Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rein-Toon-Ation: Fantastic Four (1994)

Marvel Comics' "First Family", the Fantastic Four, returned to television in 1994 as 1/2 of the Marvel Action Hour, coupled with Iron Man, and with both segments introduced by co-creator Stan Lee, at least in the first season.

Beau Weaver (ex-Superman) was cast as Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic. Ageless wonder Chuck McCann voiced the Thing, and, in season 1, Brian Austin Green, then on Beverly Hills 90210, not only was the voice of "Human Torch" Johnny Storm, but reportedly also recorded the show's theme song. However, Green was replaced in season 2 by newcomer Quinton Flynn. New World, which at the time was Marvel's parent company, cancelled the series after 2 seasons, but, inevitably, the FF would later return.

Following is the season 2 premiere, "And a Blind Man Shall Lead Them", guest-starring Daredevil (Bill Smitrovich). This episode was included on a DVD compilation involving Daredevil & Spider-Man a few years later:

To me, ending the series at 2 seasons was a mistake, as they could've gone further. As it happened, the last FF series, produced in Europe and shown on Cartoon Network a while back, was reportedly almost as bad as the 1978 series. Oh, well.

Rating: B.


Geed said...

My favorite FF toon will always be the HB original. The 1978 one was a travesty, mired in blandness and parents committees lording over the animation companies. the 1994 is...well, it was the 90's. Can't say I enjoyed many toons from the 90's and hated everything until Ren & Stimpy came along.

Did you know the FF and Super Friends cartoons have a very slight tie to each other? When I got the first half season of Super Friends on dvd, I'm watching it through and then an Aquaman sequence came up...and the background music was the FF theme! There was only one instance of this happening and still wonder why they decided to recycle the music for that when everything else had a variation of the Super Friends theme.

hobbyfan said...

Hmmm, I definitely have to invest in those SF DVD's in order to hear what you're referencing, Geed.

magicdog said...

I too prefer the HB version of the FF.

The European version was indeed horrible - especially the character designs! Johnny & Sue looked like elves! Thier chins were SO very pointy!!

The 94 series was a step up from that, but it still could have been better. Like other classic superhero properties, you have to get the look and spirit of the characters right, and we weren't quite there yet. I wouldn't mind if they tried another reboot, but Marvel hasn't had as much good luck in its adaptations as DC has. ARMH was the closest they had come in a while and they still chose to dump it in favor of changing the universe to fit Ultimate Spiderman.

hobbyfan said...

And, yet, the last series may be the only one that didn't adapt any of the comics. Go figure.