I got to Jacob Javits Center the earliest I could on October 13th in the year of our Time Lord 2012. After being ushered into the industry entrance, I was given a Walking Dead badge (a female zombie, claw grasped around a gate for Press) and moved my way though a rainbow of nerds, geeks, and fan boys in various states of fancy dress.
I saw a slew of anime demon girls with candy corn horns—wondering all along whom they were supposed to be and why there were so many have them. I saw lots of Catwomen in all shapes and controversial sizes. 15,000 female Lokis (the new Catwoman for Cosplay?) and Ghostbusters. Some commented on my bihawk and asked who I was dressed as (“I am dressed as Heather Buckley, maybe you should try it sometime.”). All this attempting to get to my candy apple goal: Bruce Timm.
JAVITS WASTELAND AND THE ELITEAfter asking around 25 people where the interview area might be, I was directed across a large empty space to a black curtained oubliette. Where they put Press to forget out them.
Usually, while waiting for a round table or a 1:1, you stand with the other Press folks and size each other up. Are they with a named outlet? Or are they just some geek with a mic and a 1 paged blog? Who will dominate the round table? Has anyone even gotten a screener of what ever the heck we will be talking about?
I did not possess a screener this time, but damn it, I know about The Dark Knight Returns. I have the ultimate edition and, in fact, am one of the 3 people on Earth that really liked the sequel. This would be Bruce Timm's shot at Miller's Reagen-era vision of the Batman (even Superman) starring Robocop (Peter Weller) as The Bat. Sure, he visited the subject as a snippet once with Ironsides as the Bat, but this is feature length.
THE GLORY OF BRUCE TIMM— BY WAY OF FRANK MILLER
He also said stated that in spite of this Timm-ness here and there, Miller’s Dark Knight Returns was the bible. “We had copies of the graphic novel all over the place. Anytime we were in doubt of what something should look like, whether it was a wrench or a vehicle or a building—we were like ‘What’s it look like in the comic?’ And sometimes you’d open the comic and go, ‘Oh we don’t want it to look like that, but we want it to look kinda like that.”
For Miller’s vision of Superman as a Government enforcer, Tim and Co. didn’t know, right away, if they wanted changes, but later decided they had to embrace it and go with it. Superman has also posed a challenge for his interpreters (Grant Morrison being mentioned by Timm as someone who has pulled it off flawlessly). “There is something very specific and iconic about Superman as the super boy scout and the trick is to ‘How to you make that relevant?’ ‘How do you make that interesting?’ And there’s lots of different ways to make it interesting and there are a lot of bad ways. There is one thing you can do, and that is to make him unSuperman-like. You can make him break his own rules. Like Superman loses it. Something happens that makes him lose it and he becomes a vengeful killer—whatever. That’s an easy out. We’ve done that too. But it’s a hard thing to describe. Like I said the minute you push him too far outside of his Superman zone then he’s not Superman anymore. So you have to be very careful to walk that line.”
As for the Regan-era themes, Tim felt these are still reverberated to this very day, though the team did wonder, should they update that too? Much like their Superman decision, they stayed true to Miller’s work, since so much focused around Ronnie and his goings on in the 80's. “The themes are universal… the idea of right vs. left. Civil Rights vs. the Police State. All that stuff is always relevant.”
One of Timm’s biggest blasts was working with Peter Weller as Batman. “This is where I get my geek on. I know on one hand I want to be really professional and meet Peter Weller ‘Hi I’m Bruce Timm I’m the producer. OH MY GOD I love Robocop and Buckaroo Banzai…Seriously Robocop and Buckaroo Banzai are 2 of my favorite sci-fi movies ever from back-in-the-day. And he was both of them. Timm has found that “geekiness” aside, he was right for the part, especially after Andrea Romano showed him Weller’s performance on Dexter. Timm knew Weller’s voice would be perfect to play The Bat. “It’s always fun and difficult to cast Batman. As much as I love Kevin Conroy, and I think he is awesome as Batman and he could play Batman at basically at any age.. he could have played this one, but we just wanted to try something different, and that’s the neat thing about Batman. There are so many different ways to interpret the character; there isn’t just one perfect way I think. It’s kinda like I always say, it’s like James Bond. To me, Sean Connery is like the best James Bond. Perfect. Hands down. But I love, you know, Daniel Craig too and George Lazenby. And there’s all these different James Bonds that bring something different to it.”
PYRAMID HEAD KILL ME NOW
After talking to Timm and finding my way the Cinefantastique booth where Paul and I were headquartered, it was now time to leave this magical land and watch Silent Hill 2. While I found the first Silent Hill to be boring, its art direction was at least stunning and creepy. This one, well Paul and I wanted to walk out of the press screening and do anything else than sit through one second of what we experienced. Bad acting, make-up, dialogue, characters. It seemed like no one gave a damn when they put this out and it shows as clearly as you can see the latex seams on the creatures. Sure, it’s always nice to see Pyramid Head cut people’s arms off, but this film really did not give a shit about its audience and that always gets my bihawk in a bunch. Please read Paul’s account here and stay away from this one, I would have punched the screen if I could.
Supplemental from Paul: Truth be told, if Silent Hill: Revellation 3D had a face, it would have been smacked, pummeled and spit upon by a room full of angry film critics that night. Holy hell. What do they think when they make such things? I would also like to add..I would kill to see an animated Buckaroo Banzai with Bruce Timm at the helm. Pleaseopleaseoplease