Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saturday Morning Spidey

Not only is "Spectacular Spider-man" the best animated version of the Marvel icon to date, but it's one of the most fun, feel good, and exciting Saturday morning cartoons I've seen in over ten years. There have been several animated tales of America's favorite web slinger, ie the 60's cartoon, Amazing friends from the 80's, the 90's Fox Kids Cartoon, and the 3D Cel-shaded MTV cartoon of early 2000. But none of them can compare to the beauty of this present day lore.

Yes, I'm sure all of you hard-core fans know the chronicles of Spider-Man's mythos. Bitten by a radioactive spider, leading two lives as a photographer and a hero, taking care of his Aunt May, rejecting a black suit but inadvertently creating a large evil doppelganger, Green Goblins, Sandmen, etc. But the way "Spectacular Spider Man" has handled Spidey's many amazing stories not only have made it a treat to us older fans, but have made it appealing to a new generation as well.
Spectacular Spider Man does everything that an action cartoon is suppose to have. Beautiful, clear, concise character designs by Sean "Cheeks" Galloway. Gorgeous colors that demonstrate night and day, environment, and mood. Fantastic animated battles. Interesting story developments, and voice over artists like Josh Keaton(Peter Parker/Spider Man), Ben Diskin (Eddie Brock/Venom), Vanessa Marshall (Mary Jane), and Peter MacNicol (Dr. Octopus) who put their all into the characterizations unlike any other actor in the previous Spider Man series. Greg Weisman and Victor Cook did a great job taking Spider Man's most popular stories and villains, and turning them into half hour bundles of great story telling, interesting characters, and action packed eye candy.
They also gave a more interesting back story to my all time favorite villain Eddie Brock/Venom. In the Amazing Spider Man comics and Spider man 3 movie, Eddie Brock was nothing more than a childish, melodramtic brute who blamed Spider Man and Peter Parker for his own failures and shortcomings. However, in this story, Peter and Eddie are close childhood friends (much like Ultimate Spider Man) whose relationship has recently soured due to Peter's photography exposes at Connor's Lab, and his absence of helping out Eddie and Gwen Stacy. In most recent events, Eddie has been expressing emotions of anger and hatred due to losing his dream job, feeling betrayed by Peter, and losing his parents as a child. These are legitimate reasons not only for Eddie's attitude, but to feel empathy for the character as well. Eddie progression into embitterment has been handled very well as it leads up to him becoming the slithery, fanged villain Venom. This Saturday, Spider Man and Venom will duke it out in the show's 1st season finale. This will be a treat not only because the fans love to see these two wall crawlers fight, but because of the fact that the strong, brotherly friendship that Peter and Eddie once had has vanished, making it a bit more heart-wrenching. I salute the great people who have made "Spectacular Spider Man" live up to it's name, and I am looking forward to a second season with hopes of more classic villains appearing like Scorpion and Mysterio, and further character development. Also I hope you will all visit Sean Galloway's terrific blog.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lucky Star...Not Too Bad!

I'm don't hate anime, but I'm not entirely crazy about it. I love Dragonball, One Piece, Golden Boy, Anzumanga Daioh, and Hiyo Miyazaki movies, but no matter what, I always run into the same story. Hero has a pure heart and wants to be strongest in the world, giant robots feel pain like humans, old man has a lolita complex, ditzy girl falls over exposing her undies, huge sweat drops, super deformed takes, boat loads of tragedies, someone dies and comes back to life, etc. Even though I've been off the anime train for awhile, I did find one redeeming Japanese cartoon show entitled "Lucky Star". You won't find exposed undies, melancholy romance, or pocket monsters in this show. Lucky Star deals with something that anime rarely ever does....ENJOYING REAL LIFE. The show is a slice of life comedy that centers around four high school girls and their every day lives. It's sort of like watching a four panel comic strip on TV. You have Konata(middle), the ultimate otaku fan who can give a damn about school work, Kagami(right), the shy but snappy straight man, Tsukasa(far left), the kind but simple minded twin sister of Kagami, and Miyuki(glasses) the polite yet clumsy straight A student. Yes, it has the typical anime cutesy girlie look. But you know what? It's probably one of the most refreshing, enjoyable Japanese cartoons I've seen in a LONG time, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. It actually makes me laugh! People consider Lucky Star in the category "Anime Moe", which means having an attraction or fetish to cute characters in anime cartoons, comics, or video games.

Gee. And all this time, I thought "Anime Moe" meant something like this. Sayonara.