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  1. #1
    Stu's Avatar
    Stu
    Stu is offline Marvel Animation Age Webmaster
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    Iceman In Animation - A Retrospective

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    Continuing our look at the various X-Men retrospectives to celebrate the 15 anniversary of X-Men: The Animated Series, at last, The Iceman cometh! The images appear courtesty of Marvel Animation Age. Enjoy!

    _________________

    A popular member of the group since it’s interpretation, Iceman has found himself in nearly all of the X-Men’s various incarnations in one way or another, often with commendable results. He’s never quite reached Wolverine, Cyclops or Nightcrawler levels of popularity but could probably consider himself among the B list when it comes to popularity amongst fans.

    As with all the other original X-Men, Iceman got his cartoon start rolling in the Marvel Superheroes Show in the Namor segment. A rare cartoon in every right, the episode isn’t spoken of fondly by those who have seen it, myself not among those “lucky” folks. The episode is based off Jack Kirby’s design, which looks pretty ridiculous in the modern day. He looks like a snowman in black boots rather than a guy covered in ice. I won’t speak much more of this episode, because I’ve done it that many times before and I don’t really know what else to say. If I’m going to continue doing this, I really should make an effort to watch this episode, shouldn’t I?



    Iceman would surprisingly take near centre stage the next time he was animated. With the syndicated 1980’s solo Spider-Man show proving that Spider-Man could work on TV again, NBC ordered an all new Spider-Man show to air on it’s network, once they had induced their own mandates onto the show of course. The first, and main one from the sounds of things – Spider-Man is to be part of a team. To their credit, they (and audiences) had already see solo Spidey, now was the time for something new. It is rumoured that the original line up was to be Spider-Man, Iceman and The Human Torch but that was nixed and a female was encouraged to be included to attract girl viewers. I am not sure why Iceman specifically was chosen and have never managed to obtain that tell all interview for this show as I have a few others nut regardless, Iceman was chosen to be Spider-Man’s amazing friend and th two of them were joined by original character Firestar – together, they would be the Spider-Friends.

    Some fans balked at the idea of Spider-Man being in a team – I thought it worked. I think Spider-Man certainly works better solo – the idea of him being in The Avengers goes against the very core of the character to me (the fact that since they’ve made a huge fuss over The New Avengers and they’ve yet to do anything of real relevance only angers me further), but this version of Spider-Man is still the one we know and love, it’s just that he now shares a flat with two fellow crime fighters. Spider-Man is still the star of course, Firestar is his would be romantic interest and Iceman plays best pal. He does this very well, with a string of classic one-liners and constantly playing the dumb one to super smart scientist Spidey. Bobby’s foot is constantly in his mouth from the opening moments of The Triumph Of The Green Goblin right the way through to the closing moments of Mission: Save The Guardstar. Whether asking Kraven The Hunter if he can borrow 50 bucks for the rent or letting The Green Goblin kidnap Mona Osborn right in front of him, Bobby was always fun to watch. Both he and Spider-Man obviously have feelings for Firestar and they even admit it to each other but Spidey claims that he’s scared in case he ruins their friendship an puts an end to the Spider-Friends. My own assumption for Bobby not telling her about his feelings is that deep down; he knows she’s got a thing for Peter. Any other fans of the show have any thoughts on this?



    Frank Welker provides the voice of Iceman – it’s perfect casting. There are few that can deliver a good one liner quite like Welker and it sounds like he had a lot of fun with the role. I honestly can’t think of anyone who could’ve done this role better, he was simply perfect for it. I don’t think he would’ve fit in with any other version of the character, but Welker was perfect for amazing friends. Design wise, Iceman is very nice. The show had simple, smooth designs, which usually translated well into animation, and Iceman is no exception.

    In the show, both Iceman and Firestar are former X-Men members but left, there’s no bitter break up, presumably they left to attend ESU, where they met Spider-Man and Peter Parker. In a nice nod to the show’s actual origin, Peter meets Angelica because her dog runs into him (the show was green light when the producers agreed for the trio to have a comedy dog). The show was all about having fun and no one did it better than Iceman. There’s nothing too serious about this cartoon, it was made in the 80’s after all. It can be described as harmless fun to most but if you’re not familiar with cartoons from this era, you’d probably struggle to watch it now – this is everything Batman: The Animated Series isn’t.

    Iceman’s origin is told in season two (curiously, all of season two is a mere three episodes in length and they are all origin episodes). It’s not very good – Videoman is featured which means it’s already a lot worse than it should be. Iceman’s origin takes a back story to this most feeble of villains, but the animation is superlative and we get a cool cameo from Professor Xavier, who contacts Bobby after noticing his heroic deed of saving a woman from a burning building. In turn, he offers Bobby in his School For Gifted Youngsters. Sadly, Firestar’s origin episode isn’t as good as Bobby’s, but we do get a whoop ass appearance from Juggernaut in that one. Ironically enough, Spider-Man’s own origin episode, the story we’ve all seen a hundred times is actually one of the show’s jewel episodes. They took the right approach to origin stories – tell it again to remind the character why he became Spider-Man in the first place – add that extra layer to his character rather than just re-treading over old ground.

    The season three premiere (Spider-Man: Unmasked for those too lazy to head over to MAA to read James’ review of it) only serves to remind us that The Sandman is a little too stupid to make the connection that Angelica Jones and Bobby Drake are Firestar and Iceman respectively and that the same are the sidekicks here – Spider-Man is the star of the show. The other two are simply unable to beat The Sandman. Great episode. Silly conclusion, but wonderful first and second acts more than make up for it.



    The show’s finale sees Iceman reunited with his sister, Lightwave a character made specifically for this show. The episode goes that wee bit darker than most do, with Iceman being forced to fight his brainwashed sister but this isn’t the show’s finale – it’s simply the place where they stopped making new episodes. There’s no resolution – it all simply ends. To get a small glimpse of how Dennis Marks planned to end it, along with gorgeous fan art, head over to www.spider-friends.com. Given that the show’s release on DVD is nothing more than a pipe dream at this stage, I’m hoping the webmaster will diverge further information, if he is allowed. Wink wink, nudge nudge!

    So, since temperature related puns are mandatory in this instance, what we got was a very cool, likeable version of Iceman. What we would get next would be much, much colder…
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  2. #2
    Hypestyle's Avatar
    Hypestyle is offline Member
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    I was severely disappointed that the 90's X-Men show didn't have Iceman as a regular.. ah well.. at least he was incorporated into Xmen Evolution..
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stu View Post
    The show’s finale sees Iceman reunited with his sister, Lightwave a character made specifically for this show. The episode goes that wee bit darker than most do, with Iceman being forced to fight his brainwashed sister but this isn’t the show’s finale – it’s simply the place where they stopped making new episodes. There’s no resolution – it all simply ends. To get a small glimpse of how Dennis Marks planned to end it, along with gorgeous fan art, head over to www.spider-friends.com.
    Uh... could you be a little more specific? I can't find it.
    "There's no need to tread lightly upon my feelings. I'm the first one to admit that Superman is my arch-enemy, and that he alone stands between me and my goal - but I shall find a way to deal with him..." - Lex Luthor, Atom Man vs. Superman

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  4. #4
    Stu's Avatar
    Stu
    Stu is offline Marvel Animation Age Webmaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caswin
    Uh... could you be a little more specific? I can't find it.
    http://www.spider-friends.com/BuenaV...uenaVista.html

    Keep scrolling down. Towards the bottom. I believe Spider-Friends drew that himself too. Jon! Clarify please!
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  5. #5
    Captain Highwind is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stu View Post
    http://www.spider-friends.com/BuenaV...uenaVista.html

    Keep scrolling down. Towards the bottom. I believe Spider-Friends drew that himself too. Jon! Clarify please!
    That is some gorgeous artwork there, Spider-Friends. You were holding out on us.

    And now you tease us; since we aren't able to see what the rest of Spider-Friend version Rhino looks like because the comic stops. D:
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  6. #6
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    Spider-Friends is offline www.spider-friends.com
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    Gawd...I'm a sucker for a compliment:



    This is strictly a fan comic; Dennis Marks had nothing to do with it. I plotted it and the great Donald Glut did the script for me! (Don wrote the BEST episodes of the show, imo.)
    Last edited by Spider-Friends; 10-19-2007 at 10:17 AM. Reason: Addition

  7. #7
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    Stu
    Stu is offline Marvel Animation Age Webmaster
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    I’m not usually one to point out the obvious. I keep my mouth shut most of the time, that’s just how I am. Unless I’ve had a few, then I apparently just talk about how ace I am all the time, usually making a fool of myself. Good times. But the fact is obvious – the X-Men universe is bloody huge. As such, the roster was eventually picked and many fan favourites were left out of it and made to appear as guest stars – Banshee, Nightcrawler and Colossus where left out, but appeared a few times throughout the show’s 76 episode run. Curiously, so was Iceman, but he was given just a single appearance in the show, beyond cameos, and even those were few.



    Unlike the aforementioned trio, Iceman was actually a former member of the group. Just who was a member of the group is one of the few continuity slip ups (mainly, was Angel a member or not?) but in this show, Bobby just wanted to lead a normal life. He felt whatever he did wasn’t good enough for Cyclops or Xavier and instead just opted to quit rather than put up with them. As such, when Cyclops, Beast and Wolverine find and stop Bobby from breaking an entering a Government compound, they bring him back to the mansion for questioning. While Wolverine admits to Jubilee that he has no idea who the kid is as he joined and left while Logan was presumably working for Alpha Flight, Cyclops shows nothing but contempt for his former team mate – he thinks Bobby is acting like a brat, just like he did when he was with them. Beast simply thinks Bobby is being his free spirited self. It was unusual to see straight-laced Scott so angry and vengeful – these two defiantly had chemistry. If Bobby had stuck around, it might have actually given Scott something to do other than be Jean’s boyfriend.

    After Jubilee hears his story and releases him, they return to the Government compound only to find that Bobby’s girlfriend, Lorna wasn’t abducted as he originally suspected – she just felt that she should do something useful with her powers and didn’t think that just pretending they weren’t there was the way forward in her life. So, she accepted Forge’s offer to join X-Factor. So among seeing X-Men introduced into this continuity, we also get X-Factor. I’m not a fan, but they did have a very cool appearance here – it made sense to include them, it wasn’t just a fan wank shoved into the story. As soon as they learn who X-Factor are and what they are doing, they realise fighting is a waste of time, but neither team is clearly impressed with the other. Logan gets the best line of the episode.

    “Bunch of rookies”.

    Design wise, Iceman is better than most found in X-Men. He gets a little too off model in a few shots but when they got it right, it looked good. This was one of the few episodes not animated by AKOM and it looked worlds better than any of their efforts. It’s not quite as nice as Out Of The Past but it’s pleasant to look at for a change. There’s a few animation errors in there, however. Voice wise. Hmmmm… not as good as TAS’ best, but nowhere near it’s worst. Given how he was a free-spirited character turned bitter, you’d expect them to cast someone who could do either (or preferably both) well. The actor they chose played it down the middle – he doesn’t come across as memorable. Ironically enough, I can’t remember his name either.



    Overall, Cold Comfort was a very, very good episode for Iceman. I wish we could’ve seen more of him – I think a cameo at Xavier’s death bed could’ve been a nice touch to Graduation Day. Although, you really shouldn’t complain when someone is featured in an episode that is the quality of this one. By the time the X-Men next came on TV, we’d be seeing a lot more of Iceman.
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  8. #8
    Stu's Avatar
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    Stu is offline Marvel Animation Age Webmaster
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    Iceman wouldn’t appear in X-Men: Evolution until season two, he was introduced as a new recruit – basically a little younger than the rest of the mutants at the school who was educated at the Institute rather than Bayville High. This idea was apparently lifted from the movie – the network liked seeing all the kids running through the hall and sitting in class while the grown ups figured out what Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants were planning. Since Iceman was the kid they focused on the most, it only made sense for him to be the would be leader of the new recruits.

    Design wise, Bobby is a little too straight laced for a jokester character. Not sure if it’s the side parted hair or the casting, but it doesn’t really fit the character too well. When he ices up, however, it looks incredible. Very good use of shading and colouring made Iceman pop every single time he iced up on screen. Andrew Francis provides freeze faces voice this time round and does a reasonable enough job – he’s not especially noteworthy, but the best casting of the character since Welker back in the day.



    Iceman’s role in the first few seasons was the one in the New Recruits who slacked off whenever possible and played pranks whenever possible. Being that the NR are background characters by design there’s not that many standout moments for Bobby. The best one in season two is Joyride in which he continued to act like a juvenile, probably because he figured everyone would blame Lance if something were to go wrong, which of course, everyone did. He got his chance to shine in season three as he was one of the X-Men not kidnapped or hiding out in the sewers and he and a few others were forced to fly to area 51 to save their fallen comrades. His cocky attitude got in the way as he celebrated breaking the compounds security but clumsily dropped the scissors he used to cut wires, revealing his and Kitty’s presence.

    With Spyke deciding to leave and join the Morlocks, Iceman was pretty much promoted to full-fledged member. With most of the new recruits leaving because parents were frightened by the anti-mutant hysteria kicking in all over the country (and the cast was getting a little too big) there wasn’t really anything else they could’ve done with the character.

    He would get his chance to shine in Under Lock And Key, an episode which unites the original five X-Men as they travel to London to try and stop the resurrection of Apocalypse but ultimately fail. He decides to try and prove his worth to the team but they refuse his help – they don’t have time for people who aren’t willing to take things seriously. If Bobby can’t keep his powers in check for a softball game, why pick him on a mission that could potentially threaten lives? He did manage to hold his own but bigger things were happening here than Bobby – he was still strictly C-list.



    Sadly, he did nothing of note before the show was foolishly cancelled at the 52 episode mark (apart from an amusing scene in Target X when he created an ice duplicate of himself because he didn't want to attend Jean and Scott's boring physics class). He did make it into the future montage at the end of Ascension, Part Two so he did get his wish of becoming a full time X-Man. A case of too little, too late? I leave that up to you. I’m perfectly content with enjoying what we did see of Iceman, even if we didn’t get to see a whole lot of him.

    He’s been confirmed for a role in the upcoming Wolverine and The X-Men cartoon, but we’ve no idea if he’ll be full fledged member of just a guest star. We can but hope…
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  9. #9
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    Silverstar is offline Comfortably Dumb
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    Awesome job, Stu.


    Maybe we can have a Beast retrospective someday?
    Like cartoons, comedy, riffs, wisecracks, funny video clips and humorous commentary on animation and geek culture? Check out The Twin Factor, the Star Twins' blog.

  10. #10
    Stu's Avatar
    Stu
    Stu is offline Marvel Animation Age Webmaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverstar
    Awesome job, Stu.
    Thank you, kind sir.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverstar
    Maybe we can have a Beast retrospective someday?
    And I think I've just been given my excuse.

    Spider-Friends! A question for you. In the new page you've shown, are The Rhino's eyes and intentional nod to the 80's Hulk model? Such stellar artwork regardless. Any chance of you popping down the Drawing Board to show us some more of your stuff please?
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