Title: Beyond the Cap 1#- The Lasting Power of Mighty Max
The Lemurian Archiver - May 30, 2005 08:02 PM (GMT)
The Lasting Power of Mighty Max
For some people, Mighty Max is a little memory in the back of their minds, and when reawakened is always a fond one. I know no one who doesn't remember the show or diddn't have a single toy, and at the time we were in different countrys to myself. I truely believe that Mighty Max is one of the best cartoons of all time, and that it has a lasting impact on anyone who watched it.
The first thing Mighty Max offers it's viewers is simple, Entertainment. It's action packed, is animated quite well, (Better than say Spiderman, which was also big on Fox Kids at the time) and has all the hallmarks of popular fantasy. Your lead character IS your key demographic, early teenage boys, and aspirational figure of rebelion, heroics and popularity. I have to admit i wanted to be Max, just like Bart Simpson, except i was already MORE like Max. If there's one thing that's entertaining, it's aspiration. Why else would programes about mansions and millionaires and heck, the NATIONAL LOTTERY be so popular?
You can tell Mighty Max is a market tool, because it seems so audience-tested. More such and such, less so and so etc. Mighty Max was born when some smart ass came into Bluebird Toys and said something along the lines of "Wow these Polly Pocket toys are selling like hotcakes! Hmm, Boys are more into toys, if only we could use the basics of this thingy and market it at boys!" "Good idea Johnson! Okay guys what do boys like?" "Monsters!" "Rebels!" "Action!" "Heroes!" "Okay good, what about parents?" "Education!" "Role-models!" "Clean Wholesome Fun!" "Okay...I think I've got an idea..."
So if Mighty Max was born of such contrived methods, how or why did it achieve a classic status? It's not what kids want. These days kids want ninjas, tomorrow they'll want robots and then cool kids then ninjas. It's the circle of popularity. All the elements like monsters, action, heroes and rebels exist in almost any saturday morning cartoon. Mighty Max's parent controled elements make it stand out. Ask a kid if he wants to watch a programme which is gonna teach him about Morals, Geography and History, or one about Robots, he'll pick the robots every time. But mighty max did all those things by discuising them in the manditory stuff. The lasting power of mighty max comes from it's educational aspect. I still study Geography today, i also study 'Religion and Morality', 'Media Studies' and 'English', all of which are linked to Mighty Max. I got an A in history last year too. I only know where places like Norway are because of Mighty Max, also i know that some times of the year the sun never sets. It's imprinted onto my brain. Mighty Max taught me geography and history subconciously, and thank God for it!
In summary, Mighty Max isn't memorable for it's characters or storys, but for the lessons it taught millions of children. That is the lasting power of Mighty Max.
Nevariel - June 5, 2005 11:58 PM (GMT)
I agree with you. I think Mighty Max was as great as it was because of the writing. Not many cartoons have such an indepth story line as this one did. It was also based on real world historical facts which helped to make it more convincing.
Kanta Houl - June 29, 2005 08:14 PM (GMT)
I still have the toys,I bring em out once and a while.I also wish I could see the show again.There are some videos at the local Video store that play on the TV sometimes.I asked them if I could rent it,they declined to it...Boy I miss that show.
Kristi Miller - June 30, 2005 05:07 AM (GMT)
Welcome aboard, fellow fan. You know there are bootlegs on E-bay. As for the topic... um *twiddles thimbs* Never had any of the toys, But I sure as heck watched the show ever since my remote and I stumbled on the ep. where the gang was in Turkey, Day of the Cyclops. Anyhoo, I'll always remember, without any help, the scene where Virgil and 'Mom' were looking for the cap because that's where I learned the word 'passť'.
Speaking of Moms after a few more shows I got mine into it. If she were computer savvy I'm sure she'd be here recalling (along with other memories) one of her favorite eps., The Maxnificent Seven, and Mujaji...
The Leader - August 1, 2006 09:58 PM (GMT)
I donít remember the show very well, havenít seen it in over 10 years. I still have all of my MM toys though, and I, god help me, still play with them occasionally. Iím more into it because it was kind of a morbid toy line, dead bodies and all that. Iíve always loved the horror genre, more so when I was 3 or 4, when I should have been scared to death. Plus the molds of the Doom Zones, Horror and Dread Heads were top notch, highly detailed and had interesting themes. Thatís why Mighty Max rocked, and still rocks my socks.
capital_P - August 4, 2006 08:58 AM (GMT)
I love the toys because they're just so damn good and collectible. I like the show because it's based on the toys. Now I like anything that has a MM-stamp on it.
virgilius - August 26, 2006 05:54 AM (GMT)
I have to say, I watched the show originally back when I was about twelve (I'm in my early twenties now), and there were so many times when I'd remember some random factoid and/or a silly/particularly thought-provoking line from the show to aid me somehow in my day-to-day life. I recall my ninth grade Biology teacher asking anyone if they knew what Methuselah was, and my being able to parrot back Max's blurb about it during the educational epilogue segment of the episode, "The Axeman Cometh".
I didn't get into the toys much; I've got a couple of them, and I spent an inordinate amount of moolah on eBay so I could have the Heroes & Villains mini-action figure collection with Skullmaster, Virgil, Norman AND Max in it, but they never seemed wholly amazing to me. That they were a baseline for what become my favorite cartoon in the universe makes me respect them, but I never spent my afternoons playing with Skull Mountain or anything.
Honestly, aside from the "wow, I'm learning something!" aspect of the show, it was just really, really entertaining. I started watching it when I was babysitting during the summer after seventh grade; the kid had seen it a few times and was pleased that I didn't just flip past it when I was channel-surfing. The voice-over cast drew me in originally; the 90s were a goldmine for the likes of Tony Jay, Tresse MacNeille, Frank Welker, Rob Paulsen, etc., and being able to pick out distinctive artists was very exciting to me.
And then I just got drawn into the show: the warm camraderie between the characters, the curious backstory; the three-foot talking chicken. I loved it, and I continue to love it to this day because it's such a great piece of nostalgia and educational animated savvyness (even with the little epilogue blurbs, it managed not to get too up its own ass with preachyness). But most of all, it's FUN.
Anyway, there's my twenty cents!
Kooshmeister3 - September 5, 2006 08:40 PM (GMT)
Personally, I never really cared all that much about the cartoon. In fact I never even knew there was a show until some time after it had already come and gone, and I only ever saw one episode. For me, Mighty Max was all about the toys, because I began collecting them ever since they first hit the market, after seeing the very first commercial for Skull Dungeon. I remember being confused with the sudden and (to me) inexplicable changes made to the logo, backstory and to Max himself during the second wave of Doom Zones and Horror Heads, not to mention having no clue who Norman and Virgil were.
But I got over it. In the end, I preferred this redesign to the old one, for a number of reasons. The backstory for the originals was pretty vague, and in the comics there would always be someone leaving helpful clues for Max at the start of each adventure, and I remember wondering who in the world this was. It just left too many loose ends. Meanwhile, the revised backstory was tidier, including adding some much-needed allies for Max and even providing him with an arch-enemy in Skull Master. And as for Norman and Virgil I still didn't really know who they were (since as I said I had never seen the show), but the rest of the story was so well done I just accepted them.
Now as for Max himself, I liked the new version better than the old one for a variety of reasons. For one thing, in toy form, the classic Max was way too cutesy and innocent looking in contrast to the downright gruesome and horrific situations of the playsets. It just didn't mesh for me, design-wise. And as for his artistic representation, as featured on the logo and backstory text, well, his expression could best be described as maniacal. The toned-down and more friendly-looking "new" Max was easier for me to relate to.
And with regards to Virgil, why does everyone call him a chicken? When I first saw him I immediately thought he looked like an owl, so I always assumed when other characters in the comics called him a "chicken" it was meant to be a joke.
SherlockGnomes - January 15, 2007 12:29 AM (GMT)
I learned quite a lot of stuff from Mighty Max, but I really don't think the subtle education aspect to it was a draw for anyone. Its main draw was just that it was really, really entertaining and well written. It was funny (I remember my mum laughing at 'booger eating spaz' and 'Oooh, and I bet he was P-eeed off', little jokes that went right over the head of five/six year old Sherlock), it was dramatic (Maxnificent 7, the futility of Max's mission etc., the deaths!), it had kick ass visuals (Skull Mountain, the Doom Dragon, Egyptian tombs), great music and often a genuine scary atmosphere (check out the distant moans on the soundtrack in 'The Mother of All Adventures'). It has a good, overarching story too, and has obvious influences without being at all derivative.
Dammit... this show should have been much more successful than it was.
BlackGargie - September 15, 2007 05:25 PM (GMT)
I personally think that MM was a smashing idea of a TV series. Waaaaaaaaaay cooler than the toys, though I have to admit that in my country here in Borneo, Malaysia, not even one single Polly Pocket toys have been sold here. I only got to know MM when I was a kid. The first time I watched it was when I was around 9 years old, which were kinda bits and pieces of the memories.
Then when I was 15, it began to show reruns on it during the morning, and I managed to catch a few during my school holidays. It brought back so many memories, and I really loved Max goes around like he owns the world and saves the day in his own carefree way. I even developed a crush on him and couldn't stop fantasizing him as my bf (I'm a crazy perv, I know). I wrote numerous fanfics, which I have misplaced it somehow when I moved out, but managed to submit one in Fanfiction.net.
Overall, MM has been a great experience to me. In fact, I recently downloaded the entire series! Isn't it awesome?? Now I can watch it again and relive my childhood memories and my fantasy lover!!! :D
Long live MM!!!
capital_P - September 15, 2007 05:35 PM (GMT)
are all the episodes you downloaded good quality? If so, where'd you find them?
I have all episodes too, but about half of them are horrible quality.
Max Fan - September 17, 2007 11:14 PM (GMT)
I have all 40 episodes, most are ok, some are a bit rough quality but definitely still enjoyable.
Welcome aboard, Blackgargie! :)
Alienwarrior - April 1, 2008 01:16 PM (GMT)
I remember when I first saw it.
Just a year or, 2 gotten out this judgeing cartoons for boys or, girls.
It was still on before Doggie Howser.
I actually fought with my grandma about watching it but, that was because she wanted to watch the news not, because she didn't like it.
Most of friends forgot about it. :(
I really didn't care for the ending of the show to much I thought it closed it off to much & if it had been done differently it could have lived longer....
Villan reminds me of skeator to much why didn't they try & make a movie w/it.
Max Fan - April 3, 2008 01:34 AM (GMT)
In 1995 Film Roman took out a patent for a MM animated movie. It was never released. :(
norman1988 - November 21, 2012 10:32 AM (GMT)
Mighty Max is still my favourite cartoon series. It has had a big influence on my interests and my values to this day. The way Max is able to put aside his carefree attitude and take on great responsibility when he knows people are counting on him, even though he is putting himself in great danger, is inspiring. All the stories that had the heroes fighting mythical creatures to the sound of awesome guitar riffs sends a nostalgic shiver down my spine.
Norman is my favourite character ever conceived. Even though he is a man of few words, what he does say is always quotable and has me laughing every time. He doesn't think twice about throwing himself into harms way to protect Max or Virgil and never expects anything in return. He has a strong sense of duty and honour, values that I believe are dying out in modern society but which I hold strong. When he was killed at the end, it only made me like him more as he made the ultimate sacrifice for Max, who he believed in completely, and faced his greatest fear in doing so, even though I think he knew that Max still didn't believe in himself yet.
I feel that Mighty Max wasn't concluded and therefore still feel a sense of longing to see good triumph over evil because you never see if good triumphs over evil and that Virgil and Norman's sacrifices were not in vain. I realise that Mighty Max probably won't continue but it still leaves an empty space where I wish I could've seen it through to the end, good or bad :(
capital_P - November 27, 2012 08:29 PM (GMT)
Those are some nice thoughts. Welcome to the Archives.
Are you a fan of the toys too? Greatest toy-line ever!
norman1988 - November 27, 2012 11:37 PM (GMT)
I remember being into the the toys as well, although I was just a kid so it's a bit hazy. I think I had the big red doom dragon one and another one where a mummy or something was in a sarcophagus, they were awesome! I think they're still in my attic somewhere I might dig 'em out for old times sake. As you can probably tell though, I was more into the the cartoon.
I'm just glad there's still fans like me out there that are still talking about mighty max after all these years. I've been reading through all the conversations and it's great stuff!
Thanks for the welcome
Mr_ Toothache - April 22, 2013 02:54 AM (GMT)
The Toy Line Certainly did it for me! It came before the Cartoon right? I did watch the show here and there as a kid but the Toys were my Treasure's! I wanted to play with them all the time,i wanted to collect them all because for me at 8yrs old these were so damn cool,i always loved monster's and combined with a playset??? Thats Amazing playability right there,way before i owned a Commador 64 i was powered by my Innocent imagination,the best times of my childhood.Thank you MM . Salute