Unpopular Opinions: Blue Falcon & Dynomutt 2020

OK, so Scoob! happened.

Scoob!

As you know by now, we don’t review movies here at Twinsanity, so I won’t go into detail about the movie itself (there are already a ton of reviewers YouTube who have done that already), I’ll just say that my assessment of the film overall was…

Meh

It was OK. Not great, not groundbreaking, just OK. I don’t think it was low-grade dog food like many people on the internet apparently do, but I admit that its’ main draw was either for die hard Scooby-Doo fans or people in my age bracket (40-100 and up) who grew up with 1960’s through 1980’s Hanna-Barbera cartoons and will therefore recognize and appreciate the many references, allusions and callbacks.

No, I didn’t think Scoob! was swill, but believe it or not, that’s not the Unpopular Opinion of this post. Today’s Unpopular Opinion is that, regardless of what I thought about the movie itself…

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I liked the movie’s takes on Blue Falcon…

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…and Dynomutt.

To understand why I feel this way (and to get the young’uns in the crowd up to speed), here’s a brief history lesson:

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Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder made their debut on ABC’s Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour in 1976. The Blue Falcon (originally voiced by Gary Owens) was a Batman-esque superhero (his alias was that of millionaire playboy Radley Crown) and Dynomutt (originally voiced by Frank Welker) was his eager, brave but comedically inept sidekick, who just happened to be a talking robot dog. Dyno’s bumblings were so frequent that Blue Falcon (or “B.F”, as Dynomutt called him) would often refer to him as ‘Dog Blunder’.

The duo later turn up in–of all places–an episode of Dexter’s Laboratory entitled “Dyno-Might”.

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“Guest star powers-ACTIVATE!”

Fanboy and Chum Chum

“ZOMG! SHARED UNIVERSE!!!”

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In it, the Falcon’s arch-foe, The Buzzard, ‘kills’ Dynomutt in battle and BF comes to Dexter for assistance. Dex rebuilds Dyno, but feels that the goofy ‘Dog Blunder’ isn’t a worthy sidekick to an awesome superhero like Blue Falcon, so he builds a replacement called Dynomutt X90, a more efficient but far more aggressive robot dog who’s so extreme that he sets a man on fire for littering and nearly laser blasts a little girl for picking a flower before he’s stopped by the re-activated original Dynomutt.

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“Jaywalking? Not on my watch, buster! Say your prayers, dirtbag!!”

At the end of the short, Blue Falcon says that he prefers having a comic relief sidekick because it makes him look cooler. Dexter, who’s saddled with Dee-Dee, agrees.

Fast-Forward to Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Inc. BF and Dyno turn up in this series as well (by this time it’s been long established that the crime fighting duo know and are well-acquainted with the Scooby-Doo gang, as they’ve met and crossed over on numerous occasions and even appeared alongside one another on the Scooby Doobies team on ABC’s Laff-A-Lympics), albeit with a slightly revised backstory and some notable changes in characterization.

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“I’m a falcon! Grrr!”

Here, rather than being a rich playboy, Radley Crown is a security guard at one of the laboratories of Quest Industries (as in Dr. Benton Quest, father of Jonny Quest–yes, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo and Blue Falcon exist in the same universe–it’s canon now) and Dyno is his faithful dog Reggie. One fateful night the two are attacked by a mutated monster created by Mad Science and Reggie is seriously injured in the attack. Desperate to save his friend, Crown enlists the aid of Dr. Benton Quest himself, who utilizes Quest technology to transform Reggie into a super canine cyborg. While Dyno here is his usual goofball self, B.F. is more gritty, angtsy and edgy, basically a spoof of Frank Miller’s Batman from The Dark Knight Returns.

And now we come to today. B.F. and Dyno turn up again in Scoob!. Here, Blue Falcon is a very famous and highly revered superhero, idol to millions and heavily trademarked, BUUUT (*Spoilers for those who haven’t seen the movie, or actually care, which I doubt is many of you) this Blue Falcon is not Radley Crown, rather it’s his adult son Brian Crown, a somewhat goofy and slightly egotistical glory hog who seems more interested in promoting his brand than saving the world.

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“Remember, kids: say you prayers, eat your vitamins, drink your milk, and buy my T-shirts!”

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Dynomutt meanwhile has apparently been upgraded to a sleeker, cooler and far more competent version of himself; his tech is 100 times cooler, he’s more sarcastic and quick to chide his new partner and his goofy giggles have been replaced by a more annoyed wiseguy voice, provided by Ken Jeong.

And I enjoyed the heck out of these guys, particularly Dynomutt 2.0. Confession time: I’ve always thought Dynomutt was kind of cool. Despite his usual portrayal as a bumbling dufus who hindered Blue Falcon’s efforts as much as he helped them, I always though his tech was pretty cool. Back in the ’70’s, Dynomutt, along with the Robonic Stooges…

Robonic Stooges

That’s right, THESE guys…

Were what first attracted me to the idea of utilizing high-tech as a super power. These guys were the Robocops and Cyborgs of their day. So I was actually glad to see Dynomutt on screen and not being a joke. You’re free to disagree with me but I thought Blue Falcon and Dynomutt’s banter was funny and I love their new designs. The details on Brian’s costume looked awesome and this new Dynomutt is just cool-looking and badass.

Plus, I can’t be the only one who’d like to see an animated series starring these two. C’mon, a Booster Gold-esque Blue Falcon trying to make a name for himself while struggling to live up to his father’s legacy and his snarky but efficient robot dog companion? I’d watch the heck out of that show!

Even if you don’t agree with me on that, there’s something else I think we can all agree on:

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Kid Daphne in this movie was cute as a button!

 

Talkin’ Nerdy: Hey, Nonny-Nonny!

If you’re a Tiny Toons fan, you’ve no doubt seen the short from the Special Classes Day episode, The Just-Us League of Supertoons.

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In the short, Plucky Duck (once again in the role of superhero Batduck)  and his sidekick Hamton J. Pig as Decoy the Pig Hostage (I love how on-the-nose that name is) get an invite from Buster Bunny (aka Superbun) to join his elite squad of heroes, the Just-Us League of Supertoons.

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Said League is chock full of Tiny Toon parodies of DC characters:

  • Babs Bunny/Wonder Babs (Wonder Woman)
  • Byron Basset/Aqua-Mutt (Aquaman)
  • Li’l Beeper/Li’l Dasher (The Flash)
  • Fifi LaFume/Scentanna (Zatana)
  • Sweetie Bird/Pink Canary (Black Canary)
  • Shirley the Loon/Hawkloon (Hawkgirl)

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In the short, the League initially rejects Batduck and Decoy for not possessing any super-powers, just a pile of wacky gadgets…

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Not to mention being amazing clog-dancers.

That is, until arch-villain Wex Wuthor (Montana Max) shows up and tries to drain the Leaguers of their powers, wherein Batduck’s lack of powers ultimately saves the day, earning he and Decoy key positions in the League…as parking valets.

A funny short, however, there is a hiccup: The League rejects Batduck because he has no super powers, BUT….

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…One cape who did make it into the League was Calamity Coyote as Keen Arrow, a spoof of Green Arrow. Green Arrow’s m.o. is similar to Batman’s: he’s another rich guy with cool toys. So the Just-Us League passes on one toon for having no powers, yet they accepted another toon who likewise has no powers. Kind of undermines the premise a little.

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“That does Not. Make. Sense!”

Really, all the writers could’ve done was turn that into a one-off joke, like have Batduck say, “Keen Arrow doesn’t have any powers, and he’s in the League!” to which Superbun could’ve said something like, “We have a one-non-powered hero requirement, and that position is already filled. Sorry!”

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“I certainly hope someone got fired for that blunder!”

On a related rambling, something similar bugged me about the DC Super Hero Girls ‘Super Hero High’ special. From the series’ start, Barbara Gordon only interns at Superhero High in the IT department.

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Easy as Raspberry PI

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In the special, we finally learn why Babs has yet to don the cape and cowl of Batgirl: she isn’t a student at Super Hero High because she feels she’s not worthy of being a student, because she has no powers. In an early scene, Cheetah derides Barbara for being a “Nonny”, as in “Non-Powered Person”, basically this universe’s equivalent to being a Muggle or a Nomag.

Again, this would be fine, EXCEPT….

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…There are already non-powered students attending Super Hero High!

Heck, Batgirl isn’t even the only non-powered heroine among the main cast. Katana doesn’t have any super powers, just mad samurai skills and a razor-sharp sword (which likely isn’t even possessed here, given that this is a kids’ show). Harley Quinn doesn’t have any powers either, unless we’re going by Quackerjack’s rules and are counting wackiness as a super power. Throughout the entire 60 minutes of that special, I kept waiting for someone to point out to Babs that Harley, Katana, Catwoman and Lady Shiva don’t have powers yet they’re students, but no one did.

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-Which is not to say that Batgirl isn’t worthy of being in Super Hero High, because she most certainly is.

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“‘Nonny’? I prefer, Hyper-Advanced, Technologically Gifted Mega-Genius!”

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“Hey! That’s my line, Red!”

 

Beyond the Background: Funnyman

Today Beyond the Background looks at a superhero character created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel.

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No, not the one with the blue tights and the big red ‘S’, the one with the polka-dotted clown pants and the big comedy mallet. Today’s Beyond the Background is all about Siegel and Shuster’s other superhero creation…Funnyman.

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Look! Up in your grill! Is it a squirting flower? Is it a custard cream pie? Is it a springboard boxing glove? NO! It’s FUNNYMAN!!

Who’s Funnyman? It’s story time:

In 1948, Superman related merchandise was making a fortune for its’ publisher, but Superman’s creators felt under-compensated. Also, there was a lawsuit against their employer, so Siegel and Shuster had to look elsewhere for a paycheck. They approached Magazine Enterprises publisher Vincent Sullivan, who had published their first Superman story, and thus led to the origin of Funnyman.

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Funnyman was the alter-ego of TV comedian Larry Davis, with a penchant for ‘acting out’ in public and using comedy props, practical jokes and cornball gags in place of cosmic superpowers. Davis’ manager, agent and sometimes love interest Julie Farrell had arranged for Davis, in the costume he’d later adopt as Funnyman: big floppy comedian’s jacket, big red bow tie, polka-dot pants and big floppy shoes, plus a putty nose instead of a mask or cowl…

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“I tawt a taw a putty nose!”

…for a publicity stunt in which Davis would foil a staged crime. Some crossed wires and mixed signals would lead to Davis facing down and thwarting a real criminal, and Davis took a liking to feats of daring-do, thus giving rise to the “Daffy Daredevil”, to Julie’s dismay (she’d rather he stick to stuff that earned a check). Funnyman used comedy as his power weapon, eventually padding out his arsenal with a ton o’ gags, ranging from the efficient to the downright ridiculous, he bolted through the streets on his trusty gadget-laden Trixcycle, he had a flying Jet Jalopy and eventually gained his own HQ called “Funny Manor”, with each room filled with wacky crook-catching traps.

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Funnyman was basically like The Joker, only on the good guy’s side and in no way scary.

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Funnyman didn’t catch on like Siegel and Shuster’s more famous creation, folding after only 6 comic book issues and a brief newspaper strip stint, but he was the first recorded Jewish American superhero, so there’s that.

So for all the whining I read on YouTube about Harley Quinn’s presence on DC Super Hero Girls:

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“Why is Harley Quinn there?” “Harley’s not a hero!” “She can’t be a hero!” “Why is she a hero?” “Harley Quinn’s a bad guy!” Harley Quinn shouldn’t be a superhero at Superhero High!”

I say, shaddap! She can be a hero, and Funnyman is proof of that, Harley’s just reiterating the same shtick that Funnyman employed 69 years ago.

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I like Harley Quinn as a heroic prankster who’s not the Joker’s doormat. Deal with it, nerds.

Since Funnyman was created for a competing publication, he’s technically not a DC character, so it seems unlikely that he’ll turn up in the DC Universe one day. (The character did make a sort-of appearance in issue #5 of a Super Friends comic in which a TV “funny man” named Larry Davis–who resembled Funnyman’s true identity–hosted a charity fundraiser staffed by the Trinity of Wonder Woman, Batman and of course, Superman; and the plans to revive Funnyman were considered quite seriously at one stage during the 1990’s when comedian Richard Belzer…

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Yeah, that Richard Belzer.

…was in the planning to portray the Daffy Daredevil for a proposed Funnyman motion picture that never materialized.) I think that’s a shame, cause I actually think Funnyman was kind of cool.

whaaaat

Yes, I think a comedy clown superhero is a cool concept. If you’re not going to have super powers, then you need to have something just as good to compensate. Some of the popular examples are super-genius intelligence (complete with an awesome array of high-tech gadgets), mad martial arts skills or a quiver of trick arrows. It could be because I have a natural attraction to all things zany, cartoonish and comedic, but I think the power of wacky and laughter could make for fun superhero fodder. Nowadays, all of the characters who employ comedy, silliness, jokes and pranks as their arsenal are villains, like The Trickster…

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“I’ll beat the shtick out of you, Flash!”

…Or Darkwing Duck villain Quackerjack of the Fearsome Five.

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“Excuse me, I’m out of my mind at the moment.”

Why can’t we have a hero with the power of Zany?

-And yes, I’m counting zany as a super power. Speaking of Quackerjack, in the Darkwing Duck episode “Jail Bird”, Negaduck uses the mystical Eye of Quackzoquatl to steal the powers of his fellow Fearsome Five teammates so “somebody will finally have these powers who’s got the brains to use ’em!” Once stripped of their powers (and diminished to pocket size), Quackerjack is taking it worse than the others; he’s utterly broken.

Quackerjack: You ruined me!!!!

Negaduck: What are you cryin’ about?! You didn’t have any powers to begin with!

Quackerjack: You…stole..my WACKINESS!!!

Negaduck: I did not! (Then immediately afterwards bursts into insane guffawing.)

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“So, yeah, Funny is a super power now! Deal with it, ya noids!”

Talkin’ Nerdy: Super Powers or Stupid Powers?

As Goldstar noted earlier in Six Ridiculous Super Powers, there are some superheroes whose powers, personas and skill sets are just lame and can never be considered cool no matter how artists, writers and directors try to dress them up. I’m looking at you, Battling Bantam.

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“Box-Box-Buck-CAW!”

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“Have ya heard the one about the Battling Bantam? It turns out he’s a big CHICKEN! Waka-waka-waka!”

While I don’t dispute that, there are some super powers which appear goofy on the surface, but could actually be useful, even formidable, despite their silly lamp shading. Today’s Talkin’ Nerdy will address and pay tribute to those silly but potentially effective super heroes and their unique power sets.

First up, Marvel’s Rocket Racer.

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“I’m Gleaming the Cube…for JUSTICE!!”

For those who don’t know, the Rocket Racer was Robert Farrell, a scientific prodigy who initially turned to a life of crime as the Rocket Racer. He developed a super-powered skateboard which is propelled at great speed by small rockets and cybernetically controlled by a crude walkman-like device. He wore a weapon-equipped costume, including rocket-powered gloves which give him the ability to hit an opponent with a “rocket-powered-punch.” After several defeats at the hands of Spider-Man and several brushes with the law, including a short jail sentence, Robert was later convinced to reform.

OK, yeah, this guy will probably never be an A-Lister; the name ‘Rocket Racer’ is a tad on the cornball side, and tooling around on a skateboard isn’t the sort of thing you’d expect an adult to make a career out of…

Tony Hawk

“WHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT??”

…But I don’t really think Rocket Racer’s abilities were all that lame. Think about it, the guy was a science prodigy and he could control and command his board remotely via a device of his own design. Tweak that a little and that could actually be pretty cool. It would be even better if RR’s ability were souped up a little, like another underrated (IMO) Marvel character, Taki Matsuya, aka Wiz Kid.

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“I just pimped out my ride!”

Wiz Kid was a mutant inventive genius whose power was technoforming: the ability to mentally rearrange objects made of glass, plastic and metal into powerful weapons, vehicles and devices, so while he was confined to wheelchair, Taki could transform his chair into cool stuff like a cyber-walker…

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…And a hovering land-speeder.

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Of course, that’s no substitute for the ability to walk, but it’s still a pretty darn cool power nonetheless.

Another such super power to consider is that of ‘Sweet Lou’ Dunbar, aka Gizmo Man of the infamous Super Globetrotters. As Gizmo Man, Sweet Lou’s super power was his enormous Afro, from which he could produce a vast array of gadgets for seemingly any occasion.

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“Just combin’ my ‘Fro, y’know, lookin’ for a rocket launcher.”

As with Rocket Racer, it’s all to easy to write this guy’s power off as ridiculous; after all, dude sports an Afro the size of a double-decker bus! But while the physical vessel of Gizmo’s ability is indeed out there, what he can actually do is impressive: the guy’s HAIR serves as a gateway to Hammerspace. He can produce nearly anything his team needs from it. When you think about, Gizmo Man’s super power is a lot like Honey Lemon’s from Big Hero 6.

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“Hola, amigos!”

Ah, no. In this case I’m referring to the comics’ version of Honey Lemon.

 

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BOM-CHICKA-WOW-WOW!

In the movie, Honey Lemon had a bag which contained colored balls of her own design, which, when fired, could explode into numerous effects, such as ice or foam, upon impact,

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Now that’s an impressive set of…no, no, too easy. Joke withdrawn, folks. Joke withdrawn.

However, the comics’ Honey Lemon’s purse was basically the comics equivalent to Felix the Cat’s Magic Bag of Tricks.

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“So does that make me a hero? As long as it doesn’t make me a sandwich! Aaah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”

Basically, she could produce anything she needed or wanted from said bag. When Honey needed a gun, she could pull one out of her purse. If she needed a motor scooter, reach in, pull out a motor scooter. If she needed several canteens of water for her teammates, there’d be as many canteens as she needed in there. You get the idea. So while I enjoyed the movie, I think Honey Lemon’s actual super power from the comics would have been better, and yes, I’ll say it: comics’ Honey Lemon was sexier.

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Which is not to say that movie Honey Lemon wasn’t appealing in her own way; I found her quite adorkable. She’s really tall, which was strangely appealing, and I can’t resist her with the bun.

I should also give Honorable Mention to Master Shake of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

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It often seemed like Shake was the only Aqua Teen who didn’t possess a super power, though some fans have speculated that he did: Shake was often seen brandishing weapons such as guns, chainsaws, crossbows and baseball bats which he would produce from who-knows-where, so some have conjectured that Shake’s power is producing weapons from Hammerspace and that he was the team’s weapons expert.

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“I invite all of my naysayers to cordially sit and spin!”

Finally, we come to a one-and-done character: Sydney Wanamaker, aka Captain Mystery who appeared in a single episode of Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show entitled “The Mask of Mystery”.

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Captain Mystery will kick your butt…at PlayStation.

In the episode, Sydney was a short, stout and nerdy computer-loving pal to Ronald Raymond, one half of Firestorm. This computer geek had accidentally hacked into the Justice League Computer. Using information he learned from the Justice League computer, he created an anti-gravity belt, and numerous gadgets (which on occasion would work) and became a superhero calling himself Captain Mystery.

However, he wasn’t very good at being a superhero, as he was such a big bumbler that he constantly made things worse and screwed up allowing villains to escape. After an ordeal with Lex Luthor, the Super Friends finally convince Sidney to hang up his cape for good, vowing to stick to his mousepad.

Now sure, it’s all too easy to write Sydney off as a dweeby loser, indeed the episode portrayed him as pathetically and hilariously out of his league, but I thought he had potential: again, the guy was a genius and he invented his own tech, including an anti-gravity belt. No tech company we know has made a working anti-gravity belt yet. Is that really so lame? I don’t think so.

I don’t write fan fiction ( I do write, but I prefer to use my own characters rather than other peoples’ characters), but if I did, I’d write a fanfic portraying Sydney as a cool, competent superhero. In fact, Jason did come up with such a story idea: Sometime after the events of “The Mask of Mystery”, the Super Friends formed a Junior League division whose roster included Robin, Firestorm, Aquagirl (from the Batman Beyond episode “The Call”) and the Wonder Twins. One of the new members was Sydney. After his initial run-in with the Super Friends, Sydney fully embraced his studies in high tech and in the process, he developed some miracle piece of software and made a fortune. The next thing you know, ol’ Syd’s a millionaire, and with his new found money and resources, he beefed up his tech and developed a fully functioning technosuit and gave himself a new super hero handle: Cyberstrike. He also created a wrist worn multipurpose mini-computer called the Cybertix…

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..From which he could produce a set of colored semi-aware digital holographic shapes which could perform a variety of tasks at Sydney’s beckoned call.

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These abilities include: taking digital photos, casting holographic illusions, firing themselves as projectile weapons and of course, hacking into other computers and machines. Sydney could control the Cybertix via mental implants and the device produced a continuous flow of information which only someone of his intellect could keep up with. The Cybertrix could only be removed via a passcode which only Sydney knew, anyone else who tried to remove it would get an omni-directional energy blast to the face and a few thousand volts through their body.

So in a unique reversal, the Super Friends would end up begging Cyberstrike to join them.

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“‘Nerd’? I prefer Highly Advanced, Technologically Gifted Mega-Genius!”

Toons & Tunes: The Super 6 Intro

Today’s Toons & Tunes is the intro to The Super 6, an animated cartoon series which was produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in 1966, and shown on NBC from 1966 to 1969. The series was DePatie-Freleng’s first vehicle for Saturday morning. For those who don’t know, The Super 6 was a superhero spoof which featured half a dozen diverse characters (Elevator Man, Granite Man, Magneto Man, Super Scuba, Captain Zammo and the less-than-spectacular guitar-riding rookie superhero Super Bwoing, who was typically only called into action when absolutely no one else was available) under the supervision of a cranky dispatcher. The show’s title was somewhat deceiving, as the heroes never actually fought crime as a team; each episode consisted of three 5-6 minute segments, with the introductory segment featuring Super Bwoing and the last featuring one of the other five heroes. The middle segment featured the totally unrelated The Brothers Matzoriley.

The show’s surf-rock style theme was provided by Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

Trivia Time: Captain Zammo, the character who appeared in the smallest number of segments of any of the other members of the Six, had his name changed after his first appearance from his original moniker “Whammo” to “Zammo”. According to Friz Freleng in a [1982] interview, the name change occurred when Wham-O, creators of such wonders as the Super Ball, filed a legal grievance against DePatie-Freleng over trademark infringement. Reportedly, the first commercial to air after the first televised “Captain Whammo” segment was ironically for the Super Ball.