Sunday, July 06, 2008

Captain America Moves Me Instead of His Lips

Continuing our July 4 weekend observations, I want to admit that I've just discovered the old Captain America cartoons on-line at YouTube. I'd never seen them before and they are...


Sure it has what we'd now call "primitive animation", kind of like Colorforms in action. But you know what? My comic books don't move much either. In the Captain America cartoons, the stiffness of the characters and the infrequency of their movement is part of their charm, and an advantage. They capture the actual experience of reading a comic book much better than more sophisticated animation does!

This is pure Marvel, people; the heroes spend more time bickering with one another than fighting villains.

Sure, Swordsman's motivations and behavior are incomprehensible, inconsistent, and even incommensurable. Sure, the language sounds like it was translated from the original Bulgarian. Sure, the dialog lurches forward via non-sequiturs as if to dodge the plot. But hey... have you ever read a comic book of that era?

"I crave action, Wanda; action!" Pietro creepily trying to get action from his sister! Mmm, no, what you really crave, Pietro, is salon-quality hair-care products to get your unruly 'do under control. And a bitch-slap from the Swordsman. Oh, and Captain America hiimself has supplied my new signature phrase: "Who's this slumbering stranger?" I can use that every weekend, at least! "Melodramatic phrases don't frighten me, son!" I should hope not, if you're in a Marvel story. And who's voicing the Mandarin... Barbara Walters? And, oh my god, that's John Vernon as Iron Man; hilarious!

Is this stuff on DVD? Because it really deserves to be! Celebrate your Independence Weekend with some Captain America.


Anonymous said...

"You were ordered to halt!" How exactly can one tell whether the other guy has halted, with this limited animation? Deep.

More episodes can be found here.

Michael Jones said...

One of the best of the MMM theme songs too.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, no, it's not on DVD yet. Dean Wormer played Iron Man in all those 60s cartoons, including 13 episodes of Iron Man on his own and guest-starring in some Hulk and Thor as well. Yes, those are treasures!

Jacob said...

I prefer the Thor cartoon, there's an excellent one where he fights Mr Hyde and the Cobra and defeats them with a combination of time-warping hammer swinging and his abilities with basic electric engineering. I used to have it on VHS.

The voice acting is great, with the sounds it comes across as an old radio serial.

Swordsman is rocking the Phantom Limb look.

Unknown said...

There's just something wrong with Quicksilver running at super speed but his legs aren't moving.

I did get a chuckle when Cap sent the other three after the Swordsman while he "minded the store". Cap sitting around Avenger's Mansion, that will make for an exciting story!

Jacob said...

Almost missed @ the 7 minute mark:

'OK Speedy, grab Cap's shield and get going'

Wrong universe Hawkeye.

Anonymous said...

Captain America from the 60s is on DVD here in Europe.
And Iron Man and Thor and Sub-Mariner cartoons episodes 1-13.
These are official publications that use the MARVEL -logo.

Anonymous said...

Yet another way Europe is ahead of America, socially and economically. Drat.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites is the Hulk cartoon that adapted Avengers #2. In that comic, Iron Man was still in his all-golden armor. So as not to confuse the kiddies, the cartoon people recolored it into his red-and-gold pattern. It was still the bulky armor that looked like a reject from a Columbia Pictures serial, but it was red and gold. Sure, nothing confusing there.

Check it out:

Anonymous said...

"Sure it has what we'd now call "primitive animation", kind of like Colorforms in action. But you know what? My comic books don't move much either."

That's what I thought when I saw these cartoons in syndication back when I was a young'un. "Free comics that talk! With music, even!" has a story about how the U.S. almost got a set of the cartoons and the fact that even Canada will have a few episodes:

Anonymous said...

I bought Avengers #19 and #20 (for around $3 to $6 each in the late 1970s) when I was a kid, and I thought they were the best goofy-ass comics ever! I have always had a soft spot for Cap's Kooky Kwartet. (And I've never seen these cartoons.)

Marcos said...

We didn't get these where I grew up, but every summer we'd spend a couple weeks visiting relatives in metro Detroit, where they were syndicated on UHF channel 50 in the afternoons. Captain America, Avengers (why is this episode a Cap 'toon instead of an Avengers one, anyway?), Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Sub-Mariner . . . who was my first introduction to the difference between comic book universes: at first I didn't understand how Namor could be the King of Atlantis when everyone knew that Aquaman was.

Other good stuff I would have missed out on without the Detroit trips included Underdog and the Jackson 5 cartoon. But the superhero reruns were oddly limited to Marvel - no Aquaman, Green Lantern, or Batman in sight.

Anonymous said...

Avengers (why is this episode a Cap 'toon instead of an Avengers one, anyway?)

There were no "Avengers" cartoons. These cartoons were direct adaptations of the comic books. Most Avengers issues were adapted as part of the Captain America show; although one (#2) was part of the Hulk, and another (#5) of Thor.