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The Ruinous Palace of the Metegorgos

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 11:15

By Evey Lockhart
In Search of Games
Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Level 1-3

Why Go to the Ruinous Palace? 1. Old Gold to be Stolen from Old Places 2. Rumors of Supernatural Fecundity and Ruination. What wizard would not wish to study such?
3. Nearby communities are hemorrhaging Livestock. The Dragon learns to hunt and gather.
4. A forest Unmolested for centuries… could become a fortune in Timber.

This is a twenty one page adventure with about six encounters, centered around a small ruined structure with a mythic abomination in it. It’s themed after one of those Earth Mother things: a naked woman, full breasts, giving birth to abominations. It has a STRONG mythic vibe going on; this is not your boring Paizo D&D but rather recalls all of the countless years of myth and story that have floated around the world. This adventure probably skews closer to level two or three than level one, and features some mature themed monsters.

This adventure FEELS like you are going someplace DIFFERENT. You journey through a creepy forest, full of creepy sad zombies. The ruins in which the main adventure takes place almost certainly have a massive dragon curled around them, asleep. Both of those, together, help communicate to the party that they are leaving the mundane world of farmers and lords and entering a different kind of world, where the freaky deaky will be found. IE: the transition to The Mythic Underworld, for those of you versed in blog-o-sphere lore. It’s a very effective technique for helping to set a mood.

The forest journey begins the adventure. There is no hook, just the little publisher’s burb up in the first paragraph, to set help up the why’s of the party going there. It’s a creepy, wet, pine forest, with a heavy but sporadic mist. Scattered throughout are the Sad Zombies. Imagine a zombie in a misty pine forest, in the distance, wearing only a mitre hat. Or one sitting on the ground, crying. Or one chained a tree, with the tree having grown around them. There’s not really much to this, other than the atmosphere of the forest and the sad zombie wandering table. Still, the weirdness of the situation, with the atmosphere, is a great way to begin the mood setting. At the end of it you encounter the ruins, which almost certainly has a huge sleeping dragon wrapped around them, with scales of obsidian.

The dragon is 10HD. Just inside the door is a 2HD monster made up of light, only hit by magic, but captured by opaque surfaces … almost a puzzle in monster form. None of the creatures here are book monsters. The dragon with obsidian scales, the light monster, some shit creatures, the daughters of the woman that are half hippo, and the mother herself. The players won’t have any idea what’s up, the creatures are strongly themed but without mountains of words. It FEELS like something out of myth or folklore.

Well, maybe a Guillermo del Toro folklore. Shit monsters and an earth mother monster who gives birth to needle fish to attack you is a little … uh … repulsive? You’ve got some mature themed creatures and effects that are going where other adventures don’t. Like turning your genitals to stone. That section includes this gem: “septicemia kills more murderhobos a year than any other disease.” It all makes sense, in the adventure and doesn’t feel forced or, oh, included just for shock value. Even tangential sexual themes, like in this, are more than a little unusual.

There’s a fair amount of fluff/inspirational text in the adventure, but it’s almost always confined to a page by itself, in LARGE font. More artful than wordy. This is a great way to include this sort of meta-inspiration without clogging up the text that the DM needs to run at the table. Magical treasure is light, at none, with mundane treasure fitting in nicely but lacking really solid sticky descriptions.

The adventure has a habit of putting entrance/transition information one room ahead of where it should be. In a room at the bottom of stairs you get the stair description, instead of at the room at the top of the stairs. In the room behind the secret door you get the secret door description, instead of in the room that has the secret door. This, and the lack of more mythic treasure, is annoying.

But still, a nice decent adventure with a great vibe going on if you can get past the pussy monsters stuff. When you finish, I suspect your players will really think they’ve accomplished something, much in the same way that happens something in good DCC adventures.

There’s no real preview on DriveThru, unfortunatly.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Re-Post: Getting Ready for Easter

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 11:00

[The following piece was first posted March 5, 2012]

On Sunday, April 8 of this year, millions of Christians on all five continents will gather, not only in magnificent cathedrals and traditional churches, but also in worship centers, store front chapels, and even thatched huts.

Some will risk their lives to attend. They will be there to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as they listen with intensity to resurrection Scriptures and sing with joy resurrection hymns.

But individual persons in these throngs will differ from one another in their grasp of resurrection truth and also in the intensity of their faith in Christ. What will make that difference? One possibility will be how well they have prepared heart and mind during the weeks prior to Easter Sunday.

The importance of preparation for Resurrection Sunday has been formalized in church practices since as far back as the fourth century A.D. when the forty days prior to Easter Sunday were set apart for that very purpose. During these forty days of Lent, special observances are encouraged – such as fasting, acts of self-denial, increase in the giving of alms, etc.

My idea is to live devotionally during those days with the Gospel accounts of the last days of our Lord’s life up to his crucifixion. To do this, my heart is drawn to the Gospel according to John. His account has 21 chapters; yet, as early as chapter 12, he introduces his readers to the events of one week — the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. So, chapters 12 to 19 – eight of its 21 chapters — are devoted to the events of that one single week. If a third of John’s gospel covers only one week of Jesus’ 33-year lifespan, that tells us they are very important.

Please note how Chapter 12 begins: Martha serves a dinner in Jesus’ honor. Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, is at table. In an act of extravagant devotion, Mary breaks open a jar of the expensive perfume, nard, and pours the whole content on Jesus’ feet. The fragrance fills the house.

Judas is openly offended and complains that this ointment could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. But John, writing much later, tells the truth about Judas: he “… was a thief; as keeper of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6).

What a wide range of concerns in that room! Just so in this Easter season: some will love the Lord with the warmth and sincerity of Mary; others may be present but kept from worship by blockages of greed, pride or sensuality. How appropriate to test our love by a verse of an old hymn:

More love to thee, O Christ, more love to thee;
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea, more love, O Christ, to Thee
More love to Thee; more love to Thee.

Photo credit: Robin (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Modification Monday: Garri Sweater

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 11:00


Original Pattern: Garri Sweater Knitter Extraordinaire: Jimi (Ravelry ID, blog) Mods: The pattern was originally a bottom-up pullover, but Jimi re-engineered it to be a top-down cardigan. She knit it in the round and steeked, adjusting gauge and shortening the waist to suit her frame. Project page with more details can be found here. What Makes

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

A Gate, Silver Keys, and Tempting Fate

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 11:00
Michael KalutaOur Land of Azurth game continued last night with the fourth session of my adaptation of X2: Castle Amber. The dog-headed Claudas had told them they needed to go to the dungeon to find the gate where they could use the silver keys, but they didn't know where the dungeon was. Shade the Ranger was convinced she should at least try to make nice with her crazy family, the Sylaire, by going to see her grandmother. Claudas (who shared the same grandmother) said that the Dame Carmilla was in the card room across the hall playing at being fortune teller.

Carmilla didn't look like a grandmother, but she did recognize her wayward daughter in her grand-daughter. She offered to let Shade and her companion draw cards. Shade did (reluctantly) and received a chalice which allowed her to tell when someone was lying. The frogling thief Waylon pulled the Page of Coins and had all his coinage disappear! Kully had nothing occur on his draw. Carmilla disappeared and while they waited the night in a long rest, the others drew. Astra of the Shooting Star Folk pulled a death card--all the more horrifying because the player's first character (Dagmar) had already been petrified. Luckily, the death was just a hit point reduction, and she was able to be saved.

Next, they found a room full of dog-headed men playing cards.They tried to be somewhat helpful and point the way to the Black Room, but they got into an argument over the best way to go and the party was left confused. A mention of a secret door got them searching and they found the Red Room.

In the Red Room, and an armored man, Solus, who claimed to be a dwarf fallen from the sun. he told them the Black Room was right next door. They found it, but it took a bit of searching to find the trapdoor.

A Magic Square painted onto the floor of the room they came into caused them a lot of consternation, ultimately to know useful end, as two succumbed to the lunacy curse (though they didn't know it yet). Two received increases in their wisdom.

After that, it was a pitch battle in the vat room where artificial men were made, and oneiric black dust in the alchemical lab. Kully had a dream of falling and woke up dead (or at least 0 HP). Kairon had all his dreams come true of having the Wizard raise his station, only to have it fade away with the dust.

Avoiding more fights became their goal, as the party continued a room to room search for the gate. They ran away from a coin-encrusted slime worm and shut the door on a kennel of whimpering hell hounds.

At last, they found the room with the gate. As they turned the keys, the amber lion statue came to life...

Encounter With 'The Thoth' An 'Old Mars' Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea & Warriors of the Red Planet Hybrid Campaign Actual Play Event

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 05:53
Tonight I got a chance to get into my Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea & Warriors of the Red Planet hybrid campaign known as 'Old Mars'. The adventurer came across an ancient ragged & ruined city inhabited by strange bird creatures after their sky ship crashed near a weird city. There they came across one of the original races of Mars the 'Thoth'. They opened trade from their Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


Looking For Group - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 04:01

The post 1077 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics


First Comics News - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 02:30

At last!  We have been waiting several years and Wayne Reinagel has finally completed “Sanctuary Falls” the third volume in the Pulp Heroes Trilogy.  The novel continues the story arc from “More Than Mortal” and “Khan Dynasty” and brings the Infinite Horizon’s Universe to the year 1950 when everything had changed and the Pulp Heroes era came to an end.  And what a novel!  It involves Wayne’s creations Doc Titan, the Darkness, the Scorpion, and many others against he backdrop of the defeat of the Nazis, the beginning of the Cold War,  the Tunguska Event, ROSWELL and mch, much more!

Wayner is not only a terrific pulp writer, he also illustrates his own stories and paints original covers for them.  If you haven’t read the first 2 installments of the Pulp Heroes Series, don’t miss them.  if you have read them then you are anticipating “Sanctuary Falls as much as I am!


Sanctuary Falls:





Wayne Reinagel’s Amazon Author’s Page:



Wayne’s KnightRaven Studios page:


Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Peter G’s One True Pairing

First Comics News - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 02:17

Sine Timore Animation Studios proudly presents…
Peter G’s One True Pairing 1 – Venus In Overdrive
Ever wonder what would happen if a fanfic pairing went on a date but didn’t behave OOC? A temple maiden meets a bubbly pop idol for a date to see if they’ll fit together. Created, written, directed, produced and voiced by Peter G.

Run Time: 3 min, 1 sec
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Comments: The cartoon animation is cute. The voice on sailor Moon as she goes on and on to Sailor Mars does start to get annoying in a funny way. The ending is so cute.
The cartoon is short so in 3 minutes time there is not a lot that goes on.
Sailor Mars is very patient but ever she gets to a breaking point.


Sine Timore Animation Studios proudly presents…
Peter G’s One True Pairing 2 – I Can Still See The X
Ever wonder what would happen if a fanfic pairing went on a date but didn’t behave OOC? A grandiose megalomaniac meets a telepathic headmaster for a date to see if they’ll fit together. Created, written, directed, produced and voiced by Peter G.

Run Time: 5 min, 11 sec
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Comments: Magneto sure has a huge ego. He gets paired with Professor Xavier. These two at times seem as if they could work as friends but both have secrets. Magneto’s huge ego though makes it hard for him to like anyone. The animation looks cute on these two X-Men. Plus there is a surprise guest appearance.


Sine Timore Animation Studios proudly presents…
Peter G’s One True Pairing 3 – Clones Are People
Ever wonder what would happen if a fanfic pairing went on a date but didn’t behave OOC? A fiery redhead from Germany goes on a date with a socially withdrawn girl(s). How will it go? Guest starring Naki as the red haired girl. Created, written, directed, produced and voiced by Peter G.

Run Time: 4 min, 23 sec
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Comments: Asuka and Rei from Evangelion meet and they are not at all similar. Now one cute girl loses control and it is a beat down unlike any you have seen. These two girls were not made for each other. But the clone of one is just right for its clone.


Sine Timore Animation Studios proudly presents…
Peter G’s One True Pairing 4 – The Union Of The Snake
Ever wonder what would happen if a fanfic pairing went on a date but didn’t behave OOC? An orphan with magic powers meets another magic user from a very determined family. How will it go? Created, written, directed, produced and voiced by Peter G.

Run Time: 2 min, 50 sec
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Comments: Harry and Draco from Harry Potter get set up. Harry is a calm cool British guy. Draco does start using his magical knowledge. So interesting animation is used to show this. The She-Hulk scene is cute.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 01:48


By MOS – Fotos: Rodrigo Ortiz

Desde sus inicios, Expo-Comic está abierta para apoyar a los y lasdibujantes emergentes.


Desde sus inicios, Expo-Comic está abierta para apoyar a los y las dibujantes emergentes y cuando uno de ellos alcanza un logro importante nos llena de satisfacción y orgullo.


Aquí podemos destacar artistas chilenos consagrados y emergentes como Gonzalo Ordóñez, Christopher Peters, Midori Gale, Alexia Oñate, Juan Vásquez, Daniela Thiers, Angélica Luna, Raúl Bratesco, Guido Salinas, Madeline Boni, Nicole Cepeda, Vanesa Aguilar, Rodrigo Elgueta, Claudio Huenchumil, etc.


Estos son algunos de los artistas chilenos que han pasado por la Expo-Comic y Multimedia.



Afiche Expo-Comic 2016 Manga.


Daniela Thiers en plena actividad.


Javi Ferre, esforzado editor del cómics nacional.


Pablo Monreal, un nuevo artista nacional.



Categories: Comic Book Blogs

EL REY DEL COMICS #48: EXPO-COMIC 2016 MANGA Entretenciones para los Niños

First Comics News - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 01:48


Entretenciones para los Niños

By Miguel Ortiz – Fotos: Rodrigo Ortiz

Expo-Comic 2016 Manga presentó una primicia: Realidad virtual, que transporta a las personas a la prehistoria o al espacio en forma espectacular.


Mucho público aficionado al manga se reunió en el Portal La Reina a disfrutar de un evento fuera de lo común donde el arte se confundió con el arte japonés del manga y lo sensacional, dándole a esta feria un toque de originalidad propio de Expo-Comic, que trata de combinar estas expresiones artísticas con una feria atípica que muestra una variedad de productos mezclados con nuestros expositores de manga que de alguna manera tratan de mostrar su arte al resto del mundo. Ahora, por intermedio de estas ferias anuales usted podrá ir viendo los progresos nuestros y recibiendo noticias permanentes de los avances de nuestros artistas en el plano internacional.


No se pierdas nuestros próximos encuentros.


Afiche Expo-Comic 2016 Manga.


El público quedó muy satisfecho con la feria.


Depredador causó sensación en el mall.


Gonzalo se lució haciendo personajes del cómic con sus globos.


Realidad virtual fue un gran acierto en la feria.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

EL REY DEL COMICS #46: Javiera Constanzo Nacida para el Cómic

First Comics News - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 01:48

Javiera Constanzo Nacida para el Cómic

By MOS – Fotos: Rodrigo Ortiz

Efectivamente, esta simpática veterinaria domina desde muy temprana edad el Noveno Arte.


Hablar de Javiera es meterse a compartir con ella sus viajes por el trópico, África y China, etc. A ella le gusta viajar para inspirarse en terreno por lo que creemos pronto puede utilizar sus apuntes para mostrarnos sus ilustraciones en un lindo cómic bien documentado.


Javiera tiene gran dominio del color y maneja muy bien el Photoshop. El afiche de Expo-Comic 2016 Ilustración fue diseñado por ella.


Javiera también juega en las grandes ligas: se lo merece, ya que, además, tiene un gran futuro por delante, y estuvo presente en Expo-Comic 2016 Ilustración.

Javiera Constanzo


En la ilustración y el cómic, Javiera, es un a artista consumada.

En la ilustración y el cómic, Javiera, es un a artista consumada.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention Promoting Literacy and Creativity!

First Comics News - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 01:32

Gather with friends old and new at the 16th Annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention! Bring your costume, your artwork, your story ideas, or your passion to the TECH Freire Charter School at 2221 N Broad St., Philadelphia, PA on May 20, 2017, 11 am to 7 pm, to get your yearly fix of positive vibes!


ECBACC, Inc. is proud to provide an opportunity for creators and self-publishers to interact with their fans. If you are interested in obtaining an exhibitor’s table, use the links below and complete the requested information.

Exhibitor Table Application Form

Drop Box for Completed Forms and Content

Store Shopping Cart

Payment can be submitted through an online order at our store.  The completed form and samples can be uploaded to our drop box. We look forward to your participation at our convention!

Program Guide Ad Purchase Form – FINAL WEEK TO BUY

Interested in enhancing your exposure at ECBACC? Then, advertise your business in our publication. The ECBACC 2017 Program Guide offers the determined publisher serious about business the opportunity to connect with our growing audience.

This expertly formatted publication is easy to read, fun and informative. Advertisers can use the links below and complete the requested information.

Program Guide Advertisement Purchase Form

Drop Box for Completed Form and Content

Store Shopping Cart

Payment can be submitted through an online order at our store.  The completed form and artwork provided for the ad can be uploaded to our drop box. Advertise in the ECBACC program Guide and increase your business exposure to the comic book audience during and after the convention!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Tome of Horrors - Light? Upcoming Swords & Wizardry Light Release for the Swords & Wizardry Legion

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 23:35

For a light ruleset, Swords & Wizardry Light is getting a ton of support. In the works from Frog God Games - The Tome of Horrors: Light. This will be free and included in future Swords & Wizardry Legion packets.

What is the Swords & Wizardry Legion? An awesome way to get free Swords & Wizardry loot.


Join the Swords & Wizardry Legion on Facebook and get what is yours! :)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Hey Kids Comics Radio Show – Episode 57

First Comics News - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 21:09
The Hey Kids Comics Radio Show – Episode 57

Marvel Diversity, dropping comics, wanting great stories and coming up lacking. Sam, Chris and Martin chat about Marvel’s downturn and the infamous Retailer’s Summit. Then we set our sights on the comic book TV shows.

If you are interested in older episodes please head to http://heykidscomics.ca !

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Podcast - Sanctum Secorum - Episode 23 - DCC RPG Lankhmar - With Free Bonus Support Material

Tenkar's Tavern - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 20:53

I know I've mentioned this before, but I find that I'm listening to less podcasts now that I'm retired. Lack of a daily commute appears to be the main culprit. Ah well, I'll try to rectify that in the near future - not the retirement and lack of commute part, I mean I'm going to carve out some more time devoted to podcast listening.

Literally, as I type this, I'm listening to Sanctum Secorum episode #23, the DCC RPG Lankhmar episode. In addition to the regular hosts (Bob, Jen and Mark) and special guest Michael Curtis, the main author of the DCC RPG Lankhmar Kickstarter. Maybe its just me, but Mike always makes a great guest on podcasts. He knows his subject and can speak of it in an entertaining manner.

That's not all. In addition to the podcast, the Sanctum Secorum folks released support material for Lankhmar in conjunction with this episode. You can download the free PDF detailing an entire neighborhood of Lankhmar here.

Alright, time to move the portable podcast to the car as I pick Rach up from yoga. Too short for a "commute" but I'll be playing catch up soon ;)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Step - By Step of Edd's Pub - Part Two - Who Are You and Who Are They?

Two Hour Wargames - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 18:14

Part One

You can bring your existing THW characters into Edd's Pub. But what if you choose to play as a Star using Edd's Pub? That's easy and to get started you have to define your character as well as all of the other NPCs and Creatures you'll find - over 50 of them.
Here's how we do it:

1 - Is is a Star or Grunt? Star, that's you. Grunt, that's all Non-Player Characters and Creatures run by the game mechanics.
2 - What is its Race? We've got nine to choose from.
3 - What is its Alignment? You can choose to Red Sun (Good Guy), Black Moon (Bad Guy) or Neutral (somewhere in between).
4 - What is its Reputation? This tells you how good the character is - from 3 to 10. You're a 5 at the start.
5 - What is its Class? There are 4 Classes and each tells you what the figure is best at. Stars? You can be Dual Class - choose any two of the following; Melee, Missile, Caster, or Healer.
6 -  What is its Armor Class? The higher the better. We use 3 basic, AC 2, AC 4 and AC 6, but with a little Magic, it's possible to be AC 8.
7 - Is it a Leader? This will be the Star or the character with the highest Rep in the group.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Random Memorized Spells for Swords & Wizardry

Bat in the Attic - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 17:49
Making a random table is easy, making a good random table that useful is a bit harder. While I haven't been blogging as frequently I am still gaming and one the things I been doing is working on the various parts of what is going to be follow up for the Majestic Wilderlands Supplement.

This particular project is about randomly generating memorized spells. This came about because one of the things  I am doing is writing up a Monster Manual style listing of common NPCs that I used. This includes various magic users NPCs that I used.

While doing this I realized that I don't have a good way of coming up with memorized spells. What I been doing is using the NPCs I created for Scourge of the Demon Wolf and varying the spells a bit. I wanted more variety with less sweat I had to put into Scourge.

So I sat down with the spell lists and looked them over carefully and assigned what I thought were the odds of somebody memorizing them.

Then I coded up the tables using NBos' Inspiration Pad Pro and tweaked the result until they look about right.

After that I had everything I need to write up Random Memorized Spell Generation for the Majestic Wilderlands RPG.

Since like my original supplement, it  is based on Swords and Wizardry, the rules are designed to work with the Core rules edition.

One additional thing I want to point that this booklet also illustrate the use and different between random tables and random assortments. In the mid 70s Gygax and TSR released the Monster and Treasure Assortment. It contained charts to generate the monsters and treasure for nine levels of a dungeon. What made this different is that each chart was very simple to use. There were two charter per level, one with a 100 different monster entries, and another with a 100 treasure.

What interesting to me that the starting looked that Gygax rolled on the the random tables of OD&D 100 times and then edited the results to make sure there was enough variety. This booklets does the same for memorized spells. I used the table to generate six sets of memorized spells for 3rd, 6th, and 9th leve, and four sets of spells for 12th, 15th, and 18th. I then did some minor editing to rework result I felt where nonsense.

Hope this proves useful and let me know how it works for you.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wayne’s Worlds: Images of Batman – 4

First Comics News - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 17:18

When we last spoke on this topic, Batman: The Animated Series (B:TAS) was about to debut on Fox.

Monday, September 7, 1992. I lived for that date.

That was the day the first episode of Batman: The Animated Series was set to begin on Fox.

As I mentioned last time, I had seen a copy of an episode at a local Trek convention, and I was stoked! It looked great, and I counted the days until the show hit the airwaves.

I was so excited that week and so focused on that Monday that I didn’t follow my usual practice at that time of read­ing the TV Guide from stem to stern. I hated missing programs! And I knew that nothing would compete with B:TAS.

Finally, the day came, and my VCR (yes, it was that long ago) taped the premiere half hour. It was “On Leather Wings,” the same episode I’d seen at the Trek con. I was thrilled to have it on tape, the first of many.

But what really struck me was the title sequence. Dark and moody, energetic and relentless, it was gripping. However, one thing was not there—the word “Batman.” At the end, the only thing we see is Batman in cos­tume being lit up by a lightning bolt a la the cover of the first issue of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Who needs words when a terrific picture will do? Loved that.

The next day, “Heart of Ice” aired. It turned fourth-tier or lower villain Mr. Freeze into a fascinating character, a scientist trying to revive his ailing wife.

To say I was impressed was an understate­ment. If this was how they were going to treat the low-level bad guys, what would they do with the Joker and the Penguin?

My roommate at the time, who worked over a half hour from home, used to try very hard to get home in time to watch the tape with me every afternoon. The bad news for him was that I worked less than 10 minutes away, and when it came to B:TAS, I was not a patient guy. He’d often burst through the door to discover that I’d already watched that day’s show. But I was always happy to watch it a second time!

The first week was percolating along well, and my tape collection of B:TAS episodes was growing every day. Life was good.

Now that B:TAS was under control, I went back to my weekly practice of reading the TV Guide. I picked up that week’s edition, got home and plunked down in front of the televi­sion to start reading.

I hit Saturday morning at 9 o’clock, and the roof caved in.

On Fox, there was an episode of B:TAS. It was called “The Cat and the Claw.” It featured Catwoman, with Kate Mulgrew voicing the Red Claw, a new villain for Batman. And worst of all, it was part two!

How could the second part be airing when the first chapter hadn’t been shown? I had never heard of this episode. I had to know what was going on, so I pulled out last week’s TV Guide. There, at nine in the morning, sat an episode of B:TAS. Yep, “The Cat and the Claw,” part one.

I was livid! The show wasn’t a week old, and already I had missed an episode!

I hit the Internet and read an article indi­cating that Fox had decided to try and bolster their Saturday morning line-up by running episodes then. The author indicated that he thought it was a bad idea since all the advertis­ing had indicated a Monday launch. Very few fans knew about this last-minute change and would be, politely put, unhappy at this.

My response was, “YA THINK?”

Thus began a long and cloudy relationship with the Fox television network and fans of the show.

Later on, Fox decided to run B:TAS on Sunday nights. Why they chose to air reruns instead of new episodes I’ll never understand. That little experiment didn’t last long due to low ratings. Duhhhh!

On the other hand, the show itself was, in my opinion, the very best incarnation of Bat­man ever. Great characters, dynamic anima­tion, surprises that shocked a long-time televi­sion watcher such as myself—all in all, some of the very best storytelling I’ve ever seen.

Some of my very favorite episodes were “Almost Got ‘Im,” any show with Mr. Freeze, and any episode with Batgirl in it. The series also took time to let us get to know characters before their evolution into heroes or villains. For example, we see Harvey Dent, district at­torney, several times before he becomes Two Face. It made the inevitable transformation all the more poignant.

Later on, I found out that the show’s creators were even more frustrated with Fox than I was, and eventually they let the con­tract with the network expire. I watched the last new episode, “The Lion and the Unicorn,” with great sadness, figuring it was all over. Interestingly, that show brought back the Red Claw, who had appeared in the first episode ever aired on Fox, as I previously have pointed out in this column.

Luckily, it wasn’t the end. Soon after that, Superman: The Animated Series debuted on the WB Network from the same creative team, and Batman joined the Man of Steel soon af­ter in a three-part episode appropriately titled, “World’s Finest.” For a long time, that was the most-watched show on the WB. The local WB channel ran the same three-part storyline every Friday at 5 p.m. for weeks.

Teaming Batman with Superman meant re-designing the Caped Crusader. While the B:TAS costume very closely resembled the uni­form he wore in the comics, this new one was even darker and more batlike. I loved it.

The WB episodes were unfettered by Fox’s restrictions, and they were often more “adult” (in the good way). For example, in “Cold Comfort,” another Mr. Freeze episode, the bad guy goes about wrecking the life’s work of several prominent citizens. The biggest shock I ever had was when Freeze comes around a cor­ner at the end, and his body has been destroyed by his transformation, leaving only his head in a spider-like device that clicked along furtively until it turned the corner. Yikes!

Before long, Batman and Superman moved into the Cartoon Network’s Justice League, which was followed by Justice League Unlim­ited. With every new program, I figured that these guys just couldn’t keep up this tremendous pace. And every time, I was happy to admit I was wrong. Very happy.

Next time: The Big Bat Finale.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


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