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

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Frontier

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There's something about setting the Phantom Stranger in this 70's/80's era that just kinda fits. An era of haziness, freedom, and people questioning themselves, the world, and authority, whereas the Phantom Strange is this mysterious, straight-laced, figure who comes in and dispels the mist clouding over the world and helps people realize the truth. And the Phantom Stranger is, like, totally The Man, right ;)?

It's nice to see Natalie Lander in a lead role in a DC production. Makes me miss JLA with her as Stargirl :).

I never thought of the Phantom Stranger with a British accent, but Peter Serafinowicz totally sold me on it. Having the Stranger with this clear, concise, and intellectual voice really captured the kind of figure he is :cool:.

Michael Rosenbaum's first DC role was The Flash but he should never be underestimated for being able to deliver a frightening and compelling villain. Seth was kind of cult leader-esque in his interaction with everyone, and I think Rosenbaum really captured that delicate balance between charisma and creepiness :evil:.

This is probably the most action-oriented I have ever seen the Phantom Stranger. I mean, magic blasts? A sword? Although ultimately he isn't the one to stop the Big Bad because that's not the kind of character he is, being more concerned with helping people save themselves :anime:.

Marci pulled a Final Girl! Nice twist :D.
Probably makes the most sense to correlate with the Scooby Gang:

Dee Dee - Daphne (D)

Violet - Velma (V)

Harry - Shaggy (Rhymes)

Ted - Fred (Rhymes)

I think this is the second time Grey Griffin has played characters in a Scooby tribute. She was one of the Newsgirl Legion too :p.

(I do find it kind of amusing that the one member of the group Seth visibly makes out with is the Velma equivalent :rolleyes2:).
 

Otaku-sempai

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There's something about setting the Phantom Stranger in this 70's/80's era that just kinda fits. An era of haziness, freedom, and people questioning themselves, the world, and authority, whereas the Phantom Strange is this mysterious, straight-laced, figure who comes in and dispels the mist clouding over the world and helps people realize the truth. And the Phantom Stranger is, like, totally The Man, right ;)?
And at the same time, the "Phantom Stranger" short went in a different direction than the "Spectre" short and it's grindhouse style.
 

Yojimbo

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Phantom and Spectre are of differing ideology, well displayed in The Brave and The Bold's "Chill of the Night!" episode. Y'know, now that I think about it - both shorts take place in California as well as in the same decade more or less.
 
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b.t.

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I never thought of the Stranger having a British accent either, actually! Peter Serafinowicz does a pretty flawless American accent , but practically the first thing he said at the recording was “So, I’m gonna do this with my own accent, right?” And I was just like , “Umm....sure.” And I think it totally works for the character. Automatically gives him a touch of “class” as well as setting him apart from the rest of the cast.

Michael Rosenbaum asked what I wanted for the Seth character, so I described who and what he was and said he looks like a cross between Jimmy Page and Jim Morrison, with David Cassidy‘s hair, and Michael goes “Ooh, yeah, Jim Morrison ....I am the lizard king — I can do anything...”

I was trying really hard to evoke a “Late 60s“ vibe — in fact, I was aiming literally for 1969. In preparation for breaking the story with Ernie and Jim, I re-read a bunch of old PS comics and happened to notice that the first issue of the second series was published in 1969 — and after a moment, everything clicked — Woodstock ,The Manson Family, the Generation Gap, first Led Zeppelin album, first Alice Cooper album, Flower Power, first issue of Vampirella, Turning On and Dropping Out, first season of Scooby Doo (and even the first season of a certain sitcom about a very wholesome blended family) — it all got mashed up into our Groovy Zeitgeist Stew.

Oh, and “Harry” doesn’t rhyme with “Shaggy” — it’s more of a mis-spelled synonym ;)
 

Yojimbo

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I also dug when Phantom Stranger turns to us the audience at the start of the short and speaks. I think he did that in the second comic series at least but I couldn't help but also think of cold opens like Twilight Zone and Hitchcock Presents, which well preceded the 1969 comic.
 
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b.t.

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Yep, that’s one of the things I always liked about the Stranger — he introduced each story in the manner of a traditional Horror Host (like The Cryptkeeper or Uncle Creepy or Rod Serling or Hitchcock or Karloff) , “breaking the fourth wall” and addressing the audience directly, and at some point he would actually show up in the body of the story himself, and interact with the main characters, usually warning one of them of some impending doom if they didn’t heed his advice. I thought it was a unique and pretty cool schtick, and absolutely wanted him to do the same in our short.
 

Pfeiffer-Pfan

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This was honestly my favourite out of the new DC Showcase batch so far. ''Death'' was wonderful no doubt, but a little depressing overall. I'm much more likely to give this and ''Sgt. Rock'' numerous rewatches.

The voice cast worked brilliantly across the board. Serafinowicz threw me at the beginning a little, but by the end it was clear to see what the unique quality of his voice was bringing to the character. I just loved the whole creepy Scooby-Doo meets The Manson Family meets The Twilight Zone vibe.

It's always a delight to see the classic Timm/Glines designs being employed and the Dynamic Music Partners deserve a special shout out for that killer score.

Props to everyone involved. It definitely left me wanting more (A Batman/Phantom Stranger DTV in this style would be very cool).
 

Yojimbo

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Props to everyone involved. It definitely left me wanting more (A Batman/Phantom Stranger DTV in this style would be very cool).
Agreed! I was raving to James Harvey the other week that I would be all in if Timm, Altbacker, Krieg, and co. expanded this short into a limited series on DC Universe. New case, new cast, new location each episode just like the comics. Maybe even new explore different eras/themes each episode, too.
 

Frontier

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I also dug when Phantom Stranger turns to us the audience at the start of the short and speaks. I think he did that in the second comic series at least but I couldn't help but also think of cold opens like Twilight Zone and Hitchcock Presents, which well preceded the 1969 comic.
Yep, that’s one of the things I always liked about the Stranger — he introduced each story in the manner of a traditional Horror Host (like The Cryptkeeper or Uncle Creepy or Rod Serling or Hitchcock or Karloff) , “breaking the fourth wall” and addressing the audience directly, and at some point he would actually show up in the body of the story himself, and interact with the main characters, usually warning one of them of some impending doom if they didn’t heed his advice. I thought it was a unique and pretty cool schtick, and absolutely wanted him to do the same in our short.
I assumed it was something Stranger did in the comics because it seemed so random otherwise :p.
 
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Fone Bone

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Jan 19, 2004
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The Phantom Stranger

I wanted to like that. It's Bruce Timm! But ultimately, I didn't much. I tell ya, the psychedelic dance sequence was probably the turning point for me. It was outright bad. And it sort of made me grumpy about everything else.

To be fair, Seth's end was pretty gruesome in a good way. And it's good Timm got Rosenbaum back for something. But I feel like I want to see Bruce Timm use modern animation techniques to blow my mind. This specific short didn't actually need him. He does so little directing nowadays and it felt like a waste of his talents. Plus the dance sequence sucked. Did I mention that? ***.
 

Otaku-sempai

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The Phantom Stranger

I wanted to like that. It's Bruce Timm! But ultimately, I didn't much. I tell ya, the psychedelic dance sequence was probably the turning point for me. It was outright bad. And it sort of made me grumpy about everything else.

To be fair, Seth's end was pretty gruesome in a good way. And it's good Timm got Rosenbaum back for something. But I feel like I want to see Bruce Timm use modern animation techniques to blow my mind. This specific short didn't actually need him. He does so little directing nowadays and it felt like a waste of his talents. Plus the dance sequence sucked. Did I mention that? ***.
I did like the short, but I have to admit that these offer a great opportunity to experiment a bit with techniques and format. That opportunity was mostly wasted here.
 
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Frontier

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I did like the short, but I have to admit that these offer a great opportunity to experiment a bit with techniques and format. That opportunity was mostly wasted here.
Admittedly Phantom Stranger is kind of an old school type of figure, so other then with the visuals with Seth and his cult, I'm not sure if there would've been much of an option for something to that effect here.
 
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Otaku-sempai

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Admittedly Phantom Strange is kind of an old school type of figure, so other then with the visuals with Seth and his cult, I'm not sure if there would've been much of an option for something to that effect here.
Well, I wouldn't expect Timm to use a grind-house style for "Phantom Stranger" (as was done for the "Spectre" short) or to give it a spaghetti-western vibe (as with "Jonah Hex"). He might have tried something other than traditional, stop-motion cell animation, such as CGI or stop-motion, but I wouldn't really have expected that either. However, maybe something like that could have been used to make the dance sequence more surreal.
 
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