DC Comics Re-imagines Hanna-Barbera Properties for 21st Century Readers
Hanna-Barbara has long been associated with cartoons aimed at young kids and tweens, with stories for all ages. For years they dominated Saturday morning cartoons, so much so that most of their shows are considered classics. DC Comics, which publishes the Scooby Doo: Where Are You? comic book series, is re-imagining it, as well as three other Hanna-Barbera properties, with a new vision and current sensibilities that will appeal to older teens and adults.
Scooby Doo Apocalypse features the whole gang of “those meddling kids,” Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby, but in a near-future, apocalyptic world. A well-meaning experiment with nanites has gone wrong, and now the world is filled with mutated creatures from the nanite virus that enhances fears, terrors, and baser instincts. The gang must use all of their mystery solving skills learned over the years to find a cure. Scooby Doo has been re-imagined a lot over the years with “the monsters are real” tagline, but this series ups the ante with character designs that are still recognizable, but definitely calling forth a 21st century teen and young adult sensibility.
Future Quest brings together iconic teenager Jonny Quest and the rest of Team QUEST, Hadji, Dr. Benton Quest, Race Bannon, Jezebel Jade, and Bandit, and some of Hanna-Barbara’s classic action and adventure heroes. Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Frankenstein Jr., The Impossibles, Birdman, The Galaxy Trio, and Mightor will team up with Jonny for new adventures with plenty of sci-fi action. Jonny Quest, with its emphasis on science and action, is the perfect conduit to bring these sci-fi and superhero series together. I love the idea of introducing the Herculoids to a new generation of fans.
What if Wacky Races took place in the world of Mad Max Fury Road? That’s the idea behind Wacky Race Land. The Ant Hill Mob, Penelope Pitstop, and Dick Dastardly are among the racers that will be participating this contest that runs through a desert wasteland filled with radioactive lakes, nanotech dust storms, and cannibalistic mutants. It’s a race for survival with cars that are not only sentient, but were also designed by Mark Sexton, who did the vehicle designs for Mad Max Fury Road. Wacky Races as a dark and gritty series is one that never would have occurred to me, and that’s what gives this series a lot of potential. And all the hype around Mad Max Fury Road this last year certainly won’t hurt it.
The Flintstones will look to educate as well as entertain. The “modern stone age family” of Bedrock will not only get more realistic visuals, but will also take part in humanity’s ancient customs and institutions as it offers a humorous origin story for human civilization. The core of the series however, the characters, will remain intact. Fred is still the simple man trying to be the king of his castle while Wilma is still the tolerant but not indulging wife. Barney continues to be the loyal wingman, with his wife Betty and son Bam-Bam, where his loyalty to friendship still outweighs common sense. This is an interesting take on the old sit-com, and I’m actually curious to see what customs and institutions will be incorporated and how they work out.
All four titles will debut in May. I think there is a lot of potential in these books, not just to pick up older teen and young adult readers, but also old fogies like me who remember some of these shows and don’t mind the update. It doesn’t ruin my childhood to see Jonny Quest meeting Space Ghost. If anything, it’s a mashup dream come true!
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About Lori Henderson
Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!
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