Friday, December 05, 2008

In their cartoons like Justice League Unlimited, one thing that DC has been able to do especially well, is make list of B-list (or lower) characters. Yeah, maybe lower. I'm not talking about, say, the addition of Hawkgirl to the initial lineup--does anyone remember thinking that wasn't going to work? Seems like it turned out, what I mean is that they were able to work in characters like the Blackhawks, or Viking Prince, or even Warlord, and give them more exposure there than in like forty years of comics.

Marvel seems to have moved away from that shared universe, at least when it comes to cartoons. Remember the 90's Spider-Man show, and it's guest-stars like Captain America, the Punisher, or Nick Fury? Now Spectacular Spider-Man is a pretty good cartoon, but seems to be in it's own little world. No Avengers, Fantastic Four, or Iron Man guest-spots or even cameos; probably because they've all been licensed to their own shows and toes would be stepped on...but even lower-tier names like Iron Fist or Deathlok don't get their moment in the sun, and everyone's the poorer for it: the shows, the viewers, the characters, society.

All of this occurs to me, as an excuse to post a Devil Dinosaur page.

'The Devil You Know vs. the Devil You Don't' would've been even cooler for a Devil Dinosaur/Daredevil fight...
In case you've forgotten it, in 1999-2000 Fox and Marvel tried to follow-up on their success with X-Men and Spider-Man with an Avengers cartoon. Which sounds like a slam-dunk...except they didn't use Captain America, Thor, or Iron Man as regular team members. Which leaves the charming and charismatic...Wasp and Giant-Man? Really? And they gave Hawkeye a costume that will make you miss the brown skirt-thing and headband he wore in the seventies...

While it wasn't as terrible as you probably think now, Avengers wasn't amazing, or successful, only running for one season. I thought the Silver Surfer was a much better show, but between that and that Spider-Man show where he goes into space to Counter-Earth, that was about it for Marvel animation for a few years.

Since the cartoon didn't catch on, the comic version Avengers: United They Stand only lasted seven issues; although in fairness that's pretty typical for Marvel's adaptations of their own stuff. (Conversely, DC can pretty easily get at least a couple years worth out of any show--their Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th Century Johnny DC book seemed to do better than the show...) Ty Templeton, who has done art for a ton of animated-style comics since the Batman Adventures, was on board for United They the writer. That sounds worse than it is: Templeton is a writer as well; I liked his graphic novel Bigg Time.

The writing was probably on the wall by the time the last issues were written, so I like to think Templeton decided to wrap up a couple loose ends (the Black Panther, who appears in the first issue but is badly injured) and what the hell, throw in Captain America, a Stephen Hawkings-lookalike, the Collector, and Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy. And even though he still has to take his usual blame (in this case, for the Panther's injuries at the hands of Ultron) Henry Pym does get a shining moment as Giant-Man punches out Devil Dinosaur.

One punch!  One punch!  And the crowd goes wild!
I am positive if more people saw Giant-Man slug Devil Dinosaur, they would give Pym less crap about slugging the Wasp. And I'm pretty sure if Devil Dinosaur had been on the cartoon, not only would Avengers still be on, we'd still have goddamn cartoons on Saturday mornings. Way to drop the ball, guys, but Ty Templeton, Derec Aucoin, and Walden Wong try to show us the way with Avengers: United We Stand #6-7.

1 comment:

CalvinPitt said...

Goooooo, Hank Pym!

Wow, I don't think I've said/typed that since Busiek and Perez had him destroy Ultron years ago.

It's funny, I remember the Avengers cartoon, with at least a moderate fondness, since Gyrich managed to show up there and be as big a jerk as he was in X-Men, but I have no memory of a Silver Surfer cartoon. Weird. I remember that Spider-Man series. I wasn't a fan of the show, but I liked the costume, with the built-in cloaking device and all. It was like a precursor to the suit Tony Stark built for him.