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Emily S. Whitten: Talking With Marvin the Martian

The thing I love about voice actors is that even if you don’t know their names or faces, you will “know that voice.” And considering voice actor Eric Bauza was responsible for one of my favorite scenes in the voice actor documentary I Know That Voice, I’m super glad that I not only know that voice, but got to interview it (and the man behind it!) at this year’s New York Comic Con.

Eric, who hails from Canada and began his animation career as a character designer who also did animatics, is now most known for the legacy voice of Marvin the Martian from The Looney Tunes Show and for a myriad of other great voices, including Tiger Claw on the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, Foop on The Fairly OddParents, Belly Bag on Uncle Grandpa, Buhdeuce on Breadwinners, Amadeus Cho on Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, Lord Stingray on Superjail!, and The Bear on Adventure Time.

You can see clips from many of the shows he’s done on his demo reel. He also is no slouch intellectually, as his longtime friend told me (while Eric was off looking for coffee or somesuch) that Eric was his high school’s valedictorian (and also a very good and humble friend, and an inveterate prankster). How’s that for a well-rounded, talented guy?

To learn more about the awesomeness that is Eric Bauza, check out our super-fun NYCC interview, where we talk about how he got started in the voice acting business, his experiences doing some of his favorite voices, what it’s like working with the voices he’d grown up with (like Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche, Billy West, Grey DeLisle, Jeff Bennett, Jim Cummings, and Tara Strong), the experience of doing a legacy voice, and much more.

And until next time, Servo Lectio!



Box Office Democracy: “Big Hero 6”

I never dreamed that when Disney bought Marvel it would lead to something as precious as Big Hero 6. Disney took a nothing Marvel property, one I had never heard of despite reading comic books voraciously for the first 28 years of my life, and turned it in to something quite fantastic. Big Hero 6 is a great movie and is a great example of something Disney can do for Marvel that isn’t just moving all of the Spider-Man cartoons over to Disney Channel.

The plots in Disney animated films tend to be a bit thin and while I mean that as no insult Big Hero 6 is no exception. There’s a precocious kid and a tragic incident. There’s a crew of friends that must rally around the grieving kid and help him get revenge/closure. There’s a secret to be revealed that will surprise a child but no one who’s ever watched a real mystery anymore but why am I still talking about all of this nonsense when I haven’t mentioned Baymax even once yet?


Box Office Democracy: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

There is a scene near the end of Birdman’s second act where Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) delivers a brutal tirade against the idea of theater criticism. He talks about how safe the life of a critic is and how audacious it is of them to judge the work of actors. This puts me in a bit of a precarious place as a critic because these are words coming out of a strong character in a brilliantly executed film and they’re basically calling me an asshole if I have a problem with any of the performances in this film. Fortunately I have hardly any complaints about Birdman, acting or otherwise, and I can continue my life as a critic free from fear of the ire of Michael Keaton. (more…)

Emily S. Whitten: Convention Catch-up, Part 2

Dragon Con

Dragon Con is always a blast (and a place where many photos are taken. Check out those taken by ComicMix photographer Jason Ward and me here). The first thing I have to mention is my favorite part of this year’s Dragon Con, and that was spending time with several excellent friends, and particularly with a couple of friends who’d never experienced Dragon Con (or any con, in Cleolinda’s case) before. Getting to experience the fun with them while they took it in for the first time, and then declared that they’d definitely like to come back next year, just made everything that much better for me. I can’t even really express how cool it was to see friends getting to fully be themselves as they enjoyed the con geekery. But let me assure you: it was very cool!

It was also cool this year to have the experience of being on a panel. I got invited to sit on a panel on journalism and sci-fi (and by extension, the larger geek and con world), and it turned out to be a really deep discussion, with great audience questions and different but complimentary points of view from the panelists. Topics discussed included everything from how the larger journalistic world sees reporting on “geek” topics, to how to cover the darker aspects of comic cons and geek culture (like sexism and harassment). A great learning experience on my side (as well as, I hope, the audience’s) and one I’d love to have again. Thanks, Dragon Con, for having me on a panel!

And of course, what kind of reporter would I be if I didn’t cover some of the amazing guests they have at Dragon Con? As I mentioned in my previous column, I have great interviews to share. So check out my interview with the cast of Arrow here, and watch Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance), Caity Lotz (Sara Lance), and Katrina Law (Nyssa al Ghul) as they discuss the journey of Detective Lance’s character, the Lance family dynamic (past and present), the interesting audition processes for Lotz and Law, the experiences of bringing their characters from comics to the screen, the nuanced roles of female characters on the show; and more.

And then you can follow that up by watching a lovely chat with Mary McDonnell  as she discusses her involvement with Indian culture and charity work with Sinte Gleska University, the development of her character on Major Crimes, the amazing set of Battlestar Galactica and what she misses about the show, who she would choose to cosplay, and the experience of appearing on Grey’s Anatomy as a heart surgeon with Asperger’s.

And stay tuned for next week, when I’ll be sharing my exclusive Dragon Con one-on-one interview with Bill Farmer, a.k.a. the voice of Disney’s Goofy!

Baltimore Comic Con

As I’ve said before, I cherish Baltimore Comic Con for being a con that truly focuses on comics and their creators. It’s a great place to go and talk to the creators of some of the best comics out there, to see (and possibly buy) great comics art, and, of course, to honor creators who have been nominated for one of the top sets of awards in the industry, the Harvey Awards. This year’s Harvey Awards banquet was exceptional. Michael Uslan, possibly best known as producer of the Batman movies (and also, incidentally, a native of New Jersey and alumnus of Indiana University – Bloomington, just like me!), hosted with geeky aplomb, Gail Simone, one of the best writers in the industry, was great as the keynote speaker, and Vivek Tiwary, author of The Fifth Beatle and winner of two Harvey Awards for the work, charmed everyone with his impassioned and joyous acceptance speeches for both awards. My congratulations go out to all of the Harvey Awards-winners, and although I didn’t manage to get many pictures of the dinner itself (the lighting is always so dim!) you can check out our general Baltimore Comic Con pics here.

Whew! And that’s all for me this week, folks, so until next time, Servo Lectio!

Box Office Democracy: “Dracula Untold”

I can’t believe Dracula Untold got made. It’s an amazing jumble of nonsensical film parts that I can only believe the pitch meeting between screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless and the development executive at Universal went something like this:

Matt: So, we want to make a Dracula movie that tells the origin story of the most famous vampire in the world.

Executive: Great! Universal has a rich history of making horror movies with iconic characters like this. We’d love to get in the business of making a good horror movie to rescue vampires from being such a punch line in chick lit.

Burk: Oh, no, this isn’t a horror movie. It’s going to be more like the 300 movies. It’ll be a dark atmosphere-y old war movie like that.

Executive: That sounds good too. A brave town hunkering down as they have to defend themselves from the unspeakable horror of the first ever vampire. I still like it a lot.

Matt: Dracula is going to be the good guy in this movie. He’s going to fight the army of the Ottoman Empire.

Executive: Ok, I guess anti-heroes have always done good business and having him fight against a giant army might be interesting. We’ve seen vampires overwhelm individuals but an army of thousands of people might pose an interesting challenge.

Burk: He’s going to kill thousands of people effortlessly in seconds, there won’t be a moment in the film where you believe that anyone is a legitimate challenge to Dracula’s power.

Executive: Well…that’s an interesting way to handle conflict. I think I can still greenlight this movie, if we drop it in October no one will notice it isn’t a scary movie until we already have a lot of their money. Can you at least make a bunch of scenes that feel like they come straight out of Game of Thrones?

Matt: Absolutely, we even already have Charles “Tywin Lannister” Dance himself already attached.

Executive: Great! Is $70 million enough to get this movie in to theaters?

Suffice to say this didn’t produce a great movie. All origin movies have to deal with a certain feeling of inevitability but the good ones manage to do things that shine a new light on the stores we’ve heard a million times. Dracula Untold decides to tell us the parts of the story no one ever cared enough about to ask. I’m not in to Dracula movies to see Dracula care about his family or struggle with the burden of ruling Transylvania. I want to see vampire stuff, victims being stalked and seduced and the like. Dracula Untold gives that to me in the last three minutes of the movie. It’s like making a Superman movie where he doesn’t save Lois Lane until the end credits are rolling. There are a lot of movies this could have been and some of them might have even been satisfying but this was a terrible vampire movie and I would call it a disgrace to the name Dracula but I’ve seen Dracula 2000.

Photo by BagoGames

#NYCC Ticket Prices Triple In Secondary Market

Jesse Lawrence of TiqIQ tell us that it looks like everybody wants to get into New York Comic Con, and that there is a pretty robust secondary market and a totally sold out primary market. Jesse writes: “Our database goes back 5 years, and this is by far the most amount of secondary activity we’ve seen for the show in NYC… there is a major premium every day, with Sunday having the highest at premium at over 300% above face price.”

With ticket sales stated to be over 150,000 people, the convention looks to officially surpass San Diego as the nation’s biggest convention. The 7 subway station across the street from the Javits Convention Center can’t open soon enough.


Sunday activity is perhaps surprising, as that’s usually considered the slower day at conventions. It’s quite possible, however, that people are bringing kids to the show on that day, thereby spiking demand.

Tweeks: MLP Spooktacular Pony Tales Ushers in Halloween

chicken_pie_by_keinzantezuken-d4dj64iNow that it’s officially autumn, we’re ready to jump right into Halloween.  Thankfully, Shout! Factory has just released Spooktacular Pony Tales, a collection of six My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episodes (along with extras like pumpkin stencils & a sing-a-long!) to help us ease into probably the best holiday ever!  Of course, we’d watch Pinkie Pie in a chicken costume any time of year.

Mike Gold: The Joker’s New Friend

I always wondered how World War II would have turned out if only Joseph Goebbels had a sense of humor. After all, what’s the old adage – you get more with a smile and a bomb than just a bomb alone? Really, the whole concept of Harley Quinn is based upon this philosophy.

You know Harley Quinn. The Joker’s… ah, paramour? Quadramour? Well, hold that thought for a couple paragraphs.

This is the start of the new fall television series, not only in North America, but evidently in Iraq as well. A new program, The Superstitious State, is being promoted up in the land between two rivers. It’s tagged “satire,” but it’s not going to close on Saturday night. Here’s the premise.

There’s this big celebration somewhere in some desert. It’s a wedding, although the focus is on the consummation of this blessed event. Don’t worry, it’s G-Rated, common for a Muslim nation that makes its media available to citizens of all ages. The idea is…

… jeez, I hope you’re sitting down…


John Ostrander: TV Week Geek

Once upon a time, when I was a boy, TV consisted of the three networks, one independent channel, and before long, one “education” channel. (“They actually had TV when you were a boy, Uncle John?” Yes. Quiet, you.) Every fall, each of the networks took a week to trot out their new and returning shows and they each took turns. And, if memory serves, that pretty much was it for the season.

If you were into superhero comics (and I was despite my mother), there were damn slim pickings. There was The Adventures of Superman, of course, and that was played pretty straight albeit it was considered a children’s show. Later on, there was the Batman series that was fun and interesting to me at start but got old real fast. Something along the superhero lines was Zorro. I loved that show. Guy Williams was my Zorro. Dressed all in black, masked, fighting injustice – yeah, I’d group him in with the superheroes.

But that was essentially it.

Not so today. Comics rule the cinema and they are taking over the small screen. Never so much as in the coming year and I thought I’d survey the new and returning shows and see what attracts my eye.


ComicMix Quick Picks: September 14, 2014

A Weekend Window Closing Wrap-Up, closing windows on our browsers so you can open them up on yours. Away we go…!

DC Announces Darwyn Cooke variant cover month for December! Because– well, do we really need a reason?

Mike Dawson gives advice to the mid-career cartoonist who has failed to build an audience.

Kevin Brueck: Comic Con villain. Keep an eye out for this bozo at conventions.

Can we stop using speech bubbles for messaging? Probably not. It’s nice to know comics are that universal in people’s minds.

The Whole “Veronica Mars” Gang Is Coming Back For A New Web Series.

Paging Tony Stark: Robotic suit gives shipyard workers super strength and 3-year-old with no fingers receives the hand of a superhero.

Times Square’s costumed superheroes team up against NYPD crackdown. My heavens, J. Jonah Jameson was right! Those costumed so called heroes are menaces!

How the growing generation gap is changing the face of fandom. We’ve got a pretty diverse readership here on ComicMix, what do you think? Is there a generation gap, and if so, where’s the dividing line? And even more to the point, is it related to the gender gap in comics? After all, according to BusinessWeek, Female Comic Book Fans’ Rise Helps Publishers Profit. (Related: John Scalzi’s Creator’s Note to “Gatekeepers”.)

Was The Batman Vs. Superman Batmobile Stolen In Detroit? Or is this just a sneaky way of saying Jason Todd will be in the film?

If you have ever lamented the concept of slabbed comics, or pre-bagged comics that are never opened, this will drive you berserk: Margaret Atwood’s new work will remain unseen for a century.

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.