For writer/actor Kevin Shinick, comic book heroes and humor make a natural combination. After years of working on parody shows like MAD and Robot Chicken, he's often utilized costumed heroes to get a laugh.
"Everybody knows these characters," Shinick said. "Like, everybody understands a Batman joke. You don't need time to establish their personalities and then make fun of them. It's like poking fun at your mom or your dad or your uncle. It's just such an easy fit."
On Sunday night, the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special will showcase Shinick's love of superheroes and laughter by poking fun at DCU characters through stop-motion animation. Airing on Cartoon Network September 9th at midnight (ET/PT), the 22-minute special will utilize the stop-motion comedy skits that has made the Adult Swim series so popular.Kevin Shinick,
photo by Dana PatrickAs co-producer, writer, voice actor and narrator of the DC Comics Special, Shinick got to work with fan-favorite voice actors like Seth Green, Matt Senreich, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris, Megan Fox, Breckin Meyer, Tara Strong and Paul Reubens.
His narration mimics that of Ted Knight in the original SuperFriends cartoon, and the Robot Chicken versions of the DC characters are from that cartoon.
"The Ted Knight voice, to me, was the most important thing to get right, because if you watched SuperFriends, you might not remember any line of dialogue the characters said, but you definitely remember, 'Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice..."
Shinick is a veteran voice actor and writer for both the Emmy Award-winning Robot Chicken and the MAD TV show, but has also written for both DC and Marvel (look for his Avenging Spider-Man run to start next week). And although his DC comics were darker and more serious, he's bringing Deadpool into his Spider-Man comic to take advantage of his affinity for laughs.
"For me, this opportunity to write superheroes and humor on TV and in comics — it's the perfect match," Shinick said. "I love superheroes. I grew up reading and watching the SuperFriends cartoon.
"So when the DC Comics Special came around, not only was it a great chance to focus all our energies on great properties like the Legion of Doom and the Hall of Justice and things like that, but it really does bring you back to when we were sitting in front of the TV watching these shows on Saturday morning."
Writing the DC Comics Special, Shinick worked with his usual co-horts at the show, but also got to work with comic book writers like DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and Zeb Wells. The writers got to work within DC Entertainment's West Coast offices at Warner Bros. Studios."Geoff invited us over there, and it was great," Shinick said. "How can you not be inspired when you're sitting next to Green Lantern's lantern and surrounded by all these icons. It was like, 'Yes! I'm in the zone!'"
As Newsarama reported in May, the Special will have its usual variety of short comedy skits, but it will also feature an overarching storyline, much like the show's last two Star Wars specials. This time around, the main story concentrates on Aquaman, who is often the subject of laughs from other Justice Leaguers.
Shinick did several voices for the DC Comics Special, but he said he was particularly excited to get the chance to voice Captain Cold.
"The narrator was my favorite thing I did, but I had such an affinity for Captain Cold growing up that I said, 'I'd love to play him!" he said. "So we have this scene where we point out that, for some reason, there are so many villains who want to have an ice theme.
"And I actually did a Booster Gold voice, but he got cut," he said. "But we put the deleted scenes on the DVDs, so people will get to see that."
There is hope for more DC Comics specials, he said. "It would be great to dig even deeper into the DC Universe," he said. "There's so much potential there."