Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Best Captain Marvel cartoon ever!

"Bataman: The Brave and the Bold" aired a full episode of Captain Marvel, and a very nice person posted it up on Veoh. Here it is:

Watch Batman The Brave and The Bold The Power of Shazam! in Animation  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

A few things about it: First, I liked it a lot. It was fun, exciting, and had lots of good superhero and evil villain action. Physical absurdities were acceptable because of the medium (animated cartoons) and genre (Saturday morning cartoons).

Second, it paid tribute to the history of the character. News reporter "Tom Tyler" was named after the actor who portrayed the hero in the "Adventures of Captain Marvel" serial. One of the bullies in the orphanage was called "C. C.," the initials of the first artist to draw the hero. The subway car that took Billy and Batman to the throne room of Shazam was a perfect copy of the one in Whiz Comics, and the posters on the wall of Billy's room were good copies of old Whiz, Captain Marvel Adventures, and Shazam covers. The "Captain Sivana" thing happened in a a DC Comics Presents Annual written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Gil Kane in which the evil scientist managed to harness the magic of Shazam. The "reverse marvel" uniform appeared in a story from the 1970's "Shazam" comic series. Dr. Sivana's announced plan to shut down all wireless signals harkens back to the "Radio silencer" of the very first Captain Marvel story. The broken locked was the McGuffin of the story that introduced Billy's twin sister (nice to see they went back to the concept of twins, rather than Mary being a younger sister, like in the current DC incarnation). The stuffed tiger that looks like Calvin's Hobbs is an obvious reference to Jerry Ordway's version of Mr. Tawny from "Power of Shazam." Sivana bringing Black Adam to Earth was from the "Shazam: A New Beginning" miniseries by Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake in the 1980's. Even the origin of Black Adam and the method by which he was defeated was used in Marvel Family #1, the very first appearance of the villain (it was also used in the "Shazam" cartoon series).

I'm not so sure how much I like Sivana Junior and Georgia having English accents, but their characters were very consistent with the classic villains in the comics. Sivana's "ha ha ha" laugh was not quite the "heh heh heh" I expected, but his plots and plans, threatening one catastrophe as a cover for a greater plan, and bringing in a powerful ally only to betray him in the end, in very in keeping with the character.

While there were some implications that Captain Marvel was young at heart, they did not play him like he was a kid in a man;s body, what was good for me. Personally, I like the idea that they are two different people that share memories. If you are the same person when one or the other, why not stay big and powewrful all the time? By beign an actual different person, then you have fodder for more stories, such as incidents where Captain MArvel can get into the kind of trouble that Billy Batson can avoid or get out of (In the Fawcett days, this was played for comedy a few times, mostly involving relationships with women).

In sum, if the long-promised "Shazam" movie ever comes about, this is not a bad template.

1 comment:

Duy said...

Agreed! A very faithful and wonderful rendition of Captain Marvel - my nephew loved it and my niece can't wait to see Mary Marvel!

Whoever wrote this episode should be writing a regular Captain Marvel title.