Today, superheroes are everywhere and enjoyed by just about everyone, but not too long ago superheroes were still considered primarily a kids property. Now, any credible comic book nerd would argue that point, remarking how comic book superheroes became far more mature and adult-oriented during the 1980s, but in the public consciousness superheroes were for children, leading to many superheroes starring in their own cartoons (also a medium once considered by many to be just for kids).
Much has changed with how pop culture now views superheroes and cartoons, but one thing remains the same -- superhero cartoons are a hit. Whether it's the DC Animated Original Movies or the Guardians of the Galaxy series, the animated superhero offerings remain strong, even with so much live-action competition. And the world of animated superheroes is about to get all that much stronger because DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation have just announced a brand new Cartoon Network series: Justice League Action.
Announced earlier today, Justice League Action will be a quarter-hour animated series, with episodes running only 11-minutes long, much like the format of DC/WB's other superhero cartoon, Teen Titans Go!. Each episode will feature Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman leading a rotating team of DC superheroes against many of their most infamous villains. Because of its short-format presentation, Justice League Action promises there'll be no waiting before it "jumps in with lightning-paced action and heroics," adding that episodes could cover "defending the Earth, facing invaders from space, or battling the bizarre forces of magic."
That may not be exactly the kind of show fans of the old DC Animated Universe (the DCAU for short) would like to watch, but Justice League Action sure has something they'll want to hear -- Kevin Conroy as Batman. After first portraying Batman/Bruce Wayne in the celebrated Batman: The Animated Series, Conroy has gone on to reprise the role repeatedly in both cartoons, animated films, and video games. Conroy may not be the best known actor to have played Batman, with A-list celebrities like Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, and now Ben Affleck wearing the cowl on the big screen, but no actor has been as prolific or beloved as playing Batman as Conroy.
Never before has a voice been so closely tied to a character as Conroy's is with Batman... well... except perhaps for Mark Hamill and The Joker. And Hamill is also returning for Justice League Action, once again bringing his iconic take on the Clown Prince of Crime to life. With so much buzz surrounding the animated adaptation of The Killing Joke, where Hamill will also voice The Joker, this news of his return in Justice League Action is a total -- but definitely welcome -- surprise.
Joining Conroy and Hamill are James Woods as Lex Luthor and Diedrich Bader as Booster Gold, with many more and likely familiar voice talent yet to be announced. Woods, of course, is no stranger to voice work, having lent his voice to Hades in Disney's Hercules as well as appearances on both The Simpsons and Family Guy. As for Bader, some will no doubt recognize him as the voice of Batman on Batman: The Brave and The Bold, but he's also voiced characters in Batman Beyond, The Batman, and Green Lantern: The Animated Series.
Check out official artwork for Justice League Action, below:
Behind the scenes, Justice League Action boasts Sam Register (Teen Titans Go!) as its executive producer, with Butch Lukic (Justice League, Batman Beyond), Alan Burnett (Batman: TAS) and Jim Krieg (Green Lantern: TAS) as producers. That's an impressive line-up of animation talent, though surely we're all a little bummed not to see Bruce Timm's name attached. But he only just gave us that great elseworlds movie, Justice League: Gods and Monsters, and is no doubt hard at work on this animated The Killing Joke. So we'll cut him some slack.
Still, many, many fans consider the DCAU that Timm pioneered to be not only the definitive animated version of the DC Comics characters -- but the definitive version period. With that in mind, choosing to do a Justice League series that sounds as if it'll be different in format as well as tone from DC/WB's previous shows may be the best course of action. It'll be easier to avoid comparisons and fall better in line with Cartoon Network's many other short format series. Though, a series that doesn't take the time to establish relationships between its characters -- as the DCAU's shows made a point of doing -- and instead favors quick adventures with relentless action, likely won't linger with fans or be as beloved for decades after it airs.
Justice League Action will premiere on Cartoon Network later this year. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more info!
Source: DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation