Monday, August 06, 2007

Cartoons Aren't Just For Kids Anymore

Two unrelated events occurred today that made me think about animated presentations and their target audiences. First, I was watching an episode of the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon, and while it was OK, I kept finding myself thinking along the lines of, "Boy, they've really dumbed this down for kids." But of course, it happens to be a program that's intended to be shown on the WB Kids network, so why shouldn't they play up the physical humour, have the characters act like morons, and keep the concepts simple and straight-forward? I mean, sure, occasionally you get material like the best Bugs Bunny cartoons, where there's equal appeal to adults and kids, for different reasons. But it takes a certain amount of genius to pull that off, so you won't see it often. Which means that, as long as comic book properties are targeted for kids' venues on TV, I shouldn't expect anything different.

Then I see the awesome trailer for the direct-to-DVD interpretation of Darwin Cooke's wonderful DCU New Frontier comic series from a couple years ago, which is being promoted as a Justice League animated feature (a good move, in my opinion). And it's just night and day, the difference between it and something like the aforementioned Legion or Teen Titans animated shows. While it's hard to get a complete sense of the tone and style from a short trailer, I like just about everything that I saw in it! Now, would a child of 8 or 9 enjoy it? Probably, although some of it would likely go over his or her head. And I suppose it really depends on the kid, and whether he or she has only ever been shown little kid stuff, or been challenged at all. But it really doesn't matter, as the intended viewers of Justice League: The New Frontier are adults, not kids. Not because of strong language or nudity (at least, I doubt either of those will be found in it), and probably not because the violence will be anything worse than you see in typical cartoons these days. It'll be aimed at an older audience - at least, I hope it will; the comic certainly was - because it'll deal with complex themes and have characters who don't act like they just stepped out of a sitcom. And that's a pretty exciting prospect, for this fan, anyway!

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