Saturday, November 30, 2013

Over The Edge | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #12

During a fight with the Scarecrow, Batgirl is ambushed on a rooftop and falls to her death. Having watched his daughter's demise, Jim Gordon blames Batman for her fate and vows revenge, even recruiting Bane in the process.
Originally aired: 5/23/1998
Written by: Paul Dini
Directed by: Yuichiro Yano

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-12-over-edge

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Ultimate Thrill | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #11

Former stuntwoman and adrenaline junkie Roxanne Sutton becomes the rocket-riding thief Roxy Rocket, to chase danger and excitement.
Originally aired: 9/14/1998
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-11-ultimate-thrill

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Torch Song | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #10

A lovelorn pyrotechnic engineer, Garfield Lynns, gets dumped by a big time singer named Cassidy. Lynns becomes the supervillain Firefly, bent on burning the woman who burned him.
Originally aired: 6/13/1998
Written by: Rich Fogel
Directed by: Curt Geda

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-10-torch-song

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Love is a Croc | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #9

Baby Doll becomes enamored of Killer Croc, and the pair forms a very unlikely yet very successful criminal duo. However, their partnership soon falls apart when Baby Doll learns that Croc is only using her to further his own criminal career.
Originally aired: 7/11/1998
Written by: Steve Gerber
Directed by: Butch Lukic

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-9-love-croc

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Monday, November 25, 2013

Growing Pains | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #8

Robin fights to protect a young girl with amnesia named Annie who is being stalked by her "father", who turns out to be Clayface. Having created the girl from his own body to scout out the city, he now intends to reabsorb her.
Originally aired: 2/28/1998
Written by: Paul Dini and Robert Goodman
Directed by: Atsuko Tanaka

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-8-growing-pains

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Joker's Millions | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #7

Crime boss Edward "King" Barlowe dies and in his will leaves his arch-rival, the Joker, a large fortune of $250 million. The Joker immediately goes on a shopping spree, even searching for a replacement for Harley Quinn, but realizes too late that almost all of the money is fake as a joke of Barlowe's to trick him. The Joker getting money that's counterfeit was previously used in The Adventures of Batman episode "Long John Joker."
Originally aired: 2/21/1998
Written by: Paul Dini
Directed by: Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-7-jokers-millions

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Never Fear | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #6

The Scarecrow develops a new toxin that, rather than inducing fear, eliminates it, making average people incredibly reckless and dangerous.
Originally aired:
Written by Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Kenji Hachizaki

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-4-never-fear

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Friday, November 22, 2013

You Scratch My Back | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #5

In an effort to further distance himself from Batman, Nightwing tries to go it alone to stop a smuggling ring and gets unexpected help from the seductive Catwoman, who attempts a somewhat sensual relationship with him.
Originally aired 11/15/1997
Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-5-you-scratch-my-back

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Double Talk | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #4

Arnold Wesker is released from Arkham, completely free of his Scarface persona. But Scarface's old gang, needing their old boss back, begin working to drive Wesker back to his old ways.
Originally aired 11/22/1997
Written by Robert Goodman
Directed by Curt Geda

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-6-double-talk

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

How to appreciate the colorist

When it comes to the art of comics we tend to associate the line art as being the art. After all, the pencillers and inkers get top billing alongside the writer. But we seem to take the colorists for granted. I can't help but wonder why that is. Do we not pay attention to the colors? Do the colors all look the same? Is coloring such an easy job it's impossible to screw up?

You've probably seen those Silver Age reprint books DC has been putting out for a few years now called "Showcase Presents." Personally, I think they are a fantastic value because you often get 500+ pages for $15-$20. Plus you get access to a lot of comics that would be quite expensive if you were to buy the back issues. The only caveat is that they're printed in black and white.

I decided to take a litmus test of sorts and see just how easy (or lack thereof) coloring a comic book is. I grabbed my copy of "Showcase Presents: Batman - Volume 5" which reprints a lot of Batman comics from the late 1960s and early 1970s. One particular issue of this era that's always stood out to me has been Batman #222 from June 1970. The cover is memorable because it depicts Batman and Robin in a cemetery eyeing The Beatles! Well, it's not actually The Beatles but a fictional band called "The Twists" featuring lead singer Saul Cartwright. It's an awesomely bad story and maybe I'll review it in a future blog.

Anyway, I bought a 96-pack of Crayola crayons and attempted to do something I haven't done since I was a little boy: color. I made a point of not looking at the original comic book cover and decided I would try to color it the way I thought it should look. I had a lot of fun coloring in the characters and scenery… for about 10 minutes. After that it started to feel like a tedious task.
Coloring experiment 001
Crayons and a coloring book. It's not just for kids!
I had the following observations and realizations while coloring:
  • It's impressive how many specific shades of colors are available in crayon form. Though it's often difficult to tell the colors apart from each other. Also, the crayon is always a lot darker than what ends up on the page.
  • Never put your crayon away because you will miss something that needs to be colored of the same shade and you'll never remember what shade it was since they look so similar.
  • I probably should've used colored pencils because they offer a much finer line. Some of the areas were too narrow for a crayon to fill in properly. Crayons are cheaper and come in a wider range of shades than colored pencils, though.
    Coloring experiment 002
    I think it came out well, but it's quite different from the original.
     
  • In comics, black hair is never colored black, but actually a shade of blue. I've always found it funny that it's an acceptable substitute.
  • Men's lips are never colored a shade of red. They're the same color as their flesh.
  • I've been reading Batman comics for well over 20 years and I actually couldn't remember the correct colors for different parts of his costume. I colored him entirely blue instead of blue and gray. Not sure why I didn't just color him all-black or black and gray. I gave Robin a black cape instead of yellow and a long-sleeve shirt under his tunic and gloves.
  • Looking at the picture in black and white I can tell what the scene is. However, once I started to color in the individual objects I started to become confused as to what certain small shapes were supposed to be. Though even some of the larger shapes were confusing as well. Notice I blended Batman's costume with what I assume are supposed to be grave stones.
  • Not knowing the scene was supposed to take place at night really threw me off. Whenever I read stark black and white comics I just assume they take place in the middle of the day.
  • It's virtually impossible to tell where the source of light comes from. Line artists almost never draw lamps!
  • If there's no line to mark where one object ends and the next begins, it looks awkward and wrong to color an object or a field with different colors. At least with a crayon because it's difficult to blend the colors; unlike with water colors, paint or computer coloring.
    Coloring experiment 003
    For this page, I used the original as reference.
Believe it or not, it took me about two hours over the course of two days to color just that one page. My original plan was to color the entire 10-page story on my own with no reference to the original, but I abandoned that idea because the cover alone was rather frustrating. I decided I would color in just the first page of the comic and this time I would use the original copy for reference. I changed some of the colors to make it a bit more interesting, but for the most part it's the same as the original. It was actually even more challenging coloring the panels because they were smaller and more constrictive.

I also decided to read the comic twice: first in black and white and then in color. While reading the B&W version I noticed I was pretty much just reading the world balloons and captions and not paying much attention to art. I also noticed it was difficult to perceive depth without color.

Everything seems to have a flat, overtly two-dimensional feel to it. Reading it in color I found myself drinking in the entire panel at once. Rather than just concentrating on the words I found myself "zooming out" a little and taking stock of entire page, scene and panel. It was also easier to discern which scenes took place at night, as the uncolored pages make everything look like it's high noon in July. Though I did notice that the colors often went outside the lines. I'm not sure if this is the fault of the colorist or the printer not lining up the overlays correctly.

I think it's safe to say that coloring is much more difficult that it seems. I'd imagine colorists must work closely with the writers and line artists to determine how and why a story should be colored. Or even an individual panel for that matter. I doubt colorists are given plain black and white pages and told to have at it without any notes whatsoever. Perhaps that would make the coloring process more creative and artistic, though I'd imagine it would also make it extremely difficult.

I hope to find out more about the job of the colorist, and I'm currently trying to arrange an interview with a professional. In the meantime I would like to challenge the readers to try this experiment at home. Get yourself a cheap black and white reprint, some crayons or colored pencils or even water colors, and try coloring the pages without any reference to the original. Take pictures of your work and send them to me and I'll publish them in a future blog.
Coloring experiment 005
The same comic: one in color, one in black and white. Which is more aesthetically pleasing?


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Y The Last Man: Vlog #8 - Kimono Dragons

In Japan tracking down his stolen pet monkey, in whose body lurks the solution to how all the other males died, Yorick the last man's adventures are more those of his guardians, adversaries, and ostensible savior than his own. Yorick's traveling companion, medical researcher Alison Mann, takes her turn as subject of the hefty flashbacks typical of Y: The Last Man, and the focus shifts at volume's end to the Israeli commando who has been on Yorick's case since Cycles (2003), volume 2 of Vaughan's dandy serial.

Check out Peter's channel at: http://youtube.com/TheMasterOfHoppets

Uphill Brewing Janet's Brown Ale | Chad'z Homebrew Reviews #34

Another homebrew by Jesse C. This isn't his recipe, though, but one by Mike McDole.

Janet's Brown Ale is no stranger to the world of homebrewing recipes. Mike McDole took home a medal when this recipe won gold in Category 10: Brown Ale at the American Homebrewers Assocation (AHA) National Homebrew Competition (NHC) in 2004. The award winning recipe was then featured in Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer's book, Brewing Classic Styles, as an example of a bigger, hoppier American Brown Ale. In 2009, McDole took gold again at the AHA NHC with an updated recipe that he categoraized as Imperial Brown Ale, but this time in Category 23: Speciality Beers. Though Janet's Brown Ale deviates a bit from the style guidelines for a traditional American Brown Ale, surely you will not be upset by the higher IBUs and ABV after taking a sip!

Name: Janet's Brown Ale
Style: Imperial Brown Ale
Award: NHC 2009 Gold Medal in Category 23: Specialty Beer.
All Grain Recipe: 12 gallons (45.42 litres)
Ingredients
27.5 lb
Pale Malt
3.0 lb
Dextrin Malt
2.5 lb
40L Crystal Malt
1.0 lb
350L Chocolate Malt
2.0 lb
Wheat Malt
1.0 lb
Corn Sugar
3.0 oz
US Northern Brewer pellet hops, 5.1% AA (mash)
3.0 oz
US Northern Brewer pellet hops, 5.1% AA (60 min)
2.0 oz
US Northern Brewer pellet hops, 5.1% AA (15 min)
3.0 oz
Cascade pellet hops, 5.6% AA (10 min)
4.0 oz
Cascade whole hops, 5.8% AA (0 min, whirlpool 20 min
4.0 oz
Centennial pellet hops, 10.5% AA (dry hop)

Starter
4000ml

White Labs WLP001

Statistics
Original Specific Gravity: 1.074
Final Specific Gravity: 1.018
Boil Time: 90 minutes
Primary Fermentation: 7 days at 68° F (20° C)
Secondary Fermentation: 9 days at 70° F (21° C)

Directions
Mash grains at 154°F (68°C) for 60 minutes.

Cold Comfort | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #3

After the events in "SubZero" Mr. Freeze has been forced to be bound to a new robotic body. His wife Nora has been revived, but believing him dead, she has remarried and left Gotham. If Freeze can't have a life of happiness, nobody can, so he begins lashing out at the city by destroying what people care about so they can feel the same pain he feels.
Originally aired 10/11/1997
Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-3-cold-comfort

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sins of the Father | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #2

Young orphan Tim Drake becomes Batman's new ward when he becomes involved in one of Two-Face's deadly plots.
Originally aired 9/20/1997
Written by Rich Fogel
Directed by Curt Geda

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/new-batman-adventures-episode-2-sins-father

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Monday, November 18, 2013

Holiday Knights | The New Batman Adventures | vlog #1

Three holiday-themed vignettes:
(1) Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn kidnap Bruce Wayne and use his credit cards for a shopping spree.
(2) While shopping for a gift for her father, Barbara Gordon spots a group of shoplifters that turn out to be portions of Clayface.
(3) Batman and Robin race to stop the Joker from killing the crowd at the Gotham City New Year Celebration.
Note: This episode takes place after the episodes "Sins of the Father", which introduces Tim Drake, and "Growing Pains", which brings Clayface back after his apparent death in "Mudslide".
Originally aired 9/13/1997
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/cartoon/new-batman-adventures

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Batgirl Returns | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #20

While Bruce is in Europe on a Wayne Enterprises business trip, the theft of a jade cat statue occurs at Gotham State University. Barbara Gordon again becomes Batgirl to investigate, only to run into Catwoman, who is also investigating, pointing out that the acid residue used to destroy the security system is not her style. The two team up to find the statue, with Robin tailing them, and things go from bad to worse when Roland Daggett is revealed to be involved.
Originally aired 11/12/1994
Written by Michael Reaves & Brynne Stephens
Directed by Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-85-batgirl-returns

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Deep Freeze | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #19

Mr. Freeze is kidnapped from his prison cell by aging billionaire Grant Walker. Walker is looking to freeze the world and recreate it according to his own design. Batman and Robin infiltrate the billionaire's underwater city and combat both high-tech robots and Mr. Freeze himself, who has personal reasons to do Walker's bidding and cover the Earth in a new ice age.
Note: Walker's plot to freeze the world with a giant cannon was later used in Batman & Robin, where Mr. Freeze uses advanced technology to turn an observatory telescope into a freezing cannon to freeze a part of Gotham City and hold the city to ransom. Also, one of Karl Rossum's toy robots is an obvious tribute to the character "Bat-Mite".
Originally aired 11/29/1994
Story by Paul Dini & Bruce W. Timm,
Teleplay by Paul Dini
Directed by Kevin Altieri

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-85-batgirl-returns

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Friday, November 15, 2013

Make 'Em Laugh | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #18

The Joker brainwashes famous comedians into committing crazy crimes in order to ruin their reputations. As it turns out, the comedians are the judges who tossed the Joker out of the Gotham Comedy Competition the year before. Now, the Clown Prince of Crime wants to seek his revenge and Batman and Robin must foil Joker's plot.
Originally aired 11/5/1994
Written by Paul Dini & Randy Rogel
Directed by Boyd Kirkland

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-83-make-em-laugh
You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lock-Up | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #17

Lyle Bolton, the new head of security at Arkham, is fired for his atrocious mistreatment of the inmates. Six months later, Bolton becomes the vigilante Lock-Up, and decides to put who he feels responsible for the ruin of the city behind bars. It's up to Batman and Robin to save his victims.
Originally aired 11/19/1994
Story by Paul Dini,
Teleplay by Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir
Directed by Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-82-lock

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Y The Last Man: Vlog #7 - Paper Dolls

Last man alive Yorick Brown's kidnapped monkey Ampersand, who may be carrying the antidote to whatever killed off all the other males, is bound for Japan, but he, his bodyguard-escort agent 355, and cloning scientist Alison Mann are in Sydney, Australia, a fueling stop for the ship they've hitched a ride on. Of course, Yorick's fiancee, Beth, is somewhere in the outback, and he wants to get in touch. He wangles shore leave under 355's chaperonage to gather info on Beth's whereabouts, and things, as they will, happen. Soon Yorick's portrait, pants around his ankles, is on the cover of America's favorite tabloid. Meanwhile, back shipboard, lesbian Alison is seduced by a mole for the captain; in the U.S., Yorick's gun-toting sister finds the other Beth bearing Yorick's baby; and on another ship approaching Japan, Ampersand spots an opening. Flashbacks about 355 and Ampersand mortar the three plot streams together, and moody, crepuscular coloring by Zylonol makes the seventh volume of Y one of the handsomest as well as one of the most engaging.

Check out Peter's channel at http://youtube.com/themasterofhoppets

Harley's Holiday | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #16

Harley Quinn is released back into society, proved to be sane. After a misunderstanding at a clothing store, however, a snowball of comedic chaos builds around her.
Originally aired 10/15/1994
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Kevin Altieri

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-81-harleys-holiday
You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Having fun at the Albany Comic Con

1991showad
An ad for the 1991 Albany Comic Con (found in Detective Comics #633)
We've been having semi-annual comic book conventions in Albany for the last three or four years now. That's a pretty good pace considering the size of the Capital District. Though, if it were up me, we'd have them every three months and they'd go the entire weekend instead of just one day.
But I'm not here to complain, quite the opposite, actually. I thought I'd take the opportunity to blog about how much I enjoy the cons we're fortunate enough to have here. But first, a quick flashback:
When I got into comics back in the early 1990s I remember attending several cons at the very same hotel the Albany Comic Con has been held at - the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road. Of course, these shows were about a third or maybe even a quarter of the size of today's cons, and typically they were held in smaller rooms on the second floor. Small as they were, there was always guest artists and writers doing signings. The biggest name I remember seeing at one of these shows was Dave Sim - the creator of cult indie comic Cerebus. I wasn't a fan of him or his book, in fact, I only knew of him from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Cerebus crossover that happened back in the mid 1980s. I asked Mr. Sim to draw Cerebus as a ninja. He obliged and wrote a word balloon "Cerebus feels like an idiot!"
Good times.
Albany Comic Con 009
The main convention showroom.
Albany Comic Con 008
Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man). Even in lousy condition this comic sells for $2,500!
Anyway, this past weekend, another installment of the Albany Comic Con was held and I was excited as always to go. Comic book conventions are great for back issue collectors like me since the majority of merchandise tends to be vintage rather than modern. I notice the same vendors have their tables in more or less the same place at every show. I've also noticed which merchants tend to have the best prices and selection (for the record: Don Nicklas and Sales to Astonish are my go-to dealers for Batman back issues).

Whenever I go to a comic con I approach it the same way I would a casino. I leave my credit cards at home and I only take as much cash as I can afford to say kiss goodbye. Though, when I go to a comic con I expect to come home with an empty wallet. Also, there is a fair amount of luck and gambling involved in attending a comic con. For example, this weekend I was lucky enough to find the last two volumes of Ex Machina for half off and thus completed that collection. Another lucky find was the collected RASL hardcover for 35% off. It's a series I've never read, but only know of because it's by Jeff Smith - the creator of Bone, which is one of my all-time favorites. Will RASL have been worth the money I spent on it? I'll find out soon and share my thoughts with you.

That's something I've been seeing a lot of at conventions: trade paperbacks (TPBs) and hard covers being sold at heavily discounted prices. I absolutely love the presentation of comics in formats like these and I'll actually opt for a collected book rather than individual "floppies" whenever possible. Before Borders went out of business, I built up a pretty substantial collection of these books on a near weekly basis thanks to the coupons they'd send me. Borders is long gone, but thankfully comic cons are still around to offer great reads at great prices. I've actually reached a point where I refuse to pay cover price for a TPB anymore. Is it just me?
Albany Comic Con 005
50% OFF!? Score!
But getting back to last weekend's con. I have to say it was one of the better shows I've attended in some time. I've noticed each con tends to be a little bit bigger than the one before it. It's actually pretty amazing and encouraging to see so many people come out to these events. And unlike the shows I went to in the 90s, today's conventions are made up of more than just nerdy white guys. I'd estimate upwards of a third of the attendees were female. If I were a better journalist I would've taken the time to interview some of them and find out why they were there. I'll try to do that at the next con.

What's also nice is the Albany Comic Con has become big enough to support two rooms of vendors. The main event hall contains all the comic book dealers and all the artists and writers' tables. There's a second room on the other side of the hotel with a plethora of toy dealers and vendors of other collectible merchandise (i.e. bootleg videos, anime, old magazines, movie posters, original art, etc.). I don't collect toys or artwork, but I always enjoy perusing this room and seeing all the G.I. Joe, Transformers, MASK, and Star Wars toys I had as a kid. I'm often tempted to buy some of these toys, purely out of nostalgia, but I know they'd just wind up on a shelf collecting dust.
Albany Comic Con 011
G.I. Joe action figures still in their original packaging!
As for my actual haul, I have to say I'm quite pleased with what I got. I picked up quite a few TPBs as well as some Silver and Bronze Age Batman comics at reasonable prices. For the comic book collector, one of life's greatest moments is when you can add new finds to your collection and fill in those gaps. I've still got quite a ways to go in actually completing my Batman collection (if such a thing is possible). Still, every little bit helps and the thrill of "the hunt" never gets old.
Albany Comic Con 015
My haul. About $100 worth of back issues and great bookshelf items.
I hope to see you at the next con. And if you see us, be sure to say hi :)
Albany Comic Con 014
Look! All three of us bloggers in the same place at the same time and the universe DIDN'T implode!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Second Chance | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #15

Just before he is to undergo the operation that will restore his sanity, Harvey Dent is kidnapped by a mysterious villain. Batman and Robin split up to nab the criminal behind the scheme to abduct the Dark Knight's old friend. They suspect that either the Penguin or Rupert Thorne may be behind the kidnapping. But is it really Penguin or Thorne behind the kidnapping? Or is it someone else with a grudge against Harvey?
Originally aired 9/17/1994
Story by Paul Dini & Michael Reaves,
Teleplay by Gerry Conway
Directed by Boyd Kirkland

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-80-second-chance

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Monday, November 11, 2013

2013 vlog #11 | How much is Google+/YouTube pissing me off? Let me count the ways!



Ever since Google+ and YouTube merged, this site has really gone downhill and I don't see much hope for recovery. It's really pissing me off. I bet these are similar gripes a lot of you have, too. If you do, please let me know.

They keep changing the subscription queue. It was great several years ago when you clicked on your subscriptions and they were all in little boxes where you could see them all pretty much on one pace. Then they changed it to look like a Facebook feed, which was a pain because you could only see a few on the screen at any given time. Though at least if you watched the video it would disappear from your subscription feed. NOW even when you watch a video it still stays on your subscription feed, it's just slightly grayed out with a "watched" notation in the top left corner. Why do I still need it in my feed if I've already watched it?!

Speaking of subscriptions, there used to be a time where if you missed a video from someone, you could just click on their name in your subscription queue to see all their most recent videos. Well, now when you do that it just takes you to their main channel page. And that wouldn't be so bad, but they keep changing the way the channel pages are laid out and how they work. YouTube tries to show you the videos from that channel they think you should watch. Shouldn't all the videos in reverse chronological order be the default?

Speaking of the channels, whenever I try to arrange the playlists on my main channel and move them around, I'll click on the up or down arrow and it'll move, but then I scroll the screen and it moves back. What the hell!? These types of buggy glitches are for amateurs - why can't a huge tech company like Google get it right?

The YouTube smartphone app has always sucked. You've never been able to check your comments on it and it's really difficult to navigate and search. I've rarely used it in the last four years.

The YouTube partner program is completely useless by now. It was nice being a partner back in 2010 when it actually meant something. You could upload longer videos, upload your own thumbnails and run ads on your videos. Now they let everyone and anyone do that. So at this point I'm assuming the partner program isn't even a thing anymore.

Speaking of customization - whenever I upload a video and then try to upload my own thumbnail picture, it'll appear in the preview box for a second or two and then disappear. Then I have to do the whole thing over again. Again, another ridiculous glitch that's been persistent for a while now. How come they haven't fixed this by now?

I hate how whenever you tweet a link to a video it won't always have the full title of the video in the tweet AND it'll always have an automatic "via @youtube" suffix. There should be a way that each user can customize it so that if someone tweets a link through their video, that it would tweet at YOUR twitter instead of YouTube's.

Ever since they forced me to sign into YouTube through my Google+ account I notice whenever I type in the tags they no longer auto complete. It was nice, because there's times where I would only have to type a few letters and the suggestions would pop up and I could click on them. I don't know why, but they aren't doing this anymore.

I've been getting a lot of copyright notices from YouTube lately over videos that have no copyrighted material in them! They've been doing this on random episode of my Batman vlogs and even an episode of me and Peter's review of "Y The Last Man". It's just me talking to the webcam - there's no copyrighted footage unless they're talking about my t-shirt or something like that. And what's worse is that when YouTube sends you one of these notices that you're in breach of their copyright policy is that there's absolutely NO WAY to respond to it saying there's no copyrighted material in the video. They just ask you about your recording equipment, software, and links to the terms of service of everything you used to create the video. They never actually tell you WHAT it is in your video that's a copyright violation. You're guilty until you can prove your innocence. This could be random trolls just flagging random videos to be a dick, but there should still be SOME form of due process. I don't make a ton of money on my videos, but every little bit helps. Plus it's the principle of the issue - don't randomly accuse me of being a pirate and then making me GUESS as to what I've done wrong!

They disabled video responses. They say it's because the click through rate on the video response is so small it's just not worth it. So what's the point of disabling them, then? A lot of people rely on video responses as part of contests and any kind of community related activities they participate in. Also, what about all the PREVIOUS video responses? They're all gone now! If they insisted on instituting this ridiculous policy couldn't they have at least grandfathered in all the old video responses? Now there's going to be a ton of videos in people's archives that make no sense since there's no video response attached.

I can't figure out how the hell to start a live stream on YouTube. There was a time where you just went to your main channel page and there was a link in a banner across the top of the page that said click here to start a Google hangout or whatever. When I was interviewing John Richards, the director of the beer hunter movie, I wanted to do it as a Google hangout so people could watch it live, but we couldn't figure out how to make it happen. It shouldn't be this difficult to perform such an easy task.

The Google+/YouTube merger is an absolute MESS. I don't know how else to put it. Why do I have to have a Google+ account just to have a YouTube account? Why can't they be separate entities? And then it creates separate accounts within the accounts. This makes no sense! When I'm signed on as ChadzBeerReviews and I click on "switch account" there's no THREE accounts by the name of "ChadzBeerReviews" - what the hell!? Where did all these accounts come from and how do I get rid of them?

I never liked Google+ from the day it launched and I still hate it today. But now that I'm FORCED to have a Google+ account, just to have a YouTube account, it's even less appealing. How good can your product be if you're not giving people a choice to use it!? I like YouTube - why can't I just have a YouTube account?! So I create a Google+ account for each of my YouTube channels, and then it wants to create yet ANOTHER YouTube channel for that Google+ account. Why!? This makes no sense!

I can't see the comments on any videos anymore! Everytime I click on the inbox there's a banner that says "most comment notifications will be delivered by Google+ and not your inbox." First of all, it says "most" not "all." But since I haven't seen any comments in my YouTube inbox in a week or two, I'm assuming there's no way to see comments in my YouTube inbox anymore. So that's just a lie. Second of all, it doesn't actually tell you how to check your comments on Google+. All I can tell is that they want to either email your or send you a SMS message for each individual comment you receive! WTF who would want an individual email for each individual comment!? And they don't even ask you beforehand, it's an automatic setting. You have to follow the links in the email to unsubscribe.

They never actually tell you how to check your YouTube comments through Google+. I'm assuming you can't. Or can you only see comments left by people in your "circles"? and if so, where - how?! It shouldn't be this difficult to figure out a social networking site!

I notice there's sometimes a number next to a bell next to my screen name in the top right corner, but all that tells you is that someone shared one of my videos. Shouldn't THAT be where I see the comments at least? This is just a complete ripoff of the Facebook sidebar (which is also annoying and redundant).

I remember people predicting these kinds of issues a few years ago. I remember hearing a lot of conspiracy theories that YouTube was just going to become another Netflix type website where you'd pay to watch professional Hollywood type movies and TV shows, and all the user content would be buried. Well, it's starting to look like that prediction is coming true. All these glitches and the fact that the comments are such a clusterfuck really discourages me from using YouTube anymore. I pretty much only watch a few select videos from a few select channels, but I rarely comment anymore because I'll never be able to see if anyone responds to it. It's even worse when you have a channel like mine and you enjoy reading the comments, but now that I can't see them I feel like I'm just screaming into the abyss.

I have a feeling this is all being done to combat spam and trolls because it is really frustrating to have to have a Google+ account just to comment on a damn YouTube video. I really hope Google would take a clue and stop this stupid Google+/YouTube merger and go back to the way things used to be, but I wouldn't count on it. If this is how YouTube is going to be from here on out, it's going to be a pretty lonely and boring place for the average person.

Riddler's Reform | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #14

The Riddler is hired to work for a toy company, vowing to turn over a new leaf. But Batman refuses to believe he has changed and he suspects that the Riddler is still obsessed with outsmarting and defeating him. Now, the Dark Knight must prove that Riddler is still a criminal at heart and send him back to Arkham.
Originally aired: 9/24/1994
Story by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini & Randy Rogel,
Teleplay by Randy Rogel
Directed by Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-79-riddlers-reform

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Showdown | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #13

Ra's al Ghul narrates a story from his past in which Jonah Hex stops his plan to destroy the new transcontinental railroad by using a war blimp.
Originally aired 9/12/1995
Story by Kevin Altieri, Paul Dini & Bruce W. Timm,
Teleplay by Joe R. Lansdale
Directed by Kevin Altieri

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-78-showdown

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Lion and the Unicorn | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #12

The Red Claw organization kidnaps Alfred, seeking a code they need to arm a weapon of mass destruction that Alfred knows from his days as a British secret agent.
Originally aired 9/15/1995
Written by Diane Duane, Peter Morwood & Steve Perry
Directed by Boyd Kirkland

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-77-lion-and-unicorn

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Friday, November 8, 2013

Baby-Doll | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #11

A former child star named Mary Dahl has become bitter and insane after falling into obscurity and realizing she has a disorder that prevents her body from growing to adulthood, thus biologically cursed with literal eternal youth. She kidnaps her TV family, who all led more successful lives and careers than her, and holds them prisoner on an abandoned soundstage. While Robin works fast to free the actors from Baby-Doll's explosive death-trap, Batman pursues the tiny fiend through a deadly carnival funhouse.
Originally aired 10/1/1994
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-76-baby-doll

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bane | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #10

Batman comes face-to-face with his most powerful adversary yet, the chemically-enhanced assassin Bane. Originally hired by Rupert Thorne to kill Batman, Bane plans on taking control of Thorne's criminal empire once Batman is destroyed. It is a fight to the death with all of Gotham in the balance as Batman takes on the man who has vowed to break the Bat.
Originally aired 9/10/1994
Written by Mitch Brian
Directed by Kevin Altieri

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-75-bane

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Y The Last Man: Vlog #6 - Girl on Girl

After two years spent warily crossing the U.S., Yorick Brown and his escorts, agent 355 and biochemist Alison Mann, have gone to sea. Mann has determined that the key to understanding what kept Yorick from dying when all the other men did lies within the body of Yorick's pet monkey, Ampersand, who has been abducted by a Japanese mercenary. Following the monkeynapper accounts for the sixth Y: The Last Man collection opening aboard a pirate ship commanded by an exceedingly intrepid erstwhile comp-lit student. Piquant flashbacks and clever, humanizing, and, under the circumstances, not incredible details, like the pirate captain's background, and accidents, like Yorick finding 355 and Mann in flagrante one night--not to mention the volume-closing at-long-last peek at how Yorick's girlfriend, Beth, is faring in Australia--keep this otherwise more routine installment as riveting as its predecessors. Also, by now the saga's relatively plain artwork has become the Y: The Last Man look, and guest artist Goran Sudzuka wisely doesn't deviate from original limner Pia Guerra's style.

Catwalk | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #9

Anxious to take up her old ways as Catwoman, Selena Kyle joins forces with the Ventriloquist to humiliate socialite Veronica Vreeland. But the real victim is Catwoman herself, who has been secretly set up by Scarface to take the fall for another robbery. Batman has to intercede before the furious feline makes things worse by killing the double-talking Ventriloquist.
Originally aired 9/13/1995
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Boyd Kirkland

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-74-catwalk

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Let's talk collections

When people ask me why I like comics so much, my answer is that there's three distinct reasons: the fun of actually reading the comics; the camaraderie that comes with sharing your enjoyment of the genre with fellow travelers; and the thrill of the "hunt" for comics to add to (or complete) your collection. I'll discuss the first two reasons in future blogs, but today I wanted to talk about the actual collecting of comics.

If someone were to ask me how to get started on a comic book collection, my answer would be to choose a character or title that's fairly easy to come by and doesn't have a ridiculous amount of obscure items that may or may not be "canon." That's how I would describe my Batman collection. As much as I enjoy the character and the stories, part of me wishes I had just stuck with being a Flash fan - his books are much easier and cheaper to collect.

There's something about being a comic book reader and collector that makes you a little OCD. Seeing missing issues in my collection can annoy me or drive me crazy depending on the challenge (and expense) involved in filling in holes. Though you can't put a price on the satisfaction that comes with filling said holes.
batmancollection
Arrgh! Missing this one issue drives me crazy!
Of course, it begs the question: what are you collecting your comics for? Can a collection ever be truly completed, or is it something that goes on indefinitely? If the latter is true, then isn't "collection" a misnomer? What would be a more appropriate term?

I suppose I do have a goal with my collection: to get every Batman comic (and those of his related family of characters) published between 1937 and 2011. Why 2011? Because that's when the entire DC universe was rebooted (though, from what I hear, it's still pretty much the same). I stopped buying new DC comics when that happened. The reboot was actually something of a blessing, in my eyes, because it means it's technically possible to complete my collection.

Think about it: a lot of the Golden and Silver Age comics are readily available in reprints in the form of deluxe hardcovers and trade paperbacks. Though I don't actually own an original Detective Comics #27 (it's a bit out of my price range), I do have a verbatim copy of it that I can read. Shouldn't that count as having that issue in my collection?
dectivecomics27reprints
If I own any of these, it counts as "owning" Detective Comics #27, right?
Batman183
Seems a little overpriced even at $6. Beat but complete!
When I go to comic book stores and conventions and shop for back issues, I almost always opt for the cheapest possible book regardless of its condition. As long as it's readable - that's all I care about. It's an issue I can add to my collection and fill in the missing space that much cheaper. I'm not buying for investment purposes, so why should I care about the condition, really?
But enough about me, I want to hear from you. How would you respond to these questions:
  1. What are you collecting comics for?
  2. Do you think it's possible, and/or realistic to complete your collection?
  3. If you think you can complete your collection, how do you define the parameters of your collection?
  4. Do you read every single comic you buy? How many just get filed away?
  5. Does the condition of a back issue matter? Do you opt for the cheapest you can find or do you pay more for higher quality specimens?
  6. Are you planning on re-selling any of your individual comics or your entire collection at some point?
  7. Do you consider comics to be a financial investment?
  8. How much satisfaction do you derive in finding an issue you've been chasing after?
  9. What's a "white whale" book you think is realistic to own someday?
  10. What's the most you're willing to spend on an individual comic to add to your collection?
  11. Do you consider reprints to be part of your collection or are they separate entities?
Here's a tour of my personal collection:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Time out of Joint | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #8

The Clock King returns to continue his vendetta against Mayor Hill. This time, the time-obsessed criminal hopes to murder Hill with the help of a stolen invention that allows him to warp time and travel at super-speed. Securing another device from its creator, Batman and Robin take on the Clock King in a furious high-speed battle for the mayor's life.
Originally aired 10/8/1994
Story by Alan Burnett,
Teleplay by Steve Perry
Directed by Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-73-time-out-joint

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Monday, November 4, 2013

Harlequinade | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #7

The Joker steals an atomic bomb, and it is up to Batman and Robin to find and stop him. Since there is no time to spare, the duo enlist the help of Harley Quinn to track Joker down. Throughout the episode, it is briefly discussed how Harley met Joker.
Originally aired 5/23/1994
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Kevin Altieri

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-72-harlequinade

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Terrible Trio | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #6

Three wealthy, bored friends of Bruce Wayne decide to seek new thrills by becoming master criminals. As the Fox, the Shark and the Vulture (masters of land, sea and air), the Terrible Trio pick Gotham clean, until they encounter one person who cannot be bought off — Batman.
Originally aired 9/11/1995
Story by Alan Burnett & Michael Reaves,
Teleplay by Michael Reaves
Directed by Frank Paur

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-71-terrible-trio

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

Saturday, November 2, 2013

House and Garden | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #5

Not only has Poison Ivy been released from Arkham Asylum, but she's also married to her doctor and settled down to help him raise his two sons. It would appear that Ivy has gone straight and that her old days as a criminal are over. But wealthy bachelors are being struck down by an unknown toxin, leaving Batman to question Ivy's innocence.
Originally aired 5/2/1994
Written by Paul Dini
Directed by Boyd Kirkland

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-70-house-and-garden

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM

A Day In The Life Of Chad #9 (November 1, 2013)

It's been about a year and a half since my last installment of "A Day in the life of Chad", so I thought I would bring the show out of retirement. Not that this was a particularly interesting day, though it was a pretty normal one for me ever since I started working from home.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Avatar | The Adventures of Batman & Robin | vlog #4

A mystic Egyptian scroll donated to the Gotham museum by Bruce Wayne is stolen by Ra's al Ghul, and Batman and Talia must join forces to prevent the power-mad Ra's from unlocking the scroll's secrets of life and death. Their quest takes them to a hidden temple deep beneath the Egyptian desert. There, the Dark Knight is forced into a terrifying battle with an ancient Egyptian sorceress.
Originally aired 5/9/1994
Written by Michael Reaves
Directed by Kevin Altieri

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/batman-animated-series-69-avatar

You can see all of my Batman: TAS vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoXoHguaaZ7pidnyMwzy7M6cwvnaVOUyM