that'd be super, thanks
December 9, 2012 10:59 AM   Subscribe

What are the superhero animated DVDs to get? What are the superhero comics of the last few years to get?

I've heard tell that both Marvel and DC have had some pretty good cartoon series in the past couple of decades, but I haven't seen any of them. Which should I watch?

And much as I love superhero comics, I'm out of the loop. I've got or will be getting Atomic Robo and everything by Grant Morrison and Paul Cornell covered, but what else has been worthwhile in recent years? (I like stuff with actual characters and don't like grim-n-gritty for its own sake.)
posted by Zed to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
(I like stuff with actual characters and don't like grim-n-gritty for its own sake.)

Get Mark Waid's current run of Daredevil. Issues 1-15 (plus a few related issues from other titles) are collected in trades starting with this one. It's also available digitally on Comixology if that's your preference. Anyway: great writing and art, definitely not grim-n-gritty for its own sake.
posted by jedicus at 11:12 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Batman the Brave and the Bold and Young Justice are both pretty entertaining. Young Justice got pretty interesting character-wise after the first season. You thought you had the character progression figured out and they really just pull the rug out from under you.
posted by Strass at 11:19 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The most recent Marvel Aventers series was pretty good.
posted by bq at 11:26 AM on December 9, 2012

Response by poster: The most recent Marvel Aventers series was pretty good.

Is that Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes?
posted by Zed at 11:44 AM on December 9, 2012

Can't hurt to go with the one that started it all, Batman: The Animated Series, from the early 90s, or at least the first volume.

There's also the feature adaptation of "New Frontier," a retro 50s/60s take on many of the DC characters. But it's very abridged compared to the 2-volume collection by Darwyn Cooke.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:05 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I found The Super Hero Squad Show to be surprisingly entertaining for a kids' show. It's streaming on Netflix if you want to check it out.
posted by puritycontrol at 12:06 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Frank Miller's ‘ The Dark Knight Returns Part 1’ has recently been brought to lifein cartoon form. Peter Weller of Robocop fame does the voice of Bruce Wayne / Batman. Being a Marvel kid (way back in 1986) this was some of the only DC stuff I ever got into. I rank the original books right up there with the best of the best for the time. I was happy to see this adaptation and I'm really looking forward to Part 2 when it comes out in early 2013. These may be considered to be grim but great story and great character development imho. Wort a look.
posted by CoinOp at 12:11 PM on December 9, 2012

Invincible. It's well-drawn, it's well-written, it loves stupid superhero cliches, it IS stupid superhero cliches, yet it manages to make stupid superhero cliches seem like you've never seen them before. It's not dark, it's not deconstructed, it's not post-anything, it's just people in outfits beating up other people in outfits, in a way that makes you remember what you liked so much about that.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Additionally, Hellboy is just great. I guess it's not strictly a superhero book, although Hellboy is kind of like Ben Grimm, only with an origin story involving cosmic horrors instead of cosmic rays. There are hints of Lovecraft, there's tongue-in-cheek humor, there are Nazis, and there are cans of whoop-ass. It's best when Mike Mignola is both writing and drawing it, though once you're hooked, you'll find you can get by with Richard Corben or John Severin drawing the later books.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:28 PM on December 9, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks -- I forgot to mention I've got Hellboy covered, too, and Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four and Future Foundation.
posted by Zed at 1:01 PM on December 9, 2012

My husband knows more about the actual comics, but for TV series, we've been enjoying Avengers: Earth's Mightest Heroes, Ultimate Spiderman, Young Justice (and the current Young Justice: Invasion), and Teen Titans (on in reruns). Not currently on, but you can't go wrong with the 90's Batman the Animated Series, and Batman Beyond was good as well, and my husband quite like Batman: Brave and the Bold, which was campy but apparently really fun.

In comics that I can think of off the top of my head, Invincible (mentioned above) is great, and Runaways was great as well.
posted by katers890 at 1:46 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Personal picks:

Marjorie Liu's Black Widow: The Name of the Rose for the Black Widow as scary as she should be.

Warren Ellis and Adi Granov's Extremis, which sounds like it's going to be basis for a good chunk of the next Iron Man movie.

The first issue is about six years old at this point, but Powers is full-on discussion of superpowers of awesome.

And this is about eight years old, but if you want great discussion of superheroes, especially Superman, Red Son is just amazing.

Also, not DC/Marvel, and the blurb sounds incredibly stupid and HEY THIS IS WHAT LADIESSSS LIKE, AMIRITE?, but there is some fascinating stuff in Supurbia about superheroes using and abusing their powers/positions in society.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:56 PM on December 9, 2012

Response by poster: I'm totally, totally open to not-DC/Marvel comics or animation; I was just mentioning them up top becauase I'd heard a lot about their animated series (but not enough to be sure which were supposed to be the really good ones...)
posted by Zed at 2:42 PM on December 9, 2012

It's hard to beat Spectacular Spider-Man for quality:quantity of superheroic goodness per episode. Of course, the downside of that is that it was cancelled long before its time, but with a mere 26 half-hour episodes it's not a huge time investment. This scene from the second season may help convince you.

Also seconding DCAU (Batman: the Animated Series, Superman: the Animated Series, Justice League, and all their various spinoffs), Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice, and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Ultimate Spider-Man is decent but as an adult without kids to watch it with it doesn't hold my interest, so take that for what it's worth.

If "recent" includes "ten years old," I'm a big fan of J. Michael Straczynski's Amazing Spider-Man run. More recently, Dr. Strange: The Oath, Runaways, Thor: The Mighty Avenger, the 2006-2009 run of Blue Beetle (much cheaper on comixology), the 2000-2006 run of Batgirl starring Cassandra Cain, and I'm really enjoying Captain Marvel which just started a few months ago. Gotham Central is grim and gritty, but not for its own sake -- it's a police procedural set in Gotham City.

I realized while double-checking dates that James Robinson's Starman is almost 20 years old and therefore not recent at all, but it's about as good as superhero comics get and often overlooked in lists of the must-read, so I'll mention it anyway in case you haven't gotten around to it yet.
posted by bettafish at 2:46 PM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Runaways are all kinds of awesome.

Marvel 1602 was imaginative and well done.

The reworking of Iron Fist was most satisfying.

And if you like space opera, the reworking of Nova was also very fun.

And thank you for asking this question - I've been meaning to ask something pretty similar and now I've already got a number of new titles to check out :)
posted by jammy at 6:08 PM on December 9, 2012

I've been checking out Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America from the library (I'm about halfway through the run) and really enjoying it. It's probably good prep for the next movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
posted by lovecrafty at 8:13 PM on December 9, 2012

You may want to check out this thread from a few months ago -

Favorite Superhero Storylines

When bettafish mentioned Straczynski and Spider-man, it reminded me of that previous thread. There are some great recommendations there!
posted by Slothrop at 4:25 AM on December 10, 2012

Disclaimer: I like things that are fun. My ideal books are things like the 80s Claremont/Davis Excalibur and Giffen/DeMateis Justice League International.

Seconding the John Rodgers Blue Beetle and Thor: The Mighty Avenger for laughs and good times. You will also love Cornell's Captain Britain and MI:13.

Kieron Gillen's run on Journey Into Mystery was extraordinary. It started as a tie-in to the "Fear Itself" event, but you don't have to read the rest of the event to enjoy it. It mostly deals with the reincarnated younger Loki vs. everyone's expectations.

X-Club by Simon Spurrier and Paul Davidson was a fun miniseries starring Dr Nemesis, Kavita Rao, Madison Jeffries and Danger. Exceedingly funny writing and lovely art.

Wolverine and the X-Men is also fun; I love the writing. The art is sometimes great and sometimes blah (but never as godawful as, say, Greg Land).
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:51 AM on December 10, 2012

There's a fantastic dual-series by Mark Waid, Irredeemable and Incorruptible. Both concluded earlier this year, so you can read them in their entirety.
posted by jbickers at 6:47 AM on December 10, 2012

Response by poster: I probably should have qualified "few years" to mean more specifically something like 2-3. A bunch of older things recommended here are things I have recommended in past comics threads. I love Captain Britain and MI-13 and Rogers' Blue Beetle and really enjoyed Thor: The Mighty Avenger; I read Powers for its first several years and Runaways for the initial Vaughn and subsequent Whedon runs; I've been meaning to reread Starman. I've read the first few books of Invincible and the first couple of Irredeemable and Gotham Central, and I'll get back to them.

Journey into Mystery, X-Club, Waid's Daredevil, Liu's Black Widow, Supurbia, Wolverine and the X-Men, Irredeemable, the new Iron Fist and Nova are all on the list (as well as a slew of DVDs); thanks everyone.

For a more specific prompt, how has Matt Fraction's superhero work been, and anyone have any Iron Man other than the Extremis to recommend?
posted by Zed at 9:53 AM on December 11, 2012

(Months later...) No idea about Iron Man, but Fraction's current Hawkeye series is supposed to be batshit-amazing. Looking forward to the first trade coming out in March.

Also, I have discovered Saga and I love it with a fierce and unearthly passion.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:23 AM on February 20, 2013

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