Super Friends Inspiring to Modern Animation Filmmakers

As "Super Friends" Season 1, Volume 2 makes their way to DVD on July 20th, "Batman: Under the Red Hood" director Brandon Vietti and "Batman: Brave and the Bold" producer James Tucker both revel in the impact the show had on them.

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By EdGross - 7/13/2010
Available for the first time since its debut in 1973, this highly-anticipated deluxe two-disc collector’s set features eight exciting one-hour episodes starring the most recognizable DC Comics super heroes and villains of all time.

Super Friends! Season 1 Volume 2 follows the adventures of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman as they join forces to save the world from unthinkable disasters. This crime-stopping squad, along with heroes in training Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog, combine their special superhuman skills to defeat the evil villains at hand. The collection also features DC Comics favorites Plastic Man, The Flash and Green Arrow. Each hour is packed with timeless adventures of the universe’s greatest heroes as they pave the way for a brighter future.

Both Vietti and Tucker fondly recall the wide-reaching impact Super Friends had on their young lives.

“The Super Friends show was my first exposure to the world of DC super heroes,” says Vietti, who also co-directed Superman Doomsday and was the director for much of the first season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. “The show was on TV during the first 12 years of my life so I was the prime audience. From the first episode I ever watched, I was hooked! My parents bought me the DC action figures, the Super Friends bed sheets, and, of course, the Underoos. I guess the Super Friends show was a rather formative influence on me as a kid since I now have career making cartoons about DC super heroes.”

“To me, Super Friends really represented what Saturday morning cartoons were all about,” remembers Tucker. “When I think of Super Friends, I’m really reminded of waking up at 6 a.m., getting my bowl of cereal, and camping in front of the TV for about four or five hours of cartoons.

“It was probably the first show I saw that featured DC Comics characters that wasn’t in reruns. It was just cool seeing heroes in animation that I was reading in the comics at the time. And even though I knew the cartoon wasn’t at the same intensity level as the comics, it was still cool. The novelty of watching animated super heroes was enough to make up for the goofy stories and non-violence.”

The series also placed some important design and character seeds in the minds of two of the leading super hero animation veterans in the industry today.

“I loved the scale of the adventures in Super Friends,” Vietti adds. “Episodes would often take place in fantastic locations under ground, under the sea, or in deep space. There was no end of aliens, monsters and evil scientists that had to be stopped before executing some evil plan. The Super Friends show was my first exposure to stories and characters like that, so that kept me tuning in again and again.”

“I thought the designs were appealing at the time – I didn’t know Alex Toth had done them, but they felt like the comic book designs,” Tucker says. “They had the anatomy that the comics had, and there was a simplicity to them that I can appreciate now but I probably wasn’t aware of back then.

“Super Friends was a consistent version of the DC characters when you just didn’t get that in another cartoon show. It kept those characters alive in my imagination, and I know it has had a direct effect on the way I work in animation today. I always say that Batman: The Brave and the Bold is the show I was watching when I watched Super Friends. The spirit, the fun, the excitement and the innocence of that series is what I wanted to capture with Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”
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CBArtist - 7/13/2010, 6:18 AM
That explains the horridness that is Batman the Brave and the Bold! I watched the Superfriends back in the 70's and early 80's. It was cool for its time. But definitely for kids under the age of 13. The Brave and the Bold is the same way, except it has the look of the 50's comics. There are reasons they changed over the years...To make them BETTER! The Brave and the Bold is a step backward in my opinion.
comicb00kguy - 7/13/2010, 6:48 AM
First off, Ed, thanks for sharing this!

The Brave and the Bold is one of the main reasons I continue to pay for DirecTV service. Part of what makes it so great is that it's written for all ages. This is something hard to find anymore- a show that has something for everyone. And I love the "retro" style animation- it gives the show a unique look in today's cartoon world, where most everything is anime or a knockoff of anime. Best of all is that it's a great way to introduce a new generation of kids to the wonders of comics, just as the Super Friends did for my generation.

Quick side tangent: Tucker reminds me of when Saturday morning was the coolest time of the week. I was another one of those kids who'd get up early on his day off from school to watch several hours of great cartoons, one after another.

B&B reminds me a lot of the old Super Friends cartoons in a lot of good ways. I grew up watching Super Friends (the 1973 series was the first superhero show I remember watching). One thing worth noting about the early Super Friends: they didn't have a lot of the 'name' villains, but if you watch the episodes, every one of those villains had great motivation for their actions. It wasn't just "I'm an evil villain, so what kind of evil can I do today?" They saw a real problem in the world, and decided to do something about it, just choosing a more villainous solution.

Yes, Super Friends could be a little hokey at times in retrospect, but it fit the times. And look at the number of people that were introduced to superheroes by that show! I'd wager that you'll find a lot of us comic fans in our 30s and 40s that grew up watching it.
McLovin - 7/13/2010, 8:55 AM
mean while, back at the Hall of Justice!

McLovin - 7/13/2010, 9:00 AM
Gawd I loved that show!

I can't watch it now, because it's too dated. But it was definitely my introduction to superheroes as well.

Btw, check out this real life Hall of Justice



cool no?

scurvydog - 7/13/2010, 9:16 AM
I still chuckle that the narrator on SuperFriends was Ted Knight. I visualize Ted doing the narrating on SF while filming scenes of Caddyshack in full Judge Smails regalia..."Meanwhile...Gambling is illegal at Bushwood,sir,and I NEVER slice!...DAMN!"LOL
comicb00kguy - 7/13/2010, 1:17 PM
McLovin: You must be near Cincinnati. I was visiting a buddy up there a while back and I remember seeing that building (the old Union Terminal). Really cool!

Scurvydog: Thanks for a good laugh! Gotta love a good Caddyshack reference!
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