Monday, December 28, 2020

Frank Miller's Abandoned, R-Rated Batman: Year One Movie


This week at CBR, I delve into Frank Miller's partially nuts Batman: Year One script, and discover the editors want you using "sex worker" instead of "prostitute." I didn't follow the script's lead and use "whores" repeatedly, though. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Is USA's Savage Dragon as 'Not Awesome' as Erik Larsen Remembers?

This week, I'm looking at another possibly forgotten USA cartoon from the'90s. Erik Larsen hasn't hidden his disappointment with the Savage Dragon cartoon, but is it so bad?

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Duckman: Edgy, Politically Incorrect, Forgotten


Is there anything animated from the '90s I can't exploit for an article? I revisit the USA Network's Duckman, a show that's seemingly been erased from the history of adult animation.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday, October 26, 2020

The "Emerald Impotence" Episode of Justice League


Justice League's "Hearts and Minds" dropped Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman in favor of John Stewart -- and killed off some Green Lantern Corps members. I revisit the episode this week at CBR. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Monday, September 28, 2020

When G.I. Joe Was Revived - Without Larry Hama


I'm looking back in the first comic of the 1980s revival -- the Image relaunch of G. I. Joe. Let me know if you have any suggests from the early 2000s revival craze you'd like to see covered.

Friday, September 25, 2020

X-Men: The Art and Making of The Animated Series - Not Quite a Review


I wouldn’t be prepared to call this a review, because reading through this tome will take a while. But it’s certainly worth mentioning. The publisher sent me a comp copy of X-Men: The Art and Making of The Animated Series a few days ago, the newest entry from X-Men: The Animated Series producers Eric & Julia Lewald. 

It covers much of the information detailed in Previously on X-Men, their in-depth retrospective of the series, with a noticeable addition. Previously was text, but this is, obviously, an art book. Not only an art book—it’s an extensive chronicle of the making of the show, describing in detail the pre-digital production of television animation in a way I haven’t seen before. But it also provides storyboards, cel art, sketches, background paintings, and very likely, a character model for every figure to appear on the show. Not only the standard character designs, but also every variation of the character. 

Remember those few seconds the Blob appeared dressed as a tourist eating ice cream in Season One? It’s there. So is the initial design of Wolverine in his ’80s brown and tan costume—swapped out when Jim Lee revived his previous look in early ’92. This is not a fast read, and it isn’t a quickie cash-in on nostalgia for the show. Its closest comparison is Paul Dini and Chip Kidd’s Batman: Animated coffee table book. Not as “design-y,” but just as comprehensive and carefully cultivated. Fans of the show, or anyone with an interest in the history of animation, should seek it out.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Superman: The Animated Series Could've Had a Radically Different Look


This week at CBR, I delve into why Superman: The Animated Series didn't embrace the same classic aesthetic of Batman: The Animated Series. A post inspired by a gallery of Bruce Timm's original 1940s designs for the show that I'd totally forgotten about.

And credit to the Watchtower Database and director Dan Riba for providing some previously unseen early designs for the series. I'll include them with this post for posterity...

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Birth of Comics' 1980s Retro Craze


This week, I launch a new series that looks back on the early 2000s trend of reviving 1980s toy and cartoon properties. It all started with a certain Wizard magazine article...perhaps the last significant contribution the magazine made to comics culture in this era.

And, because the editors saw fit to cut the justification for the title "Nostalgia Snake," here's the opening paragraph as originally written:

Welcome to the first installment of a new series I'm calling Nostalgia Snake, a look at a curious phenomenon from the past...the early 2000s revival of genre properties from the 1980s. The ouroboros  is an ancient symbol depicting a snake eating its own tail, usually viewed as symbolic of the concept of eternal cyclic renewal. Here, I'm talking about the twenty-year cycle of nostalgia. Just as fans were nostalgic for '80s properties in the early aughts, we've now reached twenty years since the revival of these properties. If the theory holds, this means people are now nostalgic for their nostalgia.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Love is Dead(ly) is LIVE Now!

My novel from Burning Chair Publishing is now on sale at Amazon! The price is remaining only .99 for a limited time, so if you haven't downloaded it yet, you still have some time to get in on the reduced price. It's available as a part of the Kindle Unlimited program, a sort of Netflix for books offered by Amazon.

You can also check out an interview I did with the publisher to promote Love is Dead(ly). Discover the secret origin of the book, and the role Dan Aykroyd's stubborn refusal to cut a scene in Ghostbusters played in conceiving the story.

Also, you can win a signed copy of the book by entering this contest set up by Burning Chair. Just click the link...

What is Love is Dead(ly)? It's my first paranormal/urban fantasy novel, starring Brad Burns -- skilled psychic and all-around cad.  Brad uses his powers to shepherd the lost souls of the newly-departed to the light on the other side. In return for a fee. Naturally.

But when a case goes badly wrong, Brad finds himself the prisoner of those he’d usually be hunting. Can he use his unique talents to save not only his own skin, but all of humanity?

Because Brad Burns is the Paranormal Desperado. And he’ll be damned if he’ll let a bunch of pesky ghosts get in between him and those he loves.

Although maybe “damned” is tempting fate a bit too much...

If you check out the book, I'd love to hear what you think, so don't be shy about posting reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. As always, thanks for your support!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020

X-Men: The Animated Series' Manga Adaptation of "Deadly Reunions" is Nuts

This week, I'm looking at my favorite issue of the X-Men: Manga adaptation so far. Some truly crazy imagery here, elevating a scene that never truly worked for Saturday morning.

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Justice League Really Don't Like Each Other

I'm returning to the animated Justice League this week at CBR, revisiting a few times the team was pitted against itself. Maybe one day soon I'll be able to begin work on the Cadmus arc...

Friday, July 3, 2020

Love is Dead(ly) is Almost Here!

Gene Kendall here, shamelessly reposting my Gentlemen of Leisure entry to talk about my new novel, Love is Dead(ly), which is available for preorder on Amazon right now for just ninety-nine cents.
This novel has been in the works for quite a while now, with an early draft sitting in the drawer before I even began work on the Kindle Worlds G. I. Joe series. Love is Dead(ly) will be my first novel available as physical media, and the first time I’m working with a traditional publisher instead of going it alone. (This means the guy who spent so, so much time blogging about bad ’90s comics will now have a spot in libraries and bookstores worldwide. Scary.) The folks at Burning Chair have been great throughout the process, offering some insightful commentary while also respecting my creative peccadillos.
If you’re familiar with my work, you’ve likely noticed I have a soft spot for, well, unlikeable people. There’s a line, of course, where someone is just such a jerk you don’t want to read about him anymore. My creative instinct, for reasons likely to be mined by a court-appointed therapist someday, is to step just close enough to that line with my characters.
Love is Dead(ly) stars Brad Burns, a Los Angeles-based psychic who enjoys the finer things in life. Or, he did, until the credit card bills began to pile up, around the same time the IRS was taking a close examination of his bookkeeping practices. Adding to this irritation is his ex-wife, Sandra, who co-owns his Paranormal Investigations service and isn’t shy about reminding him who’s responsible for the messy dissolution of their marriage. (Spoiler: it isn’t Sandra.)
While working a case, Brad finds himself drawn into a mystic realm even he wasn’t sure existed. Although the prospect of escaping and saving his own skin is tempting, Brad soon realizes the stakes are far more severe than he initially thought…more like cataclysmic, end-of-the-world kind of stakes. And while a portion of Brad’s soul longs for the good times with Sandra, there’s a decent chance the two of them reconciling could be the event that sets the entire planet ablaze.
If you’d like a free, early preview of the book (and, very likely, a special surprise), just click here. As I said, the preorder is already up at Amazon so please check it out if you’re interested. (To be honest, I’m not sure how long the ninety-nine cents price will last.) As always, thanks for your support throughout the years!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Superman: The Animated Series and the Phantom Sequel I Imagined

Okay, I was for some reason under the impression the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Fathers' Day" had an intended sequel that later appeared as an issue of Superman Adventures, written by Mark Evanier. And, after beginning work on the article, could find no evidence whatsoever to support this. But, it turns out there is an Adventures issue relating to Superman and fathers, so a match was ultimately made. And you can read about it here at CBR...

Monday, June 1, 2020

Monday, May 11, 2020

Aunt May, Spider-Killer!

Amazing Fantasy #15 has been adapted countless times, but never quite like it was in "Arsenic and Aunt May" from 1981's Spider-Man. This week at CBR, I revisit this oddity.

Monday, May 4, 2020

When Kevin Smith's 'Superman Lives' ... Died

I'm revisiting the abandoned script the late '90s internet demanded be made...Kevin Smith's Superman Lives (and his Wizard "Casting Call" article from back in the day) this week at CBR.

Monday, April 27, 2020

The 'Amalgam' Magneto of X-Men: The Animated Series

What connection did X-Men: TAS share with the 1992 presidential election -- and which voice actor could have appeared in the 2000 film? This week, I'm revisiting Magneto's '90s animated (and manga) debut at CBR.

Monday, April 20, 2020

When Justice League Eliminated 'Super-Wimp' Superman

This week at CBR, I revisit the second season debut of Justice League. Not an exaggeration to say these episodes changed everything for the show.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Batman: the Animated Series - Who Remembers 'Fake Harley'?

This week at CBR, I look back at the botched Joker/Harley wedding from the tie-in comic, and the Joker's brief dalliance with his "Fake Harley" in one of the strangest Batman: the Animated Series episodes.

Monday, March 16, 2020

When X-Men: The Animated Series Went Full Manga

This week at CBR, I'm revisiting the X-Men: The Manga adaptation of X-Men: The Animated Series...which has some curious deviations from the source material. (And if anyone knows of times the American X-Men Adventures adaptation also went its own path, let me know... )

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Black Hat Blues - Now on Audible!

This originally appeared on GoL, but I want to make sure the message gets out...

Gene Kendall here, promoting the audio release of my book Black Hat Blues as if I were born with no shame. This is my first excursion into the world of audio, and to be honest, it’s an avenue I never thought I’d explore.
But, I received an email out of the blue, raising the possibility of creating an audiobook through Audible’s ACX site. Investigating, I became intrigued at the prospect, but a little nervous about how this would play out.
Let’s be clear—I wrote a book about a cartoon supervillain with a ludicrous vocabulary entering our world, ranting over perceived slights and tossing off catty little asides as if he were a spurned Bachelor contestant. Making this more daunting is a later shift in the novel—the portion narrated by the villain’s heroic nemesis. I’d have to find someone as believable as Lex Luthor as he is as Superman.
This hypothetical voiceover actor would have to possess the gravitas of a Julliard-trained thespian and the comedic talent of a New York stand-up. And, complicating this even further, was the heart of the novel, woven between this nonsense—the story of a fractured family finally becoming whole.
My narrator would have to do accents, sound convincingly brilliant and sadistic, sell some jokes, pronounce a few words you only find in a thesaurus these days, convey a sincere family drama...and sing a few bars of ’80s karaoke.
Amazingly, I found this guy. Actually, in a way, he found me. He was the first to respond to the open audition. I couldn’t believe I found someone that good the first day the audition was up. But voiceover talent Brian L. Knutson really is that good. Heck, I checked out a dozen or so auditions in the ensuing days. Some fine talent I’d like to work with someday…but none sounded as “right” as Brian.
(Truthfully, I’d forgotten the bit with the ’80s songs when I submitted the book. Reviewing the files, getting to that section, realizing it was coming…I got a bit nervous. If Brian had balked at this nonsense, I wouldn’t have blamed him. But he turned out the best so-abridged-it-was-legally-okay-to-use rendition of “Don’t You Forget about Me” you’ll hear this decade.)
Brian’s performance fits the material perfectly. His Mr. Scratch, in various moments, has a quality reminiscent of brilliant voices like Kelsey Grammer and Barry Stigler. And when Scratch drops his fa├žade of playful condescension—when he’s truly mad—I hear notes of Mark Hamill’s darkest Joker performances. There’s another bit where the narrative shifts to describe a cheesy ‘80s action cartoon—and Brian effortlessly drops into a bombastic hero voice worthy of Space Ghost’s Gary Owens!
I don’t know if Brian was ready to kill me by the novel’s end (he says he had fun…) but his work here is brilliant. Seriously, even if I weren’t in shill mode, I’d tell you that you owe it to yourself to listen to his performance.
And, if you’ve never tried Audible before…we’re both in luck. It’s extremely user-friendly, there’s a free trial period, and if my book is the first you download at this link, I could receive an “Audible bounty” of fifty bucks! Sounds like a fine way to enjoy Brian’s incredible performance and thank me for all of those Mutant X issues I reviewed.
If you are an Audible subscriber, the standard link is here. And I have a few free promo codes to send out. Just contact me and I'll probably be able to help you out.
Seriously, I can’t describe how excited I am for this. If you do take us up on this offer, please let me know what you think. And, as always, thank you for being so supportive (and indulgent of my occasional shilling.)

Monday, February 10, 2020

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