The World’s Finest caught up with Batman: The Brave and The Bold producer James Tucker to discuss the recent episode of the acclaimed animated series, “Time Out for Vengeance!” The episode aired last Friday, September 23rd, 2011 at 6:00pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. Continue below for Tucker’s thoughts on the recently-aired episode.
The World’s Finest: “Time Out for Vengeance!” features an enormous cast of both heroes and Batmen! How did you settle on using specific versions of Batman and then pairing them up with specific heroes, such as Blue Beetle and Green Lantern with the Pirate Batman?
James Tucker: J.M. DeMatteis, the writer of the episode, came in and sat with me and Michael Jelenic and we just kind of beat out the story on the spot. We knew we wanted a Caveman version and a Pirate version based on the Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne storyline that Grant Morrison was doing in the comics at the time. Those seemed like the most ripe for fun scenarios to play the JLI against and I believe Jelenic came up with the idea of a Roman Batman. We improvised the name, Batmanicus, at the record because I was a huge fan of the Spartacus TV show. As far as deciding the team-ups, we knew we wanted to tease a relationship with Guy and Ice, so they made a natural pairing, and of course Beetle and Booster have to be teamed up. Aquaman and Fire made comedic sense together because wed established that Fire doesnt think too much of Aquaman in the episode “Shadow of the Bat” from earlier in the season, so theyd have an interesting chemistry that was different than the other pairings. I think we were more concerned about how the two heroes played off of each other more than how they played off of the different Batmen, though Aquaman in a Roman setting was definitely an idea we enjoyed playing around with and probably could have done a whole episode on.
WF: Do you have a favorite among these different Batmen? What were your inspirations behind them?
JT: I enjoyed using all of them but my favorite was Batmanicus, the Roman Gladiator Batman, because we kind of invented him for the show. However, theres Silver Age Batman story called “Batmans Roman Holiday” where Batman time travels back to Ancient Rome, so that may have something to do with my preferring him as well. Diedrich Bader really got into voicing the different versions of Batman in this episode, but I particularly enjoyed what he did with the Batmanicus voice.
WF: As a follow-up, were there any different versions of Batman you were considering for this episode (like Puritan Batman from Batman: The Return of the Bruce Wayne, for example)?
JT: We toyed with doing a western version of Batman, but decided on the scenarios we ended up with because we hadnt used Batman before in those settings, whereas wed had Batman go to the old west in a Jonah Hex teaser in the first season. Puritan Batman didnt come up because we agreed that just didnt seem as easy to translate as the other scenarios, especially for our younger audience members.
WF: Batman: The Brave and The Bold allows you and your team to tell some very…far out tales, including ones like this one. How are you able to go from one epic such as a very straightforward action episode like Scorn of the Star Sapphire! to an episode like this that involves time-travel and an assortment of different Dark Knights?
JT: I really wanted to set up this series as a show where anything can happen and not have it locked down to any specific tone besides one of action and humor. Luckily, our boss, Sam Register, pushed us in that direction from the very beginning. On Justice League we initially ran into some criticism about putting Batman in certain super-hero settings that he seemed out of place in, which is pretty silly to me. Batman fits in anywhere! Michael and I agreed from the start that we wouldnt limit ourselves or Batman because frankly, the show wouldnt have worked if we had grounded it like that. It would have been a series where every hero would have to have happened to be in Gotham for Batman to interact with them, and thats been done before. Michael and I had worked on more structured Batman series and we had no real interest in doing yet another one. Once we committed to the direction it became a lot of fun to produce and actually was kind of effortless (not accounting for the incredible amount of extra work that goes into a series where anything can happen!).
WF: The Creeper is featured in the opening teaser of this episode. Care to run us through why you chose to use the character, and how this version differs from other versions (such as the one who appeared on Batman: The Animated Series)?
JT: The Creeper was always on our list of characters we wanted to use and I specifically was remembering the original Batman and Creeper team up from the old the The Brave and the Bold comic where they fought Hellgrammite. It was kind of a no-brainer. As far as differing from the Batman: The Animated Series Creeper, he doesnt differ at all really apart from the fact that Brian Bloom voiced him and not Jeff Bennett who did it originally on Batman: The Animated Series. But its the same character basically. If I had had more episodes, I wanted to use a few other Steve Ditko drawn characters like Shade, The Changing Man and Odd Man.
WF: Finally, any last thoughts on the episode? Any in-jokes or easter eggs fans might want to try and catch?
JT: This episode was a lot of fun and I think the highlight of it was the opportunity to bring back the JLI again. We really fell in love with this particular group of heroes and if wed been able to spin-off a show from from Batman: The Brave and The Bold, it probably would have been one featuring the JLI. As far as Easter eggs, the final Batman that is revealed in the episode is based on a very unique version of Batman that appeared (where else) in a Silver-Age story entitled “Robins 50 Batman Partners.” Dont Google it until after youve seen the episode (if you haven’t already) if you dont want to be spoiled!
The recent episode “Time Out for Vengeance!” is now readily available for download through iTunes and other similar channels. Further details on the episode are available here.
The next all-new Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode, titled “Sword of the Atom!” debuts Friday, September 30th, 2011 at 6:00pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. Continue to the Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite for further details and media for this episode. Batman: The Brave and The Bold airs on Cartoon Network every Friday at 6:00pm (ET).
Stay tuned for further Batman: The Brave and The Bold updates, including exclusive updates, here soon at The World’s Finest.