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Western Animation / The Mighty Heroes

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Clockwise from top: Strong Man, Diaper Man, Tornado Man, Cuckoo Man, and Rope Man.

The Mighty Heroes is a lighthearted Super Hero Parody cartoon that originally aired on CBS in 1966, reportedly created on-the-spot by animator Ralph Bakshi. The show featured a team of five misfit heroes — Strong Man, Cuckoo Man, Diaper Man, Rope Man and Tornado Man — protectors of the city of Good Haven. The show featured a fair amount of skewering of superhero tropes, and is seen by some as a precursor to Bakshi's work on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures (where an aged group of Mighty Heroes guest star in one episode).

Dell Comics published a comic about the characters in 1967; decades later, one-shots with the characters were printed by Marvel Comics and Spotlight Comics. Their last appearence being in 1998, from the now defunct Paramount Comics in attempt to reboot it.

The Mighty Heroes provides examples of:

  • Atrocious Alias: Okay, "Strong Man" and "Tornado Man" might be passable, but there's no excuse for the names of the rest of the group being ridiculous.
  • Badass Normal: The Junker. He has no special powers other than his mechanical ingenuity, yet he briefly won a scuffle against Diaper Man, and is one of the few villains to achieve any sort of success against the heroes in the second half of the episode.
  • Bat Signal: When the city needs to summon the Mighty Heroes, it lights up an absolutely massive fireworks display to signal them.
  • The Big Guy: Strong Man, as the name implies, is the biggest, strongest member of the team.
  • Blow You Away: Tornado Man, who can turn his body into a vortex to grab and throw villains.
  • Brainy Baby: Diaper Man, the team's leader, is the smartest of the lot despite being a baby.
  • Butt-Monkey: Each of the Heroes suffered from the ineptitude of each of their teammates at least once, but Cuckoo Man and Diaper Man in particular seemed to get the worst of it.
  • Catchphrase: During the opening AND ending of each episode, and sometimes during the episodes themselves.
    • Diaper Man: "Up, and AWAY!"
    • Strong Man: "Yeah HOOOOO!"
    • Cuckoo Man: "Cuckoo, eh, cuckoo!"
    • Tornado Man: "Wheeeeee!"
    • Rope Man: "Gung HO!"
  • Chained to a Railway: The Shrinker laid the tied up heroes on the rails in "The Dusters"
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Cuckoo Man, appropriately enough, is a very odd and eccentric person..
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Given how ineffective the heroes are in the first half of each episode, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that they always save the day in the end.
  • Cuckoo Clock Gag: One of these five is Cuckoo Man. His alternate identity for civilian life is a shopkeeper selling timepieces. He changes into his Cuckoo Man outfit by leaping into a cuckoo clock on a wall. Somehow, this tiny Hammerspace can accommodate him, and is intact after he exits the thing. His only superpower is flight, and he's usually The Chew Toy of the group.
  • Death Trap: The midway point of each episode, and right before the heroes began their comeback.
  • Dumb Muscle: Strong Man.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The Time Keeper for using Cuckoo Man in his giant clock, and The Shocker for trying to take Diaper Man's bottle.
  • Flying Brick: Strong Man, the Superman expy, is big and strong and can fly ... and that's pretty much all there is to him.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: One episode of Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures (produced by Bakshi Animation), "Heroes and Zeroes", is a "guest star" story revealing that the Heroes had retired from super-heroics because they "got tired of life in the fast lane" and started the chartered accounting firm of Man, Man, Man, Man and Man. Mighty Mouse convinces them to come out of retirement and beat the bad guys once more.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The heroes AND the villains spout multiple puns throughout several episodes, befitting the show's genre parody nature.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Strong Man definitely has one.
  • The Leader: Diaper Man, the smartest of the lot, leads the team into action and contrives their strategy, such as it is.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Any supervillain better pray his Death Trap works, because when the team breaks free and regroups in the episode's second half, nothing can stop them!
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: A random lightning strike brings a scarecrow to life as a supervillain in "The Scarecrow".
  • Living MacGuffin: Cuckoo Man becomes one for the Timekeeper, who after all, needs the world's biggest cuckoo to complete his ultimate clock.
  • Maker of Monsters: The Monsterizer's probably the most obvious example, it being in his name that he turns people into monsters. The Ghost Monster creates an army of guard-demons from a witch's cauldron when he knows the Mighty Heroes are coming, too. Other villains probably count too, like the Junker with his army of giant robot termites, or the Scarecrow and the animated haystacks that carry out his bidding.
  • Monster of the Week: Nearly every episode has the heroes fighting a different villain.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Strong Man with his muscular build, to the point of comedic exaggeration.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Destroying a villain's device would usually undo its effects.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The titular villain of "The Ghost Monster" is a spook who the heroes can't hit, but he can hit them. After the Mighty Heroes escape from the requisite mid-episode deathtrap, Diaper Man gets the idea to change targets to something they can hit: the haunted house where the Ghost Monster lives. They completely obliterate it, which gets rid of the ghost.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Diaper Man is literally a baby, yet his physical strength is not far from Strong Man's.
  • Power-Up Food: Both Diaper Man and Strong Man can drink from Diaper Man's milk bottle when extra strength is needed.
  • Rubber Man:
    • Rope Man, whose body is an unending length of rope.
    • Even More so, the villain known as "The Stretcher"
  • Scary Scarecrows: The titular villain of "The Scarecrow" was a scarecrow brought to life by lightning.
  • Shock and Awe: The Shocker, unsurprisingly, is a villain with electrical powers.
  • Signature Move: Strong Man's "jet-propelled blow" where he flies into a bad guy at full speed fist-first.
  • Something Person: All of the heroes, naturally, follow the naming convention of a word with "Man" added at the end.
  • Strictly Formula: A new villain goes on a crime spree. The city calls in the Mighty Heroes. Transformation Sequence. The heroes get in each other's way and are easily defeated. The villain puts them in a deathtrap. They escape. The heroes come back as a perfectly unified group and beat the tar out of the now completely useless villain and his mooks.
  • Superhero Speciation: The team is mostly defined by its members having different powers, although both Strong Man and Diaper Man have super strength and all the Heroes can fly.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: All the team wear blue capes as part of their superhero costumes, although Tornado Man's is nearly invisible because it's very short and the same color as the rest of his costume.
  • Super Zeroes: The Mighty Heroes aren't all that impressive, often getting in each other's way and causing property damage until after they've managed to escape the villain's trap and gotten their act together for the last part of the episode. As one civilian says in "The Junker", "With heroes like this, who needs villains?"
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Apparently, breathing in space is no problem for the Mighty Heroes .
  • Team Spirit: Pretty much the only way the heroes achieve success is by working together and never giving up.
  • Thematic Rogues Gallery: Most of the Mighty Heroes' enemies followed a formula of being named "the (something)-er". The Monsterizer, the Shocker, the Junker, the Stretcher, the Drifter, the Shrinker, the Duster...
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Strong Man has an exaggeratedly mesomorphic build with disproportionately small legs.
  • Tornado Move: Tornado Man could turn himself into a tornado. He would suck villains into his vortex and shoot them into the nearest wall.
  • Transformation Sequence: In the lengthynote  opening titles, the Heroes quickly shed their "day job" clothing for their superhero costumes.
    As (X villain does Y bad thing), the call goes out for the Mighty Heroes!
  • Unwanted Assistance: The first half of each episode is just the heroes interfering in each other's efforts and falling prey to one another's bungling. Honestly, they'd be more effective if they didn't team up. Until the second half, that is.
  • Up, Up and Away!: Strong Man, Rope Man and Diaper Man fly in the classic pose, with no apparent effort. Averted with Cuckoo Man, who must continually flap his arms to fly, and Tornado Man, who flies in his tornado form.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Cuckooman doesn't really have any useful abilities. He can't even fly like the others without constantly flapping his arms.
  • Would Hurt a Child: None of the villains have any qualms with harming Diaper Man even though he is an infant, or at most a young toddler.