Herbie J Pilato: Today’s Animated Superhero Shows: Loud and Unclear

surferboyby Herbie J Pilato

Like many a young geek in the making, I grew up loving superheroes, in comic book form, on TV or at the movies (although back in the day, all there was on the big-screen was Christopher Reeve’s tower presence in the Superman films).

On television, in particular, there was the live-action genius of Adam West as Batman; The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Spider-Man (for a moment or two) in prime-time.

On Saturday mornings, with specific regard to animation (in the 60s) there was Space Ghost and SuperFriends; Iron Man, and Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four.  With the 70s arrived live-action editions of Captain Marvel and Isis; Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, among others.

I also very much enjoyed the animated series, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (Iceman and Firestar), which remains by far one of the best written animated shows in history, right beside the animated Star Trek series of the early seventies; and Batman: The Animated Series of the early 90s.  And although not technically superhero cartoons, I also enjoyed Jonny Quest and The Herculoids, both outstanding in their own way.

I tried watching a few episodes of today’s Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, and the Ultimate Spider-Man, and I was nothing but exhausted afterwards.

I was unable to understand the dialogue, mostly because the soundtrack music was so loud and obnoxious; and the camera angles and cuts were so spastic – that only made things worse.

From this point of view both shows are atrocious.

If I, an adult had to strain to listen and understand the narrative or visual flow of the episode; well, then – what the heck do little kids do?

I realize that life is a faster pace today, in every aspect of living – especially when it comes to entertainment.

But come on?


Does Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and the Ultimate Spider-Man have to THAT loud and unclear?

I’m sure the writing is brilliant.  It’s just too bad I couldn’t hear it.

Certainly, superhero cartoons have always been a little loud, and many of the current shows are actually quieter and possessed of more dialogue and logic than ever before.

The Silver Surfer, for one, (by none other than TVWriter™’s Beloved Leader LB) was a thoughtful and provocative anomaly back in its day. The good news is that now it would be one of almost a dozen superhero shows directed toward older and more discerning audiences.

Too bad the younger kids can’t have a few moments of quiet – and insight – made just for them.