Saturday Morning Memories
I realized that it feels like it’s been a while since I wrote a more casual blog post here, it’s been all movie reviews, podcasts, and lists. Since it is Saturday morning right now, I thought it would be nostalgic for me to go through some of my Saturday Morning superhero memories of some of the cartoons that I liked to watch when I was younger. And while I am calling this Saturday Morning Memories, I certainly don’t remember the difference between which cartoons actually came on during Saturday morning and which came on during the after school block. I grew up in the 80’s, but I did continue to have a love of cartoons through my teenage years so I will be covering some of those 90’s cartoons as well.
The first cartoon that comes into my head, mainly because it’s been so prevalent these last few weeks is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I never did follow the series past the original 80’s roots aside from the movies, though I have been very curious about the new incarnation as it has brought back one of the original voices Rob Paulsen who was the voice of Raphael and is now the voice of Leonardo. Give him another 30 years and maybe he’ll make the full circle. I don’t remember too much of the actual episodes anymore aside from some vague memories of a cajun alligator and the four frogs who were created by a villain but then became their ally. I hesitate to go back to the show because I remember another show that I was fond of at the time, Thundercats, I later revisited when I was in college and even though I would watch the show in reruns on Cartoon Network over and over I just couldn’t get over how awful the show really was.
I also have fond memories of the Spider-Man animated series, and several of the other Marvel cartoons that they would pair with the show like Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, and I believe at least a couple others. I believe that was also my first introduction to Stan “the Man” Lee who would often show up to introduce the cartoon, or do commercials for it, or something along those lines. Of course, I was also a huge fan of the X-Men animated series around the same time, it had that great opening theme like all of these cartoons from this era, and it had a great group of characters that went through in depth story arcs, especially compared to any of the other cartoons of this era. I always loved the characters Rogue and Gambit, as well as the short lived Morph. I also liked how Magneto was one of the most complex villains of the time compared to most of the purely evil villains in the other cartoons.
I know I’m just kind of jumping around from cartoon to cartoon, but that’s just how this post seems to be going, and that’s more of how my memory works as well. I don’t remember any specific arcs or episodes, I mainly just remember the shows in broad strokes and how well I liked them. I also remember a short lived series called Wild C.A.T.S. that also felt quite different from what I had been watching at the time, even though several of the characters felt like copies of other superheroes I already knew, though the only character I remember anything about is Grifter who also made a very brief appearance in Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox. I was also a fan of the S.W.A.T. Katz, at least I think that’s how it was spelled, I know I could just Google it, but that would interrupt my writing flow.
Of course, the big daddy of them all is Batman: The Animated Series, followed up by Superman a few years later I believe. Like many people, this felt like the culmination of where superhero cartoons were headed at the time. While it didn’t really have the longer storylines that X-Men had, within its more episodic nature it was able to explore more mature themes than anything else of its time. I could probably write a whole post just on Batman: The Animated Series, and there are indeed some out there, even a podcast which takes an in depth, critical look at the show with an eye towards the villains and how they represent extremes of actual psychological conditions.
Now that I think more about it, I also remember one of the earlier cartoons that I watched was Mighty Mouse, something that I watched when I was so young that the only thing I remember is how he would sing “Here I come to save the day!” which is in my memory more recently from the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. I also fondly remember the Nickolodeon shorts for Bananaman and I was excited when I heard that they were making a Bananaman movie. And while I’m sure there are plenty more that I’m forgetting about, I’m struggling to grasp them from my memory outside of some of the other less-superhero cartoons and more action cartoons like Thundercats, He-Man, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and the like. But I put the question to you now. What is your Saturday Morning Superhero Memories? Whether it’s a fond memory of a popular cartoon like Batman or the Superfriends, or if it’s a more obscure cartoon at the edges of your memory. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.