Friday, November 25, 2011

Green Lantern Filmation: The Guardians Order Take-Out!

Meanwhile, on the Planetoid Sargasso….!

Equatorial rings are SO 1990s.

Which is "grim and forbidding". Because authoritarian announcer Ted Knight said so. Which is pretty much the final word on any factual matter.

Hal Jordan, having been hit in the head with a radar-guided space-owl, is dragged off

Which looks like this, in case you've forgotten.

by the Freakish Bat-Creature Minions of Sirena, Empress of Evil™, who is now free to initiate her attack on Oa.

The Sargassonian Fleet. Or four hotdog carts in Dubai. Hard to tell.

So, what’s the motivation to attack Oa, anyway? Perhaps we’ll find out soon. Meanwhile, the Freakish Alien Bat-Creatures do the logical thing: lock Green Lantern up in a windowless cell deep with the bowels of the earth behind many secure doors and seal his power ring in a steel box and bury it miles and miles away.

BWaahaahaha! Just kidding! This is Filmation, folks, so they do no such thing. They dump Hal like a rag doll on the floor of a Rapunzel-tower in their Magic Kingdom Castle, plop his ring on a wooden table right in front of him, and sit down to glare at him menacingly over that table with their improbably red eyes. Well, not sit, really, because there are no chairs. For that matter, I’m not sure the Freakish Alien Bat-Creatures can sit; another triumph of martini-guzzling Cartoon Evolution. Anyway, the whole set up is nearly foolproof and nothing could possibly go wrong, unless, I dunno, Hal gets the chance to grab his ring or something.

In fact, being a clever and resourceful superhero, I’m betting Green Lantern concocts some clever subterfuge to distract the Freakish Alien Bat-Creatures. Like suddenly shouting, “HEY, FREAKS! WHERE ARE YOUR FRICKIN’ HANDS, HUH?” Then, while they stare stupefied at the mysteriously empty points on the end of their wings and try to remember who dressed them in these blue unitards (I’m guessing Sirena, which would have been a sight; “No, you fools! First you must step INTO the leg holes, and then wriggle your left wing through the---arrgh! Very well, I’ll do it MYSELF!”), Hal knocks over the table so that the ring falls his way, while he does a Kirk-roll, slips it on his finger and then melts the whole shoddy castle in "a bath of green heat", while announcing every action out loud to no one, in as clear a voice as his TBI-addled brain can muster.

Bwaahahahaha! Just kidding! This is Hal Jordan, folks, so he does no such thing. He lies there in a heap, until Mr Schienman, er, I mean, one of the Guardians of the Universe sends a glowing ghost-o-gram to Hal’s Venusian helper, Kairo...

And on the way back, bring me a blintz. Wait—what’s that, Murray? Okay! Alright, make that two blintzes.

...telling him to stop arguing with the space-owl that hit GL in the head and go save Hal, because Hal’s his ride home.

And, oh, what a ride he is.

In other words, “Get off your ass and back on to Hal’s”. What the Guardian actually says, by the way, is "Green Lantern and his ring are in the topmost chamber of the castle; go; help him!" To which any normal person would reply, "Um, if Green Lantern and his ring are in the same place, why the heck does he need help from Eddie Munster in a jumpsuit?" But Kairo is not a normal person, he's a Venusian helper with a space-owl.

A space-owl?! Yes , in the time that it took the All-Male Horde of Freakish Alien Bat-Creature to haul Hal’s ride-able butt off to the Rapunzel tower, Kairo has inexplicably befriended Sirena’s space-owl and is treating it like it’s been his dog for the last five years: “Cut it out! I don’t have time to play with you now, Beefy! Green Lantern’s in trouble!”

Duck, Kairo, DUCK!

To which my official reaction would have to be: WTF?! This thing is the crazed predator that willingly flew head-first into the back of Hal Jordan’s skull

Which looks like this in case you’ve forgotten.

When and how did it become Kairo’s pal? When did it get a name? Did Kairo name it, and why? 'Cuz I'm having a hard time imagining that Sirena, Empress of Evil (tm), would name her killer space-owl "Beefy".

Kairo, why would you name the alien creature that just knocked out your friend? And name it "Beefy"? It's like watching a thug clobber your friend with blackjack, and then hanging out with him; "Hey, you're kind of cute; I'll call you Beefy."

Why the hell would you call a space-owl “Beefy” rather than “Raptor Redfeather”? And just what kinds of drugs did Filmation employees use, anyway? Really, this makes about as much sense as cutting back from a scene where the Joker and Harley Quin capture Batman to discover that, during the commercials, Robin became Harley’s boyfriend and started calling her “Betty”. “Cut it out! I don’t have time to play with you now, Betty! Batman’s in trouble!”

Anyway, logic be damned, Kairo and Beefy -- or Beepy (really, it’s hard to tell what Kairo is calling him, so thick is his Venusian accent, and it never sounds the same twice)-- climb the Rapunzel tower to rescue stupid, stupid Hal...

"I may be stupid... but I'm really, really good-looking."

...and, in the process, make evident exactly why Sirena is so motivated to conquer Oa.

Oa is a pretty shiny planet that would make a fabulous earring, the kind one might wear to a Klordny party at Legion Headquarters.

Sargasso, on other hand, is a crappy planetoid that looks like it was made out of mashed potatoes, sorghum, and food coloring.

But with a lovely view of the river, according to the real estate ad.

Oa has pretty shiny architecture that looks like something little Helen Frankenthaler would have made in crafts class at Color Field Elementary out of cellophane, frosting, and jimmies.

Or like C’thulu’s really pretty sister. The one who used to pick on him all the time.

Sargasso has a warped and bent castle that looks like somebody dropped Victor Von Doom’s birthday cake.

“I will have my revenge on gravity for this outrage! Curse you, RICHARDS!!!!!”

Geez, no wonder Sirena spent all her resources building a fleet of ships with which to conquer Oa. Rather than, say, creating a nice low-profiled neo-urbanist community for her and her All-Male Horde of Freakish Alien Bat-Creatures. Why build when you can “borrow”? Plus Oa already comes with its own All-Male Horde of Identical Alien Creatures: The Guardians.

Looks like somebody should have taken their Metamucil, like the nurse told them to.

And the only thing that could possibly stop her invasion is a precariously perched Venusian helper, a fickle space-owl, and a semi-conscious Hal Jordan.

Guess who wins?

NEXT UP: Sirena’s Final Hissy-Fit!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green Lantern Filmation 3: Angry Birds!

When we last left Green Lantern, he’d fallen for the bait set by Sirena, Evil Empress ™, who’d kidnapped some pilot and Hal Jordan’s “Venusian helper”, Kairo, as part of plot to neutralize GL so she can invade Oa.

"Um... you do realize you have no hands, right?"

"Okay. Forget I said anything."

Sirena sends her All-Male Horde of Identical Freakish Yellow Bat-Creatures to attack GL. Meanwhile, Hal and Kairo prepare for battle by girding their loins…

with each other.

Whoa. Um… can I get a “Venusian helper”, please?

You know, this seems vaguely familiar; where have I seen this scene before?

Oh, yes; now, I remember:

Yes, thanks to me (and my good pal and faithful reader, Noah Van Google), you now know that the Ambiguously Gay Duo’s characteristic “flight pattern” is taken from Hal and Kairo fighting the Bat-Creatures of Planetoid Sargasso. You’re welcome. And when that wins you a Trivial Pursuit game, I expect you to thank me publicly.

But it’s okay. I mean, it’s not as if Hal could use his power ring to whip up any number of contraptions that he and Kairo could travel in, or as if he could just, you know, leave Kairo where he was. He has absolutely no choice but to have Kairo snugly ride his butt like that. I guess Sally’s right; GL butts are something special, after all.

Anyway, it turns out that the Identical Freakish Yellow Bat-Creatures can shoot frickin’ zappy beams from their horns; yikes! Score another one for Cartoon Evolution and its proclivity to generate unlikely beings after spending the afternoon at the airfield bar with Hal Jordan. PLUS, the dang things are YELLOW, meaning Hal’s power ring is powerless to affect them. Right?

WRONG! Because this is Filmation, baby; welcome to Earth-F.

Hal decides to show off for the Venusian helper riding his butt (because drunk people love being clever and because Kairo has long beautiful eyelashes), slurring “Wash me t*turn thayruh own beams againsht ‘um!”, and simply bends the freakish bat-creature’s horns back at them.

You just know that young Hal used grab Jim Jordan’s arm and make him punch himself in the face, repeating, “Why do you keep hitting yourself? Why do you keep hitting yourself?” Jerk.

Her freakish horde stymied, Sirena decides to deal with Green Lantern herself, shouting imperiously, “I’ll deal with Green Lantern myself!”. So she activates a miniature magnowave that tunes in on Hal’s brainwaves.

Honestly, that’s impressive enough; just being able to build a device that can detect Hal Jordan’s brainwaves should get her a Nobel Prize, 'cuz that's harder than finding FTL neutrinos.

But then, it gets even better. While Hal stands around smugly preening for his Venusian helper...

...she takes an outrĂ© tack by launching an Angry Bird ™ at him.


"Stop that pigeon, NOW!"


Make sure you watch the actual video; the sound effect alone is worth it. You need to know what the sound of a space owl hitting Hal Jordan in the head is.

You know, all of the millions of times Hal’s been hit in the head? This is pretty much at the top of that list. It doesn’t get better than watching Hal Jordan get hit in the head by an Angry Bird ™. In fact, I’d love to have that little sequence as a GIF that I could use in my sidebar, or in my online forum signatures, or as an image on my digital flicker ring. It would soothe my soul in times of crisis.

Also, props to Sirena for having the presence of mind to develop a radar-guided space-owl cannon for just such an occasion. Ordinarily, I’m a foe of surrealism in superhero media, but nothing provides the element of surprise like a radar-guided space-owl cannon. This is the kind of stuff Grant Morrison has been doing drugs for decades trying to write; back in the day, thin-tied Manhattanites like George Kashdan used to bang this stuff out every day before noon, before they'd even had their fourth martini of the day. Score at halftime: George Kashdan 8, Grant Morrison 0.

With Hal characteristically unconscious…

Dude! I was so wasted last night. I don’t remember a thing we did…!

Sirena’s Freakish Yellow Bat-Minions swoop in and remove his ring.

Without hands.


“Without his ring, he’s powerless!” Sirena exults.

Oh, silly Sirena! Sure, he’s superpowerless…


Never forget that.

NEXT UP: Kairo and the Angry Bird ™ versus Sargassonian architecture!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Green Lantern Filmation 2: SIRENA!

When last we left Green Lantern, he was in a Filmation cartoon, in which a young space pilot and Hal Jordan's "Venusian helper", Kairo, have been sucked down to the Planetoid Sargasso by a bacon-flavored tractor beam.

Hal states (out loud, to no one) that he hasn't got time to charge his power ring. Then, naturally, he goes right outside and changes to Green Lantern in broad daylight at his workplace. Because, as mentioned last time, Hal's an idiot.

"No t*time to re-sharge my-ee bower rig; godda ged t'them FASHT!"

Stupid, stupid, Hal.

Hal's in a big rush so he immediately flies off to save them....

Obviously Hal decided to spend a couple hours at the airfield bar, fortifying his willpower, while he waited to leave Earth under cover of darkness. That explains why, as mentioned last time, Green Lantern sounds hilariously drunk every time he speaks.

Hal lands on Sargasso where he immediately runs into Kairo. It's a small planetoid.

The best way to keep from injuring yourself before strenuous heroics is thorough stretching.

"What th'--? I though' I wash head'd t' Orion? What the hell'r' you doin here, Kh*kairo? Where rrr the guhreen aylee-en babes? My head hurtsh..."

Only $39.99, Hal is composed of a realistic-feeling silicone compound
for your deep and lasting enjoyment.

Kairo explains to GL that the bacon-flavor tractor beam is being generated by a giant electromagnetic sombrero....

Yeah, it kinda hurts my head, too, Kairo.

which GL melts with "a bath in green heat". When you drink enough, you to start to talk like that all the time.

For fun, print this pic out on a box-framed canvas and give it to a relative for Christmas. Make sure you have your camera ready when they open it.

This now badly damaged sombrero is in fact "an electronomagnawave apparatus" owned by the ruler of Planetoid Sargasso, who is...
Society can never repay the debt it owes George Kashdan.

Only $39.99, Sirena is composed of a realistic-feeling silicone compound
for your deep and lasting enjoyment.

Here seen giving the captured space pilot his annual review, Sirena, like most Filmation villians, has a large all-male posse of identical freakish minions with no possible genetic connection to her or anything else that Evolution could devise, even if Evolution spent the entire afternoon with Hal Jordan at the airfield bar.

They. Have. No. Hands.
How did they put on those cobalt unis with matching legwarmers?
And a cinch belt, no less?

We discover that luring Green Lantern to Planetoid Sargasso is not a problem for Sirena; in fact, it's what she's been trying to do. Because once she's captured Hal Jordan, the Guardians will be helpless without his protection and she will be able to attack Oa and have all its sweet avant-garde architecture for herself. Yep; the Guardians would be totally helpless without good ole' Hal Jordan to protect them.

Anyway, when her electronomagnawave apparatus is destroyed, she knows that she has succeeded because "only Green Lantern could destroy my electronomagnawave apparatus". Yep, only Green Lantern with his power ring could do that. Or any one of over a hundred space-capable superheroes, including Ultraa, Beppo the Supermonkey, or Space Cabbie.

Overwhelmed by happiness at the idea that Hal Jordan, rather than Space Cabbie, has come to kick her ass, she breaks out into a celebratory vogue:

Well! I know what I'm wearing next Halloween!
Just have to find yellow bat-creature costumes in Chris and Josh's size.

NEXT UP: Sirena attacks Hal; three guesses who wins.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Green Lantern Filmation!

Before there was
Young Justice, and Batman: Brave and the Bold, and Teen Titans, Batman and Superman the Animated Series, and The Batman, and Justice League (limited and unlimited)—even before the frickin’ SuperFriends—there was… Filmation.

Which doesn’t get enough love, in my estimation. When Filmation got the gig to make cartoons (that’s what people used to call “animated series”) of Batman, Superman, and Aquaman, Filmation was four years old, had about 12 bucks per episode to work with, didn’t hire warehouses of artists in some foreign company working for pennies, had a mannequin for a receptionist, and used about five voice actors, including Master of a Thousand Shrieking Alien Despot Voices, Ted Knight.

In fact, they had to bluff Elliot S! Maggin with some shenanigans to get the job. Of course, "bluffing Elliot S! Maggin" is pretty much in the same box as surprising your infant by magically 'reappearing' when you play peekaboo. They probably just told him that villainous cats banished by Krypto into the Phantom Zone were whispering story ideas into their ears at night and he was sold.

What they lacked in ability and resources, they made up for with ingenuity (like making up the story about the Phantom Zone cats). For example, Filmation’s animation was certainly not sophisticated, but (as previously mentioned), they understood how to make Aquaman cool. Heck, they never let Aqualad leave his side, and even Mr Bean looks cool in comparison when standing with Aqualad.

But in addition to their work on Batman, Superman, and Aquaman, they did a smaller number of “Side B” cartoons of other DC heroes, including the Teen Titans, the Atom, Hawkman, the Flash, the Justice League, and one of the Absorbascon’s favorite whipping boys, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan).

Let’s watch one of the GL Filmation cartoons together, shall we? You can currently watch the whole thing here, but I’m going to use screen caps below anyway.


Filmation often had little oopsies in their coloring department for a few frames, but this next frame isn’t one of them. For some reason, they decided not to make the Guardians blue. It kind of robs them of their Alien Dignity. When not colored blue, the Guardians just look like some old guy who gives the counterman at the corner deli a hard time.

“You call this fresh?”

The visuals may not be helping the Guardians’ credibility, but the audio does; nobody but nobody in animation could generate awesome majesty and sincerity with his voice alone than Ted Knight (whom most remember only as “Ted Baxter”, the pompous and moronic newscaster on the Mary Tyler Moore Show). Ted Knight was an orator; he didn’t just say his lines, he practically SANG them. If Ted Knight says Mr Scheinmann up there is one of the “Miss Tick GAHHR dee ahns uvthuh YOO nee verse”, then you will damn well believe it and bow down accordingly.

Why, the voice of Ted Knight even makes you take Hal Jordan seriously.

Stupid, stupid Hal Jordan.

At least, until Hal starts talking. More on that later.

Smug, smirking Hal Jordan. Lap it up, ladies and Geoff Johns.

So the Mystic Guardians of the Universe live on...

...a giant glowball. Jeez, Jor-El would have a conniption.

Actually, they live on Oa, with its awesome but impractical architecture.

Little known fact: on February 4, 1989, the day after all the Filmation animators were fired by L’Oreal, they were all hired by an architecture firm in Dubai.

The story starts with Hal Jordan sitting on his phat ass at home, long-distance coaching some sucker who’s taking some experimental flight into space, sidekicked for no apparent reason by “Kairo”, Green Lantern’s Venusian Man Friday.

"Hey, Kairo; let's see what's on the Bacon Channel. Mmmmm...bacon."

I’ve never heard an explanation why Filmation decided to recast/replace Tom “Pie-Face” Kalmaku, Hal’s Eskimo mechanic, with some blue kid from Venus named after an Egyptian cafe. Probably because Green Lantern needed a “space-oriented” sidekick and an Aleutian simply wasn’t exotic enough. Or perhaps it’s the Conservation of Blue theory; if the Guardians weren’t going to blue, somebody in the cast had to be.

"Hear me, MetroCity! You WILL bow down to Megamind!!!"

Regardless, the use of Kairo accomplished one important thing: it let Ted Knight use a Venusian accent, which … well, you’ll just have to hear it for yourself. It’s kind of what you’d get if Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley had a son with Pebbles Flintstone and raised him in the Philippines.

This is also the point where Hal Jordan starts talking, losing all the credibility that announcer Ted “Voice of Awesome” Knight had build up for him. Hal sounds exactly like the drunk at the bar in every other episode of Bewitched. “I wan’ choo to shteer offfff, Thom, yer too closhe t’ the Shargasho pl*hic*planneetoid.”

Guardians bless brilliant B-movie actor Gerald Mohr, the "King of Cool", for his work as the voice of Green Lantern. Hal Jordan’s voice falls about halfway between Dean Martin and Foster Brooks, and it is priceless. Once you hearit, suddenly the whole “Hal gets arrested for DWI” thing falls into place for you. All the while you thought Hal was just an idiot. Now you know better; he’s a drunken idiot. No wonder he’s benched at home driving flight simulators while somebody goes out to drive the spacecraft.

Naturally, coached by Hal, they shteer—sorry—steer the spacecraft right toward the evil and odiferous Sargasso Planetoid, whose stinkyon emanations overwhelm them.

"Can't resist... smell of... bacon!"

So Hal Jordan does what any sensible, subtle hero would do: steps outside in the middle of the airfield where he works and changes into Green Lantern in public.

Stupid, stupid Hal.

NEXT UP: We meet our villain!