Voiced by William Smith
Superman defeated Draaga, Mongul’s greatest warrior,
in the arena but refused to kill him—thus depriving him of an honorable death.
Now, Draaga must live with this disgrace, and his honor cannot be
restored until he kills Superman or dies trying.
As a sign of his shame, he wears Superman’s symbol on his chest
(courtesy of Cartoon Network press materials and Cartoon
Network’s Justice League Homepage).
on Draaga and William Smith: “Smith
played in many [cult] biker films, but is probably best known for his brawl with
Clint Eastwood in Any Which Way You Can.
His voice was so wonderfully tough and grizzled [that] we actually
altered the model and made Draaga older. Now
Draaga looks like he’s survived years of battle in the arena.
He’s a complex and compelling character…I thought [that] Draaga could
be [interesting] to explore with his warrior’s sense of honor (courtesy of
Bruce Timm on Draaga (circa 2002): “William Smith is just freakin’ wonderful as Draaga. I’ve been a fan of his work for years [and] it was great fun having him in the show. You won’t believe the sound of his voice: it sounds like chunks of granite being scraped together...and that’s his actual speaking voice, he’s not putting it on! I even had to go back and make the character’s design more savage after the recording—the visual didn’t do his voice justice! It’s not just the quality of his voice—his delivery was spot-on as well...scary but soulful (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on Draaga (circa 2003): “William Smith, you know, I remember him from Rich Man, Poor Man and he was the main bad guy, but he’s a terrific actor and has a real deep, scary presence to his voice. He was exactly what we were looking for the part of Draaga. He’s also got that innate nobility to him, even though he sounds like a savage—he’s got like this real rigid code of honor which is, of course, what the character is all about (courtesy of the Justice League: Paradise Lost DVD).”
I won’t forget you, Superman. Or
the shame of my defeat.
Draaga in War World
Heavily retooled for Justice
League, Draaga was originally nothing more than a recurring supporting
villain for the Superman comic books.
He appeared in three noteworthy Superman story arcs—Exile in
Space, Panic in the Sky, and Funeral for a Friend (which he
died in). The design of his body
appears to be similar to his comic book version, save for the heavy scarring and
the gray skin (it was green in the comics).
Unlike his comic book counterpart, however, this grizzled warrior look much more like the alien gladiator that his creators intended him to be. In addition, he appears to possess a higher tolerance for pain—he actually burned Superman’s symbol into his chest as opposed to the comic books, where he merely wore a Superman shirt.
Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Online UK and Cartoon Network.
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