March 03, 2006

The end of an era

In seventh grade, I was a latchkey kid. My parents had split up, and my mom had to spend most evenings either doing her part in my brother's gymnastics carpool or taking classes and working towards her Associate's in Architecture. I was usually home alone until 7 or 8 at night -- it was up to me to do my homework and, usually, fix my own dinner. But mostly I spent the long hours watching teevee.

Perhaps I was a little too old for Batman, the cartoon that debuted that Fall. Kids in junior high are starting to outgrow childhood, taking the first tentative steps into the world of maturity (granted, those being the Sturm und Drang of puberty). Maybe I should've been on a sports team, or encouraged more in music or other hobbies. Whatever. Though it wasn't the way we would've said it back then, Batman kicked ass, and it was a cartoon that Serious Adults could appreciate. Yes, sometimes the villains had stupid plans, and the plots often had holes you could drive a truck through. But this was not the insipid crap of your average toy commercial delivery mechanism: Batman offered a taste of the depth and complexity that had been smuggled into the comics by progressively superior generations of writers.

After Batman came Batman and Robin. Then Superman. By then I had grown up enough to realize how stupid most teevee is, and was off to better things. But a few years back I discovered Justice League, a marvelous continuation of the franchise (they even have the same guy doing the voice of Batman). Justice League became Justice League Unlimited. And the final few episodes of Justice League Unlimited are airing Saturday nights (10:30 Eastern) on Cartoon Network.

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