OK, a gap opened up in the Sourcewall, see, and out dropped disks of the old 60's Marvel Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner cartoon.  It's been close to forty-five since I've seen them last, and I never even knew they was Thor and Sub-Mariner ones when I was a kid. So, anyway, let's see what I see.

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Captain America


Episode One: "The Origin of Captain America", in which Cap originates,meets Bucky (and how silly it seems now that Cap would ever take on a kid partner), and battles an evil stage magician and has his first encounter with the Red Skull.

Always loved Cap's theme song, which lends itself so easily to parody ("When Captain America blows his mighty nose...", and so on), but is eminently singable.  I'd forgotten how dire the "animation" was (every Army officer seems to look like either Glenn Talbot or Thunderbolt Ross), and the dialogue and the delivery thereof is somewhat stilted. The voices for Cap and Bucky were OK, though, Still and all, there's an enthusiasm to the whole proceedings that makes it fun to watch.

The thing I like most about the Grantray-Lawrence Marvel cartoons of 1966 is that the art was taken directly from the comics themselves (using a process called “xerography” according to Wikipedia) “and manipulated to minimize the need for animation production.” In other words, they were made on the cheap. But many of them lifted the plot and script directly from the comics, too, and remain the most faithful adaptations of Marvel Comics to ever hit the big or small screen. It’s fun to see a Steve Ditko Hulk pop up in the middle of a Jack Kirby sequence. It’s fun to identify the original source material and see how they changed it. Plus, the animation style is quite similar to the way I visualize the comics themselves in my mind’s eye.

The Captain America Theme

"When Captain America throws a hissy fit..."

The Grantray Lawrence cartoons will always have a special place in my heart since they were responsible for hooking me on Marvel Comics.  Prior to the debut of the cartoon series I had read no more than a dozen or so Marvel Comics - within weeks of the cartoon series debut I was buying every Marvel title I could lay hands on. It was always a special treat to catch a Captain America cartoon adapted from an issue of The Avengers.

Episode Two: "The Fantastic Origin of the Red Skull"

Cap  saves Project Vanish (If we had disintegrator cannons back then, what happened to them?), and we learn the Skull's origin, after which he brainwashes Cap, and sends him to kill an important American, but it fails, of course.

One thing I've noticed is that the Skull's "Leader" is nameless, and is definitely not shown to be Hitler. In fact, Nazis are not named as the enemy at all.  My question is, was it like this in the original comics, or were the cartoons edited to remove all WWII-specific references?

...The Sub-Mariner series' theme taught me to pronounce Subby's name correctly ~ which , for all I know , could lead him to spare me someday !!!!!!!!!

  BTW , the Spider-Man newspaper strip has just started a Sub-Mariner story ~ with Namor in his SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP disco/singles bar outfit , & recalling how Betty Dean stopped him from kicking NYC's posterior !

In the comics, the Skull’s leader was definitely depicted as being Adolph Hitler. When you get to the Hulk ones, Nikita Khrushchev’s identity was similarly obfuscated (by giving him a long handlebar mustache!) in one of the episodes. Regarding the disintegrator cannons, maybe they were accidentally fired at each other, causing a chain reaction which destroyed them all…?

...I have heard that a " BATMAN ADVENtURES-like ' high-end ' Captain America and Bucky cartoon series " planned in the 90s was never made because it broke upon the rocks of having to show swastikas and say " Nazi " .



Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...I have heard that a " BATMAN ADVENtURES-like ' high-end ' Captain America and Bucky cartoon series " planned in the 90s was never made because it broke upon the rocks of having to show swastikas and say " Nazi " .

I have a Doctor Sivana toy at home somewhere, but it occurred to me that Captain Nazi is one character that there will never be an action figure of, because no one would ever market a toy Nazi, even if someone wanted to buy one.

On the recent Avengers cartoon they had WWII being fought against Hydra, not the Axis powers at all.

Episode Three: "Midnight in Greymoor Castle!"

Steve Rogers is shipped off on a commando raid, while Bucky is left behind to get kidnapped by a traitorous scientist who is working with the Not-Nazis. Steve leaves the battle to become Cap and races to rescue Bucky, and the bad scientists' sister is killed  by the Not-Nazis, so he uses a handy rocket to wipe out the Not-Nazis attacking Steve's buddies.

A bit convoluted - sort of like it's set in a parallel world with a slightly different World War Two.

Episode Four: "The Revenge of Captain America"

We seem to have skipped a bit, here, as we see Cap moping about his "long-dead" pal, Bucky, and hanging out with Rick Jones, whose presence is unexplained.  Rick is captured by Zemo, as a trap for Cap.  Cap goes after him, and beats Zemo relatively easily.   

The only comment I have is that the same footage of Cap using a tree to knock some heels is used twice in about two minutes. It's one thing to re-use it from episode to episode, but using it so close together really draws attention to it.

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