Comic-Con Cartoon Report: 'Dark Knight Returns', 'Ultimate Spider-Man' & More

Green Lantern: The Animated Series Preview Clips

What with all the massive movie, television, and comic book announcements at Comic-Con 2011, it was easy to overlook some of the animated superhero announcements, both in film and television.

DC, as per usual, had a pretty large showing with Green Lantern: The Animated Series video clips and announcements about their 2012-2013 schedule – including the animated adaptations of The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: Doom, and The Killing Joke.

But Marvel’s slate, which included footage of Ultimate Spider-Man, was nothing to scoff at, either.


The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: Doom, The Killing Joke, & More

As was reported back in April, DC announced that The Dark Knight Returns – one of the seminal superhero comic books of the 1980s – will be made into a two-part animated movie (via Bleeding Cool). At Comic-Con, it was implied by the Warner Animation panelists that Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill – both famous for portraying Batman and The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, respectively – were being sought for those very roles in DKR.

Previously, Mark Hamill said he was retiring from voicing The Joker after Batman: Arkham City, but one imagines that a pile of money could change that tune right quick.

Warner Animation also announced Justice League: Doom, an adaptation of Mark Waid’s JLA: Tower of Babel, for 2012. For those unaware, "Tower of Babel" is the tale of Ra’s al Ghul stealing Batman’s contingency plans for taking down each individual member of the Justice League. (SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!).

It’s probably no coincidence that Doom is coming out around the same time as The Dark Knight Rises, which will also deal (to some degree) with Ra’s and his League of Shadows.

The third announcement was for Superman VS. The Elite, an adaptation of Joe Kelly's "What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?" which itself was a response to the widely-loved comic book The Authority by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch.

There was merely a mention of a possible future adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic The Killing Joke, which would be, without question, the most adult animated adaptation DC has produced so far -- that is, if it's faithful to the source material.

Lastly, while Mark Waid and painter Alex Ross' famous vision of the near-future DC Universe, Kingdom Come, was mentioned as well, apparently it was deemed too difficult for hand-drawn animation. If that’s an indication that they might move forward with a CG-animated Kingdom Come, they’re going to have a lot of angry fans on their hands.


Green Lantern: The Animated Series

First, the Green Lantern clips, courtesy of Comics Continuum [via Comics Alliance]:

Obviously, the animation looks like a cross between Bruce Timm’s patented superhero style (based on the Superman serial of yore), the CG-animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the '90s CGI cartoon, ReBoot.

ReBoot gets a shout-out because, while the actual animation of Green Lantern looks okay, the models therein look totally uninteresting, like early 90s CG animation. Is there a particular reason that every character model lacks textures? Are they short on money here? Short on time? Or have they just not implemented them yet?

Otherwise, the clips look pretty entertaining. Hal Jordan looks tougher, funnier, and more interesting than the version portrayed by Ryan Reynolds. Indeed, the buddy cop dynamic of the clips – between Hal and Kilowog – is something that was woefully missing from the film.

There's no set date for Green Lantern's premiere, but you can probably expect a preview near the end of 2011 with the official release in 2012.


Ultimate Spider-Man, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., & Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

At the Marvel Television panel at Comic-Con, Executive Vice President Jeph Loeb presented footage from the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series – written by the Man of Action team (Ben 10) and Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series) with assistance from Brian Michael Bendis -- which will air on Disney XD next year.

Plot Details for Ultimate Spider-Man Animated Series

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from the show (via You Bent My Wookie):

  • Drake Bell (from Drake & Josh) will voice Peter Parker
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson -- played by Clark Gregg from Iron Man 1 and 2, Thor, and The Avengers -- will go undercover at Peter Parker’s school as his principal
  • Peter Parker’s mentor will be Nick Fury (played by Chi McBride) from the Marvel movies
  • Stan Lee will play Peter’s high school janitor
  • Stephen Webber (Wings) will play Norman Osborn
  • J. Jonah Jameson will be voiced by J. K. Simmons, who played Jameson in Raimi’s films
  • Guest stars will include Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk
  • Peter Parker will occasionally talk directly to the camera in cutaways, mockumentary-style, a la The Office and Modern Family (???)
  • Peter will magically be transformed into Spider-Ham for an episode
  • Besides Osborn, villains will include Elektro, Venom, and Doctor Doom
  • The look of the show was inspired by Stuart Immonen, Humberto Ramos, Ed McGuinness, and Joe Quesada
  • The show will be incredibly "jokey," more so than the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series

Two things of note here:

  1. This version of Spider-Man is obviously in the same continuity as the Marvel Films (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers).
  2. It'll be interesting to see Bruce Timm and Paul Dini go head-to-head creatively, as they were both heavily involved with the success that was Batman: The Animated Series.

Marvel Animation is also hard at work bringing Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. to Disney XD, as well as a second season of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (the season premiere of which features a team-up between the Avengers and the Fantastic Four).


So which animated work sounds the most interesting to you? Green Lantern: The Animated Series, The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: Doom, Superman VS. The Elite, or Ultimate Spider-Man? Drop us a line in the comments.

Sources: Bleeding Cool, Comics Continuum [via Comics Alliance], You Bent My Wookie

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

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