Your Top Five Favorite Superhero Cartoons


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Suavestar brought up starting a favorite superhero cartoons thread in the Batman: The Brave and The Bold thread and I thought I'd kick it off. This isn't a thread about which superhero cartoons are the best critically, but which ones are your personal favorites.

For me:

1. Batman: The Animated Series - BTAS was just plain cool. The animation was like no other cartoon, the villains were creepy, and Batman was, well, cool. I still remember having the crap scared out of me by the Two-Face reveal at the end of the first episode of that two parter. And the movie! That absolutely blew me away when I was a kid. In fact, the Phantasm was probably my favorite villain back then just because he had such a wicked costume. And the cartoon led into other interests. I got more into comics with the Batman Adventures comic and I went crazy for the action figures. I can't tell you how many different versions of Batman I had, but I know I had Robin, Man-Bat, Clayface, Two Face, Joker, and Scarecrow. I still have my BTAS Batmobile, although it's missing a wheel. I missed a lot of the adult themes back then, but caught them now years later, which is almost like watching them all over again. It's because of this cartoon that Batman became one of my favorite superheroes and why I'm such a geek today.

2. Spider-Man: The Animated Series - This cartoon hit me a lot like BTAS. While it wasn't as dark or well animated as BTAS, it's emphasis on Peter Parker as much as Spider-Man really appealed to me. Spider-Man also had a great rogues gallery and while his comic version may be overexposed, the way Venom was portrayed in the cartoon was excellent. The Alien Costume three parter was one of the highlights of my cartoon watching youth and still holds up today. While some people didn't care for it, I really liked the overarching nature of each season, especially the Neogenic Nightmare season and the last one with the Six Forgotten Warriors and Secret Wars. And like BTAS, I was totally crazy for Spider-Man toys. Never got that cool Mega Goblin Glider though. With BTAS I had the perfect dark, stylish superhero cartoon and with Spider-Man I had the perfect light, soap opera superhero cartoon.

3. Spider-Man '67 Season 1 - I wasn't around when these were on the air, but I did catch them on the DVD release from a few years back. While the animation is a bit crude by modern standards, the first season of the late sixties Spider-Man cartoon adapted a number of great Silver Age stories and utilized many of his classic villains. Sure, you get some really goofy villains like Parafino and Dr. Noah Boddy, but this cartoon is just a ton of fun. While there were a few half hour cartoons, most of the episodes consisted of two 15 minute cartoons, which gave you more bang for your buck. You also got a nice dynamic with a cast of Peter Parker, Betty Brant, and J. Jonah Jameson. All three of their voice actors are quite good in their roles, with Peter Parker and Spider-Man having two seperate voices by the same voice actor. Now the first season was produced by Gantray-Lawence, with the two remaining seasons being produced by Ralph Bakshi. Those are pretty close to unwatchable, with most of the episodes being made up of Spider-Man swinging. But for the first season at least, it's a really fun superhero cartoon.

4. Batman: The Brave and The Bold - Man, is this cartoon a blast! It took me a couple episodes, but by episode 3 (the first one with Aquaman of course), I was hooked. While I like some episodes more than others, I think each one is solid and enjoyable. The teaser and main story set up means more bang for your buck on the hero and villian front. And of course, how can you beat the outrageous B&B Aquaman? Or the pulls-a-rocket-launcher-out-of-pants Joker? It's an instantly classic superhero cartoon and one that I hope continues for a long time.

5. Challenge of The Super-Friends - I didn't catch this in its first run, but I did see it during the Golden Age of Cartoon Network. When Cartoon Network first came on the air, we didn't have it, but my grandparents did. The Super Friends cartoons were probably my first exposure to superheroes, with the Challenge series standing out the most. In fact, I still have a tape lying around of Challenge cartoons that was recorded at my grandparents. Say what you will about how goofy it was, there were a lot of heroes and villains in there to be exposed to. While it's not the best superhero cartoon in the world, it was the one that got me interested in them and for that it has a special place in my geek heart.

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I'mm choosing to look at cartoons that I still like to watch in addition to having enjoyed when I was younger. Also, I think it's fair to limit myself to one DCAU show.

1. Justice League/Justice League Unlimited: My favorite part of Justice League was that it took everything of the DCAU up to that point and turned it up to 11. Plot points that we didn't think anything of before suddenly came to the forefront. Things that you thought nothing of had so much depth. Then you have episodes like "Wild Cards" and "This Little Piggy" that make you crack up and pull on your emotions at the same time. Truly, just awesomeness animated and personified.

2. X-Men: I owe this cartoon to making me a comic book fan. The X-Men were just another thing to me until this. I bought my first non-Disney comic because it was cool. I played X-Men until Power Rangers came along but that's something else entirely. It gets bonus points for portraying a good version of The Dark Phoenix Saga.

3. Darkwing Duck: I loved Disney as a kid. Sure, it's not based on a comic book but it has so many elements that both kids and adults could enjoy in a cartoon. While there was little to no continuity at times, each episode could go from sci-fi one day to horror to your basic evil twin episode. I still look at the episode "Just Us Justice Ducks" as being an inspired tribute to the silver age of comics.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: In hindsight, this is a kinda whacked out idea. That said, it is really just great voice acting, some great writing, and some great humor. I do kinda grown at some of the later episodes but you can become doomed to jump the shark eventually if you fail to recognize when enough is enough.

5. Spider-Man the Animated Series (90's): Some of what this show did was just awesome. We have a kids cartoon that had continuity long before Superman The Animated Series. Actions carried over from one episode to another and nothing was truly stand-alone. It gets bonus points for making a good Clone Saga.

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Guest DCAUFan1051

#1 Transformers Generation 1:

The 1984 TF cartoon, while it has it's flaws was something that any kid could watch and they made the cartoon look just like the toys! Sure some of the toys back then were smaller then what you saw on the screen, but I remember just watching it to see what Megatron was gonna do next. Then to see how Optimus Prime and the autobots were going to stop him and the Decepticons. Yes I know Transformers isn't a superhero type toon but they do have heroes and villains in it :D

#2 Justice League/Justice League Unlimited:

this cartoon was awesome, one of the directors or producers summed it up best about JLU, "every character you ever wanted to see animated is animated in JLU" The stories through the entire run were just well thought out and kept me on the edge of my seat.

#3 Spider-Man (1994):

This cartoon also had great storytelling I thought, when I was younger and watching it it actually made me want to go get comics. I loved the jokes that Spidey says the quick quips at JJ or the villains, my favorite 2 storylines from this are The Secret Wars and The Spider Wars.

#4 Iron Man (1994)

even though it's given a bad wrap, the IM cartoon was supercool I think, the voice acting was great and the things that Iron Man and Force Works could do was awesome! Plus The Madarin, and Modok were awesome truly sinister villains. Well Mandarin was Modok was a bumbling hench head thing.

#5 X-Men (1992)

and speaking of sinister villains X-Men had some good ones. This was another cartoon that made me want to go out and buy comic books. Looking back on it now it had excellent storylines and awesome animation for what it was. The Wolverine in this cartoon is my favorite overall. Hell I liked all the characters in this.

I truly believe that all the cartoons I listed still hold up today. :D

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