Talking to 'Brave & the Bold's' Michael Jelenic

Blog@: Batman: Brave the the Bold Teams

Cartoon Network launches its much anticipated new Batman series, Batman: The Brave & The Bold, on Friday, November 14.

Since animation always starts with a good story, we thought a good place t start is with series editor- producer Michael Jelenic. Jelenic started writing animation scripts while working on The Jackie Chan Adventures. From there, he moved on to Teen Titans. Then The Batman, including the film Batman v. Dracula. While on The Batman he was promoted to story editor. He also worked with Brave & Bold supervising producer James Tucker on Legion of Super Heroes.

Have to say, once you get a look at what he did for the pilot episode of Brave & Bold, you will probably end up liking it. Entitled “Rise of the Blue Beetle,” this latest incarnation of Batman has his dry wit sharpened to a razor-like fineness. He also seems to be a much more compassionate character as he tries to mentor the young Jamie Hernandez about being a hero. The opening segment featuring a less serious Green Arrow taking on the campiest Clock King ever is also a hoot. At the same time, Jelenic’s script packs a ton of action in a very tight 22 or so minutes. So don’t be surprised if this show ends up solidifying Cartoon Network’s already hot Friday action block.

Here’s what Jelenic had to say:

Newsarama: What made you decide to kick off this new series with the Blue Beetle?

Micheal Jelenic: I think Blue Beetle has been testing really huge with the fans. He’s becoming a character people like almost as much as Batman, or at least this recent incarnation. Besides, we thought a young person to have Batman team up with would be a good combination. Also, he’s just someone we haven’t seen animated too much. So it seemed like an exciting way to start off the show. I mean he’s a character the fans know, the kids will be excited about and we haven’t seen before. So it made a lot of sense on a lot of levels.

NRAMA: That leads to this. There are a lot of characters who for lack of a better term we can call the usual suspects. By that I mean Green Arrow, Aquaman, a few others we can all name. There are also a lot of characters that have never been animated before.

MJ: Mostly we made a conscious decision to get away from the same characters we’ve seen in the previous animated series; villains as well. We wanted to bring out heroes that fans wouldn’t have a pre-conception of what they would be. That’s another reason we went with that direction. Also, James Tucker, who is the executive producer, is a huge comics fan. He’s worked so long on all this stuff he just brings in all this stuff.

NRAMA: Have Tucker and Bruce Timm dragged you to their favorite comic book shop every Wednesday?

MJ: (Laughs) No. They just go on their own. I’m never invited.

NRAMA: I couldn’t help but feel the visual style you adapted is more 50s/60s-Dick Sprang influenced. Is that the case?

MJ: Yeah. James was definitely influenced by the look of the 40s and wanted to bring that to life.

NRAMA: How does that affect your writing?

MJ: I think that for the writing aspect, I definitely wanted to go back to the older types of stories. They just have this great sense of adventure and are larger than life. You’ll see some change from the first to the twelfth episode. We found a more consistent tone. But in the beginning we wanted to go back to that older for to story telling. It had all these iconic images and ideas.

NRAMA: Batman is still the Dark Knight, the World’s Greatest Detective, right?

MJ: He’s Batman. Everything you know about Batman is still true. He’s not going to be a loner so much, but all the other things that make him Batman are still there.

NRAMA: But the essence of the comic book was team ups.

MJ: What we also thought is let’s take him out of Gotham. Team him up with different people. That’s what a lot of the last two seasons of The Batman were about. Now if we just wanted to do team ups, we probably would be doing the same stories.

NRAMA: Now without knocking Alan Burnett, because he is a great writer, but what would you say differentiates yourself from him?

MJ: Well, I also worked on The Batman for quite a while, too. In fact, what matters is James and I have worked with different versions of Batman. We felt we already told the dark stories, and it’s a great temptation to focus on the tragic. That’s cool about Batman at first, but once you tell those stories you realize there are a lot more stories to tell.

Another thing about The Brave & The Bold, in the past it used to be you’d bring in the guest hero. Then you’d bring in the guest hero’s main villain. With this one, we mix and match every time. You’ll have Batman team up with Plastic Man, and then go up against Grodd, who’s a Flash villain. We will also be going into outer space, under the sea, it’s a much larger world. There will also be episodes where he not only teams up with Blue Beetle, but also team up with Huntress. The more we get to know the characters, the more interacting will happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to season three there will be five or six different characters in one episode.

NRAMA: It sounds like DC is given you a lot of leeway as far as which characters you can choose.

MJ: More or less. They’ve been great about letting us play with all of their characters. The reason why that list is so long is the structure of the show is a little unique. The teaser is actually different and rather unique from the main storyline. We will have a teaser featuring Batman with one hero and villain, and we’ll resolve that. Then we get to the main story with a new hero and villain. So with each episode you will see five or so characters from the DCU.

NRAMA: So you are the story editor, right?

MJ: Yeah. And I get a producer credit as well.

NRAMA: Did you bring in some other writers to help you along.

MJ: Yeah. Paul Dini actually wrote an episode. I won’t give it away, but I think it will be a very fun episode. Even his teaser has a great rub and a very unusual paring for the main episode. I think he might have given it away, but I won’t. J.M. DeMatteis is actually doing the Guy Gardner episode, which I think is great.

NRAMA: How about yourself?

MJ: I only wrote two episodes. I wrote the pilot and one that will be appearing at the very end of the 26 episodes. I really don’t want to talk about it but it should be a pretty big event. Fans will really look forward to that one, more due to the type of episode it is rather than who is in it.

NRAMA: What about the Big Blue Boy Scout? After all, he’s the one person Batman has shared the most time with outside of his personal crew.

MJ: I don’t think you should expect to see him in the first 26. We’re not ruling out that it will never happen. He’s somebody we definitely want to save.

NRAMA: How do you feel about the block Cartoon Network has put you in? It’s a pretty successful block already.

MJ: It’s really exciting to be teamed up with Clone Wars and hope that helps make a lot of people will watch it. Hopefully we will also be able to bring a lot of eyeballs.

Batman: The Brave & The Bold Cast

Warner Bros. issued an abbreviated list of characters that will be appearing on the show. Voice actors are listed whenever possible.

Batman/Bruce Wayne: Dietrich Bader

Aquaman: Jon DiMaggio

The Atom

Black Manta

Black Canary

Blue Beetle: Will Friedle

Booster Gold: Thomas Everett Scott

Bronze Tiger

Calendar Man: Jim Piddock

Cavalier: Greg Ellis

Clock King


The Demon


Dr. Fate



The Flash

Gentleman Ghost

Gorilla Grodd

Green Arrow: James Arnold Taylor

Green Lantern Corp.

Guy Gardener: James Arnold Taylor

Jonah Hex


Justice Society of America



Kite Man


Ocean Master

Plastic Man: Tom Kenny

Red Tornado: Corey Burton

Skeets: Billy West


Adam Strange

Wildcat: R. Lee Ermey

Zebra Man

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