Archive for January, 2003

Friday, January 31st, 2003

STATIC RATINGS SHOCKER

Courtesy Kids WB:

“The third season debut of the high-adventure hit series Static Shock, in its new 10:30 a.m. ET time period, joined Yu-Gi-Oh! and other Kids' WB! hit series among the top broadcast ranks of the key demos, taking the #2 spot in Male Tweens 9-14, #3 in Boys 6-11, and finished among the top 10 programs in Kids 2-11, Kids 6-11, Boys 2-11 and Tweens 9-14. For the morning, Static Shock electrified its time period competition to rank #1 among Boys 6-11 (6.7/24), Tweens 9-14 (4.9/20), tying Nickelodeon's “Jimmy Neutron,” and Male Tweens 9-14 (8.1/29), and dominated the time period broadcast competition in Kids 2-11 (3.5/13), Kids 6-11 (4.1/15) and Boys 2-11 (5.1/18).”

Dwayne again: In English, this means we did *really* well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we can keep it going…

Thursday, January 30th, 2003

STATIC SHOCK IN AFRICA

Courtesy Comics Continuum:

Thursday, January 30, 2003

The Continuum has obtained a first look at two new characters appearing in an upcoming episode of Kids’ WB!’s Static Shock episode.

The characters, Anasi and Osebo, will appear in the episode “Static in Africa,” which is scheduled to air on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Anasi, a spider-themed character, is a hero whose voice is performed by Carl Lumbly, who also stars in Alias and does the voice of Martian Manhunter in Cartoon Network’s Justice League animated series.

Osebo is the villain of the episode. He is voiced by Michael Jai White, who starred in the Spawn movie.

Roscoe Lee Browne, whose many credits include the Kingpin in Fox Kids’ Spider-Man series, also is a guest-star in the episode.

“Static in Africa” was written by Dwayne McDuffie.

Click here and scroll down to see images from the show.

Friday, January 24th, 2003

STATIC SHOCK: INTERVIEW WITH DWAYNE

COURTESY Toon Zone’:

McDuffie Stretching the Boundaries of ‘Static Shock’

01-24-2003 08:05 AM

by Jim Harvey

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Dwayne McDuffie has watched Static Shock jump from the four-color page to the small screen, and fan anticipation has never been higher. With the third season being crucial for the series, both fans and creators are hoping that the ratings will be strong enough to keep the series around a little longer.

“We’ve barely scratched the surface with these characters,” said McDuffie. “Static Shock is blessed with a wonderfully talented creative crew. They continue to stretch the boundaries of Static’s world, while deepening the relationships that are at the core of the show. There’s a wonderful episode called ‘Flashback,’ where Virgil gets to go back in time and meet his mother (who died before the show began). There’s an episode where Virgil and family visit Ghana, West Africa and meet the greatest hero of that continent. ‘Blast From The Past’ is both hysterically funny and touching, as Static discovers that a hero from an older generation just might have something to teach him. And of course, there’s the ongoing development of Richie’s new superhero persona, ‘Gear.’”

“Static Shock will debut a new costume this year, which has left the fans scratching their heads. McDuffie says the costume change is only natural for a maturing young hero.

“I think the new attitude probably led to the costume change, not the other way around,” said McDuffie. “Virgil Hawkins is a year older and that’s allowed us to explore some of the darker places in his world. We have more action this year than we’ve ever had before and we have a number of villains who are adults, so the threats Static faces can be more varied. The costume is a natural outgrowth of all that, as is the new, more naturalistic look of the show. I can’t wait for the fans to see what the team has achieved.”

While the new look will be predominant this season, we will be seeing some familiar faces. The designs may be slightly tweaked, but the returning characters will be just as familiar.

“Let’s see, the Metabreed returns (led by Ebon, once again), as does Hotstreak,” said McDuffie. “There are a few villains new to Static but perhaps familiar to Warner Animation fans; Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Toyman and Brainiac all appear this season. I like a lot of the all-new villains this year too, Starburst, Osebo the Leopard … Static’s going to be a very busy hero this year, you can see why he needs a sidekick.”

Where there are villians, there are surely going to be a lot of heroes as well. Expect appearances by Batman, Justice League and…who else…?

“You forgot Superman,” joked McDuffie. “Plus, there are plenty of brand new heroes showing up this season. Anansi the Spider and Soul Power both worked out very well and I’d like to see them again, but the breakout character has to be Shebang, a teenage heroine who will give Static all he can handle and then some. Everyone liked her so much I wouldn’t be surprised if she showed up more than once this season.”

Thursday, January 23rd, 2003

Thursday, January 23rd, 2003

JUSTICE LEAGUE- STAN BERKOWITZ INTERVIEW

Courtesy Toon Zone:

Berkowitz Discusses ‘Justice League Adventures’ and Season Two

01-23-2003 08:01 AM

by Jim Harvey

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In April, Stan Berkowitz’s work will be seen both on television and on the page. He will be writing April’s Justice League Adventures #18, as well writing for the animated Justice League series.

“I had a great time writing the Justice League Adventures comic,” said Berkowitz. “It features a mass murderer called Evano who’ll be making his first, and definitely last, appearance. The comic is the rough equivalent of a half-hour JL show – if there were such a thing, so the storytelling is simpler and more concise.”

The Justice League Adventures story involves an alien race that has established a beachhead on Earth in a most unexpected place and it’s up to the miniscule Justice League ally, the Atom, to stop the invading force from taking down the League’s most powerful member.

“As far as our next season, as I said at the convention yesterday, Cartoon Network hasn’t yet decided when it will commence, but when they do, I’m sure you’ll know as soon as I do, or maybe sooner,” said Berkowtiz.

When the new season premieres, the creators believe the show will meet the standards of the high fan anticipation

“I’m really excited about the episodes I’ve seen,” said Berkowitz. “Some of them are huge outer space epics, like ‘Twilight’ and ‘Hearts and Minds,’ while others are smaller origin stories, like ‘Tabula Rasa’ and ‘Only a Dream.’ We’ll go deeper into most of the characters next season, heroes and villains alike; you’ll learn more about John Stewart’s past, Hawkgirl’s unconventional belief system and Batman’s damaged psyche. We’ll even show you where J’onn J’onzz goes for the holidays.”

Aside from big stories and character driven arcs, you can also expect to see some new faces in the crowd.

“We’ve got guest heroes coming, too – Aquaman and a couple of others who’ve been on other shows, but not the JL. And we’ve got new and old villains as well,” said Berkowitz. “Among the former, Dr. Destiny, Eclipso, Despero, and Amazo; among the latter, Luthor, Joker, Vandal Savage and, in a very emotional story, Solomon Grundy, of all people.”

“It’s going to be like Christmas, with each episode a different present,” joked Berkowitz. “Some will probably be clothes, but most will be toys.”

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2003

STATIC SHOCK STORY EDITOR SPEAKS

Courtesy Toon Zone:

01-22-2003 09:27 AM

by Jim Harvey

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John Semper, the story editor for the new season of Static Shock, was able to talk to Toon Zone about his role in the upcoming third season and what we can expect from the series.

“Well, naturally, I finished my job on Static months ago, so we have to talk in the past tense,” said Semper. “What I intended to accomplish was to keep Alan Burnett and Dennis Cowan’s basic vision of the show alive while injecting a few new ideas. I hadn’t worked on the show before, so I guess I brought a fresh perspective to it. Since they’re into their third season, that can be of some value to a production team. Beyond that, I managed to stay out of the way and let them do their thing, which was great as usual.”

Entering the third season, expect the main characters to start showing their age, both in personality and design-wise.

“[Virgil will] grow up a bit and be a bit more serious,” said Semper. “He’s approaching his high-school years, now, so that’s reflected in the show. And of course, I always lean toward the dramatic, so there is at least one story I wrote that digs a bit deeper into Static’s relationship with his late mother. But the same old light-hearted Static spirit is still there, too, and at least one episode I co-wrote is pretty funny, so each episode is its own new surprise.”

Static will also be making his presence known in the superhero community as well. He will have a guest appearance in Justice League this season, heroes will be appearing in his series as well.

“We did do a lot of crossovers stories,” said Semper. “That was great fun. It’s always fun to combine casts because, for one, it makes for a great recording session. We did a Justice League two-parter. The first part is more like a Justice League episode with Static in it. The second part is more like a Static episode with the Justice League in it. Beyond that, I am sworn to secrecy!”

“And we did a crossover with Batman, but Static had met Batman before, so we were just continuing the good chemistry that they had with each other,” Semper added. ” And we did a Superman crossover. That’s new, and it should be very exciting.”

Crossovers aren’t the only surprises fans can expect. This season has a lot in store for the main character. Expect to see a lot of new faces when the season rolls around.

“We had great casts that included Billy Dee Williams, Terrence Stamp, Alfre Woodard, David Arquette, Brock Peters, Bud Cort and many others,” said Semper. “It was always a treat to come to recording sessions and be surprised at who was there. Andrea Romano did her usual award-winning job directing the voices. I think that this is going to be one of the best seasons of Static ever. But then, I’m biased.”

The new season of Static Shock will premiere this Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 10:30 am ET on Kids’ WB. Stay tuned for an interview with Stan Berkowitz on Thursday, and an interview with Dwayne McDuffie on Friday.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2003

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #166

Available on April 9th, 2003

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Written by Dwayne McDuffie; art by Val Semeiks and Dan Green; cover by Brian Stelfreeze

“Don’t Blink” Part 3 of 4. The baby merchant Blink’s been inhabiting has been murdered by a guilt-ridden psychopath. Now Blink can do nothing more than watch through the eyes of a child as the maniac threatens to go ballistic!

Tuesday, January 21st, 2003

PAUL DINI ON STATIC SHOCK/BATMAN II

With the third season of Static Shock premiering this weekend on Kids WB!, Animation Insider was able to talk with Paul Dini regarding his upcoming episode “Hard As Nails”.

AI: It was recently revealed that you wrote “Hard As Nails”, the season three premiere episode of Static Shock. How did you become involved with the episode?

PD: Producer Alan Burnett, with whom I worked on all the different versions of Batman, asked me if I wanted to do the second crossover episode. I said sure! It was great to get back to Gotham again, and a lot of fun to work with Static, too. I like the character a lot. Virgil’s a trusted ally of Batman, but not a true member of his team. Therefore he can crack wise or make comments that Robin couldn’t. I found that made for some funny interplay between Static, Batman and Alfred….

Click the link for more Animation Insider, Paul Dini Talks Static Shock

Monday, January 20th, 2003

ALAN BURNETT TALKS STATIC SHOCK

Courtesy Toon Zone:

by Jim Harvey

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With the new season of Static Shock premiering this weekend, the creative crew is gearing up for a third season of action, thrills, and drama. Alan Burnett, a producer for the series, was able to provide Toon Zone with some insights into the upcoming season.

The new season of Static Shock will open with an episode guest starring Batman with Harley and Poison Ivy as the villians. Burnett couldn’t be more excited about the premiere.

“I loved coming back to Gotham again, loved working with Paul Dini, who wrote the script, loved seeing all the old familiar faces in the recording studio,” said Burnett. “Static is fun with Batman, because they are such opposites in so many ways. It’s always interesting to see Batman’s world through someone else’s eyes, especially a kid like Virgil.”

Also, fan speculation about what Batman design will be used for his new appearance has caused an uproar among fans. Can the fans expect the same design featured in “The Big Leagues” episode from last season?

“Yes, the design is basically the same as last time,” said Burnett. “You won’t see Robin this time, but you will see three other regulars from the old series – Bullock, Gordon and Alfred.”

“Let me also add that there’s some other team-ups: the Justice League (in a two parter) and a Superman-Static team-up.” Burnett stresses that alot of changes are instore for the new season of Static Shock, in both character design and attitude.

“He’s a year older, so his look has changed, both with the mask on and off,” said Burnett. “My fellow producers, Denys Cowan and Swinton Scott, have also done a makeover on all the other characters and on the backgrounds in general. On the story front we’ve gotten a little darker — a lot of the action takes place at night this season — and we’ve brought in older, more threatening villains. We’ve made Richie into a superhero, partly in reaction to our audience, which has been clamoring for Static to have a superpowerful partner. We believe we’ve done it in a way that’s very organic to the series.”

“The introduction of Gear (Richie’s alter ego) has centered the series around the two boys more than ever. The first two years we did a variety of stories, some centering around Virgil’s homelife, some around school, some with Richie, some without. Once Richie became Gear, it focuses us more on their relationship. Though Static still remains the star, their superhero partnership has definitely defined the third season.”

One thing Burnett plans to emphasize on is Virgil’s relationship with Richie, as well as Richie’s new role in the series.

“Well as I said, our audience really wanted to see this,” said Burnett. “I think Virgil and Richie, as voiced so beautifully by Phil Lamarr and Jason Marsden, have one of the most natural-feeling friendships going on in cartoons, so it wasn’t too difficult to take it to the superhero level. I don’t want to give away too much about how it is that Richie gets his powers at this time, or even what the powers are, but you’ll see him in action in the new main titles.”

A lot is in store for Static this season, including an episode which will get to the root of Virgil’s strive to be a superhero, which was breifly touched upon in previous seasons.

“We have an episode coming up, written by my story editor John Semper Jr., which takes us back to when Virgil’s mother was alive,” said Burnett. “She’s voiced by Alfred Woodard, who was wonderful. The show is about loss, and grown men who’ve seen it get choked up. We also have a story where the Hawkins family vacations in Africa, and Static has an adventure there. It’s written by Dwayne McDuffie, and it’s unlike anything you’ve seen on Saturday morning.”

“On a side note, we also have a episode coming up with Lil’ Romeo, who performs the new main title song. And he’s terrific.”

Static Shock, which premiere’s this Saturday at 10:30 ET, is expected to be a ratings champ. With a full thirteen episode season ahead, Burnett assures that this is a season not to be missed.

“This should be a great season. I mean, in what other series are you going to see Lil’ Romeo, Superman, Batman, the Justice League, Brainiac, the Toyman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Ghana, Gotham City, Dakota, and a bunch of new heroes and villains?”

Monday, January 20th, 2003

STATIC’S GOT IT COVERED

Take a peek at the cover of the February issue of Animation Magazine. Pretty cool, huh?