The absolute worst superhero content of all time: "Legends of the Super Heroes"

Originally published at: The absolute worst superhero content of all time: "Legends of the Super Heroes" | Boing Boing


If you’re wondering how a concept this obviously awful could ever get produced, I actually provide an answer at the end of this post.

Despite Mark Evanier’s insider info, I’m going to assume that the answer is “cocaine”.


I inflicted these on friends after hours at Bristol Comic Con one year in the early 2000s. They forgave me eventually. Shame they got yanked from YouTube at some point, they were up there for ages.

Also, there’s an episode of the Earthworm Jim cartoon which has a sequence of the various heroes honouring an old superhero and I’m sure it’s based on the second episode. (EDIT: scratch that, the bit with Retired man is in episode one)


Sometimes, I forget just how pervasive and socially acceptable casual racism was back in the 70s. Then I see something like that Ghetto Man bit and remember. Wow.

It’s also interesting that while they got Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin to reprise their roles from Batman, they got a new actor to play Captain Marvel, when there were two actors available who had just played that character in the Saturday morning live action kids show Shazam.


In that 2:30 set they managed to link Sammy Davis Jr. And George Washington Carver to fucking Idi Amin. Nothing casual about that, it’s like they hired Lee Atwater’s comedy writer alter-ego to script the bit.


Yeah, but blatant racist jokes tossed out as if it’s nothing is what I mean by casual. It’s like they were making a “you might be a redneck if” joke. That’s what I mean by casual. Like it was nothing, just totally normal. “Hey, how’s the weather? Crazy, right? Oh, I got a joke! Did you hear about the 3 …”


I understood your usage and I didn’t mean to imply that you were trivializing the content. I’m ashamed at how easy it‘s been to forget that displays of racism like that were unremarkable when I was growing up. As you said- wow.


Studio execs being the reason we don’t have nice things: episode #4237.

I think I saw the roast when it was on TV. I am likely more forgiving of our current genre TV and movies, as this is what I raised to expect.

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Also wild and gross that they’d lean so hard into the “imagine if Black people were in superhero stories!” bit over a decade after Eartha Kitt portrayed the villain/romantic interest to Adam West’s Batman.


Not to mention the fact that John Stewart debuted as the Green Lantern in December, 1971. They could have literally just had that actor/comedian play Green Lantern.


I will have to watch later, but I have seen a couple clips that seemed extremely campy. But - I did like the fact they tried to make costumes reflected in the comics.

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Ms Kitt did play Catwoman (and did a good job) but of course the show immediately dropped the Batman-romance angle that was a big part of Julie Newmar’s version.

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I gleefully watched the first episode (the ‘adventure’, not the Roast) when it broadcast back in 1979, as I was a huge DC superhero kid. I missed the second one (the Roast) because I had to go to a cub scout pack meeting that my folks wouldn’t let me out of. I was devastated, since the concept of recorded media for the home wasn’t a big thing yet and I figured I’d never ever get to see it.

I finally got to see the second part 21 years later when I found a bootleg VHS copy of both episodes at the San Diego con. Massive disappointment, even though I kind of had to see it at least once.

Warner Bros also put out a cleaned-up DVD with both episodes on it a few years back, with all the terrible and racist jokes present, but all the bad VHS transfer artifacts gone.


I’ve just figured out where Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer got their ideas for a bunch of the minor villains in the Venture Bros. There’s Sri Lankan Devil Bird, and She-Hemouth, and a couple of other un-named ones.

Those poor actors. Still, must be better than waiting tables, I suppose.

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The absolute worst superhero content of all time

Wouldn’t it be this, from DC Comics?


Watching it as an adult I was surprised to see Marsha Warfield, albeit in a very small but memorable role as “Woman in phone booth”. It was still very early in her career but she’s always been very good about speaking up against racism and misogyny and refused to work in places that treated women as second-class performers.

I doubt she saw the whole script and if she had she probably would have waited tables instead.

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