Anticipation for Young Justice, the latest DC Comics action cartoon being helmed by television writer Greg Weisman (best known as the head writer of Gargoyles and The Spectacular Spider-Man), has reached new heights after a preview was screened at this year’s New York Comic Con. Meanwhile, Marvel Animation (best known for ruthlessly killing The Spectacular Spider-Man) has begun dabbling in historical revision in their latest television production.
Roughly six minutes of footage for Young Justice was shown to an eager crowd two weeks ago, highlighting not only exceptionally high animation quality, but also a level of intensity and raw action not normally seen in such television productions. While this series is expected to push the existing boundaries in terms of content and writing, Marvel Animation is conversely sinking to new levels of bowdlerization in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which debuted last night on Disney XD in the United States and will be debuting this Friday on Teletoon.
Captain America’s World War II backstory was explored in the fourteenth “micro-episode” prior to the show’s debut. (Which is the beginning of the fifth episode production-wise, as will likely be the case on the home video release.) Not only do Nazis and Axis forces go entirely unmentioned, their very existence within the series’ internal history has been completely replaced by that of HYDRA, a criminal organization within the Marvel Universe. Even though the issue could have been left open, as the general plot of the episode did not require the presence of SS troops or even any reference to them, the studio still found it necessary to insert a propaganda film reel clearly establishing HYDRA as the primary threat in Europe, rather than the Nazis, right from the story’s onset.
The controversy generated by this decision has dominated internet discussion, and is unlikely to fade away any time soon. Shortly after the micro-episode aired, an unidentified staff member going by the name “yellowjacket” apparently surfaced online to offer flimsy defences for taking the series in this direction.
most of Marvel’s revenue comes from Europe, the biggest chunk of all is from Germany.
that’s the truth.
This has been the long standing problem with Captain America as a character, he won’t sell in Germany.
The germans, and the french, italians, british, etc, all would like to not be reminded of their dead relatives, just to make a cartoon that much more realistic.
Marvel is in the business of making money, and there is not a Broadcast and Standards official that will ever let Nazi imagery pass on television in a children’s market/ timeslot.
While Nazi imagery has traditionally been problematic for children’s broadcasters in many countries, series’ that contain historical content are generally able to at least allude to Nazis. Even the 90s Spider-Man cartoon, with its laughable censorship standards, was never forced to remove any potential inference of Axis forces. Why specific references could not simply be misdirected or edited out for distribution in problematic markets remains a mystery.
This questionable choice is only the latest being made by Marvel Animation, the most notable being their decision to render any continuation of The Spectacular Spider-Man impossible. After two seasons were produced by Sony Television with minimal involvement from Marvel, the comics company bought back the television rights to Spider-Man in exchange for concession on Sony’s ownership of movie rights. The fact that Marvel soon announced production of the unrelated Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon and has yet to use the character in any other television production suggests that killing what many see as the greatest incarnation of the beloved character in any medium was the company’s sole intention all along.
While current circumstances may not be ideal, we can only hope that Young Justice lives up to the lofty expectations of jaded superhero cartoon fans.