The iFanboy Letter Column – 03/06/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means you have to spend the next 48 or so hours with your horrible horrible family, begging to go back to the sweet mind numbing sanctum of the corporate office. For others, Friday is the day you throw The Comedian through a window.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming –


I am a cartoon freak — they share a place near and dear to my heart almost equal to comics. Almost. I was just wondering what are your the best and worst comic based cartoons of all time to you?

I will start. For me my all time is Batman: The Animated Series. The look the feel, the actors doing the voices, the intelligent plot lines and stories, just awesome.

The worst I just discovered recently while watching the Disney Channel at 2am. Iron Man. Not the new version but one that seemed to be from the late 80’s, early nineties. Bad costumes, bad voice overs (The Scarlet Witch sounded like a bad Zsa Zsa Gabor impersonation) nothing clicked.

Farah K. (voodoomama)

Ah, cartoons. They hold a special place in the hearts of so many comic book readers because they are the most like comic books. I love cartoons!

Worst cartoons is both easy and hard to answer. I try to do my due diligence with cartoons so if they don’t look good I just avoid them. And if I watch an episode and don’t like it I won’t watch any more. I’ve certainly seen those late night reruns of the old Iron Man, Fantastic Four, and the 90’s X-Men cartoons and they are pretty awful. But then again, that’s because I don’t have any nostalgia for them. For instance, in my memory my favorite cartoons are G.I. Joe, The Transformers, He-Man, Animaniacs, Thundercats, M.A.S.K., Voltron, Duck Tales… the list would literally go on and on for hours. If I watched those cartoons now they might be empirically bad to a guy my age, but I would love and watch them out of childhood nostalgia. Super Friends and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends fall into this category.

As for good cartoons — you pretty much nailed it. Batman: The Animated Series is the gold standard for me. The entire Timmverse is, really. I’ve written a look back at both Superman: The Animated Series (found here, here and here) and Justice League (found here and here). Those are just great, great cartoons. In terms of great modern cartoons, the Bruce Timm produced DC Universe Animated Original films have all been excellent (expect a Special Edition on Wonder Woman next week), and I’m a big fan of The Spectacular Spider-Man. I watched and enjoyed the Hulk vs. movies and I watch The Brave and the Bold every week even though it’s very hit and miss.

Of course, nothing will ever beat Looney Tunes. That’s the best cartoon “series” of all time.

That’s all, folks!

Conor Kilpatrick


I was wondering what underrated/undersold series’s tragedy got to you the most. Personally, I am a bit peeved about the fact that Sub-Mariner: The Depths — not only a story on the level of any Lovecraftian suspense/thriller tale, but also a definitive story for Namor — is apparently selling horribly; my LCS will only special order issues because it doesn’t sell well on the rack. Meanwhile, Rulk is a bestseller.

The Dude Von Doom

The list of disappointments in the success of promising series is a long one indeed. As far as the Namor story goes, I’ve heard in many places that it is indeed excellent. But I wouldn’t know, because I haven’t read it. I like Namor when he shows up in stories, but I can’t say I’ve ever been interested in him as a main character, so regardless of the fact that I’ve heard from you, and many others about how good The Depths might be, I didn’t pick it up. I’m guessing that’s a fairly typical response, so they’ve got to find some way to make people want to check out that story. But maybe it’s just something that might be great, but doesn’t interest most people.

I could go on for days about series like that. My first experience with Ed Brubaker was a book called Deadenders, which he did for Vertigo around 2000. These days when Brubaker comes out with a series, it’s big news. Back then, it was cancelled after 16 issues, only 4 of which ever reached a trade collection. Then again, it might not be a great idea to write “No future” on your first issue’s cover.

More recently, Image Comics released a book by Marvel writer Brian Reed called The Circle. It was a straight up spy thriller, and both Conor and myself were very happy with it. It got better every issue, but there were only 5. It didn’t sell well at all. How not well? It wasn’t even collected into a trade paperback. Do you realize how badly a book has to sell at Image to not be collected into a trade paperback? That’s actually where most of the money is made, and they didn’t bother. It certainly wasn’t because the book wasn’t any good — it just didn’t interest enough people. Maybe that’s a promotional thing, or the covers weren’t eye-catching enough, or maybe it’s just that people are so reticent to get out of their comfort zone that it’s just a tough sell. I don’t know, but I’m always so happy to see books that don’t have a supernatural element or zombie horde or superpower, and when that book tanked, I was incredibly disappointed.

We even see it among current books. There was a flap a little while back about Captain Britain & MI:13 getting canceled. Paul Cornell assured us that it wouldn’t be cancelled when we talked to him at New York Comic Con, but the fact is, that book isn’t burning up the charts. For all the excitement people have for it around this website, there is certainly indifference in other parts of the comic reading world. It isn’t going away, but I don’t think we’re too far from a reality where it might go away. I don’t want to see that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did.

What can you do? Well, if you have a podcast, website, and thousands and thousands of listeners, you can scream and yell for them to go buy Fear Agent, until some of them finally do. And you hope those people tell other people, and the book starts selling better. But then, that book is going on indefinite hiatus as well. So I suppose in the meantime, you find something else to read, and do it all over again. But there’s no real point in getting upset over whatever is selling that you think isn’t as good, as much as we feel the inclination. Let them buy Red Hulk!

Josh Flanagan


What is it that you guys look for in a comic book? I’ve noticed the three of you have some very different likes and dislikes and I want to know what you three specifically look for in a book?


A seemingly simple question but one that is incredibly nuanced and complicated when you sit down and think about it. In general terms, what I’m looking for in a comic book is a good story with characters I can connect to and/or piques my imagination in some way combined with art that is enjoyable to my eye. As I sat here trying to figure out how to answer this, I thought about the comics I currently read and why do I read them? The majority of the comics I read are titles I’ve read for 5, 10 some even 20 years, so there’s legacy there, but what attracted them to me in the first place? And for newer titles, what motivates me to take the chance and pick it up? All fantastic questions that we as comic readers should ask ourselves every week.

If I were to delve deeper into the meat of what I like and dislike about comics, I would be able to nail down a few genres that I’m into. Obviously the genres that matter most to me are super heroes, romance/relationships, music, and science fiction. If you look at the comics I collect the longest and like the most there is some combination of those themes, be it Uncanny X-Men, Fear Agent, or Echo. I enjoy some crime and street level comics, but not as much as Josh and Conor do and I could do without cowboy/western and war comics all together. In addition to those, I definitely dislike and avoid comics with strong magic and fantasy elements. Now of course there’s the exception now and then, like while I dislike magic, I’ll read Dr. Strange or Criminal any day of the week and I have to admit, some of those Jonah Hex stories are pretty good. But for the most part, my dislike for books like Fables stems for my distaste for fantasy based comics.

So that was a bit of a genre based view of what I look for in comics, but when it comes down to it, there is no exact science. It’s a little bit creators, a little bit genre, a little bit gut feeling. I can see a comic on the shelf and it could grab me (much like Guerillas from Image Comics recently did or Uncanny X-Men #269 did 20 years ago) and then I’m hooked, even if it defies whatever “rules” I’ve set for myself. That’s what’s so great about comics and what’s even better is no one needs to like the same comics as me. What comics we read and enjoy is wholly our own and while it’s fun to have your friends read and like the same things as you, ultimately what you like is what you like and that’s what’s important.

Ron Richards



  1. Favorite nostalgia cartoons are Anamaniacs, Darkwing Duck (obvious much), Batman: the Animated Series, Gargoyles, Tiny Toons and Duck Tales.  So much good stuff back in the day.

    And I wish more people would read Dynamo 5 🙁

  2. @drake I just picked up the first trade and am loving the hell out of Dynamo 5.

  3. I really really regret Brett Lewis and John Paul Leon’s Wintermen didn’t sell more. It’s one of my gold standard comics-to-judge-other-comics-by and I don’t think it’s sold much over 6500 on the 5th (out of 6) issue.

    So. Ridiculously. Good.

  4. @PraxJarvin-Sweet!  I love you ^_^

  5. Yes, I must also agree.  Batman: The Animated Series is by far my most favorite cartoon adaption of a comic book series.  FOX’s X-Men was really good too.  It actually works out kind of weird when you think about it because my least favorite cartoon series was The Batman on WB.  That one just sucked so bad.

    I can also agree about how I could definitely live without Fantasy & Magic genre comics!  War comics are fun though.  I’ve never tried a Western comic but I’ve been wanting to give Johah Hex a try for a while now.  I think I might jump on and see what it is all about when a new arc starts.

  6. i think brave and the bold has had more good moments than bad; the aquaman appearances have all been excellent, the recent earth-3 episode was really good (with the joker/red hood as batman’s counterpart), and the wildcat/outsiders episode was surprisingly touching.

    i’d have to say it’s certainly overachieving, and better than i’d expected.

  7. I agree with voodoomana’s opinion on the 90’s Iron Man cartoon….Ugh….just…unwatchable.

    Obviously we need to get Batman the Animated Series out of the way when we’re talking about superhero cartoons. But Spider-Man in the 90’s was great (take away Unlimited though, that sucked major), Superman the Animated Series is seriously overlooked in my eyes, and basically the rest of the DCAU shows are all gold.

    If we’re talking about non-superhero cartoons (or cartoons in general). I lived with the golden age of Nickelodean. When I turned 3 years old in 1991 all of the classic Nick shows started. Doug, Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats, Rocko’s Modern Life, and AHHH!! Real Monsters are just golden. They still hold up today and none of the cartoons today can hold a candle for what early Nick shows did. Then you got Hey Arnold!, Angry Beavers, Spongebob, Fairly Oddparents….I still watch these and I’m almost 20 years old! Then you gotta go to the other side of the channels and get me into Cartoon Network. Dexter’s Labratory, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Samurai Jack….all great. Maybe not as classic as the Nickelodean cartoons but still better then what both networks are dishing out now.

    *sighs* I wish I was 5 again….you know at least physically.

  8. First 2 seasons of Ren & Stimpy are classic. I didn’t care much for it once Nick let John Kricfalusi go. 

  9. @TNC


    That’s what the themesong robot voice sounded like he was saying to me.

    That was a really good show.

  10. @Ottobott: Is that the real translation of it?

    Cause it’s been almost 20 years now and I still dont know what the hell that guy is saying. lol

  11. @TNC – I have no idea. That’s just what I remember singing as I ran through the house in my superman pj’s with my Spiderman and Hobgoblin action figures.

  12. anyone remember a cartoon called gummi bears?

  13. um…what about Wildcats Version 3.0?  the cancellation of that book marked the end of my interest in the Wildstorm universe

  14. I would have mentioned Wildcats 3.0, but that Joe Casey guy is kind of a dick.


    Seriously, you’re not wrong.  I loved the shit out of that series. Dustin Nguyen was just starting out around then, and he’s become an amazing artist since then.


  15. @CigarandScotch – Yes. I wasn’t allowed to watch it, but I definitely remember it.

    Tailspin was also stupendous.

  16. Oh you know what was a kickass cartoon!? Mighty Max!!!!

    A kid with a magical red baseball cap that transports him around the world with a fowl named Virgil and a Thor like bodyguard name Norman. They had to fight….Skullmaster! The biggest badass villain ever!! God….I miss that cartoon so much.

  17. I wouldn’t call Namor the main character of the book. He’s more like a creature in a horror movie. 

  18. @ josh   i actually think Dustin was better back then.  his stuff now seems simpler than his early Wildcats stuff.

  19. cartoons got me into comics. i hav a bond with so many shows. i wont list them cos id never forgive myself if i missed one out.

    im with you on fear agent all the way. not a literary masterpiece, but damn fine comic books. some of the funnest stuff out there.

    that last question is tricky. the closest thing that i can answer to that is what attracts me to a book. the reason im saying this is bcos i think often if im attracted to a book i enjoy it.

    this sounds really shallow, but i cant help but base getting my books on the creators themselves. after hearing someone talk, if i like them as people ill go check out there stuff. and sometimes, if they seemed so nice, ill go out and buy another thing of theres even if i hated the first thing. sounds stupid, but its worked out pretty well so far. just one thing i havnt liked that much.

  20. You know, cartoons can be good for catching up with who is who in some of these comics. You can learn a lot about the DCU from watching JLA on Nicktoons.  

  21. Yay I feel so special. My email made it! I have a total nostalgia for a ton of cartoons. I am a handful of years younger than the iFanguys. So I do hace a nostalgia for the admitdly bad early nities X-men cartoons. Also She-ra, He-Man, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, The Muppet Babies, Pole Postion, The Littles, Voltron, The Pirates of Dark Warter, were cartoons I wouldn’t miss as a kid.

    But a great cartoon is timeless. I have a six years old and she loves Superman, JLU, Animaniacs and of course Looney Tunes, and Tom and Jerry. Of course she looks at me like I’m crazy when I watch She-ra or Thundercats. 

  22. Between like 5-7th grades there was a block of cartoons that started right after school that showed Tiny Toons, Animaniacs and then Batman: The Animated Series. I watched it every day.

    I had a cassette tape of songs from Animaniacs. I remember Wakko singing a song about all the countries and Pinky singing a song about cheese.

    Excuse me, I must go set my DVR for old cartoons. 

  23. The Iron Man series in th e90’s suffered from following book continuity at the time, and that was when Force Works was happening…that book sucked.  And as bad as Iron Man may have been, the Avengers was even worse.  They had an Avengers team with no Cap, Thor, or Iron Man.  Truly terrible.  But I must admit that I still have a fondness for the Marvel Super Heroes cartoons from the 60’s with the god-awful animation and the old DC Filmation cartoons, Hawkman, Aquaman, Justice League etc.  When I was a kid it was great to see those characters on tv.  And the cancellation/usurping by Jim Lee of Wildcats 3.0 has soured me for anything he will ever do.  He in his infinite ego, takes a book that he did create, I’ll give him that, but the book had gone from Superhero to Espionage and was arguably that good during the Alan Moore run, he decides to re-start the Wildstorm universe for no good reason and then the book he does has one issue.  ONE ISSUE! I will go to my grave firm in my belief that Jim Lee is a tool.  And he proved it a again at Wondercon, by being 45 minutes late to the Live Art panel, I am guessing that he was late if he showed at all, we go tired of waiting after 45 minutes.

  24. I have most of the DCUA stuff on DVD and it is all excellent.  Of course, New Frontier is one of my favorite animated movies, so they put out a quality show/movie.  

    It’s funny that someone mentioned Aquaman earlier.  My fiance and I were watching TV the other day, and we came across an episode of the show, and while watching Aquaman, my fiance turned to me and asked, "What is his special power?  Being a moron?"  

    As for series that ended too early, The Circle was definitely awesome, and it’s definitely a major bummer that it was cancelled.  That last issue had some crazy good art in it. 

  25. omg yeah i remember mad max they had awsome mini toys that would be like a skull that opens up and inside is this whole playset. some of my fav toons besides some that everyone was mentioned are

    freakazoid-tick-spawn-futurama-invader zim-duckman-daria-ben10

  26. opps i meant mighty max lol  its late

  27. The Simpsons is pretty good


  28. @mikeandzod21 – I’ve kind of come to expect that from Wildstorm at this point. For every great Wildstorm book that’s allowed to naturally run it’s course (Alan Moore’s WildCATs, Warren Ellis’s Stormwatch and Authority, Ed Brubaker’s Sleeper) there seems to be one that is cancelled too soon (Adam Warren’s Gen13, Joe Casey’s Wildcats v3.0 and Automatic Kafka, Christos Gage’s Stormwatch PHD). And don’t get me started on Grant Morrison’s Wildcats and Authority. After so many false starts and so much unfulfilled promise, I’m kind of done with Wildstorm for the time being, as much as I loved and continue to love all those books I just mentioned.


    My personal most underrated book right now would probably have to be Adam Warren’s excellent Empowered. While it does seem to get a good amount of love, I still don’t think it gets nearly as much as it deserves. Although I feel the same way about pretty much everything Adam Warren has ever done.

  29. I’ve loved anything Bruce Timm’s been involved with…heres an interesting aside, i read an interview with Timm where he said he much more into marvel than dc…in fact he wasnt even a Batman fan when he started on the cartoon, he also pitched a Kirby influenced FF cartoon to marvel…which they turned down!…oh the humanity! I’d love to see him do a straight to dvd New Gods movie. Heres a couple of cartoons not comic related but absolute gems…Reboot, Shadow Raiders (although it might be known as War Planets in the States), new Captain Scarlett…but my altime childhood favourite has to be Ulysses31!…A classic!

  30. Also checkout "Saturday morning Watchmen" on youtube….i very nearly pissed myself laughing!

  31. good: 90s spider-man, 90s x-men, batman beyond. Bad: Iron Man.

    comicbooks: the world the story is in to be interesting, good story, to be not too easy to guess the end, hand made or a good looking computer made art, good story but that doesn’t say much, good onomatopoeias or none at all – not too out there ones and should be dynamic, good pacing. I think that’s it.

    @TheNextChampion – do you like the newer episodes of Dexter’s Laboratory? I think they are awful. The others are good, and "2 stupid dogs" and "fat dog mendoza" are great as well and didn’t get enough episodes. Early TMNT is great as well.

    Hey Arnold! and Angry Beavers are superb. Also this was awesome: , and Bouli is also superb.

    Haven’t seen much Mighty Max but the toys are great. A building in the skull of a dinosaur and a gorilla…brilliant. Denver the Last Dinoasur is good, early Samurai Pizza Cats (has nothing to do with the show itself…), The Moomins is weird and superb, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz –

    is also superb, and is also superb (according to wikipedia it’s called either "Adventures of Peter Pan or Peter Pan & Wendy in english). Others that are good: Ox Tales, C.O.P.S., early Inspector Gadget, The Pink Panther, Maya the Honey Bee, Hey! Bumboo, 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, Spoon Obaasan (Mrs. Petterpot), The Adventures of Pinocchio (which started in 1976):

    And there’s another one that I can’t find the name to – it was about a forest where things that looked like carebears lived in but they could fly, and there were two villains – one is stupid and wears a football helmet. 

    Tiny Toons and Tick get an honorable mention. If you want a good cartoon movie – the Tom & Jerry movie where they talk. Superb (did I use that word too much?)

  32. Forgot Kidd Video – that’s good, Pingu, Mighty Mouse, alot of cheap adaptations to stuff like The Jungle Book, Frankenstein, Romeo & Juliet etc – made into cartoon movies – great ones, that are very hard to find,

    Honorable mention: Sylvester & Tweety, the movie Cat’s Don’t Dance, a Gumby Adventure, Fleischer and Disney stuff, the first Goofy movies with the skating son, Kimba the White lion, and there are several others I don’t know the name to in English (Luke and Mirena – about an african kid that goes out with a bunny and a female friend that turns to a gazelle in the morning or evening, trying to stop some evil god, Adventures in Wish Forest – cartoon aniamls and some woman addresses the watchers before each cartoon, and one time she talked about a broken jug I think, Singing With the Trolls – not a cartoon but used puppets and is very weird).

    Movies: Once Upon a Forest, Ferngully the Last Rainforest.

    Another superb cartoon show: The Houndcats: 

  33. @23skidoo – thanks. That was great.

  34. whoa! m.a.s.k.! that  reference inspired some youtube searches. there’s something really primal about old, loved cartoons. especially with the toy connection. there’s a lot of neurological research about how pretend play builds our brains, so we owe a lot of out intellect to our favorite toys. 

    also, everybody should really follow Conor’s links to his excellent timmverse reviews. my favorite was the justice league season 2 review. there was a promised justice league unlimited review- did that happen? did i miss it? i’ve gotta know what you thought of the whole cadmus thing.

  35. @John42: The JLU article hasn’t happened it.  They take a lot of time – I seem to average one a year – so I have it as a goal for 2009.

  36. I am currently going through the DCAU shows. I am on Batman Beyond. Great show.

    Brave and the Bold is Batman as he should be; punching people. None of that O’Neal/Adams crap 😉

     I also liked the Spider-man series, but recently rewatching them, it’s biggest problems were the censorship ansd the animation. Compared to the DCAU counterparts, Marvel animated movies/shows have been crap! Besides Hulk Vs., which was quite good. 

  37. Also @josh: How can a book sell if you, a fan, cannot get the name right? :p


    I don’t get why Rulk sells so much. I checked out the first issue, and it wasn’t very good. Certainly not better than Captain BRITAIN and MI13

  38. The Iron Man and FF cartoons of the 90’s vary between the seasons.  The first seasons are awful while the second (where both series had a major rehaul in designs and writing) are somewhat better, even actually good in certain episodes. On the other hand, X-Men was freakin’ awesome.  I don’t know what Conor’s problem is there.

    I am going to say this though: the 90’s was an animation renaissance between Batman, Gargoyles, X-Men, Beast Wars, and the like.  It was the point when, inspired by Batman, that cartoons were actually made seriously to a certain extent.  You watch an episode of GI Joe today and it’s hilariously bad in parts.  You watch Gargoyles today, and it’s STILL f–king awesome.

  39. @Tork: My problem with the X-MEN cartoon is that it’s bad.  And I’d rather watch GI JOE than GARGOYLES.

  40. Actually I’ll change "bad" to "uninspired"/"boring".  But like I said, I have no nostalgia for those shows because I didn’t watch them as a kid (I watched X-MEN some but found it boring then too).

  41. Really?  I mean, I liked GI Joe and Superfriends as a kid, but now I think "God, these are piles of crap."  I watch an episode of Gargoyles nowadays and I might actually like it MORE now because I can really appreciate the quality of writing and characterization more.

  42. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    That Gummi Bears cartoon actually had a really deep mythology after a while.  Same for Gargoyles.  

    Love cartoons.  Name it, I watched it a thousand times.  I was born in 84, so the big ones for me were Thundercats, Ninja Turtles, all the early Nick Toons.  Everything.   

  43. @chlop: Yeah the more recent, or I guess last couple of episodes of Dexter’s Lab was pretty terrible. But I say the first 50 episodes (hallmarked by a fan animated episode) are some great cartoons there. Thank you for also mentioning 2 Stupid Dogs….that is a fucking great cartoon.

    You know anything by Genndy Tartakovsky is pretty amazing. He’s done 2 Stupid Dogs, Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars (the original, 5min shorts). He should and probably will be considered one of the greatest animators/creators in history.

    Fun Fact: Tartakovsky is working on the sequal to ‘The Dark Crystal’, storyboarding Iron Man 2, and also is tryint to get HBO to do ‘The Dark Tower’ in a animated series format.

  44. The reason no one is reading Sub-Mariner: The Depths is because it’s an out-of-continuity story.


  45. @Diabhol: That… doesn’t make any sense.

  46. man, the world does not need a sequal to Dark Cyrstal

  47. Nostalgia for the 60’s Spidey.  Anyone else enjoyed Teen Titans?  (never gets mentioned with Batman TAS,  JL, JLU…)

  48. I like Teen Titans for their interpretation of Deathstroke but otherwise, it’s hit or miss for me.

  49. Deathstroke….I mean ‘Slade’ on Teen Titans is seriously one of the best cartoon villains of all time.

    Right up there with DCAU’s version of The Joker. That’s how much I love that character. Agree/Disagree?

  50. I can actually say that the X-Men cartoon series in the 90s got me full borne into comics.   I would pick one up here and there but when that hit, I was an addict.  I would record them on Saturday morning and rewatch them about 30x during the week.

    Favorite cartoon will have to be Pinky and the Brain.  I was watching Volume 1 of their DVD Collection the other day and was suprised how well they still hold up over the last 10 years.


  51. It’s a shame about Wildstorm.  In the early 2000 they had the best books on the market (Stormwatch/Authority, Casey’s Wildcats, Planetary, Moore’s ABC).  Now they’re an afterthought at best.  I think I might be the only person reading Stormwatch and the Authority right now. 

  52. Honorable mentions: Top Cat, The Magical Roundabout (grows on you after the 20th/30th episode seeing them one after the other in the early hours of the morning, and in the middle of summer).

  53. Just had to: The Bear’s Island. Great and weird cartooning and ideas. There was a weird mad scientist and a god guy that turned to many birds, and air pirates. You have to watch it. Trippy. It’s about a bear and a rabbit and they go around in a hot air baloon and search the island of the bears – the bear is searching for his family.

    It’s called The Bear’s Island according to this: