Author: Jerry Whitworth

Make It So: DC – The Manga Universe

Make it So: DC The Manga Universe by Matt Eldridge and Jerry Whitworth   In 2000, Marvel Comics produced a manga-version of its universe called the Marvel Mangaverse. Featuring the work of various artists including Ben Dunn, founder of Antarctic Press and creator of Ninja High School and Warrior Nun Areala (manga-inspired American comics), the imprint would last for two years with a brief return some time later. However, the relationship between American and Japanese comics existed for some time before this. Osamu Tezuka, referred by Japanese as the god or godfather of manga, was inspired for his field and style by American animation thanks to characters like Felix the Cat and Betty Boop. Other mangaka, or comic creators, would be similarly inspired including Akira Toriyama (who applied several homages to Superman in his works like Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball Z), Katsuhiko Nishijima and Kazumi Shirasaka (who paid homage to Superman, Wonder Woman, and Iron Man in their work Project A-Ko), and Kazuyoshi Katayama and Keiichi Sato (whose work The Big O was inspired by Batman: The Animated Series).   Adaptations of American comics would also make it to Japan including Batman by Jiro Kuwata (during the Batman television craze in 1966 from the co-creator of 8 Man; Kuwata would also adapt the tokusatsu series Moonlight Mask, some cross between the Lone Ranger and Batman, to manga), Toei’s...

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Make It So: G.I. Joe the Game

Make It So: G.I. Joe the Game by Jerry Whitworth   Recently, G.I. Joe: Retaliation hit theaters becoming number one at box office and having the second biggest Easter weekend opening in movie history. However, something was notably absent from the film’s premier, namely a video game adaptation. In part, this maybe because traditionally G.I. Joe video games have been awful. The same was largely true of sister franchise Transformers until the release of Transformers: War for Cybertron (and its sequel Transformers: Fall of Cybertron). Both third-person shooters, the games borrowed from but didn’t adapt any particular incarnation of its franchise. A rich story with a well thought out world and impressive gameplay, G.I. Joe would do well to learn from Transformers (the Batman: Arkham series another example of following a similar formula to much success). Lets take a look at what could be a winning formula for a good G.I. Joe video game.   LARRY HAMA   Former writer and editor for Marvel Comics, Larry Hama largely became the godfather of G.I. Joe when Marvel Comics was contracted to reinvigorate the toyline for Hasbro (the success of which went on towards another collaboration in Transformers). Hama wrote the comic book adaptation and the majority of the filecards used to describe characters from the franchise on the back of its action figures. An Army veteran of the Vietnam war,...

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Make It So: Classic Marvel Animation on DVD

Make it So: Classic Marvel Animation on DVD by Jerry Whitworth   Between the DC Comics Classic Collection and Warner Archive Collection, fans of classic DC Comics programs can have almost everything the company has produced for television on DVD for their collection. If you’re a fan of Marvel on the other hand, you’re not so fortunate. While Marvel has definitely become better about releasing older material such as the much sought after 1990s X-Men animated series, fans of their animated adaptations of yesteryear have eagerly awaited even more releases (unless you live in the United Kingdom, which has been pretty lucky with getting their fix). The while, Hasbro has made lucrative sales of DVDs for classic series like G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Transformers, and Jem, which was a collaborative effort with Marvel, so much so it would seem as we’ve seen DVD releases of Transformers seasons unaired in the US and of the DIC seasons of G.I. Joe. Lets take a look at some of the series Marvel fans eagerly await.   SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS   Likely the most sought after series, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends was in large part a competitive measure by NBC against ABC’s successful Super Friends franchise. The Spider-Man centered series featured Marvel’s most recognized character with two mutant heroes and a rotating cast of Marvel’s various heroes such...

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Make It So: Forgotten Realms

Make it So: Forgotten Realms the Series by Jerry Whitworth   The Hub is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with for content geared towards children as its viewership soars where stalwarts like Disney XD, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network have seen a decline. This phenomenon is due in large part to Hasbro’s properties being adapted for the small screen from such established brands as G.I. Joe and Transformers to the sleeper hit My Little Pony. One Hasbro franchise waiting to see adaptation that the company has yet to take advantage of is Dungeons & Dragons. Already adapted in a wildly popular animated series in the 1980s, the former show largely followed a different beat from the game and its world only loosely adapted characters from the source material in cameo roles. Instead, a new series should follow one of the most popular franchises with one of its biggest stars. Arguably the most recognized character in Dungeons & Dragons (only the likes of Elminster Aumar and Raistlin Majere could compete), Drizzt Do’Urden is a tragic character who overcomes adversity to become a great hero.   Born a Drow, or Dark Elf, Drizzt’s society differs greatly from many humanoid races. Living in the Underdark, a world beneath the surface of the planet Abeir-Toril set in almost total darkness, the Drow are a matriarchal society worshiping the malicious spider goddess Lolth....

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Make it So: Earth Hanna-Barbera

Make it So: Earth Hanna-Barbera by Jerry Whitworth When DC Comics reintroduced its multiverse concept, fans were largely let down by what resulted. There were mostly forgotten about advents like Captain Atom: Armageddon, Countdown to Final Crisis, The Search for Ray Palmer storyline, Countdown: Arena, and Grant Morrison’s Multiversity which, save for Final Crisis: Superman Beyond, has yet to ever surface. The Young Justice television series takes place on one of the 52 Earths in DC Comics’ multiverse but have thus far remained on their own Earth and the rebooted DC Universe has generally only touched upon two Earths (a reboot that has all but deflated in its renewed interest). In essence, it was an opportunity that was wasted. Further, it appears little if anything will be done with it. As the idea was mostly dropped, several Earths were never even identified. With this in mind, consider what if one of these Earths is made home to the world of Hanna-Barbera? One of the infuriating aspects of DC Comics is its wasted potential. Comic books have become the bedrock of many successful franchises and have long acted as a promotional device for non-comic book originating material. So, it should be a no-brainer that Warner Brothers would promote their rich catalog of animation through its comic book line. As the Looney Tunes may not fit well in the DC Universe,...

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Make it So: The Return of Super Powers

Make it So: The Return of Super Powers by Jerry Whitworth   Take a look at the hottest action figures of the 1980s and you’ll have a short list with G.I. Joe, Transformers, Masters of the Universe, Star Wars, Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Super Powers at the top. A considerable difference between these franchises is virtually all of them but one has in some fashion come back into style since. The Super Powers line from Kenner was a series of DC Comics characters based in part on the Super Friends cartoon animated by Hanna-Barbera, which ran in reruns for two years before the line resurrected it, that when manipulated in some manner would perform an action (hence its title “Super Powers”). The line persists somewhat today as there was a merchandising juggernaut behind the toys in things such as stationary, apparel, and domestics to name a few that you can still find made around the world in recent history and the DC Universe Classics toyline has often had paid homage to Super Powers, so far as to even produce some of the characters developed specifically for the line. However, DC Universe Classics only scratched the surface of Super Powers.   The Mego Corporation for some time had produced toys for DC Comics (and various other companies like Marvel and Star Trek) and, while varied, it would eventually...

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