Monday, 11 February 2008

Timm Timmery TimmTimm, TimmTimm Teroo

I can see this being another lost week, artwise. Already tonight was lost due to poor service on the buses, that David Attenborough froggie thing in half an hour and discussing an inspection of my home from an inspector in my department. It's weird enough having your home scrutinised, let alone by someone you work with all day everyday! What does this inspection mean? Hmmm, could be a slight hiccup in my plans for a bit if my suspicions are correct...

Anyway, I got home tonight to find the last two Batman: The Animated Series DVD boxsets waiting for me at long last. I used to love this show and followed the "Timmverse" established here through to the excellent Justice League cartoon, probably my favourite cartoon ever. I bought all of those episodes and loved the crisp, clean digital animation so much I had to pick up the first two Batman boxsets when I saw them, surprised to find them over here as I thought they were only available on Region 1.

After a night's drawing or whatever, I usually watch two or three episodes from those sets, currently up to the second disc on the second 2-disc set. I have to say that after watching these episodes, I can understand why they created the current anime-styled The Batman (which won't be as anime as the actual anime Batman tying in to The Dark knight). While the sense of design is still great, the cast is exceptional and the writing superb, some of the actual animation is very dated.

Bruce Timm and co acknowledge this in their commentary, revealing how rubbery BTAS looks compared to the Justice League. This is true, and unfortuantely the DVD format picks up alot of cel dirt in some episodes (was ALL old animation like that?). The animation quality is a bit passe so I can see the need for a new version.

However, my favourite will always be the Timm version. Starting the shared continuity of Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond and Justice League (which also ties into Teen Titans, which is so stylistically different as to not count as an official Timmverse series for me), the softer original Batman design was replaced by a harder, more angular look after the Superman show was launched and new Batman episodes were commissioned to run alongside it. This Batman was again slightly tweaked (different ears and blue highlights replacing the grey of The New Adventures Of Batman and Robin, as the revamped show was called) for the Justice League, where Kevin Conroy marked over 200 episodes as the Batman (including the three spinoff features, the Batman Beyond episodes and guest appearances in Superman and Static Shock, based on the old Milestone comic of all titles!).

Currently I'm really admiring the spangly packaging of the last two DVD sets, which are only available on Region 1. I used to watch What's Up Doc? (where I distinctly remember Andy Crane saying that us Brits were getting the first Batman episode even before the US) on Saturday mornings before the show was switching to children's ITV in the afternoon without my knowledge, meaning I missed a whole bunch of them. Currently I'm still recalling the occasional episode (released on DVD in production order rather than airdate, I believe) but I'm REALLY looking forward to the fourth set featuring the angular redesign. I've never seen any of these and if they're as good as the Justice League, I just may have to connsider the second and third Superman sets...

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