29 January 2010

Retrospective 1985

1985 was not much of a year to write home about for fans of Superhero shows. There was a bad movie and a single animated series. Thats it.

The Toxic Avenger

Although technically released in 1984, The Toxic Avenger wasn't really received by mainstream audiences until 1985. Believe it or not, this film launched 3 going on 4 sequels featuring Toxie as well as an animated spin-off. Sadly, this mop wielding nerd was one of the year's only active superheroes. And a word of warning, even the trailer has some questionable content.

The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians

The year also served up the final helping of Super Friends, now dubbed the leass friendly. "Galactic Guardians." The team consisted of Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, one time Flash and El Dorado cameos, the return of teen Firestorm, and the debut of new teen sensation, and focal character Cyborg.

Also notable in the season were the first and only appearances by The Joker and The Penguin as well as the first ever onscreen depiction of Batman's origin. The season consisted of eight 30-minute episodes (2 of which contained 2 short episodes).

All I can say is, what a year. [/sarcasm]

28 January 2010

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Special Selling Out Edition

In 2000, OnStar launched a successful ad campaign featuring Batman, Joker, Penguin, and Riddler to shill their product. Sure this wasn't an official "show," but the production value was decent and the inclusion of Alfred from the 90's Batman films convinced me to include this in the ongoing feature on Batman's history. Enjoy the clip featuring the six commercials edited together.

Up Next: Joining the Justice League

27 January 2010

Movie Lanterns Light Up The Web

Some alien concept art for the Green Lantern movie has leaked onto Cosmic Book News. Kilowog, the hippo looking guy actually looks pretty good for being a space hippo. Abin Sur is the red dude and Tomar-Re the fish face. I really hope this movie is good because I would love to see this become a huge long lasting franchise.

26 January 2010

Absolute Justice is Coming to Smallville - Trailer

Here is yet another look at Absolute Justice featuring the Martian Manhunter, Dr. Fate, Hawkman, Icicle, and a little green lantern. Yipee.

Spotlight on Aquaman: Updated

Aquaman first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941. Unlike some heroes who have to work their way into notoriety, Aquaman began his onscreen career at the top and has struggled over the years to retain that initial high of headlining his own show.

Aquaman's first appearance was on The Adventures of Aquaman part of the Superman / Aquaman Hour of Adventure in 1967.

Along with fish telepathy, this version of Aquaman could throw concussive water balls. Not only did Aquaman headline the show, but he was treated with respect. The same could not be said for old fish face in his next series.

In 1973, Aquaman teamed with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Wendy, Marvin and Wonderdog. This Aquaman also possessed super strength and a vast knowledge of oceanography. As the Super Friends series continued, Aquaman gained a reputaion among fans of being fairly useless outside of water and kind of a wimp.

The King of the Sea next appeared as a guest star in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "A Fish Story" in 1999. Still toting his trademark orange and green, this Aquaman has a bit more edge, being at odds with surface dwellers, especially Lex Luthor.

This take on the character returned, though with a drastic makeover, in both Justice League and Justice League Unlimited beginning in 2001. Losing the orange shirt, Aquaman had long hair, a beard, and in his first episode, upgraded his hand for a Captain Hook style harpoon. His role was that of an occasional guest star, rather than a key team member.

In 2005 Aquaman became part of a running plot on the HBO series Entourage. A fictional film featuring old fish face grossed a record breaking $117 opening weekend. Its unlikely that such a feat will ever be accomplished in the real world.

Also in 2005, Aquaman got a makeover for his debut in Smallville. In this take, the character's telepathy is set aside for a focus on water infused strength and speed. Though costumeless, this "A.C." still loves wearing orange shirts whenever he gets the chance.

So popular was A.C. on Smallville, that a pilot was made for a Smallville spin-off titled Mercy Reef in 2006. Aquaman was recast, but the show failed to get the greenlight. A lot of this had to do with the forming of the lower budget CW network that axed a pricey the water-based series. Aquaman 2.0 went on to play Green Arrow on Smallville while Aquaman 1.0 would continue to drop into Smallville from time to time. Did I mention Lois Lane fell for both of them? Hussie!

Check out the trailer below or click here to watch the whole pilot.

Aquaman would return to his classic look in a cameo appearance in 2007's animated feature Justice League: The New Frontier.

2008's Batman: The Brave and the Bold has breathed new life into Aquaman. Old Arthur has been portrayed as a bit of a loon, and has been used for comic relief, but he is still a genuine hero and at least he is not depicted as a Super Friends style wimp. His humor and determination have propelled him to become one of the series most enjoyable characters.

While more popular than he was 10 years ago, Aquaman still has quite a challenge ahead of him if he wants to be taken seriously. I think its just hard for us surface dwellers to identify with the king of the seas. I really don't expect him to be jumping on the superhero movie bandwagon anytime soon. For now, he should be happy to be getting so much exposure and if he keeps his sea weeds crossed he may be able to ride the coattails of other Leaguers into an eventual Justice League film.

Update Jan 2010:

Old Fish Face will be briefly seen in the upcoming Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths movie.

25 January 2010

Spotlight on Aqualad

If you think Aquaman has it rough being the constant butt of jokes in the DC Universe, think about how his sidekick must feel. The lad first appeared in the 1967 DC Super Heroes Filmation series as a member of the Teen Titans.

In 1968, this same incarnation of the the character appeared as Aquaman's sidekick in the animated Aquaman series. Here he was frequently called by his affectionate nickname, "Tadpole." He fought along side with not only Aquaman but with their mascot walrus Tusky and their trusty steeds Storm and Imp.

Aqualad would resurface some 30+ years later on the Teen Titans animated series eventually becoming a member of the Titans East team.

In 2010, Aqualad would return once again with a look much more in line with his classic design on Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

The episode laid the foundation for the Teen Titans formation as the three sidekicks of Batman, Green Arrow, and Aquaman came into their own by defeating R'as Al Ghul. But even though the grown up Robin eventually got pants, Aqualad seemed perfectly content fighting crime in his swim suit.