Monday, February 11, 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoons and Comics

As a child of the late 70's/early 80's I tend to think that I was treated to some of the best, most interesting Saturday Morning Cartoons in existence. I grew up enthralled by the Super-Friends, Scooby Doo, Dungeons and Dragons, and even Pac-Man. But one of the cartoons that stuck with me the longest (ironically, the one that I almost never managed to watch because at the weighty age of five, you don't really understand the concept of a 'schedule') was Thundarr the Barbarian.

For the uninitiated, Thundarr was an attempt to steal some of the popularity of Conan the Barbarian, mixing it with a little bit of post-apocalyptic road-warrior and a dash of Star Wars. Set two thousand years after the fall of man, we're introduced to a savage world full of super-science and sorcery. The titular Thundarr was Conan-lite with what amounts to a lightsaber. He had two sidekicks... Ariel the token woman and sorceress, and Ookla the comic relief/wookiee-wannabe.

After watching an episode recorded via DVR last night, I stumbled across a familiar name in the credits.

Jack Kirby

While he didn't design the main characters according to the Wikipedia article, it sounds like he designed almost everything else. Until I gained a real love of comics (about 7 years ago or so) I'd never heard of Kirby, despite the fact that I knew precisely who Stan Lee was, and could recognize him on sight. Now I find myself wondering is there anything that Jack Kirby hasn't influenced? The fact that he was involved with Thundarr doesn't surprise me a lick in hindsight, but it was a surprise to see his name there.

Edit 2/12/08

In what seems to be a badly timed case of foot-in-mouth, the creator of Thundarr the Barbarian (among many other characters in the fields of both comics and animation), a giant by the name of Steve Gerber, just passed away. I started seeing the news last night beore going to bed. Here's Mark Evanier's posting about it, as he knows far more about this pioneer of the imagination than I do.

From what little I've read about him last night and this morning, the world is a sadder, grayer place without him.

1 comment:

JimShelley said...

Great post Jason! I've always thought Thundarr Rocked!

I think it's no hard leap to see where I got the name Kondorr from now... :D