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Batman at 75: Jim Lee and Bruce Timm talk most memorable comic stories

On July 23, comic book stores everywhere will celebrate Batman Day as part of DC Comics’ yearlong celebration of the Caped Crusader’s 75th anniversary. In anticipation of the big day, EW conducted separate interviews with DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee and Batman the Animated Series creator and producer Bruce Timm, asking each to pick the most memorable and significant Batman stories of the past 75 years.

Both Lee and Timm have be heavily involved with Batman throughout their careers. Apart from being co-publisher of DC (alongside Dan Didio), Lee has illustrated several Batman comics including Batman: Hush with writer Jeph Loeb and All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder with legendary writer Frank Miller. In addition to his work on Batman the Animated Series and the rest of the DC Animated Universe, Timm has produced  several animated feature film adaptations of Batman classic Batman stories including Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and Batman: Under the Red Hood.

When asked to pinpoint Batman’s greatest arcs, both men cited a few usual suspects— Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns. But each list also contained a few surprises, revealing each one’s knowledge and love of the character’s history. Here’s what they had to say: READ FULL STORY

I'm Still Not Over... the happy ending of the 'Justice League Unlimited' cartoon

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July 23rd is Batman Day, and I can think of no better way to celebrate 75 years of Batman stories than by looking at Justice League Unlimited‘s second season finale “Epilogue”—a Batman-centric episode that honors the character’s legacy, and one that I’m still not over.

Cartoon Network had yet to renew Justice League Unlimited for a third season when “Epilogue” was written, suggesting it was intended to bring the entire DC Animated Universe—which began in 1992 with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series—to a close. The writers decided to end the DCAU where it all started. “Epilogue” finds a way to give the Batman character an ending that feels earned, and it reminds us of what made Batman so formidable and focuses on a side of him that often goes unnoticed.

Set 65 years in the future in the Gotham City of Batman Beyond, “Epilogue” drops a huge story bombshell: Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle)—the Batman of the future now that Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) has retired—discovers he is Bruce Wayne’s biological son, the result of a genetic experiment that involved overwriting his father’s DNA with Bruce’s DNA. The sole purpose of this experiment: to create a new Batman. When Terry finds out, he assumes that Bruce has masterminded the plan out of his arrogant belief that the world couldn’t go on without him. Having witnessed Bruce’s life in his old age, Terry becomes afraid at the the new revelation; he fears being as alone, cold, and miserable as Bruce is.  READ FULL STORY

'Batman: Strange Days': Watch Bruce Timm's 75th Anniversary cartoon -- VIDEO

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Batman turns 75 in May. Parent company Warner Bros. plans to celebrate this anniversary by continuing to produce ridiculously successful Batman movies, TV shows, videogames, comic books, and pogs, or whatever kids today play with.

But also, they’ve just released a new short animated film created by the great Bruce Timm — the animation guru who was a key architect in the family of DC animated shows, including all-time-great Batman: The Animated Series and the maybe-better-if-you-don’t-mind-the-future Batman Beyond. The short is called Batman: Strange Days, and features Hugo Strange (get it?) and a lot of fog. Watch it below: READ FULL STORY

'Batman: Arkham Knight': Next-gen Batman game coming this year -- VIDEO

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Back in 2011, Rocksteady Studios delivered Batman: Arkham City, a game that we liked quite a bit. Then Rocksteady disappeared behind the Veil of Videogame Secrecy, leaving Warner Bros. Montreal to deliver Arkham Origins, a decidedly meh placeholder prequel. But there were tantalizing rumors that Rocksteady was working on a next-generation Arkham game. And now, Game Informer has confirmed it. Arkham Knight will hit sometime in 2014 — probably October, since that’s when the last couple games arrived. READ FULL STORY

Michael Keaton on 'Beetlejuice' sequel: 'I would be more than interested' -- VIDEO

No matter where Michael Keaton goes, he’s constantly asked about Beetlejuice and Batman. So it must have been refreshing to appear on this morning’s Today show to promote Need for Speed, his new action movie based on the popular video game. And then Savannah Guthrie asked him about Beetlejuice and Batman, God bless her.

Tim Burton, who directed both 1980s movies, has never hid his enthusiasm for another Beetlejuice, and last fall, he seemed ready to produce or direct a sequel based on a script from screenwriters Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows) and David Katzenberg. It’s sad to contemplate a sequel without Keaton as the gonzo poltergeist, but 24 years later, who knew if Keaton was truly game?

Well, turns out he’s game. “I’ve been talking about it for years and saying it’s the one thing — if I ever did anything again, it would be that, or I’d want to do that,” Keaton told Guthrie. “The rumors would — they’ve risen before and fallen away — and now if Tim [Burton] is involved, and I think he might be involved, if Tim would be involved, I would be more than interested.”

Watch the clip below: READ FULL STORY

Batman has a new female sidekick: Meet Bluebird -- PHOTO

This week sees the release of Batman #28, a flashforward issue set six months ahead of the current continuity. The issue involves a whole host of teasing reveals that will blow your mind if you read the comic book and will totally confuse everyone else. Comic Book Resources has a good breakdown for the deep reader. For the “everyone else” reader, here’s the gist: Batman has a new sidekick. This was bound to happen sooner or later, since the fifth Robin died recently. (Don’t cry: In comic books, dying is just the prologue to a resurrection arc.) Intriguingly, Batman’s new sidekick is not a new Robin; instead, she goes by Bluebird. Also, she’s a she! Check it out: READ FULL STORY

'Sherlock' goes 'Man of Steel': Should heroes have a license to kill?

The Sherlock Holmes played by Benedict Cumberbatch is the most brilliant problem solver on television. The Sherlock Holmes played by Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary comes pretty close, but I give the edge to the “high functioning” sociopath with the “mind palace” in his head. (Now that’s some Intelligence.) The third and final installment of Sherlock’s third season challenged the master detective with a most vexing conundrum, a test of both imagination and morality, one that has become increasingly popular in our hero fiction of late: To kill or not to kill. READ FULL STORY

Christian Bale on Batkid taking over his gig: 'Wasn't that fantastic?'

You’d have to be made of stone not to feel for Batkid, San Francisco’s superhero for a day. The 5-year-old boy, named Miles, whose leukemia is in remission, asked the Make-A-Wish Foundation to be Batman for a day, and his wish came true on Friday. He saved damsels in distress, prevented bank robberies, and warmed everyone’s hearts in his adorable miniature-caped glory.

Also not immune to Batkid’s heroics? The man who reinvigorated the Batman name itself: Christian Bale. “Wasn’t that fantastic?” Bale told Vulture. “I looked on the news and I saw this headline and thought, ‘What’s that?’ And I saw all the pictures of him running around and saving people. It’s so touching.”

The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s call for support drew thousands of volunteers, bolstered by social-media efforts, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.  Bale was in awe of the unifying powers of the internet: “I’ve never been on Twitter, but how great a thing that it can create something like that!” Bale told Vulture. “I mean, wonderful. This little kid, oh my God — what a wonderful day for the little fella! It’s just fantastic, seeing all those people who were out there to support it.”

Batkid rescues Gotham City from evil, rescues world from cynicism

The world was rescued from unspeakable evil today thanks to the daring bravery of Batkid, a pint-sized superhero who spent the day saving Gotham City from two different supervillains, not to mention saving all our hearts from cynicism. As you probably know if you’ve been on the Internet or spoken to anyone in the last 24 hours, Batkid is in fact a five-year-old boy and leukemia survivor named Miles who wanted more than anything to be Batman, and I’m not crying guys, seriously, I just have something in my eye.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, that wish was granted by the Make-A-Wish foundation, which has apparently achieved such cosmic power that it was able to get every single person in San Francisco to play along with Batkid’s epic live-action adventure. The lil’ hero’s journey took him all around the city. Meanwhile, his legend spread even further to the very highest reaches of our government, offering our divided country the rare opportunity to join together in joyful praise and good cheer, Jesus I’m not sure where these tears are coming from, I think maybe somebody is cooking onions and playing Sigur Ros or something? READ FULL STORY

'Batman: Arkham Origins': Bigger, not better

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Arkham City was a near-miracle videogame. It was built like an open world but it played like a nonstop-fun arcade brawler, expansive and micro-detailed all at once: Think Grand Theft Auto pretending to be Streets of Rage. Rocksteady Studios built on the success of Arkham Asylum to make a game that ravenously attacked generations of Bat-lore. It felt like the sequel to whatever generation of Batman you grew up with — the classic comics, the animated series, the Nolan movies, the bleak Miller explorations. Like so many headline characters in contemporary pop culture, the Caped Crusader’s story will never end. Arkham City made you forget that. It felt like the last Batman videogame ever. You wondered how they could ever follow that up. READ FULL STORY

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