For more than 50 years, we’ve been treated with superhero animated shows featuring our favorite characters. While each series has something different to offer in its adaptation, here are 21 animated superhero shows that were entertaining, well produced and did justice to their source material.
Here is part two of the countdown. If you missed part one, follow the link on the bottom of the list!
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14. Spider- Man: The Animated Series
This 1994 adaptation of the wall-crawler was for many years, the defining Spider-Man animated series. Spanning through five seasons and 65 episodes, “Spider-Man: The Animated Series” was one of Fox Kids’ most popular shows during its run and eventual syndication.
With an abundance of Spider-Man characters appearing in long staged story arcs, this series was the first time viewers had an opportunity to see some of their favorite Spider-Man comic stories animated. Heck it was the 90’s, they even incorporated a clone saga into the series! Without a doubt, 1994’s “Spider-Man: The Animated Series” paved the way for the web-slinger’s tremendous rise in popularity and eventual live-action film adaptation.
13. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
While DCU brought the Justice League into televisions with an animated series in the early 2000’s, the who’s who team of Marvel superheroes didn’t receive a legitimate show until 2010 on Disney XD. Capitalizing on the press of the “Avengers” live-action film, “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” fended well for itself.
With deep sophisticated story arcs and a talented voice cast, the show lasted 52 episodes before being succeeded by “Avengers Assemble” in 2013. This Marvel series brought in popular comic heroes that hadn’t been exposed much to general audiences on television such as Ms. Marvel, Yellow Jacket and Maria Hill. There was even a Skrull Invasion storyline that was cleverly inserted early on in the show’s life. “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” was very under-appreciated during its run.
12. Teen Titans
Before Cartoon Network decided to bring the Titans onto the network in 2003, only comic readers could recognize the roster of heroes with the exception of Robin. That all changed with the debut of the anime styled “Teen Titans” series. The show took off and became a sensation with children everywhere. “Titans Go!” became a catch phrase and Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven and Cyborg became household names.
But “Teen Titans” was far from being only for kids. While the show maintained a sense of humor, a lot of elements from Marv Wolfman’s darker 1980’s “New Teen Titans” run were incorporated into storylines. The series has left its mark in syndication and is survived through the lighter toned “Teen Titans Go!” series currently airing on Cartoon Network.
11. Static Shock
If Superman was a Boy Scout, Static would be the cool kid in school. That was exactly what “Static Shock” on Kid’s WB represented; a young teenaged hero with electric powers riding a flying saucer with his best friend as his sidekick.
“Static Shock” expanded the animated DCU from the traditional hero shows that were popular at the time, Superman and Batman, to bring a fresh hipper take on heroism. Static was a teen hero and the DCU didn’t have many teen heroes who weren’t sidekicks. The show ran for 52 episodes and Static would also go on to appear in various crossovers episodes with “Justice League Unlimited.”
10. X-Men: Evolution
It could have been a very disastrous venture, reverting iconic heroes back to their hormone filled teenage years, but “X-Men: Evolution” took that risk and made it work. Arriving in 2000, the spiritual successor for “X-Men: The Animated Series” would go on to run for 52 episodes on Kid’s WB.
While the show tried to modernize the X-Men to match the (at the time) modern fashion and lingo, many classic silver-age X-Men tales were animated into story arcs for this show. An Age of Apocalypse arc played out, and so did an elaborate Weapon X retelling. While the show breathed a fresh take on the mutant franchise, “X-Men: Evolution” may very well be known as the series to produce the Wolverine clone X-23, who would later go on to debut in the Marvel comics universe and become quite a popular character.
9. Justice League
“Justice League” was the cultivation of a decade of work by Warner Bros. Animation in developing their animated DCU to the point where bringing all their iconic superheroes together made sense. Starting with “Batman: The Animated Series” and riding through “Superman: The Animated Series,” WB slowly guest starred other heroes into those shows eventually launching “Justice League” in 2001 on Cartoon Network.
This animated version of the team consisted of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl and John Stewart as Green Lantern. It was a pretty big deal to comic fans as this was a serious adaptation of the team rather than a comedic silver-age approach like the “Super Friends” before it. The success of the two seasons gave Bruce Timm and his production team an opportunity to expand the league to heights fans never dreamed of seeing in “Justice League Unlimited.”
8. Batman: The Brave and the Bold
It isn’t often you get a 1960’s television show in the 2000’s. “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” departed from the dark path the character had been portrayed in the modern era and took Batman back to a simpler time where he actually had some color. Inspired by the silver-age Batman and probably Adam West, watching episodes of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” was like enjoying the craziest silver-age stories come to life.
The show certainly did not have the seriousness or epic story arcs of the Bruce Timm DCU shows, but there was a certain charm to “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.” The series brought out the silver-age fans in all of us for three seasons and 65 episodes.
- Top 21 animated superhero shows of all-time (#7-1)
- Top 21 animated superhero shows of all-time (#21-15)