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Warner Archive Draws a Crowd at Comic-Con

13 Jul, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

SAN DIEGO — To kick off its July 13th Comic-Con panel, representatives of Warner Bros. showed off a cartoon that almost no one had heard of: “Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos,” an animated TV series that originally aired in 1986.

It was bizarre, unintentionally funny and the few hundred people in attendance loved every minute of it.

If it wasn’t for Warner Archive, the DVD manufacturing-on-demand service from the studio, things such as “Karate Kommandos” would be left in the vault and forgotten forever, according to George Feltenstein, Warner Home Video’s SVP of theatrical catalog marketing.

“We figured you didn’t know that cartoon even existed,” he told the crowd. “This is why we’re here, to educate you about what’s possible with home video.”

More than 1,300 titles-strong now, Warner Archive brings out new titles from the vault every Tuesday, giving fans access to things they’ve never been able to get before. One of those titles is the popular 1970s series “Shazam!" The hokey superhero series was the centerpiece of the July 13 presentation, with the series’ hero Billy Batson (Michael Gray) in attendance. Warner will release the three seasons of the show via Warner Archive on Sept. 18.

“Since that’s what you, the fans, want,” Feltenstein said.

Gray relayed a story about how there was nothing similar to Comic-Con when he was on the show, with TV stars instead making the round with fans during car shows.

“I was 26 playing 16, and I had to shave at least two to three times a day,” he said, calling Comic-Con “overwhelming.”

The long line of fans waiting to see Gray and clips from “Shazam!” and other forgotten TV shows (the large presentation hall couldn’t fit everyone) showed that there’s a need for manufacture-on-demand services such as Warner Archive, studio representatives said.

To reward the fans who made it inside, Warner handed out a few limited edition “Shazam!” Lego figures, valued at as much as $300 each. 

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