Action cartoons have been around since forever, and despite efforts in the 70s to kill them off, they managed to survive and even prosper. Apparently the ‘golden age’ of the action cartoon is now over, at least according to one of the producers of the latest Batman series. Over on Screen Rant, Mitch Watson had this to say:
To be perfectly frank with you, the action genre of television cartoons right now is sort of on the verge of extinction, so I’m really hoping that if people like Young Justice and people liked Green Lantern, that they’re gonna give this show a chance, because quite honestly, if they don’t go for this kind of show… and you know what? If they don’t like it, they don’t like it, but give the show a chance, because we really set out to make something that was gonna appeal to both fans and new people, and to pull back in the Green Lantern and the Young Justice people.
There’s a good bit going on there, but it can basically be split into two parts: action shows are about to disappear, and we had to compromise when it came to our show.
Ignoring the latter aspect (because it refers to his own show), it’s quite a statement to say that action shows are on the verge of “extinction”. Besides being here before, this time around the supposed culprit is purely commercial in nature. Depending on who you talk to, Young Justice and Green Lantern were canned for various reasons, but the common reason given is that it didn’t flog enough merchandise.
Now you could argue that it was a repeat of the Sym-Bionic Titan saga from a few years ago when not enough toys were sold for the simple reason that not enough were produced in the first place. However, that simply isn’t the case with the likes of perennially-popular Batman.
So are action cartoons really dying or is Wilson making an inaccurate (if impassioned) plea for his preferred genre of cartoons?
Honestly, there is little to back up his claim that action cartoons are about to bite the dust. Legend of Korra isn’t even halfway through it’s total run on Nickelodeon and since Disney bought Marvel, there’s been a ton of shows based on their properties too. If you wanted to stretch things a bit, you could say that there is also no shortage of action-packed anime emanating from Japan either.
Action Cartoons Will Never Die
Action cartoons are too important of a genre too disappear. In all likelihood, Watson is aiming his ire at Warner Bros, Turner and parent, Time Warner for their collective failure to get co-ordinated and synergized when it comes to their DC subsidiary and animating their comics.
Outside of the comic bubble, action cartoons continue to flourish and given past experiences, there will always be a demand for it. Where action cartoons could improve, is their inclusion of more female characters, but that’s a topic for another day.