Saturday, October 15, 2011

1995/96 Nightshade and the Question animation concept art by Bruce Timm

Superman: The Animated Series ran on The WB network from 1996-2000. According to a 1998 interview with producer Bruce Timm in Wizard's JLA Special magazine, while that show was in development, a JLA team-up format was considered. That prospect only lasted about a week, but the production team worked up a bunch of character sketches for the proposal. "I sat down and did designs for a bunch of characters, even some that had never even been in the JLA, like The Question. We tried to put in as weird a mix of characters as we could so it wasn't just Superman, Aquaman, Hawkman. So that's how that came about, but it never went further than that." Aside from the aforementioned characters, Hawkgirl, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Vixen, Nightshade, Black Lightning, Green Lantern John Stewart and Doctor Fate were also proposed. Jenette Kahn put the kibosh on the idea, believing Superman deserved his own show and the chance to be reintroduced into animation by himself. However, the talks led to Zatanna's appearances on Batman: The Animated Series and a slew of guest spots for other heroes on Superman, including the New Gods and Supergirl.

While the Question made a splash when he finally made it into animation on Timm's Justice League Unlimited, Nightshade has yet to mount a significant dent in animation (aside from a cameo in the direct-to-DVD Superman/Batman: Public Enemies .) Curiously, the Atom had co-starred in a Superman show back in the '60s, didn't make the cut in these preliminaries, but did have several notable appearance on JLU.

Bruce Timm Bits


Rafa Rivas said...

I believe Zatanna appeared in BTAS in 1992, way before that Justice League proposal for STAS. The article appeared after the second season of STAS, The New Batman Adventures (the episodes with Tim Drake) was already airing.
The design style of the Wizard pics are clearly from after STAS (broader shoulders, tini waists, big headed women) but before TNBA (angular shoulders and no curves).
Zatanna and Jonah Hex appearing in the Fox Kids episodes of BTAS was something really odd and special.

Diabolu Frank said...

Rafa, you're absolutely right, and I pretty much knew that going in, but I pulled the info from that damned Wizard anyway. Stupid magazine!