Why cant spectre or phantom stranger show up?

Zorak Masaki

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Ive heard that the spectre and the phantom stranger cant show up on DCAU shows due to the basis of the characters. Why? From what ive seen of them theyre more or less innocent mysterious characters, so why not just animate them?
 

Ed Liu

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Howdy,

From what I've heard, the idea that the Spectre is the embodiment of the Vengeance of the Lord makes some people queasy. The suggestion that the Phantom Stranger is the Wandering Jew may also trigger those same impulses.

However, I'm thinking it has less to do with any anti-Christian bias in the networks and more to do with the inherent maturity of the subject matter that will fly well over the heads of the target audience. The fact that the recent incarnations of the Spectre have been pretty bloodthirsty might also make the geniuses in charge of the shows a bit gunshy about using him.

In any event, none of the above is founded on anything more solid than a rumor that there was a planned Christmas episode of Superman the Animated Series which was going to involve the Spectre, but which got axed by higher-ups at the network. I don't remember any real confirmation of any of that, though there may have been. Until there's some kind of confirmation from someone involved in the shows, I'd consider it equally likely that neither character is showing up because the creators can't think of something good to do with them that will still fit the demographic.

-- Ed/Ace
 

Toddman

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Ace the Bathound said:
Howdy,

From what I've heard, the idea that the Spectre is the embodiment of the Vengeance of the Lord makes some people queasy. The suggestion that the Phantom Stranger is the Wandering Jew may also trigger those same impulses.

While the above are certainly possible reasons for the absence of the Spectre and Phantom Stranger, it seems like those are aspects of their respective characters that could very easily be ignored on JLU or STAS.

There's no reason the more religious themes of those characters couldn't be ignored within the context of the story they appear in or just outright changed all together.

And do they really carry any more theological baggage than say Raven (who's father is a loose interpretation of Satan) on "Teen Titans?"


Toddman
 

Ed Liu

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Howdy,

Toddman said:
There's no reason the more religious themes of those characters couldn't be ignored within the context of the story they appear in or just outright changed all together.
Well, no there isn't, but since when have network broadcast executives shown any indication that they operate on logic and rationality? I can count up at least 2 or 3 decisions made by some higher-up in the JLU food chain that are not grounded in any form of reality that I'm aware of :p.

And, as I stated further on, I don't entirely believe this is the reason for no animated versions of the Spectre or Phantom Stranger.

-- Ed/Ace
 

Sage Shinigami

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Toddman said:
While the above are certainly possible reasons for the absence of the Spectre and Phantom Stranger, it seems like those are aspects of their respective characters that could very easily be ignored on JLU or STAS.

There's no reason the more religious themes of those characters couldn't be ignored within the context of the story they appear in or just outright changed all together.

And do they really carry any more theological baggage than say Raven (who's father is a loose interpretation of Satan) on "Teen Titans?"


Toddman

Loose interpretation <<<<<<<<< "I AM THE EMBODIMENT OF GOD'S VENGEANCE."

A demon's a demon, be they a supposed "demon king" or not. And even if the comic version was based loosely on Satan, it wasn't that important overall. On the other hand, Spectre IS the Living Embodiment of the Vengenace of God. You can try to play with it, but if you take that away, all he is is a silly guy in a gaudy green cape and hood running around half-naked. :D
 

FinnMacCool

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And if you did take the religious aspect away, then die-hard Christians would be upset. It's a lose-lose.
 

Toddman

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Sage Shinigami said:
On the other hand, Spectre IS the Living Embodiment of the Vengenace of God. You can try to play with it, but if you take that away, all he is is a silly guy in a gaudy green cape and hood running around half-naked. :D

Or he's Deadman.


Toddman
 

b.t.

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the reason behind the spectre and phantom stranger's JLU absence has nothing to do with religious issues or anything of that sort....more of that fan speculation-turned-rumor-turned-accepted lore that i love so much....it's simply that dc said we couldn't use 'em, period...

now, before this starts another round of "stupid dc and their dumb embargoes!" breast-beating, let me say it again: it's dc's playground, we just get to play there....almost EVERY SINGLE TIME they've said "no" to our requests, we've managed to find a creative way around it and more often than not, it's turned out for the better...."double date" is a THOUSAND TIMES better ep than the straight-up "birds of prey" story we originally pitched, and as a bonus we got the funky question/huntress romance out of it, which ultimately added emotional resonance to the four-part cadmus finale...."but we didn't get to see barbara gordon one last time!", you say....well, boo-freakin-hoo!....sure, that woulda been a nice one-shot, but look at the big picture: we lost the battle and won the war....

another example: aquaman was going to be the main-focus character in "to another shore" in its earliest embryonic form...when we were forced to replace him with diana, BANG, suddenly the story became something richer, deeper...we added j'onn's sub-plot at that point (which wouldn't even have OCCURRED to us with aquaman at center stage), and long story short, that episode sings a much sweeter song than if the "aquaman embargo" hadn't been in place....likewise, i highly doubt dc would have let us kill off black manta later on in "dead reckoning", but his replacement doppleganger devil-ray was fair game....

"divided we fall": yeah, we originally wanted to have superman finally reveal his secret i.d. to lois at the end, woulda been a nice little bit of fanservice, a little last-minute icing on the cake, but it was OFF-POINT....clark humbly agreeing with lois that superman is "only human" (therefore allowed to make mistakes as long as he learns from them, and never loses touch with that humanity) is EXACTLY the correct way to end the episode (and the season)...

i could think of a dozen other examples (but frankly i'm getting pooped)...

bottom-line, dc has been very VERY good to us overall, they've given us a lot of leeway to mess around with their characters -- whole ARMIES of their characters! -- so if there were a few characters that we would have LIKED to used but couldn't, ehh, I'M not losing any sleep over it, and don't feel there were any missed opportunities because of it....

can this finally be the last word on the subject? PLEEEASE?
 

Mister Intensity

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b.t. said:
the reason behind the spectre and phantom stranger's JLU absence has nothing to do with religious issues or anything of that sort....more of that fan speculation-turned-rumor-turned-accepted lore that i love so much....it's simply that dc said we couldn't use 'em, period...

now, before this starts another round of "stupid dc and their dumb embargoes!" breast-beating, let me say it again: it's dc's playground, we just get to play there....almost EVERY SINGLE TIME they've said "no" to our requests, we've managed to find a creative way around it and more often than not, it's turned out for the better...."double date" is a THOUSAND TIMES better ep than the straight-up "birds of prey" story we originally pitched, and as a bonus we got the funky question/huntress romance out of it, which ultimately added emotional resonance to the four-part cadmus finale...."but we didn't get to see barbara gordon one last time!", you say....well, boo-freakin-hoo!....sure, that woulda been a nice one-shot, but look at the big picture: we lost the battle and won the war....

another example: aquaman was going to be the main-focus character in "to another shore" in its earliest embryonic form...when we were forced to replace him with diana, BANG, suddenly the story became something richer, deeper...we added j'onn's sub-plot at that point (which wouldn't even have OCCURRED to us with aquaman at center stage), and long story short, that episode sings a much sweeter song than if the "aquaman embargo" hadn't been in place....likewise, i highly doubt dc would have let us kill off black manta later on in "dead reckoning", but his replacement doppleganger devil-ray was fair game....

"divided we fall": yeah, we originally wanted to have superman finally reveal his secret i.d. to lois at the end, woulda been a nice little bit of fanservice, a little last-minute icing on the cake, but it was OFF-POINT....clark humbly agreeing with lois that superman is "only human" (therefore allowed to make mistakes as long as he learns from them, and never loses touch with that humanity) is EXACTLY the correct way to end the episode (and the season)...

i could think of a dozen other examples (but frankly i'm getting pooped)...

bottom-line, dc has been very VERY good to us overall, they've given us a lot of leeway to mess around with their characters -- whole ARMIES of their characters! -- so if there were a few characters that we would have LIKED to used but couldn't, ehh, I'M not losing any sleep over it, and don't feel there were any missed opportunities because of it....

can this finally be the last word on the subject? PLEEEASE?

Thank you, thank you for saying that. Hopefully this is the final word on this topic.

Mister Intensity
 

Doomsday

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b.t. said:
the reason behind the spectre and phantom stranger's JLU absence has nothing to do with religious issues or anything of that sort....more of that fan speculation-turned-rumor-turned-accepted lore that i love so much....it's simply that dc said we couldn't use 'em, period...

now, before this starts another round of "stupid dc and their dumb embargoes!" breast-beating, let me say it again: it's dc's playground, we just get to play there....almost EVERY SINGLE TIME they've said "no" to our requests, we've managed to find a creative way around it and more often than not, it's turned out for the better...."double date" is a THOUSAND TIMES better ep than the straight-up "birds of prey" story we originally pitched, and as a bonus we got the funky question/huntress romance out of it, which ultimately added emotional resonance to the four-part cadmus finale...."but we didn't get to see barbara gordon one last time!", you say....well, boo-freakin-hoo!....sure, that woulda been a nice one-shot, but look at the big picture: we lost the battle and won the war....

another example: aquaman was going to be the main-focus character in "to another shore" in its earliest embryonic form...when we were forced to replace him with diana, BANG, suddenly the story became something richer, deeper...we added j'onn's sub-plot at that point (which wouldn't even have OCCURRED to us with aquaman at center stage), and long story short, that episode sings a much sweeter song than if the "aquaman embargo" hadn't been in place....likewise, i highly doubt dc would have let us kill off black manta later on in "dead reckoning", but his replacement doppleganger devil-ray was fair game....

"divided we fall": yeah, we originally wanted to have superman finally reveal his secret i.d. to lois at the end, woulda been a nice little bit of fanservice, a little last-minute icing on the cake, but it was OFF-POINT....clark humbly agreeing with lois that superman is "only human" (therefore allowed to make mistakes as long as he learns from them, and never loses touch with that humanity) is EXACTLY the correct way to end the episode (and the season)...

i could think of a dozen other examples (but frankly i'm getting pooped)...

bottom-line, dc has been very VERY good to us overall, they've given us a lot of leeway to mess around with their characters -- whole ARMIES of their characters! -- so if there were a few characters that we would have LIKED to used but couldn't, ehh, I'M not losing any sleep over it, and don't feel there were any missed opportunities because of it....

can this finally be the last word on the subject? PLEEEASE?

No, it will never be put to rest saddly. Its not as bad for me b/c I don't read comics so i rarely know who they are complaining that can't be in the show, but when Aquaman can't appear one more time, its something to complain about. We want to see him one more time, he's a great character thanks to you guys and just want to see as much as we can. Thank god the Question was never on a embargo or I think this forum will go down there and destory DC.
 

Sage Shinigami

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b.t. said:
the reason behind the spectre and phantom stranger's JLU absence has nothing to do with religious issues or anything of that sort....more of that fan speculation-turned-rumor-turned-accepted lore that i love so much....it's simply that dc said we couldn't use 'em, period...

now, before this starts another round of "stupid dc and their dumb embargoes!" breast-beating, let me say it again: it's dc's playground, we just get to play there....almost EVERY SINGLE TIME they've said "no" to our requests, we've managed to find a creative way around it and more often than not, it's turned out for the better...."double date" is a THOUSAND TIMES better ep than the straight-up "birds of prey" story we originally pitched, and as a bonus we got the funky question/huntress romance out of it, which ultimately added emotional resonance to the four-part cadmus finale...."but we didn't get to see barbara gordon one last time!", you say....well, boo-freakin-hoo!....sure, that woulda been a nice one-shot, but look at the big picture: we lost the battle and won the war....

another example: aquaman was going to be the main-focus character in "to another shore" in its earliest embryonic form...when we were forced to replace him with diana, BANG, suddenly the story became something richer, deeper...we added j'onn's sub-plot at that point (which wouldn't even have OCCURRED to us with aquaman at center stage), and long story short, that episode sings a much sweeter song than if the "aquaman embargo" hadn't been in place....likewise, i highly doubt dc would have let us kill off black manta later on in "dead reckoning", but his replacement doppleganger devil-ray was fair game....

"divided we fall": yeah, we originally wanted to have superman finally reveal his secret i.d. to lois at the end, woulda been a nice little bit of fanservice, a little last-minute icing on the cake, but it was OFF-POINT....clark humbly agreeing with lois that superman is "only human" (therefore allowed to make mistakes as long as he learns from them, and never loses touch with that humanity) is EXACTLY the correct way to end the episode (and the season)...

i could think of a dozen other examples (but frankly i'm getting pooped)...

bottom-line, dc has been very VERY good to us overall, they've given us a lot of leeway to mess around with their characters -- whole ARMIES of their characters! -- so if there were a few characters that we would have LIKED to used but couldn't, ehh, I'M not losing any sleep over it, and don't feel there were any missed opportunities because of it....

can this finally be the last word on the subject? PLEEEASE?
I doubt it. I mean, it shuts me up. What you basically said is that when DC forbade you from doing a certain plot point, or using a certain character, it made you think of another way to do the episode, and it turned out to be better story-wise/creatively. As a writer, I can understand that. Sometimes the story you want to do isn't the best story you can do. That said, there are many fans that don't understand (or care), and just want to see their favorite character on-screen again/for the first time.
 

b.t.

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Doomsday said:
No, it will never be put to rest saddly. Its not as bad for me b/c I don't read comics so i rarely know who they are complaining that can't be in the show, but when Aquaman can't appear one more time, its something to complain about. We want to see him one more time, he's a great character thanks to you guys and just want to see as much as we can. Thank god the Question was never on a embargo or I think this forum will go down there and destory DC.

i give up.
 

William C. Maune

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Doomsday said:
No, it will never be put to rest saddly. Its not as bad for me b/c I don't read comics so i rarely know who they are complaining that can't be in the show, but when Aquaman can't appear one more time, its something to complain about. We want to see him one more time, he's a great character thanks to you guys and just want to see as much as we can. Thank god the Question was never on a embargo or I think this forum will go down there and destory DC.

It's not like Aquaman is the only character or only good character in the DCAU though. Heck, between the heroes and villains the number of characters probably approach 100 or more. Aquaman has had a number of episodes, and the same generally applies for most embargoed characters. If Aquaman did appear again, then another character wouldn't appear even though those other character make for great stories as well. If already in use great characters kept appearing "one more time," then we'd never even get other great new characters like Question.
 

John Cage

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William C. Maune said:
If already in use great characters kept appearing "one more time," then we'd never even get other great new characters like Question.

As much as I'd like to be able to see certain characters again, this is probably the best agrument against that. And like B.T said, some of the best bits on JLU -- J'onn moving on, the Question-Huntress romance -- came about because of restrictions. Besides, it's not like a lot of these characters didn't get ample screentime already.

Have a good day.
John Cage
 

jadrax

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b.t. said:
i give up.

No matter what you do someone will always want you to do more or do somthing different.

Look upon it as an achivment that you have made so many people care so much about your version of these charicters.

And a heartfelt thank you for creating such a wonderful series of shows.

-jad
 

Karkull

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b.t. said:
the reason behind the spectre and phantom stranger's JLU absence has nothing to do with religious issues or anything of that sort....more of that fan speculation-turned-rumor-turned-accepted lore that i love so much....it's simply that dc said we couldn't use 'em, period...
I'm not terribly hurt that these characters didn't show up -- they never struck me as being as emotionally rich as, say, Batman or Wonder Woman -- but it does kinda crack me up that you couldn't use the Phantom Stranger, but his archenemy Tala was fair game.

Please don't let the criticism get to you, b.t. Many of us are just going through withdrawl.
 

Ed Liu

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Howdy,

b.t. said:
the reason behind the spectre and phantom stranger's JLU absence has nothing to do with religious issues or anything of that sort....more of that fan speculation-turned-rumor-turned-accepted lore that i love so much....it's simply that dc said we couldn't use 'em, period...

(quietly bookmarks b.t.'s post for the next time someone asks this very question...)

Seeing as DC is a part of the big Time Warner family, and comic book franchises are big business these days, I think it's safer to assume "it's probably a rights issue" for why one character or another couldn't be used, rather than attempt to state an unconfirmed rumor as unconfirmed. Rights issues were the real reason why the Human Torch wasn't in the Fantastic Four cartoon that had HERBIE the robot, why the Bat-embargo exists, and why Black Manta became Devil Ray. I'm going to guess that's the real reason why Wonder Girl never showed up in Teen Titans, too. It also replaces any explanation of malice with one that's rooted somehow in money, which is almost always more plausible in the end.

BTW, the comment about "the geniuses in charge of the shows" wasn't aimed at you or anybody else on staff, but the higher ups who get to lay down the law on these things.

But hey! What's this I hear about Black Manta not being allowed because he's black or something? Rage! Anger! Obligatory anti-PC comment! :p

-- Ed/Ace
 

Doomsday

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b.t. said:
i give up.

I'm not saying you should give up. You really give a great point and I was really not one to care that someone got embargo. I was just using Aquaman as an example, I don't really care that we won't be seeing him again, we got Batman to give attitude to ppl. I mean its a drag that we will never see a Batman villian on the show but the characters you do have are so awesome that I won't care. But there are ppl that can't get past the embargos and want to see which can be their favorite character again. Anyways it doesn't matter anymore, JLU is over.:D :sad:
 
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