Wednesday, April 25, 2018

DC Super Heroes - The Filmation Adventures 1967!

Among the real treats of the Filmation Superman cartoon shows was the way in which it allowed for other DC heroes to get the animated treatment, if for only a short time. Tucked into the show when it expanded to one hour were single cartoons for Green Lantern, Flash, Atom, and Hawkman as well as cartoons for the assembled Justice League of America as well as the Teen Titans.

Each of the heroes got three cartoons, which usually pitted them against alien invaders or insects or often a combination of the two. Monsters and villains were pretty ho-hum, but it was still a thrill to see the Atom shrink and fight against full-sized thugs, the Flash to race around fighting some monster from space, or Green Lantern battling some weird alien threat. Hawkman was a challenge and often used his space ship to get things done. Green Lantern had a partner from Venus, a nifty way to avoid the racist character of Pieface from the comics. Kid Flash often helped the Flash. But both Atom and Hawkman (surprisingly) always operated solo.

The heroes bonded into the JLA to fight other threats and Superman shows up to lead the ranks. Superman was the obvious leader and inevitably gave the other heroes their marching orders. The Teen Titan cartoons were a lot of fun giving us the team of Speedy, Aqualad, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl. For whatever reason, Wonder Woman was never part of the Filmation animation world, but Wonder Girl does give us a glimpse of what it might have been like to include her.

There are all briskly paced delightful little adventures that do a surprisingly accurate job of translating the heroes to the small screen. Few liberties are taken with the core aspects of the heroes, though there is little time for supporting casts.

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