his 176 episodes of Next Gen and 150 episodes of Reading Rainbow, to another 41 episodes of The $10,000 Pyramid and 58 episodes as Kwame in Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Along the way, he has also directed several episodes of the last four Star Trek series (The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise), appeared in feature films (most notably as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ali), and even spent some time in the recording booth for Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles and Family Guy.

Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to release the all-new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies on September 29, 2009 in a Blu-Ray Hi-Def edition, a special edition 2-disc DVD, and a single disc DVD. Warner Home Video will distribute the action-packed movie, which will also be available OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download that same day.

Burtons turn as Black Lightning brought him back to the recording booth and while he was there, he took the time to discuss the joys of playing a super hero, his childhood comic book memories on a military base in Germany, the importance of reading, and the use of sci-fi as an inspiration for our future. Heres LeVar

QUESTION:
Was it difficult to settle on a voice for Black Lightning?

LEVAR BURTON:
I think everybody has a super hero that lives inside of them, so I just went to that place, that deep kind of super hero voice.

QUESTION:
What were your comic book habits as a kid?

LEVAR BURTON:
I grew up, part time, in Germany. My father was in the military, so we used to trade comic books for entertainment. On Saturdays, you took your box with all your comic books and you went around from apartment building to apartment building, trading comic books with the other American kids living on the base. Television was in German (language), so we didnt watch TV we read comics. But this was before black super heroes came around they didnt start appearing until the ’70s. So it’s mildly exciting for me to actually have a chance to play a black super hero today.

QUESTION:
Choose one: Batman or Superman?

LEVAR BURTON:
When I was a kid, it was always Batman over Superman. Batman had all the cool stuff, and he just had a vibe. Superman was the All-American guy but, with Batman, theres a little something going on. Batmans history was a little edgier, and there was just something really attractive to me about the cowl. Superman is all out there, even though he does the Clark Kent thing, but Batman keeps his identity hidden. He has this double life thats very sexy, very attractive for a kid. Not that I didnt like Superman the whole kryptonite thing is all well and good but Batman was my guy.

QUESTION:
What makes comic books great literature?

LEVAR BURTON:
People ask me all the time, because I did Reading Rainbow on PBS for 25 years, How do I get my kids to read? And I say, Find something that theyre passionate about. If its comic books that they want to read, then buy them comic books, for goodness sakes. Comic books are good literature and, like science fiction, they have a tendency to
really draw us toward that part of ourselves that imagines that which we create.

I’m one of those people that believes that there was some kid back in the 1960s watching Star Trek, and he kept seeing Captain Kirk pull out this communicator and flip it open and that kid grew up and became an engineer, a designer of products, and we now have a device that is more common than the toaster. How many flip phones do you see on a daily basis? That which we imagine is what we tend to manifest in third dimension thats what human beings do, we are manifesting machines. The metaphor of a man who has an external electronic device, something man made that serves him and somehow serves humanity, and that he becomes so aligned with that device, with the power of that device, that at one point he can discard it I think thats a real metaphor for the human journey. One day we wont need a transporter device to get from one place to another. And it begins with the wheel and then migrates through airplanes to some future technology that we cant produce yet but we can imagine. Imagination is really the key part of the human journey, its the key to the process of manifesting what our heart’s desire is.

When I was a kid, it was comic books that pointed me in that direction and from comic books I went to science fiction literature, which is still one of my most favorite genres of literature to read. Dont underestimate the power of comics and what they represent for us and how they inform us on the journey of being human because its powerful. Its very powerful. They give us permission to contemplate whats possible. And in this world, in this universe, there’s nothing that is not possible. If you can dream it, you can do it.

QUESTION:
Can you appreciate the passion of the sci-fi fan?

LEVAR BURTON:
Oh yeah. Because I am one. When I was a kid, I read a lot of science fiction books and it was rare for me to see heroes of color in the pages of those novels. Gene Roddenberry had a vision of the future, and Star Trek was one that said to me, as a kid growing up in Sacramento, California, When the future comes, theres a place for you. Ive said this many times, and Whoopi (Goldberg) feels the same way seeing Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of the Enterprise meant that we are a part of the future. So I was a huge fan of the original series and to have grown up and become of that mythos, a part of that family, and to represent people dealing with physical challenges, much like what Nichelle Nichols represented for people like Whoopi and myself, I cant even begin to share with you what that means to me. It was just beyond the beyond. So I get Star Trek fans, I get science fiction fans because, again, science fiction literature is that body of literature that causes us to ask what I feel are two of the most of the most powerful words in sequence, in language what if? And thats an open door, thats an open door to use your imagination to dream and to dream the big dream. As an actor, I dress up for a living and I get paid for it so, to see a guy come to a convention in his costume that hes made its a good thing, you know. This guy isnt out there beating his wife or kicking his dog, hes engaging in a healthy fantasy role-play. I think too many grown ups forget how important that part of our lives are, the ability to imagine and to dream. So its all good.

QUESTION:
Youre Black Lightning for this film. If you could play any super hero role, do you have a role you covet?

LEVAR BURTON:
Well, Ill start with Black Lightning. That aint a bad place to start. I mean, come on, if youre going to play a super hero, why not play the first real black super hero in the pantheon? I’m good with that.

QUESTION:
Does voiceover work have any special appeal for you?

LEVAR BURTON:
I love voiceovers because, and Im sure you hear this from actors all the time, but its kind of pure acting. For many years on Next Gen, I wore this visor over my eyes and one of the things that I discovered was that its really difficult to communicate, or its harder to communicate, when you cant see someones eyes. As a result of playing Geordi, I really do recognize how important the voice is and what a facile tool for communication the voice can be. When I was kid, we listened to radio a lot for entertainment and I remember how vivid that was for me. To this day, I listen to NPR and I love doing audio books because its like its pure storytelling. Its sitting around the fire and sharing stories, really engaging your imagination. So, as an actor, sitting in front of a microphone and creating is just so much fun because it really does break it down to its most pure and elemental level. Its just you and the voice and the character telling a story.

QUESTION:
Does it ever feel odd to be acting all alone?

LEVAR BURTON:
Well, during the physical parts of the voiceover, when youre doing all the action scenes, I think if you were an alien and dropped into a recording studio and were observing a session, you would really wonder about the sanity of the beings that you are observing. But its fun and it feels a little silly, but thats what gets it done. When theyre in that mode, I think actors are just big kids and we like playing in the sandbox.

For more information, images and updates, please visit the films official website at www.SupermanBatmanDVD.com.

Suggested captions for attached images:

IMG_7506.jpg
LeVar Burton, the voice of Black Lightning, poses with casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano and executive producer Bruce Timm following a recording session for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The DCU Universe animated original movie is set for distribution September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

BL_02.jpg
Black Lightning unleashes his electric power on Batman as super heroes battle super heroes in the next DC Universe animated original movie, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, which is set for distribution September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video. LeVar Burton provides the voice of Black Lightning.

BL_03.jpg
Black Lightning and Power Girl square for battle during a key scene in the next DC Universe animated original movie, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, which is set for distribution September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video. LeVar Burton provides the voice of Black Lightning, and Allison Mack voices Power Girl.

SB_02.jpg
A conversation in the Batcave between two super heroes, Superman and the ever-analytical Batman, during the early stages of the next DC Universe animated original movie, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, which is set for distribution September 29, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

Trademark information for the images:
SUPERMAN Warner Bros. Ent Inc. BATMAN Warner Bros. Ent Inc. “SUPERMAN” and BATMAN and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and DC Comics. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, the direct-to-video Superman/Batman: Public Enemies animated feature will debut Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 on DVD and Blu-ray disc. Stay tuned for further Superman/Batman: Public Enemies updates.

Stay tuned for further Superman/Batman: Public Enemies updates coming soon!

Click here to discuss the story!

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Disney XD Schedules “Superman: The Animated Series” Mini-Marathon For This Friday

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Friday, August 21st, 2009
1:30pm (ET) Superman: The Animated Series “Two’s A Crowd”
Friday, August 21st, 2009
2:00pm (ET) Superman: The Animated Series “Blasts from the Past, Part One”
Friday, August 21st, 2009
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Robert Kral Discusses “Green Lantern: First Flight” With The World’s Finest In New Interview

To view the new Robert Kral interview, exclusive to The World’s Finest and featuring new images from the direct-to-video Green Lantern: First Flight animated feature, click on the image below.


Robert Kral (WF Interview)

Check out the Green Lantern: First Flight subsite here at The World’s Finest for further details on the recent Green Lantern: First Flight direct-to-video animated feature. Click on the links below to discuss both the new Green Lantern: First Flight animated feature and the DVD and Blu-ray releases.

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