Monday, May 29, 2017

Top Ten Animated Movies DC Needs to Make

Hello again, my ghoulishly gorgeous gaggle of gazers! And welcome to yet another list of ten things for me to list off and talk about. I know I haven't done quite as much this AniMaytion, so I wanted to make it up to you with something special I actually had planned for much later. But, hey, it involves animation so let's dive into it now. Now, I'm sure we're all very familiar with DC animation around here. Many of you, like myself, likely grew up on it.

For better or...worse...

Now, we're not going to get into my opinions regarding a certain show I may have just taken a jab at. No, today we're going to avoid talking about shows in favour of talking about the DC animated films. In particular, I want to talk about ten stories from the comics that I think would be great to see as animated films. I will not be listing them in any real order, as all attempts to do so have been...problematic. Instead, we're just going to go over them in no particular order and see why I think they should get that high quality animated treatment. Let's do this!

"This licorice Batman head tastes awful & I want my money back!"
Injustice: Gods Among Us

So, here's an interesting one that some people might bitch about. Let me explain, for those unfamiliar. Injustice is a story centered around an alternate DC universe where the Joker's actions led to the deaths of not only Lois Lane and Clark's unborn child but also to the deaths of nearly everyone within Metropolis. As a result, Superman rams his arm through the Joker's torso and decides to become a fascistic ruler imposing his will on all the world as a way of protecting it. Some heroes (and villains) join his regime and then others stand with Batman against him. It's a very dark story and it was actually a video game that lead to a comic that is essentially still going now due to how popular it is. The comic is actually probably more popular than the game it's based on. Basically, I'd like to see the excellent story of the game done as a film, because I just love the idea of the heroes from the regular world coming to face these dark reflections. Seeing the devastation wrought by the actions of some of their friends and even themselves. It would be amazing, especially if the classic DCAU actors reprised their roles. I know we got a similar story in the Justice League cartoon, but this one is so much deeper and richer. Plenty of interesting twists and turns too for all the newcomers. And hey, cashing in on a popular game with a well done animated film would just be good business sense.

I'd be crying too if I had to clean that mess up.
The Death of Superman

Years ago, back when DC animated films were first really becoming a thing again following the original DCAU stuff, we got Superman: Doomsday, an attempt to translate the death and return of Superman into movie form. It was sadly a very lackluster film and still feels like a half-hearted effort to bring that story to life. I mean, come on, this is the story of Superman's death and the impact the battle with Doomsday had on the world. For a true animated film to hold that weight, it's best to focus on the one storyline and not meander into Superman's return. Show Doomsday awakening, his trail of destruction, and the people who got hurt along the way. Show the Justice League as they were at the time as they struggled against this unknown foe that nearly killed them all. Show Ted Kord's broken body, Booster Gold's destroyed suit, and the unconscious heroes left for dead by Doomsday. Show the mutants who try to ally with him only to be killed indiscriminately by him. Show Lex Luthor II trying to be a hero in the face of pure walking death and Supergirl failing to stop the creature. Don't just show us Superman's fight, show us everyone around him that drove our hero to put his all in against this monster before ultimately falling. Because a story like this, with the death of such an iconic character, needs to feel as epic as it was back then. Rewriting the story to blend two stories together while excising what made the original story compelling didn't work, so I really think they need to go back and give us the real thing. Otherwise, all we're left with is a sub-par animated film and a live action adaptation that was nearly two hours of Superman looking like he was going to cry.

There's going to be a lot of questions about this one. Most notably, where did the Flash get that slimming black number?
Justice League: Destiny's Hand

Following the death of Superman, the League went through a bit of a shakeup. Blue Beetle was in a coma, Booster Gold's suit was destroyed, and everyone was reeling for Superman dying. After setting a brand new roster we got a story that...showed off a very old roster. yeah, it was a bit confusing at first. We got these old League members instead of the new ones. Not only that, this League was acting different. Like "hey, let's go snap Sinestro's arm in half and torture some villains" different, you know? As it turns out, this was all related to the villain Dr. Destiny (who recently sort of showed up in the Justice League Dark animated movie) using his powers to alter some things in rather dark ways, creating a sort of dark version of the League. It was an excellent storyline in an overall excellent run on the book and really deserves more discussion. Dan Jurgens handled these characters perfectly and it is honestly my all-time favourite Justice League story. I think giving it an animated adaptation would serve to get more people talking about it and maybe talking about how great Jurgens is as a writer. It'd definitely be better than seeing another Batman movie squatted out as little more than a cash-in.

Now, let's talk about a movie they can squat out as a cheap cash-in.
Batman: The Black Glove

Grant Morrison is insane, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. The man likes to relish in celebrating the weird and that is especially true when it comes to Batman. Yeah, despite my snide remarks, I do love Batman as a character. I just feel like he's overused and often shoe-horned into stories that he has no real reason to be in (Justice League Dark, for example). But if you're going to do him, at least do one of the more interesting stories he was a part of. The Black Glove was a love letter Morrison wrote to the Silver Age, bringing back the many Batman-type heroes from all over the globe and having them face a foe together. It's easily one of the best Batman stories out there and the fact that it hasn't gotten any sort of nod in the animated world is a bit shocking, but then it is a part of a much larger storyline. For my money though, seeing this superhero murder mystery as a standalone animated film would be a dream come true. Even better if they get Danny Trejo to play El Gaucho. It'd be nice to see them celebrate Batman story from before the New 52 hit that doesn't involve implied rape or include out of nowhere romantic subplots. Not that I am thinking of any animated Batman film in particular or anything.

Nazis trying to take over America by taking the White House? What a weird concept!
The Golden Age

You know, I really do love alternate reality stuff. There's just something about seeing variations on events that transpired that really appeals to me. And this story is very much that, but with the DC universe. It shows us the aftermath of World War II for the heroic figures of the DC universe while also hinting at a conspiracy deeply rooted into that same world. Imagine if the Nazis actually were able to win by making us think they'd truly lost? If our heroes were victims of this new paranoid reality that faced so many as McCarthyism ran amok, how would they handle it? Can we trust our heroes completely not to let a greater evil overtake America or are we simply doomed to the reality of a Nazi in a position of power? In today's world where we all must face the reality of a bigoted president and so much overall corruption surrounding us, this story is chilling mirror of what we once faced and how America's reality then blended with the strange world of superheroes can prove to be incredibly haunting. Plus, I'm fairly certain this movie would piss off Nick Spencer somehow, so it's a lovely bonus along with a great story. I don't think it'll ever really happen, but I sure wish it would.

We've just gotta include something that will piss off the dudebros somehow.
Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell

You show me a book starring women who aren't treated as sexual objects and I will show you a crowd of angry dudes bitching about it on the internet. I do recall that happening with this book too, despite it starring two beloved characters. Sure, they're both clearly sexy and even wear fishnets, but at no point during it does Paul Dini use that to pander. He writes an excellent story about two strong women teaming up to face a threat together. Which goes to show you, even if a lady is wearing fishnets, if she's not being trotted out as fap material then some irritable chuds are gonna go apeshit. As it stands, this story is a fresh breath of air. It doesn't adhere to the New 52 continuity, making it a clear gift to the many fans who want something more classic when it comes to their heroes. Not only that, one of Dini's biggest strengths is his handling of characters he's familiar with and he's very familiar with these ladies. I don't want to give away story details really, just that this story is perfect as an introduction to new fans because of how it's handled. Not only that, but lending that DCAU style of animation to it would only enhance it further and really make a lot of people happy as can be. It's long past time DC pushed more animated films starring their women and I think this is an excellent candidate.

Not all fan-service involves pantyshots. Sometimes it involves a guy who likes cats a whole lot.
Villains United

As part of building the larger storyline that was Infinite Crisis, DC gave us a truly excellent mini-series about how all the villains were banding together. But that was just the preamble, because what the story was actually about proved far more interesting. A small group of villains who were disinterested in unionizing came together as the Secret Six under the guidance of a mysterious person called Mockingbird. They stood in defiance of what this new Society desired and were thus seen as a threat, leading to betrayals and a final confrontation that still lingers on in my mind as one of the best fights I've ever seen in comics. Gail Simone turned a group that had one really popular villain and a number of C-listers into a group on unforgettable personalities that fans still love. Seeing this inaugural story about them coming together brought to life in animated form would definitely make a lot of people happy, especially if it was handled well. Like many of the stories mentioned, too many changes to the core idea or design ultimately will only hurt the final product. Like the strongest of DC's animated films, this should be treated as a stand-alone story and give the fans the bad guys who they love to root for. Maybe if it made enough money we could even get some other Secret Six films. I know I'd sure love to see Bane getting anxious over holding a baby.

Shit, is that Batman again? Ummm...pretend he's not there!
Bane: Legacy

This is a bit of cheat, as this actually would concern not just the Legacy storyline but Tabula Rasa and Veritas Liberat. But, it's all really about the parentage of Bane and him dealing with his past, so Legacy fits better as an overall title here. And yes, I am pushing for a Bane film here and I don't think that's a weird thing either. He's easily one of the most well known DC characters, plays off of their most popular character (Batman), and it would offer a chance to see character featured that isn't a white dude. Let's face it, there are way too many white dudes taking center stage, so let's throw some Latin thunder in there with our favourite recovered drug addict luchadore. The film world desperately needs some Bane injected into it that is a lot less mockable too, as we've gotten the grunting flower bruiser in one movie and the echoing white Scottish-ish sounding guy in another. Neither were very honest or flattering versions of the man who broke the Bat. The other reason though is that this overall storyline is all about Bane trying to atone and move on from his past. He's trying to find his way while searching out the truth about who his father was, all the while doing things that signal a shift for him as a character. His journey even leads him to fight crime alongside Batman and has the two men making peace with one another. It's a fascinating and very fun storyline that I think would be very well received as a standalone film. Then again, I love Bane, so I might be biased.

Holy shit, it's the Bye Bye Man!
Space Ghost

Back in 2005, an interesting thing happened. We got a Space Ghost comic book series that presented us with an origin story for the famous Hanna Barbera hero. Not only that, it was a truly brutal introduction full of pain and presented the world to a version of the character it hadn't really ever seen. The intention was for this to lead to a regular series and him being properly folded into the DC universe proper. It was an exciting prospect, as the mini-series was amazing. Sure, I mostly grew up on Space Ghost being a smart-ass doof hosting a talk show, but this was such a great idea to freshen up the character. It also came at a time when characters like him had long been stagnating in mediocrity. Sadly, the whole thing fell apart for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. But now they actually are folding him and many other HB characters into the DC universe, so it left me thinking that perhaps a good way to celebrate that would be to take this story that I feel planted that seed and give it an animated adaptation to truly re-introduce the public to Space Ghost. I bet Alex Ross would even do a new piece for the cover. Yeah, that'd be great. It likely won't happen, but I can dream.

She's covering her eyes so she doesn't have to see shitlords whining about her new movie.
Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon

Yes, I wasn't going to just include one female lead entry on this list. We've got to include the top of the badass heroine heap herself, Wonder Woman. For me personally, it was a bit hard to pick just one story to adapt though. She has a lot of great stories that would make excellent animated adaptations. But I found myself coming back to this one time and again. Part of Greg Rucka's stellar run, this gave us a tale of Diana in her truest form. It's full of all the things that truly make up Diana as a character: her roots in Greek mythology, her selfless nature, her sense of honour, and her refusal to give up in the face of adversity. Rucka was easily one of the best writers to handle Princess Diana of Themyscira throughout the years and this story is the one that cemented that for me. The fact that she has only had one animated film is something I find endlessly troubling. It speaks to a deeper problem that she's one of the only female characters to even get an animated DC film dedicated to her. With the new live-action movie on the horizon, perhaps this will change. If it does, here's hoping they think about this story. It'd sure make me smile.

Because everyone just loves it when I smile.
That's it for this list and it was a hard thing to make it through too, let me tell you. A lot of people really have no idea just how hard these lists can be. It's like picking which family members get to join you in the fallout shelter and which ones have to stay outside where their skin will fall off. On the bright side though, at least they'll probably get to live for hundreds of years due to their now mutated nature. Just without skin. Them's the breaks, yes? Anyway, it's time for me to clock out and wish you all a good week. I'm just going to try and not get eaten by my own beard. Later days, bleeders.

May all your DC animated film experiences be as good as this one hopefully will be.

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