Joost, a Hulu-esque website, is using next weekend’s Watchmen release (maybe you’ve heard of it in passing) to put the spotlight on their comic-book spin-off shows. My recommendations would be:

  • Superman: The classic Max Flescher Studios cartoons were a set of “short subjects” at the movie theaters. The visuals are often said to be the influence for Batman: The Animated Series, and that is a good thing. Also, these tales are from the days before DC started writing him with near-godlike power. There was more drama in these 10 minute stories, since there was the possibility that Superman could in fact be defeated without genetically engineering a supermonster.
  • Men In Black: Based on an old Malibu comic, the film starred Tommy Lee Jones and the beginning of Will Smith’s constant battle to save Earth every Summer. The sequel was rather dull, but the animated series was rather fun.
  • Spider-Man: Created by Mainframe Entertainment (now Rainmaker) for MTV, before the network screwed everything up. Loosely based on the first Sam Rami movie, this version was definately not for kids as it’s rather dark and violent. However, while I usually rally against that, this is how you do it right! Brian Bendis was involved in this show and while he may mess up other Marvel series, the man does know his webslingers. The episode they link to is the only show appearance I can recall of Flash Thompson, as he becomes part of a bad genetic experiment, and it may take Peter Parker to save him.
  • Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe: Unlike Mr. Thompson, this Flash was a hero. Based on the Alex Raymond comic strips, they did rather well for the time period. Decide for yourself if it holds up over time.
  • The Batman: Nothing will live up to the Bruce Timm/Fox Kids series, or the rest of the DCAU Timm and his crew brought to life. However, The Batman is a good take on the Dark Knight, using a younger Bruce Wayne and slowly bringing in the Bat-family (although for some reason we get Batgirl before Robin, rather than the other way around). Retro-styled, but with modern sensibilities and a bit of a sci-fi twist at times, which isn’t surprising as it appears to be the same art style as Jackie Chan Adventures. I thought they played up the Bat-gadgets too much for my taste, and the toyetic-ness of it all is obvious, but as the series went along it found it’s place. This episode is the first one and the first Joker story.
  • Wonder Woman: It’s the live-action Lynda Carter series. If you haven’t checked it out before, now’s a good time. The info thingy says the show will expire tomorrow (in other words Sunday) so watch it quick and find out why fans still talk about the show.
  • The Flash: Here’s your Barry Allen, people. The costume comes from the early days of spandex being replaced by foam rubber in live-action super hero costumes, and as usual the lack of head movement suffers for it. However, I enjoyed it, even if it could stand a little lightening up. I suggest also looking for the episodes with Mark Hamill as The Trickster. Those were the best.

If your not already watching Smallville, they have it up there as well, but avoid Lois and Clark. I could, and probably should, write a post in itself about why I consider it the worst Superman series of all, but it does beat the fourth movie (what doesn’t, really) at least. I have no idea what Casper the Friendly Ghost is doing on the list outside of the fact that there was a comic. It’s not a super hero story, but then again neither is Flash Gordon or Dick Tracy, if you want to get technical about it. That isn’t the movie, but an old black and white movie. I’ve never seen it to comment on it, nor Sheena up there. A number of fans like the live action version of The Tick up there, but it never did anything for me. I wish they had the cartoon up there.

However, avoid Stripperella at all costs, unless you want to question whether or not Stan Lee is battling senility. It’s that bad. Next week I’ll be bringing you another super hero from Joost, this time from Japan. It was going to be this week’s, until I got the Joost update in my e-mail.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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