Monday, 9 February 2009

Parody

Parody, send-up, satire, piss-take: say it how you will, my latest venture is simply a mockery of a clapped-out old genre. Albeit, a genre that people don't seem to tire of.

I thought I would take this opportunity to look into some of the other animations that send up this genre. Here is a short list, from which I will analyse a choice few.
  • Spongebob Squarepants - Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy
  • Power Puff Girls.
  • The Simpson's
  • Ren & Stimpy
  • Cow & Chicken
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Hong Kong Phooey
  • Captain Capitalism
Essentially, it would seem that having a superhero in your cartoon is mandatory: even if your cartoon isn't about super heroes.

A couple of my personal favourites include:

Powdered Toast Man

Powdered Toast Man is from, Ren & Stimpy. He is your typical kind of super hero, except that is head is made from toast and when he scratches it, the powder creates toast that people can eat. He flies backwards and is fills the 'not-quite-so-smart' bill required of every lead super hero. Frank Zappa voiced the pope, as saved by Powdered Toast Man in his very own episode on the Ren & Stimpy Show.

Mermaid Man & Barnicle Boy

Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy are the crime fighting duo that protect Bikini Bottom in the Spongebob Squarepants series. To be frank, they're a bit past it. They used to be famous TV characters (And Spongebob is somewhat of a fan of that fact), but that was many years ago. Now they are retired and live in an old persons home: but they still 'help' out when they can. Mermaid Man isn't so smart and is often saved by his much quicker (And younger) sidekick, Barnacle Boy.


Earthworm Jim

Quite possibly one of the most stupid superheroes ever, Earthworm Jim is simply an Earthworm trapped in a super-suit that landed on him when it fell to Earth. This cult series is absolutely hilarious and the character design on all the cast is brilliant.

Super Cow

Super Cow is from Cow & Chicken. She is Cow's alter ego and she is my favourite superhero. She always saves the day, very often using her udders to do so. She is always pointlessly screaming Spanish at the top of her voice: which to any Spanish speaker is hilarious and often quite adult. Nobody knows who Super Cow is...even though there is only one Cow: I always loved this when I was a kid.

Captain Capitalism

Captain Capitalism was one of the first characters I saw on Newgrounds.com. He is one of the few super hero send-ups that doesn't paste the character as completely stupid and useless. Instead, he fights for Capitalism and believes that money and hard work are the right things to do. He teaches people the American philosophy: just to a degree that is completely over the top and one sided. He teaches children to spend rather than save for college to keep the economy a float and he helps voters decide which candidates to pick.

All of these characters are a source of inspiration for my own satire: although mine is perhaps a little bit more sinister.

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