JLUCast: Original Team-Ups

JLUCast is back with a special Pre-Game show before jumping into Justice League Unlimited! Chris and Cindy take a look at the very first team-ups in the DCAU with some very special guests! First Ryan Daly magically appears to discuss the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Zatanna”! Then Steve Givens runs in to talk about the Superman episode “Speed Demons” featuring The Flash!

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Clip credits:

Clips from Batman: The Animated Series “Zatanna” and Superman: The Animated Series “Speed Demons”

20 responses to “JLUCast: Original Team-Ups

  1. Great show.

    On “Zatanna”:

    The first Michael York performance I heard was him narrating an audio book of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” My dad actually used that as a guide for how to do readings of stories that had dialogue of female characters, like in the Aquaman and Justice League storybooks.

    I found it weird that Batman jumped to accuse Montague Kane being behind the theft just on the basis of him knowing magician methods and no other evidence. But like Ryan said, this episode was really more of an adventure/flashback story than a mystery.

    I thought Zatanna did appear in a puff of smoke where she first showed up on the flying wing to cut off Kane’s exit from the dining room while he had his goons attack Batman. Maybe that’s why she didn’t do it again for the final knockout. She did say a magician doesn’t perform the same trick twice.

    On “Speed Demons”:

    I think we can assume Superman is able to run on water using speed alone, just as Batman had done when he had “relative super speed” in “Time Out of Joint.”

    IMDB says Marion Ross had voiced one episode of the Kids WB “Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries” which was released the same year as this Superman episode, so maybe it was a WB double-booking. Or, perhaps Andrea Romano had Neil Ross in mind for the ship captain, and then saw Marion Ross’s name right above Neil’s on a contact list and thought, “Hmmm.” Only Ms. Romano can tell us for sure.

    In the Flash comics, Mark Mardon’s brother Clyde was the one who created the technology that Mark then used to build his weather wand and other devices, so it is neat that this episode included the brother inventor. I suppose the “voodoo hologram” of Earth doesn’t really work after hearing you all talk about it (my guess is that the device was piggybacking off whatever satellite system was being used to track the race to enable him to affect weather around the globe), but it was a neat visual.

    It may be Superman’s show, but I’d think they would give a super-powered guest star at least one super-cool moment using their cool super powers. For the Flash, it ended up being him cleaning up the oil spill (or maybe blowing Superman’s cape over his head when he first showed up?). At least Flash was shown to be faster than Superman, during the race and showing up at places slightly ahead of Superman in most cases (except for when they rescued the tanker and saved Ben). Though we do see Superman do something super-fast: flying faster than the last bolt of lightning that was going to finish the Flash.

    My dad told me the pre-Crisis answer to “who was faster” was: Flash in shorter races, and Superman in longer ones (like a million miles long) because Superman has greater endurance. When the speed force was involved, it seemed Flash would hardly tire at all, so he was always faster I guess.

    Can’t wait for JLU next month. Are you going to review one episode at a time, or two?

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    1. Thanks Isamu! Like father like son, some great observations. And you’re right, Zatanna did appear in a puff of smoke eariler. But I think they should have saved it for the finale, personally.

      I have to remind myself Batman and Robin had “super speed” in “Time Out of Joint”. I haven’t rewatched that episode in years!

      We’re planning on covering one episode a time, but releasing two a month. So the same amount of content each month, but over two episodes. Hopefully we can pull it off!

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  2. Great episode even though I did almost pull my hamstring at the gym because I was laughing through Cindy’s complains about the Indy 500.

    Who does give a shit?

    Also on Martin selling the weather device. It reminds me of the Advetures of Superman episode, “Money to Burn”.

    Guy invents and asbestos suit and is ask why he didn’t sell it to the govt for 10 times as much.

    He said “Because that would be honest”.

    He gives up millions because dishonesty is more important

  3. Glad to have JLU Cast back!

    No need to worry about Bill Murray comments. Yes, I love him as a performer, but his legendary…prickliness is, well, legendary.

    Love the idea that any time Carl Lumbly was on a Timmverse show, he was J’onn in disguise. That would have been an amazing long con to pull off.

    I’m glad Steve thought it was funny that he was supposed to clean the Rob Cave so he could appear on my shows. I wasn’t joking. He never even vacuumed.

    1. In my defense, I tried to clean your Rob Cave. But, when I got too close to your 7-11 Slurpee cups, you freaked out and made me leave. What was I supposed to do at that point?

  4. Impressive podcast most impressive.This is Liz Anne Oswalt. Sorry this reply is late. I got busy this week. I like this episode as well as Julie Brown. I did not know that she did the voice of Zanna in this episode. I have enjoyed most of her work. Including the aforementioned Earth girls are easy. Shocked that she and give herself a bigger role in that since she played the best friend of the main character. Though she did have the very funny song has I’m blonde. I also liked her and her bit part in clueless. As well as are many other roles. Pretty sure you can tell her apart from downtown Julie Brown. After all downtown Julie Brown is British. The guy playing her father also did well in this. And it was a pretty cool combination. As well as having the lead actor from Logan’s run as your villain.

    Impressive that they used the that guy actor as Zatara . What I mean is the guy that’s a well-known character actor. You will see him in tons of stuff, but he’s usually not playing the lead. He does a very good job here as does everybody in the cast. My mind does respect to the fact that Zanna is voiced by downtown Julie Brown. And in this episode as well as your appearances in the JLU cartoons she does not getting the funny parts. The bigger laughs in the justice league stuff comes from other character round her. Like Batman singing the blues. Medusa sounding like a 40s jailbird. And what not. Since her comedic timing is pretty good I even remember seeing her and is one weird Fox show that didn’t last long. I won’t get into what it was about. It was weird.

    I’m just in shock at how well she did as his character. Not that I didn’t think he could do it but it’s interesting that they chose to cast her in it. And not give her a more zany character. Where she’s basically playing the straight woman to all of the craziness around her in that other episode. As well as Gotham girls the web series that was out years ago. That probably inspired Gotham city Sirens to become a comic. That was also done by this team. That was this silly little cartoon you could find online tracking flash animation days. Sometimes Zanna would be the main character. Though it mostly focused on Catwoman, Harlequin, batgirl and poison ivy. With different supporting characters being in there. I don’t think Batman ever showed up. There was a one series web episodes where Harley was trying not to go back to the Joker. But, that was one of the bigger names used. Also Mr. freeze’s sister-in-law became a villain in a few of the episodes.

    I’m not sure if Julie Brown voiced Zanna in those but, they were pretty good. They also had the first mention of a trans character within the DC media. It was handled… Badly, but she was still there. One of the detectives working for Jim Gordon whom happened to be trans. Though they didn’t have that word for us, because again it was the early 90s. And the thing aged like milk. Still at least they tried. Some of the episodes would have small games in them to keep you interested. Since this was before episodes on the web had become a big thing. And I think we’re still using dial-up at the time. So you had to download the episode before you could watch it. String may have been a thing but it just started. The acting was good animation wasn’t bad. At least not for time. But again they were turning hand-drawn animation into computer animation. On more than likely using computer files to look like hand-drawn animation.

    Luckily theDCAU used a very simple, but elegant style. So this probably helped. They did have an arc near the end. Which established the aforementioned sister-in-law of Mr. freeze. Where she herself gains freeze powers. And there is a fan thought that that might be the version of killer frost that used in the cartoon. Mainly based on the powers and the fact that the same voice actress did both. But, she was Jennifer Hale. So that may not mean much since she is kind of the go to voice actress. And with good reason.Gotham Girls that’s what it was called.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotham_Girls

    It was not Julie Brown in the web episodes. It was in fact Stacie Randall. Sadly she got phased out after a while. Where they focused more on Renée Montoya and other characters. Though I’m pretty sure the success of this web series is what inspired Gotham city Sirens to become a comic. Onto the next one the supermen in/race was fine. It did establish three interesting bits. The race. Flash his first appearance in the DCAU. And the perfect casting for weather Wizard. The supermen show and to a lesser extent the Batman shows did do a good job on bring in the big seven. Before creating the justice league cartoon. As did static shock. Well, static shock may have come after the cartoon but the crossovers were still pretty good. Though I am glad they changed voice actors for the flash. Any rate can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

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    1. Gotham Girls is an odd thing. It’s kind of forgotten because it was a web series, but it has a lot of the DCAU voice cast. I remember enjoying what I saw, but our internet connection was horrible back then, and watching a 30 second clip took four years to download. I should give those another try. I think I will look and see if they are availalbe somewhere.

  5. BTW, your comment about the Trial of the Flash made me take another look at the those comics from my dad’s collection, and I think it is unfair that people put these issues down for being a slog to read. While it has a continuous narrative of the arrest and trial for 25 issues, there are side adventures of Gorilla Grodd trapping Flash in another dimension with a biker gang that wants revenge on the hero, Pied Piper turning the people of Central City against the scarlet speedster, and the Rogues creating a new villain Big Sir to take out the Flash. These all had ties to the trial proceedings going on in the background, but they could also work as thrilling separate stories if the trial never happened. Even the return of the dead Professor Zoom in the end, while tied closely to the trial’s conclusion, could have also been another mystery adventure (like the time the dead Top returned). That’s four villain story plots over the course of 25 issues, with the trial running as a subplot throughout save for a few single issues here and there that focused specifically on it (and two reprint stories which I guess was to buy time for the writer and/or artist to plan out the rest of the series).

    This is really not much different than how the Superman books had lengthy subplots running in the background during the “triangle era.” It was just happening on a monthly basis with the Flash instead of a weekly one.

    1. That’s fair. In hindsight, I see your point. However, living through that period…it just seemed to drag on interminably. I always found it odd that DC used low sales on The Flash to put him on the chopping block with Crisis. Before it got to the point of no return, why not just let someone else write it with a fresh approach? No offense to Cary Bates, who wrote many, many stories I enjoyed over the years (including a lot of Flash stories), but he’d been on the book for a decade. Why not just move him to another title and let someone new take a hand at the wheel?

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      1. Hear, hear. For Li’l Cap’n E, the difference between the Trial of the Flash and the running subplots of Superman’s Triangle era was that the trial was never the subplot. It was such a dire situation for the hero that it dominated everything. Even an attack by Grodd seemed like a nuisance distraction to what really mattered. In retrospect, it was a good picture of how an encounter with the justice system can dominate and crush your life path for a period extending unto years, even if you’re innocent..

        Also, I just read Cary Bates’ Last Family of Krypton miniseries from sometime in this century. It was outstanding. He was good in the eighties, but he got better with age.

  6. Okay, this is my REAL comment, not my response to a response. I don’t mean to snub either of my two favorite Knoghtcast hosts (or Cindy), but I have nothing to add to what y’all said about the first episode. How could I? It’s Ryan and the Franklins covering Batman and Zatanna.

    I will make a few points about the segment with Steve and the Flash (both segments were great, by the way)..
    1) Car races are better live, when you can see the whole track and watch the drama as they jockey for position. Bring serious ear protection. Of course, I agree with Cindy on this point: They would just about have to be.
    2) Superman has to have Clark. No one, not even Superman, can handle the physical and emotional drain of helping people in trouble all the time. Even the strongest and most compassionate aid workers have to go off shift.
    3) Any government that got that weather technology would weaponize it as fast as Mardon did, and it would be a weapon of mass destruction. Next would come keeping it out of the hands of “less responsible actors”, treaties, and verification inspections. And even using it for good intentions would have unpredictable and almost certainly negative environmental effects. I think after Superman and Flash smash the thing, it would be time to have a hard talk with Ben, have him sign some non-disclosure agreements, get him his dream job, and monitor him closely.

    Thank you all! Let’s do this again soon!

    1. Thanks for writing in Captain!

      1) Agreed. The Indy track is laid out in a way (at least where I was sitting) you could only see one half of the track, and it’s pretty much a loop as I recall. It’s still exciting, but yes, VERY noisy.

      2) I agree completely. Clark is essential. The fact that DC let Bendis indulge himself like this is just…no. And now they are stuck with it, because no one wants to wipe out “Bendis”. It was a bad move. Make it go away.

      3) Good point. Probably better it was taken out rather quickly. Maybe Superman gets Ben a job on the Watchtower staff in a few years?

      Chris

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  7. Excellent episode Franklins! I listen in while I’m working, and several times I had to pause the episode because I was getting busy – and I didn’t want to miss a moment of the great commentary for this one. A few thoughts that came to mind when I was listening. Also, enjoyed Ryan and Steve as guests – it was great to hear additional stories of how comics and these series impacted fellow comic book people.

    1) Cindy, your point on the Indy 500 made me genuinely laugh out loud. My wife is a fan of NASCAR, and I recall observing the same thing. Cars driving in circles, endlessly…
    2) My first experience with Zatana was an issue I can’t recall the title of. I don’t know if it was Justice League or something else, but Zatana and Zatara were magically facing off against a horde of demons. She was in her silver age costume IIRC, but as soon as my mom noticed there were demons in that comic, out it went. But it did mean when she came up in the Batman episode, I was aware that she was a proper hero in her own right. My thought at the time (I saw this one on its first run) was that the Batman series was trying to keep the DC universe very street scale. Regardless of that, it was a great episode.
    3) Kevin Conroy is the voice of Batman, but prior to the Animated Series I did have some ideas about what Batman sounded like. It wasn’t Adam West or Michael Keaton either; something a lot stronger and more assertive sounding, without the gravel. This being said, my comic book reading of Batman was firmly random issues from the `70s I got at the flea market. Once Conroy came along, Batman’s voice was his voice from then on. I do prefer Kevin’s voicework of later years – he nailed down the character as time went on.
    4) Okay, you might hate me, but Barry Allen was my flash. Again, more flea market comics here but I grabbed a fair amount of Flash comics in the Trial of the Flash era and enjoyed them. It might have also been that my dad read Flash comics as a kid, and that meant I aught to like him too. There was something about the art that really caught me in the issues I read, or just the comparison between Superman comics of the era and Flash. In one comic Superman was taking on the Cosmic Minstrel (or something like that), then in the Flash comic I had he was trying to defeat the Weather Wizard while being marched to his cell. The comics just struck me as more grounded, less silly. When I picked up the last issue of Flash off the newstand, I must have read it a hundred times. Crazy as it seems, I never knew that Barry was killed off in Crisis, and kept on thinking he was living happily ever after in the future with Iris.
    4b) Wally Flash. Look, I don’t hate him. In fact I think much of the best stuff that happened to Flash happened during Wally’s years. But I never read those comics. I read him in Teen Titans, and every time I came across Wally having replaced Barry, it always felt… forced. And it’s a stupid opinion for me to have. I’ve been itching for Dick Grayson to replace Bruce Wayne for decades, but somehow it’s unfair for Wally to surpass and replace his mentor?
    5) I agree that Superman and Flash have better things to do then race for charity, but it’s my least favourite part of the super-hero genre that somewhere a volcano is always exploding, a heist is going down, or a kitten is in a tree. My favourite stories are the ones where the heroes have some downtime and are exploring their interests, or perhaps getting into mischief that comes from boredom. I know that stories about Clark chasing down a story on corruption in the dock-workers union aren’t what most people want to read about in their Superman comics, but for me – I would rather see more of these, and one or two big events a year.
    5b) Basically, I love the people that our heroes (and some villains) are, and want to see more of their life. Like soap opera stuff, but maybe without all the infighting and angest.
    6) Flash is faster than Superman. Hands down. I know there was that long period where they didn’t race properly, or they wouldn’t answer it because Silver Age Superman was probably faster than Flash, a better archer than Green Arrow, and could probably out swim Aquaman. He was head and shoulders above other heroes. But post Crisis Superman was more grounded, and Flash got to be… you know, the fastest.

    Looking forward to JLU content! I recently picked up a boxed set of JL and JLU, so I’m going to be watching along as new episodes drop!

    1. 1) I’m glad Cindy didn’t offend any racing fans who listen. Or any we know of!

      2) Hmmm… I wonder if that comic was the finale to the “Search for Zatara” story in JLA #51?

      3) Agreed about Conroy’s voice evolving. His delivery is more subtle and nuanced on JLU vs. early BTAS for instance. A fine wine that just got better with age!

      4) Hey Ian, you like what you like! I liked Barry too, but having read all of Wally’s run, I really felt he earned the title of The Flash. Had I not read along from Baron, to Messner-Loebs, to Waid, etc., I probably wouldn’t have.

      5) I totally agree that super heroes need downtime. I hate that Bruce Wayne has essentially been a non-character for decades now, for instance. I hope I didn’t come across as advocating for 24-hour super hero service, because that’s just awful for the characters, and honestly a slog to read.

      6) Yeah, Silver Age Superman hardly needed a Justice League. You almost got the idea that he just liked the companionship more than anything!

      1. Oh, I didn’t think you were implying that you liked or wanted heroes always on duty or fighting all the time. I think both you and Cindy have demonstrated you both like the characters having character, and many of the more wholesome adventures featuring our heroes.

        For my second point, I had to sit and think – and then realized it was the Perez bronze age costume I was thinking of. This lead to me going through Zatanna’s appearances in her Perez costume, and finally got to a cover I recognized : Justice League of America #227. Fantastic cover, and immediately it brought back memories of that issue. I think I’ll try and hunt that one down, and maybe the run around it.

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