Thursday, July 1, 2010

Volume Four, Number Four

Well it is Canada Day here as I type this and as I wait for a couple of guests to drop by I thought I'd do another off the top of my head piece.

Originally I was going to do one on the 1960s "Mighty Hercules" cartoon and declare how I wanted someone, anyone to kill Neuton the centaur-he was such an annoying little SOB-and then I saw the number of this installment and thought, well heck; Captain America. He did after all return to the world of comics in the 60s with issue number four of The Avengers.

Then I thought; well, why not talk about both. So I will.

First off; Captain America. It actually makes sense in a weird Canuck kind of way to talk about Cap on Canada Day. We actually don't have our own national super-hero. Now before you start think; how many Canadians actually know who Johnny Canuck or Nelvana or Captain Canuck are. Don't get me wrong. I love all those characters. And I have met both Cy Bell (the publisher of Nelvana and Johnny Canuck) and Richard Comely (Captain Canuck's daddy) and they are (or in Cy's case were as he has long since passed on) great people. But in the day to day thinking of folks up here in the Great White North they don't exactly stir the imagination or bring out a lot of patriotism despite the valiant efforts of the folks behind them. But then, what does stir that amongst us Canucks. Not much really outside of hockey. And beer.

Anyway; when I was growing up in the 60s Captain America was 'THE MAN' bar none. He was OUR hero, too. All the kids loved him and some of us-well me actually-went as far as having their (well my) father make a wooden shield just like Cap's to toss around. Come to think of it my father must have been nuts to do that for me as I could have done some serious damage to things tossing that bleedin' piece of wood around. Or maybe he just knew I had a rotten aim.

But dad did that for me which was way super cool and I ran around the neighbourhood for two, maybe three years with that thing. He even painted it for me.

Now I had intended to retire it but then some bright genius at Marvel decided to license some of their characters to a Z grade production studio resulting in some of the worst cartoons ever made. One of the characters was Captain America.

I loved those cartoons. Now I watch them on video and I think I must have had a screw loose but at the time I loved them. They were way super great cartoons and I plunked myself down in front of the television whenever they were on. My dad of course would shake his head believing I should watch something less violent such as "12 O'Clock High' of "Combat" and my mother gave up long ago ("Jim; the kid is gonna be a comic book writer whether we like it or not so just leave him the heck alone!".) . But I loved those cartoons. And the Sub-Mariner ones, too. Thor I could live without but Subby and Cap I loved.

But they were bad. Real bad. Bad animation. Bad dialogue. Bad, well, everything.

Which brings me next to "The Mighty Hercules". I think it was around 1963 when I started to watch that cartoon. Now I was pretty young so I can't say for sure when it was but I do seem to recall seeing it on "Big Al's Ranch Party" that used to air on CKCO TV out of Kitchener Ontario Canada. Now that show made the Marvel Super-Heroes cartoons look like masterpieces. Again; bad animation, bad voices, bad dialogue..the works.

Now I was a kid of course so I didn't notice at the time but what I did notice is that darn annoying centaur Neuton. Everyone hated Neut. All the kids and I mean ALL. I don't know if the creators planned him to be annoying but they sure made him that way. We all wanted to see him dead. We all cheered when Deadalus trapped him and yelled "Kill him, kill him!", which I am sure you could imagine did not go over to well with our mothers at the time. But we hated him. Really, really hated him.

And you know what? I still hate him. As I was getting ready to write this I watched "Medusa's Sceptre" and my blood started to boil as soon as I saw that annoying little so-and-so on the screen. I am now 54 and he still bugs the daylights outta me.

Well company is starting to come around so I should wrap this up. Thanks all for putting up with my little wanderings these past couple of blogs. Actually I have found it kind of fun. What do you think? Let me know, okay. I can be emailed at . Take care and Happy Canada Day fellow Canucks.


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