Sunday, July 17, 2011

Comic cartoons and the movies they exist solely to promote

This summer saw the release of a lot of comic movies (and there are still more coming) and you know what that means, cartoons based on comics designed for coasting on the new found popularity the movies bring to a franchise.

Now while making cheap cash-in children’s cartoons based on movies is nothing new (see Beetlejuice, Ace Ventura and… Robocop) with comics it’s a little different. Because so many comic book movies come out and get sequels, I’ve noticed this strange phenomenon where a series will get created to follow-up on one movie, go through its run, and end before the next sequel comes out which then requires another series be made.

For example, after the first Spider-Man movie came out there was that CG-show they made starring good ole NPH (Neil Patrick Harris for... you people) but it got cancelled before even the release of Spider-Man 2 two years later. Fast-forward to the spring after Spider-Man 3 for a new show, “The Spectacular Spider-Man.” I heard it was good but due to that whole Disney buying Marvel business it got shut down a year and a half later. Now we’ve got another show coming, “Ultimate Spider-Man,” just in time for The Amazing Spider-Man in theaters next summer.
This picture is relevant enough, right?

Some stuff manages to last longer. “X-Men Evolution” managed to span the entire three years between the first two X-Men movies, although “Wolverine and the X-Men” suffered a fate not unlike “Spectacular Spider-Man.”

Then there’s Batman. His magnificent animated series began after 1992’s Batman Returns but the glorious DC Animated Universe it inspired lasted all the way until 2006. However, as for Batman himself even he could not escape the cycle. Batman Begins spawned “The Batman” and, despite their harsh differences in tone, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” premiered the fall after the release of The Dark Knight. And with that show's end it sight, there are already plans for a post-The Dark Knight Rises series.

Heck, this really applies to all long-running geeky properties. To once again bring things back to Transformers check out this timeline.

Transformers (film) 2007
Transformers Animated (tv series) 2007-2009
Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (film) 2009
Transformers: Prime (tv series) 2010
Transformers Dark of the Moon (film) 2011

Now I'm not saying these shows are bad. Again "Batman: The Animated Series" is phenomenal and many of the other shows I mentioned are at least decent. It's just the way they're positioned that's weird/funny/shameless.

Wouldn’t be neat if we started seeing more stuff like "Jimmy Neutron" where the movie was a glorified ad for the show instead of kind of the other way around?

Or how neat would it be if we got this?

Alan Moore you so crazy

Also, while I’m thinking about Spider-Man what with all the info on the new movie coming out, mechanical web-shooters are and have also been stupid. I don’t care that his suit looks like a basketball but the web-shooters bug (heh) me. Yeah it isn’t a huge deal, yeah it’s truer to the comics and yeah it shows how smart Peter is. However, despite how crazy Spider-Man may be, I find the idea that someone can get bit by a super-powered spider, get a whole host of spider-related powers but then have to build some gadget in order to shoot his limited amount of web absolutely ridiculous. Yes, even more ridiculous than '60s and Italian Spider-Man.

But yeah, how 'bout that pan-media.

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