Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
Back in the era when some of Cartoon Network’s biggest hits included Space Ghost: Coast To Coast and Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law, even Aquaman found a second job. In 2001, DC’s King of the Seas hosted a tongue-in-cheek kids show called The Aquaman & Friends Action Hour which wasn’t exactly for kids. But until the advent of YouTube, the series never aired in America.
We stumbled upon the first two episodes alongside a few commercial bumpers starring the Super Friends cast online, and the results are an hilariously awkward trip down memory lane. Produced by Atlanta’s Wild Hare Studios (an independent contractor for Cartoon Network that also worked on series like The Brak Show and Aqua Teen Hunger Force), the clips initially appeared on the CartoonNetworkLa.com website that reached audiences in Latin America. Sharp-eared fans may recognize original Super Friends Aquaman actor Norman Alden reprising his role (some commenters have credited it to later Aquaman voice over star William Callaway, though it sure sounds like Alden to us). Check out the videos after the jump.
This look at DC’s latest round of solicitations may be quicker and dirtier than usual, mostly because this week I thought I was going to be talking about Teen Titans’ cancellation. We’ll do a little of that this week, along with the other titles on the chopping block.
However, for a while now we’ve known that April — being the first post-Forever Evil month — will feature some big changes, and those start right here.
BY THE NUMBERS
I count 47 ongoing New 52 series, but that includes the six books canceled as of April, and it only counts Batman Eternal — which, contrary to my expectation, is not solicited as a limited series — once. Thus, if DC still wants to hit the magic number, it needs to come up with 11 new series for May.
It’s been a rough 40 years for Aquaman, whose public image has never recovered from Super Friends. Sure, the long-running animated series raised the Atlantean’s profile, but it did so while depicting him as a pretty ineffective hero who had to hope for an aquatic threat and then hitch a ride with Wonder Woman to the nearest body of water. So he could summon a pod of narwhals. Only Zan of the Wonder Twins — “Form of water!” “Form of giant ice handcuffs!” — was lower in the Hall of Justice hierarchy.
And, as if that Entourage story thread and failed 2006 television pilot didn’t add enough insult to injury, now Aquaman has been declared the “most toxic superhero” by McAfee.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s special guest is Simon Monk, an artist whose “Secret Identity” paintings we featured here on Robot 6 not too long ago. Monk is actually selling limited edition prints of his paintings on his website now, so go check them out.
To see what Simon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.
If I had $15:
I’d start with Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #1 ($2.99). I love weird western tales and can’t imagine a better creative team for one than the writers of BPRD and artist John Severin, who illustrated so many of Atlas’ classic westerns. Then I’d grab The Muppet Show, Volume 5: Muppet Mash ($9.99) because hey, Roger Langridge, Muppets and classic monsters.
If I had $30:
I’d add a couple of Big Two all-ages comics to the pile. If Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Spectacular #1 ($3.99) is half as fun as the show it’s based on, it’ll be worth taking home and reading to the boy. I’ll just have to keep ignoring the irritating, unnecessarily three-fingered character designs. I’m even more confident that we’ll enjoy DC’s Super Friends, Volume 4: Mystery in Space ($12.99) because we’ve been so delighted with the first three collections. David just turned nine and by way of celebration, he wanted to go back and re-read the Superman’s Birthday story from volume two.
The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Alex Shebar examines the visual links between the 76-year-old Cincinnati Union Terminal and the Hall of Justice from the 1970s Super Friends cartoon and, more recently, the Justice League of America comic.
“The resemblance is undeniable, from the massive arch to the carved pillars,” Shebar writes. “They are nearly identical, right down to the colossal fountain leading to the front entrance.”
Completed in March 1933, the art deco-style train station apparently made an impact on Joseph Barbera: When Super Friends background supervisor Al Gmuer submitted a headquarters design to Barbera and ABC executives, what was returned looked a lot like Union Terminal.
“In the long run, I hated that building,” Gmuer tells Shebar. “The way it’s designed, it was not easy to draw. I had nightmares about that damn building.”