Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Favorite 1990's Animated Shows Based On Comics

The 1990's were a pretty good time to be a comic book fan when it came to animated series. In fact some of the greatest cartoons ever based off of a comic book had their runs in the 1990's so I figured that I would sit down and make a list of my personal top 15 favorites. Granted with 15 we are really scrapping the bottom of the barrel at the end but that's why I choose to do 15 I wanted to show that the entire range of what the 1990's had to offer. That said, there are some shows at the bottom of this list that will have people saying how did THAT get on the list when something like The Incredible Hulk didn't? The quick and honest answer is also the most simple one. Because I never saw it. I have heard good things about The Hulk and there are some others that might be good that I also haven't seen but how can I rank something if I haven't seen it? With all of that out of the way lets just get right into it.



15 Avengers: United They Stand - 1999-2000

 
Sure this was far from the greatest super hero cartoon out there and when you compare it to Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes it looks even worse. The main problem with the show has to be the roster. Sure there are great Avengers like Hawkeye, Ant Man Wasp, Falcon, Vision and The Scarlet Witch but to round out the team we had heroes like Wonder Man, Tigra. hat might not seem like to bad of a roster of Avengers but the fact that the big three Captain America, Iron Man and Thor are not on the team really hurts the show. Hell Thor never even made an appearance on the show at least Captain America and Iron Man did at least that much.




14 Spider-Man Unlimited - 1999-2001



Anyone who has been coming to Bond-Tastic!! for a while should know by now how much I love Spider-Man so when this show came out I was super excited. It was after all a sequel of sorts to the Spider-Man animated series that ran from 1994-1998 so how could I not be all for it. Unfortunately like many other things to do with Spider-Man in the 1990's (The Clone Saga) this was a huge disappointment. Still it was Spider-Man so I stuck it out until the bitter end of its short 13 episode run. The really bad part about this show? Its on Netflix right now and I know as soon as I'm through r watching the other Spider-Man show I'll rewatch this one as well. Here's hoping its not as bad as I remember.


13 Iron Man 1994-1996



For a while every Saturday afternoon I got excited for the one two punch of Iron Man and Fantastic Four. Iron Man came on first and this show should by rights be up there with Spider-Man and X-Men from the 1990's since it too had the same style and followed the comics the same way but the problem is Iron Man was never as good as the other two up to this point, not even close. Adding to the problem with this show is the fact that although it only had two seasons it changed production studios after the first season causing a lot to change. The main selling point of this show for me though was that this was my first real introduction to Iron Man and the characters that surrounded him in  his part of The Marvel Universe.


12 Silver Surfer - 1997


 

A lot of people make fun of this show for being pretty terrible, myself included. It didn't help that The Silver Surfer is a relatively unknown hero to non comic fans either, just think to those people The Silver Surfer is a naked silver guy who flies around space on a surfboard, you can understand why a lot of people wouldn't care about it. For shits and giggles I decided to rewatch this series on Netflix when it showed up a while back I figured that with only 13 episodes it wouldn't be that bad. I have to be honest although time hasn't been kind to the show with its very dated CGI that's spliced in with the traditional animation it was actually much better then I remembered. Still far from great but much better then I remembered. Also although the CGI is very dated now as I mentioned above it was pretty good and innovative for the time.



11  Wild C.A.T.s. -  1995-1996



When it came out Image Comics were still very new and the hottest thing in comics Jim Lee's Wild C.A.T.s. comic itself had only debuted two years earlier and was behind only Todd McFarlene's Spawn in popularity for the young company so when a children's cartoon was getting the green light from Image it was Wild C.A.T.s that would translate better then any of the other darker grittier comics that Image was putting out at the time. Still even in spite of this Wild C.A.T.s was the best choice it had the most colorful cast of characters and even had a loveable badass rogue in Grifter that all the cool kids would like. The show itself wasn't bad either and like in the comic world was a great although not always better third option to the animated series that Marvel and DC were putting out at the time. Not that such a thing would ever matter the the child audience that it was aimed at. All we ever cared about was that it brought on great super hero action, which it did.


10 Fantastic Four 1994-1996



The second half of the other Marvel hour that came on Saturday Mornings in the 1990's following Iron Man. Much like with Iron Man this was my first real introduction to The Fantastic Four and I always thought that it deserved more recognition then it ever got. The characters were spot on and its followed the comic series in the same way that Spider-Man & The X-Men. Maybe it was the fact that this show was taken a lot more of a lighter feel then the others and made it less appealing to kids going into their teens the the others who knows. All I know is that I liked it.


9 Superman The Animated Series -1996-2000 



With the huge success that was Batman: The Animated Series DC would of been morons not to capitalize on that with their flagship (debatable) character, Superman. Superman: The Animated Series enjoyed the same crisp animation and writing team that made Batman so great and it showed every step of the way. As far as Superman goes this is my second favorite thing he has ever been involved with outside of the comic books that he came from, number one being the first Superman movie staring Christopher Reeve who I must admit was always surprised never did the voice work for Clark Kent/Superman here. The most likely reason I can think of was that the show debuted only a year after Reeve's accident. That said though Tim Daly did a better job then Reeve himself could of done here with his voice work.


8 Men In Black - 1997-2001


 

The first Men In Black movie was great and very imaginitive and with that movie a animated series seemed like a must which was given to us by Kids' WB. The show had a great look, the characters looked like they did in the movie but distinct enough to be its own thing. More importantly the show had some great writing. It picks up where the first movie left us off with the big difference being that Agent K didn't retire. The show gave us lots of great imaginitve alien enemies for The Men In Black to face and some of the episodes were even much better then the second movie. Its to bad they didn't just take one of those episodes and made that part 2 instead.


7 The Maxx - 1995


 

With only 13  episodes clocking in at a mere 11 minutes each The Maxx proved you don't need to have a long run to be great. Airing late nights on MTV allowed The Maxx to be a little darker then most animated shows at the time as well as much more sophisticated. The animation style of The Maxx was truly something to behold as well with it looking as though it had been ripped from the pages of the comic and changing styles frequently from being very detailed to very cartoonist at other times. If you have never seen this show and have a two or three hours to spare then I highly suggest checking it out since you can pretty well watch the entire series in that short amount of time.


6 Batman Beyond - 1999-2002  


 

Although this show most aired after the 1990's it did debut in 1999 making it eligible to be on this list to me. With its close ties to Batman: The Animated Series and being set in the future you knew that this had to be a good show. One of the most impressive things this show was able to do was not only have Batman being someone new but to pretty much haven an almost entirely new rogues gallery for Batman different from the villains Bruce Wayne fought. Yet  in spite of this still manged to make this new Batman, under the guidance of Bruce Wayne, feel very much like Batman and the new villains also all seemed very Batman like and thus awesome. To accomplish that feat alone you would have consider this show a major success.


5 The Tick - 1994-1996 


 

This show was my as well as most peoples introduction to The Tick. This show was fantastic. Not only was it a show about a super hero and the villains he fought but it was also a great parody of the entire genre just like the comic book that it was based on. The fact that the show never took itself to seriously only helped make it more enduring then most other super hero animated series since you knew that you would always be in for a good time and a good laugh whenever The Tick came on.



4 X-Men - 1992-1997


The X-Men had been popular for years in comics but for the most part they were one of those unknown properties to most people who didn't read them. That all changed when The X-Men debuted on Fox in 1992. This show became incredibly successful in large part due to the fact that it was so loyal to its source material in the comics using its most popular story lines in the comics then 30 year history. Add to that the team had a great roster of the most popular X-Men at the time including Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Gambit, Beast Rogue and more. Other popular X-Men not on the team such as Colossus and Nightcrawler also had their moments as guest stars in more then one episode. All this and more leaves this X-Men cartoon #1 on many peoples lists of favorite Marvel animated series of all time.





3 Todd McFarlene's Spawn - 1997-1999


  

Spawn was arguably the most popular super hero of the 1990's. Things weren't all sunshine and rainbows for him nor should it given his dark origin. Todd McFarlene's Spawn was different from any other animated series based on a comic at the point it debuted and it is still pretty much still the only comic book animated series of its kind. It was incredibly dark, violent, gory and didn't shy away from nudity. The fact that the show was on HBO allowed it to do all of these things as it would of never flown on a Saturday morning like every other show on this list. It wasn't all dark, gritty and gory just for the hell of it though since everything served the story of one of comics more darker characters.




2 Spider-Man - 1994-1998

 

If this is a list about my favorite animated shows based on comics in the 1990' s then you can be sure that Spider-Man's animated 1994-1998 animated series would be on the list and ranked high. Taking a cue from the hugely popular X-Men animated series that debuted two years before Spider-Man was very loyal to its comic book origins. Sure somethings were changed around, we had The Hobgoblin terrorizing Spider-Man long before The Green Goblin showed up among other things but for the most part everything was spot on. This show was also one of the first to use CGI animation albeit very crude CGI animation that was saved mostly for buildings and vehicles. This show also featured some great voice work from the likes of Christopher Daniel Barnes as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and a very under rated performance of Ed Asner as J. Jonah Jameson. I loved the hell out of this show.




1 Batman: The Animated Series - 1992-1997


Is it really a surprise to anyone that my #1 animated show based on a comic book in the 1990's was Batman: The Animated Series? Despite my love of Spider-Man is there really any other option out there? Everything about this show was absolutely brilliant. From the opening theme song with the awesome music and intro which itself its a fantastic one minute Batman story. The animation style gave birth to an entire universe of DC animated shows including Superman, Batman Beyond and The Justice League. It also gave birth to fan favorite character Harley Quinn which in itself is enough to put it high on any lists. The voice work in this show is also some of the best that has been seen in any animated series, a fact proven to me by the fact that every time I read a Batman comic I hear the voices from this show. When I read Batman I hear Kevin Conroy, when I read The Joker I hear Mark Hamill and so forth and so forth. In short not only is Batman: The Animated Series my favorite animated show based on a comic book from the 1990's its one of my favorite SHOWS of all time animated or otherwise.

 







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