Last night I attended Warner Animation’s public unveiling of the studio’s new cartoon billboard. The evnt, open to the public, featured: door prizes, a raffle, face painting, the Mystery Machine, and the Batmobile. The highlight of my evening was getting a sketch from Batman; Brave and the Bold character designer Lynell Forstall. While Lynell sketched, I chatted him up. We talked about everything from TO going to the Bills (Forstall is not a TO fan.), to Firefly versus BSG (Forstall is a diehard BSG fan.). Mostly though Lynell opened up about the various Warner projects he’s worked on and what’s ahead for Brave and the Bold.
What character was the most fun to design so far on the show?
LYNELL FORSTALL: That I can talk about? (Sly smile.) You will be seeing more Blue Beatles…
Can you draw me an Aquaman?
So who will we see soon? Superman?
FORSTALL: Not in the near future. There’s problems with the rights, but mostly, James (Tucker) hasn’t figured out how to do Superman yet. He is very wary of the possibility of Batman being second fiddle on his own show. That’s also the problem with Wonder Woman…. Thought James loves her. Basically James tries to get us to find the most fun way to tell the adventure. And this way we get to draw these new guys.
A lot of new characters.
FORSTALL: We go through the DC Who’s Who and pick the lamest characters, then try to make them awesome.
FORSTALL: Pretty much, if you can come up with them, we’ve talked about using them. James is really big on the fact that we aren’t doing cartoony versions. We’re doing a great adventure show, that also happens to be a cartoon.
How’d you get hooked up with this project?
FORSTALL: [Lynell starts another sketch] Through the Legion cartoon. I was working on a different film at the time and Lauren Montgomery who was on legion suggested I hand James my portfolio because they needed a third character designer for season one. I handed him my portfolio and got hired that day. Unfortunately I ended up only doing storyboards on season one. But then season two came along. And James was like “Do you want the job?” And I said “sure”.
So you did the design for a lot of the season two characters?
FORSTALL: Yes. Brainiac, Lightning Lad. Season 2 was like a design competition. We were all trying to out do each other.
I liked the show. What happened to it?
FORSTALL: They moved on to other projects. Season two was great, what we had planned for season three was even better. We were setting Brainiac up as a villain. Great stuff.
FORSTALL: After Legion, they kept me around here. I worked on wonder Woman, and then James brought me on board for Brave and the Bold.
How did working on Brave and the Bold compare to Legion? Brave and the Bold is really James’s baby isn’t it?
FORSTALL: On Brave and the Bold, James definitely has an opinion. It can be a little more difficult. I’ll be learning to love a character’s design, and when I love it James is like, “meh”. But James is great. he likes us to bounce ideas off him. There’s a lot of input.
How does working for Warner and DC compare to marvel?
FORSTALL: In some ways it felt like Marvel was stuck in rut, at least with animation. The original designs for Teen Avengers were incredible. The story was dark. Then they went and made it look and feel like Teen Titans, which is great, but is Teen Titans. They didn’t end up using any of my designs on Teen Avengers. Actually when I was working on Legion and we were looking at Brainiac, Brainiac originally had a ceasar hair cut. But I had a sketch of Cap (tain America)’s son out. James saw the hair and suggested I put it on Brainiac.
What comics did you read as a kid?
FORSTALL: A lot of X-men and X-factor. Walt Simonson and George Perez. A lot of Walt Simonson.
It was great stuff.
FORSTALL: I don’t read comics anymore. I’m kind of Geek Anti-social. I’m more likely to go snowboarding or spend time with my family than talk about comics.
What’s coming up for you?
FORSTALL: Another Season of Brave and The Bold.
Thanks again. Great meeting you.
FORSTALL: Thank you.
As the Batmobile is towed away by a golf cart, I notice that we are among the last fans to leave. All in all a great time.