Hard NOC Life 220: Issa Rae is Spider-Woman

This week on Hard NOC Life, Britney basks in the glory of her favorite superhero, Spider-Woman, finally getting shine as the crew — aka Keith and Dominic — break down news of Issa Rae’s casting in the Spider-Verse sequel, plus sneak peeks at Shazam: Fury of the Gods and Michael Keaton in The Flash.

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Hard NOC Life 204: Why So Serious

Dominic and Keith are discussing the latest WandaVision, speculating about Monica Rambeau’s future in the MCU, breaking down the Snyder Cut trailer (and its associated Joker memes), revisiting the De La Soul episode of Teen Titans GO!, and getting hyped for digital-first comics set in the Burton and Donner cinematic universes.

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Batman May Return But Schumacher is ‘Forever’

When Dominic and I recorded the most recent episode of Hard NOC Life, I mentioned the 25th anniversary of Batman Forever (as well as the 15th and 31st anniversaries for Batman Begins and Batman ’89, respectively, but more on the latter in a second). June used to be a big month for Batman movies. I mention those anniversaries as a launching point for a broader conversation about being a different kind of fan and accepting different interpretations of our favorite characters. And for the last few weeks, I had started reconsidering how I felt about certain films, including the double feature of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, both directed by Joel Schumacher, who died of cancer on June 22.

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Batman R.I.P.: Mattel’s Last Line of DC Multiverse Figures

When it was announced late last year that Mattel would be losing the master license to make DC Comics-related action figures, I wasn’t sure how to react. On the one hand, I had pretty much stopped buying Mattel’s offerings when they ended their DC Universe Classics line around 2012. On the other, I’ve been an avid collector of these figures ever since popular action figure sculptors the Four Horsemen gave us Zipline Batman in 2003. Of course, in the years since, I moved on — preferring more premium toymakers like SH Figuarts for my DC fix. But I couldn’t help coming back to Mattel one last time for an all-Batman wave to close out their 16-year run on the character.

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NOC Rewind: Marc Bernardin on ‘Batman 89’

Since it’s the 29th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman starring Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton, we’re rewinding back to this classic Hard NOC episode from 2014 when we had a pre-Fatman on Batman Marc Bernardin as a guest!

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Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Hot Toys?

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It is the holidays after all. Speaking of which, I Just happen to be abroad at the moment and just had to share some pics from a recent pilgrimage to the Hot Toys Secret Base in Hong Kong. Check out the photos after the break.

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How Many Times Must We See Batman’s Parents Die?

If you were on the internet yesterday, you might have seen some images from the set of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice leak on to your computer screens. Part of the problem that comes with shooting on location in a real city — as opposed to in front of a blue screen inside a giant soundstage — is that there are real people with real cameraphones lurking around every corner.

BvS:DoJ has had its share of set leaks in the past, and this one isn’t all that revealing, honestly. But for me, it reveals something that I assumed we had moved past in a Batman movie. I won’t reveal anymore until after the cut, but if you’ve read the headline, you’ve already been spoiled. Sorry.

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Birdman: What We Talk About When We Talk About Superheroes

The superhero genre — as we know it — was first birthed over seven decades ago in the pulpy pages of the 10-cent comic books. Mint copies of which that are now worth thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Not only are the books themselves more valuable, many of those original heroes are even more popular today than they were at their inception. Even the heroes who weren’t popular then have been resurrected to much critical acclaim today. We call this period of superhero storytelling “the Golden Age” of comics, but we are currently living in a new golden age of superhero storytelling, except the heroes have migrated from the four-color page to the fourteen-screen multiplex.

The fact that we can count on a new comic book superhero movie (or three) every year until infinity and beyond is both a blessing and a curse for the nerd contingent. For every billion-dollar grossing blockbuster that stars men in tights saving the universe — and it is almost always men — there are critics from both within and without nerdom that bemoan the genre’s grasp on pop culture and predict its demise every year. “Superhero fatigue,” it’s called. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is the latest film from writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu — best known for heavier, more melodramatic fare like Babel and 21 Grams — and it takes on the superhero genre, and the fatigue that may or may not come along with it, like no other film before it.

Spoilers ahead.

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Who’s Gonna Stop Gotham’s Balloons?

Last week, I got some grief for writing about why I was done with Gotham. So naturally, I not only tuned in for Episode 3, “The Balloonman,” I live-tweeted it as well. The fact that this episode had nothing to do with the B-side to Prince’s “Batdance” was already strike number one for me.

I won’t go into all of the problems I have with the show’s premise — since I already did that. A couple times. I will say that I realize that the reason I’m so bitter about this show is because I always wanted a Gotham Central series, and that Fox’s attempt is just a half-assed one. Because Gotham Central is the non-Batman police procedural series we deserve, just not the one we’re getting right now, apparently.

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Legend of The Dark Knight: More with Michael Uslan

In Part One of our conversation with Michael Uslan, the Batman movie uber-producer recounted his decades-long journey to bring a “dark and serious” version of the Dark Knight from the comic pages to the movie screen, a journey that is the foundation of his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman. After a string of Hollywood studios and financiers initially rejected the idea, the Batman film franchise has gone on to earn billions of dollars in box office and merchandising and solidify Batman as a cinematic legend, with even more big screen adventures on the way.

After the jump, Michael and I continue our discussion of what makes the Batman such an iconic — and enduring — character.

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Check Out Cliff Chiang’s Batgirl for Purple Rain’s 30th Anniversary

Tim Burton’s Batman is 25 years old this week, which means Prince’s Batman soundtrack is also 25 years old! I’ve said it before, and it might be blasphemous to admit, but Batman is my favorite Prince album. While most knowledgeable Musicologists might scoff, it’s true. The main reason is likely because I was too young to really appreciate Prince’s earlier catalog and Batman was my in. I still contend it’s one of his better records, and not just because of the Batman association — even though it has barely anything to do with the movie.

There’s another Prince album celebrating a landmark anniversary this week. Thirty years ago, the Purple Rain album was released — a full month before the movie hit theaters — and the history of pop music was changed forever. Since no one at the NOC wanted write about the Batman album, I figured we’d celebrate that other landmark with one of my favorite pieces of Cliff Chiang art.

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Underestimating Batman’s Sheer Brutality

Originally posted at WilliamBruceWest.com

Confused by the title? That’s really just me using a bunch of words to say “Batman’s a badass.” More appropriately, he’s a dangerous badass. In recent years, especially due to his many cartoons and animated appearances, two things have become prevalent about Batman: he doesn’t use guns AND he doesn’t kill. That’s all well and good, but this had led somewhat to what you might call “the Pussification of the Bat.” People seem to forget that there are fates worse than death, and Batman has dealt out this kind of justice time and time again. After all, why else would criminals be afraid of him? Anyway, this is just my way of saying that Chris Sims isn’t the only one devoting more thought that necessary to the legacy of Batman.

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Shadow of the ’89 Batman with Marc Bernardin

As we continue Bat Week here at the NOC, Keith (@the_real_chow) brings on William (@williambwest), Raymond, and special guest Marc Bernardin (@marcbernardin) — senior editor at The Hollywood Reporter who is also a comic book and television writer, as well as a frequent guest on Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast. Together the four of them reflect on the legacy of Tim Burton’s Batman on Hard N.O.C. Life.

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Did You Follow our Batman 89 Live Tweets?

As you know, yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Batman 89, Tim Burton’s gothic interpretation of the Dark Knight Detective, and the reason we’re celebrating Bat Week this whole week. To mark the occassion, last night around 10pm, I pulled out the Batman disc from my Anthology collection and popped it into the old blu-ray player, fired up my phone, and tweeted along with some dedicated NOC followers on twitter.

A good time was had by all, and I’ve shared some choice tweets after the jump. If you want to relive the whole experience, you can find all the tweets on our twitter feed, or if you prefer them curated, head over to Storify.

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Producer Michael Uslan Reflects on the 25th Anniversary of ‘Batman’

If it weren’t for Michael Uslan, we definitely wouldn’t be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Batman this week. In fact, Uslan is the reason there are any Batman films in theaters at all. You see, Uslan and his producing partner Benjamin Melinker are responsible for every live action Batman movie from 1989 to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, plus 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as the animated Mask of the Phantasm and even The LEGO Movie. Basically, anytime Batman’s been in a movie, you can thank these guys.

When he attained the rights to make movies of the character in the late 70s, no one save for Uslan ever imagined that Batman would be the center of a multibillion-dollar grossing film phenomenon. Not even the brass at DC Comics! Only Michael Uslan — a self-described blue collar, comic fanboy from New Jersey — knew the world was ready for a “dark and serious” take on the Caped Crusader. In honor of the milestone anniversary of his labor of love, Michael agreed to sit down with me to talk about how he ultimately brought his vision of Batman to the big screen. Part One of our conversation is below.

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It’s the Bat Week Ever as Batman 89 Turns 25

On Monday, June 23, the movie that kickstarted the modern comic book renaissance — Tim Burton’s Batman — celebrates its silver anniversary. So what better way to celebrate the landmark film than to dedicate a whole week’s worth of posts to the Dark Knight Detective himself? Because 2014 is not only the 25th anniversary of Batman, it’s also the 50th anniversary of Carmine Infantino’s iconic “new look” costume design, the 75th anniversary of the character himself, and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Batman’s co-creator Bill Finger.

So all week, we at The Nerds of Color will be honoring all things Batman — both the 1989 film and the character in general. Look for my interview with Batman executive producer Michael Uslan and a special episode of Hard NOC Life featuring The Hollywood Reporter senior editor Marc Bernardin.

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