Thursday, February 28, 2013

Heroes For Heroes: The Letter To McDonald's

 After discovering that there are no toys based on Green Lantern: The Animated Series, I wound up going back to K-Mart and getting two Green Lantern-themed figures. Tomorrow, I'm mailing out the stuff to McDonalds' charity in an effort to save GL: TAS and Young Justice. Here's hoping this isn't in vain.
February 27, 2013

Ronald McDonald House Charities
One Kroc Drive
Oak Brook, IL 60523

To Whom It May Concern,

            I am donating four action figures to your charity. I need to admit that there is an ulterior motive to these gifts. Cartoon Network is ending two DC Comics-based animated series: Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. In an effort to try and persuade the network to reverse their decision, I am following an effort to get the attention of McDonald’s, since the chain put toys from both series in their Happy Meals. As a sponsor, McDonald’s could persuade Cartoon Network to change their minds.

            Two of the action figures are from the DC Universe Young Justice line: Superboy and Vandal Savage. Since there is not a line representing Green Lantern: The Animated Series, I wound up finding two miniature figures from the DC Universe “Action League” line: Green Lantern (with Cannon Construct) and Larfleeze (with Glommulus).

            I hope that my contributions will make a difference in bringing back two shows that should not be ending this soon. I do admit that I am content these toys can make a few children happy, regardless on whether Cartoon Network changes their minds or not.

Jason Borelli

Support Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice (seasons 1 and 2) by getting episodes on iTunes. I cannot recommend "Larfleeze" from GL:TAS enough. It features Larfleeze, who you can see on top in this pic:

One day, I'll have to share all of my sketches. Right now, here's one of Larfleeze I got from Jacob Chabot at Comic Book Jones back in 2010. With twenty pages left in my current sketchbook, I'm thinking that I should ask an artist for Larfleeze and Gollum wrestling for a ring. What do you think?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Heroes For Heroes: The Toy Drive

In an effort to try and get Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice back on Cartoon Network's future plans, I've found myself open to new ways to pitch in. For instance, this Tumblr suggested donated toys to Ronald McDonald's House Charities; the rationale being that McDonald's has put DC Comics-based toys in their Happy Meals for years. McDonald's gets the message, they put the lean on Cartoon Network, and everyone lives happily ever after for a few more seasons.

Today, I sought out toys. Problem: I couldn't find action figures related to the shows. Granted, I could have gotten stuff tangentially involved with the programs, but I was in an anal mood. Visits to Toys R Us and K-Mart weren't fruitful, much to my surprise. For the hell of it, I hit a pharmacy, even though they aren't known for being warehouses for the latest and greatest stuff. But lo and behold, I found Young Justice stuff.

First of all, I know the quality of the picture isn't that great. I used my phone's camera, since I couldn't find the USB cable for my camera. I reckon these are among the first wave of Young Justice figures. There were also Black Canary and Captain Atom, but I figured a main cast member and villain would do.

On the left is Superboy. I know, t-shirt and jeans aren't that superheroic, but it's a good look. On the right is Vandal Savage, the immortal villain and one of the villains that comprise the cadre known as The Light. Both packages have pieces of the Hall of Justice. Get all of the action figures, assemble the Hall. As a child of the Eighties, I had the Super Friends Hall of Justice playset. Not a bad deal for $7.99 apiece.

I'll have to figure out how to send the figures, and then find GL:TAS stuff to donate. I know it's small potatoes, but at least I'm doing stuff for something I believe in. And I'm blogging more often, which is a nice bonus.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Letter To Cartoon Network

After making posters to support Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, I sat down and banged out a letter to nine Cartoon Network executives.
Dear Cartoon Network Executives,

My name is Jason Borelli, and I am a fan of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. I know . . . you've gotten letters in the past few weeks. Lots of letters. Well, this isn't any different.

I can be long-winded at times, so I'll keep things simple.

1. The Action Figure Metric
From what I've heard, one of the biggest reasons both shows are getting canceled is because not enough of their toys are bought. I'm 37 years old. I'm not getting action figures. I don't plan on getting action figures, though I might do it to appease Time-Warner and donate them to charity. You have to understand that a lot of your audience is outside whatever target you've set. Look at Adventure Time . . . I'm not a fan, but it's managed to reach fans across the board. Just because Young Justice and GL:TAS are aired in the morning doesn't mean that adults won't watch . . . or at least record it for later viewing.

2. The Replacements
The two shows that are getting put in the "DC Nation" block are Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go! With the later, you have a built-in audience filled with fans of the original Teen Titans series from the previous decade, combine with kids jumping on the bandwagon with the minute-long "episodes." My concern is that the chibi style set by the show -- used sparingly in the original edition -- might turn some people off. Also, like Young Justice, a lot of Teen Titans fans cut their teeth on the dramatic storylines mixed in with the humor, as well as the running feuds . . . like Robin/Slade, Raven/Trigon, Cyborg/Brother Blood and Titans/Brotherhood of Evil.

Beware the Batman has greater potential to fail. Over the years, the one Batman animated franchise to failed was The Batman . . . and even then, things picked up with Batgirl and Robin were eventually cast. It wasn't just the lack of Kevin Conroy or Mark Hamil . . . it was disappointing seeing stuff like a Penguin that knew advanced kung fu, Penguin's two silent Asian sidekicks, a Joker with big feet and no shoes, etc. And Cluemaster. I'll save you the trouble of an image search. Grisly, right? With Beware the Batman, you got Batman with no Robin. Instead . . . he's got Katana, a canon Outsider who didn't get her own series until last week, and whose only media exposure was a few appearances as Batman: The Brave And The Bold. Then there's the canon butler, Alfred Pennyworth, a staple in most of -- if not all of -- the Batman franchises. In promotional images, he's wielding firearms. Never mind the makeover to make him more of a tough guy (like in Geoff Johns's treatment in Batman: Earth One), which could work out. No, it's Alfred carrying guns that will tick people off. If Batman is known for anything, "anti-gun" would be in the top five.

Bottom line: Wouldn't it be a good idea to have Young Justice and/or GL:TAS on the shelf, just in case Teen Titans Go! and Beware the Batman wind up failing? You have an audience for that block that remained loyal, even after your network shelved both series for a few months, for reasons that are still not clear to me.

3. The Current Crop
When I first got into reading comics, I gravitated towards Green Lantern. Back then, Kyle Rayner was the title's protagonist . . . as well as the only GL in the DC Universe. While I consider myself a Kyle fan, and while I hated the whitewashing of Hal Jordan's character by Geoff Johns, I have to say that Green Lantern: The Animated Series manages to please me every week. It manages to incorporate comics canon into CGI animation with few hiccups. If the writers of the Green Lantern movie had put as much care into this was those for GL: TAS, the movie would've managed to keep up with Thor and Captain America in the box office. That movie was a huge letdown; proof that DC Comics-based movies aren't good beyond Batman. GL: TAS succeeds in make space opera work, it has incorporated Johns's "Emotional Spectrum" flawlessly (Red Lanterns, Blue Lanterns, Star Sapphires, etc), and it has produced two breakout characters in Razer (the Red Lantern who travels with Hal and Kilowog) and Aya (the artificial intelligence with a robot chassis). Why should we say goodbye after two seasons?

Young Justice takes a departure from the comic series of the same name. Rather than go for the humor Peter David wrote in the Nineties and Aughts, producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti opted for drama on a grander scale. There is no "Young Justice" . . . rather, a group of young heroes that operate under the auspices of the Justice League. While it started out slow, Young Justice managed to make its mark as a program that can produce in thirty minutes, while creating an overreaching arc connecting the individual pieces.

For the second season, the producers opted to move the series five years into its future. Suddenly, "Young Justice" becomes more of a feeling than an actual team, as a few dozen heroes joined the cast. Currently, the "big bad" is The Reach, an alien race determined to mine Earth for its "metahumans" and control the planet. They manage to beat the good guys both in battle as well as in public relations. They even managed to turn one of the teen heroes -- Jamie Reyes, aka Blue Beetle -- against his comrades. I think one of the biggest realizations I had was seeing Black Manta fret over the safety of his son, whom has defected to assist The Reach and the Earth-based conclave known as "The Light." The revelation: We're actually caring for an Aquaman villain. An Aquaman villain. That takes a lot of talent.

I think that you should keep Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series in your lineup. I'm not overly familiar with animation timetables, but I'm guessing you can slate both series for mid-to-late 2014. Even if Teen Titans Go! and Beware the Batman find their niche, I know you'll have a loyal audience that will come back.

Jason Borelli

PS: In order to join the effort to save the show, I made these motivational posters with your names, positions and e-mail addresses. I figured that they would direct people to air their grievances towards you, as well as remind them what they're fighting for. Also, I think they're fun to look at. Enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Save DC Nation: Second Batch Of Posters

Once again . . . I'm looking to save Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series by creating motivational posters. The idea: you look at the posters, e-mail the Cartoon Network execs listed, then reblog the posters, post them on Tumblr, do anything to spread the word. And if you have any feedback, ideas or questions, feel free to comment.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Save DC Nation: My Posters

Like I said last time, I'm trying to help in the movement to ensure the futures of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. Sure, both shows are miniscule in the big picture, but it makes me happy . . . as well as hundreds of thousands of fans, if not millions.

Here's the idea . . . I use to make "motivational posters" on a regular basis, mostly to post in a specific Television Without Pity forum thread. Here, I display pictures from both shows, in addition to the names, positions and e-mail addresses of key executives at Cartoon Network. Take the posters, print 'em up, reblog and repost 'em . . . make sure they get out to as many people as possible. The more letters these people get, the more they'll get where we're coming from. I'm starting with four; if you make your own posters, if you got other ways to get the word out, or if there are other execs we should know about, let me know by commenting here.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

My GL: TAS Sketches

It's about 2 a.m. as I'm writing this, so I'm not going to go all out in terms of eloquence. This past Monday, I found out that two of my favorite animated series were getting canceled: Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. To me, this move of Cartoon Network reeked of "bottom line," where toys aren't selling well, and two other series -- Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go! -- wait in the wings.

Both series had slow starts. In the case of GL:TAS, some people couldn't get past CGI that looked like crap to them. Also, the series launched launched after the Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. I'm being charitable in saying that it was really dissappointing. However, the past season-and-a-half has made for great space opera action, and it would be a shame to flush it so soon.

Now . . . I can't draw for crap. If you've read my "30-Second Recaps" (2007, 2008, 2009), you'll see that I struggle with mere MS Paint. I think that part of the reason for collecting sketches is direct compensation for this flaw. As of this writing, I'm closing in on 700 sketches, dating back to 1999. It's an bit of an obsession. Anyway . . . since I want this post reblogged to campaigns to save GL:TAS and Young Justice, I'd like to share sketches based on the shows. Today, here's what I got from GL:TAS.

Sketched at Super Wild Pig Show 2012
May 6, 2012

Sketched at Superheroes for Hospice Show
June 23, 2012

Sketched At New York Comic Con
October 12, 2012