Friday, June 1, 2012

Legends of the Superheroes and Me

In the late 1970s there were two Legends of the Superheroes specials featuring DC superheroes, mixing superheroics with some pretty bad comedy, including an aging hero originally called the Scarlet Cyclone and now going my Retired Man (Scarlet Cyclone/Retired Man and Ghetto Man, unlike the other heroes, have never been seen in the comics).  The first part at least had some semblance of a traditional superhero story, with the heroes going after DC villains out to destroy the world.  I missed that part as a kid, only finding out about it from classmates after the fact and only finally saw it on a bootleg tape in the 2000s (I now own the official DVD).

But then I got excited because (not having seen the first part) I found out that there was going to be a second part.  According to the TV listings it was to be a roast. Not having had previous familiarity with the comedy versions of roasts, I thought that the villains were going to try to capture the heroes and literally roast them. In my kid’s mind I thought that was a pretty good plot for a live action superhero show. 

So I started watching part two and my excitement level increased as I saw what all heroes were going to be in the episode. My excitement turned to horror as the heroes just sat around while the villains, as well as Hawkman’s mother, etc . poked fun at them and left.  I waiting for the action to begin but it gradually became clear, this was it, what the entire show was going to be, and went to bed in disgust.

I now have a certain appreciation and fascination for the shows as something so bad it’s good (the roast in particular is mesmerizingly bad, but entertainingly so), but part of my childhood sense of wonder towards superheroes probably died a little that day I tried to watching the roast episode.

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