The pursuit of design is just the latest example of a trend.
The ’90s were a real golden era for animated comic book adaptations. Batman: The Animated Series pulled off this type of production and, more importantly, took away from the popular imagination the old idea that cartoons with superheroes should necessarily be simplistic (like Superfriends; New Adventures of Batman and the Old Ones). Marvel cartoons).
Next come the awards and praise from the audience (both children, who see the episodes as fun, as well as adults who perceive respect for the comic book), which consequently motivated the emergence of more similar productions. Also in 1992, another animated adaptation of a quadrennial property would win the small screen with Batman.
The Adventures of the X-Men had been on the market for at least 30 years by the time their animated series aired on former Fox Kids. The production wasn’t exactly a market first, as back in 1989 there was an attempt to bring mutants to life in the animated pilot Pryde of the X-Men.
However, public reception is not as unanimous as it will be a few years later; the childish tone of the production ended up going against what went on in the comics (since the ’80s were the period when author Chris Claremont had great success with his stories of social dramas experienced by mutants).
Running for five seasons, the new company offered to follow more closely what was worked on in the comics; so faithfully that even the animated trace echoed similarities with the models in the source material (as well as somewhat also with toys, facilitating a possible production and sale of the brand’s products for child viewers).
In 1994, Marvel produced another adaptation, this time targeting Spider-Man. Using the same successful strategy as two years earlier, the Spider-Man animated series was a mix of approaches aligned with Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s original vision for the character, as well as a designer who facilitated the sale of toys. .
What all of these productions have in common, besides source material from the same industry, is that they have helped consolidate a very specific niche in television. So, unsurprisingly, many other comic book productions, some of them re-adapting the same superheroes as the aforementioned animated series, sprang up in the following years.
Not only that, but the fan community created by these productions has grown since the 1990s and has seen itself even more represented after the boom in quadrish productions in theaters with the Marvel Studios films from 2008. The past has achieved a status worthy of the most precious object. in Western pop culture today: nostalgia.
What is still in production is rescuing brands that are well known to the public, but not just in general (like the announcement of a new Batman movie) but rather in specific approaches. During DC Fandom 2020, it was announced that a new Batman animation was in production; Entitled Caped Crusader, it would bring together in its production names such as filmmakers Matt Reeves and JJ Abrams and host Bruce Timm.
He who was one of the architects of the Batman animated series in the 90s, Batman of the Future and the Justice League has pointed out that the future animation will bring back the essence of the award-winning 1992 series, although more information have not been revealed. The same goes for the most recent announcement on Disney Plus Day about the X-Men.
New episodes have been announced for airing on the streaming service in 2023, which will follow on from the 1992 series. While it is still too early to know if the same animation style will be adopted, it should be noted that only the responsible company will focus exclusively on this adaptation in the specificity of Mutants is an attempt to exercise an exploration of the feeling of nostalgia.
The big question about these types of productions is that there is a gap between what is promised (therefore what is created in the mind of the consumer) and what is delivered. One of the reasons these productions were so admired was that they existed in a very specific context of television history, especially children’s programming, which was still covered with the production model of the 1980s.
These shows then break the current status quo, paving the way for a new approach in future productions. The announced bailouts will hardly break paradigms in the same way, as they will target a different consumer than their predecessors. No longer an audience of children (with a small part of adults included) but a predominantly adult audience in which there may be one or another child in the middle.
With this in mind, the greatest risk that always haunts nostalgic productions is to soar in the air; Public disappointment can be a possible reaction, whether these productions are doing their best to be faithful to previous materials or trying something new and stepping away from it altogether.
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