Hello interweb, Nate here. Last May, I created my Top 5 Favorite Comic-Based Cartoons as one of my first top 5 list. Since I have seen many more cartoons since then, I thought I’d go back to that list and update it with more cartoons. Now not only will I add cartoons to the list, but it is possible that the cartoons that remains from my previous list may be in a different order based on new experiences with the cartoons and/or different views than what I saw earlier. Also, we all have different experiences with the cartoons of some of our favorite comic book heroes, so my list may be different than yours due to different nostalgia and tastes so don’t hate me too much your favorite cartoon didn’t make it onto the list. Now with that said and done. let’s get to the list!
To see my other Top 10s (or 5s) click here.
- DC and Marvel only
- A list of my Top 10 favorite Original Superheroes (e.g. Danny Phantom) will be posted Friday and make its own list
- This is a favorites list, not the most popular
- I must have seen most of the episodes in order to qualify
13 – Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: While this show seemed interesting, I actually stopped watching after the episode Captain America joined the team. While I believe I saw 5 out-of-order episodes after that (including a cross-over with Guardians of the Galaxy) and got the general feel of this cartoon, I do not believe I have enough knowledge on this cartoon to give it a full opinion.
12 – Ultimate Spider-man: If you would to ask me to describe this cartoon in one word, it would be: “funny”. If you would to ask me to describe it in three words, it would be: “funny but inaccurate”. If you would ask me to describe this show in 83 words, it would be: “This show is really funny and I laughed at it several times. The only problem is that I feel it has little to no respect for the source material. It changed the origin to several famous Spider-man villains and honestly ruined Peter Parker, turning him into a nerd with the funny and cocky superhero secret identity, to a funny and cocky kid with the funny and cocky superhero secret identity. Either way, it is hilarious and I did enjoy watching it either way.” (I counted the word) (FYI I count Spider-man as one word)
11 – Batman: The Animated Series: What?! Batman: TAS only getting honorable mention?!?!?! Yes, my problem with this show is the same problem I have with Avengers: EMH: I haven’t seen enough of it. Now when I did this list originally I have only seen three episodes, and I have seen several episodes sense then but I think I have only seen about half the series. While I can say without a doubt that this series is a masterpiece and it really does captures that Batman vibe, I can’t put it on the official list do to the rules.
#10 – Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Green Lantern is one of my favorite superheroes and I love the mythos around the Green Lantern ring. When I heard that they where making a Green Lantern animated series I was skeptical, especially because they used the 3D CGI animation rather than the 2D animation that I personally prefer. However the 3D animation actually works well with Green Lantern and it gives their constructs feel a lot more like they’re there.
Besides the animation choice, this series is a really good way to introduce yourself to the mythos surrounding the Green Lantern Corps as well as the rest of the universe. I absolutely loved the the team of Hal Jordan, Kilowag, Razor, and Aya who I personally think should move over to the comics. Seriously, Batman: TAS created Harley Quinn and brought her to the main DC continuity, why couldn’t Aya come over from this cartoon? Honestly the only thing I wasn’t fond of (although it is a Green Lantern cartoon so it was sorta a given) is that it was done completely in space with only an episode or two on Earth. Again, this is a persona thing but I just don’t like series that does that. I guess it’s because I relate to the show better when they’re in an environment I’m comfortable with, but it’s honestly a small nitpick and I’m pretty sure I’m the only one bothered by it.
#9 – Superman: The Animated Series
I’ve noticed this sorta fight between Batman and Superman fans for who should be the face of DC. I personally love both of them (although Batman will always be my favorite) and I do really like Superman. This cartoon just seemed like it portrayed the Man of Steel perfectly, from his boyscout demeanor that recent depictions seems to be trying to get rid of, to his looks, to his overall mythos. I feel that out of all of the DCAU cartoons (DCAU=DC animated universe consisting of Batman:TAS, Superman: TAS, Static Shock, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Batman Beyond) this one is the least talked about and I don’t see why. It features one of the most famous fictional characters ever in a very accurate way, it has all of Superman’s big villains (Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Darkseid, etc.), and it seems like I’m watching an Action Comics comic on my computer screen (where I watched most of this show). And while Superman has been leaving his boyscout, underwear on the outside self for his high-school jerk, armored suit New 52 version, this will always be my favorite version of the Man of Steel.
#8 – The Batman
What can I say? I’m a Batman fan. While The Batman didn’t quite get to the caliber as Batman: TAS, it did do many really cool things with this series. The Batman starts near the beginning of Batman’s career as a vigilante/superhero and we see Batman grow throughout the series into the character we know today. While there are a few things I didn’t like about it, including the fact that they messed of Joker’s design as well as totally ruined Harley Quinn and Mr. Freeze, this series did do several things right. First off, I loved how they brought in lesser known villains like Cluemaster and FireFly in as well as keep well known villains like Joker, Penguin, Killer Croc (BTW, this Killer Croc is even better than the Batman: TAS version), and Poison Ivy (whose a teenager for some reason). This series is a lot more kids friendly then The Animated Series but it does have an enjoyable level to it that makes it an interesting show to watch.
#7 – Batman Beyond
Yet another Batman cartoon. Kevin Conroy voicing an elderly Bruce Wayne as he raises the next Batman is just an awesome concept for a show. This Batman was a teenager named Terry McGinnis who lives 20 years in the future in the year 2019 (this show was created in 1999) where we have technology that is far more advance than modern day (I’m guessing we’re going to have a sudden technological jump within the next 4 years?). This show is a lot darker than shows at the time as it showed the psychological consequences of a teenager being Batman and even had an episode about drugs (I’m not even kidding). While I never began reading the comic book series made after the cartoon, this series was a great view on the future of Batman.
#6 – Spectacular Spider-man
Now this is a Spider-man cartoon done right. While it doesn’t get as much laughs as Ultimate, it definitely gets a lot more story and more respect to the Spidey mythos. I’ve always loved how Spider-man’s rogues gallery is a lot more out-there than most rogues galleries (that’s saying something) and Spider-man himself is a very humorous hero. Honestly I don’t have much to say besides, watch this show!
#5 – Justice League Unlimited
Justice League and its sequel Justice League Unlimited is the climax to the DCAU. Due to the fact that Justice League is in the same exact universe as Batman: TAS and Superman: TAS, this series combined the two heroes as well as heroes such as Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Flash all into one cartoon. Justice League was a great series and it combined many of DC’s A-list characters into one team. Then Justice League Unlimited comes out and introduces so many more heroes to the roster. These includes: Shazam (called Captain Marvel at the time), Supergirl, Captain Atom, The Atom, The Question, Huntress, Vigilante, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Booster Gold, and much, much more. While the huge roster may sound like some characters don’t get proper development, it’s surprisingly ok. The major characters, the original seven plus Green Arrow, get’s the development they need and all the secondary characters do what they need to. The introduction to all these superheros brings more life into this universe and it is a great ending to the DCAU.
#4 – Young Justice
At first, Young Justice didn’t seem like that big of a cartoon. They brought together the sidekicks of various superheroes, they brought them together into a team, and they basically try to prove they’re just as good as the Justice League. But as the story develops, we get some pretty intense plot points. In the second season, we’re also introduced to other heroes like Blue Beetle, who is the main focus on the second season. Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle has always been one of my favorite superheroes, and to see him being brought onto the small screen was so crash (crash=cool). Unfortunately, this series only had 2 seasons before it was taken off the air and fans were outraged (partially because it was replaced by Teen Titans Go!). Well I’ll leave you with this, this series was an epic aster (“disaster” minus the “dis”).
#3 – Teen Titans
This Teen Titans team (try saying that ten times fast) was based off the 80s team of the New Teen Titans consisting of Robin as the leader, Raven, Cyborg, Starfire, and Beast Boy but without Kid Flash and Speedy (although they do show up in a few episodes). This series managed to mix comedy with really deep and somewhat dark story telling. For example, there was an episode focused a Beast Boy (whose a vegetarian) wanting to buy a moped and thus gets a job at a meat place which is being ran by a tofu alien and Beats Boy has to stop the tofu alien from their invasion (I swear, this was an episode, I am not making this up). Yet an example of a dark story arc was the Trigon Arc in which Trigon wants to use Raven as a portal to get to our world. Once he gets to our world, he turns the Earth into the closest thing to hell as possible, send demons to fight the titans, and it all ends with Raven becoming omnipotent (don’t ask) and defeating the closest thing DC has to Satan (you know, for kids!). This series was fun, dark, and humorous but it was mostly just the Titans.
#2 – X-Men: Evolution
The X-Men are my favorite Superhero team and this is the cartoon that introduced me to them. If it wasn’t for this cartoon I probably wouldn’t care for X-Men, would never have tried reading comics, never start this blog, and never be where I am today. During the first two seasons, we learn that certain people are born with the X-gene which causes them to gain mutant powers. These mutants are somehow a secret from society and stays that way for the first two seasons. During these seasons, we see what life as a high schooler would be like if you had secret superpowers, and it was very interesting. Although the interesting part happened in season 3 when the mutants where broadcast on a news feed all over the world and are now publicly know.
So the mutants becomes celebrities, the X-Men become the most popular kids in the school, and they become a well-oiled superhero team…right? Well, keeping in mind that this was my introductory to the X-Men, I was shocked to realize that society didn’t love them as superheroes, they absolutely hated them. Prejudice towards mutant started really quickly, all of the mutant teenagers where bullied for their powers, and everything basically turns to hell for them. This was the first time I actually saw superheroes as being hated as the Justice League and Avengers may have had trouble with the government here and there, but they where still treated as celebrities. Same with Fantastic Four, and Spider-man. This series ultimately makes me love the X-Men and they are still my favorite superhero team to this day.
#1 – Static Shock
Static is probably my second favorite DC superhero (right behind Batman) and I probably would never have been introduced to him if this series didn’t exist. Static was created by Dwayne McDuffie under Milestone Media, a now disbanded branch of DC, and had a 45 issue series between 1993 and 1997 and would have faded into comic book obscurity if DC didn’t make this cartoon series. This cartoon series brought Static to the public’s attention (including my own) and made him a permanent stay in the DC Universe. This series was quite mature for a kid show as it dealt with gangs, bullying, gun violence, and even the homeless.
The series Focuses around Virgil Hawkins, a Black kid who lives in Dakota where gang violence was not uncommon. After getting beaten up by his bully, a gang member told Virgil to meet him at the piers. While there, the gang member gives him a gun to “take care” of his bully situation. Virgil then (without hesitation) throws the gun into the lake and begins to run off. The police arrive and a fight breaks loose, causing a tank full of chemicals to explode a mutates many of the gang members there. Virgil mutates and gains the ability to manipulate electromagnetism and decides to become the superhero: Static.
This series was really important to the DC universe and not just the animated universe. If this series never existed, Static may not exist anymore. DC took a risk with this cartoon and it was worth it. It was funny, it was mature, it was well written, and it features one of my favorite superheroes. Making it my favorite superhero cartoon.
So today I don’t have a poll but a question. What is your favorite superhero cartoon? Comment below or in my Facebook page and let me know.