Saturday, January 29, 2011

Top 10 Super-Hero Animated Series

I grew up reading comic books and most (US) comic books are all about super heroes.  That’s why I love “super heroes” most (before I encountered mainstream anime) as an animated series genre.  And, so, for my first Top 10 post in the Experimental Theatre, I bring you my top ten superhero animated series (obviously… it’s the title after all).  I'm just thankful I overcame my procrastination” so I can finish writing this.
Before we start, here are the honorable mentions (shows that nearly made the list): Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men: Evolution, the Batman, Wild C.A.T.S., Mighty Mouse

Now, let’s proceed after the jump…


Aw, so cute...

The tenth spot was a struggle between the Powerpuff Girls and Mighty Mouse.  But the Powerpuff Girls won out because it was more popular (in my generation).  “Powerpuff Girls” is a cute concept.   Superpowered kindergarten girls as protagonists, a variant of entertaining villains, a set of significant supporting characters, humorous episode scenarios, and an entertaining trademark ending (though which usually ends with “the day is save thanks to the Powerpuff Girls” can end with the day saved by non-Powerpuff Girls, even by villains!) which puts the icing on the cake on each episode.


I just need to include this.  I need an excuse to post this vid: 

Though each episode was mostly like comic book slide shows, I really like the “radio serial” charm it has.  Hmmmm.  Come to think of it, that was actually what makes this cartoon great: the narration, as if you are listening to a radio drama while having comic book illustrations flash before you.


Who's better? Ghost Rider or Spawn?
Image Comics was big in the 90’s when talented comic book artists (led by the legendary Todd McFarlane, who, aside from Stan Lee, has the most significant contribution in building Spider-Man’s charisma and awesomeness) “rebelled” against comicbook juggernaut Marvel Comics.  And this company’s most popular hero was “Spawn”.   I was not really into the Spawn comic books back then, but I love the HBO animated series.   Spawn is the grittiest and most violent show in this list, a true “cartoon for teens and adults” (though kids watched it as well).  It only lasted for 3 seasons in a 2-year span but it was good enough to win an Emmy.


Really... at first impression, the costume is lame. Just look at it!
At first, I didn’t like this series because of these reasons: a) I felt that the costume looked a bit awkwardly silly; b) it seemed pale in comparison with the original WB Batman animated series; c) Bruce Wayne is Batman. Nobody else. Period.

But as I get to watch more episodes, I warmed up to it.   The Bruce Batman is still there, and his presence still gives the episode the badassery it needs. The new Batman (Terry McGinnis) is okay after all, and has some depth as a character, and his costume has some merits.  And most importantly, the series actually have good storytelling in it that kept me interested. 


“Darkwing Duck” is a spin-off of Ducktales (since Lauchpad McQuack, a prominent character in Ducktales, is the titular superhero’s sidekick) and, clearly, a parody of the greatest superhero animated series ever created (see number 1).  There is plenty of humor in this series, and DD’s intros are epic.  Here are some of them:
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the termite that devours your floorboards."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am the surprise in your cereal box."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the batteries that are not included."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the headache in the criminal mind."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am the wrong number that wakes you at 3am."
  • "I am the Terror that flaps in the night, I am the raspberry seed you can't floss out."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the fingernail that scrapes the blackboard of your soul."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the onion that stings in your eye."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am a special news bulletin that interrupts your favorite show."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the scourge that pecks at your nightmares."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the hairball that clogs your drains."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the low ratings that cancel your program."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the auditor that wants to look at your books."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the slug that slimes your Begonias."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the bubble gum that sticks in your hair."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the itch you cannot reach."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the smoke that smokes Smoked Oysters."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the jailer who throws away the key."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the ten dollar service charge on all returned checks."
  • "I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am... obviously out of my trademark blue smoke."
Bonus: listen to this first before we proceed to the next…


Coolest available Swat Kats picture in the Net.
It’s one of the 90’s TV animated shows that I really want to have a Hollywood movie made.

The cool theme (youtube embedding not allowed) itself is enough reason on why it is ranked this high…


uh... got nothing to say about this picture.
This series is the second longest-running Marvel Comics TV show in history (second to the number 2 item in this list) and longest Spider-Man TV series.  I really love how perfectly the TV show portrayed my idea – from the moves to the wisecracks to the psychology – of how the comic books depicted Spider-Man.  Plenty of good storylines here, especially the last season which had the Mary Jane that Peter Parker wedded revealed to be a clone with hydro powers, “Secret Wars”, and different Spider-Men from different realities banding together to save the multiverse (which is the last storyline).  The series’ ending is awesome, where Spider-Man visited the “real” world (this reality we live in) to meet his creator, Stan Lee.  However, at the series’ close, the real MJ’s whereabouts was still not revealed as the series ended with Spider-Man and Madam Web starting their mission to search for her.  This really bugged me that it’s one of the cartoon series I want a movie made of so that this cliffhanger can be concluded.  


I have a t-shirt with this text...
The Justice League series was cool enough, but it was more so with Justice League Unlimited.  With an all-star packed cast of DC Superheroes, the show brought a lot of depth and flexibility.  The storylines of the show are very entertaining.  I also enjoyed, throughout the show’s run, Batman and Wonder Woman’s heavy romantic chemistry and the times that The Question is featured in an episode (being a paranoid conspiracy theorist made him so amusing). 

2.) X-MEN

I always get excited whenever it’s Friday and “X-Men” was a major part of it, since it was aired every Friday night back then.   I love the X-Men.  And I actually watched the TV show first before I ever read an X-Men comic book.  Though, there are variations in details, the general framework of the major storylines or sagas of the show were in accordance with the comic book’s.  Thus, I was greatly familiarized with X-Men’s decades of publishing history all thanks to this TV series.   

It also has one of the coolest and most immortal – if not the coolest and most immortal – intro theme songs ever created (as shown above).

how cool is this?

Yes.   This is the best.  The ambience of the show is raw and gritty which made it more adult-oriented, but was also enjoyed by kids.  I think this is what the charm of this series was all about.  It was not limited by the pressure of being too “GP”, but just let the badassery and grittiness and creativity flow without second-thought.  Thus, there were sophisticated and thrilling episodes and action.  And there was strong portrayal of Batman (Kevin Conroy is the best Batman actor ever) and traditional Batman villains and allies (in fact, Harley Quinn, which first appeared in the TV show, gained so much popularity that she was added to the Batman comicbook mainstream).  

This show helped spread the fact that badassery is synonymous to Batman.  

When not busy procrastinating in the “Experimental Theatre”, Bernel is busy procrastinating in “The Bernel Zone”


  1. hahaha, I don't usually cartoons but surprisingly I've watched all the toons in your list.(yes, even spawn) :D

  2. and we have spam. Which I won't delete. It is amusing. hehehe

  3. ngayon ko lang nakita. haha