The world has changed, and geeks rule it. Proof of that is the new DC Nation lineup on Cartoon Network. Okay, maybe a little overstated. But last Saturday at WonderCon 2012 we got to sit in at a video presentation and panel by the DC Nation people themselves, and we got a sneak peak at what they’re dishing up starting pretty much now. The presentation was hosted by an all-star panel featuring Young Justice producers Brandon Vietti (Batman: Under the Red Hood) and Greg Weisman (Gargoyles), Green Lantern: The Animated Series producers Jim Kreig (Ben 10: Alien Swarm) and Giancarlo Volpe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), and DC animated short producers Lauren Faust (Powerpuff Girls, My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic) and Ben Jones (Batman: The Brave & The Bold).
DC Nation is a programming block on Cartoon Network, and they begin serving up the good stuff with the new season of Young Justice (“We’re not the Teen Titans – we’re not, we’re not, we’re not”) that starts immediately on the heels of season one with no break or hiatus. They’re not making us wait a single day to begin seeing the new episodes. All in all, 62 new but canon DC characters will be introduced in the new season, including the obvious choice, Blue Beetle. They’d developed him as a character in Batman: Brave & Bold and he’ll be back in blue and working with the apprentice heroes in coming episodes. And yes, he still has some of the same authority issues – and how he works through them will change the fate of the team.
We also got an advance look at what’s coming in the new Green Lantern animated series. Hal and Killiwog are still fighting their way back to Oa, Star Trek: Voyager style, while doing their best to end the threat of the Red Lanterns. We got a great look at a surprise character introduction – none other than the leader of the Blue Lantern Corps, Saint Walker. Giancarlo Volpe commented that he’d been wanted to do a double-eyelid on a character on Star Wars: The Clone Wars but George wouldn’t give him the budget for it – but with Saint Walker he finally got to, and his enthusiasm when he announced this was infectious. And it shows he’s a real fan himself. Walker forms a relationship with Razer, the Red Lantern captured by Hal Jordan in the pilot – yes, Razer is a continuing character.
We also got a great look at a piece of one new upcoming episode set on the warrior planet of Thanagar (the world Hawkgirl came from) – and there are yellow crystals everywhere which render Hal and Killowog’s power rings useless. When asked by a fan if this meant that Sinestro would be making an appearance, producers Jim Krieg and Giancarlo Volpe got big goofy grins on their faces, but wouldn’t directly answer the question. We’re gonna take that one as a “yes”, guys.
We were also treated to some of the short subjects and interstitials they’ve come up with. Laurent Faust and Ben Jones commented that it was really tough coming up with a lot of them, because there were wonderful jokes and stuff they could stick in that they often simply can’t because of the 72 second time constraint to which each clip has to conform. The Aardman clips (Wallace & Gromit, Flushed Away, The Pirates! Band of Misfits) they said they just handed over completely and let Aardman do whatever they wanted, knowing that they’d be fine. But the Super Best Friends Forever short subjects depict Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Girl in various comedic situations, emphasizing their central nature as teenage girls who happen to have super powers. They’re a fluffy bit of whimsy and remind one of the Powerpuff Girls – and in fact we think there’s a lot of Blossom, Peaches and Buttercup in the new comedy clips.
Not all the clips are comedic – we also saw a fantastic short of the Doom Patrol. The panelists suggested that if these became really popular, there might – might – be a Doom Patrol series in the offing. So much of what happens depends on what we as fans decide we like best. They’re doing all this for us, and the connection between the production teams and the fans of the stuff is a lot tighter than you’d think.
DC Nation has already begun on Cartoon Network and airs Saturdays between 10-11AM ET/PT. We’ve already got our DVR’s set. It’s gonna be a great season.
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