Tag Archives: Filmation

Flash(back): Animated Anthem

This is the intro for the Flash segments that ran during the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1967-1968). Filmation produced three Flash cartoons in which the Flash and Kid Flash battled original evildoers including a giant mutated bug (The Chemo Creature, seen here), a mad scientist in a robot suit (Professor Crag), and an alien speedster (The Blue Bolt). Sadly, he didn’t actually “conquer the barriers of time and space” in any of the segments they produced.

Warner Bros. released all the non-Superman/Aquaman sequences on DVD a few years back, and I reviewed the set a couple of months after this blog went online.

Even setting aside the image quality, you can see that it’s a very different style from modern shows like Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice, or even Super-Friends. Continue reading

Speed Reading: Gearing Up for Wednesday Comics

Some linkblogging for a Monday, first with a couple of general links:

Comics in Crisis is running a series on Cartoon Heroes. The first installment includes video clips from the Filmation cartoons from the 1960s (which I reviewed when it came out on DVD) and Super-Friends.

Toys R Us will have (among other items) an exclusive Flash action figure at Comic-Con International.

Wednesday Comics

The Weekly Crisis wants to know: Will you be buying Wednesday Comics?

Karl Kerschl is running a contest: He’s hidden an image of The Abominable Charles Christopher in a panel of the Flash story in Wednesday Comics (he’s not saying which week). When you spot it, email him a photo of yourself pointing to the yeti, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for an original sketch.

When Worlds Collide’s Timothy Callahan is wildly enthusiastic about the series, and compares it to Solo. He also notes that the reasons he liked Solo and is looking forward to Wednesday Comics — get a bunch of top-tier artists and writers and let them loose on DC’s characters — is exactly why Solo sold so poorly.

Speaking of Solo, I didn’t buy every issue, but I did pick up three or four. I bought the ones by artists I wanted to read. Darwyn Cooke, Sergio Aragon├ęs, I forget who else.

Review: DC Super-Heroes: The Filmation Adventures

In 1967, the Filmation-produced Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure featured short animated segments with additional DC characters. The Superman and Aquaman segments have previously been released on DVD, and the rest are now available as the two-disc set, DC Super-Heroes: The Filmation Adventures.

These discs feature three seven-minute episodes each focusing on:

  • The Atom
  • The Flash
  • Green Lantern
  • Hawkman
  • The Justice League of America (made up of the above heroes, plus Superman)
  • Teen Titans (Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy, and Aqualad)

I’ve never seen these before (I grew up on Super Friends), and it’s hard to not compare them to the Bruce Timm-designed Justice League cartoons, which benefit from 30-odd years of advances in animation techniques (and technology) and storytelling — not to mention a decent budget. The stories are simplistic, the villains’ motivations even more so; lots of footage is re-used, and the heroes are flat. But the action tends to be wild and crazy, in keeping with the comics of the time.

In fact, a lot of the aspects that stand out when viewing these today are true to the source material. This was deep into the Silver Age at DC, and wild and crazy sci-fi adventure hadn’t yet given way to the more street-level storytelling of the Bronze Age. Continue reading

Animated Flash Releases on DVD and iTunes

The Flash (or Kid Flash) appears in two DVD sets being released this week, as well as one upcoming release and a whole set of digital downloads.

Teen Titans

The review by Comics Worth Reading reminds me that Teen Titans season 5 is out on DVD this week. This features the episode, “Lightspeed,” in which the animated version of Kid Flash goes up against the Hive Five and makes a special connection with Jinx. While it’s never been made clear just how Teen Titans relates to Justice League Unlimited, they did cast Michael Rosenbaum, the voice of the Flash on that series, as Kid Flash.

I’ve got this one on pre-order. At the time it aired, I wasn’t watching the show, but I made a point to watch “Lightspeed” and enjoyed it. I’ve since seen the other 4 seasons on DVD, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the fifth.

The Batman & Filmation

Comic Bloc poster BESTBUY points out that The Batman season 5 (2007-2008) is also out this week, featuring several episodes with the Justice League as well as “A Mirror Darkly,” in which Batman and Robin team up with the Flash against Mirror Master.

He also mentions the upcoming DVD release of DC Superheroes: The Filmation Adventures, set for August 12. These are cartoons from 1967, featuring DC’s classic cast of heroes, the Flash included. I’ve never seen them myself — my experience with DC-based animation starts with the early 1980s and Super-Friends. From what I understand, these originally aired as part of The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure. Update: Check out my review of these cartoons.

Super Friends Go Digital on iTunes

Finally, Blog@Newsarama reports that iTunes now has a number of classic DC cartoons, including Super Friends and Season 2 of Superman: The Animated Series. That’s the season that includes “Speed Demons,” the episode that introduced the DCAU Flash in 1997.

Thinking about it, it was probably Super Friends that first introduced me to DC’s heroes. I certainly was watching the show long before I started reading comics. I remember very little of the cartoons now, except for the general tone, and a few moments like Superman trying to pronounce Mxytzptlk, or me getting confused as to why Cyborg’s voice was so high in the commercial (by the time he was introduced, I’d started reading The New Teen Titans) — it turned out they’d run one of Wonder Woman’s lines over a picture of his face. And while I remembered the additional super-heroes like Apache Chief and Samurai, I’d completely forgotten the standard Hanna Barbera additions like Wendy and Marvin, or the Wonder Twins and Gleek, until I started reading commentary about the show online a decade later. I still can’t bring to mind any of their voices, though I imagine Marvin sounding like Shaggy from Scooby Doo