One of the greatest things about comics has been their ability to be adapted in different ways. There are the comics, the movies, and the television shows. Although some shows are intended for mature audiences, most superhero sitcoms are produced to teach the youth of today valuable lessons every week. Unfortunately, even in the realm of comic book fiction, some shows are cancelled due to the message they send.
Hero Worship: Toy Sales Trump Valuable Lesson
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In recent years a show entitled Young Justice aired on Cartoon Network. It was a simple concept that revolved around a select group of sidekicks forming their own team next to the Justice League. The team consisted of Robin, Superboy, Miss Martian, Kid Flash and Aqualad, who would set new boundaries for the superhero genre by doing something that no other television show dare attempted: they made women lead characters.
Yes, the show was extremely well-received by fans for it’s even take on both male and female characters, and even had special episodes that focused on female team-ups. Many audiences, including myself, loved this idea, considering that many young girls are fans of superheroes.
However, it wasn’t long until Cartoon Network pulled the plug on Young Justice. Paul Dini, a producer for the bulk of DC animated television shows, said that the network felt the show simply didnt work. Their main complaint? Too many female viewers. That’s right, it seems one of the show’s biggest appeals eventually became its downfall.
The backlash of such news naturally sparked conversation and debate with many notable figures in the comic book industry.
One of the biggest voices was well-known filmmaker, comic book author and all-around geek Kevin Smith. In a podcast with television producer Paul Dini, Smith asked why beloved comic book shows like Young Justice were getting cancelled.
When the only answer was “young girls don’t buy enough toys,” Smith expressed his displeasure in his own colorful way and simply asked the question: “Why not sell them something else?”
It’s a simple concept, and yet shows like Young Justice have such a short lifespan despite high viewership and what seems to be endless possibilities.
It is saddening to consider that a genre typically associated with progressive concepts and writing should be bogged down by business beliefs from another era.
Teen Titans, another show that was widely praised for the same reason, was brought back to Cartoon Network after some years due to a large fan base. However, the relaunch never really held the same tone — and viewership — as it’s predecessor.
Who knows what the future holds for Young Justice and similar shows. If fans have their way, a third season may still be on the table. At the very least, the show’s two seasons make up one of my favorite in the genre.
This segment was written and produced by Jason McCall who reminds you that not every hero needs a cape.
Written and Produced by: Jason McCall
Edited by: Shannon Williams and Jordan Gass-Poore