Hello interweb, Nate here. So with the lack of really good superhero cartoons recently I’ve been thinking about some possible cartoons that could possibly be made. And when I say cartoons, I mean good cartoons. Cartoons that can be both humorous and dramatic, have great characters and character development, and have a really good story. Basically think less of Teen Titans Go!, Avengers Assemble, and Ultimate Spider-man and more Teen Titans, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and Spectacular Spider-man.
To see my other Top 10s (or 5s) click here.
- Marvel and DC only
- No cartoons that have already been done. Reboots are for an entirely different list all together (hint! hint! 😉 )
Before I start this list I want to go a little more in-depth on why I’m making this list. I used to grow up with cartoons like Teen Titans, Spectacular Spider-man, The Batman, X-Men: Evolution, Ben 10, Generator Rex, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the early 2000’s one, not the original 80’s-90’s one), and Danny Phantom and while some of these admittingly aren’t based off of comics and are original ideas, they all have one thing in common: they are kid friendly but took their audience seriously. These cartoons featured deep character development and drama that kept us invested and had great stories to tell. They all where meant for kids but the effort put into them allows those of use who are now older to look back on them and appreciate them for different reasons. And those based off of comic books often can adapt story arcs from the comics without having a heavy continuity dragging them down so when you start reading the comics you already have an idea on the history of these characters. I’m not saying cartoons today are bad (Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Avatar, etc.) but superhero cartoons have dramatically dropped in quality and I want those really good cartoons back. Even if they’re original ideas and not comic-book based properties! I did make a top 10 list a while back on my favorite superhero cartoons so I would suggest checking that out if you’re interested.
Wow that turned out longer than I wanted. Anyhoo, let’s get to the list!
#10 – The Runaways
I feel kinda guilty putting this on the list simply because I’ve never actually read this comic; but the concept sounds really interesting and can definitely be turned into a great animated series. Basically the Runaways are a group of kids who ran away from their parents after learning that they’re parents are supervillains and I think they inherit their parents’ powers too. Again, I haven’t actually read this book so I don’t know about any of the characters or stories but the concept alone sounds so interesting that I would really love it if this is turned into an animated series.
#9 – Superboy
This may sound like a strange choice but just hear me out. A lot of people don’t know this but before Clark Kent became Superman he was known as Superboy. The Superboy stories was mostly made around the Silver Age but it is the story of Clark learning about his powers and growing up to become the hero he’ll grow up to be. Unfortunately the New 52 totally ignored this history so unless there was a retcon that I didn’t hear about, the current Superman was never Superboy.
Now I do find this concept similar to the live-action TV show Smallville but to be fair I never actually have seen that show so I don’t really know what they did with him. I would just find it really interesting to see a cartoon focused around Superman’s teen years. It would almost be like a cross between Superman and Danny Phantom in an odd way.
#8 – Inhuman
If you don’t know who the Inhumans are than I would suggest checking out my Comixplanation on Who are the Inhumans (wow this post is full of shameless plugs XP). The Inhumans seem like a pretty fun idea that could easily be spun into an animated series. And with the movie coming out in a few years now’s a great time to release this thing!
#7 – Wonder Woman
I find it funny how both Batman and Superman has had several cartoons and movies and yet Wonder Woman is lacking in both departments despite basically being in the same tier. Of course she had that Lynda Carter live action show in the 70’s but never an animated series. I would imagine it taking place mostly on Themyscira and having a bunch of Greek Gods showing up throughout the series. Or maybe spend the first season on Themyscira and then travel to America to become Wonder Woman? Or spend the first season getting her from Themyscira to America to become Wonder Woman and continue her adventures here? I don’t know, DC figure it out!
#6 – Nightwing
As most of you know thanks to my Dick Grayson – Character Bio (third shameless plug, I’m on a role XD), Dick Grayson was the first person to have the title of Robin but eventually became the hero known as Nightwing. I could see this as being a pretty cool series with Nightwing facing off Deathstroke quite often and basically being a more acrobatic Batman. In fact, Batman would probably appear quite often throughout the series.
#5 – Flash
Now I know what you’re all thinking: “But Nate, Flash already has a TV show!”, which is true; and it’s not terrible, but I’ve found that I’ve been preferring animated superhero TV shows over the live-action versions quite a bit. I don’t know, maybe the animated shows put in more effort or something (at least, when they bother to put in effort *cough* Teen Titans Go!*cough*) but I’ve just been preferring them more. And since Flash has such a colorful rogues gallery that the series could be really fun. I would imagine the show would be similar to Batman: The Animated Series where Flash (who – despite my love for Wally West – would probably be Barry Allen) would be in his prime and have Kid Flash show up ever now and then to help out on occasions.
#4 – Doom Patrol
The Doom Patrol is similar to the X-Men in the sense that they are outcasts from society due to their powers but despite this they try to use their powers for good. The biggest difference is that the X-Men are hated because their mutants (and in a world with gods, gamma radiated monsters, and aliens, the whole “mutants” excuse for the prejudice admittingly doesn’t make a lot of sense), the Doom Patrol are hated because their powers are dangerous to those around them.
#3 – Young Avengers
I recently started reading the Young Avengers and it is such a good book! I would definitely recommend it to everybody! What can I really say about them? They’re basically the teen version of the Avengers and while the plot is admittingly kinda bland, it makes up for it in the characters. Every one of these characters feel so three-dimensional and so relatable that it’s basically impossible to read this and not like at least one of them. My two personal favorite characters are Wiccan and Hulkling but I also really like Speed, Kate Bishop, and Miss America.
#2 – Blue Beetle
It’s kinda funny to put him on this list because you could argue that he already kinda got a cartoon with the second season of Young Justice but I really don’t care. Jaime Reyes has had comic book runs so far and I loved both of them (although the first one is better) and he deserves his own animated series. Now it’s true that he doesn’t exactly have a large rogues gallery, but you know someone else who didn’t have a large rogues gallery? Static Shock. Most of Static’s villains in that series was made specifically for that cartoon so why can’t they do something similar with Jaime? On top of that, the Jaime isn’t the first person to be called Blue Beetle so if they talk about Dan Gerrit and Ted Korde that would be awesome. It would also be cool if Guy Gardner appeared since they befriended each other in the first run.
#1 – New X-Men: Academy X
What can I say? I’m an X-Man fan! While the X-Men have has three cartoons so far (outside of anime): X-Men: The Animated Series (the only one I haven’t actually seen much of due to the fact that I can’t stand the animation), X-Men: Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-Men, it would be nice to mix things up. The one thing that kinda annoys me about the X-Men is while the team is such an awesome team, it is so vast and has so many characters that they don’t really get proper recognition outside of comics. Despite how big the X-Men are, the cartoons always focus on the same characters (Cyclops, Rogue, Gambit, Jean Grey, Beast, Wolverine, etc.). So why not try a different group of X-Men?
Which brings me to New X-Men: Academy X. Academy X features a group of teenaged mutants in the X-Mansion learning how to deal with their powers. The comics was just really fun and had so many three dimensional characters. But even with it being fun, it still held on to the X-Men theme of prejudice as some of the stories got really deep. There was even a story arc where a religious priest went around killing mutants as they’ve been “cursed by God” or something (been a while since I’ve actually read it). To see the mutant prejudice through the eyes of these teenagers was actually quite heartbreaking at times especially when 1. you grew to like these characters and 2. you know that people in the real world suffers this same thing (although, that’s the whole point to the X-Men).
Of course I bet this would have to be watered down somewhat for a children’s show but as long as it’s not Teen Titans Go! watered down I’ll be fine with it.
I’m just curious on how many of you guys agree with me on this. So vote below whether or not you think superhero cartoons today aren’t as good as they used or if I’m just blinded by nostalgia. Also, comment below if there’s a cartoon idea floating around in your head. I’d love to hear it!