"DC Showcase: Phantom Stranger" Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)

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Rate and discuss the DC Showcase animated short!


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James Harvey

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From the creative forces behind the DC Universe Movie line, DC Showcase puts the spotlight on favorite characters from throughout the annals of DC Comics in fascinating, short-form tales sure to entertain longtime and new fans alike. DC Showcase Presents...The Phantom Stranger!



DC Showcase: Phantom Stranger
Included On: Superman: Red Son Home Entertainment Release
Release Date: Digital HD - Feb. 25, 2020; Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray - March 17, 2020

Synopsis: Animation legend Bruce Timm helms Phantom Stranger as both executive producer and director from a script 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, can Phantom Stranger intervene? Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) gives voice to Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Impastor) provides the voice of Seth. Phantom Stranger also features the voices of Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin and Roger Craig Smith.

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Please post all discussions and comments about the Phantom Stranger animated short in this thread! Please discuss the other aspects of the home video release of Death in the proper talkback, as linked below.

Related Threads:

-Superman: Red Son Animated Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: Death Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: Sgt. Rock Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: Catwoman Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: Green Arrow Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: Jonah Hex Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)
-DC Showcase: The Spectre Animated Short Talkback (Spoilers)

Note: Remember, this talkback thread is for discussion of the animated short only. If you wish to talk about the home video release, please click on the appropriate link (s) above. We appreciate and encourage discussion, but please keep your posts civil, relevant and insightful. Please do not post any improper or inflammatory material, as we will issue warnings if we believe it necessary. And remember to keep the discussion ON-TOPIC!
 

Spider-Man

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This was a good short. Not as good as Death but on par with Sgt. Rock. It was cool to see The Phantom Stranger and I like how he was used here. He wasn't quite the focus but he was always around the edges but then he swooped in when we find out what Seth really is. I really enjoyed it and its cool to see these types of shorts especially since they're so different and not the type of stuff we'd usually get from Marvel or even DC itself. It's nice to see DC get back to doing some more lesser known material and characters and these showcase shorts are a great avenue for them.
 

Dallas Kinard

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This was a good short. Not as good as Death but on par with Sgt. Rock. It was cool to see The Phantom Stranger and I like how he was used here. He wasn't quite the focus but he was always around the edges but then he swooped in when we find out what Seth really is. I really enjoyed it and its cool to see these types of shorts especially since they're so different and not the type of stuff we'd usually get from Marvel or even DC itself. It's nice to see DC get back to doing some more lesser known material and characters and these showcase shorts are a great avenue for them.
Is it in the Bruce Timm style like the movie?
 
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Yojimbo

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I also thought it was a good short but Death set the bar really high. Still, the aspect that I really enjoyed was that it was evocative of the era in a similar way Sceptre was. You can definitely feel it - the teens in the van, talking about their parents, terminology used like the Joneses and the Man, the zeitgeist of the time and theme of being lost and finding truth, the music, the dance sequence, the period clothing and hairstyle the characters were dressed in. The crew really did their homework.

I loved the little details and juxtapositions that correlate with what's really going on as Stranger tries to intimate. Like when they look at the statue outside -- it's of Pan, you can tell by the design and pan flute. He's supposed to be a god of fertility in some interpretations but he's above a pond that's stagnant and a dead fish appears. Couple that with some associations Pan has had with Satan... And in a way, the flute and later the music/dance sequence kinda reminded of the Pied Piper luring children away. And the tribal masks and Egyptian gods inside also suggest Seth is also a small "g" god. And of course going back to the Egyptian statues, Seth himself uses that pendant to stay alive and it's name is taken from the ouroboros from... Egyptian myth that symbolizes eternity and fertility which both come into play here with Seth staying immortal by stealing life through the act of kissing. And naturally, the statue and mainly Seth's name connotes the Egyptian god Seth and one of his attributes is trickery which comes into play here.

Shane Glines and Bruce Timm were two of three character designers in this one. While there's definitely the 'Timm style' - there were times when I definitely thought I saw some leaning into the Carmine Infantino influence, which would be appropriate since he was the co-creator of Phantom Stranger, in those how would I describe it, like the 'chiseled cheeks' and the shape of the characters' heads.

And lastly, loved the DC nod to the Silverblade comic's Jonathan Lord having been the previous owner of the estate and likely a past victim of Seth. I think his comics came out around the same time Phantom Stranger debuted in the mid-late 80s so that could be the connection there.

EDIT: Quite odd the overseas animation studio isn't in the credits but going by the three animation directors listed, it's Digital eMation, Inc. who also animated Red Son.
 
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Spider-Man

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It kills me that only "canon" is coming up here. I enjoyed the story for what it was.
I could not agree more. It must be so depressing for the creators to see comments on whether or not its canon (ugh) because its in a particular animation style instead of actually discussing the quality of the shorts themselves. I'm so tired of seeing post after post of whether something is canon or not and people deciding to watch something or not just because it might be which is a shame, and the implication that canon plays a role in the end product's quality (spoilers, it doesn't). It seems to infect nearly every single thread or discussion. It doesn't matter especially when it comes to a short like this. I could go on about how this obsession with canon and the like especially when it comes to the DCAU is annoying, offputting and is tainting fandom and meaningful conversation but that's for another thread. Sorry for the mini rant that's all I have to say on that. Like I already said it's a good short it may not be on par with Death but its just as good as Sgt. Rock. It really seems like WB is giving Timm the freedom to do what he wants here though likely with limits and we're getting some really incredible content out of it. Can't wait for the next short!
 

ShadowStar

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And the four groupies were pretty much a sinister pastiche of Mystery Inc. minus a dog.
That they were!

I'm sorry that my post concerning the "canon potential" for this short has gone down badly with one or two users in this thread. I truly didn't mean to annoy anyone and I'm sorry about that. I do have more thoughts on this short besides that one observation and I intend to share them here soon, after I watch the short again. No offense intended to those who are tired of seeing "canon" posts -- I can see where you're coming from and I'll contribute more extensive thoughts to the discussion shortly. I certainly didn't mean to undermine or reduce the short in any way with my comment -- I can assure you that I *loved* the Phantom Stranger short!
 

Road to Gotham

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Man, this was a groovy cartoon with the Phantom Stranger. Gets a solid 'B'.
Don't know the actor voicing PS as I have never never seen nor heard him do anything before(As far as I know.) but he did a good job.

Thanks to YOJIMBO I now understand the "Jonathan Lord" reference.
Never read "Silverblade". But I know Gene Colan drew the series.
 

Yojimbo

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Man, this was a groovy cartoon with the Phantom Stranger. Gets a solid 'B'.
Don't know the actor voicing PS as I have never never seen nor heard him do anything before(As far as I know.) but he did a good job.
He's done a lot of different roles but I suppose the big one he's done in recent time is The Tick live action series that came out on Amazon. He was also the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars Ep. 1 (but Ray Park portrayed Maul on screen).
 

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