View Full Version : Looking for inspirational cartoons

2012-09-08, 04:03 AM
Hello folks.

In the near future, i will have the privilege of getting to co-gm a superhero plot for a group of kids.
Now while discussing the game, the other GM noted that he would like to aim for a spiderman-like feel, where the players have to balance their super-hero life with their everyday life, and have to maintain their normal relations on top of superheroing.

Now, while i have some knowledge about spiderman, I have never actually read many comics or watched many cartoons about him (i have watched a few cartoons but never in a structured way). This seems like a good opportunity to correct that mistake.

The problem is, i have no idea where to start. So please playgrounders, direct me to the very best spiderman cartoons. (Other cartoons using the same kinds of themes are welcome as well.)

Jay R
2012-09-08, 08:53 AM
Find out whether your DM is thinking the movies, the comics, or the cartoons, and then go there. You cannot use the cartoons to get into a comics approach, for the same reasons you can't watch Star Trek to prepare for a Babylon 5 game, or Harry Potter to prepare for a Lord of the Rings game.

2012-09-08, 10:31 AM
Find out whether your DM is thinking the movies, the comics, or the cartoons, and then go there. You cannot use the cartoons to get into a comics approach, for the same reasons you can't watch Star Trek to prepare for a Babylon 5 game, or Harry Potter to prepare for a Lord of the Rings game.

Good point.

I am going to disregard the movies here, as i have watched them, and further I do not think they really have as much inspiration for me as cartoons and comic books might have.

My co-Gm has more knowledge than me about the subject matter, and I believe most of it comes from Cartoons. This combined with the relative ease with witch i can get access to cartoons prompts me to go there.

NOTE: We are not playing Spiderman: the roleplaying game. I am simply interested in seeing how spiderman stories deal with the themes of Person vs Super Hero, and sinse i hardly have the time to slug through five animated series, i would like to start with one which does this well.

Man on Fire
2012-09-08, 10:51 AM
The Best Spider-man cartoon is, in my opinion, Spectacular Spider-Man- clever writing and characters and a lot of good humor. It says a lot when the cast is so good Peter himself is a weakest link (and that's mostly because of boundaries of the original). Spider-Man The Animated Series is also worth looking into. What you should however avoid at all costs is Ultimate Spider-man cartoon, because it's awful.

When it comes to comics, I would recommend Ultimate Spider-Man (don't confuse with a cartoon), strong feeling of teenage superhero life with all pros and cons.

And if you are willing to look a bit outside Spider-man for inspirations, I have few series that also touch on similiar themes and have strong emphasis on character development and relationships between the cast:

Runaways vol.1 and vol.2 by Brian K. Vaughn - group of teenagers finds out their parents are supervillains and they have inhereit their powers ( you may also check out Joss Whedon's run in vol.2, through it's rather pointless reading Runaways vol.3, maybe except that stand-alone issue about Molly going to San Francisco to meet X-Men).

Young Avengers by Alan Heindberg and Jim Cheung, another strong series about young superheroes, through with more of themes you want, because YA haven't run away from their parents or anything. very soild writing, comics about them by other creative teams are rather pointless but have some nice character development, with exception of Dark Reign: Young Avengers, in which team meets Young Masters of Evil, which is just fun story all along.

Crossovers between Runaways and Young Avengers are sadly tied to big events at Marvel, so you may have problems getting into them. But They're fun and may provide some inspirations for more serious adventures.

Invincible by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker - It starts funny, then gets violent, but it never fails with amazing characters and exploring Mark's life as superhero in a way mainstream comics would be afraid to go.

Blue Beetle by Keith Giffen and John Rogers - Another series that tries to go into new direction with teenage superhero, often with suprising reults, good to be prepared what to do when your players start getting ideas like main character (whose first thing to do after getting superpowers was telling his entire family).

New Mutants vol.2 and New X-Men: Academy X by Nunzio De Filippis and Christina Weir - more emphasis on characters than superheroics (as they say it's not about teenage superheroes but teenagers who just happened to be superheroes) with well-written characters and relationships. Later series was taken over by X-Men: Evolution Writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, but you don't want that - it's still very good and has strong characterisation all along, but it's really, really dark.

W.I.T.C.H. - Has a lot of that "balancing ordinary life and superheroics" themes you want, especially in second season, once Greg Wiserman, creator of Gargoyles (and chief writer of Spectatular Spider-Man) got his hands on it. I haven't read the comics, but from what I heard it's pretty good on that matter too.

X-men Evolution: Of all X-men cartoons this one has teenage cast and strongly mixes these themes you're looking for with classic X-men themes of accepting your power and tolerance.

Tiger & Bunny - while most of characters are adults, they all have problems related to their normal life and their superheroics (ESPECIALLY Kotetsu), plus it has the best soundtrack for superhero game I can imagine.

2012-09-08, 08:41 PM
Not spiderman, but Batman Beyond has that exact feel.