Hi. I’m James. I’m ten years old. Wanna be friends?

If you’re a girl, someone who thinks I’m cool, someone who thinks I’m mature, or a person who’s interested in giving me lots of money just for being me, please stop reading now.

Still here? Good. Thanks for passing the “screen.”

I watched a lot…and I mean a lot…of cartoons this weekend.

It started on Friday with a “Challenge of the Super-Friends” DVD. When I was a kid, my Saturday mornings revolved around this show. Each week, it was like seeing my comic book collection explode on-screen. “Challenge” took the old Super-Friends line-up of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman and jacked it up by adding Justice League “A-Listers” like Green Lantern, Flash, and Hawkman. Sure, there were also sucktacular made-for-TV characters added to the mix, like Samurai, Black Vulcan, and Apache Chief, but the ham-fisted stab at attaining ethnic diversity didn’t get in the way of my fun.

Week after week, the Super-Friends/Justice League squared off against the Legion of Doom, a diabolical secret society of super-villains featuring the likes of Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, Cheetah, Bizarro, Riddler, Solomon Grundy, and Black Manta. While the villains were cool, their secret headquarters was even cooler–they hid out in a Darth Vader helmet-like, underwater/flying fortress hidden in the depths of a swamp. Beats the piss out of the Hall of Justice anyday, which looks more like the Bradford Plate Museum in Niles.

Unfortunately, my childhood memories rang hollow as I watched the DVD. These shows suck. Not just the animation, either–it’s the voiceovers, the stories-all awful. The revelation was on a par with learning that Santa Claus is a big, fat, hoax.

Down but not out, I sought out “Ultimate Avengers,” Marvel’s new direct-to-video feature-length animated take on their flagship super-team. While better than “Challenge of the Super-Friends,” it sucked in its own way and on its own terms. It meandered and plodded along, deadly dull and lifeless. The animation seemed stuck in between manga (which I hate) and conventional “super-hero” animation (which I also hate). It also didn’t have the fluid feeling of D.C’s modern-day “Justice League Unlimited,” which I suspect will remain the standard-bearer for years to come.

I’m now faced with the prospect of having to act my age. Maybe I should rent “Gosford Park” or something and buy some Elfa materials at Container Store. Aging sucks.

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