Monday, October 8, 2012

The Best Super-Hero Cartoons Ever,

Considering how yesterday I regaled you with the horror that was the 1978 Fantastic Four cartoon, the single worst super-hero cartoon in history, I thought I'd look on the brighter side of things and detail what I believe are the five best super-hero cartoons today.

Without further ado, let's start at the bottom and work our way upwards:

#5 The Fantastic Four (1967) Hanna-Barbera's attempt at adapting the legendary Marvel Comic hits on most cylinders. The stories were, for the most part, fairly faithful adaptations of the original tales, with some creative leeway given for some licensing problems (the Sub-Mariner, licensed to Grantray-Lawrence for The Marvel Super-Heroes daily cartoon, was replaced in a couple of episodes) and the general ban about not showing people actually hitting each other. It even managed to do a fairly good version of the first Galactus storyline, even though Big G was blue instead of purple for some reason.

The Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer face off against Galactus,

#4 Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-2011) I know fanboys everywhere collectively cringed when this show was announced, a return to the campy Batman stories of the fifties and sixties. I think most folks, including those fanboys, were pleasantly surprised by the level of quality to the writing of these stories, and the use of oddball and obscure heroes to populate them. This series is worth seeking out on DVD, just for the Starro and Equinox storylines, as well as the classic "Chill of the Night" episode, in which the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger follow Batman as his origin is retold in a much more serious tone.

Batman and the Vigilante from a B:TBATB teaser.

#3 Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (2010-2012) I've only recently started watching this series, and unfortunately I've also discovered that its been cancelled to allow for an Avengers cartoon more in line with the movie. I haven't seen the big screen Avengers yet, but it now has one big black mark against it in my book. This was the way a Marvel Comics show should be done. Episodic, well-animated, lots of action and lots of characterization. It builds fairly slowly - Captain America doesn't make his proper appearance with this revamping of the original Avengers until Episode 9. This is just an all-around great TV show.

The original Avengers in animated form.

#2 Young Justice (2011-present) After five years of the mostly mediocre Teen Titans, I was hoping for a decent look at the younger heroes in the DC Comics pantheon. Young Justice does not disappoint. This has fragments and imagery from all the great DC super-hero cartoons of the past, from the Hall of Justice to the Watchtower. There are some great characters and some excellent stories in this cartoon series. The cast changes between seasons, but the quality and the depth of character is still there. Definitely worth a watch.

Arrowette, Robin, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Aqualad.

#1 The Tick (1994) The best super-hero cartoon is also the best super-hero cartoon parody. The Tick lasted for three seasons on Fox and is fondly remembered by almost everyone who saw it. The humor, the surrealism, the sheer goofiness brought viewers back and created a cult hit. I loved the live-action series, but it can't compare to Chairface Chippendale trying to write his name on the Moon, or the general wonder of Dinosaur Neil. This TV show, cartoon though it may be, can easily be stacked up against the best that the medium has to offer.

The Tick, Arthur, and many of the denizens of the best super-hero cartoon ever.

And, of course, if you like super-heroes, comic books and cartoons, feel free to check out my many quiz book e-books available through

The Cartoon Trivia Quiz Book: Volume 1
The Cartoon Trivia Quiz Book: Volume 2

The Comic Book Quiz Book Volume 1
The Comic Book Quiz Book Volume 2: 101 Comic Book Trivia Questions (Revised Edition)
The Comic Book Quiz Book Volume 3: 1,001 Comic Book Trivia Questions
The Comic Book Quiz Book: Volume 4
(The X-Men – Batman - Spider-Man - Fantastic Four – Showcase - Dell Four Color Comics – the Mighty Crusaders - the Tick – Harvey Comics)

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