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Jun 222016
 

Normally I don’t do follow-ups from previous top 10 lists, but I recently found other pop culture villains I’d like to add. Feel free to check my other list of Top 10 Underrated Villains for a comparison. So here’s another group of favorites.

#10) Spell Binder from The Electric Company (70s version): He is the arch nemesis of Letterman in the reoccurring Letterman animated segments. Spell Binder likes to cause chaos by magically changing letters in words, thus also changes the object, only to be defeated by Letterman who uses letters to change the words and object back to normal. Spell Binder does appear lame compared to other villains, but if you think about it, the chaos he causes is pretty effective in the long run.

#9) Scorpina from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Let’s face it. She was a standout villainess when she fought alongside Goldar. However, Scorpina was removed from the show due to lack of footage, which is understandable. On a side note, Lamy from Super Sentai Zyuranger, who was later known as Scorpina, was just as interesting after seeing what footage had not been used on Power Rangers. My only real concern was that Scorpina wasn’t written out of the show gradually. She just suddenly vanished with no explanation of what became of her.

Mezmeron

#8) Mezmeron from PAC-Man the Animated Series: Normally, PAC-Man’s enemies are the ghosts. In this version, the ghosts have a master who appears more intimidating. As powerful as Mezmeron is, he never fights his own battles. More importantly, this is the only version of PAC-Man he’s ever been featured and even then he hardly ever appeared. It would’ve been nice to see this villain more often, possibly as a final boss in the video game. That already sounds awesome.

Lorena from True Blood

#7) Lorena (Mariana Klaveno) from True Blood: Of all the vampires on this show, I find Lorena the most incredible. When it comes to love, she is very possessive and can be short tempered from time to time, especially if anyone speaks against her. Even though Lorena was slayed, I might have expected her to return later on in the series. I mean, if slayed vampires can return on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, why not on True Blood? Of course, that never happened.

#6) Lord Maliss from Happily Ever After: He’s the brother of the Wicked Queen from Snow White that’s even more dangerous. This dark wizard can turn into a dragon and has a cape that can turn anyone into stone. On top of that, no other version of Snow White has such a character. So Maliss truly stands out, even though his only true goal is revenge.

#5) Taminella Grinderfall from Muppets franchise: This classic wicked witch character is an oldie but a goodie. Whether her evil plots are scary or goofy, Taminella was what helped make the classic Muppet Fairytale specials so magical and exciting as part of the fantasy genre, next to King Goshposh and Featherstone. With the Muppets still hugely popular, Taminella has never made an attempt for a comeback. It would be nice if she did. That is, whenever the Muppets decide to make a new fantasy film someday.

#4) Vam-Mi from Ninja Turtles: the Next Mutation: When it comes to vampire women, it seems like Vam-Mi is one of the least likely to come to mind. However, this 2000-year-old Chinese vampire is both dangerous and powerful despite that she can also be a total drama queen when things don’t go right. I find Vam-Mi as interesting as she is unique. Too bad she only appeared in the four-part episode “Unchain My Heart” and was never featured in the franchise again afterward.

Cracklin the Wizard

#3) Cracklin from The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy: I’ll admit that it can be hard to take this dark wizard seriously as a villain because of his intense allergies to animal hair. As the arch nemesis of the Raggedys, Cracklin is very fearsome and powerful when it comes to using magic and will do anything to become even more powerful. His reasons are unknown as well as his background, but one thing is for certain. Cracklin is not one to take lightly, even if his sneezing is strong like the wind.

#2) Zira from The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride: Most of the Disney villains are hugely popular, even the ones that were only in one movie. Zira is one of few who are often overlooked. Sure, Scar was an interesting villain, but Zira is even more ruthless. Even though she was never mentioned in the first movie, Zira knew Scar before his demise and seeks revenge on Simba. She’ll do anything to kill Simba, including training her own cubs to hate and kill. Now that’s just low.

#1) False Face from Batman franchise: Of all the villains Batman has gone up against, this is the creepiest and most mysterious. He’s a master of disguise and commits crimes by leaving his calling card, a false quote. False Face has appeared in several different versions of Batman, which includes Batman Beyond, but the one I remember best is his appearance in Batman (60s version). As one of the most difficult criminals to catch, False Face isn’t featured often. He’s also not on the same level of popularity as Joker, Penguin, Riddler, etc., but I think he ought to be, despite that his origin story isn’t revealed.

Jan 272016
 

LEGO toys have been around for a long time. I know because I used to play with LEGO when I was a kid. However, It wasn’t until about the late 2000s when LEGO took well known franchises and made video games, then eventually animated features with a cute style of humor.

One such feature is Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite. Apparently it’s about Lex Luthor trying to become President of the United States with help from the Joker by using destructive means to make it happen and it’s up to Batman to stop them.

Robin also helps out and so does Superman, despite how Batman only believes that he can only rely on himself. That’s a bit annoying but not nearly as annoying as Superman is when he talks in the third person. What’s the point of that?

The action is cool. As Joker disrupts an award ceremony, it gets real interesting when the other major Batman villains like Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, Riddler, and Harley Quinn help him out.

Steve BlumRob Paulsen

I met Steve Blum, who was the voice of the Penguin, at CollectiveCon 2015 and Rob Paulsen, the voice of the Riddler, at MegaCon 2014.

What’s real common in LEGO features is buildings and machinery falling to pieces as well as being put back together. Lex Luthor has a weapon called the De-Constructor that can tear powerful black objects apart like Batman’s vehicles and it’s powered by Kryptonite.

After Luthor breaks Joker out of Arkham Asylum, Joker frees the other Batman villains who even include Bane and Poison Ivy. It’s so cool how Batman and Robin keep them from escaping with exciting vehicle chases.

 

Then it all comes down to a giant Joker robot that runs on Kryptonite. As much as Batman hates to admit it, he needs help. That’s when the Justice League comes to the rescue. Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Cyborg all make an appearance.

This was a good LEGO movie. Lately many of the modern straight-to-DVD Batman movies have been darker and more brutal. In comparison, it’s nice to see that this one is a least a little bit lighter for a change.

Jan 062016
 

Another classic superhero among the Super Friends to have his own series was Aquaman in The Adventures of Aquaman: The Complete Collection (DC Comics Classic Collection) (1967-1968). This show follows the adventures of the aquatic superhero protecting the ocean from all sorts of evildoers. Especially his home, the underwater city of Atlantis.

Unlike Superman and Batman, Aquaman has no secret identity, which is great because he never has to hide who he is from anyone. Also, whenever Aquaman needs assistance he uses his telepathic powers to summon other sea creatures. He always seems to know exactly which ones are needed for any kind of peril. What I don’t understand is why Aquaman never summons any seals. I could see plenty of ways they could help out.

Aquaman’s young sidekick is Aqualad, who is often nicknamed Tadpole, Minnow, or Sardine. He’s a good fighter but often gets knocked unconscious or ends up captured. If only Aqualad had Aquaman’s powers, then the two of them would be a more equal duo. The two of them also have faithful steeds like their seahorses Storm and Imp.

And of course let’s not forget their pet walrus Tusky. His curiosity tends to get him in a lot of trouble but you can’t stay mad at Tusky for long since he’s so darn cute.

Another reoccurring ally is Mera. Although she is Aquaman’s love interest, it’s not mentioned in this series. In fact, Mera was hardly featured at all. But when she is, it’s nice to see her. Though she’s often a damsel in distress.

There are a fair amount of arch villains in this series like Black Manta, Vassa the queen of the mermen, the Brain, Torpedo Man, and the Fisherman. As interesting as they are, these villains aren’t as memorable. No back stories are revealed and their goals are either to take over the sea or to destroy Aquaman.

As one-dimensional as that sounds, the story lines for each episode are kept simple and simple is good.

This is certainly a classic animated series that I remember watching years ago but was hard to keep track of. Thank you DVD releases.

Sep 022015
 

I’m sure many of you have seen the Hagar the Horrible comic strip in the Sunday morning newspaper each week, but did you know that there was a TV special based on it? I can remember back in 1989 when Hagar the Horrible premiered on primetime, but it only aired once. Luckily, it was part of a DVD set called Cartoon Mega Pack – Advantage Collection.

As the story goes, Hagar makes his living by traveling to different places and plundering them, the same as any Viking. While he heads back to his home, Hagar imagines his wife Helga greeting him at the door with open arms, his son Hamlet as a top student at the Viking Academy, and his daughter Honey engaged to a great Viking. Unfortunately, when Hagar does get home nothing is what he expects, especially with the children.

First off, Honey is engaged, but not to a Viking. It’s to a young man named Lute, who is a minstrel and a gentleman. Personally, I think Honey has good taste.

As for Hamlet, he flunked out of the Viking Academy and has an interest in reading and writing.

Of course not everyone can pass the Viking Academy. Hagar’s friend Lucky Eddie flunked out too, but does meet Viking standards despite being an unintelligent klutz.

Since true Vikings are supposed to be illiterate barbarians with bad manners, Hagar won’t stand for it. So he tries to set his kids straight, but even that takes an unexpected turn.

This was a great TV special for its level of hilarity and toned down in comparison to other features about Vikings. Although Hagar the Horrible is still a popular comic strip today, it’s too bad that it never returned to television or had a movie. That would’ve been swell.

Jul 222015
 

It’s a well-known fact that the Super Mario Bros. video games were (and still are) so popular that the franchise extended to animated shows, a live action movie, and other merchandise. Now here’s a rare item that I haven’t thought of in years, but still remember well. It’s an album called Nintendo: White Knuckle Scorin’.

It was released in 1991 around the same time as the release of Super Mario World as well as the Super NES. The hype for this classic game was already high, so just the look of the album cover was enough to get anyone interested. That sure got me excited at first because at the time I thought it was some kind of Nintendo soundtrack.

However, I didn’t bother to get this album when I discovered that the songs had nothing to do with Super Mario World and were performed by various artists I never heard of before. As great as it looked, that makes this one of the most misleading album covers I had ever seen.

Now years later, I was able to do some research on it. It turns out that there’s a short comic that comes with it called White Knuckle Scorin’ the Adventure. It’s about Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach (known as Princess Toadstool at the time) going to Dinosaur Land for a vacation. Then of course Bowser and the Koopalings show up and capture the princess and it’s up to the Mario Bros. and their new ally Yoshi to rescue her.

 photo confused_shell.jpg

That already sounds interesting since I have always enjoyed the Super Mario Bros. comics. However, this particular comic was insane. It constantly leaves the impression that the characters are idiots except for the princess, though it keeps mentioning that she also has a “dynamite bod”.

It also doesn’t help that in this comic, neither Yoshi nor Bowser knows how to read. This is definitely something you would never expect from a Super Mario Bros. story, but it’s still good.

There are also points in the comic, where song cues are mentioned when the song title is in the dialogue. It’s not a bad idea but it would’ve been better if at least some of that dialogue had actually been in the album, like in The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience where the characters say their one-liners between songs. That would’ve been cool.

As for the songs themselves, they’re actually pretty good. There are ten songs total and it turns out that the first song, Ignorance is Bliss by Jellyfish, is in fact about the Super Mario Bros. characters. However, the other nine songs don’t but I can see them setting a mood while looking at the pictures within the comic.

Though misleading, this Nintendo album is an interesting one overall. I admit that it’s not a common item that comes to mind when I think of Super Mario and it’s very hard to find a copy nowadays, but it’s still a good one to at least look back on.