Conventional wisdom dictates a lot of things, particularly the fact that conventional wisdom is occasionally wrong. Obviously, that applies in any strata of pop culture or entertainment, where things that are praised one day can be reviled the next, where things that are critically scorned become beloved, or where some things, frankly, just don’t seem as good the second time around.
Applying that modality to animated comics adaptations can be particularly tricky. Take, for example, “Super Friends”. Extremely popular upon initial airings, and still the object of much love and affectation from many fans, it’s nevertheless entrenched in pop culture memory these days as more of a source of punchlines and what happens when source material is simplified too much.
With new animated series on the way from both Marvel and DC, and new positions created just for that purpose, that got me thinking: of all the comics-to-television animation adaptations, what’s the best? The most faithful? The one that’s aged most gracefully? The one didn’t age well at all? I want to hear from you.
For my money, it’s really, truly hard to beat the so-called “Timmverse”. When you factor in “Batman: The Animated Series”, “Superman: The Animated Series”, “Justice League/Justice League Unlimited” and “Batman Beyond”, that’s a really remarkable run of programming.
On the other hand, the ‘90s “X-Men” series, while hugely popular, doesn’t seem to age quite as well. I realize that there were different intentions, etc., but I don’t find the episode-to-episode consistency that I do in other projects. Actually, I thought that the recently cancelled “Wolverine and the X-Men” did a great job of bringing the current tenor of the mutants to the screen. My five-year-old son loved it, but I never felt like the show was reaching down to a young child’s level; I thought that it just told the stories and expected the kids to pay attention. Mine did.
Presently, I find that “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” is a terrific series. I know that some fans don’t like the tone, but I admire the fact that the producers have acknowledged that Batman is flexible enough to be represented in a lot of different ways. This isn’t the camp of the ‘60s live-action series; this is a show that’s in on its own joke. Turning Aquaman into a super-heroic version of Errol Flynn? Using the Bat-Mite episode to take the piss out of negative reactions? Detective Chimp? Gold, I say. Both of my kids absolutely love the show, and they occasionally stop and ask what my wife and I are laughing about. (Honestly, if you’ve never given it a shot, there’s definitely a significant amount of multi-layered humor to be found).
So, again . . you tell me. Best? Most faithful? Most accessible? Worst? Most in need of being collected on DVD asap? And what are you most looking forward to? The new "Avengers?" The new "Green Lantern" or "Young Justice?" Let’s hear it.
What's your fave animated comic adaptation?