Missing your Batman cartoon fix since the campy fun of Batman: Brave and the Bold ended this year on Cartoon Network? All is well — Beware the Batman will become a part of the DC Nation block in 2013.
During San Diego Comic-Con we spoke with series producers Mitch Watson (Freakazoid) and Glen Murakami (Batman: TAS, Batman Beyond) about their new take on DC lore for the CG-animated Beware the Batman.
Back to basics
Beware the Batman aims to be a considerable departure from the previous cartoon incarnation of Batman, the comedic Batman: Brave and the Bold. The series will dive back into Batman's comic book origins, emphasizing Batman's mental skills and training as a detective.
And the series will not feature any of the mainstream Batman villains - no stalwarts like the Joker or the Riddler will appear. Instead, creators Mitch Watson and Glen Murakami are delving into the the comic books to find new villains for the DC Nation show.
Anarky and Magpie are scheduled to be key figures in the series, while the female character Katana (from the Outsiders) will be something akin to Batman's sidekick. At the moment, it appears as if Robin will not be in the series.
A computer generated Gotham City
Beware will be the first computer generated Batman series. The creators are not shooting for a photo-realistic version of Gotham City, akin to what you see in the cut scenes of Batman: Arkham City, but a stylized version CG version.
Glen Murakami and company built a computer generated version of Gotham from the ground up, presenting its own physics and lighting challenges. The work paid off – the series creators now have the freedom to drop a virtual camera from the sky and follow it through a fully constructed Gotham City and its subway system.
Batman's utility belt presented challenges as well, with Murakami creating a cardboard mockup of the belt and walking around the studios to make sure the physics worked.
The showrunners are aiming for a realistic more detailed oriented feel than the current Green Lantern series, in regards to both art and story. Unlike the nigh-invincible Green Lanterns, Batman will get hurt and beat up a lot, and the series will deal with the consequences.
All new villains
The stories will not revolve around petty crimes like robbing a bank or jewelry store, but rather a psychological chess game against criminal masterminds. Anarky, a child prodigy mockingly inspired by V for Vendetta, will be the main villain in the series. Prior to the show, Anarky has been on the outskirts of the "Bat Family" since his introduction in a 1989 issue of Detective Comics.
Anarky will be the Moriarty to Batman's Sherlock Holmes, indirectly harassing Batman throughout the series. Pyg and Toad from the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely Batman and Robin series will be a villainous duo in Beware the Batman, but their murderous predilections will be toned down.
Murakami pointed out that the designers are trying to take the comic book backgrounds and visuals for the newer villains and distill them down into a unique and accessible form.
Murakami did a similar job with Two Face on Batman: The Animated Series. His crew of animators created the split black and white imagery for the classic character - a design fans initially rejected, but one that is now universally embraced.
Beware the Batman will join Cartoon Network's DC Nation block in early 2013. Images courtesy of DC Comics and Cartoon Network.