The latest slice of DC Comics related news items from October 20th - 22nd, 2013!
Katana's bad week in comics & TV!
For the moment, the heroine who may be having the roughest time at DC Comics lately isn't Lois Lane or Wonder Woman, it was Katana. When a year starts to enter its fourth quarter, cancellations of poorly selling comic books become an expected announcement, and while DC Comics have a lower sales threshold for DC Universe comic sales than Marvel do, even they have a limit. Thus, it was announced that both "Vibe" and "Katana" would end with their 10th issues in December. Both characters appear regularly in "Justice League of America" (not to be confused with the core "Justice League" series) and both were seen as attempts at DC Comics to offer diversity to their libraries. "Katana" was literally only the third heroine of color to headline her own ongoing series at DC Comics in some 76 years; Cassandra Cain's 5-6 year stint as "Batgirl" and "Voodoo" from the first "New 52" launch were the previous two.
The hits kept coming for Katana as the Cartoon Network animated series, "Beware the Batman", was suddenly yanked from the schedule over the weekend and replaced with extra episodes of "Teen Titans GO!" and the usual DC shorts. The network claims the series will return in January 2014. This is hardly the first time such a thing has happened; last year around the same time, "Young Justice" and "Green Lantern: the Animated Series" were also yanked from the schedule two weeks into the fall. While Halloween holiday programming can be some explanation, the reality is "Beware the Batman" is earning average ratings for the network and unlike even "Young Justice", lacks any toy or comic book line for merchandising potential. Katana acts as Batman's partner in that series, rather than yet another Robin or Batgirl.
Katana, or Tatsu Yamashiro, was created by Mike W. Barr and legendary artist Jim Aparo in 1983's "The Brave and the Bold #200" as a member of the original team called the "Outsiders", who historically worked alongside Batman. The character made the leap to TV animation in Cartoon Network's "Batman: the Brave and the Bold" where she appeared in five episodes from 2008-2011 before becoming a lead character in this summer's "Beware the Batman". In her original origin, she became a crime fighter after her family were killed by her brother-in-law, who was affiliated with the Yakuza mafia in Japan. She not only was a martial arts master, but her sword was enchanted with the soul of her dead husband and often was considered a magical weapon; in later incarnations or adaptations this origin has either been omitted or some other soul was in the sword. Cartoon Network has often become an erratic network for action cartoons, although the fact that "Teen Titans GO!" was not yanked was not a positive sign for the latest in the string of Batman cartoons.
"Superman vs. Batman" is already filming!?
At the end of September, screen writer David S. Goyer noted that "Batman vs. Superman", the working title for the sequel to "Man of Steel" was "further along [...] than people realize" despite its release date not being until July 17th, 2015. Evidence of this emerged on MTV, when a four minute video emerged that is supposedly a scene which will ultimately be part of the film. It featured a college football game between "Gotham City University" and "Metropolis State Universe", in case the title of the film was too vague as to what the premise of the film would be. Thankfully, Bane did not appear to trigger any explosions and issue marbled mouthed demands. Neither Henry Cavill or Ben Affleck were part of the shoot. Considering post-production on a massive superhero film (i.e. inserting CGI special effects) can often take as long as principle photography shoots (if not longer), it isn't completely absurd for a film to begin some stages of filming over a year and a half before it debut.
Meanwhile, Variety spoke with Warner Brothers' president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman about rumors that Wonder Woman and/or other DC Comics superheroes may appear in "Superman vs. Batman" as a cameo or supporting role. Silverman essentially confirmed or denied nothing, but did note a desire to get more DC characters on film - with the public clamor for a "Wonder Woman" film rising.