JLUCast 14: Season 2 Premiere, “Twilight”

Justice League writer/producer Rich Fogel joins Chris and Cindy to discuss his career in animation, his many contributions to the DC Animated Universe, and his story, “Twilight”, the show’s Season 2 premiere! When Brainiac attempts to assimilate Apokolips, Darkseid asks for the Justice League’s help. Will an angry Superman agree to help his most hated foe, and will Highfather, Orion and the other New Gods aid them, or seize the opportunity to end their war once and for all?

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Clip credits:

Clips from Justice League “Twilight”, music by Christopher Karter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis

21 responses to “JLUCast 14: Season 2 Premiere, “Twilight”

  1. Great Job Franklins! Awesome to hear from Mr. Fogel and it was great learning some of the behind the scenes stuff of making the show. Rich’s super secret future project is, of course, ULTRA THE MULTI ANIMATED SERIES.

    Re: the feedback—man, Cindy really brought the hammer down on me. Dissing me AND Max in one go? You usually have to go to Nathaniel Wayne to find that kind of personal bridge burning.

    1. Thanks Rob! I would totally support an Ultra animated series, especially by Rich!

      This episode was before the Khitomer Peace Accords, or in other words, the latest Power Records recording. 😉


  2. Wow what a treat to listen to Rich Fogel talking shop! Great interview, Chris and Cindy. And respect to the librarians of the world.

    1. Thanks Dan! Yes, much respect to librarians, although Cindy is actually switching jobs! Still working with kids, but coordinating an afterschool program at one of our local Elementary Schools. She’s very excited!


  3. Congratulations on getting Rich Fogel on the show. I enjoyed his behind the scenes anecdotes.

    As always, thanks for making the show and giving me some enjoyment on a dreary, rainy Monday at work.

  4. Impressive podcast. Most impressive. Ah Steppenwolf he’s toy looked cool from Super Powers. Could never find him on the peg. Bats I got. Hal GL I got. Mr. Miracle I got. My Cousin got Supes, Red Tornado. Joker Etc, but neither of us could get Steppenwolf. His redesign by José Luis García-López (praise be his name.) Was very popular. Any way cool came. And Dark side was cool in this too. Ah Desaad was cool to see him hear and hear Odo voicing him. He was a talented man. René Auberjonois was a great working actor. And a character actor that was kind of famous with most people. Even though he could disappear into his roles.

    High Father wasn’t bad. But, truthfully in most Fourth world stuff we don’t see him much or have anything to relate too. Orion and Scott Free kind of being the heros you connect o ost in the Forth world. Orion was awesome in this. Michael Dorn is great in this. Wow he’s from Texas. The second member of TNG from the south. Huh. Cool. HEh heh Light Ray. Did not know that was Pinky. Wow. I only know time I have read Light Ray was threw his briefly being part of the JLI. Or was it JLA again at the time? I don’t remember I just remember him being in the League. And Guy Gardner was there.

    Branny was cool in this, but yeah Dark Side was 3 steps ahead of him. And glad Supes beat Dark Side. Yeeees Supes gets to be Supes in this. And yeah that’s how a Supes and Bats fight should go. Bats is cool, but come on. He’s Super Man. One punch for real this time. How does Hal have a one punch win over Bruce, but Clark can’t beat him? No.

    Any way cool interview ya’ll had with the producer. WOW he was an artist at Filmation and wrote a Smurf episode cool. And latter Super Friends. Cool. Yeah it was title differently, but it was still the Supper Friends. That’s awesome. Ah Bug. He had his moments. And cool foreshadowing with Hawk Girl. Can’t wait to hear the next pod cast.

    1. Yeah, Steppenwolf and Cyborg were the two figures I never got from the Super Powers line. I picked up a Steppenwolf about 15 years ago, but Cyborg still alludes me. Too pricey! Mister Miracle was pretty hard to find too, so that was a good get back in the day!


          1. Given I have waking dreams about going back in time and buying all the Super Powers figures I can (one of each, I’m no hoarder), I think they remain high in value, yes.

          2. I got Steppenwolf as a free premium by mailing in proofs of purchase. I wish I had left my Super Powers in the pack now and waited to get him in the store. I don’t remember if Steppenwolf came with the Super Powers record or not, because, I think that may have been another premium. I know the Clark Kent was a freebie. Sigh, they just didn’t want us keeping our figures in the package.

            I don’t have a Cyborg, either.

  5. In 1996, it irked me that Brainiac was placed on Krypton by Timm and company in “Last Son of Krypton.” I understood their reasoning; that wasn’t the issue. Then and now, I approve of a lot of aspects of the animated Brainiac: the visual design; Corey Burton’s voice work; the motivation to jealously hoard all information, and thus become a singularly twisted villain for Superman. All good choices for the show.

    But the story for this new show changed Brainiac’s backstory such that it seemed to me that the result would be a lot of viewers inexorably associating the Brainiac character with Superman’s homeworld. Would some of them pick up a comic where Brainiac’s origin didn’t match what they’d seen on TV, and conclude that the comics — the source material — were in the wrong? (Remember 1996 was before Wikipedia and other sources where the general public could learn what’s what about comic characters in a heartbeat.) Would the creators of later Superman film & TV adaptations feel they’d have to “follow the leader” and similarly make Brainiac Kryptonian which they otherwise might not have come up with?

    To date I think just “Smallville” went this route with the version James Masters played, and the character has remained rare in media — otherwise more shows and movies might have done the same.

    I guess the objection I have is this. Of course the intention was good, but the impression I came away with was that STAS’s writers might have felt Brainy’s backstory needed to be linked with Krypton’s destruction — that they thought a need existed, that they were filling, to make him into a cool character: that he wasn’t one before. But the thing is, he was. From the early appearances on through the years, Brainiac remained consistently among the elite of DC villain-dom, just generally overlooked outside of the funnybook medium. Generally, not always. Legion of Doom member sounding like Lurch? Come on, who didn’t love that? The redesign for Super Powers? Ingenious! These are just a couple of hallmarks that Brainiac already could have — Krypton connection or no — stood alongside the top characters Timm and those guys brought to the animated franchise.

    Well, by 2003 the Brainiac character in the Timmverse was established, and this episode, “Twilight,” delivered an excellent challenge for the Justice League in the dual threats of Brainiac and Darkseid. Your discussion of the episode and interview with Mr. Fogel were exceptional. Rich explained at one point that he had to liken Brainiac to Galactus for this story just to make this use of Brainiac have any appeal to Mr. Timm. Well done on Mr. Fogel’s part — I applaud the creative thinking to convince the guy in charge.

    But I guess Brainiac still fell short of being cool enough in Bruce Timm’s eyes even with the STAS-added Krypton connection, that he wasn’t convinced until Mr. Fogel drew that line to Kirby territory to tip the scales. It occurs to me that, if a character was created by King Kirby, of course Mr. Timm would go ahead and use that character with no changes. Darkseid didn’t have to have gone to school with Jor-El or something in order to become cool enough to be used in STAS, for instance. But Brainiac didn’t have the advantage of having come from the King’s pen and needed these weird little assists now and then before he’d be cool enough for Mr. Timm. Well, whatever gets the job done, I guess. The story arc of Brainiac on the JL and JLU shows was exactly right, was 100% earned, and here’s to your podcast and the many amazing adventures to be covered in Season 2 and beyond, including the further appearances of Brainiac. Who is cool no matter what Mr. Timm might think.

    1. I see your point Doug, but I personally think the comics made a mess of Brainiac’s backstory and appearance enough that he was more of an “open concept” than a lot of other villains. I really didn’t care for the Post-Crisis Milton Fine bit when they reintroduced Brainiac. I know they were playing the long game, but it wasn’t until “Panic in the Sky” that I felt like we had a good Brainiac back.

      So maybe that left the door open for a little more open interpretation. I haven’t watched the Krypton TV series, but I thought their Brainiac looked great. Still bummed Cary Bates’ proposed Superman V never made it to the screen. Who wouldn’t want to see Chris Reeve fight Brainiac?


  6. Fantastic episode. And man, Rich Fogel is clearly such a nice guy, especially in the gracious way he again and again fielded your nit-picky questions with yet another “I’m sorry, I don’t remember.”

    I thought the STAS decision to tie Brainiac in with the history of Krypton was absolute genius. As well known as the character is (he’s an official word origin in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary!), Brainiac has never had an iconic origin, so an elegant revision like this—whether to modernize it or simplify it (or both)—is the essence of solid storytelling.

    I clearly recall getting the Steppenwolf Super Powers figure via mailing in proofs of purchase. As cool as it was, I’m still annoyed that he was the villain of the JL movie (it absolutely should’ve been Starro), but what do you expect from Zack “I Have No Idea What Alan Moore’s Watchmen Was About” Snyder?

    Finally, don’t know if I’ve ever commented this before, but perhaps my favorite thing about this podcast is how convincingly it shows that Cindy and Chris have a great (and unique) relationship. You two are awesome together, and I’d be heartbroken if I ever learned that I’m wrong about this.

    1. Yes, Rich is just the best, giving his valuable time to answer all of our geeky questions. It was a highlight of my geeky endeavors to get to talk to him!

      I somehow missed the mail-in offer on Steppenwolf. I think I had all the first wave figures before they put that offer sticker on the packages, and had sent off for the fanclub kit, which only sent me one newsletter by the way, even if it did tease the coming of Green Arrow and Darkseid in series 2.

      The JL movie version of Steppenwolf also looked like no version of the character I had seen before, plus it was horribly realized, so complete fail there.

      As for Cindy and I, we’ve been together for about 29 years, dating, and then married (we just hit our 24th anniversary), and I like to think our relationship is as solid as they come. We’ve been through a lot in those years, be we always have each others backs.

      Thanks for listening, and commenting!

  7. Fantastic interview. Rich Fogel sounds like a nice guy and it was great for him to sit down and give some insight into the show in general and this episode in specific.

    This is one of my favorite episodes of the second season, which is full of great episodes. Now that I think of it, this is in my Top 5 Favorite JUSTICE LEAGUE episodes in the first and second seasons. It’s kind of a ringer in that regard considering how much it featured Superman and continued his storyline from the animated series, plus adding Brainiac. Maybe it’s unfair, but it’s my list, so I get to decide what goes on it. Objectivity isn’t part of favorite. While Superman being angry is now a trope, back in the early 2000’s when he got mad it was a big deal. The greasy smear line doesn’t work as well if it isn’t followed with, “Let’s go.”

    Actually, that’s not my favorite Superman line. My favorite is one that gets cut just before it can be finished. I really want to know if there is a take out there where we get to hear Superman tell Brainiac to go to hell. I realized they probably had to cut it or knew it was never going to happen and never recorded it, but the cut in that scene is kind of abrupt so maybe it was. I don’t know. I’m not loosing sleep over it. I’d just like to know.

    Fantastic way to kick off the second season, y’all. Looking forward to the rest of it…especially the Justice Lords.

    Which, by the way, are way cooler than the Rock Lords on the Go-Bots, which just sucked in general anyway.

    1. I don’t think you are being biased, Michael. “Twilight” is one of the best episodes of JL in my opinion, too.

      I probably should have pointed out the “Go to…” line more, as it is pretty shocking for a “kids” show, even unfinished. Wonder Woman will get her turn to do the same thing in their adaptation of “For the Man Who Has Everything”.

      Oh yeah, the Justice Lords are WAY cooler than the Rock Lords, although I bought into what little hype there was in 1986. I think I even went to the theater and saw the movie. It was no “Transformers: The Movie” for sure, though! I had a few of the toys too. I was “THAT” kid the marketing guys were talking about in their board meetings.


  8. Fantastic job, Cindy and Chris! F & W has been getting some great interviews with a lot of significant comics, and ancillary, creators recently!
    Okay, I’m not going to whine about this version of Brainiac, or the physicality of Darkseid, or any other nit-picky thing I usually carp about. However, I do object to bitchy Batman. That clip you played, “get over it.” Let’s give that line to another character shall we? “Okay, Bruce, we get it. Your parents were murdered. You think you’re the only orphan around here? Some of lost not just our parents, but everyone else on our planet. Suck it up.”
    A taciturn Batman is better.

    1. ^I can see that. But I don’t think the “show” is siding with Batman. I think Superman’s statement at the end, “You know what Bruce? You’re not always right” was meant to show that Batman SHOULD just keep his mouth shut sometimes. I think most of the Batman quips were added by Timm in final polish, as well..

      And this is just my opinion, with no insight, but I think the creators “pushed” Batman out of the shadows a bit with his dialog as JL progressed. On TNBA he had a whole family to talk for him, and react to his taciturn attitude. Here, with all the colorful heroes from different series running about, he’d get lost if he didn’t speak up every once in a while. Plus, you want to make Kevin Conroy’s trip to the recording booth worthwhile.


  9. Rich Fogel was a delightful guest! I was totally on the Smurfs bandwagon, getting up before the rest of my family to watch their cartoon. And now he’s worked on so many series that I love. What a great interview! Congrats!

    Inappropriate Lightray was really inappropriate. He should know better. If he tried that with Big Barda, she’d tear his arms off, and he knows it. But he didn’t know that Diana could have done that, too, so he doesn’t know how lucky he was.

    Dang, I still love that Superman-Darkseid slugfest. No sign of “not so super” in this story. Love love love.

    Till next time, Franklins!

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