Friday, January 20, 2012

Discuss: Marvel Super-Heroes, 1966


Weird WWII said...

My whole family knows the Cap song by heart. I used to sing it to my kids as a lullaby and we always sing it in the car when we're off to the comic con or just when we want to act silly. So in my deepest, manly-man voice.... When Captain America throws his mighty shield...


ChrisPV said...

I know I should like this. But I just...can't. The Iron Man theme song reminds of when DC was trying so hard to be hip at roughly the same time, and coming off like a bunch of old dudes trying to be "with it." Especially when Stan managed to come across as pretty good at talking to the kids in the pages of the books at the time, and it didn't seem forced.

Plus that animation is awful.

J.A. Morris said...

I have mixed feelings about the series.
I haven't seen that many, beyond the bootleg dvd of the Cap episodes a friend gave a few years back. I never lived in a market that carried the show. I had a friend who visited South Carolina every Summer, he'd always come back and tell me about which shows he'd seen, which villains appeared, etc. I was very jealous, as this was the days before VHS or DVD.
When I finally saw them (in 1986, when Marvel released them on tape), I wasn't so jealous anymore. "Limited animation" indeed.
But it's nice to see drawings by Kirby, Ditko and Heck animated. I like the silly-but-fun theme songs. Most of the voice actors did a good job. And it's fun to play "what issue was that image taken from?".

The melodramatic background music is fun too, some of it also shows up in seasons 2 & 3 of the 60s Spider-Man series.

It's generally a fun series, at worst it works as "so bad it's good" entertainment.

Doug said...

While I'd agree with the comments above on the lack of quality animation, the nostalgia value of this series far outweighs any negatives I might attach to it (which are understandably obvious).

These cartoons were my in-road to Marvel Comics in the days before trades, dvd-roms, Marvel Masterworks, etc. Watching this program on Channel 44 out of Chicago when I was 6 or 7 years old was formative in my growing love for comic books. When I watch these now, in spite of their warts, I still feel that wide-eyed wonder that I had as a small child.


Inkstained Wretch said...

I absolutely love those old 60s cartoons. Sure, I’d be the first to admit that the animation is bad, but that is part of the charm.

Heck, the animation is practically non-existent, which has the effect of crossing the line from merely bad to kind of awesome.

The episodes look like some weird experimental art flick. It is really unique and a lot of fun if you approach it in the right mood.

Plus, the episodes not only draw directly from the original Silver Age comics but they reproduce actual panels. There is something amazing about seeing cartoons that are literally classic drawings by Kirby, Ditko, Heck and Colan brought to life (well, sort of). I think the cartoons did a great service by preserving those comics this way.

Plus the stories are great, free of the usual dumbing down of Saturday morning superhero cartoons by adding teenage sidekicks, cute animals and removing the violence. I’m looking at you, Super Friends.

The voice casts are terrific too. John Vernon was an inspired choice for Iron Man. Why Iron Man could never tolerate Delta House I don’t understand, but I digress …

If you have a chance, search Youtube for the great mash-up somebody did using Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of Captain America. It is hilarious.

Rip Jagger said...

Utterly charming!

These are the very things which got me hooked into comic books in the first place. Likely the first Kirby artwork I saw was some figure used in a bit of "animation" in these cartoons.

Same is true for Colan, Tuska, Heck, and others.

Later when I finally got hold of some reprints, I began to recognize the art from the cartoons which were burned into my young brain.

These have been collected rather randomly. To my knowledge all of them have never been available save on bootleg. I've got some VHS, but a comprehensive DVD collection would be ideal.

Rip Off

david_b said...

Like Doug, this was my birthing into the Marvel Universe. I remember my Dad and Mom sitting me down in front of the TV to watch.. Channel 18 in Milwaukee had them daily. Sitting there with my Captain Action..? Nothing better. Back then, it was all b&w television. Seeing them now whenever I want on a 50" color plasma screen..? Incredible.

Cap was my favorite, but I love how, well, hokey they were. As mentioned, that was part of the charm and fun. Back in the mid-60s, to keep costs down, it was an excellent solution to expensive animation, to compete with other shows like Flinstones and Jonny Quest. Who better to use than the existing panels of Kirby, Ditko, Heck, and Colan...?!?

They had a dramatic charm to them, more truer and authentic than the Spidey or FF cartoons, obviously. They probably paved the way to a lot of grown-up Bronze collectors.

So, yes, they're my all-time favorite cartoons, next to the 60s Spidey cartoons, Batman TAS, and now the current Avengers series.

My 7yr old nephew, used to seeing all the current cartoons, loves these so much more (especially the Hulk..), probably for their stylish approach.

Steve Does Comics said...

I love them. Seeing the work of the original artists waggling about a bit is what makes them memorable and oddly compelling for me.

IADW said...

I loved this stuff. In New Zealand we never got it on TV but I must have hired the Captain America VHS that often I'm suprised they didn't just gift it to me to free up their staff.

The episode where Thor Iron Man and Cap face the masters of evil will forever be part of what made me a comic fan. I mean come on' - the Black Knight rode a flying horse!

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