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Dr.Bedlam

The Dark Age Of Super Heroes

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4 minutes ago, Crowley said:

Superman pretty much must be lighter than Batman...  Doesn't it?


Normally, I would agree; they've been contrasted ever since they first met each other. But one of the things I was griping about earlier was how they started by changing Superman from blue and red to deep cobalt and maroon, and turned Batman into a machine gun killer who brands the survivors with red hot batarangs...

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27 minutes ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

Don't forget their work on the Superman cartoon, which while being lighter than the BTAS show, carried the characters and setting effectively for a rather wide audience.

At least part of DC Comics' problem is the attempt to make the characters function BOTH for children and grownups. The DC Animated canon largely pulled this off, although I reserve judgment about The Brave And The Bold; perhaps a bit too meta for me. Hell, I even liked their Jonah Hex.

 

I didn't forget Supes. He's mentioned down there in the last paragraph, along with the rest of the League.

 

As far as the DCAU, there's only 5 shows that are canonical - Batman: TAS(which includes The New Batman Adventures), Superman: TAS, Justice League(Including Unlimited), Static Shock, The Zeta Project, and Batman: Beyond. The Teen Titans cartoon is often lumped in, but it isn't actually part of the canon.

 

Batman: The Brave and the Bold was a cartoon take on the comic series of the same name, where Batman joined forces with all sorts of other characters, usually B-listers like Blue Beetle. It was meant to be more fun than serious. Though I did kind of like Diedrich Bader as Batman.

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15 minutes ago, Unruly said:

Though I did kind of like Diedrich Bader as Batman.

I have to agree, Diedrich Bader was an interesting choice that just really worked. That was perfect casting.

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Bat-Mite is a prime example of the first Dark Age of the Batman character... when due to Fredric Wertham and "Seduction Of The Innocent," Batman quit fighting crime and started going on interplanetary adventures and borrowing stories and plot elements from Superman.

Bat-Mite is a nearly direct lift from Golden Age Mr. Mxyzptlk. And adding him to the old seventies cartoons helped nothing.

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Oh, yeah, Seduction Of The Innocent was a book written and published in the early fifties by Dr. Fredrick Wertham, a shrink who worked with delinquent youth. He noted that all delinquent youth read comics, so he examined some of the popular comics of the time and decided that comics were largely responsible for delinquent youth... the old "Hitler Ate Bread" theory. The book caught the attention of politicians, who launched a committee to investigate, which led publishers to self-regulate before Congress did it for them, and hence they formed the Comics Code Authority... and for decades thereafter, comics were simple minded kid stuff.

Wertham regarded all comics with cops and robbers as "crime comics," and regarded them as manuals for how to commit and get away with crime. This included Batman and Robin, who in addition to teaching crime classes, were also "a wish dream of two homosexuals living together," and "an example of a homosexual and his catamite."

Well, at least Bruce and Dick Grayson started sleeping in separate beds after that.

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37 minutes ago, Dr.Bedlam said:


Wertham regarded all comics with cops and robbers as "crime comics," and regarded them as manuals for how to commit and get away with crime. This included Batman and Robin, who in addition to teaching crime classes, were also "a wish dream of two homosexuals living together," and "an example of a homosexual and his catamite."

Well, at least Bruce and Dick Grayson started sleeping in separate beds after that.

 

Wertham’s witch hunt also forced DC to introduce Batwoman and her sidekick Bat-Girl. That way they could say “see, Batman and Robin totally dig the ladies!”

 

Bat-Girl was written out of the comics after a relatively short while, but Batwoman hung around until being retconned out of existence by Crisis on Infinite Earths. She was slightly reimagined and reintroduced following infinite Crisis and is still around today.

 

Perhaps not ironically, this new Batwoman totally digs the ladies as well.

Edited by Sophie was taken
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I loved Batman: The Animated Series. It was smart, it had wit, it respected the canon, and it was fun.

 

I loved Superman: The Animated Series too.

 

Of course, I am a geek and an artist, so my initial squee was about how much their style was doing a shout out to the classic old 1940s Fleischer cartoons.

 

The town I lived in during high school had a copy of Seducion of the Innocent in the comic book collection section. (It was a cool library. It had the D&D rulebooks as well.)

 

I reckoned Werther was a sweaty old pervert and the “secret porn” he kept finding everywhere was generally either in his imagination, or an Easter egg gag planted by a bored artist - something that happened a lot with returned vets of WWII working at ad agencies and illustration houses, I gather.

 

But in the McCarthy era of paranoia and imagined enemies, a secret conspiracy to corrupt the Youth of America sold more books than Oh snap, Jerry just put a naked torso Highlights style hidden picture upside down in this panel, ha ha.

 

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15 minutes ago, Sophie was taken said:

 

Wertham’s witch hunt also forced DC to introduce Batwoman and her sidekick Bat-Girl. That way they could say “see, Batman and Robin totally dig the ladies!”

 

Bat-Girl was written out of the comics after a relatively short while, but Batwoman hung around until being retconned out of existence by Crisis on Infinite Earths. She was slightly reimagined and reintroduced following infinite Crisis and is still around today.

 

Perhaps not ironically, this new Batwoman totally digs the ladies as well.

 

It also led to the creation of the Aunt Harriet character, a character which had never before existed, and after a decade or so, was retconned away (although she did appear in the sixties TV show). It was also during this time that the Joker was changed from a homicidal loony to a harmless thief with a clown motif. Sigh.

 

16 minutes ago, Pingo said:

I loved Batman: The Animated Series. It was smart, it had wit, it respected the canon, and it was fun.

 

I loved Superman: The Animated Series too.

 

Of course, I am a geek and an artist, so my initial squee was about how much their style was doing a shout out to the classic old 1940s Fleischer cartoons.

 

The town I lived in during high school had a copy of Seducion of the Innocent in the comic book collection section. (It was a cool library. It had the D&D rulebooks as well.)

 

I reckoned Werther was a sweaty old pervert and the “secret porn” he kept finding everywhere was generally either in his imagination, or an Easter egg gag planted by a bored artist - something that happened a lot with returned vets of WWII working at ad agencies and illustration houses, I gather.

 

But in the McCarthy era of paranoia and imagined enemies, a secret conspiracy to corrupt the Youth of America sold more books than Oh snap, Jerry just put a naked torso Highlights style hidden picture upside down in this panel, ha ha.

 

 

Pretty much what Pingo said. BTAS and STAS had actual art direction. Batman's "Dark Deco" style and Superman's "World's Fair, Updated" style earned my love; I was used to cheap seventies cartoons whose art direction was "whatever works and is cheap."

I forget who said this, but he remarked that he had never seen an intact library copy of Seduction Of The Innocent; every copy he'd ever seen had had one or more of the photo insert pages torn out, for reasons he could only speculate. Actually reading his book makes his motives fairly clear: he wasn't so much a sweaty old pervert, so much as your old granny who very much disapproves of this newfangled stuff. It is also painfully obvious that Wertham was not entirely aware that there were multiple KINDS of comics, intended for different age groups, and that a fair number of teenagers and adults routinely read comics -- he seems to have felt that comics were a sort of intermediate form of literacy for small children up to about age twelve or so, when they were supposed to graduate to actual books or something.

250px-Tales_from_the_Crypt_24.jpg.c114a48f609ee984a8c9ea2f8ceb3ab3.jpgCrime_Does_Not_Pay_42.jpg.ee19013831609c2f3eba8a6021bbc6b1.jpg In particular, Wertham was bothered by EC's horror comics and by Lev Gleason's Crime Does Not Pay. The former were very well written HORROR STORIES, and the latter was largely "true crime stories," albeit some truer than others. Neither was intended for consumption by children, any more than the SAW movies are, today. Nevertheless, then as now, unsupervised children got into stuff they shoodna, and Wertham was convinced that this terrible stuff had a corrosive effect on their little minds...

...a theory I ran into in my youth, first with violent TV shows, and later with violent video games. Wertham did believe that there were "hidden messages" in some comics... sorta like the backmasked music horror of the seventies... So, yeah, nothing new under the sun.

Horrible sex imagery Wertham was talking about is excluded from this forum for reasons of forum rules. Click on the link if you MUST, ya pervert. You were warned.

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I would think the only "corruption" a child could gain from Crime does not Pay is the idea that no matter how shoddy the artwork, someone will pay for it. The beginning issues weren't too bad but after a while some of them looked as if they'd been drawn by children.

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2 hours ago, Lord of the Dish Pit said:

I would think the only "corruption" a child could gain from Crime does not Pay is the idea that no matter how shoddy the artwork, someone will pay for it. The beginning issues weren't too bad but after a while some of them looked as if they'd been drawn by children.

 

Lev Gleason's shop, along with Fox, were notorious for their extreme cheap. Artists came and went.

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It's also worth noting that in years afterwards,  Wertham expressed regret for having the effect he'd had on the comic industry, saying that an age/rating system would have been a better solution.

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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It's too bad Fletcher Hanks had largely dropped out of comics by Seduction of the Innocent's time.

 

Wertham would've had an aneurysm at the surreal, rather extreme violence in Fantomah and Stardust The Super-Wizard.

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The loss of the Young Justice animated series makes me want to weep.

 

And the horrible Teen Titans that was made in its place makes me want to scream in rage.

 

Young Justice had strong characters, good stories, and continuity.

 

Teen Titans doesn't even have continuity across a single episode.

 

https://io9.gizmodo.com/paul-dini-superhero-cartoon-execs-dont-want-largely-f-1483758317

 

 

Edited by PaganMegan
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I was about to quote that article before I realized you'd linked it.

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