Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Marvel Super Heroes (1966)

The Marvel Super Heroes show originally aired on television in 1966. Although it was only on the air for one year, it aired five days a week and each half hour was divided into three segments, each of which told its own story, so about 200 segments were created for this show!
What a great old ad.
This show is the original motion comic. To meet the production schedule, they lifted art directly from the comics. In fact, the storylines themselves were directly from the comics. Frankly, motion comics today aren't much better than this series was in 1966. The images are largely motionless with only minor elements such as a mouth, a limb, or perhaps a bit of scenery moving.

The result is that, while the show doesn't have very good animation, it does capture the feel of a comic book. It even uses onomatopoeia in addition to actual sound effects. Each segment ends in a typical comic book cliffhanger. The episodes are heavy with narration that would have originally appeared in narration boxes.

Because the stories were taken directly from the comics, the faults of the comics are directly transferred to the  series. Action is energetic but unrealistic. Plots are full of excitement but all seem to be the same. Episodes are filled with pseudo-science terms.

The voice acting is capable at best. You can tell that these guys were churning out these episodes by the scores. The Hulk doesn't sound much like an angry toddler but  more like a man with a sore throat.

The different segments rotated between Captain America, Namor the Sub Mariner, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk. To me, they're all equal to one another - no one is much better or worse than any other.

As a Marvel fan, these episodes are interesting simply for their historical significance. For many of these characters, this was there first appearance on any screen. And if nothing else watching these episodes provides a cheap and quick way to catch up on some old-school Marvel continuity.

1LR Review - 12 out of 20 - It's a Glancing Hit!

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