Bruce Timm is one of the most important men in my life. I only found this out very recently though. You are probably asking yourself if Bruce Timm is one of the most important men in my life, one would think that I would at least have been aware of him before very recently right? Well, I say in response, you do not know me very well. I am very often ignorant of the people who are responsible for the things that I enjoy the most. And Bruce Timm definitely qualifies as a man who is responsible for a good deal of the most enjoyable, quite frankly highest quality television available since the early 1980’s. Let me guide you through some of the CLASSIC cartoons that Mr. Timm has been a part of.
Mr. Timm is most well known for his involvement with DC’s entire run of animated series, from “Batman: The Animated Series” on. These series all had a good deal of continuity, which is essential to quality, and ran from one to another in a fairly smooth fashion. Batman blended into “Superman: the Animated Series” (with “Batman Beyond” in between), and Superman went to “Justice League”. “Justice League” then went on to become “Justice League Unlimited”, and next the Wonder Woman animated movie that will premier this year. He also executive produced much of “Teen Titans” and was involved with many of the various Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond, and Justice League animated movies that were made during the DC animated series illustrious run. Now, I must say here that I have always been FAR more of a Marvel guy in terms of comic books, but when it comes to cartoons, DC wins in every category by far. The best compliment that I can give to “The Dark Knight” is that it almost was as good as an episode of the original Batman series.
Batman the animated series had a way of giving depth to characters that one wouldn’t think possible. I always said it had the best acting on television, which was especially bad since it was animation. Many of Batman’s villains in this incarnation where portrayed as tragic figures, especially Mr. Freeze, Clayface, and Two-Face. You never knew which way Catwoman was leaning (good or bad) and seemingly, neither did Selena. Harley and Poison Ivy very nearly deserved a show of their own. And then there was the Joker. People will argue this of course, but my favorite incarnation of the Joker is Mark Hamill’s. He was insane, dangerous, murderous, hilarious, and had the best laugh. You could always count on Joker episode to deliver, and it is hard for any series to be consistently good with any character. As for Batman himself, he started out as clearly having a Batman side and a Bruce Wayne side, but as the series progressed, and really, it helps if you think of all the series as one continuous story with different story arcs focusing on different characters, he becomes more Batman-all-the-time. It makes sense however as the dangers they face become more and more serious, and as Superman begins to lose control of his anger…
Ah, but there we encounter the greatest story in the animated series, the evolution of Superman into a real boy, as I like to call it. Superman as we all know is an alien. And all he really wants is to be human. Well, in the animated series Lex Luthor and Darkseid give him his wish, introducing him to two particular human emotions; pride and anger. Over the course of the series, Superman learns that he likes being THE Hero, that he does not like losing, and he does not really know how to handle frustration. One of the most psychologically thrilling storylines is the degradation of Superman’s control over his anger, and the effects it has on the Justice League, and the world in general. If the last Superman had some of that substance it would have been way more interesting. I mean, I enjoyed “Superman Returns” but it just does not stand up to the Superman storylines from the “Justice League Unlimited” series.
Bruce Tim has Produced, Directed, wrote, and Art directed all of these series. These are quality works, and just part of his professional body. I watched all of these shows religiously, and though I still Make Mine Marvel, when it comes to superhero cartoons, nothing surpasses DC’s masterpieces, and it is in large part due to Bruce Timm. It is, in fact, these shows that have pushed me to want to write even more. So, thank you Mr. Timm, for putting out some really good cartoons for all of these years, when a lot of other companies were really half-assing it. Timm’s work has shown me what is possible when people take a fantasy seriously and put hard work into it; a truly great story can be born, and in some cases completely reborn.