Fans of DC Animated features will recall that a number of phenomenal series of animated shorts known as DC Showcase were produced highlighting some of the lesser known DC Comics characters. Appropriately named after the eponymous DC Comics anthology series, no new shorts have been created for some time. That all changes this year when today Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced a new batch of shorts featuring characters who may have guest starred in previous animated projects but perhaps don’t have the clout to carry their own full animated feature project.
The five shorts include Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death, The Phantom Stranger and Batman: Death in the Family. Perhaps most intriguing, particularly for Neil Gaiman fans, is Sandman’s Death. This is the first time the character of Death has appeared in media outside of the comics. Director Sam Liu has said in past interviews that he’s a big fan of DC’s Vertigo line so this seems right up his alley.
With a brand new live-action opening sequence, let’s hope it includes Bruce Timm cameo like the previous opening.
Full details below—
Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, in partnership with DC, are currently in production on five new DC Showcase animated shorts for release in 2019-2020.
Inspired by characters and stories from DC’s robust portfolio, the all-new series of shorts will be included on upcoming DC Universe Movies releases, with exception of an innovative Batman: Death in the Family long-form animated short, which will anchor a compilation set for distribution in late 2020.
Each of the five shorts – entitled Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death, The Phantom Stranger and Batman: Death in the Family – opens with a new, live-action branding sequence that features a few Easter Eggs specially added for observant fans.
Sgt. Rock is executive produced and directed by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) from a script by award-winning comics writers Louise Simonson & Walter Simonson and Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen). The original tale finds battle-weary Sgt. Rock thinking he has seen everything that World War II can dish out. But he is in for the surprise of his life when he is assigned to lead a company consisting of legendary monsters into battle against an unstoppable platoon of Nazi zombies. Karl Urban (Star Trek & Lord of the Rings film franchises) provides the voice of Sgt. Rock. Also voicing characters in Sgt. Rock are Keith Ferguson, William Salyers and Audrey Wasilewski.
Adam Strange is produced and directed by Butch Lukic (Batman Unlimited franchise), who also conceived the original story – which is written by J.M. DeMatteis (Constantine: City of Demons). On a rugged asteroid mining colony, few of the toiling workers are aware that their town drunk was ever anything but an interplanetary derelict. But when the miners open a fissure into the home of a horde of deadly alien insects, his true identity is exposed. He is space adventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long. Charlie Weber (How To Get Away with Murder) provides the voice of Adam Strange, alongside with Roger R. Cross, Kimberly Brooks, Ray Chase and Fred Tatasciore.
Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” Death is produced & directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs. The Fatal Five) and written by J.M. DeMatteis (Batman: Bad Blood). In the story, Vincent, an artist with unresolved inner demons, meets a mysterious girl who helps him come to terms with his creative legacy … and eventual death. Leonardo Nam (Westworld) provides the voice of Vincent, and Jamie Chung (The Gifted, Big Hero 6) is the voice of Death. The cast includes Darin De Paul, Keith Szarabajka and Kari Wahlgren.
The Phantom Stranger has Bruce Timm (Batman: The Killing Joke) at the helm as executive producer & director, and the short is written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract). Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth. When odd things begin to happen to Jess and her friends, the Phantom Stranger intervenes to save her from a dreary fate. Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) gives voice to The Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Impastor) provides the voice of Seth. The Phantom Stranger also features the voices of Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin and Roger Craig Smith.
More information regarding Batman: Death In The Family will be available in 2020.
All five new DC Showcase shorts credits include Jim Krieg as co-producer, Amy McKenna as producer, and Sam Register as executive producer.
Initially launched in 2010, DC Showcase was originally comprised of four animated shorts produced by Bruce Timm and directed by Joaquim Dos Santos: The Spectre (released on 2/23/2010), Jonah Hex (7/27/2010), Green Arrow (9/28/2010) and Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam (11/9/2010). An additional short, Catwoman (10/18/2011), was attached the following year to the release of Batman: Year One, and was directed by Lauren Montgomery and executive produced by Bruce Timm. Screenwriters on the initial quintet were Steve Niles (The Spectre), Joe Lansdale (Jonah Hex), Greg Weisman (Green Arrow), Michael Jelenic (Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam) and Paul Dini (Catwoman).
Actors featured on the first five shorts were Malcolm McDowell, James Garner (in his final performance), Jerry O’Connell, Linda Hamilton, Gary Cole, Alyssa Milano, Thomas Jane, Michael Rooker, Eliza Dushku, Neal McDonough, Ariel Winter, Danica McKeller, George Newbern, Michelle Trachtenberg and Arnold Vosloo, as well as Jon Polito, Rob Paulsen, Jeff Bennett, Steve Blum, Grey Delisle, John DiMaggio, Josh Keaton, Zach Callison, Jason Marsden, Liliana Mumy, Tara Strong, Cree Summer and Kevin Michael Richardson.