‘Beware the Batman’ Creator Says Action Cartoons Are Nearing Extinction

Published 2 years ago by

Beware the BatmanTV Beware the Batman Creator Says Action Cartoons Are Nearing Extinction

Some say that Beware the Batman has big shoes to fill, serving as the latest entry in the illustrious line of Batman animated series’ while also following cancelled DC Nation entries Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. But despite that, producers Glen Murakami and Mitch Watson don’t seem too focused on those perceived challenges, instead preferring to try and put their own spin on the Caped Crusader while trying to pull action cartoons back from the brink of extinction.

Last week, we had a chance to talk to Murakami and Watson, and they shed some light on their choice to use some of the more obscure members of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery, why they aren’t afraid to challenge their young audience, the absence of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm from Beware the Batman, using CGI, the state of action toons, and why they just want people to give their show a chance.

Here’s Mitch Watson talking about how he and Murakami sought to make Batman their own, and how they won’t talk down to their younger audience:

I think Glenn and I had a familiarity with all the different iterations of Batman, and then you kind of push them aside and go “Ok, what are the key components of this character, the key components that people are familiar with? We’ll keep those and then, we’ll make it our own.” One of the ways that it was probably a little easier on this particular project was the fact that we were using villains that really hadn’t been utilized before and oddly enough we didn’t get the full effect of that until we saw the episodes. It really gives the episodes a whole different feel, because you’ve never really seen Batman interacting with these guys in an animated form.

In terms of how do you not talk down to the kids, at least when I approach breaking a story, I break them as if I’m the audience, quite honestly. I have a real thing about not wanting to talk down to a kid audience, I don’t think you have to. I think kids are actually a lot smarter than people give them credit for and if you give them something that they can sink their teeth into, they’ll go for it.

beware the batman still 3 Beware the Batman Creator Says Action Cartoons Are Nearing Extinction

Well aware of the passionate response to the cancellation of Young Justice and Green Lantern, Murakami and Watson want those displaced fans and other action cartoon fans to give their show a chance so that the genre doesn’t continue to suffer losses:

Watson: To be perfectly frank with you, the action genre of television cartoons right now is sort of on the verge of extinction, so I’m really hoping that if people like Young Justice and people liked Green Lantern, that they’re gonna give this show a chance, because quite honestly, if they don’t go for this kind of show… and you know what? If they don’t like it, they don’t like it, but give the show a chance, because we really set out to make something that was goona appeal to both fans and new people, and to pull back in the Green Lantern and the Young Justice people.

I think we’ve done our due diligence in terms of honoring the characters and so, people gotta know that unless they give these shows a chance, you’re not going to see action shows anymore.

Murakami: Every show I’ve ever worked on, whenever we start the show, it’s always the same thing. Where everyone complains and says that they’re going to hate the show and then,  after the shows been on or when the show ends they always ask the same question “Well why did they cancel it? Why did they get rid of it? We thought it was so great.

So that’s the only thing that I can kind of remind everybody is like, well, when Teen Titans started everyone said they hated it. When we did Batman Beyond everyone said that they hated it, you know? When we did the revamp on Batman, everyone said that they hated it. So, every single time it sounds like, whenever we start something, everyone complains about it and tells us that it’s going to be terrible and it’s not going to be very good.

Will Beware the Batman be a harder sell to fans because Bruce Timm and Paul Dini aren’t involved? Watson and Murakami don’t seem to think so:

Watson: Only the hardcore fans are gonna know Bruce Timm and Paul Dini. To a kid whose coming brand new to it, no. Those are the names that were tied to a show that was done 20 years ago, and hey, nobody is trying to take the place of that show. It was a great show and it continues to be a great show. This is a different show.

Murakami: I worked on those shows. We do have people working on the show who have worked on the shows, so we do have experience working on those types of shows.

beware the batman still 4 Beware the Batman Creator Says Action Cartoons Are Nearing Extinction

One of the most notable differences between past Batman shows and Beware the Batman is the use of CGI. But while some have scoffed at Batman’s new look, Murakami seems excited:

I think it’s a challenge. I think it’s a challenge to try to do some of this stuff that you haven’t seen before in CG. I think it’s just a new medium and I think even fans are used to from the movies and everything like that, they kinda expect a bigger spectacle. I mean, I wanted to try and kinda take on that challenge of doing a show in CG.


Beware the Batman premieres July 13th, 2013 @10am on the Cartoon Network

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  1. The animation is so annoying they need batman to look classic and normal heck looks like bane smashed batmans head in

  2. Yeah I remember young justice was pretty loved by the fans since day one… No offense to this “Beware the Batman” but this CGI clone wars animation just makes these cartoons look… less serious. it’s cool, but i would rather have young justice back than have to watch another under developed batman cartoon. So seriously beware the batman, cuz that sh*t looks like garbage.

    • No, it wasn’t. People whined and cried that YJ wasn’t the same as the YJ from the comics. Others whined that it was a show starring teenage sidekicks.

      • How easily people forget…heh.

  3. The idea that these action style cartoons will become extinct if BTB goes unwatched is nonsense. Disney XD/Marvel is having great success with Avengers, Ultimate Spider Man, and Hulk AOS is on it’s way. Cartoon Network may no longer buy these types of shows, but that certainly does not extend to the industry.

    • EMH had a good run, and evoloved into another iteration (the Scooby Doo effect). Not a failure. USM is annoying, but my kid loves it. And like my golden age (70′s) Disney/Marvel is moving to a shared universe to maximize opportunity (see Hanna Barbara). Warner Bros has chosen a different direction and with CN and it’s budget limitations, this is the resulting product. Some hits, some flops.

  4. People on this thread keep talking about BTAS. Of course I am a huge fan of the show, not so much The Batman cartoon. But what about Batman the brave and the bold. That was a brilliant series without Mr Dini and Mr Timm. At first I didn’t like it as much but man it had some of the best action sequences and story’s even if it was over a span of the season. It had the best homages to all the classic animation an comic book artists. It was another enjoyable series that got canceled. I for one am interested in this new take.

  5. I think the cgi and character designs for this show look great. I love the look of the Batmobile and the setpieces (what little we’ve see of them so far). I am happy with the supporting characters and villains chosen for the show, instead of the “same old, same old”. I can’t wait for this Saturday to see a new entry into the great tradition of interesting, cool, memorable Batman shows…

    Oh, and for the record, I loved B:TAS, “Batman Beyond”, “The Batman”, “The Brave and the Bold”, JL, AND JLU, and I look forward to this because I appreciate the different styles and differing approaches to the mythos.

    • AGREE 103%! Thank you for your non prejudiced comment!

  6. I would give it a chance but i dont watch cartoon network anymore so not a chance! ( i know it wont bring Young Justice back but it will make them think twice about cancelling good shows if rating go down )

  7. sounds like they are covering theyre asses for when theyre cartoon tanks. cgi cartoons are risky always have been. action cartoons require a combination and right now we are in a place where tv networks only listen to certain reports etc, and that all comes down to money and popularity which cant be guaged by mere tv anymore. these people will have to open their minds a bit more instead of everyone covering their assess waiting to fail

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  9. I watched it and in my opinion it is a piece of crap. Why cancel such an amazing series like Young Justice and put this on is beyond me.

  10. I watched it this morning, and IMO, it was a fantastic start. I look forward to next week’s episode.

  11. I don’t believe they’re going extinct, I just think people don’t know how to make good cartoons anymore. lol There are a few recent exceptions though for sure like Young Justice, The Legend of Korra, etc. Overall though? Something like Beware the Batman is horrible.. it’s very kiddish while trying to appeal to older people as well. It also looks horrible, along with weird character designs.. this won’t last very long I think.

  12. Just watched the first 2 episodes, and apart from Batman not being half as adept at martial arts as he should be given his background in tibet (from the comics) I like it. They show a bit of his detective abilities, and they are slowly developing his supporting cast. The faces and body shapes for CGI isn’t the best but you get used to it after the first 20 mins or so. I think this and TMNT are the best CGI series out now. It’s ten times better than Avengers Assemble and Hulk and TAOS which are not only crappy cel animation mixed with crowded pictures of computer screens, but have pretty shallow stories too. Marvel have gone down the cheap crappy easy-to-make for 5 y.o. route with respect to super heroes (yet the other Disney-associated kids shows like Sofia the First and Henry Hugglemonster are pretty good).. I hope CN and Nick keep trying new things and don’t cancel some of these new shows before time. I still mourn for the Thundercats cartoon which ended mid-plot.

    • I think the newest TMNT is definitely the best cartoon on TV. It’s solid writing, acting and a consistent storyline driving through all the episodes. I have really really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next season.

  13. I love the show. No one can replace batman the animated series so why even try? This show feels fresh. It still feels like batman. They gave him a young naive vibe I’m really diggin. The only complain I can find so far is that anarky was hella dumb, however batman did call him dumb in the show so maybe they’ll develop his character further. I reall wanna see ra’s al ghūl. Hopefully they’ll bring him around soon. The cgi is very different but I enjoy watching it every weekend

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  15. I actually was prepared to hate Beware the Batman but every episode wins me over with great stories and fantastic direction. Hardly surprising from Glen Murakami, who was one of the key people in BTAS.

    But the thing that kills it is the CGI. I managed to get used to the CGI in GLTAS but that took place in space (by the way it was totally better than Beware…). Trying to show Gotham city as an empty CGI landscape ends up reminding me of a boring 1980′s video games. Despite the clearly great animation work which you can see in the action sequences and story boards, it doesn’t come through to the end product.
    If they want this show to thrive, they need to dump the cgi and go to traditional animation.

  16. Apparently these guys have not paid any attention to the Marvel cartoons on Disney XD or TMNT on Nick. Insanely popular, and even though the Marvel stuff annoys the hell out of me, my son LOVES it.

    It’s a shame Warner or CN (whoever’s calling the shots) isn’t giving their DC Nation series the creative freedom and time to mature like Adventure Time and Regular Show. Looks like every show on the DC block is on a very tight leash. I thought YJ and GL were both really popular. YANKED.

    As far as Beware the Batman… it’s really stiff and uninspired to me, both in terms of animation and writing. The obscure villains are fine, I don’t even care about the stupid spy Alfred/Katana side story. I actually enjoyed The Batman series. It was a fresh take and you could see the love the creators put into the show. Beware just feels bland. I think they’re trying too hard.

  17. I, too, was skeptical, but the writing on “Beware the Batman” has won me over. I really enjoy the new take on Alfred, as well as the “Batman Begins”-esque relationship between Gordon and Batman. Katana is a big bright spot and she is not a stereotype, either in her gender or race.

    The CGI was a bit wonky at first, but I love the character design, particularly the different head-shape for Batman. I find it particularly interesting: taking the Bob Kane head and popping it onto an all black, “New 52″ costume.

    Really hoping this series survives. Hey, haters: pay close attention to the fate of the Green Hornet character after internet trolls shot down the movie. GH is dead in cinema. Don’t contribute to the demise of Batman cartoons simply to try to fulfill your wish-dream of a Timm/Dini show that will never happen.

    • Just to let you know, the Alfred angle isn’t new it’s from the Earth One series except a bit toned down for the show. Which isn’t this shows problem. It’s problem is solely on the CGI. I think GL:TAS had the same problem but I put up with both shows because the stories are interesting. As a YJ fan I think this show isn’t as interesting as it but it deserves the shot. What I think should have happened was they simply had both shows on at the same time. It wouldn’t have hurt especially since they have nothing else on the DC Nation block. While Marvel on Disney XD has Avengers Assemble, Hulk, and Ultimate Spider-Man.

  18. It wasn’t likely for me to watch “Beware the Batman,” anyway, when it was first announced. And it had nothing to do with the updated Gallery of Rogues, the fact that Paul Dini and Bruce Timm weren’t involved, or even the (extremely rough) CGI… and EVERYTHING to do with the leads.

    I grew up with the original Batman live action films, but my favorites were the last two (despite how much weaker they were compared to the first two with Michael Keaton). Batman: the Animated Series, but certain episodes were always my favorite. I didn’t start watching The Batman until Season 4. I never watched Batman: The Brave and the Bold – except for certain episodes. I was a fan of Young Justice from the very beginning, from the moment I heard at what point in the timeline Earth 16 was set. And the reason for this boils down to one crucial element to the Dark Knight mythos:


    Dick Grayson is my favorite D.C. character. As a matter of fact, between Marvel and DC, Dick is my favorite comic book character. Every time there’s a new Batman series, the first thing I look to see is if Dick Grayson’s going to show up. If not, then the likelihood of my watching the show goes down considerably.

    The decision to use Katana in Beware the Batman rather than Robin as the Dark Knight’s chosen sidekick is what killed my interest in this series entirely. If Dick shows up, then I might give the show a chance so I can see their incarnation of my boy. Otherwise, this show can be a success or a flop and I could care less.

    • Then you’re not really a Batman fan at all are you? If simply not having Dick (who by the way is the weakest Robin IMO) is the sole reason you won’t watch then you don’t really matter because its a Batman show where Dick Grayson was always and will always be second/third tier of importance.

      Now if this was a Bat Family show, yeah I’d agree with you. The only reason I’d want Dick in this show is so that he could become the much more interesting character of Nightwing than Robin. Tim Drake will always be a better Robin.

      • Wow… um… you DO realize that Dick Grayson has a HUGE fanbase, right? You pretty much just pissed of over half the DC Comics populous right there. There’s a reason Dan Didio wasn’t allowed to kill Nightwing off in Infinite Crisis – the ripple effect would’ve been devastating (both in universe AND out). Dick’s probably the most important character in the DCU. So, yeah, not acknowledging him as Bruce Wayne’s first sidekick is a pretty good kick in the side for the thousands upon thousand of Boy Wonder fans out there.