The state of animation on television is very different than it was even a decade ago. Saturday morning cartoons are a thing of the past and Cartoon Network has a new slate of programming that is dominated by the likes of ‘Adventure Time’, ‘The Regular Show’, and ‘Steven Universe’. That’s not to say that these shows are quality programming, but the all-animated channel used to be filled with classic cartoons like ‘The Flintstones’, ‘The Jetsons’, ‘Space Ghost’, and ‘Johnny Quest’. And though those days are long over, it appears that the memorable Hanna-Barbera characters will find new life this year thanks to DC Entertainment.
DC announced this week that they would be publishing a line of comics featuring the beloved characters of Hanna-Barbera starting this May. With brand new titles like ‘Scooby Apocalypse’, ‘Future Quest’, ‘Wacky Race Land’, and ‘The Flintstones’, the company is looking to revitalize animated icons like Scooby Doo and Fred Flintstone for a new day and age. In anticipation for the upcoming books, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio spoke with Entertainment Weekly about their reasoning behind this project:
“From a personal standpoint, I was always a fan of the old Hanna-Barbera characters, having grown up on them. I think what you find right now is there’s so much material on pop culture, and these characters resonate with so much of our fanbase. It was so fun to go out and look at them, but not just bring back versions that existed 40, 50 years ago and really look at it the way of saying, if these characters were created and interpreted today, how would they exist? So we handed off our materials to a number of top creators, and what came back was an exciting look that felt very true to the existence of the characters.”
As Marvel did with their talented roster of creators when they started their ‘Star Wars’ line, DC is bringing on some huge names to work on these Hanna-Barbera books. For instance, ‘Harley Quinn’ and ‘Power Girl’ artist Amanda Conner redesigned Bedrock’s favorite family for their comic written by Mark Russell. Then, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ vehicle designer Mark Sexton will be joined for ‘Wacky Race Land’ by Ken Pontac. ‘Future Quest’, which will feature characters like Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, the Herculoids, Birdman, and the Impossibles, reunites the team of writer Jeff Parker and artist Evan “Doc” Shaner from Dynamite Comics’ recent reboot of ‘Flash Gordon’. Finally, in what is being called the “crown jewel” of the line, ‘Scooby Apocalypse’ will feature the legendary Jim Lee as the co-writer and character designer along with co-writer Keith Giffen and artist Howard Porter. On the line as a whole, DC Co-Publisher Lee expresses his excitement about sharing these childhood touchstones with a new generation:
“I’m a huge Scooby-Doo fan, as I think most people are. I mean, look at these iconic series and they were cultural touchstones for everyone. All my kids know of Scooby-Doo from the various cartoons and live action movies, and we’re in a period where you have people my age that are spending their days thinking about cartoon and sci-fi action movies. It’s a multigenerational obsession at this point, and we just thought it would just be really interesting to take the cartoon version of these characters and see where they would be if we took what existed in the very first iteration of the cartoon and moved it into this day and age.”
You know, as excited as I am to see The Impossibles return into the pop culture zeitgeist once again (because I loved them as a kid for some reason), this whole thing is pretty weird. Part of the appeal of these Hanna-Barbera cartoons were the animation style. I’m not sure why DC and WB didn’t just work on new shows for these characters, but this new endeavor will be very interesting to say the least. I mean, Shaggy and the gang look like a Williamsburg hipsters. In any case, check out this gallery for more artwork from the upcoming line:
What do you think of DC Entertainment’s new line of comics inspired by the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons like The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo? Will you be picking these up from your local comic shop when they come out? And is anyone else picturing Penelope Pitstop as Furiosa and Dick Dastardly as Immortan Joe in the ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’-inspired ‘Wacky Race Land’? Let’s hear what you have to say in the comments.