Some people say that everything exists in a cycle, that ideas and cultures always circle back and repeat what came before. And that’s a concept that we’re seeing a lot of in animation these days when you think about it. Turn back the clock a couple of decades, and cartoons were quick-bursts of entertainment on TV or even on the big screen. Looney Tunes and Disney original animations were typically a few minutes of frantic action, while more cheaply animated TV cartoons usually didn’t stray too far from the 10 minute mark at their lengthiest.
And then animation started to up those runtimes, combining even cheaper production techniques to leverage as many eyeballs as possible from a growing fanbase. Pretty much every cartoon from the 1980s through to the 2000s hit the usual 21 minute mark. But lately, there’s been a trend to dial back those minutes while keeping the quality consistent. Just look at Wabbit!, Adventure Time or Teen Titans Go to see this concept in action.
And I kind of like it. I think a story, when handled by people who really know how to edit a scene and ensure maximum pacing, can really work wonders. It’s not about telling one long story over several episodes but rather a case of quality and quantity. Something that I hope that Justice League Action can achieve. There’s a bunch of new clips below for the upcoming series, and yes they are rather silly. But a good kind of silly:
I like it! Honestly, it feels like the right blend of silly while looking fresh enough to attract a newer and younger audience. And that’s exactly what cartoons need right now. But it’s the casting of veteran voice actors such as Mark Hamill as the Joker and Kevin Conroy as the Batman that’ll have older fans interested as well I reckon. Compared to a show like Justice League Unlimited, the tone here is very much lighter, but fun.
And after all, that’s what cartoons are meant to be. It very reminds me of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, one of the most underrated caped crusader cartoons ever produced, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. It certainly comes off a helluva lot better than Marvel’s attempts at “quality” animation anyway. Justice League Action kicks off at the end of the month.