Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Animated World of DC Comics: The Wonder Twins speak out (1999) and get punked out (2007)

The last of Cartoon Network's short-lived editorial interstital series features the Wonder Twins, Zan & Jayna, who had to reintroduce themselves to a new generation of viewers. It's too bad that around the time this piece aired in 1999, there was already a website that was poking fun at the Super Friends franchise.

Seanbaby made some snarky, sarcastic remarks not only about the Twins, but their ethnic teammates, such as Apache Chief & Samurai. Wizard: The Guide to Comics jumped in a couple of years later with an equally ridiculous text piece, suggesting that---prepare to lose your lunch----Jayna, while in the form of a dog, had puppies with a stray she supposedly met, among other things. All that tells us is that we have a generation of 20-somethings and up that have next to no respect for the toons the older generations grew up with, unless they're cherished icons like Bugs Bunny or Popeye.

Anyway, here's the editorial, from RickHunter101:

Now, that was tame compared to what would follow a few years later.

As we documented, Zan (Michael Bell) appeared on Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law and in a series of CN interstital spots with the true Birdman, Wonder Woman, and others. Jayna, for some reason, was missing out. CN took care of that issue in 2003, though, by having her appear on their NBA All-Star Jam special, paired with Jason Kidd, then with the New Jersey Nets, now with the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. Jason purportedly was a fan, and got to sub for Zan for a day. Unfortunately, no clips of that special are available on YouTube. Maybe it's just as well, to save Jason and his fellow hoopsters the embarassment.

And, then, [adult swim] got hold of the Twins' initial adventures from 1977, chopped them up, changed endings & dialogue, and ruined the experience for many a fan who grew up with the sibs. One such example is "Makeout Mountain", uploaded by Chad Rushing. Be warned. The ending is B. R. Utal for a reason.

Now, you know the Twins deserved better than that.

All this proves is that Scrappy-Doo is not alone in getting unjustified haterizing from certain corners of the internet. It's too bad the lunatics at [adult swim] are getting a free pass from their superiors, because we old school fans just don't dig.


magicdog said...

I agree that Zan & Jayna don't deserve the beatings they get.

Unlike Marvin & Wendy, they had powers and fit in better in a superpowered fight. Of course their solo adventures which the CN interstitials were based on, were more like PSAs for the kids watching than a true super adventure (don't hitchike, etc.).

Dare I say that I had to agree somewhat with the interstitial based on the original short, "Grizzly" in which the twins had to save a kid from a bear. Even when I was little, I knew digging a moat around the bear wasn't going to stop him from attacking! The Adult Swim version of the short just proved my point -brutal though it was.

I do agree the other Adult Swim shorts were rather mean spirited and distasteful. They always go for the lowest common denominator in humor. No one I ever knew as a kid ever saw the Twins as Adult Swim chose to spin them, although there were times we would imagine what a meeting with Wendy & Marvin would have been like (I heard DC did do this in the comics way back when).

The original PSA the Twins did for CN was funny and it was a treat that the orignal VAs voiced them. Sometimes I think Fluid Man from the Impossibles had more to do than Zan at times, but unlike Zan he was allowed to throw a punch at the bad guy and didn't need to be held in a bucket whenever they went out on a mission!!

hobbyfan said...

Michael Bell has been the only voice of Zan in the course of 35 seasons, amazingly. According to Marc Nobleman's interview last summer with Louise Williams-Rodricks, CN tried to contact her about a reunion, but couldn't find her, so they hired a sub (don't know who) to play Jayna then, and also in the '03 NBA special I referenced.

The Twins met Marvin & Wendy in the comics only, never on TV, until [as] took care of that. Anyway, issues 7-9 of the Super Friends book (1st series) was a passing the torch deal, as Marvin & Wendy were leaving, with the Twins taking their places. They'd return to help the Twins out of a jam 2 years later, and that was it. Never any ideas about any hookups of anything like that. Remember, back then, stories were kept simple for a reason.
The big diff between Zan in his liquid form and Fluid Man, of course, is that Fluey could somehow retain his humanoid shape in part in battle. Zan couldn't. Just a poor interpretation of his powers in the writers' eyes, methinks.
Thinking back, their '77 adventures were PSA's disguised as short stories, and they were fun, though the formula got old in a hurry, and CN/[as] made fun of that in the most distasteful of ways.

magicdog said...

I didn't know they had a replacement for Jayna's VA! She sure sounded like the real deal!

hobbyfan said...

Practice makes perfect, they say.