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Western Animation / The Marvel Super Heroes

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The M.M.M.S.note  wants YOU!
Meet a sulky, over-bulky, kinda Hulk-y superhero
A two-fisted and electrically-transistored superhero
An exotically neurotic and aquatic superhero,
The Marvel Super Heroes have arrived!
Super-powered from their forehead to their toes...
Watch 'em change their very shape before your nose!
See a cane-striking superhero change to Viking superhero
A hum-dingin', real swingin', shield-flingin' superhero
They're the latest, they're the greatest, ultimate-est superheroes,
The Marvel Super Heroes have arrIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVED!
Main Theme

An Animated Anthology series from the 1960s featuring several Marvel Comics superheroes, and one of the first to do so. It is remembered today mostly for its extremely limited animation (using xerography with the art from the original comics) and ham-and-cheese-sandwich levels of theme songs, but it also was the debut in animation for several major Marvel Universe characters, particularly those from these series:

The stories were all from the early comics, and so featured the origins of the heroes and most of their main enemies. The segments were short (about 7 minutes each) and were sold as a package, to be aired however the TV station wanted.

Contrary to popular belief, the So Bad, It's Good songs were not written by Stan Lee. They remain popular to this day, with Iron Man's theme even receiving some new treatments for his first live-action movie. (lyrics here or here).

For all that it is made fun of today, the series made the "Marvel style" of superheroes (which during The Silver Age of Comic Books was relatively more serious than its rival DC Comics') more popular, and inspired a line of Animated Adaptations of other Marvel heroes, including Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

Not to be confused with the fighting game made by Capcom.

This cartoon provides examples of:

  • 65-Episode Cartoon: Because the show has segments for five superheroes and gives each hero's segment 13 episodes, there are 65 episodes altogether.
  • Aborted Arc: The series for the most part avoided leaving storylines hanging and primarily stuck to adapting stories that were self-contained, but the Hulk segments had two episodes that ended on a cliffhanger that was ignored by the next installment and never resolved because of the comic stories where they were resolved never being adapted.
    • "Terror of the Toad Men/Bruce Banner: Wanted for Treason/Hulk Runs Amok" had Bruce Banner find a solution to his transformations by creating a hideout to enter whenever night comes, relying on Rick Jones to let him out in the morning after his transformation wears off. By the next episode, this solution is forgotten and Banner is back to struggling to keep his transformations into the Hulk under control.
    • "Within This Monster Dwells a Man/Another World, Another Foe/The Wisdom of the Watcher" has the ending narration mention that the Hulk is unable to change back into Bruce Banner. The next episode disregards this detail and has Bruce change into the Hulk and back with no problem.
  • The Abridged Series: Some Marvel Mash-Up segments feature Gag Dubs of this show.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • The episode adapting Hulk's origin story portrays him as green instead of gray, to match later comics.
    • Iron Man's Mark II armor gets colored red and gold in one of Hulk's episodes, when originally it was entirely gold-colored. While this makes it look a little closer to Iron Man's other suits, it also creates an inconsistency with the episode adapting the first appearances of Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan, which shows the armor in its accurate color.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The adaptation of the Hulk's origin story renames the Gargoyle as the Gorgon.
  • Adaptation Species Change: The adaptation of The Avengers issue #4, the comic in which Captain America re-awakens in the 1960's, replaces Vuk, the D'Bari alien who changes the other Avengers into stone, with a no-name human burglar.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Pepper Potts has no freckles or bun in the episode adapting the first comic in which she appeared.
  • Adaptational Nationality: The comics introduced Peggy Carter as an American volunteer of the French Resistance, but this show instead made her a French volunteer of the Resistance.
  • Angst: Every hero had some: The Hulk for being hunted, Captain America for outliving his loved ones, Thor for being forbidden to love a mortal, and Iron Man for always being near death. (Prince Namor the Submariner also complained a lot but he really had few reasons to.)
  • Big Bad: Some of the segments had the hero's archenemy in the comics serve as the most frequently recurring or most prominent villain.
    • The Red Skull in Captain America
    • The Mandarin in Iron Man
    • Loki in The Mighty Thor
  • Bragging Theme Tune: The theme songs all boast about how awesome the heroes are.
  • Clip-Art Animation: The series basically took the artwork from the comics, and added moving mouths and limbs, spoken dialogue and sound effects. Still, considering the artwork was from people such as Jack Kirby, it was still impressive to see.
  • Ending Theme: "You belong, you belong, you belong, you belong to the Merry Marvel Marching Society..." Heard only in prints that retain a full end credit reel. And during the end credits of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The Hulk's theme contains two or three lines about the accident that gave Banner his powers.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Not that much, but when compared to many other western superhero cartoons (such as He-Man) definitely.
  • Limited Animation: This cartoon was notorious because of the fact that they just photocopied the artwork of the original comics, what little animation there is being limited mainly to the characters' mouths moving when they talk as well as the occasional eyes blinking and arms flailing.
  • Narrating the Obvious: Like most Silver Age comics, most of the exposition gets delivered through narration and dialogue, and the characters have a tendency to narrate their own actions.
  • No Swastikas: The Red Skull is clearly a Nazi serving Adolf Hitler, but the cartoon heavily downplay the Nazi imagery by not only removing the swastikas, but also make Germany a generic foreign country and shaving Hitler's mustache to make him a generic European dictator.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The Grey Gargoyle doesn't sound French.
  • Product Placement: The credits sequence features a jingle for the Merry Marvel Marching Society, Marvel's fan club of the period.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In a manner that would be repeated by Planet Hulk when it came to being unable to use the Silver Surfer, the Fantastic Four were replaced by the X-Men, when the production company was unable to get the rights to them for one of Namor's stories. The previous time, they simply omitted them completely, which itself would be repeated with Silver Surfer: The Animated Series.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The Captain America segment featuring the Masters of Evil has Iron Man recognize the Black Knight and the Melter even though the former appeared much later in Iron Man's own segments and the latter made no appearances in the Iron Man episodes at all.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Due to Hanna-Barbera having their own plans for the Fantastic Four, the studio could not secure the rights to any of that series' characters — other than, curiously, Doctor Doom. Because of this, a Sub-Mariner vignette featuring Doom replaced Reed and his companions with the first five X-Men as Doom's enemies, albeit with their team's name changed to "The Allies For Peace."
  • Truer to the Text: Captain America's segments stayed more faithful to his comics than his 1940s serial did. The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and Namor are all inversions as their segments were more faithful than what came between this and a few later portrayals.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Especially if viewers come in expecting voice-acting reminiscent of modern Marvel cartoons and movies.
  • When She Smiles: The usually grouchy Hulk is seen smiling and laughing in the show's closing sequence accompanied by the song "The Merry Marvel Marching Society".