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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Story About "A Fish Story"

sgAs any Aquaman fan knows, "A Fish Story" is the episode of Superman: The Animated Series that guest-starred our hero(voiced by Miguel Ferrer), making his first appearance in what is frequently called "The Timmverse" of DC characters.

The episode first aired on May 8, 1999, so I thought on the occasion of its eighth anniversary I'd tell a story I always think of when I think of that show.

As my friends and I (Sean, Chris) were attending the 1999 San Diego ComiCon, we had scoped out a number of panels we wanted to attend. We saw Kyle Baker give a talk, and he was so entertaining and interesting that Sean and I still reference it to this day. Anyway, we also saw two other panels we wanted to see--one by Gary Groth and The Comics Journal, and one by Bruce Timm all about the Batman and Superman animated shows.

The Groth one started first and overlapped Timm's, so we decided to go to that then join the Timm one later. For some reason we were feeling guilty or something about only seeing superhero-related panels, so we were purposely trying to expose ourselves to different stuff(my memory may be faulty on this; Sean if you're reading this and you remember it differently...).

Anyway, about a half hour into the Groth/TCJ panel, it degenerated into the people on the dais going on and on about how most comics suck, most creators are hacks, etc(I'm not sure what we expected from a Comics Journal panel!). Sean and I looked at each other and said to ourselves "You know, life's too short--let's go to the panel we really want to see." So we bolted and headed for the TimmLand.

As expected, Bruce Timm and the people with him were funny, interesting, and it was great to be in the room with these guys whose work we so admired. They screened an advance of the final STAS episode(Superman belts Lex!), and then another episode featuring both Superman and Batman.

During the panel, Timm and co. were taking questions, so I went up to microphone to ask them something(I don't even remember what now). When it got to be my turn, I took a moment and said "Before I start, I just wanted to thank you for that Aquaman episode. He's my all-time favorite character and I thought you guys did a great job on it."

Bruce looked visibly delighted; he then cheerily said "Oh, thanks! That's great to hear, since a lot of people told us they didn't like that episode."

To which I blurted out, with all the righteousness of a motivational speaker, "Screw them!", which got a huge laugh in the hall. I didn't even really realize I had said it; I was just glad I didn't use a rougher euphemism in front of the little kids present. I then asked my question and sat down.

After the panel ended, as we walked out, a few other Aquaman fans took the time to say some encouraging words to me as we left. I felt like a superstar!

...so that's my story. Maybe a case of you had to be there, but I've always wanted to relay the time I got to strike a blow for Aquaman fans everywhere in the heart of the comic book mecca, the San Diego ComiCon.


Rick L. Phillips said...

Good story. I hope someone does an Aquaman animated series for Cartoon Network or for syndication some day.

Siskoid said...

It was a great story (yours too, for that matter). I loved how badass they made Aquaman.

You know, when he's got the beard, it's assumed he's a badass, but people often fail to recognize his badassery even when he had the classic look.

Plaidstallions said...

That's possibly my favourite episode of the series, they made the character cool through writing. What a unique concept.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's a great episode. They sold his super strength short, but only very slightly, and he was just so plain out awesome that it was alright.

There is actually a rumor that Timm might be doing an Aquaman direct to video movie, following Superman: Doomsday. Let's hope it becomes more than just wishful thinking!

Good story, by the way, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't like that episode.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I have against that episode was that the animation in it was a little more stiff than most STAS episodes. Ocassionally an important episode will go to one of the lesser animation studios. This happened to "Fish Story". Same thing marred the otherwise awesome second part of BTAS' "Robin's Reckoning".

Otherwise, a great episode, and great use of Aquaman! I just wish they'd kept this look for JL/JLU.


Siskoid said...

I think part of the reason some viewers had problems with it is that the star isn't in it very much. There's a lot of Lois Lane in it instead (doing action stuff like riding a motorbike, etc.).

Seeing as I'm nuts for Dana Delaney, that is NOT a problem for me.

rob! said...

if you listen to the audio commentary for the STAS episodes, they mention fans' negative reactions pretty frequently, as opposed to the BTAS commentaries, where it doesnt come up much.

i dont know where Timm and Co. were hearing all this back feedback, but they obviously are/were bothered by it. too bad, since i sure enjoyed the show!

i thought theyre introduction of various DCU charcters (Flash, Aquaman, GL, Dr Fate) were really well done. and i agree with siskoid--Dana Delaney made one hell of a sexy "girl" reporter!

thats why i was happy i got the chance to tell Timm--to his face--that i liked the show a lot. i thought Aquaman was pretty on-character--regal, aloof, but heroic and powerful, and basically sick of the surface world's crap!

Anonymous said...

Robbo, funny, I was just relaying that story to Craig this past weekend. Just thinking that the Gary Groth "Twenty Things that have Destroyed the Comic Industry" panel seemed interesting at the time. In my mind, I thought it would be a trial of who they thought ruined the industry and then either have that person defend themselves or at least have someone in the room with an opposite point of view. But, as with most things linked to Groth, it quickly turned into a bitch fest about why they hated the comic industry. I think within five minutes we said, "screw this" and were much happier with the Bruce Timm panel. I'd much rather be inspired by a man than hear a man bitch about things he has no intention of trying to change for the better.

Bruce Timm rocks, baby!

Siskoid said...

Yeah, fans of BTAS were pretty down on the Superman series. Well, what did they expect? I believe in judging every show on its own. Teen Titans isn't Justice League. And The Batman isn't BTAS. They're slightly different animals. The Superman show's last season was excellent in my opinion. Killer finale.

Well, anytime Darkseid's in it, really.

rob! said...

absolutely. i think a lot of fanboys tend to think if something isnt pitched exactly at them, its no good.

i dont watch TTG! because it doesnt really hold my interest, but i think its a really fun kids cartoon. if i was eight years old i wouldnt be able to get enough of it.

btw, siskoid--

hubba hubba!

Scurvy said...

Right on! Don't hold back. Screw them indeed! I'm right there with ya.

Siskoid said...

Rob: You are killing me with sexiness!!!

rob! said...

>> Rob: You are killing me with sexiness!!!<<

the first--and assuredly last--time that has ever been said to me.

Anonymous said...

Let me add a "Great story", too.

And what an episode. When Aquaman caught the harpoon ...


Anonymous said...

Boss Rob & guys-

Great thread.

Not to leave AM behind, but myself and another Silver-Aged friend both later admitted to choking up when The Oath was first spoken in the GL episode...

The Dini/Timm stuff, taken all in all, is the solidest adaptation-to-another-medium ever done with comical bookies.

(I have to admit, I've tried - but the "next gen" stuff, like The Batman and the the Brainiac movie, have slid down a notch.)