Question: Are you familiar with iconic jingles like;
“When Captain America throws his mighty shield”,
“Doc Bruce Banner, belted by Gamma Rays, turned into the Hulk, aint he unglamorous…”
“Tony Stark, makes you feel he’s the cool Exec with the heart of steel. And Iron Man all jets ablaze, he fights for right with Repulsor rays..”
Unless you’re not invested in geek culture or just one of “dem Millennials”, these songs served as the intros for an American-Canadian “animated” series based on various Marvel characters such as Iron Man, The Mighty Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Sub-Mariner and Captain America-appropriately titled; The Marvel Superheroes!
I added quotation for the word-“animated” because the series episodes which consisted of three Seven minute increments, were literally ripped straight from the classic Marvel Comics of that era which is termed; “The Silver Age”.
This somewhat questionable procedure was obviously used as a means for cost cutting measures since Animation Studio Grantway-Lawrence didn’t have the budget to go full on animation when compared with the likes of Hanna-Barbera or Filmation.
Aside from the blinking and moving lips, there have been a few occasions of appendages (arms and legs) fully animated. other than that, everything seems “xerographed” from the comicbooks itself.
However, the lack of animation quality has not prevented this series from being entertaining thanks in part to the source material and equally praised were the voice talents of Sandy Becker, Peg Dixon, Paul Soles and “Dean Wormer” himself, John Vernon as Ironman and Prince Namor respectively. The narration wasn’t bad and the overall experience is more akin to those old Radio drama programs with pure comic art thrown in courtesy of Marvel legendary artists such as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Don Heck. The music from the episodes, were well executed and despite some its camp, there were a handful of memorable scores to be found.
There have been times that certain segments were downright cringe worthy especially when the GL studio took upon liberties to deviate the source material in order to flesh out an entire episode. One primary example would be the episode titled “Dr. Doom’s Day”. The “footage” used was originally based on the Fantastic Four issue #6 whereas the FF’s nemesis, Dr.Doom plans to thwart the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Only difference is, The Fantastic Four was omitted from the segments but in their place was the X-Men or as they were called “Allies for Peace”?
I think Hanna Barbera obtaining the license for the Fantastic Four cartoons had something to do with the lack of presence from Marvel’s First Family.
Despite the animation quality being seen as inferior especially by today’s standards, The Marvel Superheroes series served as a template when it comes to static animation and of course set the precedent for what is known as Motion Comics: Voice acting supplied by minimal animation within the original comic strips.
Primary examples would be DC’s The Watchmen, Iron Man: Extremis, X-Men and lesser known titles such as Wolverine and The Inhumans.
As for the aforementioned iconic intro songs, here’s the Iron Man theme originally performed by Jack Urbont;
Although this particular medium didn’t gain enough momentum to solidify itself within mainstream media, one can see it more as an interactive comic experience as with the very first attempt which of course is The Marvel Superheroes! Happy 50th Anniversary!!