By Devin T. Quin
Andy Rooney, Ed Anger, W.C. Fields, Rodney Dangerfield. Each one of these gentlemen is an established pioneer of their chosen artistic fields, though each one will always be remembered as bitter, crusty, cranky old sour-puss!
They are the veritable Mount Rushmore of angry old cranks. These guys are %100 pure coots! They make the Muppet’s Statler and Waldorf look like Bodhisattvas. My hat is off to these disgruntled old fogies, men who dare to stand up and hoarsely declare that they hate the music of today, have no idea who Lady Gaga is and that America is going to heck in a flaming hand basket.
I’d cry a tear in solidarity, but it would only make them hate me and my generation all the more, dismissing us all as soft, blubbery hippies.
It is in this spirit, that of being a bitter and frustrated old prune with nothing nice to say that I’ll shall get to the point of this article and make my own declaration. “I’m don’t like the new Marvel cartoon, the Marvel Super Hero Squad.”
BUT IT’S GOT M.O.D.O.K!
I know, I know, the cartoon does feature M.O.D.O.K., as well as many other great underused Marvel villains like Mole Man, Fin Fang Foom and Batroc the Leaper. It has Stan Lee as a regular voice actor. It constantly features references to the most obscure points of Marvel minutia, such as putting the Hulk-Bot from the aborted Megamorphs transformable Marvel action figures in the credits. The show has plots where the Silver Surfer gets to fight rival Galactus herald Stardust, regular appearances by Doctor Doom and Wolverine, not to mention Falcon, the Heroes for Hire and all manner of other great things going for it.
But then there’s so much to hate about it!
They focus on gentle humor and learning lessons rather than action or super-heroics. Bloodthirsty Marvel crazies like Wolverine and the Punisher are nerfed into caring buffoons who just need to experience “Fair Play.” The Hulk is treated like a pet dog. The pint-size dimensions of the heroes make them seem creepy, like you are watching a cartoon from the planet of dwarves. They spout horrible catch phases, and call each other “Squaddies.” The show will often feature fart jokes.
All of the complaints can be boiled down to one single problem: It’s a kid’s show.
Make no mistake, Super Friends, the 1980’s cartoon, which was a never-ending cavalcade of DC super heroes and villains, was also a kid’s show. The difference between The Super Friends and the Marvel Super Hero Squad is the changing definition of what a “Kid’s Show” IS.
On the surface the Super Hero Squad is much better than the clunky ole’ Super Friends. Mired with bad production values, bad animation and the typical slop that passed for plot lines, the Super Friends pales to the surprisingly loving and clever dialog of the Super Hero Squad, as well as it’s constant homage’s to the comic books they are based on.
A typical Super Friends episode will center around Lex Luthor devising a way to steal Batman and Robin’s utility belt, preventing the Super Friends from saving the day. A clever plot twist will then unfold, such as Batman and Robin were actually Aquaman and Superman in disguise or those were actually dummy utility belts or the Flash will run in with new belts once he’s done fighting Solomon Grundy.
The entire point of the show was to sell action figures. To sell the figures there needed to be action.
This is the rub.
They didn’t try to teach you lessons, they didn’t try to instill values…heck, some episodes they barely made attempts to entertain. The Super Friends just had a bunch of heroes punching villains for a half hour and that was it.
What makes the Super Friends a retro slice of good ole’ fashioned fun and the Marvel Super Hero Squad an exploitive dreck of family values nonsense?
Maybe nothing. Maybe I like the Super Friends because it’s what I grew up with, because everything else is going to compare back to what I knew and loved as a child. Maybe both shows are horrid exploitation.
NAH! Marvel Super Hero Squad stinks because it’s a product of this twisted generation and their worthless viewpoint on America! I hope those rotten kids get off my lawn and go get haircuts, decent jobs and stop listening to their Insane Clown Posse MP3s! In my day, MP3s were called “Records!”
You hooligans don’t deserve a decent cartoon like the Super Friends! BAH HUMBUG!