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Topic: Lack Of Supervillains In 70s Hulk/Spider-Man TV Shows Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 17 August 2017 at 12:04am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I wrote to the lead writer on the show, Kenny Johnson, regarding the lack of super villains on The Incredible Hulk. He wrote back to me earlier today. I asked if there were any conscious decisions to avoid super villains from the Hulk comics noting there were a few exceptions. Here is his reply:

Hi Eric...

Thanks very much for your note about our Hulk series.

The answer is simple. I was eager to stay far away from all things comic book. I was trying to make the creature live in a real world.

We certainly labored to make each episode as meaningful and substantive as possible. Our largest audience was actually adults. Working with Bix and Lou was always a treat. We all cared a lot. I'm glad it impacted on you favorably.

Thanks again for taking the time to write. It's wonderful to hear that our work captured your imagination. 

All the best...

Kenny


Edited text from blue to green because it was a great suggestion. =)



Edited by Eric Ladd on 17 August 2017 at 12:52pm
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 17 August 2017 at 12:32am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

That's very cool Eric!

I figured it was more about a realism factor than budget concerns..

Although I would have posted his response in green text  :-)
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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 17 August 2017 at 1:24am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Cutting and pasting from an iPad. ;). I will change it tomorrow morning because that would be a nice touch.
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Warren Scott
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Posted: 18 August 2017 at 12:18am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

At the risk of sounding cliche,it was a very different time. In those days most homes had one or two televisions so producers aimed their shows at a broader audience. I think they felt adults wouldn't buy too many comic book elements in a show.
This was before adults were playing video games and to some extent, comics still were considered for kids. The last comic book show to do comic book villains was the 60s "Batman" and they were going for camp.
"The Six Million Dollar Man" occasionally would have adversaries of a sci-fi nature but mostly he dealt with other spies and criminals. That's what makes those episodes so special to the old fans.
And that's why some older fans are nostalgic for Saturday morning shows like "Super Friends." Because as simple as they seem today, they were the closest television came to comic books.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 18 August 2017 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

RE: Super Friends - but those Wendy and Marvin episodes were PAINFULLY bad. There were no villains! Just people who were either "fat cats" working for their own interests, or misguided people who just needed to be straightened out by a chat with Wendy and Marvin (because having Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman against you apparently wasn't message enough.)

That show suffered so much until the Legion of Doom showed up... and I LOVED the Super Friends! Ah...


Edited by Eric Sofer on 19 August 2017 at 2:52pm
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 18 August 2017 at 10:38pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The first SUPER FRIENDS series suffered from having to follow the dictates of what would later be called 'children's television advocacy groups', who basically sucked all the 'comic book realism' out of the show, making it a bad 'Scooby Doo' ripoff.
That was a big reason why the show was cancelled after one season(although those reruns aired until 1976, when the show was revamped with new episodes, which at least featured villains from the comics). DC's tie-in comic began while the first season was still being repeated, in 'early '76, and dropped Wendy and Marvin by the end of the year, after the Wonder Twins had been introduced in the new episodes.

I grew up watching various incarnations of the cartoon(and reading the comic, which was written almost exclusively by E. Nelson Bridwell, in a less childish fashion than the show, more along the lines of '60s DC comics)...but at the time, I was also reading Gerry Conway's Justice League stories...and wishing they could do a TV show like that.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 19 August 2017 at 2:51pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

You show me an "Action for Children's Television" advocate and I'll show you an temper tantrum. I HATED A.C.T. and everything they stood for, and that opinion hasn't changed.

This seems to me to be derivative of Dr. Wertham's ramblings about causes of Juvenile Delinquency. "We can't let children see violence on television, or they'll be violent."
A) Yes, because everyone who watched the Three Stooges, Bugs Bunny,  et. al. turned into violent savage killing machines, right?
B) Super heroes fight villains. And despite what A.C.T. fantasized, there ARE villains in the world.
C) How much better an attitude was, "Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet!" and "Get along with everyone and they'll get along with you"?
D) And the point should have been that parents are there to temper what children watch and explain it to the kids. The producers and studios had no business getting into that aspect of raising children... even if more and more parents were letting Motorola be a baby sitter for their children.

Worse, when super hero-ish characters started coming back.. they were non-violent and thirty minute toy commercials. I mean, seriously - how often did you see He-Man or Lion-O punch someone a good one? Yes, the good vs. bad conflict was there, but still... it seemed rather flaccid.

And for my part, I thought that E. Nelson Bridwell was a genius, wrote fantastic stories, and was easily the Mark Waid of his era. More than once, I had quite wished that ENB was writing "Justice League of America" and Gerry Conway was on Super Friends.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 19 August 2017 at 4:53pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

It's been about 20 years since they took 'Bugs Bunny' off of Saturday morning TV(back when there actually still WAS Saturday morning TV), and even longer since many other classic cartoons were last seen regularly on a venue other than Cartoon Network, Youtube, or some even more obscure platform. Seems like the quality of life, in some ways, has been a lot crappier since then. 

ENB...well, they actually let him write three issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA...the 1976 team-up with the JSA and the Fawcett heroes, which established their home as 'Earth-S'. However, the story was written more like a 'Super Friends' episode/issue, with almost no characterization, and a lot of awkwardly plotted/staged
scenes that seemed as if they were joined in progress. He did find his 'niche' with the Shazam/Marvel Family stories in WORLD'S FINEST,in addition to the SUPER FRIENDS comic...but he was, unquestionably, a 'niche' writer.


Edited by Brian O'Neill on 19 August 2017 at 4:54pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 19 August 2017 at 5:11pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Worse, when super hero-ish characters started coming back.. they were non-violent and thirty minute toy commercials. I mean, seriously - how often did you see He-Man or Lion-O punch someone a good one?

***

I did like those shows, but I see your point.

I read up on He-Man once. So many "rules", i.e that sword was usually used to deflect laser blasts or cut through foliage. He-Man would punch through walls or punch inanimate threats (i.e. statues that "came to life"), but it was fairly docile.

Not saying that I wanted He-Man to cut people with his sword, just pointing out facts.

I did read that it occurred with other cartoons, too. Whilst the 60s Spider-Man cartoon mentioned Uncle Ben's death, the 90s one didn't explicitly talk about it; and I'm told that the military in the 1982 Hulk cartoon were only allowed to use laser guns/futuristic weapons due to network interference.
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 20 August 2017 at 12:49am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I had seen so many of the nonviolent cartoons through the 70s, 80s, and early 90s that I was stunned when a bound Batman kicked Poison Ivy in the mouth in an early episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 20 August 2017 at 12:04pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Wow:

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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 20 August 2017 at 4:12pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I'd read about negotiations for a team-up TV-movie, although that's the first I've seen a 1984 date for it.  Some sources said it would have been the one following 'Death of the Incredible Hulk'(yes, there would have been a follow-up, although I don't think anyone ever revealed how he would have been 'resurrected'), but Bixby's ill health forced the cancellation of the project.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 20 August 2017 at 4:25pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I read so many rumours in early 90s magazines. I could never be sure which had some substance - or which were just writers filling column space.

I read that DEATH OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK was going to feature Tony Stark/Iron Man. Imagine Iron Man on a 1990 TV budget, eh?!
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Brandon Frye
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Posted: 29 August 2017 at 7:19pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

The Hulk did have something of a super-villain once with "Frye's Creature" which was one of the most memorable (two-part) episodes of the series.


 QUOTE:
Same thing with the WONDER WOMAN show--no villains!

While not always villains per se, Wonder Woman did have a few super powered adversaries

One episode had a female scientist that transformed into "Formicida" who had the strength and agility of ants (the human equivalent of anyway) and could telepathically control ants. Sadly, her physical battle with Wonder Woman was disappointing and lasted about 8 seconds.

In another episode, Wonder Woman went up against an Asian man with telekinetic powers who blamed her for the death of his brother in WWII.

An alien invasion episode pitted her against a rather creepy alien monster (that I recall wore an outfit reminding me of Darth Vader).



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