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2009 SDCC - DC Animated - First Flight and Public Enemies

Reported by James - 2009.07.24

Here at San Diego Comic-Con, Gregory Novak is hosting a panel about the upcoming DCU Green Lanter: First Flight and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies animated features. Other panelists included voice talent, writers and directors of DC animated projects. And, of course, producer Bruce Timm was present.

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The panel started off with Green Lantern in his first feature film. There will be an encore screening of the movie on Sunday as 2,000 people got turned away Thursday.

Green Lantern, First Flight comes out this Tuesday, July 28, on Green-Ray, DVD and on demand. Sony Playstations have access to an extended promo. There is a special collector's edition green box set with a lot of extra goodies.

The writer, Alan Burnett, had several ideas for how to approach this origin of Green Lantern but many of the stories simply got too complicated. He decided to take it down to a basic police story, in the style of Training Day. Sinestro is assigned Green Lantern to break in as a rookie partner and he tries to sway him to his twisted vision of the Guardians and the Corps. It's that dynamic that drive the plot of the movie.

The director made a choice to avoid any kind of cartoony voices but wanted people to bring their own, natural speaking voice to the variety of aliens that make up the Corps and setting for the story. The Green Lantern costumes have more of a body armor feel, rather than simply being spandex. This was done as part of the effort to embrace the "reality" of the science fiction story.

The actors created their own visions for the voices of the characters, based in large part upon the design drawings they were given. Several of the main actors hadn't done voice work before, though all were industry veterans. For this project, many of the actors actually recorded their dialogue at the same time. Working together is rare in this type of work. Having the actors be able to reflect each others' performances only enhanced their work.

Bruce TImm says it's even money that there will be Nightwing in the DC animated future.

Directors of animated projects manager the story board artists, giving instructions and ideas, as well as work with the voice talent to bring out the most compelling performances. Directors also manage continuity between the story board artists working on various sections of the movie. Bruce Timm, as the producer, tends to rely more on the directors of the animated features as he has several projects he's working on. He has the final say on the direction of the story or on any creative disagreements that arise.

Superman/Batman - Public Enemies, is the next DCU animated feature. September 29, 2009, it will be available on Blue-Ray, DVD and On Demand. Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman and Tim Daily is Superman. Power Girl will be in this feature, in one of her few animated appearances. Clancy Brown plays Lex Luthor.

The art design for this movie follows, in spirit, the style of Ed McGuiness who did the comic story of Public Enemies. The animation doesn't go quite as far as McGuiness does with proportions of the figures, but the characters are bulkier than is usually shown in DC's animated projects.

There is a very large amount of characters in the story, some well known and some obscure, which required a lot of research by the movie writers to make sure the characters were consistent with comic book continuity.

Clancy Brown originally wanted to read for Superman, but the production team asked him to try Lex Luthor instead. Clancy moaned that he never gets to play the good guy, but he nailed Lex and was hired on the spot.

As in Green Lantern, the main actors were able to do their voice work together, thereby benefiting from being able to act off each other, making their performances more powerful.

The DC Showcase is happening. These will be a series of shorts available on the internet. One will feature Jonah Hex.

Back in 1991 when the first animated Batman series started, the actors worked for about 6 months doing voices before they saw a single drawing from the series. When the actors first saw the animation it was set to music and they couldn't believe how incredible the project was. While they had been working on it, they didn't realize just what they working on and how huge it was going to be.



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