The Losers, a wartime fantasy tale from the mind of writer Tim Sheridan (Batman: The Long Halloween, Masters of the Universe: Revelation), is one of four shorts from the soon to be released DC Showcase: Constantine – The House of Mystery coming to Blu-ray and in 4K on Digital starting May 3, 2022. In The Losers, Captain Storm, Johnny Cloud, "Mile-a-Minute" Jones, rookie Gunner, and Sarge find themselves marooned on an uncharted island in the South Pacific that is completely overrun with dinosaurs! Their would-be ally on this deadly mission, the mysterious and beautiful Fan Long of the Chinese Security Agency, tells them their job is to rescue the scientists that have been sent to study a time/space anomaly. Perhaps… but what is her mission? Sheridan recently joined Bleeding Cool to discuss the legendary rag-tag team of World War II outcasts and share a brief glimpse into his upcoming project, Flashpoint Beyond.
Sheridan began by sharing how his previous work on Sgt Rock influenced his work on The Losers.
Tim Sheridan: I did some work on (Sgt. Rock) with Walter and Louise Simonson, and Bruce Timm was making that short. I think they titled it 'Weird War', and then we talked about what they wanted to do, and it was kind of Creature Commandos. Then it became Sergeant Rock. This was sort of my entry point into War Comics from DC. I had never picked up; they were kind of out of fashion when I was growing up reading comics. They weren't the comics that were on the spinner rack for me. I was picking up Batman and Justice League International. So I came to this genre of comics through my work. It was specifically when I was doing Sergeant Rock, and I fell in love with the Rangers. The idea of that sort of ragtag team that had all been the last survivors of a doomed mission pulling together, trying to forge a path forward. It's a terrific concept and one that transcends the genre of the war comics or even the war movies. Ultimately, it's about a family in those relationships.
Tell me a little bit about writing for the smaller time frame of shorts like The Losers. What are the challenges to making a story pop, given the 10 to the 15-minute range you're writing for?
TS: There are lots of challenges that come with writing something in a short film format where you're not doing an episode of television (Series). You have other episodes that support it. You can tell the stories of these characters and learn who they are throughout the season. In this case, you're limited to that small amount of real estate. The truth is, I think there is something kind of liberating about taking characters that have been underrepresented on screen and getting to introduce them in a format like this because there's not any room to play around and reinterpret and go wild with your imagination. The burden is how do I, in this short little moment of on-screen, introduce you to these characters who have this long history, a storied pedigree within the DC canon?
TS: For instance, when I'm adapting The Long Halloween into two feature-length movies, they're a different set of concerns. I'm thinking about being faithful as I can to the essence of that story and that book, but also what I'm bringing to it because we've seen so many incarnations of Batman on screen is where I can emphasize something that hasn't been as emphasized? We wanted to talk about Batman, A young crimefighter in his early days, someone who didn't realize he was going to need to be a detective and having to figure that out on the job. Now, The Losers give me a chance to drop you into the middle of what is essentially their final story. They had this long history behind them. We meet them at the height of their power, essentially. But I don't have to reinterpret these characters or shape something differently to try to bring something new to the table. I just tried to be as faithful as I could to the essence. I think there's something about that kind of liberating for a writer, knowing that you're standing on the shoulders of people who have done with these characters for decades.
You were first inspired to write for animation and comics during a screening of Flashpoint Paradox at San Diego Comic-Con, and now you are penning the sequel to that story for DC. What can you tell me about the upcoming Flashpoint Beyond?
TS: People think it's because of something going with Batman Beyond. No, it's more. I hope people have a good time with it. It is a proper return to the world of Flashpoint for Thomas Wayne and a whole new mystery that stems out of the original. He wakes up back in this world that he thought was gone. He thought not only did he set it right originally, but there was no chance that this was ever going to exist again. Now here he is back in this world. The reasons why he's back in this world are a mystery to him and something he's going to have to figure out. Meanwhile, there is a strong connection to Bruce Wayne in our world. He's doing some stuff that's going to have major repercussions across all of the DC Universe. It's a big fun event, but it's focused on character and, specifically, these two Batmen.
Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Showcase: Constantine – The House of Mystery, R-rated (for "Some Bloody Violence"), also includes the shorts Blue Beetle, Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth!, The Losers, and the title subject Constantine: The House of Mystery was available everywhere on Blu-ray and in 4K on Digital on May 3, 2022.