Marvel comics have given us some of the most beloved characters ever written. Marvel cartoons have tried very, very hard to change that. The following, is a list of the six worst. Keep in mind, true believers, that when dealing with cartoons, the word "worst" can often translate into "raddest."
"Avengers" (1999)When they retooled the Avengers in 1999, they did almost everything wrong that was possible. First, they took out Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. That's a lot like Def Leppard releasing an album where the only original member is Rick Allen's severed arm. When your cartoon's main star is Ant Man, the rest of your cast should be apology letters.
Characters: One of the things that Marvel did more than DC was give its characters relatable human problems. For example, Spider-Man is a nerd with money problems, Iron Man is an alcoholic, Ms. Marvel is an alcoholic, Flash Thompson is an alcoholic, Banshee is an alcoholic, and Sandman is an alcoholic. For the cartoon, they obviously couldn't give everyone alcoholism, so instead they gave each Avenger crippling emotional problems. They're insecure toddlers with the charm and principles of rapists and most of the plots are developed around one more of them throwing a temper tantrum. I have a theory that they asked Korean animators to make a show about 13-year-old boys breaking up with each other, and it was a pure coincidence that the characters sort of looked like The Avengers.Theme Song: A lot of care went into developing this show. They raided He-Man's cyber armor closet and hired a writer whose idea of full-scale conflict is an argument over panty liner comfort. So it should come as no surprise that they made the theme song by pressing the "90's Cartoon Theme" button on a Casio keyboard and called it good. The only lyric is someone whispering the word "Avengers!" every few seconds, and the singer whispers it in the same way an ice cream man might hiss, "You children are beautiful!"
"Black Panther" (2009)In 2004, Reginald Hudlin wrote the greatest, toughest, most action-packed Black Panther story of all time. This seemed nuts since his previous writing credits were the movie House Party. Five years later, the comic was adapted into a cartoon by BET and everything fell apart. Instead of animation, they made it a "motion comic" like the old '60s Marvel Superheroes show. In this style, the characters shift an arm or a leg for a few frames rather than "move." It might have still been okay with good voiceover, but every voice actor was so concerned with thickening up their fake "African" accent that they forgot to do things like "inflect" or "act." The final result was like a sleepy exchange student wiggling a comic book while they read it out loud. And I don't want to sound racist, but that's really annoying.
Characters: They barely move and they all talk like voice actors trying to passive aggressively get revenge on their agents, but other than that the characters are great!
Theme Song: The Black Panther music is awesome. Every time Black Panther does anything, anything at all, an African choir goes crazy chanting his name. "T'Challa! T'Challa! T'Challa!" As an experiment, I named my dong T'Challa while I was watching this show, and I've been hard for almost two years.
"Spider-Man" (1967)The '60s Spider-Man cartoon was insane. The plots were so violently against reason that the studio was probably under constant attack by witch hunters. There was no regard to physics or science-- bombs went off directly on faces several times an episode, Spider-Man would swing on webs across open oceans, and since punches never seemed to hurt anyone, every fight ended up at a high voltage box. In 1967, those things were everywhere.
Characters: The characters are crazier than the plots. For instance, the audience is introduced to The Lizard when he jumps out of a bog, shoves over a father and son in a rowboat, and turns to camera to say, "Today, I rule the swamps! Tomorrow, THE WORLD!" Never has anyone explained their entire philosophy on life so quickly. At least not until Snooki's gynecologist screamed that everything was the devil and shot himself.
Think of how little a fuck you'd have to give to write something like that. Not the line I just wrote about Snooki-- that took eleven hours of research. I'm talking about that Spider-Man logic: shoving over a rowboat + tomorrow = World Domination. And every character's logic is written like that. The Vulture will swoop in to Spider-Man's exact location, explain that he now controls the city's birds with his hat, and then leave. If Spider-Man didn't start fights with these lunatics, they'd probably just be considered bad performance artists.
Theme Song: The theme song is timeless. It was composed by Academy Award winner Paul Francis Webster and it's been covered by Michael Buble, Ramones, and Aerosmith. It's been Spider-Man's theme song for 45 years even after Bono killed dozens of theatrical performers trying to give him a new one. While on the subject of the Spider-Man musical, never have so many died for so little since Snooki's underwear killed 17,000,000 pubic lice. Sorry about mentioning her again, but I really didn't want to waste all that Snooki research.