Dec 01 2016

Marvel Cartoons Even I Haven’t Heard Of

As a Geek Gold Gold member and Marvel dork, I was surprised to find out that there are Marvel cartoons even I haven’t heard of. Note that I didn’t say Marvel cartoons I haven’t seen. I haven’t seen every animated work the House of Ideas has produced (usually with partners). That said, I figured I had heard of all of them.

I was wrong. Wrong! So very wrong.

Below is a link to a fun article from CBR, aka Comic Book Resources, discussing 15 “forgotten” Marvel cartoons. (Not to split hairs, but they clearly aren’t forgotten if you wrote an article about them!)

Since I love me some superhero animation, and I know you do too, here is a quick rundown of the shows I’ve seen and the ones I haven’t.

SEEN BY ME

Spider-Man Unlimited: Very odd show. Spidey goes to “Counter-Earth” to save John Jameson and winds up staying there because reasons. Kind of hard to search for because there is now a game with the same title. Here’s the series on Amazon.

Silver Surfer: The animation in this series is absolutely beautiful, and the rest of it is good too. Very epic and features a clever mix of traditional and computer animation. Worth seeking out. Here’s episode 1 on YouTube.

Black Panther: Very very good series that probably was doomed from the start because it’s a “motion comic”. However, as the CBR article points out, the voice talent is stellar (Djimon Hounsou, Kerry Washington, and Alfre freaking Woodard, along with a very dramatic Stan Lee cameo), and the material (based on Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr.’s excellent comics) is strong enough that it worked for me. Check it out on Amazon.

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series: I have a soft spot for this 2003 series because it aired just after the 2002 Spider-Man movie and was kindasorta a continuation of it. Also, here’s your main cast: Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker, Lisa Loeb as Mary Jane Watson, and Ian Ziering as Harry Osborn. Name another cartoon with Lisa Loeb. You can’t. (That doesn’t mean she’s never done another cartoon, it just means you can’t name one.) And Ian Ziering? Is this “Spider-Man: 90210”? It was 2003, we wore onions on our belts, and the writing was pretty good. Free on Amazon with a Prime Subscription, which you can try for 30 days FREE right here.

Fred And Barney Meet The Thing: Apparently there is an episode where The Thing meets Bigfoot. I need to see that. Thing Ring, do your thing!

Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Solid story-telling overcomes a premise that shouldn’t work but totally does, which is Iron Man as a teenager. Amazon link here.

Spider-Woman: I’ve seen a couple of episodes of this series. I think the same creative team moved on to do a Spider-Man series which eventually became the ever-awesome Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Don’t quote me on that, though. The animation style and overall look/feel are very similar.

Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes: Not good. Just didn’t work.

Avengers: United They Stand: Very odd series. Most of the better known characters (Iron Man, et al) aren’t there. As for oddness, all of the characters have “Avengers flight belts”… including Falcon. Falcon’s whole thing is that HE CAN FLY. Why does he need a flight belt? Not one of the better Marvel cartoons. Of course, I watched it anyway.

UNSEEN BY ME:

Dracula: Sovereign Of The Damned: Sounds weird enough that I might check it out. I also really like Marvel’s version of Dracula.

Marvel Anime: Not my thing. All I can find online are clips here.

Monster Of Frankenstein: Doesn’t sound much like a Marvel movie but as with Dracula above, it sounds entertainingly weird.

Pryde Of The X-Men: How I’ve never seen this, I have no idea. I’ve heard so much about it that I feel like I’ve seen it. Wolverine is inexplicably Australian. Someone told me that they kept airing the pilot over and over again, teasing viewers that a series would eventually show up. Technically it did — X-Men: The Animated Series. Can we get an Honest Trailer? We can!

 

Solarman: Who?

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers: Apparently this was some unholy mashup of Avengers and Pokemon. Sure, why not.

Everybody remembers the ’90s X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons, but do you remember these ones?

Source: Marvel Superheroes: The Most Forgotten Comics Cartoons (CBR)


Jun 02 2016

Watch Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths for Free

Apparently you can watch the animated Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths for free on CWSeed.com. It’s on The Flash’s official twitter account, so it must be true.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Check it:

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this, although I can’t say for certain, which isn’t a great sign. Although it’s also a sign of aging. In other words, don’t take the fact that I can’t remember seeing something as a sign that it’s no good.

Actually, now that I look at the Wikipedia page for this direct-to-DVD DC animated universe superhero movie, I’m more confident that I’ve seen it. The writer is the late Dwayne McDuffie, who was extremely talented and died much too young. As I recall, I liked it, just not as much as I liked Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, both of which McDuffie worked on and are among my favorite cartoons, along with Static Shock, which I really hope they release on DVD because it’s so damn good and why the hell hasn’t this happened yet?

Anyway, free stuff you can watch legitimately. Go figure. (Kidding.) Here’s the link. Enjoy.


May 11 2016

Really? We’re Still Blaming Cartoons?

I should write more about how an “Egypt official blames ‘Tom and Jerry’ for spreading violence” (source: ABC News), but I’m stuck on “Still blaming cartoons? Seriously?”

Feh.

Source: Egypt Official Blames ‘Tom and Jerry’ for Spreading Violence (ABC News)


Jan 04 2016

Steven Universe is a Thing

Apparently the cartoon Steven Universe is a thing that we should be aware of.

I wasn’t until this article, and I’ve only skimmed it so far. The headline, “Steven Universe is the most delightful, sex-positive show on television” was enough to get my attention as I was reading about the Oregon militia standoff (a much more depressing news story).

I don’t watch cartoons as much as I used to. Part of that is because my children have gotten older, although I watched plenty of cartoons before I had kids. (Simpsons anyone? Batman Beyond? Heck, how about Thundarr?) Animation quality has declined over the past few years; I don’t mean the shows themselves, I mean literally the quality of the animation. Computers have made it easier and cheaper to produce cartoons, and I prefer the older stuff. That alone isn’t enough to put me off animated series, though. Several people have told me I should be watching Rick and Morty (not a kids’ show), and in general writing will trump animation for me — that is, even if something is impeccably animated but the writing stinks, I doubt I’ll watch it, but if the animation is only so-so while the writing is stellar, I might.

So I admit that I’m posting a link to an article about a show that I’ve never seen. That said, maybe it’s good, and maybe we should all be watching Steven Universe.

I did watch this video, and the song is pretty catchy. Check it out:

The internet’s favorite cartoon is weird, fun, and nuanced.

Source: Steven Universe is the most delightful, sex-positive show on television – Vox


Jun 10 2015

Watch These Creepy New Justice League Cartoons

I’ve said many times that I am a huge fan of the DC Animated Universe (sometimes called the Timm-verse, in honor of Bruce Timm). My personal favorite is Justice League, both regular and Unlimited. (Most people say Batman: The Animated Series is better but they’re wrong.) Now Bruce Timm has returned to his old stomping grounds… sort of. Here’s the scoop:

DaddyTips Featured Video

Justice League: Gods and Monsters is a full-length animated movie that will be released on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital download on July 28. But you don’t have to wait that long to get a taste of what it will be like. There are three shorts, two available now, one more coming on Friday. The title is Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles. Here are the first two episodes, “Twisted” and “Bomb”. Do NOT watch them with your kids. They are creepy. Seriously. I mean it. Read more »


May 26 2015

Robert Rodriguez Jonny Quest Movie? Sure, Why Not?

When we first saw the news about a Robert Rodriguez Jonny Quest movie, we said “what? why?” Then we quickly calmed down and said, “Sure. Why not?”

I grew up watching Jonny Quest, and I liked it well enough. I know there was a more recent reboot that I don’t think I’ve ever seen. Robert Rodriguez is a talented director; his Spy Kids movies are good clean family-friendly entertainment. Big Entertainment is constantly looking for old material that can be turned into successful megabucks multiplex gold. So why not Jonny Quest?

Commenters over at io9.com wonder what Mr. Rodriguez will do about Jonny’s sidekick/partner Hadji. Will he be a turban-wearing lad? Or is that culturally insensitive?

Another commenter offers this casting idea — Danny Trejo, aka Machete.

That, boys and girls, would be awesome.

(Also: there’s no H in Jonny — it’s not Johnny Quest, it’s Jonny Quest — OK? That’s mostly directed at me; I thought the young Mr. Quest spelled his name the regular way. I WAS WRONG.)

Watching the video clip above reminds me of how much I liked those old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The intro to the original Jonny Quest doesn’t even show the title character until over a minute of whiz-bang neat stuff like dinosaurs, laser cannons, a mummy, and whatever the heck this thing is:

Jonny Quest One-Eyed Spider Thing

Watching that intro makes me think that this movie is actually a good idea. At least potentially. Rodriguez can do some amazing work with CGI, and Jonny Quest could be a cool canvas for him to create something fun.

From Dusk till Dawn and Sin City director Robert Rodriguez is no stranger to children’s adventure movies, having created the Spy Kids franchise. Now, though, he’s delving into an existing children’s series, bringing the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Jonny Quest to the big screen.

Source: Robert Rodriguez Is Working On A Jonny Quest Movie (io9)

 

 

 


Jul 19 2013

Hug Him And Squeeze Him And Call Him George (Video)

You’ve probably heard the line “I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George.” As I just wrote on Facebook, teaching it to my children is one of my great accomplishments as a parent. (Remember, quoting yourself may be tacky, but it makes fact-checking much easier.) I always thought the line came from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Now I’m not so sure.

I might even have the line wrong. If so, I’m not the only one.

What follows is a condensed version of my attempt to figure out where “I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George” came from, which led me down a big Internet rabbit hole (pun intended) of cartoons, John Steinbeck, and other stuff.

At first the Internet seemed to be telling me that the cartoon in question was “The Abominable Snow Rabbit”.

In the video above, the line is, “I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him…” Not an exact match, but very close. (Daffy Duck has a great line as well: “I know I’m a louse. But I’m a live louse.”)

Then I stumbled across an intriguing tidbit: “The Abominable Snow Rabbit” is an homage to John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”

OK. Sure. Why not?

However, according to the Internet there are many cartoon homages to “Of Mice and Men.”

Really. There are.

Here is “Lonesome Lenny”, a 1946 Tex Avery cartoon, described thusly on IMDB: “Screwy Squirrel is bought in a pet shop to be the companion of a daft dog so strong that he squeezes his playmates to death.” Well all righty then. The dog’s name is Lenny, and he calls his new pal George. (Lennie and George are the main characters in “Of Mice and Men.”)

(Tip of the hat to the folks on this AWN forum page for pointing me towards “Lonesome Lenny”.)

But there is another Tex Avery short, “Of Fox And Hounds”, released in 1940, that is also an “Of Mice and Men” thing. This is where the immortal line “Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?” came from. (I taught that one to my kids as well. I’m an awesome dad.)

(Hat tip to LanguageHat.com. No pun intended that time.)

Research note: Lest anyone think that my sources are limited to Wikipedia and pages I found via The Google, here is a link to The New York Times’ review of the 1939 film version of Steinbeck’s book (starring Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr.), which states that “Of Mice and Men” has been “endlessly parodied in Warner Bros. and MGM cartoons”. (Personally, I prefer “homage” to “parody” in this case. But let’s not split hairs. Or hares.)

“Of Fox And Hounds” seems to be the first animated homage to “Of Mice and Men.” But, with apologies to Bono, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. None of this tells me the source of “I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George.” Thinking that perhaps the words came from Steinbeck, I did some searching on Google Books, eventually changing my query to the phrase “Tell me about the rabbits George.” That opened a whole new rabbit hole of references.

Lennie, George and rabbits are apparently quite the thing. Who knew?

What did we learn? A lot. Haven’t answered my original question. But that’s OK.

(Thanks to the Facebook friends who inspired this post.)

Classic Looney Tunes – YouTube.