Tuesday, July 1, 2008

News - 07/01/08...

More on Wall•E’s box office performance

A $100 million-plus production, Wall•E repeated the feat of every single past Pixar film by opening #1 at the U.S. box office this weekend. About 22% of patrons for the wondrously reviewed film were couples without children. “That basically tells you that the adults have heard the reviews, and they’re coming,” Disney distribution president Chuck Viane told The Hollywood Reporter. With the male-to-female ratio among patrons almost even at 49% to 51%, “that’s also very telling (as it means) when parents are coming to the theater with the children they’re both coming,” Chuck added. Overseas, Disney opted for a smallish day-and-date launch for Wall•E. The film nonetheless tallied an impressive $3.1 million at 400 Latin American playdates in half a dozen markets. The little robot led in Brazil with $1.6 million in the third biggest Pixar launch after The Incredibles and Finding Nemo and topped Chile with $525,000 and Colombia with $498,000. Wall•E hits its first major foreign markets next weekend with launches in Mexico and Russia and will open gradually over the rest of the year to maximize local playability opportunities, following a pattern similar to that employed for Ratatouille. Given its pedigree and the strong market for CG toons, Wall•E could wind up as the best foreign performer this year according to Variety, a list currently topped by Paramount’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which has amassed $413 million to date. Finding Nemo is the top international performer among Disney/Pixar titles with a $525 million foreign cume, followed by Ratatouille with $410 million and The Incredibles with $362 million.

Grand Theft Auto IV: Almost Great Art

There is little doubt in my mind that videogames are one of the major emerging art forms of the late-20th century and beyond, but how do games stack up against other more established narrative forms like books and movies. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and videogame fan Junot Díaz wrote a piece in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal that examined the new Grand Theft Auto IV and the comparisons it has drawn to works like The Godfather and The Sopranos. Diaz argues that certain elements are inherent in all great pieces of narrative art and that those elements are missing from GTA IV:

GTA IV sucks you the hell in but its narrative doesn’t move me in any way or shake me up or even piss me off. I get madder when I crash my car in the game than when Niko makes a stupid decision in the cut-scenes (the movie-like interludes that players don’t control). GTA IV for all its awesomeness doesn’t have the sordid bipolar humanity of “The Sopranos,” and it certainly lacks the epic flawed protagonists that define “The Godfather” and its bloodier lesser brother “Scarface.” Successful art tears away the veil and allows you to see the world with lapidary clarity; successful art pulls you apart and puts you back together again, often against your will, and in the process reminds you in a visceral way of your limitations, your vulnerabilities, makes you in effect more human. Does GTA IV do that? Not for me it doesn’t, and heck, I love this damn game.

According to Diaz though, videogames do have the potential to be a powerful form of narrative expression:

What’s interesting though is that GTA could have been exactly what some folks are claiming it is. For all its over-the-top aberrance and brash transgressiveness, GTA IV doesn’t really wrestle with the radiant feverish nightmare labyrinth that post-9/11 America has become. Which is too bad. When you’re as lost as we are in this country, maps, no matter from where they come, are invaluable. It could have been that popular art blade that cuts through all pretensions and delusions; it could have been the map that we’ve been needing. But for that to have been possible GTA would have had to have put a small portion of the people playing the game at risk of waking up, even if only for a second, from the dream that is our current world.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Boomerang Pays Tribute to Dogs in July 2008

Boomerang will be paying a special tribute to cartoon canines each weekend in the month of July as part of their "Dog Days of Summer." Dogs such as Scooby Doo, Scrappy Doo, The Jetsons' Astro, 2 Stupid Dogs, and The Flintstones' Dino will be honored with marathon programming on Satuday and Sunday.

More on the Possible 300 Follow-Up

Variety says that Legendary Pictures has confirmed last week's reports that it is developing a 300 follow-up for Warner Bros. that Frank Miller is writing and Zack Snyder is intended to direct.

Miller is writing the graphic novel the project will be based upon, although at this point it's not clear whether it will be a prequel or spin-off.

Snyder won't officially commit until after he sees Miller's take, but he's definitely interested, says the trade.

Legendary, which also co-financed and produced Snyder's Watchmen for Warners, considers the project a major priority.

"The vision of Frank Miller's universe that Zack Snyder brought to the screen in '300' is unlike anything ever seen before," said Legendary's Thomas Tull. "We want to be certain that the story originates with Frank and be as compelling as the first."

G.I. Joe Resolute is Coming Next Year

Toy News International has posted a lot of details about a new "G.I. Joe" cartoon, titled G.I. Joe Resolute, coming online next year.

- The panel starts off with Hasbro showing off a 1 minute preview of a new animated G.I.Joe cartoon that will debut next year as web-episodes on Hasbro's G.I.Joe website. These will be about 5 minute episodes and is geared more towards adults then kids. The preview they showed is of Snake-Eyes saving Duke and Roadblock from a Cobra ambush in the jungle. Snake-Eyes is shown actually killing Cobra Soldiers, though the actual killing is off-screen you know those soldiers are dead

- The cartoon is titled "G.I.Joe Resolute" and is produced by Sam Register, Written by Warren Ellis, Directed by Joaqui, Dos Santos and lead animation is by David Johnson.

- We can expect to see classic vehicles like the Flagg and have gone all out on the animation.

- Charlie Evans is doing the voice of Cobra Commander. He did the voice of Low Light in the original G.I.Joe cartoon.

- There are ten 5 minute segments with one 10 minute finale. They hope to then eventually show it in full on someplace like Cartoon Network or DVD's.

- Dan Norton is one of the background artists for this series. They showed art of the Flagg morgue, the U.N., and The G.I.Joe situation room.

- They use real life equipment like a stratellite.

- The Flagg has a more updated look. The bridge is round and the whole design is sleeker.

- They have new Jetpacks. You can go to youtube and look up something called jetpack man and see something that looks like the ones the Joe's will use. The Skystriker is based on an YF-22 now

- They tried to keep the color schemes from the classic characters for each of the characters. They showed Duke, Gung-Ho (chest is covered), Lady Jaye with a hat, Scarlett, Tunnel Rat, Storm Shadow who looks like a combination of V1 and V2.

- We could see something similar for other Hasbro brands like Transformers.

- Lady Jaye will be kind of like Starbuck from the new BSG.

- Destro, Baroness, Cobra Commander among others will be characters we see. Cobra Commander is serious and ruthless in this series. He kills a baby seal in the first episode (Possibly said as a joke to underscore his ruthlessness).

- Characters could die in this series.

- There will be little to no blood shown, essentially this cartoon will be rated PG-13.

- This series will debut in the 1st qrt of 2009.

- The episodes are somewhat self-contained with an overall story-arc that goes throughout the series.

- There will be some toys based on this series coming in 2009.

- Duke is pretty much in charge of the team and Flint will be the second in command. There is not going to be much focus on behind the desk leaders in this series. What you knew of Duke in the past may not be the same as what this Duke will be. Warren Ellis tried to improve characters where he thought it was needed.

- The guns shoot bullets in this series and not lasers.

Google signs animation deal with Seth McFarlane

Google has teamed up with the creator of Family Guy to create 50 two minute episodes of a new cartoon called Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, an animation series which will appear exclusively on the Internet. Seth MacFarlane has created a stable of new characters to star in the series, which will premiere in September.

Marketing Wall•E and Kung Fu Panda

The Movie Marketing Madness blog offers interesting in-depth analyses of the marketing campaigns supporting the recent animated features Wall•E and Kung Fu Panda. The blog concludes that both movies had successful ad campaigns.

Then again, they had better be successful for the amount of coin they’re spending to market these pictures. This recent article in Variety discusses the exorbitant costs of promoting animated features nowadays, and says that these two animated features have the costliest marketing campaigns of any two Hollywood films this year, with Disney’s $54 million Wall•E campaign leading the way.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Mind Over Manga

Anime website Digital Manga once again sponsors Pop Japan Travel’s Mind Over Manga Tour from Aug. 21st through August 27th. This year the tour will include a meeting with anime art director Nizo Yamamoto and a visit to Nippon Animation, the studio that helped give Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata their start. Yamamoto will also introduce the group to the art staff he directed on this year’s acclaimed anime The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Yamamoto has served as art director on many acclaimed anime, including Princess Mononoke (above) and Grave of the Fireflies. His background art has also appeared in Spirited Away, Perfect Blue, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro and more.

Mind Over Manga also includes a backstage visit to the Comitia indie manga event, plus Hayao Miyazaki’s Ghibli Museum, and a tour of Tokyo, plus a few excursions outside the city. Optional tours of Hiroshima, Kyoto and Osaka are also available.

The Mind Over Manga tour, including round-trip airfare from LAX to Tokyo, full hotel accommodations, transport in Japan, entry fees, bilingual guides and customized guidebook, is $2,198 plus a $235 fuel surcharge. The Kyoto and Osaka option is $898, while Hiroshima is $100. Considering the price of gas these days, this seems like a bargain. More information on the Pop Japan Travel website.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Who Is Rocket Johnson? Charity Auction

Who is Rocket Johnson? is the new graphic novel anthology being self-published by Disney animation artists and debuting at Comic-Con in a few weeks. A special copy of the book is currently being auctioned on eBay, and all proceeds from the sale will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to help fund research in finding a cure for the disease. The copy on eBay is signed by all of the Disney artists in the book and also comes with a set of pins made especially for Comic-Con. The auction ends on July 10. More details about the book are at WhoIsRocketJohnson.com.

Below are a few sample pages displaying some of the lovely artwork that can be found in the book. Click on each for a larger version.

“Pee Wee 51″ by Mike Gabriel

“The Last Stand of Lloyd Loomis” by Dean Wellins

“Number Nine Must Launch” by Sam Levine

(thanks cartoonbrew)

"Batman: Gotham Knight" Panel Report from Wizard World Chicago

Comic Book Resources has posted their Batman: Gotham Knight panel report from this past weekend's Wizard World Chicago comic convention. The panel was preceded by the debut of the movie, which played to a completely full room. The panel itself was attended by DC Comics Senior VP of Creative Affairs Gregory Noveck, executive producer Bruce Timm, and writers Greg Rucka, Alan Burnett, Josh Olson, and Brian Azzarello. The panel discussion (which includes some spoilers for the movie) answered such questions as how much influence the older Batman animated projects had on this one, why the live-action movie cast was not able to provide voices for the DTV, and what changes had to be made to conform to the live-action movies.

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" News from Wizard World Chicago

Comic Book Resources has posted a report of the Lucasfilm panel from this past weekend's Wizard World Chicago convention. Hosted by Steve Sansweet, Lucasfilm's Head of Fan Relations, the panel focused heavily on the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and movie, with video comments from director Dave Filoni. They also noted that the Star Wars: Robot Chicken special will be arriving on DVD on July 22, 2008. During the Q&A session, one fan asked if Lucasfilm's animation department would work on an Indiana Jones animated series, and received a non-committal answer that they can only do so much at one time, but "it's a possibility."

Other news at the panel included information about the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game and about Indiana Jones DVD plans.

The Dark Knight is Fastest Fandango Seller of Summer

The latest from Fandango:

With less than three weeks remaining till "The Dark Knight" opens on July 18, at 12:01 a.m., Fandango, the nation's leading moviegoer destination, is finding that dozens of showtimes for the film are already sold out.

"The Dark Knight" tickets have been a hot commodity since they first went on sale on Friday, June 20 at Fandango.com. As of this morning, the film is outpacing "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", "Iron Man" and "Sex and the City" as Fandango's fastest ticket-seller of this summer.

"We are currently seeing a surge in advance ticket sales for 'The Dark Knight'," says Ted Hong, vice president of marketing for Fandango. "It makes sense that there's a rush for tickets, as it's the perfect movie to see on the big screen, as supported by our strong ticket sales for both traditional screens and the larger format in IMAX ®. We believe the film is appealing to both comic book and action fans, as well as casual moviegoers."

The late Heath Ledger's potentially Oscar®-worthy performance as The Joker in "The Dark Knight" was cited as top reason for seeing the movie, according to 53% of respondents to Fandango's online survey of moviegoers in June.

7 Clips From Hellboy II: The Golden Army!

ShockTillYouDrop.com has posted seven clips from writer/director Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Opening in theaters on July 11, the action-thriller stars Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss, Seth MacFarlane, Anna Walton, Brian Steele, Roy Dotrice and John Hurt.

You can watch the clips here!

Bale Balked At Terminator

Christian Bale, who plays a grown-up John Connor in the upcoming Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, told reporters that he hesitated to take a pivotal role in another major SF franchise after playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins and the upcoming sequel, The Dark Knight.

"My feeling is that, you know, we have an opportunity and a responsibility" to such franchises, Bale said in a group interview in Beverly Hills, Calif., on June 29 to promote Dark Knight.

Bale added: "There's no point in making it if we don't achieve this: ... Reinventing that mythology, and there's a great deal of potential for that, and that is what I'm attempting to do. Anything less than that would be us failing."

Bale plays the iconic hero of the human revolution in Terminator Salvation, which attempts to reboot the franchise in the first of three films set after the nuclear holocaust of Judgment Day.

Terminator Salvation, which is being directed by McG, is currently in production and is slated to open on May 22, 2009. The Dark Knight opens July 18.

Del Toro Clarifies Hobbit 2

Guillermo del Toro, who will direct two Lord of the Rings prequel films, told reporters that the first will stick to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit but the second will take in a wide range of materials from the Tolkien universe.

The second as-yet-untitled movie is being envisioned as a bridge between the end of
The Hobbit and the beginning of the first Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring

But copyright considerations restrict del Toro to only the four books licensed for the films: The Hobbit and the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings, which include copious appendices and notes about the Rings universe. But that would appear to exclude any material in The Silmarillion, completed by Tokien's son, which offers backstory and mythology to fill out the universe in the Rings books, as well as any other Tolkien writings.

For his part, del Toro told reporters that he would take it all in, whether he could use it or not. "We're talking," he said in a group interview in Beverly Hills, Calif., on June 30 while promoting Hellboy II: The Golden Army. "Utilizing the materials that are available to us, and the discipline has been to try and, from my part, know everything else. Not to know it and use it, but to know it and not step on those things."

Del Toro added: "There is enough ... narrative abridgement and some other pieces of narrative and suggestions and appendix notes and this and that to guide and create something that will not infringe anything else. But it's too early for me to swear by it. I think that that's the real creative endeavor on the second film."

As for The Hobbit itself, del Toro said: "The real creative endeavor is to be faithful to the feel and the drive of the book and the spirit of the book. ... I think a lot of people say, 'Oh, it's a children's book.' And I say, 'Therefore, it should be taken seriously.'"

As for taking up the standard of the three beloved and Oscar-winning Rings films, del Toro was undaunted. "The way I see it, I see the ... five films--provided that we do everything right--as a symphony," he said. "And I believe that what I'm doing is an overture. And therefore it can be a different color and a different energy and lead you into something that is already a filming legacy, you know? That all we got to do is create an almost free-standing piece that can then, if viewed together, make sense as a symphonic work. ... If the two first pieces are crafted with their independent merit, but also, the second film does lead seamlessly into the first film of the trilogy, we will have created perhaps one of the most beautiful symphonies filmically that have been done. And the level of craftsmanship which we were talking about--that I like to bring and what I like to do--is obsessively detailed, and ... the idea that I'm going to have the tools that existed ... I'm ready."

Nolan Mulls Third Bat-Movie

Christopher Nolan, the writer/director who continues reinventing the Batman franchise with the upcoming sequel film The Dark Knight, told reporters that he hasn't begun to think about doing a third installment--though at least one of his cast members thinks otherwise.

After Nolan completed the first of his Caped Crusader reboots, 2005's Batman Begins, Dark Knight writers David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan (Christopher's brother) told reporters that the director challenged them to give him a story so compelling that he had no choice but to make a second movie. They apparently did: Nolan's The Dark Knight opens this month with a new story and new characters, led by the late Heath Ledger's Joker and Aaron Eckhart's Gotham City district attorney Harvey Dent, joining a returning Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

What would it take for Christopher Nolan to do a third film? "Enormous amounts of cash," Nolan joked in a group interview in Beverly Hills, Calif., over the weekend.

No, seriously. "I don't know," Nolan said, adding: "The only way I can answer that question--there are two ways. The first thing to say is, I literally finished this film last week. That was when we finished our IMAX prints. So I have no idea what I'm going to do next, what I'll do in the future."

Nolan added: "The film to me is not actually finished until the audience sees it and tells me what it is, really. So it's too early to say for all those kind of reasons. The other thing to be said on the subject is we absolutely did not feel in taking on the idea of doing the second film that we could in any way hamper ourselves or disadvantage ourselves by saving things for another film. ... I think that's a mistake people have made in the past, thinking too much of the future. I think you have to put all your eggs into one basket and make as great a film as you can, and that's what we've tried to do."

But Gary Oldman, who plays police detective Jim Gordon, is pretty sure Nolan will sign on for a third film.

"Chris Nolan, ... he comes in, and then you'll say, 'Are you going to do the sequel?'" Oldman said in a separate interview. "And he sits here and he goes, 'I don't know. I'm kind of tired. I'm going to go on holiday.' Which I think is code for yes." The Dark Knight opens July 18.

A look at the script for the upcoming JONNY QUEST!

Latino Review takes a sneak peek at the script for the upcoming Jonny Quest movie...

So Warners is looking for another family friendly adventure franchise to replace Harry Potter. According to reader DR. STRANGEFIST who took a look at the 2nd draft of the script, the upcoming JONNY QUEST could be the answer. Dr. Strangefist (who seems to be on a hot streak lately) chimed in his thoughts below. From what I gather, he really liked the script. The 3rd draft has recently commenced so good news to all those Hanna Barbera fans – the project is active.

Jonny Quest revolved around a young boy who travels the world with his scientist father, adopted brother from India, Bandit the bulldog, and a government agent assigned to protect them as they go on their adventures investigating scientific mysteries.

The show, which is owned by Warner Bros. Animation, aired during primetime on ABC in 1964, lasting only one season. It was updated in the late '80s and '90s as "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest" on the Cartoon Network. Property's also been spun off as a comic book from DC.

The Hollywood remake/adaptation train keeps on rolling, and the passenger this time around is a live action re-imagining of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon Jonny Quest. Although the show originally ran for just one season, it obviously made an impression on plenty of people – it was resurrected twice, turned into TV movies, video games, and comics, and the characters have become pop culture icons. However, it’s been out of the spotlight for several years now, and at this point is probably not on the radar of many younger TV and movie viewers. It appears that Warner Bros. and writer Dan Mazeau have decided to change that and introduce the character to a new generation of fans, and a new version of him to old ones.

The script starts in classic sci-fi adventure fashion with two AIR FORCE RADAR TECHS in Greenland observing a mysterious object fall out of the sky and crash right on top of their remote facility. It’s some kind of sleek, futuristic flying vehicle, and it appears alien in nature. Enter dozens of military officials, guards, and scientists, all led by no-nonsense brass CORVIN. Nobody knows what this thing is, they can’t figure out what’s inside, they can’t even find a door. Corvin takes one look at the strange, glowing vessel and aide ROBERTS to contact the only man who might be able to help them, the brilliant, world-renowned scientist DR. BENTON QUEST

Cut to a military hangar in New Mexico where the highly accomplished Dr. Quest is giving a demonstration of his latest mind-boggling invention: a non-lethal ray gun that completely disintegrates weapons and vehicles but leaves organic unharmed. The audience is wowed, but after the demonstration someone turns the machine back on and goes wild with it in the hangar. Dr. Quest rushes to deactivate it and is shocked to find his 12-year-old son JONNY – our hero – using it to burn his initials into a nearby tank. It seems that Jonny is quite the troublemaker, and has driven off another in a long line of bodyguards ostensibly meant to protect him but really there to keep him out of mischief. Dr. Quest is furious, but has little time to react before Roberts arrives to brief him on the situation in Greenland and escort him back to his lab,. where the mysterious craft will be sent for study. Quest’s only request is that Corvin send him a new bodyguard, one that actually handle the demands of the job.

Cue RACE BANNON, quintessential badass secret agent; always cool, always in control, he’s seen and done it all and it’s left him with a sarcastic, wise-cracking demeanor. We find Race in the midst of being beaten and interrogated by a trio of eastern European thugs in a cargo container aboard a docked freighter, where an illegal arms deal is taking place. Race quickly and easily breaks free and turns the tables on his captors, then proceeds to try to stop the deal single-handedly. He almost succeeds, but the bad guys manage to get away in a mini-sub with half of their merchandise – a soviet warhead.

The thieves in the sub are led by the menacing and extremely dangerous KORCHECK, a man who appears to have an adversarial past with Race Bannon, and has the hideous battle scars to prove it. Korcheck quickly demonstrates that he is no childish cartoon villain by calmly yet brutally dispatching one of his underlings for failing to secure both warheads. Despite the setback, Korcheck informs his men that one warhead will be enough to forge ahead with their nefarious plans.

Meanwhile, Corvin is furious to learn that Bannon has been unsuccessful, and angrily informs him that he has a new assignment. He is quickly whisked away by helicopter to Dr. Quest’s advanced headquarters on a private island in the Florida Keys. Race assumes he is there to protect the good doctor, whose wife was killed during an attempt on his life three years before, but is more than a little shocked and annoyed to learn that the body he will be guarding is Jonny’s. The job may not be as easy or boring as Race thought, though, as Jonny has a penchant for trying to sneak out of the facility and has pilfered some of his dad’s high-tech gadgets to help him. Almost immediately Race is drawn into a high-speed boat chase with Jonny, who is trying to sneak out for a night of fun in nearby Miami. Although Jonny will be more of a handful than Race expected, Jonny has also underestimated his new “babysitter,” and the two begrudgingly begin to form a bond.

Back at the lab, Dr. Quest and two assistants are cutting open the strange vehicle from Greenland. The mystery of the ship deepens when they discover ancient Sanskrit characters etched into it, but they have little time to process the information before spider-like robots swarm out of the machine and attack them. Dr. Quest narrowly escapes, but the robots tap into the facility’s computer system and deactivate the security systems. The ship was a decoy, a Trojan horse, an elaborate trick to allow squads of armed attackers to raid the compound. Mazeau actually takes a moment here to step back from the story and interject a quick statement about the script – the world of Jonny Quest, though not graphically violent, is decidedly darker and more mature than kiddie fare like the Spy Kids films, and this scene aptly demonstrates his point; the bad guys actually kill people and the main characters are in real danger. In the ensuing chaos, the attackers capture Dr. Quest and steal the new ray gun from his lab. Race takes out several of them, and protects Jonny, but is unable to stop them from getting away.

Evidence suggests that the kidnappers have taken Dr. Quest to India, and the government dispatches a team to search for him. Jonny is supposed to stay behind, and Race is ordered to guard him, but Jonny sneaks aboard the plane and Race disobeys his orders and joins the mission, neither realizing that the other is along for the ride. In the meantime we find out that a former colleague named JEREMIAH HURD has kidnapped Benton, and he intends to force him to assist him with some unknown but undoubtedly evil project. Upon arrival in India, the government rescue team is ambushed and a reunited Race and Jonny are left to unravel the villains’ (Hurd and Korcheck are in league, naturally) plot and save Dr. Quest – but not on their own, as they meet an Indian boy named HADJI SINGH who can help them understand why the bad guys have stolen an ancient mystical Hindu artifact, and then team up with Race’s tough-as-nails old flame JADE.

What follows is an exciting, often funny adventure that hearkens back to the old-school
Jonny Quest show, but also has a modern edge. Highlights include an inventive action scene involving a motorized rickshaw and jetpacks, an exciting hovercraft chase through twisting tunnels of a mine, and the reveal of a cavernous underground temple (shades of Temple of Doom) that clues our heroes into the nature of Hurd and Kolcheck’s plot. They have found an ancient artifact called the Brahmastra that supposedly unleashes the power of the gods – basically an ancient, mystical nuclear bomb, and Hurd needs Dr. Quest’s help (and his new ray gun) to “activate” it and harness it. And Korcheck wants to put it into the stolen warhead to use as the ultimate extortion tool. It all builds to a series of white-knuckle set pieces and an ending that sets up further adventures of the Quest team. If the finished film can deliver on the fun promised by the script, those further adventures will be completely welcome.

Kevin Smith on "The Dark Knight"

Director and comics writer Kevin Smith weighs in on "The Dark Knight" in his blog:

"I caught an early screening of "The Dark Knight" yesterday evening.

Without giving anything away, this is an epic film (and trust me: based on the sheer size and scope of the visuals and storytelling, that's not an overstatement). It's the
"Godfather II" of comic book films and three times more earnest than "Batman Begins" (and f#*k, was that an earnest film). Easily the most adult comic book film ever made. Heath Ledger didn't so much give a performance as he disappeared completely into the role; I know I'm not the first to suggest this, but he'll likely get at least an Oscar nod (if not the win) for Best Supporting Actor. F#*king flick's nearly three hours long and only leaves you wanting more (in a great way). I can't imagine anyone being disappointed by it. Nolan and crew have created something close to a masterpiece."

New Dark Knight Trailer!

Thought you had seen the last trailer for The Dark Knight?! Domino's Pizza has now launched "The Dark Knight Vault" where you can watch an extended trailer with new footage. And that's not all, there's more to check out there as well. Visit the site here!

The Dark Knight opens in theaters and IMAX on July 18.

"Batman: The Brave and The Bold" Aimed At Younger Viewers

Confirmed over the weekend, Batman: The Brave and The Bold will be targeted at younger viewers.

Bruce Timm confirmed over the weekend during WizardWorld that Batman: The Brave and The Bold will be skewering for a much younger demographic when the series premieres in early 2009. The show is slated to skew young and be appropriate for the preschoolers market. Characters scheduled to appear alongside Batman include Green Arrow, Green Lantern, The Blue Beetle, Plastic Man, Red Tornado, Aquaman, and more.

An entire toy line for the series will debut from Mattel in spring 2009, around the same time as the show's premiere. The show has been approved for 26 episodes, with the option for another pick-up.

Stay tuned for further updates.

The Spectacular Spider-Man's Past and Future

Exclusive from ign.com: Animated series producer on what's to come in Season 2.

If you've read my Spectacular Spider-Man reviews, you know how much I love the show, a sentiment shared by many other staff members here at IGN. With Season 1 having just wrapped up, I was able to have a conversation with supervising producer Greg Weisman about everything Spectacular Spider-Man. Weisman already was a highly respected talent, perhaps most notably for his acclaimed series Gargoyles, and has only cemented his reputation for quality television animation with his work on Spider-Man.

During our conversation, we talked about how several key decisions were made during Season 1 – from Shocker's alter-ego to what Spider-Man's black costume looked like – plus what's to come in Season 2 and much, much more. Work is underway on The Spectacular Spider-Man: Season 2, but it should be noted that the show has an unusual situation – Season 1 aired on The CW's now defunct Kids WB programming block, leaving the series without an immediate home for Season 2. Sony Pictures Television Animation is continuing to produce the show, while seeking a new outlet for it, something Weisman and I also discuss.

IGN: Congratulations on such a great first season! Do you have any time to rest, or are you kind of in the thick of it still, working on Season 2?

Well, I'm actually in a brief lull, because we finished recording all of the Season 2 shows, but none have come back from oversees yet, so I actually have got about a month with very little to do. Which, by the way, I'm very happy about! [Laughs] I can use the rest, let me put it that way.

- Sony Pictures Television Animation

IGN: The fan reaction has been really strong, but when the project was first announced, like with anything based on a comic book pretty much, there was a lot of wariness. It must have been gratifying to see a quick positive response once the show began airing.

I feel really gratified by the fan response. I lurk every once in awhile on some of those sites like Toonzone or Superherohype or IGN and see some of the response. Generally, I feel pretty good. I mean, there's always one or two people who post every week to say how much they hate the show and how awful it is, but you know, they're watching! [Laughs]

IGN: Exactly! And they're reading and commenting on our reviews!

Right. So, I guess if they really hated it, they just wouldn't watch. Our ratings have been beyond what anyone's fondest hopes were, which is always nice on the job security side. But the response seems to be really positive. And to some extent, more importantly – since this is an entire crew of Spider-Man fanatics -- we're all feeling pretty good about the show and it's something we're really proud of.

IGN: You'll have to forgive me, because I myself am a Spider-Man fanatic, who's been reading the comics for about 25 years now, so I'm about to get pretty specific on you.


IGN: You did some fun little twists on the show. One that stands out to me is making Montana the Shocker. When you make a decision like that, do you have a lot of debate amongst yourselves, asking, "Okay, how much will this piss off people?" vs. "This is a fun idea."

You know I try not to think in terms of how many people can I piss off. [Laughs] But, I think what we're trying to do is we have the virtue of hindsight. We are trying to create something that is the three C's: coherent, cohesive and contemporary. And yet, still, the fourth C: Classic. Something that still has this truly iconic feel about it. And look, I've been reading Spider-Man since the early '70s, so it's not like I'm some new guy who came in and is just like, "Well, that was interesting, but we're gonna do our show," you know what I mean? I grew up on Lee/Romita, and of course since then I've gone back and read all the Lee/Ditko stuff. I'm not quite old enough to have actually been reading Lee/Ditko from Day 1. But while I grew up on Lee/Romita, I love all the old Lee/Ditko stuff, which I've read many, many times, and which I specifically went back and re-read all of -- along with the Lee/Romita stuff -- when I got this job, so it would be fresh in my head. I've been studying these characters.

So that's a perfect example – the Shocker/Montana thing. I really looked carefully at Shocker and I said, "Who is this guy? What is it that's iconic about Shocker? What is it that really matters?" And to me, it was the powers, the suit, the relationship with Spider-Man. And we felt that the identity of Herman Schultz, in and of itself… You know, tell me three things about that guy that aren't specific to when he's in that costume.

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IGN: Right. He's far less defined in the comics than a lot of the villains.

Right. He's not Otto Octavius. He sure as hell isn't Norman Osborn. It isn't something that I felt we needed to be religious with. This is me speaking even as a fan, not just as producer. And so we felt that tying that in with the Enforcers and with Montana worked better for the show – that with the virtue of 20/20 hindsight, if you were going back and planning this from day 1 and you wanted it to have all those things I talked about – cohesiveness, cohesion and a contemporary vibe and coherence – and still be iconic, that kind of change seemed… I'm going to even say insignificant. I know there are going to be some big time Herman Schultz fans that would be outraged to hear me say the word insignificant, but I'm gonna say it!

IGN: [Laughs] The HermanShultz.org website is fuming.

Yeah, exactly! They're gonna string me up. But the truth is that this isn't a decision I make lightly, and we do discuss it all. We discuss it among ourselves – my writing staff. And then it all has to be vetted by both Sony and Marvel. And we just felt we could tell a better Shocker story by making him the guy who had lost to him in episode 1. And it gives Shocker Montana's flavor and again, since Schultz is a kind of flavorless guy, that helped us out too. And I think it actually served to make Shocker more dangerous. I mean particularly when you look at what they did with Shocker in the Ultimate universe, which I'm not knocking. They all have their own interpretation of it. But he was intentionally a joke in that book. And again, I'm a Romita guy, so I grew up on Shocker and I've always thought he was really cool, powerwise, but I had to look up his real name. This was not a character who, beyond the suit, meant a lot to me and you have to be, I think, a real, real purist to make that choice. I may sound a little defensive about it, because I took a lot of heat for that. I don't mean to sound defensive about something that I feel really good about.

IGN: There's always going to be that small group who's going to be instinctively mad at anything different. I remember waiting in a long line at Comic-Con before the first Spider-Man movie opened and someone said it looked terrible. Everyone else, myself included, said it looked really good to them, and this guy said, "No, he doesn't have the webs under his arms. It's terrible. They've ruined it."

You gotta do what works for your medium. That's another great one, because I was a big proponent of putting the webs back under the arms, because I always felt he looked cooler that way and my idea was that it would go elbow to waist, and [producer/supervising director] Vic [Cook] had a lot of trouble with that. He just thought it would be really hard to animate and really busy. We created this compromise that we've got on the show and my god, I think it looks great, and it's a tribute to the old Ditko stuff. I just love it. I love those webs in the underarms. But I think Vic was probably right – if I had been insistent -- "No, Ditko did it elbow to waist!" -- If I had been absolute about that, I was the boss so I could have gotten it, but it would have looked like crap from an animation standpoint.

It's great in still pictures, that's not an issue. But you've got to actually animate these things. They've got to move. So if I had been that much of a purist about it, I would have been a moron. I don't know how else to put it. You've got to work with what works in your medium and what works with what you're trying to achieve and I think on things like Shocker, on things like underarm webs, we got the best of both worlds. We get something that has this really classic feel; that makes Shocker into a cool, threatening villain again and is still iconic, but feels very contemporary and feels like it matters.

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IGN: Speaking of costumes, you did something really fun with the black costume where it looked like the movie version at first…

Yeah, boy, and people were pissed about that too! [Laughs]

IGN: [Laughs] Yes, some were. But then it started to transform and look more and more like the comic book version. How did that idea come about?

There was some discussion here about which way we should go – the movie version or the comic book version. And I think it was Vic's idea to say, "Well, what if we did both?" I think [executive producer] Craig Kyle also participated in that decision, but I think Vic and Craig and I and [Sony's] Michael Vogel probably all sat down and discussed it. But you know, that I love, because yeah, it's fun for us that you have this little movie tribute and you have this little comic book tribute in there. But what I love about it is then it becomes for reasons of story – it's not purely an aesthetic choice, but what we're indicating is the symbiote is slowly gaining a bigger and bigger foothold within Peter. And so with every episode in those three, there's a progression there.

In some ways, my favorite is almost the middle phase in Episode 11, where the webs are starting to dissolve and it has almost this veiny feel to it. There's almost something coolest about that. It really is subjective, but if we were only going to do one costume, my personal preference would have been the comic book solid black. But this idea, when Vic came up with it, I just thought was fantastic. First off, the big lesson from that is this is a team effort. We've got a great crew here. Vic is a fantastic partner on the show. But it's one of these things where okay, here's a creative question. What's the most creative way to answer that question?

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IGN: It was fun when you did the origin, because it flowed so much between the movie origin and the comic book origin. You had recreations of frames from Amazing Fantasy #15 intermixed with beats from the movie. How did you decide to weave in and out of it like that?

Well, I wrote that episode myself and to refresh my memory, I had just watched the movie, because there are elements of the movie origin that I thought were really smart. To me one of the biggest sort of hurdles to get over is the huge coincidence that the guy that Pete lets go at the Ed Sullivan Show winds up being the same guy who comes to an obscure house in Forrest Hills to rob it. Later, I know the whole story [from Amazing Spider-Man #200] that he was looking for hidden loot and all that. I get it, the ret-con, I get it. But to me that was a stretch. And one of the things I thought really was smart about the first film was that it amps it up too. It's not simply that Pete let this guy go, it's that Uncle Ben is downstairs waiting for Peter. So this guy who's on the run from this thing that just happened, where Pete let him go and could have stopped him right there, goes down to get a car, and shoots Uncle Ben, who is sitting there because he's waiting for Pete to come out, not from the venue, but from the library. And so he is literally at the wrong place, at the wrong time because of Pete. It's not because he's home minding his own business and a coincidence happens that the same guy happens to be the one to get him. It's not a coincidence. He's there because of Pete. And I thought that was incredibly smart. Also, if you look at Amazing Fantasy #15, as much as I love it, Uncle Ben doesn't actually have the "Great power, great responsibility" line.

IGN: Right. It just says it in the caption at the end.

Right. In hindsight, that speech is given to Uncle Ben and it should be Uncle Ben's in hindsight. So again, I thought the movie was pretty smart the way that conversation in the car took place. So those were two things from the movie that I really did want to borrow. If anything, I think maybe I was a little too… I think a lot of people responded negatively to just how much dialogue I flat out cribbed from the movie. I did that on purpose, but in hindsight maybe that wasn't the best choice. But I still like it. I only took lines I really loved.

But then I also literally had up on screen as I'm writing this script, Amazing Fantasy #15 and then on top of that, Dave Bullock, who directed that episode, was very much trying to get those iconic visuals from Amazing Fantasy. So not only were we jumping back from the origin, but we had these visual cues from Amazing Fantasy #15 that were so important to both Dave and myself. And we felt in Season 1 we needed to do the origin, but we didn't want to do it in episode 1. We wanted to wait until we earned it and until you cared about Peter, so that when Uncle Ben dies you see how much that hurts him. And I also just wanted to do, instead of just a flat retelling of the origin, even in a flashback, I liked the whole sort of Our Town black and white [feel]. Sticking with Peter so that we just sort of flow from scene to scene in a kind of oozy, slithery, symbiote sense, as opposed to traditional transitions with flashbacks in color. There was something, without sounding too pretentious, kind of arty and cool I thought, about the way we did it that was heavily, heavily influenced by the play Our Town that I really liked and wanted to do. That's why I chose to write that script myself, so I could get what I was looking for there unfiltered. And I'm pretty happy with it. I think it turned out pretty great.

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IGN: One thing that's cool about the show is that it seems like just about every speaking character, not counting random background people, end up being someone from the comic book. You have Dr. Kafka there for a moment for instance.

Yeah, that was very intentional. We made a decision very early on that we didn't want to have a single name character, no matter how small, that didn't come from one of the sources, whether that's Ultimate or the main continuity or the movie – we would take all name characters from the source. It's a strange thing to say, because I've done entirely original shows like Gargoyles, but we actually made a conscious decision early on that we weren't going to create a single original character for this show. So the actor who has one line in the Sinister Six episode, the guy who's playing Falstaff, his name is St. John Devereaux, and that's a character right out of the comic books and he'll be appearing again. It did a lot for us in a lot of ways, because it also allowed us to plant seeds. It kept our head in the game all the time. If we're going to have to bring a character from the source material to life, you think about, "Well, who's this character going to be in the long-term for this series?" Not just, "Okay, let's call Chameleon's boys Tom and Dick." Instead, it's Quentin Beck and Phineas Mason, and that helps us set up what we're going to do with Mysterio and Tinkerer in Season 2.

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IGN: Obviously some characters come with certain baggage. Stan Carter and Jean DeWolff jump out at me. I loved seeing them in the show, but I can't imagine you'll be able to touch the Sin-Eater story?

Well, I'm not even going to say we're not going to touch the Sin-Eater story. A lot depends on how successful the series continues to be, but I've said before -- and this is not official, this is just my dream -- but my hope is that we do 65 episodes of this series set in high school and that the audience ages with us. And that after we do those 65 episodes, ending with Peter's graduation from Midtown High, he goes on to college at ESU and we do direct-to-DVDs with a slightly older, Superman: Doomsday / Justice League: The New Frontier [vibe], so we can do some of the more adult stories in the setting where that's appropriate, which is when he's over 18 and he's in college, as opposed to in the high school setting.

And the truth is that those stories happen later in the continuity anyway. Captain Stacy didn't die during the Ditko years, and hell Gwen didn't die during the Lee years. So the notion that just because we're not doing it in Season 1 or even in Season 2 means it won't ever happen, I don't buy into that. We have long term plans and some of them aren't too happy. For better of for worse, our goal is, arrogant or naïve as this is, is we would like this to be the classic Spider-Man series of all time. Whether we succeeded or not isn't up for me to decide, but it's literally that arrogant. We really want this to be classic. But we're also not in a big rush. The first 13 episodes take place between September and the start of school and Thanksgiving. And our next 13 takes place between December and March, so we're not trying to do a year per season or anything like that. We're just trying to go through the days of Peter's life.

IGN: It's probably because you did have some characters from the later years, like Black Cat and Venom, but I've seen a few fans say stuff like, "Wow, they went through all of the story in the first 13 episodes!" I think they forget how much there is to take from.

Yeah, there's a ton of stuff. There's no doubt that obviously we conflated a lot of eras to put characters like Harry, Mary Jane and Gwen, who are from the college years, in with Liz and Flash, who are from the high school years. And Sally, who has an appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, and then doesn't show up again until Untold Tales. And that's along with characters from Ultimate like Kenny Kong and characters from the '80s and '90s like Black Cat and Venom and stuff from the movies.

There's no doubt we're conflating all this stuff. We didn't want to wait to have Harry, Gwen and Mary Jane in the show until he was out of high school, so we tried to extrapolate… Not just simply take them and stick them in high school, but try and figure out what they would have been like in high school. Alright, we know what Gwen, Harry and Mary Jane were like in college because you can read them – you can go back and read the Romita stuff and see what they were like in college. But if you were taking Flash from the college era without going back to look at what he was like in high school then you'd miss classic Flash. So what we tried to do is sort of say, okay, what would Gwen, Mary Jane and Harry have been like in high school? And Eddie Brock was the same kind of process – a little more revisionist still I guess you'd say, but trying to integrate him into the series. There are just a ton of great stories and we have barely scratched the surface. Even having finished all the writing for Season 2, we've barely scratched the surface. This is not a show I'm going to run out of stories on anytime soon.

IGN: I have to ask, regarding the finale – What happened to Eddie after Peter got rid of the black costume?

He went back to the roof as soon as he had disposed of the symbiote in the concrete and Eddie was gone. We'll find out at the beginning of [episode] 14 that he's looking for Eddie.

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IGN: Gwen's been a very likable character on the show. Given how the season ended, is there a chance she and Peter can have some happy times together before Peter's trademark bad luck comes into play?

Well it depends on what you define as "happy time" because I don't want to spoil too much but obviously there was a big kiss at the end of [episode] 13 and a big revelation for Peter – sort of a "Holy 'Blank'" moment when he puts two and two together about why Venom chose Gwen to attack with the kiss and how the kiss made him feel. And so going into episode 14, which is the first episode of our second season, that's going to be in the forefront of his head. What happens from there, I'm just not gonna say right now. But it's not something we're going to ignore – this is a big element of Season 2.

IGN: How did you decide to make The Big Man turn out to be Tombstone? I enjoyed seeing Frederick Foswell in the show too and I kept expecting him to be revealed, like in the comics.

We came to Tombstone later in the development and it just seemed to us that was a character with tremendous potential. Again, it's a situation where if you look at the core of the character and not every single story he's been in and every single use -- because a lot of times any individual writer might say, "I'm gonna try him in this direction and see how it plays" -- and you try and sort of take the sum total of all this and go down to find the core, it just felt to us like Tombstone had this great, granite, marble Tombstone-esque solid core to him that would make a really great crime boss for us. And we got some fantastic voice work both from Keith David and from Kenneth Michael Richardson on the character, which really brought the guy to life even before he came on screen.

And then I've got to say, one of my favorite sequences maybe in the entire season, certainly in my top three favorite sequences, is that thing in episode 6 with Spider-Man and Tombstone's first confrontation. Even now it gives me little chills, you know? [Laughs] I feel pretty good about that and the fans seem to have liked what we did with him. And we have plans for Frederick Foswell too. We're trying to be as true to his character as we can be, again making it feel contemporary. The guy who spends his days as a reporter and his nights as a crime boss didn't feel too realistic to us, but we do have plans for Frederick that will I think be very true to his character and we like getting him in there. Actually, Foswell has this sort of big arc of his own in the second season.

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IGN: There's another character from that era I have a big fond spot for and I'm wondering if we'll see: The Crime Master.

Not in Season 2. Down the road… We have our big gang war in Season 2 and he's not part of that. But coming out of the gang war and the events of Season 2, without going into too much detail, the field's sort of open again and so what we do with organized crime in Season 3's still up in the air.

IGN: Organized crime in this realm obviously leads to one character that I'm curious if you're able to use, which is the Kingpin.

We can't is the short answer, and I won't pretend it doesn't bum me out a little bit. It's nobody's fault. It's just the way things work out from a contractual standpoint. Do I think it's a bummer? Yeah. But all things considered, I think Tombstone's turned out really cool and we wouldn't have had this Tombstone, frankly, if we had Kingpin. So I gotta say, I'm not too sorry about how things turned out, in hindsight. I won't pretend I wasn't bummed the first time I was told I couldn't use Kingpin. I was. But in hindsight, I'm kind of happy, because now I feel like we have a really cool character in Tombstone and if at some point we can bring Kingpin in, which I'm still hopeful will be the case maybe in Season 3 or at some point, then we'll have two great characters instead of just one.

IGN: Just to clarify, this is because Kingpin is part of the Daredevil rights, is that correct?

Kingpin is part of the Daredevil license and again, this is not a Marvel issue, this is not a Sony issue, this is purely a contractual thing. I've seen some stuff on the Internet where people are kind of rashly blaming X or blaming Y for the situation and it's just not fair. It's a lawyerly thing and the creative people on every side of this table would love to put him in the show and we just can't yet, but we're hopeful that eventually we will be able to.

IGN: Would the same go for characters like Daredevil himself or Johnny Storm – some of the Marvel heroes who are fairly connected to Spider-Man in the comics?

Well, I never wanted to make this show guest star of the week. I never wanted it to be, "Gee, he's Spider-Man. How's he going to carry this show on his own? I better put Wolverine in there!" So, this was a creative choice to stick to the Spider-Man universe initially and that's true for the first two seasons. Now, down the road, I still wouldn't want to make it guest star of the week, but I have a particular fondness for the Johnny Storm/Spider-Man relationship and would like to do that at some point.

We actually had a few kind of cool story ideas for a slim selection of characters which we would space out tremendously. Like one guest star a season kind of thing. So I'd start with Johnny Storm if I had that, and I can't right now. But honestly, in terms of Season 1 and 2, that was a creative choice. That wasn't even a business choice. That was about all of us sitting together and saying, "You know, this is Spider-Man. He can stand on his own two feet. He doesn't need to have a guest star." His universe is so rich, his corner of the Marvel Universe is so rich in and of itself, that we didn't feel the need to throw everybody and the kitchen sink in there.

Down the road, will Johnny Storm appear? I'm hoping the answer to that is yes. There's a great early, early Ditko Spider-Man/Hulk story that I'd like to do a version of down the road. I've got some interesting ideas for a few other characters as well, but there was never any desire to do that in the first bunch, because I was afraid that if we did, there'd become this expectation of, "Well, who's going to guest star next?" and it would be about the guest star and not about Peter Parker.

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Down the road, I'd like to be able to expand it a little bit. But from our point of view, and this is important, it's 2008, but it's 1962 re-done as 2008. So this is not, from our point of view, a Marvel Universe jam-packed with costumed characters. It's really the early days of the Marvel Universe. So even in my head, yeah, the Fantastic Four are there, because they pre-date Spidey. Hulk is around. Ant-Man is around. But the Avengers haven't assembled yet. Professor X hasn't gathered up his earliest students into an actual fighting team yet. This isn't a world that's jam-packed. From my point of view, Donald Blake hasn't been to Norway yet and Tony Stark hasn't been to Vietnam or Afghanistan or wherever yet. In terms of our series, we're just not there yet. Now as the series progresses, I'm hoping that we have the opportunity to explore some of these things. I mean, Captain America is still an iceberg! That's kind of the mindset. We'll see what happens when the time comes, but right now we're really, happily, focused on the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Universe.

IGN: I loved that Dan Slott Spider-Man/Human Torch miniseries from a couple of years ago, especially the issue with the Spider-Mobile.

I kind of have fond memories of the Spider-Mobile, I have to say! And [of] destroying it. But I wouldn't be surprised if down the road, Season 3, Season 4, the Spider-Mobile reared its somewhat ugly head. I do vibe on Johnny/Pete. But we've got Flash, and there's a lot of the same dynamic there, frankly, so we're pretty good.

IGN: With the way the Green Goblin/Harry Osborn story ended, there was obviously a lot of questions and ambiguity left in the air. Will that story be picked up in Season 2?

Green Goblin's back in Season 2 and that's all I'm gonna say.

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IGN: Another Goblin question for you – Any plans for Roderick Kingsley?

Roderick Kingsley is also in Season 2.

IGN: The show is aimed at all ages and you mentioned some content that might have to wait for a potential direct-to-DVD story. Did you have any times you had to pull yourself back a little in the first season?

There's a little bit of standards and practices issues about, literally, the sound of gunshots. But the truth is that even in the DVDs that we'll be releasing, we changed the sound to real gunshots. I gotta say, that's it. All you have to do is look at the show… We are action-packed, you know? I think we've got some great, fun dialogue, some of which I'm even surprised we got through. I think it's fun for kids and I think the more adult aspects go over the kids' heads kind of harmlessly. But that's kind of how I do shows. You write on multiple levels. You do it so there's enough eye candy and explosions and great, fun action for kids, and there's something there for all the demographics above that as well. There's something there for girls. There's something there for boys. That's just the way I operate, is to try and have something for everybody, without pandering. With the one exception of the sound of the gun shot on the broadcast version, which again, we'll correct on the DVD version, I can't think of anything we had to compromise on.

IGN: Speaking of DVDs, I know they'll be putting out the three-episode collections. Do you think they'll be season sets too though eventually?

There will be.

IGN: I wanted to ask you about the fights, because they're excellent and really feature some impressive fight choreography. Where does that come up in the process? Is it in the script stage or is it formed in the animation stage?

Well, the scripts are pretty detailed, but I don't want to kid myself. This is Vic's area. This is where he found these great directors. Jennifer Coyle, Dave Bullock, Dan Fausett, Tory Adomitis and Vic himself in Season 1. In Season 2 we've got Jennifer and Vic again and we've got Kevin Altieri and Michael Goguen and these are just immensely talented directors. We've got terrific storyboard artists. A bunch of great guys… I can't even name them all. There are too many for me to name off the top of my head. Some great stuff. They're the ones who are truly choreographing it. I mean the script provides a blueprint to sort of say "This has to happen and this has to happen and this has to happen," but they are creating these fantastic action sequences.

And then a lot of credit has to go with how smartly the show's been designed. One of the things when I brought Vic on, we agreed from day 1 and everyone else agreed to, was this had to be a Spider-Man who moves. We didn't want the sort of muscle-bound tough to animate, many, many lines character, that when he's swinging along, he looks dead in the air. We wanted this to be an acrobatic Spider-Man. We wanted an animation style that would allow our animators in Korea to just be able to go to town; to focus on the animation, not focus on how many different little muscle lines they had to draw. And in Sean Galloway, we just found this fantastic designer, who under Vic's guidance gave us these great animatable designs that really allow our characters to move. And it's that ability for movement that allows our board artists to go to town on it and allows the animators to bring that stuff to life.

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IGN: You've been nice enough to reveal some characters we'll see in Season 2. Anyone else you can reveal or things you can tease about what's to come?

Mysterio. Kraven.

IGN: I was going to ask about Kraven, simply because he was a little conspicuous by his absence in Season 1.

There was a strong feeling that given Kraven's initial motivation for going after Spider-Man, that Spider-Man had to be established for Kraven to hear about him in Africa. So for him to sort of come in during episode 2 or something like that, when no one had really heard of Spider-Man yet, didn't make a lot of sense to people in this building. So there was a feeling -- Craig kind of felt strong about it as well -- that Kraven was someone we should save for season 2. And there are some others coming. Some of them have been leaked, so I guess I can mention Calypso and Silver Sable. And I'll keep one or two in my pocket so there are a few surprises.

IGN: And of course the big question – when will Season 2 air and where will it air?

God, I wish I could answer that question, but I don't know. The Sony business affairs people are negotiating and I'm not at all in that loop. My job is to make the show. The good news is that we've been blessed with truly fantastic ratings, so that makes the show appealing to a lot of different potential places to air, because A: You've got Spider-Man, one of the top two or three marquee characters, period. And B: You've got a proven show now with fantastic ratings and generally speaking, very positive critical response, so it's kind of a no-lose situation. It's just about them making the deal and making the announcement, and I'm just not in the loop.

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IGN: Is there any chance we could see it sometime this year?

No, there's no hope of that, but that's a production thing. I guess in a very theoretical sense, yeah -- and what a stupid time to first air a show – but we could start airing in December. But you'd never launch a show in December. So the earliest we could possibly go is January, from a production standpoint. They just didn't pick us up for the second season early enough for us to have episode 14 come a week after episode 13 or even three months [later]. I would say the earliest possible date is January, from a production standpoint, and again that doesn't speak to the business affairs issues at all, which I'm not privy to.

IGN: Well, I'll let you go, Greg. But once more, I have to say how much I love the show. I really hope those long term ideas, including the DVDs, are able to happen.

I hope so. I love the show so much that I could do this for the next 20 years of my life. I'm not going to run out of stories ever, really, and I'm not going to run out of characters. We've got such a rich cast. Just today we were assembling, since we just finished recording, the master cast list. And we've got 52 actors on that list, many of them playing multiple roles, so you're talking about 80 or so characters, just in the first two seasons. Name characters I'm talking about. And they all have great stories, so the trick is not, "Gee, how are we going to find a story?" The Trick is, "Geez, which ones are we going to pick?" I really feel like Season 1 sort of established the universe and Season 2 is where we try and go into more depth on a lot of these characters. Flash Thompson has a big arc in Season 2. Frederick Foswell has a big arc in Season 2. Liz Allen, Gwen, M.J., Harry… Pretty much everyone has an arc of their own in this season. Even Coach Smith has a little arc. It's a rich cast and a rich group of characters and I'm dying to do more, frankly. I can't wait for them to pick up Season 3.

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