Radiant Black: Will Friedle Voices Image Comics Superhero In Animated Short ‘Versus’ – IGN
Fans of Image Comics series Radiant Black were given a very special treat in issue #15 of the explosive superhero series. A hidden QR code leads readers to the ultimate Easter egg – a fully animated short film called “Versus.”
Directed by Radiant Black writer/co-creator Kyle Higgins, animated by Tiger Animation and featuring Batman Beyond’s Will Friedle as the voice of Radiant Black himself, this new short gives us a taste of what the comic could look like as an animated series. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of Radiant Black #15, you can check out the video below:
Radiant Black follows an unlucky protagonist named Nathan Burnett, who inadvertently stumbles across the cosmic power known as the Radiant. Unfortunately for Nathan, the beings who control the Radiant aren’t thrilled he’s harnessed their power. Issue #15 (as well as this animated short) pit Radiant Black against Blaze (voiced by Reginald James), a member of the organization C.O.W.L. and a hero from an earlier era.
“For as long as I can remember, superheroes have been an important part of my life,” Higgins tells IGN. “But while I pursued a career in comic books and filmmaking because of them, it was animation where I fell in love with them. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: The Animated Series, X-MEN, Spider-Man, Gargoyles, Batman Beyond…say what you will about the ’90s, it was a pretty golden age for one of our favorite mediums.”
This isn’t the first time Higgins has used a short film to expand on the characters and setting of one of his comics. 2008’s “The League” was the original inspiration behind C.O.W.L. That cross-media approach directly inspired Radiant Black’s animated Easter egg.
“One of the goals with Radiant Black has always been to find ways to both celebrate the things that we love while also pushing the boundaries and conventions of what we think a modern superhero book can be,” Higgins says. “The opportunity to build an in-universe short film like this, working with an amazing cast of collaborators, has been very special. It also brings things full circle, giving Alec [Siegel] and myself the chance to revisit the world of C.O.W.L. and our short film that inspired it, The League. Rick Cramer and Reginald James even came back to voice Geoffrey and Blaze, some 15 years after we made the original short film with them. Oh yeah and then, you know, throw in Mr. Batman Beyond himself, Will Friedle? So schway.”
Higgins continues, “A huge, huge thank you to Phil Crain, who produced this short with me, Alec Siegel, Marcelo Costa, Eduardo Ferigato, Igor Monti, Brandon McKinney, Michael Busuttil, Ramon Palermo, Kristopher Carter, Matt Taylor, Will Friedle, Reginald James, Rick Cramer, David Sobolov and finally to Seohoon Son and everyone at Tiger Animation. I can’t wait to work with you all again!”
“Versus” co-writer and editor Alec Siegel previously collaborated with Higgins on C.O.W.L., making this short film a welcome chance to revisit that world and tie its events more closely to Radiant Black.
“Radiant Black has been taking crazy narrative swings since its launch,” Siegel tells IGN. “So when Kyle asked about planning a crossover with C.O.W.L., it was an easy yes. Kyle and I started C.O.W.L. nearly 15 years ago. Revisiting the world, characters, and actors again, and in animation no less, was an absolute thrill.”
Finally, Friedle reveals he was eager to play a part in this animated spinoff.
“There is something so wonderful about being involved with an all inclusive world,” Friedle tells IGN. “From the books to the short, every step is a complete fan experience that should reshape the comic book landscape. Truly an honor!”
Radiant Black #15 is available in comic shops and digital storefronts now.
In other comic book news, Shakespeare Unleashed is giving the Bard’s iconic works a horror makeover, and Titan Comics will take over the Conan the Barbarian franchise in 2023.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.