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Cartoon Culture

The new Warner Bros. studio mural

Three months ago we mourned the end of the Warner Bros. animation mural at the intersection of Barham, Pass and Olive in Burbank. Tonight, Warners threw a party on the studio backlot to unveil the new cartoon billboard to replace it. Here it is. DC super heroes now take center stage, flying over the Hall of Justice (a nod to Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends), with Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and Sylvester lurking around the edges. Though I wish the Looney Tunes got a little more space, I’m grateful Scooby Doo has been downsized. One unique feature of the mural is that a group of super villains appear along the bottom – but are only visible at night.

Peter Girardi designed the mural, Tommy Tejeda drew the superheroes with input from Bruce Timm, James Tucker and Glen Murakami. Other celebrities at the event included Julie Newmar (Catwoman) and Diedrich Bader (the current voice of Batman).

  • Sam Filstrup

    I think it looks great being the DCAU geek that I am. I probably would have jammed a little more Looney Tunes and characters in general in though. Lovin Batman getting center stage.

  • James

    I think this perfectly reflects the animation changes and new focus happening at Warner Bros. Sadly.

  • Sadly, it’s all about what’s making money for the company now and not tradition. If Disney did a mural like this, Mickey and Donald would probably be hiding in the background behind the Jonas Brothers.

  • Steisha

    It looks really great. I’m glad that the artist chose the Batman TAS style, especially that of the villains. I wish that they could have kept Fred in there somewhere.

  • Autumn

    Would’ve preferred the LT taking center stage, BUT I love Batman, and he’s out in front instead of Superman, so…I’m pleased…I guess.

    That’s a pretty cool feature that the villians show up at night though.

    And I don’t mourn the loss of Scooby. Not one bit.

  • Aquaman got on there? XD

  • Its pretty nice, have you got any pictures of the old one for contrast? i agree though defnitly would have given some of the looney toon classic characters some more spotlight. i like how the villains only light up at night tho thats a pretty cool concept but yeah overall i like it =)

  • gaastra

    “And I don’t mourn the loss of Scooby. Not one bit.”

    Scooby is still there. He is on the top with Tweety. But where is Yogi Bear? Poor Iron Giant is gone too. They used the Brave and the Bold DC heroes I see… and there’s Wonder Woman! She’s part of DC’s big three. The Animaiacs are gone too.

  • It looks pretty good considering what could have been. I would also prefer more Looney Tunes but I like Bruce Timm’s drawing style. I also like how Daffy and Bugs are portrayed in a kinda “Clampett” look which looks more classic to me than their other typical look in merchandising that usually imitates Chuck Jones but eliminating his personal style.

  • Rose

    I have, somewhat, mixed feelings.

    It’s a wonderful, bold, (and brave, of course), well rendered and executed sign. It features characters I love.

    With Batman making so much money for Warners, and the superhero fueled programing in the public eye (Green lantern DVD up soon, Wonderwoman out not long ago, Aquaman and Blue Beetle recent multi appearances in B & B) and Superman always seemingly in the pipeline ( a focus in Smallville, and a very valuable property for Warner’s) it makes sense.

    My hesitancy from praising it fully comes only from the de emphasis on the “classic” Loony Toons characters. They, do, deserve to be front and center, or at least more predominate in the overall scheme of things.

    …but the sign is just great, otherwise. I think it a wonderful thing.

  • Michael Rebain

    That’s actually the Batman of the current Brave and the Bold series, not “The Animated Series”. Similar, but not the same. I assume that that’s the reason why Batman takes center stage instead of Superman. The Blue Beetle and Aquaman figures are also based on their appearance in the new series.

  • Jay Pennington

    Actually that Batman is in the style of the Brave and the Bold cartoon, not TAS. :)

  • I’m ok with the LT characters not taking center stage. I’m just glad that these characters are still getting a wink and a nod. The notion that any characters that are pushing 70 years old are even relevant enough to include in the mural is something to be applauded.

    And these characters even the super heroes…for the most part…are all well into retirement age. You can’t say that about a lot of stuff.

  • PJ

    My only real problem with this is that Batman himself isn’t depicted in TAS style….it’s not that he’s rendered poorly, its just that he doesn’t jive with the rest of the superhero characters. I could understand an argument made for depicted him the way they did, I just think the mural as a whole would’ve been more cohesive if they’d chosen to go TAS-style with Batman.

    I think its pretty obvious that the artists were able to have more fun, and be a bit more creative, working on this mural than than they were with the last one. The villains only showing up at night is a great touch.

  • It looks okay, but I agree that the Looney Tunes could have taken more space.

    I guess the reason to put the DC characters center stage was because of the success of “The Dark Knight”.

  • FigmentJedi

    Well Gagaman, it’s the awesome Large Ham version from the current Batman show and one of the breakout characters of that series. I’m glad he’s on there. Makes this mural OUTRAGEOUS

  • Charlie

    I like the old mural better. The superheros were done fine, but that’s the thing… the focus shouldn’t just be on superheros. They should have also done at least a little better on LT. Bugs has a complete different look than Daffy, Sylvester, and Tweety! And theyre all clip art…the old one actually had personality coming from each character.
    And also, Teen Titans…? Gimme a break.

  • Mark McD

    “Sadly, it’s all about what’s making money for the company now and not tradition. If Disney did a mural like this, Mickey and Donald would probably be hiding in the background behind the Jonas Brothers.”

    Have you been to a Disney store in the mall lately?

  • Saturnome

    Would look great on a DC office wall … !

  • Wow….I’m very impressed of the new design.

  • Gobo

    Never thought I’d see Cincinnati’s Union Terminal as a Hollywood icon.

  • Where’s the photos of Julie Newmar???

  • Larry

    Coulda been worse. But bury that retarded great dane. Bury him deep.

  • drmedula

    I don’t think it’s so much about what’s making money right now as ity is about what’s ACTUALLY BEING PRODUCED right now- the superhero franchise initiated by Timm and co. is still going strong, while the Looney Tunes gang is not currently a going concern (and considering the last couple of attempts to revive them, that may be for the best!) Actually, having Bugs and Daffy in there at ALL is a sign of respect for their body of work. (And for those who just don’t like superheroes- you can’t deny Bats has EARNED the spotlight fair and square. It’s not like they’ve given centre stage to a newbie… )

  • Overall I like the mural. And I like that they used the more daffy Daffy, veering more toward the Clampett version than Jones (both were great). Perhaps it’s the angle the photo was taken from but the Superman pose looks really bizarre.

  • this is just warners pretending to be marvel. I mean whats easier then actualy making movies about superheros. oo i know making a big mural and pretending they’re working on movies about super hero’s.

    It’s too bad they took down all the looney tunes. but I don’t think most people don’t think about bugs and daffy when they think about Warners. they probably think about Batman. Looney tunes is something from the past and sadly most kids don’t see it on tv anymore. so i guess it kinda makes sense.

    but it’s still sad and there should be more looney tunes on tv

  • John A

    Anything that gives the cartoon world some respect is O.K. by me. Bugs should be front and center, though, by the sheild, since he IS the ‘living’ embodiment of Warner Bros. animation.

  • “Where’s the photos of Julie Newmar???”


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3422339007/

  • That’s not fair: I’d give the central stage to Alfred, Batman’s butler!!!

    Silly jokes, BTW, I’m disappointed about the less presence of the Looney Tunes charachters…that’s strange, considering that, by taking casually a single person in a crowd and telling him what does he think by hearing the word “Warner Bros.”, most probably the first thing this one’s going to say is “Bugs Bunny”, which is known worldwide and since many years: he’s an icon in few words… but less probably Batman: he’s a preety good charachter of course, but many folks are re-discovering him now thanks to the success of “The Dark Night” Movie and the merchandising based on him and other DC heroes!

    In few words: this studio mural is just a mirror of our modern times;
    with all the problems due to the economic crisis and so on, we actually need some good and fair heroes who could cheer up our morals, could this be considered a logic explication to justify the choise of those subjects, or just an grasp at straws?

  • Keith

    PJ, Batman DOES jive with the other characters. Blue Beetle and Aquaman, specifically, since they’re all from the Brave & the Bold series.

    Green Lantern is presumably in the style of the upcoming movie, WW seems to be in the style of her recent DVD movie. Superman is in TAS style I think (or JL/JLU; he actually looks a little muddy in terms of which exact style). Robin, Cyborg, and Starfire are in Teen Titans style… it’s not ALL “Bruce Timm style” by any means.

    Superman seems the weakest of the bunch, just an awkward rendition of a flying pose, with the right elbow clamped to his waist, right hand sticking out oddly. However, he didn’t look that great on the previous billboard, either, in a pretty bland standing pose.

    Bugs & Daffy look great there. Sylvester, Tweety, and Scooby are kinda obscured up top, but probably look good. What little I can see of the villains look good, and they ARE all in “TAS” style (with Catwoman, at least, being the revised later style). I see Harley, Joker, Catwoman, and Clayface, but can’t quite make out who’s just to the left of the shield.

  • Not sure why the Teen Titans are up there, but oh well.

    Is there a picture of what it looks like at night?

  • I like this better than I thought I would…but I have a very hard complaint – as I also see others here have. Very disappointed Bugs and the others are so downsized. The new mural is a wonderful composition…very clear and well designed…but Bugs!! The best part of the older mural was Bugs so front and center, and the new mural suffers from having him more out of the way.

    As far as timeless-ness goes…the classic superheroes are great…not too sure about the Teen Titans (though it is a big franchise), so for them to get more visibility over the iconic Loony Toons is a big letdown. What’s really neat is the villains only visible at night; cool idea!

  • Earl Kress

    Yes, but they stiffed Tom and Jerry, the only other classic characters still in active production behind the Superheroes and Scooby. Boo!


    Daffy looks as if he’s proclaiming that… “I’ll be back bigger and better just you wait!” I can’t wait! I’m more of a Loony Toony myself! I’m like eeeeh! Super hero–schmeeroh! Bugs, Daffy and Gang are the best!!!

  • Nice, who was the artist for that amazing piece! Good times, good times…

  • A lot of those poses seem to be awkwardly copied from stock licensing art meant more for branded school supplies and juice box tie-ins than a cohesive mural. Which is a shame because I dig the motif of heroes flying out towards the viewer from the Hall of Justice(Which I’m assuming is a cute callback to the “Superfriends” opening sequence).

    It’s obviously designed to showcase their current hits so I think we can all agree that it was probably okay to leave out Animaniacs.

  • Shawn Jackson

    Never thought I’d see the new Blue Beetle on a huge mural. Cool stuff!

  • That’s actually pretty cool. I would’ve changed a couple of things though:

    Have Bugs Bunny “reclining” on the shield, just below Batman, and in his place at the top right, add Tom and Jerry. That spot to the right of Daffy where the green fireworks are looks pretty bare, I’d have stuck Wile E. and Road Runner in there…considering Road Runner is the mascot for Time Warner Cable.

  • A Reader

    Looks like someone really, really wants to push Batman.

    Warner Bros was built by Bugs Bunny esq,, period. Having him way up there practically hidden away is embarrassing. He’s about the same proportional size to the “superfriends” as the lesser Tiny Toons characters were to Bugs & Co. on the old mural. Nice going, WB.

  • G. Melissa Graziano

    I miss Iron Giant and the Animaniacs, too. The fact that they were on the old mural made me happy every time I drove by. :(

    I wonder how often WB plans on switching out the mural.

  • PJ

    Ah, thanks for the enlightenment, Keith….When I looked at it earlier, Aquaman looked (and still does, honestly) like he was from the Bruce Timm crowd, and I honestly have no idea who Blue Beedle is, but its nice to know that Batman’s style is a more internally cohesive.

  • Yalta

    WB plans on switching out the mural every time they lay off another 800 people. And it’s the executives who should be visible only at night.

  • Jadler

    “Warner Bros was built by Bugs Bunny esq,, period. Having him way up there practically hidden away is embarrassing”

    True, Bugs and company might have knocked ‘er up but DC married her. Looney Toones are fantastic!! I love them! But they don’t pay the bills and haven’t for some time. They are icons, no doubt but it’s not like Superman and Batman just showed up in the last 5 years. These characters have been around for almost 70 years. If WB gets their bills paid because of their DC properties then it makes total sense to promote the hell out of them and I for one am thrilled!!
    WB has a lot on their slate in the next 2 years onward, not just for animation but live action movies and TV and these characters will be front and center for the studio. Getting them into the public consciousness is very important. Especially for characters like Green Lantern who don’t have as much worldwide name recognition like Supes and Bats.
    Looney Tunes will be icons and mascots for WB forever but if you keep looking backward you won’t be able to see where you’re going and what’s ahead is lots of DC!

  • As much as I love the Looney Tunes, the mural would make more sense if it was super heroes only. Looking at the photo I thought “Hey, that’s neat. But since when do Bugs and Daffy hang out in the Hall of Justice?” It would be better to make a separate mural celebrating the classic cartoon tradition instead of slapping them on top of a distinctly super-hero oriented composition.

  • Chuck R.

    Wow! For once I’m happier to be living in the midwest than L.A.
    You guys get to drive past a billboard featuring the deco-inspired Hall of Justice. That’s cool. But here in Cincinnati, we get to visit the real deal!


    No place quite like it on earth.

  • Hooray for diversity. A Black superhero (Cyborg) and a Latino superhero (Blue Beetle) are now up there in the pantheon of DC Super Heroes, and although I lament the lack of the BTAS Batman, it is good to see most of the eras of the DC animated incarnations represented (Hanna-Barbera’s Superfriends, B:TAS-era Joker and Harley Quinn, DCAU Superman, the Murakami Teen Titans, the Brave and the Bold heroes, and the DC Universe DVD Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, and yet, no love for the Matsuda incarnation of The Batman [whose Catwoman I’d rather see than the one present on the piece]).

    Although Bugs, Daffy, and Tweety and Sylvester’s inclusion are there, it does seem kind of secondary and an afterthought. Also, um, I’m fairly certain Hanna-Barbera made more than just Scooby-Doo, especially between 1939 and 1969 as well as between 1969 – 2001. But that’s Time Warner being Time Warner. I’m also missing the 90s-era Warner Bros. characters. Though the Taz and Marvin the Martian fascination is over.

  • Anna

    superheroes hanging out with LooneyTunes in same image is a bit silly, but Daffy’s lil ” hi there!” salute makes me happy ^__^

    its a bit hard to tell – but are all those villains from Batman universe only??? (can make out Harley, Joker & 2-face)

  • Pedro Nakama

    Why does the new animated design of Superman look gay? Seriously.

  • Ms. Davidovich hit the nail right on its head. The new mural relates to the current characters on the studio’s roster. Film history and film studio commerce are two completely different worlds.
    For the record- I love the new mural. It perfectly reflects WB’s film properties now in production and gives a respectful nod to its past characters.

  • Sigh,…no Osmosis Jones…..

  • Gobo

    @Pedro — You mean the fact that Superman’s strong, muscular, and masculine looking? Yep, pretty gay.

  • Trevor

    Well one things for sure, Bruce Timm should be pleased.

  • Mark McD

    “Where’s the photos of Julie Newmar???”
    HERE: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3422339007/

    Whoah! Julie still looks hawter than the model trying to fill the Wonder Woman costume!

  • Many thanks to Mr. Dunn for the photo of Julie Newmar; from that photo, it’s hard to believe she’s in her mid-seventies. I’ve interviewed her, and she’s a bright, intelligent, engaging lady. In fact, she now has her own Web site, http://www.julienewmarwrites.com/, where she periodically writes on all sorts of topics, invariably with wit and grace. It’s well worth a visit.

    As for the Warners mural, while I like superheroes as much as the next person, it’s unfortunate to see the classic Warners characters diminished (of course, their spiritual successors, the Animaniacs, effectively became nonpersons in the Great Warners Encyclopedia some years ago).

  • LooneyGirl

    Not a big fan of this one, I mean, why hide the classic characters like Buggs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and higlight some B-class cartoons like Batman and (whatsthenameoftheseries) Robin. I’d rather celebrate the best years of WB than to pay attention to their failures. The idea with the villians being only visible at night, is nice though.

  • Ahhh… MUCH better! (Would still like to see more prominent Looney Toons placement, but it’s still fantastic.)

  • Tom Ruegger

    Whether you like the new mural or not, it seems a little sad to me that Warner Bros. Animation has come to the point where they’re throwing a party for a billboard unveiling.

  • It only makes perfect sense that Batman is at the center of the DC *AND* Warner Bros. universe. He’s Warner Animations’ main product now.

    They just can’t do very much with Looney Tunes anymore, because with more appreciation of their Golden Years, they’re *still* considered “politically incorrect” and a niche item now. But then, I can’t quite see Bugs Bunny starring in a new TV series. You can’t do anything with Bugs Bunny anymore, because Chuck Jones’ laid-back, cool-headed version is the one that gets the most recognition. And the DUCK DODGERS TV series is long over.

    Ever since after SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE, and with the advent of Tim Burton’s BATMAN movie, Superman is unfortunately plagued with too many problems on many levels. He’s just not “cool” enough for the cynical post-80s. He’s not “realistic” (the biggest reason people like Batman). But the problem wasn’t plausibility alone; he was put in the hands of people who just don’t care for him. Jon Peters, who wanted Tim Burton to do what eventually became SUPERMAN RETURNS. And they both HATED Superman. Meanwhile in the comics, Superman has been degraded into The Man with superpowers (because he has “too much power,” and the best superhero should never have any powers, meaning Batman). And to an extent, DC is having problems with the Siegel & Shuster’s estate, who are battling them over the rights to the character. (They did manage to claim the rights to “Superboy.”) They’ve got the same problem with Wonder Woman! They have to do something with the character, or the rights will revert back to the Marston estate. But what is DC doing with her? Half the time, they make WW into more of a niche sexual fantasy instead of an empowerment figure for girls. With Wonder Woman being a niche product nowadays, how many girls today know who she is anymore, when they’re raised on Bratz, and the new “teen” version of Dora the Explorer? Once again, Batman is more important to DC, because he is more popular.

    Just so I’m clear, I love the Batman character (Adam West is my personal favorite version). But he is not the center of the universe. I love him as equally as Superman (who I always grew up with). I just hate the current over-powered, over-exposed Batman, who is made to be more invincible than he really should be. So many people hate Superman, but Batman is becoming more and more like him. Go figure.

    Yeah, Scooby Doo is gone from the mural, but then, Warner finds Hanna-Barbera characters to be embarrassing to their image.

  • Oh, wait, sorry; Scooby IS there! Look on the very top on the right (behind the small steel structure). Talk about being shoved into the background! But my point still stands.

  • Martin

    The retarded great dane IS embarrassing to WB’s image. It only took them a dozen years to realize it. But they’re cranking out another cheap TV series starring him right this minute.

  • What, look I like Warner’s DC properties, but come on, the Looney Tunes made Warner Bros what it is, Bugs Bunny is on the Warner bros animation LOgo. He should be up center, not right at the back. And why is it not Bruce Timm’s Batman.

  • Chuckles

    I like it. Being a Green Lantern fan(especially Hal Jordan fan), I’m glad he’s on it. Still trying to figure out if the Superman is from the TAS/JLU, or if it’s from the Superman/Doomsday movie(which almost looks the same, except for the cheekbone lines, but can’t really tell if he has it from the picture). The Superman/Doomsday would make sense since they’re obviously pushing the Direct to Video PG13 animated movies with GL and WW. Wish they would’ve used Timm’s Batman, but looks like they’re trying to support the current Brave and Bold cartoon. Also love the nod to the Superfriends Hall of Justice.

    Though not at the center spotlight, still looks like Bugs and Daffy are still pretty big on the billboard. So I think it works.

  • Chuckles,

    It’s the standard Bruce Timm Superman on the mural. The one from SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY had a shinier costume with bolder colors. (Of all the Timm Supermans, that one is my favorite!)

    And if they’re going to use Batman, yeah, they could’ve used the Timm version (the original or the JLU version), but it seems he’s no longer relevant, like the BRAVE AND THE BOLD one is now.

    Is that really the Hal Jordan Green Lantern on the mural? (Considering Hal is the star of an upcoming DVD movie project.) If so… WOW! It’s a surprise to see them use him instead of the more “PC” John Stewart. (Guess the stigma that Denny O’Neal placed Hal in since the 70s was shaken off like a bad case of fleas.)

  • Looney Lover

    At least they didn’t put Harry Potter in the middle.

    I’m surprised not to see any Tom and Jerry running around on the bottom. WB has done more with them then the Looney Tunes in the past 10 years

  • I passed by the mural yesterday, and I think it’s miles above the old one in design and execution. Very powerful. And without the rigging in front of it, the Looney Tunes and HB characters have a very strong presence.

  • Yeah, beauty though it is, it is criminal that only one set of
    characters is spotlighted.

    Way to embrace history and legacy, WB.