Posts Tagged Batman

Where Have All the Cartoons Gone?

I have an two year old son, and years from now when he is getting ready for school or just getting home from school, I wonder what will he will be watching? In the good old days, I woke up to Gobots, the poor man’s Transformers and as I got a little older came home to the original iteration of Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Let me state now that I still watch cartoons, so much like the 45 year old who tries to tell his kids that he still listens to the popular music of the time, I am trying to hold on as long as I can.

With my son turning two we are starting to get beyond just Sesame Street and moving on to other more “simply for fun” cartoons along with the standard educational stuff. I have got to tell you, it is pretty bleak out there. Dora the Explorer and Diego can’t light a candle to He-man and She-ra. Don’t even get me started on the reboot of the TMNT and Transformers cartoon franchises.

The major issue that I see is the ever-widening gap between kids cartoons and adult cartoons. Easy there boys, I am talking about the difference between things like The Wonder Pets and the recently released movie Nine, a visually stunning tale from Tim Burton. (A quick side note, this movie sold me on how awesome Blu-ray players are, check it out.) The animation was fantastic and the story was able to keep up.

I believe the rift began to form in September of 1992, the dawn of Batman the Animated Series helped along by Bruce Timm. I was 13 and along with turning me onto comics for the rest of my life, the show was ground-breaking. The animation was almost like reading a noir-style novel and Batman’s presence alone, voiced by Kevin Conroy, was enough to hook me. Here’s the thing, I could have been 13 or 36 and it still would have been great. It brought Batman back to life. Once company execs realized they could start appealing to people with disposable income, the rift began.

By now the middle-ground cartoons are gone. We’ve got Bob the Builder on one end and Family Guy on the other. Stewie may be a baby, but I don’t want him talking to my son. I used to visit Best Buy every Tuesday for the new releases, but with the family bills I can’t show up every Tuesday any more. One Tuesday I can guarantee I will be there is when Marvel and DC release there new animated feature films. The Avengers, Wonder Woman, Doc Strange, they have all been good, but in no way can I watch them with the kids. They can be incredibly violent like the Wonder Woman release or just be way too dark like one of the Batman releases which would give some grown-ups nightmares. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed all of them, but for kids, no way.

As I get older I realize one of the more enjoyable experiences is sitting around with the crew, having a few beers, and reminiscing. You talk about what you did when you were younger. We all grew up watching cartoons. I am just wondering if for my son, years from now will they argue about what cartoon was the best when they were all average.

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Death and Comics

As this is my first post, let me take it as an opportunity for some quick back story, like most of the first of any series of a new comic book movie launch. I am a geek, I’ve been a geek my whole life and once I reached the age of reason I realized that this was not something to be ashamed of, but something to wear as a badge of honor. I am a geek and a freak and I still truly believe that if there were more of us in this world that it would be a much happier and understanding place. I’ve stepped off my soapbox now in case you were wondering.

One of the few hobbies that I have and have been able to hold onto since the birth of my son is reading comics. Let me premise this by saying I am a DC man. I read a lot of Marvel when I was younger, but for whatever reason I am now mostly a DC man. My current titles are Justice League of America, Batman, Superman/Batman, and Super Friends for my son. Some parents force their kids into sports, me, just comics. Can I be called a stage dad for that?
As it is one of my few “my time” activities and seeing as how I am a self-proclaimed geek, I take it more seriously that I probably should. That being said, I am sick of major characters being killed off and then, inevitably, being brought back. Superman being killed off in 1992, Superman #75, was awesome. I still remember standing outside the comic book store waiting to pick up a copy, it was all over the national news. I still read it every once in awhile. The apparent death of Green Arrow is another example. To a lesser extent, Hal Jordan turning to the dark side and then coming back and finally, we are dealing with the “death” of Bruce Wayne, the Batman. This story is being told over multiple titles, another personal annoyance, rather than one title, and he will undoubtedly be brought back. The visual of Batman killing Darkseid and his lifeless body being held by Superman was striking, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was being tricked again. It was another rich ending to sell some comics that would eventually be flipped around to put everything back where it should be. I am starting to feel like I am watching a soap opera. Maybe it was Bruce’s cousin’s sister’s son’s friend who was killed. I have had enough.

deathbat

I am a lunatic, I get that, but I take this stuff to heart. In addition to that, I am an absolutist – dead is dead. When you know no matter what that the good guys win and they always come back to life after the bad guy gets them, it takes away from any drama leading up to the climactic moment. Its like knowing the end to the movie, knowing who Keyser Soze is before you watch The Usual Suspects. It takes the fun away and you can still have fun when you are all grown up. Another lunatic once told me years ago during my serious phase, “Shawn, you are going to be an adult for the rest of you life, you should be a kid as long as you can.” All that being said, I’ll be back at the store next week picking up a few more things to read.

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