DVD Watch 3: Glaring Omissions: AVENGERS, HULK, More

DVD Watch 3: Glaring Omissions: AVENGERS

We think you know the deal by this point.  We’re throwing a spotlight on the glaringly obvious holes in your DVD and Blu-ray collection.  Last time out, we talked about the wide variety of Spider-Man related material that still hasn’t made it to the platforms.  This time, let’s cast an eye about at some of the other Marvel animation, as well as a much-reviled selection.

Avengers: United They Stand (1999-2000):  It would seem that we’re in the perfect time frame to get this out.  Granted, Disney/Marvel probably wants to avoid confusion between this series and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (which drops two sets in April), but I can’t see them leaving a lot of money on the table either.  (Then again, there’s a new Spidey bearing down and they haven’t yet announced the much-requested ‘90s Spidey, so who knows with these things?).  The marked difference between this series and the current series is the fact that this one is . . . sorta gonzo.

Why?  Well, for a variety of strange reasons, the Big Three are absent.  Sure, Iron Man and Cap appear in one episode each, but Thor only makes it for the credits.  There was speculation at the time that this was due to Iron Man’s own show, but it was over by this point and other characters from that series (like Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch) were regulars here.  Cap had been developed for a series, but that never materialized.  Another strange thing was a) freaking ‘90s battle armor and b) generally odd designs for most of the cast.

Nevertheless, the single 13-episode season remains an interesting curio for the Marvel faithful.  Had it been tended to with an emphasis on the big three and more investment in its comics origins, this might have been a worthy successor to X-Men and Spider-Man.  As it was, that didn’t happen, and it remains unreleased in the U.S.  (The series was given a U.K. release in 2007 on Region 2 DVD.)

The Incredible Hulk (1982-1983): Another 13 episode wonder, the original Hulk animated series ran in tandem on NBC with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.  The show had the distinction of carrying the Hulk banner (no pun intended) vacated by the live-action series that ended  the same year (1982).  If you’re familiar with “Amazing Friends”, then you’re familiar with the animation and music cues of this particular show.  The series featured several Hulk supporting characters, like Rick Jones, Betty, Thunderbolt Ross and “Ned” Talbolt, but only one classic Hulk villain (The Leader; other villains were original or drawn from other areas of the Marvel Universe).

Much like the other Marvel series in American limbo, this one saw DVD release in the U.K.  It’s actually been issued twice on DVD overseas, the second time as recently as the summer of 2010 from Clear Vision.

The Incredible Hulk (1996-1997): Can we say 21?!  That’s right; hitting in the middle of the Marvel animation surge of the ‘90s, this version of the Hulk got over the 13-episode hump.  It ran on UPN for two brief seasons.  There’s fan division over this series; some prefer the darker first season, whereas others like the She-Hulk heavy second season.  It didn’t stick around long, but it gave rise to some great Toy Biz action figures in the day.  Again, to the point of redundancy, this has been released in the U.K.  Seriously, Disney/Marvel, what’s up with that?

Silver Surfer (1998):  Somewhat groundbreaking in its day for its blend of CG and cel animation, Surfer actually tried to hew to the Kirby art style.  The show attempted to capture the sweep and scope of Cosmic Marvel, but oddly skipped moments that included characters like the Fantastic Four.  Like several of its forebears, the series only made it 13 episodes.  As you might expect, there’s a U.K. release; it dropped in 2009.  Again: really?!

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