I chatted with Danny Elfman about his new MasterClass, and his ventriloquist dummy "Buddy"

You may remember I recently blogged about Danny Elfman's new "music for film" MasterClass (which launched on Halloween, naturally). A day or so after it posted I got an email from someone on his team asking if I wanted to interview him. My response, "Uh, who could say no to that...?!" I soon found myself Skyping with the founder of Oingo Boingo, the father of the Simpsons' theme, and one of the most prolific film composers of all time — Happy Mutant extraordinaire, Mr. Danny Elfman.

Here's what we chatted about:

Rusty: Hi there, Danny. I'm thrilled to speak with you today.

Danny: Hello, thank you.

Rusty: I wanted to share a couple of things we have in common real quick before we get into it. One... we're both redheads.

Danny: I was just going to say that. That's got to be the first thing.

Rusty: Right? Well, it's obvious. Two... we both collect strange and unusual objects.

Danny: Ooh...

Rusty: Just saw an article about your strange and unusual collection and they shared a picture of you with your creepy ventriloquist dummy.

Danny: Buddy!

Rusty: Yeah, Buddy! Well, I wanted to tell you, you must know Archie McPhee...

Danny: Yeah.

Rusty: So, a couple of years ago, they made my likeness into a product. I'm a creepy ventriloquist dummy toy, a finger puppet.

Danny: Really...?!

Rusty: Yes.

Danny: Wow... Oh my god, that's so cool. What an honor. You should be honored.

Rusty: Oh I am.

Danny: Wow. Well, you have to go look at my nine episodes of "Danny and Buddy."

Rusty: Oh my gosh, yes, ok. Read the rest

DC Comics kills Batman image because China insisted it was supporting the Hong Kong protests

The poster for "The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child" features Batman hurling a molotov cocktail in front of the words "The Future is Young," after DC Comics posted it to Instagram and Twitter, the image was copied into Chinese social media, where they sparked outrage among Chinese users who claimed that the subtext of the image was support for the Hong Kong protests. Read the rest

This $3.5 million mansion includes a replica of Bruce Wayne's study and so much more

Former Pittsburgh radio personality T.J. Lubinsky is selling his home, about a half-hour outside the city in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.

I'll be honest, I've never heard of this guy. But apparently he has quite a resume. Which I guess is how he and his wife Wenday were able to build this absurdly palatial estate with 14 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a "waterfall poolside oasis" with a custom Lilliput playhouse for the kids, and—oh yeah, a two-story replica of the Heinz Chapel as well as a replica of the private study from the 1966 "Batman" show, complete with sliding bookcases, a red phone, and Batpoles.

It also contains replica rooms based on "the Queen’s residence next to the Ritz London" and "the Hotel Del Coronado in California." Did I mention that the whole design is based on Newport's Seaview Terrace/Carey Mansion, which was used as the exterior shots for Collinwood Manor in the classic vampire soap opera "Dark Shadows?"

While I personally couldn't afford the $3.5 million it would cost to buy this place, but all things considered, I think that's actually a pretty reasonable price for it.

724 Bristlecone Drive, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania 15044, via Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate

Image via Batman '66, duh Read the rest

Interview with the real Joker

 

Above, a 1966 interview with the best of all Jokers, the inimitable Cesar Romero who camped it up for the Batman TV series (1966-1968) and subsequent theatrical film. Romero famously refused to shave his trademark mustache for the role so they just slathered the white greasepaint right over his whiskers. (Interview with Romero starts at about 3:36, but watch from the beginning to catch an interview with Julie "Catwoman" Newmar.)

Read the rest

Watch the soap opera inspiration for Harley Quinn

In 1987, Arleen Sorkin played a bizarre dream jester on the classic soap opera Days of our Lives. Watch above. Several years later, that curious character became the inspiration for Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series. Naturally, Sorkin voiced Ms. Quinn.

From Vulture:

In 1987, Sorkin was a regular on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, playing the show’s comic relief: the ditzy, leggy, Noo Yawk–accented Calliope Jones. But unlike her flighty character, Sorkin was a skilled and experienced comedy writer. “I could never just come in and run my lines,” she told Vulture. “I was forever suggesting stuff, probably out of boredom!” So when she went to a screening of the faux-medieval The Princess Bride, an idea struck her: Why not do a fairy-tale dream sequence on Days? The producers were into it and aired an episode in which Calliope acts as a court jester, roller-skating into a throne room and doing some hackneyed borscht belt gags for a royal family.

(Writer Paul) Dini and Sorkin were college friends, and one day, she gave him a VHS tape of her favorite Days moments — including her jester bit. The tape sat idle for years. But in mid 1991, Dini was sick as a dog and popped the tape into his VCR. He was a budding television writer at the time, cranking out freelance scripts for the as-yet-unaired Batman: The Animated Series. He’d been struggling to come up with a female character to use as a one-off in an episode about Batman’s archnemesis, the Joker.

Read the rest

Podcast: Occupy Gotham

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my essay Occupy Gotham, published in Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman, commemorating the 1000th issue of Batman comics. It's an essay about the serious hard problem of trusting billionaires to solve your problems, given the likelihood that billionaires are the cause of your problems.

A thousand issues have gone by, nearly 80 years have passed, and Batman still hasn't cleaned up Gotham. If the formal definition of insanity it trying the same thing and expecting a different outcome, then Bruce Wayne belongs in a group therapy session in Arkham Asylum. Seriously, get that guy some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy before he gets into some *serious* trouble.

As Upton Sinclair wrote in his limited run of *Batman: Class War*[1], "It's impossible to get a man to understand something when his paycheck depends on his not understanding it."

Gotham is a city riven by inequality. In 1939, that prospect had a very different valence than it has in 2018. Back in 1939, the wealth of the world's elites had been seriously eroded, first by the Great War, then by the Great Crash and the interwar Great Depression, and what was left of those vast fortunes was being incinerated on the bonfire of WWII. Billionaire plutocrats were a curious relic of a nostalgic time before the intrinsic instability of extreme wealth inequality plunged the world into conflict.

MP3

Read the rest

The best Joker is the woman Joker who snaps after a lifetime of being told to "smile, baby" by shitty men

Last week, Geraldine DeRuiter tweeted a short, sharp alternate character arc for The Joker: "The Joker should have been a woman. And she finally went insane because too many random dudes told her to smile, so now she perpetually smiles while terrorizing Gotham." Read the rest

Batman Dark Knight Returns Issue 4, Kayfabe Commentary

No deep dive of this legendary comic exists online from a cartoonist's perspective, let alone 3 cartoonists! The boys, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli continue to unpack the Frank Miller 1986 Batman classic over the course of 4 jam-packed episodes, one chapter at a time!

For more videos and deep dives like this make sure to subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel 

You can support the channel by grabbing some stuff from our Spreadshop! Read the rest

Batman Dark Knight Returns Issue 3, Kayfabe Commentary

No deep dive of this legendary comic exists online from a cartoonist's perspective, let alone 3 cartoonists! The boys, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli continue to unpack the Frank Miller 1986 Batman classic over the course of 4 jam-packed episodes, one chapter at a time!

Part 1 here:

For more videos and deep dives like this make sure to subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel 

You can support the channel by grabbing some stuff from our Spreadshop! Read the rest

Batman Dark Knight Returns Issue 2, Kayfabe Commentary

No deep dive of this legendary comic exists online from a cartoonist's perspective, let alone 3 cartoonists! The boys, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli continue to unpack the Frank Miller 1986 Batman classic over the course of 4 jam-packed episodes, one chapter at a time!

Part 1 here:

For more videos and deep dives like this make sure to subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel 

You can support the channel by grabbing some stuff from our Spreadshop! Read the rest

Batman Dark Knight Returns Issue 1, Kayfabe Commentary

No deep dive of this legendary comic exists online from a cartoonist's perspective, let alone 3 cartoonists! The boys, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli unpack the Frank Miller 1986 Batman classic over the course of 4 jam-packed episodes, one chapter at a time!

For more videos and deep dives like this make sure to subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel 

You can support the channel by grabbing some stuff from our Spreadshop! Read the rest

Occupy Gotham: my essay about the class war at the heart of Batman

The book Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman commemorates the 1000th issue of Batman comics; my contribution is an essay called Occupy Gotham, about the terror of letting a billionaire vigilante decide who is and isn't a criminal (featuring Lessig and Piketty jokes!). Read the rest

WATCH: 'Joker' trailer features Joaquin Phoenix as new Batman villain

This might be the best trailer I have ever seen in my life.

Is this teaser trailer for JOKER available as a vape? I want to inhale it nonstop until the movie comes out in October. Read the rest

Bootleg Comics in this week's Cartoonist Kayfabe

Controversial subject matter in this week's episode. Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg showcase a small sample of their favorite unauthorized comics.

Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe youtube channel for updated comic book coverage every week.

Supplemental Links of comics from the video:

Comics Journal review of Ron Rege Diana (Wonder Woman)

Ron Rege Store Envy

Josh Simmons' Mark of the Bat

Josh Simmons' Twilight of the Bat

David Enos' Batman Lost In the Woods

Benjamin Marra American Psycho

Benjamin Marra Website

Jim Mahfood's Ask For Janice

Tom Neely's Doppleganger

Teddy Goldenberg's Cobra 2

Jim Rugg's Rambo 3.5 Read the rest

Black Batman: an origin story for an alternate superhero

Jamelle Bouie (previously), has proposed an alternate Black Batman, with an accompanying background story that goes beyond race-switching Bruce Wayne and instead looks at the cultural and racial politics of America and finds exactly the right niche where a Black vigilante in a mask would fit. Read the rest

Batman and the Joker settle their differences with a surfing contest

The Cesar Romero "Joker" is the best Joker of all Jokers. Read the rest

Warner Bros. releases first image of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker

We have our first glimpse of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker in Warner Bros. upcoming Joker origin story. And we also have The Joker's first name.

From director Todd Phillips' Instagram:

No Country for Old Jokers?

The Daily Mail also published some not-so-official footage from the set, captured last week by paparazzi.

The yet-untitled Joker film is scheduled to open on October 4th, 2019.

Joaquin Phoenix spotted in character as The Joker for the first time as filming starts on the origins story [Daily Mail][PHOTO: PXHere] Read the rest

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