With social media still buzzing over what DC Studios co-heads James Gunn & Peter Safran had to announce on Tuesday as part of the first wave of their 8-10 year DCU plan, it’s nice to see folks discussing the DCU in a positive light when it comes to its film & television future. One of our favorite surprises from the rundown was the news that writer J. M. DeMatteis & artist Pat Broderick‘s Creature Commandos would be getting an animated series adaptation. First introduced in Weird War Tales #93 (November 1980), the comic book series focused on Frankenstein’s monster teaming with a werewolf, a vampire, and a gorgon to fight Nazis in World War II. You can clearly see all of the attractive qualities that the comic book series had that would make it ripe for a series. But even better? It was the first DCU project that Gunn & Safran gave a green light to, with Gunn penning the series. And then there was that extra cool factor, with Gunn adding that they were looking for a voice cast that could also play their characters in a live-action project down the road. Now, DeMatteis is sharing his thoughts on the news, how the characters came to be, and more in a heartfelt & informative post.
“[James Gunn] has announced the first slate of DC movie and TV projects under his aegis, and it would be a massive understatement to say I was surprised when I found out one of them is an animated TV series—all episodes written by Gunn—based on the Creature Commandos,” DeMatteis began the caption to his Instagram post, which included cover examples of his comics creations. “Creature Commandos was something I created when I first got into the business. I cooked it up as a pitch for Paul Levitz, editor of Weird War Tales, maybe six months after I started selling stories to the DC anthology books. It was a no-brainer. The book was called Weird War—so what would be more perfect than classic monsters fighting Nazis in World War II?”
DeMatteis continued, “Then came the infamous DC Implosion—when a good chunk of the comics line was gutted—and I was out of work there for something like nine months. After I got back in the door, I started working with the brilliant writer/editor Len Wein (who went on to become both my mentor and dear friend), who’d taken over Weird War. Len was looking for an ongoing series for the book, I pitched Creature Commandos (don’t think it had that title then. Len and I might have come up with it together), and he went for it, assigning the great Pat Broderick to bring the characters to visual life. It’s amazing that after all these years…decades!…these obscure characters from so early in my career are having a comeback. (In what form? Time will tell. And, no, I have no insider info). I look forward to seeing what Gunn & Company have planned.” Here’s a look at DeMatteis’ post:
A Look Back at DC Studios’ DCU Series Announcements
We’re looking at the animated Creature Commandos, the Amanda Waller (Viola Davis)-focused Waller, the Green Lantern series Lanterns, the Wonder Woman prequel series Paradise Lost, and a Booster Gold series. But we also learned that the second season of the John Cena-starring Peacemaker is on hold and that Greg Berlanti’s “Green Lantern” series is no longer moving forward. Here’s a look at the details that were released:
“Creature Commandos”: Currently in production, the animated series was the first project greenlit by the duo. Based on the 1980’s Creature Commando comic book series that focused on Frankenstein’s monster teaming with a werewolf, a vampire, and a gorgon to fight Nazis in World War II, the series looks to take the same approach, with Weasel (from The Suicide Squad) as one of the commandos, serving with Rick Flag Sr. Note: Gunn confirmed that the voice cast will play their characters in a live-action version later on down the line (with Gunn penning the animated series)
“Waller”: With Peacemaker Season 2 on hold while Gunn works on Superman: Legacy, the Viola Davis-starring series will include the “Peacemaker team” and serve as a “continuation” of the HBO Max series. The series will be executive produced & penned by Jeremy Carver (Doom Patrol) and DCU writers’ room writer Christal Henry.
“Lanterns”: Being compared to “a huge HBO-quality event” along the lines of “True Detective,” the series will focus on Hal Jordan and John Stewart, who investigate a mystery that Safran said “plays a really big role leading us into the main story that we’re telling across our film and television. So this is a very important show for us.” This series will replace Greg Berlanti’s previous take on a “Green Lantern” series.
“Paradise Lost”: Set before the birth of Diana (Wonder Woman) and set on the island of Themyscira, Safran & Gunn see the series as a “Game of Thrones” -like take on Wonder Woman’s origins (“It’s really about the political intrigue behind a society of all women”: Safran). Comic fans may recognize the title from Phil Jimenez & George Pérez‘s Paradise Island Lost comics series. “How did that come about? What’s the origin of an island of all women? What are the beautiful truths and the ugly truths behind all of that? And what’s the scheming like between the different power players in that society?” were the rhetorical question that Gunn asked when explaining the series’ themes.
“Booster Gold”: Seen as the DCU’s deep dive into comedy, Safran describes Mike Carter/Booster Gold as “a loser from the future who uses basic future technology to come back to today and pretend to be a superhero.” From a series perspective, we’re looking at a possible 25th-century setting, where Mike is a disgraced former football star who uses a time machine on display in the Metropolis Space Museum to gain fame and fortune… and maybe the desire to be a real superhero (if the sponsorship is right?). “Basically, “Booster Gold” is imposter syndrome as a superhero,” Gunn added.