Born February 8, 1961.
Homem—CA Officem—Warner Bros. Television Production Inc., 400 Warner Ave., Burbank, CA 91522.
Filmation, layout artist on animated television series Blackstar, Flash Gordon, Lone Ranger, He-Man, Masters of the Universe, and She-Ra, Princess of Power, 1981-84; Don Bluth Productions, assistant animator on film The Secret of N.I.M.H.; Marvel Productions, character designer for G.I. Joe; Ralph Bakshi Productions, character designer for The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse, 1987; DZIC, character designer for The Beany and Cecil Show, 1988; Warner Bros. Television, storyboard artist and character designer, Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures, worked on Superman, Batman, Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited, 1989m—. Producer of films, including: (and cocreator) Batman: The Animated Series (television series), 1992; Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm (animated movie), 1993; Superman: The Last Son of Krypton (television series), 1996; (and cocreator) Superman: The Animated Series, 1996; Batman: Gotham Knights (television series), 1997; The Batman/Superman Movie, 1998; Batman Beyond (television series), 1999; Batman Beyond: The Movie, 1999; Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, 2000; (and creator) Justice League (television series), 2001; Justice League Unlimited (television series), 2002; Teen Titans (television series), 2003; and The Batman, 2004. Director of television series Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and Superman: The Animated Series. Voice actor on Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. Cover artist and illustrator on comic books for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Dark Horse Comics.
Primetime Emmy, 1993, for Batman: The Animated Series; Harvey Award for Best Single Issue (with Paul Dini), 1994, for Batman Adventures: Mad Love; Eisner Award for Best Single Issue (with Dini), 1995, for Batman Adventures Holiday Special; Daytime Emmy for Best Animated Program, 1998, for The New Batman/Superman Adventures; Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Daytime Animated Television Production, and Daytime Emmy for Best Animated Program, both 2001, both for Batman Beyond; Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Home Video Production, 2001, for Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker; Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album Reprint, 2004, for Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons.
TELEVISION SCRIPTS; EXCEPT AS NOTED
(And director) Batman: The Animated Series, Warner Bros. Television, 1991.
(And director) Superman: The Animated Series, Warner Bros. Television, 1996.
Batman: Gotham Knights, Warner Bros. Television, 1997.
Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker (movie), Warner Bros. Television, 2000.
Justice League, Warner Bros. Television, 2001.
Justice League Unlimited, Warner Bros. Television, 2004.
(With Paul Dini) The Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons (graphic novel), DC Comics (New York, NY), 2003.
Writer and illustrator on numerous comic-book series for DC Comics, Mattel, Dark Horse, Gryphon, and Marvel Comics, including Batman Adventures: Mad Love, Batman Adventures Holiday Special, and Batman Adventures: Harley and Ivy.
Bruce Timm is both a comic book artist and a well-known creator and producer of animated series on television. His 1992 program Batman: The Animated Series set a new standard for tales featuring the famous caped adventurer and garnered an Emmy in the process. Timm followed this accomplishment up with the award-winning Superman: The Animated Series, as well as his animated version of another well-known comic-book series, Justice League of America. Meanwhile, he also won Eisner and Harvey awards for his print work with DC Comics, where he has teamed up with writer Paul Dini on such titles as Batman Adventures: Mad Love and Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons.
Timm's work in both comics and animation is characterized by what Booklist contributor Gordon Flagg called "an expressively simple, distinctively cartoony style that captures the fun of superheroes." For Timm, there is none of the angst of more modern renditions of classic super heroes; his Batman and Superman are out to right wrongs and do marvelous deeds without brooding overlong on the process. In animated series, movies, and comic book editions, Timm has taken these superheroes back to their roots, rejecting much of the gloss of sophistication and mythic complexity that has attached to them over generations of reincarnation at the hands of a succession of artists and illustrators.
Cuts Teeth on TV's Batman
As Timm commented to Brian Saner Lamken for Comicology Online, his first "exposure to superheroes" was the 1960s Batman television series starring Adam West; "Of course," the illustrator added, "I was five years old, so I didn't realize that it was a parody; I thought that it was straight, and I took it seriously." Even when Batman's sidekick, Robin, was eaten by a giant clam in one episode of the television show, Timm and his friends at school still viewed the show as a serious adventure yarn. Marvel comic books of the same decade formed another part of Timm's early introduction. At first he delved into the Batman and Superman comic-book series, but when his brother brought home a Spider-Man comic, the book's artm—by Steve Ditkom—"just kinda freaked me out," Timm told Lamken. "There was something about itm—it looked really dark and creepy; even Spider-Man looked creepy. And from that moment on, I was just a Marvel kid all the way." After exposure to this edgier Marvel art and story, the stories in DC Comics were "bland" in comparison.
Still, comics were something of a luxury for Timm as a child, and he either had to make painful choices as to how to dole out his allowance money or wait until he got sick, when his mother would buy him some. Once, a friend in the neighborhood gave him a drawer full of comics he did not want. "It was like an epiphany," Timm recalled to Lamken. "I got this big box of comics and I started poring over it." Soon, he began drawing his favorite characters and making up stories to go along with them.
Speaking with Emru Townsend for the Critical Eye Web site, Timm discussed his early influences: "When I was a teenager, John Buscema was my favorite artists, so I just copied all the John Buscema comics I could get my hands on. Later I got into Alex Toth and Frank Frazetta, and for the longest time I wanted to draw just like Frank Frazetta. Finally I realized that I would just never be able to draw that well, so I kind of adapted my style to what it ultimately becamem—I played off of the fact that I'm not really a good draftsman. [I] made my stuff designier and designier, and the style just evolved."
By the time he reached high school, Timm had decided that he wanted to be a comic-book artist. He put together a portfolio and began showing it at comic conventions, but did not get any job offers. Meanwhile, he graduated from high school and was working at a local K-Mart. One day he was watching a cartoon show on television and decided that he could draw better than what he was watching. If he could not find a place in comic books, he thought, perhaps animation would be his field. He submitted his portfolio to Filmation and at age twenty was hired as a layout artist for the sword-and-sorcery television production Blackstar. "It was a kick," Timm told Lamken, "because it was drawing for a living, and I did learn a lot of the rudiments of what goes into a cartoon from being there. The downside of it was that it was really disillusioning, because everything was such a factory back then. They actually didn't encourage you to do good drawings; they wanted you to do passable drawings."
A Professional Animator
Timm worked for Filmation for several years, doing layout work on The Lone Ranger and other animated television series, then worked as an assistant for the movie The Secret of N.I.M.H. and designed characters for Marvel Comics before returning to Filmation to work on titles such as the popular He-Man, She-Ra, Princess of Power, and Masters of the Universe. When He-Man was turned into a comic book for Mattel, Timm was at the helm, pleased at the chance to learn the rudiments of comic-book production. "That stuff paid really well; it paid better than the regular comic-book rates at the time," Timm explained to Lamken. "And I was doing enough of those that when I left the She-Ra show I basically just did freelance for Mattel for a couple of years working out of my house."
A short stint on "The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse" and The Beanie and Cecil Show followed, but by 1989, Timm had finally found his real home, at Warner Bros. Television, where he has remained ever since.
Timm began his career at Warner Bros. with an assignment to work on the television series Tiny Toon Adventures, but when he learned that the company was planning to launch an animated series based on the Batman comic books, he quickly put together some designs and presented them at the next production meeting. This work was enough to earn Timm a job as producer of the series, and along with Eric Radomski he created the program.
Timm had already achieved the dream of every little kid raised on comic books. Now he had the opportunity, as Townsend noted, to make a "faithful adaptation" of one of the most popular comic books ever into a television show. As Townsend described the show's take on the Batman legend: "The Joker's fiendish traps were grand, but not garish; Penguin was every bit as deadly as he was funny-looking; Catwoman was misunderstood, a temptress, noble, sexy, elusive. Visually, Gotham City . . . was the very model of a film-noir locale." Timm and Radomski's instincts were right on: when Batman: The Animated Series aired in 1992, it was an immediate hit.
Ken Tucker, reviewing the first season of Batman for Entertainment Weekly, noted that it was a surprise to many that Fox network's "classiest series would prove to be an afternoon cartoon show." Tucker went on to praise the show's "first-rate" animation and the fact that the creators' vision "is wonderfully faithful to Batman lore." Other Batman television series followed, including Batman Beyond, but the 1992 series was the standout for most fans.
Timm also took over producer/director/story roles for the 1996 series, Superman: The Animated Series. And with the 2001 series Justice League, Timm had a chance to bundle his superheroes, with an animated cast that included Batman, Superman, Martian Man-hunter, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl. Explaining the concept for the show to Rob Allstetter in Comics Continuum, Timm noted, "It's very much in the same style and genre as Superman and Batman. The major difference is that we're going for a more realistic look in the back grounds."
Meanwhile, Timm was also making a name for himself in comics, designing covers and pin-ups for major publishers, and working with Paul Dini on the groundbreaking Batman Adventures: Mad Love, in which the Joker's female partner, Harley Quinn, is introduced. That Eisner-and Harvey-winning story arc is, according to Steve Raiteri in Library Journal, "a surprisingly deep and tragic tale of obsessive love," with "stylized and simplified" artwork by Timm.
Timm and Dini have teamed up for several more works, including 2003's The Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons, a gathering of their Batman comic-book work in a graphic-novel format. According to a critic for Publishers Weekly, the compilation, a "boffo book with classic comic book style," presents "playful stories pitting real villains against good, old-fashioned heroes." Timm and Dini's 2004 comic-book sequence, Batman Adventures: Harley and Ivy, presents the story arc featuring Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy; the publication of this series was delayed for over a decade. "It's pretty much a free-wheeling farce," Timm told Jim Harvey in Toon Zone Forum Online. "I like to describe it as a sexy, silly romp."
The ever-busy Timm has continued to wear many professional hats: an animator, producer, director, and creator of series at Warner Bros. Television, he has also become a well-respected cartoonist and creator of comic-book art. In the final analysis, however, it is Timm's television work that reaches the greatest audience and for which he is best known. His work on Batman: The Animated Series has made him known to "fans across the country" who, according to Lamken, "embraced . . . the ways in which it distilled a narrative and artistic purity from the complexities of the Dark Knight mythos."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Eric Nole-Weathington, editor, Modern Masters Volume 3: Bruce Timm, TwoMorrows (Raleigh, NC), 2004.
Booklist, October 15, 2004, Gordon Flagg, review of Modern Masters Volume 3: Bruce Timm, p. 373.
Entertainment Weekly, September 4, 1992, Ken Tucker, review of Batman: The Animated Series, p. 58.
Library Journal, September 1, 2003, Steve Raiteri, review of The Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons, p. 140.
Publishers Weekly, August 11, 2003, review of The Batman Adventures: Dangerous Dames and Demons, p. 258; August 9, 2004, review of Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale, p. 233.
Bruce Timm Gallery Web site,http://www.buzzscope.com/ (May 15, 2005).
Comic Book Artist Online,http://www.twomorrows.com/ (May 15, 2005), Jon B. Cooke, "Chatting with Bruce Timm about Kirby's Fourth World."
Comicology Online,http://twomorrows.com/comicology/ (May 15, 2005), Brian Saner Lamken, "Ever-Lovin' Blue-eyed Timm."
Comicon.com, http://comicon.com/ (April 23, 2004), Heidi Macdonald), "Timm on the League's New Attitude."
ComicsContinuum.com, http://comicscontinuum.com/ (April 24, 2001), Rob Allstetter, "Bruce Timm Talks Justice League."
Critical Eye Web site, http://pupleplanetmedia.com/eye/ (May 15, 2005), Emru Townsend, "On Drawing the Dark Knight."
If you enjoy the works of Bruce Timm
If you enjoy the works of Bruce Timm, you may also want to check out the following:
The works of Stan Lee, Bob Kane, Frank Miller, and Will Eisner.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (May 15, 2005), "Bruce W. Timm."
Lambiek.net, http://www.lambiek.net/ (May 15, 2005), "Bruce Timm."
Toon Zone Forum Online,http://forums.toonzone.net/ (June 26, 2003), Maxie Zeus, "Why Is Darkseid So Very Cool? Bruce Timm Explains"; (April 24, 2004) Jim Harvey, "Timm and Dini and 'Harley and Ivy': Crime Finally Pays."
TVTome.com, http://www.tvtome.com/ (May 15, 2005), "Bruce Timm."
TwoMorrows Publishing,http://twomorrows.com/ (May 15, 2005), George Khoury and Pedro Khoury III, interview with Timm.*