5. Marvel Super Heroes

marvel super heroes cartoon

Though it was the first-ever Marvel cartoon, calling Marvel Super Heroes "animation" is more than a little generous. Truth be told, the show boiled down to a series of audiobooks with pictures that featured as little animation as humanly possible. Only small parts of the image moved from moment to moment, like the warble of a mouth or a flail of a limb. It's like public access anime.

The stories were all repurposed comic issues that featured Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and other heroes you would normally associate with dignity. As each segment was its own ten-minute chunk, MSH was designed to be flexible; they could be stitched together for a larger program, or they could be wedged into other kids' shows. It was Saturday Morning filler. Imagine what the unlimited breadsticks at Olive Garden eat to fill up before a meal, and that's Marvel Super Heroes.

captain america marvel super heroes

Way before the contractual disputes over the movies, Marvel Super Heroes had legal issues concerning crossover appearances. One particular Namor cartoon was an adapation of a comic that also featured the Fantastic Four, but the rights weren't in place. The X-Men were brought in to replace the FF... only they weren't called the X-Men. This band of heroes called themselves the "Allies for Peace," despite being a team consisting of familiar mutants like Cyclops, Beast and one bowdy-legged Iceman. 

Dopey as it may be, it's difficult to hate on the show too much, seeing as it was Marvel's first attempt at animating their characters. It was just low effort compared to the Disney and Hanna-Barbera cartoons of its day. At least it had some amazing theme music. Try getting that out of your head.


4. Japan shoves the Avengers into Pokeballs

marvel disk wars

What do you get when you take fifty years of beloved Marvel properties and put them into a glorified Digimon rip-off? The Japan only cartoon series Marvel Disk Wars, a series that turned all of your favorite characters into pocket monsters.

Listen closely for the Pokeball sound. Seriously.

The plot centers a young Japanese boy named Akira Akatsuki, who is visiting Tony Stark at the S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters when Loki shows up and uses his magic to transform all the Marvel heroes and villains into disks to add to his POG collection. Thankfully, Akira and his crew of stock anime teens have the power to summon the heroes for a few minutes at a time to battle each other.

The eerie similarities to Pokemon don't stop there. Though most of the heroes are confined to their disks at all times, Spider-Man just kind of hangs out -- he's basically the show's Pikachu. On top of that, Loki has his own group of Team Rocket-esque cronies who wield bad guys like Koffing Juggernaut and Arbok the Lizard. 

All kid's shows are at least partly made with selling toys in mind. Even the legendary 90s X-Men cartoon would hock "Artic Avenger Wolverine"  and "Gumbo Spice Gambit" action figures any chance it got. By warping Marvel heroes into collectible monsters, Disk Wars takes this practice to obscene new levels. It cheapens the genuine love people have for these characters by turning them into glorified Final Fantasy summons. Poor Wasp might have gotten the worst of it, having been reduced from a powerful heroine to French maid fetish material. 

Stan Lee is spinning in the hyperbolic time chamber he sleeps in to stay alive.