Oho, we back now? Just in time for winter vacation…
Out of the most random bout of nostalgia I’ve had in at least 10 minutes came the idea for this list. I was reminded of some cartoons I watched so very long ago and after a night of looking at old videos on YouTube, I got the idea for this list. The rules? Only superheroes (not just Marvel and DC), only openings, and no anime. Superheroes in anime don’t really work the same way. The equivalent Japanese version of what we think of as “super heroes” in America would be something like the protagonists of the “hero show” or Tokusatsu.
That said, let’s get on with it, why don’t we?
#20. The Incredible Hulk (1996) Opening Theme
While not my most watched superhero show by any stretch, I did watch a bit over the years, especially when it re-ran on Disney XD. (oh man, Disney XD). What I love the most about this opening is how, in just 6o seconds, the show-runners managed to encapsulate the most striking aspect of The Hulk’s character: his unstoppable rage. He is practically a force of nature and the world is against him. You, as an observer, can’t reconcile the pity you have for someone who has all of the odds staked against thing, along with the fear you have that he is going to hurt a lot of people and do a lot of damage. He can’t be allowed to roam free, but you don’t want to restrain him (putting aside the difficulty inherent in trying). That paradox is what makes The Hulk such an interesting character for me.
#19.Superman: the Animated Series (1996) Opening Theme by Shirley Walker
Much like the previous entry on this list, I’m not going to say that this is objectively a great opening based on the music. It’s kind of a quick and simple American hero entrance, backing a montage of Superman being himself. However, this opening, in it’s simplicity, does much to easy your mind that this show, like it’s Batman compatriot (don’t worry, we’ll get to it) is not going to be marred by the emotional humdrum and superfluous complexity that has become the standard in comic books today. What I so love about shows like this one is that it doesn’t indulge in all that. It’s a cartoon and, unlike comic books, it never really forgot that audience it was selling to: simple-minded folk. At some point, comic books became so tainted with soap opera melodrama and complicated future, past, parallel, multiverse and other some such that the core values and ideas got buried underneath, to the point where when the writers did bring things back to the core, they were touted as being “original”. In my mind, it’s nothing more than misguidedness. These shows kept it simple all the way. Nothing was too convoluted. Nothing was too outrageous. You didn’t lose track of the pieces. Everything was contained and controlled. It always boggled my mind that comic book writers never looked at these shows and thought, “Wow. So that’s how it works. Oh yeah, that’s how it was 20 years ago, minus the campiness.”
#18. Static Shock (2000), “Static Shock Superhero” by Lil’ Romeo & Master P
Static Shock is not on of my favorite shows. It does have some awesome moments, but overall the show was just a little boring for me. To put it simply, it was just in the company of far too many shows that had much more scope to them. Shows like Justice League and the like had huge heroes fighting epic battles through various locales, space and time. Meanwhile, we have a guy who can fight using electricity with his nerdy friend. While I can appreciate to novelty and the idea, it just wasn’t for me, so it’s purely a subjective judgement on my part. However, I had to recognize this unique opening. You don’t get many hip-hop stylized openings that are worth recognizing (I’m looking at you 4Kids), so I would be doing a great disservice to not recognize this opening. It has a nice beat and nonsensical lyrics, short and sweet, not too complicated, but just enough to get you into the mood. It does it’s job and it does it well. Thumbs up.
#17. X-Men (1992) Opening Theme by Ron Wasserman
Finally, we’ve gotten to a really good one. This song is iconic, and if you watched cartoons in the ’90s to early 2000’s, you don’t need me to say any more. However, for the rest of your folks, let’s settle up right here and now. If you don’t like this opening, either leave a comment as to why, or I’m gonna have to ask you to leave. Really, come on now, it’s time for you to go. See ya!
#16. Challenge of the Super Friends (1978) Opening Theme by Hoyt Curtin
Man, I had to reach back in the memory banks for this one. I watched this one a LONG time ago. I’ve only included 2 super old openings on this list, otherwise this list would practically be all Batman shows (hint hint, wink wink). Challenge of the Super Friends is one of the many animated efforts to bring the Golden Age comic books to television screens. As it was one of my first introductions to the comic book greats, I feel obliged to include it on the list for its historical value alone. I really don’t need any other reason, because it’s my darn list and there is nothing you can say otherwise. So there.
#15. Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008) Opening Theme by Andy Sturmer
Sorry, camp back to back. However, this show was a kind of cool camp. The only instance I know of where the JSA (my personal fave DC team) appear, this show did a lot of cool and hilarious things. Also, Ice’s voice acting in this show is so terribly poor that it becomes hilarious. Please watch:
And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. I swear, I was laughing for at least 10 minutes. Oh, I’m sorry, there’s more.
Yup, just terrible, horrible, no-good voice acti- Oh wait, there’s more.
This video also serves to show just how god darn hilarious this show is. And this opening, with it’s jazzy call back to the campy Batman shows of the past, is just the way to start the show. I really appreciate everything that this show tried to do and the opening is awesome to boot.
#14. Spider-Man (1994) Opening Theme by Joe Perry and Shuki Levy
Did I say before that we got to a good one? Because I was wrong, NOW we’ve gotten to a good one. I loved this show! The first superhero I read/saw was Spider-man, and when I saw this show that followed the comics closer than any other Spider-man show before, I was thrilled. Plus, this opening was bomb! Futuristic and driven by guitar, it was just too cool. Has to make the list.
#13. Teen Titans (2003), “Teen Titans” by Puffy AmiYumi
I started this show in the middle of it’s airing and never really got to see it all the way through (that’s the way it is when you are growing up alongside the airing cycle of cartoons). However, I remembered this opening from all those years ago and still look back on it fondly. It’s a fun tune that really reminds you of the style of cartoons of those days. Good memories.
#12. Ben 10 (2005) Opening Theme by Andy Sturmer performed by Moxy
Andy Sturmer returns to the list (not for the last time). This may be a controversial pick for some of you, but I would like to remind you that this is my list. And I liked this opening. It might actually be one of the reasons I even remember Ben 10. I really don’t remember much else about this show. Just a bunch of sequels called Omniverse or something. Dunno about that folks.
#11. Danny Phantom (2004), “Danny Phantom” by Guy Moon and Butch Hartman performed by Deric Battiste and Guy Moon
I was never a big fan of Fairly Odd-Parents, but I would always have to watch at least the last five minutes of it in order to see episodes of Danny Phantom after school. I really thought this show was really cool. I still love Butch Hartman’s character designs. This synth-heavy opening with completely sensible lyrics (can you believe it?!) is a really cool too. That’s why it’s on the list.
For bonus stuff, here is Butch Hartman’s Youtube channel: Butch Hartman
#10. The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008), “Spectacular Spider-Man” by The Tender Box
A legit awesome song makes the list as we get halfway through the list. This song by The Tender Box (a band which I did NOT know before this opening) is a really cool spin on classic web-slinger melodies. What classic Spider-Man song? Well, why don’t you just wait a see…
#9. Iron Man: Armored Adventures (2009), “Iron Man: Armored Theme” by Rooney
Two classic superheroes with revamped shows and revamped openings, back to back. This song by Rooney (again, no idea what this band is) is a complete 360 from what I know to be Iron Man. In fact, this whole show is completely different from my understanding of Iron Man. And unlike with other shows, I was happy to see it. This opening and the show in general was really impressive for me.
And of course… it got cancelled.
#8. and #7. Justice League (2001) Opening Theme by Lolita Ritmanis and Justice League Unlimited (2004) Opening Theme by Michael McCuistion
Teenage me was heavily influenced by 2 things: soccer and the Justice League animated series’. It was quite a simple time all things considered. If you haven’t seen either of these, well… I think we’ll just end it right there then, that sounds about right.
#6. Batman: The Animated Series (1992) Opening Theme by Danny Elfman
You know, as we get closer to the 1st entry, there will be less and less of a reason for me to say anything. And…. there you are.
Oh, and we are going to have a whole lot of Batman.
#5 and #4. The Batman (2004) Opening Theme 1 by The Edge and 2 by Andy Sturmer
Geez, these openings are so SICK!!
And we are not done with the Bats quite yet.
#3. Batman Beyond (1999) Opening Theme by Kristopher Carter
Uh ohhhhhhhhhhh, JAAM ALERT!!!
#2. X-Men Evolution (2000) Opening Theme by William Kevin Anderson
UH OHHHHHHH JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMM ALLLEEEEEEERRRRRRTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#1.Spider-Man (1967), “Spider-Man” by Paul Francis Webster and Bob Harris
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…. My childhood.
Well, that’s all from me folks. As usual, thanks for reading and have a great day!