Toy Chest Theater: Kevin Conroy Tribute by kneelbeforezod

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m normally not a huge fan of toy photographers processing grief or sorrow at someone passing away via their work. Simply put: It often comes off tacky to me. For instance, we saw a lot of that when Stan Lee died.

But once in awhile, you get a shot like this one. On paper, the idea of various versions of Batman saying goodbye to the Kevin Conroy animated Batman as he journeys into heaven sounds like a recipe for a tacky, tone-deaf disaster. But kneelbeforezod (who has appeared in this space with Batman before) managed to do it in a classy way. Not to mention visually appealing, with the contrast between the darkness of the cave and the brightness of the heavenly clouds.

Having the Adam West Batman in the background with the ’66 Batmobile is a great little touch too. It provides a nice sense that the Conroy Batman isn’t going to be alone on his next great adventure…

Kevin Conroy Batman tribute, kneelbeforezod

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Astonishing Art: Kevin Conroy by Francesco Francavilla

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Is it cheating to do two Kevin Conroy tribute pieces back-to-back in this space? Even if it is, I don’t care. Kevin Conroy’s loss will weigh heavily on Batman fans for years to come, and Francesco Francavilla is just that good an artist. A fitting tribute to a performer who left an indelible mark on an iconic character.

Kevin Conroy, Batman, Francesco Francavilla

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Astonishing Art: Kevin Conroy by Marcelo Millicay

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Batman fans were dealt a pretty painful blow over the weekend, as Kevin Controy passed away at 66 after a brief battle with cancer. Conroy was known the world over as the voice of the Dark Knight in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, the Batman: Arkham video games, and various other Bat-projects over the last 30 years.

Naturally, the web was filled with tributes to Conroy. This piece from Marcelo Millicay was one of my personal favorites. It recreates a famous shot from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, in which Conroy of course voiced the titular character.

Thank you for 30 years of memories, Mr. Conroy. You are, and for so many of us, always will be the definitive voice of Batman.

Kevin Conroy Batman, Marcelo Millicay

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Astonishing Art: Three Jokers by Dan Amyotte

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Three Jokers had its critics. I was one of them. But if you go in with the idea that it’s sort of a non-canon thought experiment, it’s actually fairly enjoyable. (Even though it was thought to be in canon at the time. Nowadays it’s clearly not.)

Here we have Dan Amyotte giving us his take on one of Jason Fabok’s covers for Three Jokers, using versions of the character from Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, and Justice League. All voiced by the great Mark Hamill, of course. This piece actually makes me want to see a “Timmverse” take on Three Jokers. We’ll never see that, of course. But again, it’s a fun thought experiment.

Three Jokers, Dan Amyotte

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Astonishing Art: Mr. Freeze by Mano Ramirez

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m a sucker for Mike Mignola’s Mr. Freeze design from Batman: The Animated Series. It’s got a great vintage sci-fi space suit look to it. The red eyes are awesome too. It’s not a coincidence that the look coincides with the character’s whole renaissance that came about after the pivotal episode “Heart of Ice.”

So when I saw this portrait from Mano Ramirez, I jumped at it. The age that Ramirez injects into the character’s face adds a realism that’s very complimentary.

Mr. Freeze, Mano Ramirez

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A Catwoman: Lonely City #1 Micro-Review – The Cat Returns

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Catwoman Lonely City 1, cover, 2021, Cliff ChiangTITLE: Catwoman: Lonely City #1
AUTHOR & ARTIST: Cliff Chiang
RELEASED: October 19, 2021

This is basically Cliff Chiang’s attempt at giving Catwoman her own version of The Dark Knight Returns. I can’t say this is the best TDKR style “future Gotham” story I’ve read. But one great thing Lonely City has going for it is a strong noir vibe. Both in terms of the writing and the art. It’s similar to the old Darwyn Cooke/Ed Brubaker Catwoman stories.

Of course, as a Batman: The Animated Series buff, I appreciated Chiang’s use of the gray costume.

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A Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #5 Micro-Review – A Gray and Blue Flashback

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Batman the Adventures Continue Season Two 5, cover, 2021, Jamal CampbellTITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #5
AUTHORS: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Rick Burchett, Monica Kubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Jamal Campbell.
RELEASED: October 5, 2021

This one’s got some meat to it, telling a story of how a young Batman took down Gotham’s corrupt mayor. And because this book is awesome, he’s wearing his gray and blue Batman: The Animated Series costume in the flashbacks.

I’m noticing Rick Burchett’s art isn’t necessarily as crisp and clean as Ty Templeton’s. At least not on this issue. The end product is still of high quality. It’s just a difference.

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A Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #3 Micro-Review – A Birds of Prey Tease?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Batman the Adventures Continue Season Two 3, cover, 2021, Stephanie PepperTITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #3
AUTHOR: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Rick Burchett, Monica Kubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Stephanie Pepper.
RELEASED: August 10, 2021

They’re doing a Birds of Prey tease of sorts with Batgirl and Huntress together, aren’t they?

Like Ty Templeton, Rick Burchett is a veteran of those old Batman: The Animated Series inspired comics. It’s nice to see him working on some of these characters again.

They bring back yet another one-off character from B:TAS here. Frankly, I’d rather Burnett and Dini go the extra mile and create some new characters for this series. It’s not like they don’t have the talent or the product knowledge…

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A Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #1 Micro-Review – Owl Season

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Batman the Adventures Cotinue Season Two, cover, 2021, Riley RossmoTITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue – Season Two #1
AUTHOR: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Ty Templeton, Monica Cubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Riley Rossmo.
RELEASED: June 1, 2021

Great to have this book back for another “season.” Burnett, Dini, and the team are kicking things off with their “animated” take on the Court of Owls. Thus far, there isn’t anything distinct about it compared to the version Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo created. For my money, that’s a drawback. But of course, it’s early yet.

They also kill off a long-standing minor character from the show, which was a surprise. I didn’t necessarily appreciate that. But again, it’s early. Let’s see how things play out…

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Rob Watches Star Trek: Waiting For Greatness

***What happens when I, a 30-something-year-old fanboy, decide to look at the Star Trek franchise for the first time with an open heart? You get “Rob Watches Star Trek.”***

SERIES: Star Trek: The Next Generation
TITLE: S1:E7. “Lonely Among Us”
STARRING: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn
WRITERS: Michael Halperin (Story), D.C. Fontana (Script)
DIRECTOR:
Cliff Bole
ORIGINAL AIR DATE:
November 2, 1987
SYNOPSIS:
An alien entity takes possession of several crew members, as the Enterprise is assigned to escort delegates from feuding alien races to peace talks.

By Rob Siebert
Trekkie-in-Training

These first few episodes of TNG that I’ve watched are interesting, in that they’re, quite frankly, uninteresting. And in the case of this episode, rather stupid at times. (I’m specifically looking at Data doing his Sherlock Holmes impression.)

“Lonely Among Us” has a story that might have been plucked out of the original series. Various crew members are possessed by an invisible alien entity, all the while two feuding alien factions are on board the ship. In many ways, it’s textbook Star Trek. It may also be a microcosm for what’s been wrong with the show (at least what I’ve seen) thus far.

On paper it makes sense. Especially with 30 years of hindsight. You want to make a new Star Trek show two decades after the first one. What do you do? You look at what worked on the old show, and try to at least partially fit that mold. Ergo, you get episodes like “The Naked Now” and “Lonely Among Us,” which feel like dressed up episodes of the ’60s show.

It’s not an accident that this happened during a season in which several writers from the original show were brought in. In addition to Gene Roddenberry’s involvement with the show, D.C. Fontana became both a writer and an associate producer.

It all makes sense. These people know Star Trek because they created Star Trek. They’re the keepers of the flame. You’d be silly not to involve them on some level. But, to use an example from the same era, there’s a reason that Batman: The Animated Series didn’t have the same kind of stories the ’60s Batman show did. It was a tonal mismatch, of course. But it also didn’t fit with what the new show needed to be in order to succeed.

Even all these years later, as someone just discovering these shows for the first time, this first season of TNG very much lives in the shadow of the original series. How could it not? The way you fight that is to allow this new show to pave its own way and establish its own identity. You can’t do that while mimicking the old show.

More than 30 years later, Star Trek: The Next Generation is still looked at with love and reverence. But I, as a newbie, am still patiently waiting for greatness…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.