17 April 2009

If You Haven't Been Watching Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Now is the time to tune in to Batman: The Brave and the Bold - that is if you want to see Babyface and his wife Mrs. Manface. Thanks to AnimatedSuperheroes.Com for breaking this image.

Sure the show is wacky, but its had some pretty cool moments in the midst of all the outrageousness, such as an army of alternate reality Bat-Men,

Aquaman taming one of Batman's lymphocytes dubbed "platelet" in a fantastic voyage.

Batman and Green Arrow teaming up with Merlin in Medieval times

Batman teaming up with Sherlock Holmes (not pictured) to take down Jack the Ripper.

Bat-ape and Plastic Man fighting dinosaurs.

Admit it, you are curious. The next episode, Night of the Huntress, airs May 1 @ 8:30

16 April 2009

What to Expect in 2011

06 May 2011 - Spider-Man 4

Not too much is known about this film, but seeing as how a one-armed Curt Connors has appeared in the past two films, I pretty much expect to see the Lizard in this one.

The personal connection to Peter Parker that Raimi so loves is already even built in. I also expect that they will go the multiple foes route, because they always do. Two ideas I like are Kraven the hunter coming to town to hunt the Lizard and Spider-Man, or alternately, Morbius getting the animal DNA splicing treatment as well and reeking vampire havoc. This would also be a good time to see Spider-Man, looking for a cure possibly, and either getting extra arms or turning into a Man-Spider.

Other rumors I like less are including the Electro (he is OK, but the Lizard is due), Vulture (he is lame) or Carnage (not another Venom fiasco). The script is due Summer '09, so tidbits should be coming our way soon.

20 May 2011 - Thor

Again, not much is known, but I expect to see Loki as the main adversary. The movie may also include the on again off again Thor alter ego of Dr. Donald Blake. To teach Thor humility, Odin placed Thor (without memories of godhood) into the body and memories of an existing, partially disabled human medical student, Donald Blake. After becoming a doctor and thoroughly believing himself to be the young surgeon Blake, he later discovers Thor's disguised hammer and learns to change back and forth into the Thunder God. I think this could be pretty lame, but it may allow for more cohesion with a reality-based (or at least real world based) Marvel Film Universe.

22 Jul 2011 - The First Avenger: Captain America

With Captain America, why not go for a July 4th release? It sounds like this will be a period piece set entirely during World War II. Perfect! That makes it different than most of the other Superhero films out there and also "keeps it real yo." The movie will likely end with Cap in ice. Its the fish out of water element that comes next in the story that could derail his solid introduction. That may be a major plot element of Avengers.

Up Next: 2012 and Beyond

15 April 2009

Retrospective 1977

Although 1977 was not the origin of superhero shows, it was the year I was born. So basically, no one should care about anything that happened before then, right? I could have gone all the way back to 1941 and the debut of The Adventures of Captain Marvel film serials, but there were some sparse years between then and now. So I just skipped over the early years of superhero shows including such highlights as the Adventures of Superman, Batman 1966, the Batman television series and the 1968 film Danger: Diabolik. I am also skipping The Marvel Superheroes, Spider-Man, The Superman/Aquaman Hour, and the original Super Friends animated series. Perhaps when I have caught up to the present, I will revisit some of the more prolific years. But for now, lets get on with 1977.

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man was old Web-Head's 15 episode live-action TV series made between 1977-1979. Although the series had reasonable ratings, fans critical of the series for the changes made to the comic book and because there were not any real "supervillains". The only characters adapted from the comic book were Peter Parker / Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson, Aunt May and one appearance by Robbie Robertson. Stan Lee, creator of Spidey and more, was vocal about his disliked for the show.

I don't remember seeing this as a kid, but it sure doesn't look too slick. Having said that, how awesome would it be to have a Spider-Man weekly TV show? Instead, we have Heroes.

The Electric Company

Spidey was busy in the 70s. In addition to his own series, he was also a guest on The Electric Company from 1974 until 1977. Strangely, DC comics Blue Beetle (or more likely a knock off of him) also appeared.

Spidey would drop in from 3 minute segments featuring word fun, though he himself only spoke with speech balloons. Maybe not the best use of the iconic hero, but kids loved it.

The Incredible Hulk

A two-part pilot movie kicked off the popular Incredible Hulk series. To "ground" the series in reality, the main character's name was changed from Bruce to David to avoid a double "B." The comic book supporting characters were also replaced with more realistic regular folk. One of the biggest changes affected the origin. Rather than getting gamma ray exposure after making a rescue on an atom bomb test field, "David" got zapped in a lab mishap. Also, TV Hulk no speak, just growl.

This show made a huge impact on me, giving me years worth of Hulk Smash nightmares as a child. Thanks Hulk.

Secrets of Isis

I am don't think she was a comic book heroine at the time, Isis was basically an Egyptian version of Mary Marvel. Since then, Isis has joined the Captain Marvel comics as Black Adam's wife.

The live action Secrets of Isis, running from 1975-1977, centered on Andrea Thomas, a high school science teacher who found an ancient mystical amulet on an archaeological dig in Egypt. The amulet belonged to Hatshepsut, an ancient Egyptian Queen and it gave the wearer the powers of Isis. Andrea, by virtue of being able to open the casing in which the amulet rested, was recognized as an heir to Isis's secrets. Whenever Isis was needed, Andrea would reveal the amulet and incite an incantation ("Oh, mighty Isis!") and she would be transformed into the goddess Isis. Isis had super strength, the ability to move inanimate objects, the ability to fly, and super speed. To invoke her powers, she intoned rhythmic rhyming chants, such as

Three episodes of the series featured crossover appearances by Captain Marvel of the show's companion series, Shazam!


Shazam! made by the same folks as Isis ran from 1974 to 1977. It featured Captain Marvel, who is actually not named Shazam, and is not owned by Marvel, but Marvel owns the trademark for the name Captain Marvel who is one of their characters, but is unrelated to the "Shazam!" guy. I know, its confusing. From what I understand, the show was pretty campy. Who would have guessed?

The All New Superfriends Hour

Wonder Twin powers, activate! The original Super Friends, with non-powered sidekicks Wendy and Marvin, was canceled in 1974. The show, in constant reruns over the next few years, gained enough of a following to earn a greenlight for a new Superfriends show.

This time around, the hour-long show featured four mini-stories that spotlighted different characters. The first story featured a team up between two of the Super Friends. The second story featured the now infamous Wonder Twins and their space monkey Gleek. The third story featured the whole team. The fourth featured a guest star such as Green Lantern, Black Vulcan, or the Atom. The popularity of this show led to 1978's classic Challenge of the Superfriends series, a personal childhood favorite.

Wonder Woman

Running from 1975-1979, Wonder Woman's got her biggest exposure to mass audiences through this live-action television series. The first season was set during World War II, but season 2 took place 35 years later in the "modern" 1970s. Steve Trevor was replaced by his lookalike son Steve Trevor Jr. (ah, clever) as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman spun her way against evil.

Speaking of her patented spin move, enjoy:


1977 was actually a really amazing year for superhero shows on television. Spider-Man, Hulk, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel all having their own live-action series, is some serious saturation. Not only where there a lot of shows, but these were big guns too and they did it with small budgets and 1970s effects. Wow. I don't expect to see anything like that on the small screen again. And without the DVR yet in place, my superhero show addiction would have been a real challenge to manage. It turns out 1977 was a pretty good year to be born.


The New Adventures of Batman

Along with the titular Batman, The New Adventures of Batman featured Robin the Boy Wonder, Batgirl and Bat-Mite, a a well meaning imp from another dimension called Ergo, who considers himself Batman's biggest fan. Hmm. Sure why not, though some will consider this one of the Dark Knight's darkest hours. It was the Joker's inclusion in this series which kept him from appearing in the Challenge of the Super Friends series that ran during the same time frame. Likewise, Riddler and Scarecrow's membership in the Legion of Doom precluded them from appearing here.

The series was paired up with a Tarzan animated series in 1977 which expanded into a series titled either Tarzan and the Super 7 or Batman and the Super 7 in subsequent years. Stay tuned for the rest of the Super 7 to debut in 1978.

Space Sentinels

Also arriving in 1977 was the series The Young Sentinels which although it only lasted one 13 episode season was renamed midway through its run to Space Sentinels. The racially diverse cast has earned the series a footnote in the annals of history.

In this series, the Roman mythological figures Hercules and Mercury are joined by Astrea, a character created specifically for the series, to form a superhero team to protect mankind. As the series intro described:

Many centuries ago, three carefully selected young Earthlings were transported from their native lands to my faraway world. Here they were granted astounding powers, and eternal youth, then returned to Earth. Their mission: to watch over the human race, helping the good in it to survive and flourish. In the course of history, their names have become legend: Hercules, empowered with the strength of a hundred men. Astrea, able to assume any living form. Mercury, the amazing athlete who can match the speed of light. Working together with me, Sentinel One, and my maintenance robot, Mo, these teenage guardians form the greatest team the world has ever known: The Space Sentinels.

The heroes would continue in 1978s The Freedom Force.

14 April 2009

Iron Fortified, 12 Times Through

He has done it again! Go over to Animated Superheroes: A Pictoral History of Iron Man for a look at Iron Man in all his glory over 12 animated series.

I prefer the Iron Man from Fantastic Four - World's Greatest Heroes - Shell Games, mostly, this one looks the most formidable. Though the Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (2005) and The Invincible Iron Man (2007) versions are good too. The early versions don't even look like metal suits. The first looks like a long sleeve T-shirt and the next couple look like plastic shoulder pads over a long sleeve T-shirt.

The most recent ones are also whack. Why does Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (2008) have a nose? Is he Iron Pinocchio? And the most recent Iron Man: Armored Adventures (2009) looks like cheap Flash animation. Hope he gets redesigned soon.

13 April 2009

What to Expect in 2010

Since these projects are a little farther off, the knowledge about them is a bit more limited. Here's the news I have managed to scrape up.

Feb 2010 - Planet Hulk (Animated DVD)

Now this is a project I can get behind. I assume this will be based on the comic book story of the same name which involves a secret group of superhero leaders called the Illuminati who consider the Hulk an unacceptable potential risk to Earth. They rocket him into space to live a peaceful existence on an uninhabited planet, but due to a trajectory fail, the Hulk crashes on the violent planet Sakaar where he becomes an intergalactic gladiator. So, basically Hulk meets Gladiator in space. Whats not to love? Seems like Hulk Smash and DVD are a match made in heaven.

07 May 2010 - Iron Man 2

This has a shot at being the biggest earner of 2010. The story may deal with Stark's alcoholism as Tony develops a drinking problem when he is unable to cope with his age and Pepper getting a boyfriend. It does not, however, look like the Demon in a Bottle arc, the quintessential Iron Man story, will be adapted just yet. It may be held for Iron Man 3. Fine, if they don't want to give that story its due yet that's their prerogative, BUT hero turning dark in part 3 didn't work out so well in Superman 3 or Spider-Man 3. On the other hand, this may be a smart move to build anticipation for part 3 because this is such a well known tale. Bottom line for me, if they want to hold off, I hope they are still delivering the goods in part 2.

In part 2, I expect S.H.I.E.L.D. will continue to have a major role and Black Widow (thanks to ScreenRant.com for the look at ScarJo as BW) and War Machine are also expected to play major roles. Sam Jackson as Nick Fury is also expected to have a pre-closing credits role this time around.

As for villains, It looks like we will be getting Whiplash as opposed to the previously rumored Crimson Dynamo. Whiplash will get his technological toys from Anti-Stark industrialist Justin Hammer. No word if we will see Iron Man nemesis Mandarin, or if he is being held for another day.

I have high hopes for Iron Man 2. Its got a lot to live up to, but if it keeps the balanced tone and humor of the first one, lighting could strike twice.

25 Jun 2010 - The Green Hornet

I have a couple of problems with this project. First, I don't really care about the Green Hornet and I am not sure that anyone else does either. The TV show was big in the 60s from what I hear, but Kato played by Bruce Lee, Hornet's sidekick eclipsed the hero in popularity. At best, I can see this garnering up the level of interest of Dick Tracy, and that got a fairly lackluster response. The other concern I have I that there have been any number of "creative differences" during the film's early production which has lasted for years on end. The movie may or may not see the light of day, but we will at least know soon if a 2010 release is going to happen.

06 Aug 2010 - Jonah Hex

Ah, so Warner Brothers is aware that DC has more characters than just Batman and Superman. Right now I only have mild interest in this western anti-hero and I admit I don't know much about him other than he lives in the old west and kind of looks like Two-Face. Wikipedia adds that he was an officer for the Confederacy during the American Civil War and he is surly and cynical. I need to learn more, but I am not lining up for this yet.

05 Nov 2010 - Master Mind

No, this is not an adaptation of the classic board game - that would be a disaster. Instead, it is Dreamworks Animations answer to The Incredibles. The movie is described as "a villain gets depressed after accidentally killing his superhero nemesis Uberman." I am guessing that there will be plenty of pop culture references to keep it "hip," and though it may be fun, it will not rise to the level of Pixar greatness.

17 Dec 2010 - Green Lantern

Definitely my most anticipated release of next year will be Green Lantern, that is if it gets made. At this point, the idea sounds too good to be true, so until filming actually gets under way I will remain cautiously optimistic. The movie is rumored to focus on the Hal Jordan origin story, borrowing heavily from the Emerald Dawn storyline. Just like in the upcoming Green Lantern: First Flight animated tale, Hal will be under the tutelage of one Green Lantern Sinestro. Together they will fight Legion and Hector Hammond. There are also rumored appearances by the fashion challenged bowl cut and double breast touting Lantern Guy Gardner as well as Clark Kent.

If done well, this could be the beginning of a cohesive DC universe leading to a Justice League movie modeled after Marvel's Avengers initiative begun in Iron Man. There is also talk of plans for a Green Lantern trilogy that will include John Stewart and possibly other' Lanterns in the sequels. No matter how it turns out, it will have to be better than the Jack Black Green Lantern spoof that was gearing up back in 2006.

T.B.A 2010 - The Phantom

Created in 1936, The Phantom was the first crime fighter to wear the skintight costume and the first to wear a mask with no visible pupils, both superhero standards. I am pretty sure he remains one of the few heroes give purple such prominence in his costume.

The Sci-Fi channel (SyFy now) is reimagining The Phantom for modern times. He has a high tech nano-suit resistant to heat, bladed weapons, falls, impacts and small-arms fire. It also increases the wearers strength, and incorprates wireless communication devices.

I'm sure some will be outraged at the changes to this hero, but honestly I think its pretty much the only way to make the dude relevant anymore, especially after the 1996 Phantom film's horrible reception. Then again, he pretty much looks like the "Purple Arrow" from Smallville. Still, this looks better than Mansquito or the other made for SyFy movies we usually get. No official date has yet been given for this made for TV project.