More on DC Universe

Since I signed on to DC’s new streaming service, DC Universe, this past week, I have not binge-watched a single series. There is so much to watch and read, I have picked about a dozen shows to watch and have been watching them in rotation starting with Season 1-Episode 1 of each series.

Here is what I have been watching….

Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1942 – If you have never seen the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons from the early 1940s, you are in for huge treat. The animation and musical score are top-notch. The backgrounds are beautifully painted.

Due to the high cost of production, only 17 episodes were made. According to Wikipedia, the total production cost of the series was over $500,000 (equivalent to $8 million dollars in 2016).

Superman (serial) – A 15-part black-and-white Superman serial was released in January 1948. It starred an uncredited Kirk Alyn as Superman.

My favorite actor/character in the serial is Lois Lane. She was portrayed by the same actor who played the character in all seasons of the 50’s TV show except season 1.

Noel Neill as Lois Lane is so ingrained in pop culture that in 2010, the southern Illinois city of Metropolis (the city that calls itself the “official home of Superman”), unveiled a statue of Lois Lane modeled on Noel Neill.

The Adventures of Superman were in re-runs when I was a kid in the early 1960s. The black-and-white series originally ran from 1952 and 1954 and was in color from 1954 to 1958.

Again, Noel Neill as Lois Lane!

Super Friends (1973) – This series from Hanna-Barbera ran from 1973 to 1986 on ABC as part of its Saturday morning cartoon lineup.

Think Scooby-doo meets Harvey Birdman. Although it was not meant to be funny in that way, I think it is twice as hilarious as any of the Adult Swim Hanna-Barbera spoofs such as Sea Lab 2021.

I graduated from high school in the year that the show debut and I was “too old” for Saturday morning cartoons back then. Now since I’ve not seen it, this is all new to me!

Wonder Woman – This show was just as campy if not more so than the Batman TV-series of the 1960s. Even though the story takes place in the 1940s, it’s definitely a 70s show from its disco-style theme song to the Forties nostalgia that was happening back in the late Seventies.

The action scenes are really cheesy and there are a number of mistakes which are always fun to watch for.

Superboy – This show ran from 1988–1992 in syndication. It was renamed The Adventures of Superboy at the start of the third season.

It screams 80s, with the hair-styles, the music, and the shoulder pads.

Stacy Haiduk, the blue-eyed, red head playing Lana Lang, is just too cute for words. I recognize her from a show she did later, “Sea Quest 2032”.

Teen Titans– As I mentioned in a previous post, I was not a Teen Titans fan when the group was introduced in 1964. I was nine years old then and was just starting to read super-hero comics. I thought the group was juvenile and trite plus, I preferred my super-heroes to be grown-ups. (What did I know? I was just a kid!)

Yet, after discovering “Teen Titans Go!” on Cartoon Network and becoming a fan, I started researching the history of the group.

When I discovered that my favorite artist George Perez did a book titled “The New Teen Titans” in the Eighties, I had to find and read the collected editions on Hoopla. There were two series that ran from 1980 to 1988 for 90 issues. I think that I read the first four years of the series.

Next to the comic book series, the cartoon series which ran from 2003 to 2006 for 65 episodes was the second-best thing to happen in the history of the Teen Titans property.

Whereas “Teen Titans Go!” is all slapstick and fart jokes, the earlier cartoon was more of an anime teen-dramedy.

The two series have one big thing in common and that is that is the same actors do the voices of Starfire, Raven, Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy.

Legion of Superheroes – This show ran for 26 episodes from 2006 to 2008 on the Kid’s WB Saturday morning.

The stories are very simple, and the characters bear some resemblance to the heroes of the Legion of Superheroes. There were apparently some copyright issues that made it that they needed to call the main character “Superman” instead of “Superboy”. So, instead of the title being “Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes”, it was shortened to “Legion of Superheroes”.

I would like to see them do an animated series in the style of the silver age “Legion of Superheroes” as they appeared in Adventure Comics in the Sixties.

Birds of Prey – The show was only on for 1 season in 2002/3 on the WB network. It was not too terrible and there are some things to like about this show. Yet for me, I just cannot get past Huntress and Black Canary being out of uniform. I think that without costumes, “costumed super heroes” are undressed and boring. This is what I do not like about most live-action shows.
Justice League – I watched and re-watched this series about two years. This is what got me back into comic books following a 45-year absence.

Hawkgirl is one of main characters in this series that was on from 2001 to 2004 on Cartoon Network. It ran for 52 episodes. There were a number of episodes and story-arcs that featured Hawkgirl, including one that explored the golden age origin story for Hawkman and Hawkgirl that took place in ancient Egypt.

Animator Bruce Timm, who co-produced Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series in the 1990s, was executive producer of this series.

Justice League Unlimited – This animated show followed on the heels of the previous series and it ran for 39 episodes from 2004 to 2006.

The series has some great story arcs including a love-triangle between Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Vixen.

It was the final series set in the long-running DC animated universe, which started with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992.

Young Justice – This series features the next generation of super heroes. The group of teen super-heroes formed after the Teen Titans grew up and became the Titans.

The series ran for two seasons from 2010 to 2012 for a total of 46 episodes. Hawkgirl appears in a couple cameos.

I really liked the series when I watched it a couple of years ago. The show was never canceled; it went into hiatus. Like many other fans, I was happy to learn that season three will be coming soon to DC Universe.