I loved cartoons as a kid and I still love cartoons today. I guess you can say I am still a big kid…a very big kid. Even at 35 years old I will sit back and throw on cartoons when I want to relax. Through all the years I have spent watching animation I have had many favorites. Some may be my favorite for the year or the era and some may be my favorite that week but there were very few that stayed with me all these years. Some are older and some are newer but when I sat down today to think about “What cartoons made an impact on me?” I came up with this list. In order from #10 to #1.
#10 – THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS
I loved the movie “Ghostbusters” and to a lesser extent I guess, Ghostbusters II. When I first heard there was a Ghostbusters cartoon based on the movie I was super excited! There were some changes of course to the look of the guys but it was the same team of four paranormal exterminators that I saw on the big screen. I watched this cartoon through it’s 7 original seasons, the spin-off about Slimer and the re-vamped “Extreme Ghostbusters” that saw Egon teach the new generation of ‘Busters after the original disbanded many years before.
#9 – G.I. JOE
I was always on the fence about G.I. Joe. The idea was sound but I was always turned off of the show by the ineffectiveness of my favorite character, Cobra Commander. He had one of the most unique looks in the show and was the leader of a Terrorist group that never really accomplished much. My faith in the character was renewed when a newer take on the classic show was released a few years ago and Cobra Commander stated that he was acting like a bumbling idiot to further his plans. In this version he was viscious, relentless and scary. I loved it.
#8 – VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE
I have a thing for cartoons about giant robots, as you will see further down the list and this Sunday morning cartoon was one of the things that I based my weekend around. The idea that 5 pilots controlled 5 robotic lions (I know there is another Voltron made of vehicles but the cast was too big to really draw me in) and those lions would merge into a giant robot that protected the universe from evil was so out there. My favorite of course was Keith and the Black Lion but each of the pilots added something to the dynamic of the team.
#7 – X-Men
I am a super hero junkie and Wolverine is one of my favorite heroes, and yes, part of that is due to the fact that he is a Canadian. When Fox debuted the X-Men cartoon I was into it right away but the show seemed to be hit or miss for me. I think part of the reason it was for me is that Wolverine could not really be Wolverine. He was a dumb downed version of Wolverine and I know they had to do it. You couldn’t have Wolverine unsheathing his claws and gutting people in a cartoon show but it meant that the character lost his edge. I did watch the show until the end though.
#6 – Spider-Man
With the success of the X-Men cartoon, Fox debuted a Spider-Man cartoon that debuted during the time that the X-Men was still on the air. To be honest, some of the best episodes were when both shows did cross overs. This is in my opinion the best Spider-Man cartoon that Marvel has ever produced. It had everything. The stories were not always geared towards children and the cast of characters and especially villains was handled extremely well. Plus Mark Hamill as my favorite villain, The Hobgoblin, sealed the deal.
#5 – Robotech
I would have rated this even higher but I have to lump all three sagas into one listing. I was obsessed with Robotech as a kid and I am not joking. It was one of the first anime series I had every seen, so the animation was unlike anything on television at the time. The Macross Saga was the the first, and the best, of the three sagas that we were treated too. The cartoon had a soap opera style of drama that even as a kid pulled you into the story. I remember being super excited when my favorite character, Max Sterling, was promoted to Skull Squadron leader. See, it is a giant robot thing for me.
#4 – Spawn: The Animated Series
Spawn is one of my favorite characters of all time. The idea that a good man who did bad things was recruited to lead Hell’s army and then ultimately fought against them is unique and was refreshing at the time in comics. It was a dark, gritty and mature comic book that was not dumbed down by HBO when they acquired the rights to do a cartoon. The show was very violent, had swearing and nudity just as the comic book and it allowed the character to not miss a beat. It was true to Todd MacFarlane’s vision and I am very glad for that.
#3 – DC’S TIMMVERSE
I may be put on trial for ranking this #3 but I have lumped all of DC’s cartoons that Bruce Timm included in his Timmverse as one listing. The original Batman-The Animated Series was amazing and the Justice League was exceptional and to a lesser extent so was Justice League Unlimited, but I find that DC characters are very powerful, I’ll even say over powered. So the stories had to try to lower the power levels of some of their heavy hitters (almost all of them) so the team could resolve the problem, instead of just having Superman do it every episode.
#2 – THE AVENGERS – EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES
I will say right now that yes I am a Marvel guy and Thor is my favorite comic book character and that does weigh in on my slating of this show at #2. What I feel separates the team dynamic of this show from Justice League is that in this team, all the members have their roles and it does show that the threats were so dangerous that there is a time ” when Earth’s mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat… to fight the foes no single superhero could withstand…” The stories allow each member of the team to display both their strengths and their weaknesses as well as their personalities.
#1 – TRANSFORMERS
This cartoon show defined my childhood and it still resonates with me today. I own the entire series on DVD in a collector’s edition. As a kid I had the toys and comic books and now I have the recent live action movies to enjoy. Transformers was something that ignited my imagination as the vehicles in the box would somehow by different twists and turns become a robot warrior that was either good and evil. The picture above shows my two favorite Transformers from the entire run of the show in my favorite episode of the series. Galvatron was so over the top evil, insane and powerful that I became intrigued by the character, despite his purple color scheme. Optimus Prime was the most heroic and brave Autobots who was a freaking Mack Truck. Both were leaders and both were usually the best parts of the episodes they were in.
So there you have it folks. What ere your favorite cartoons?