Thundercats – ToonBarn http://www.toonbarn.com Cartoon news from Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, The Hub, Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, CG animation, anime, movies, or any kind of cartoons! Mon, 11 Dec 2017 08:29:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 4530339 Its Saturday Morning – And The Room Is Empty. http://www.toonbarn.com/nickelodeon/saturday-morning-room-empty/ http://www.toonbarn.com/nickelodeon/saturday-morning-room-empty/#respond Sun, 20 Dec 2015 12:47:43 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=57589 Or: How Thundercats (2011) was the end of the North American animation/Kids Business (in a way) Note: The Opinions shown on this essay does not reflect the views of Toon Barn and its affiliates. Its Saturday – winter is only a few days away and after that – Christmas on Friday and then – Saturday […]

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Or: How Thundercats (2011) was the end of the North American animation/Kids Business (in a way)

Note: The Opinions shown on this essay does not reflect the views of Toon Barn and its affiliates.

Its Saturday – winter is only a few days away and after that – Christmas on Friday and then – Saturday rolls around again, the next Friday is 2016 and then the first day of the new year – Saturday rolls around again.

But the room is empty.

Children are sleep – or trying to go into lessons of music, art or sport in a what has become a rarity in this late 2015 – frost. Not much snow, not much of a winter. And some on twitter worry that its a bad omen…even those that dont believe in a creator.

Its strange to hear that – those who are my friends on twitter usually are headstrong, racing against those with differing opinions – sometimes in a passive aggressive way, other times for legit reasons, still others to talk in jest, tact etc.

But some say the spirit of Christmas overrides these worries.

They may have been right in a past time – before things changed – some for the better – and some for the worse.

But all changes effect us in many ways.

This year – the Christmas spirit seems to be tempered by the Star Wars machine. And as the new engine of the creation of a “Corporate Safe Space” start in earnest, three films before 2020, many TV series – other animated spots – video games, toys and other trinkets; its more of a cynical promotion of the greatest and most secretive fan fiction ever created.

In any other time – it would have been just one of the many major blockbusters – didn’t effect next weeks numbers or so on. We would have other things to pass the time. But the concept of the “Corporate Safe Space” is much more insidious – it promotes the other products from other companies it competes with as the literal manifestation of evil, and their own product – as the good work – the holy work – the one you turn to when all is lost.

Made simple and plain by this post on twitter:

to people who complain about some movies being too long: do you realize your own garbage life goes on like forever

make good movies last as long as possible. 3 hours, 100 years, forever. put us out of our misery

And Misery loves Company. Its the end as entertainment as a way to relax, and at times to wonder about our human condition, or even to have fun. It now has become a cradle to grave mantra of endless content creation for the content men who via their advertising agencies promote a existence that doesn’t exist in reality.

I could tell other stories. How, why and for what reason things arnt the way it seems anymore. But more often than not – its because people, companies, multi-nationals, educators and even those who were meant to represent us dont. They turn out to be more of a maguffin. A sad fate of madding ideals mixed with the most banal pragmatism.

I just want to focus on us. The fans of animation.

Its hard to deal with but – just because a show has some merit doesn’t mean its good.

We have seen with My Little Pony (and Equestria Girls), Steven Universe – and even the weaker shows such as Regular Show and Gumball – the sense is that they talking above the adults and the children are just asking questions about things that are in the show and they just become so lost. Their fanbases are taken over not just by adults who just love the show by its own merits, but by those who feel the show creates a space where everything else feels lost to them. They didnt develop strength and character even when the show was dark – now as the animated series promote a light hearted fare – it becomes a way to promote all sorts of dank memes and even more politically charged language, and using the concept of sexuality as a way to  ease a man or a womens shadow natures into quiet repose. In the west and most western animation Its a sad, banal attempt to extend ones love of a work of fiction or genre. The east handles this better – and sees it as it is – integration, fashion, technique and embracing the work as is and nothing more or less.

We talk about what happened to Zamii, and the media has done so in many ways. But what people dont realized is that when the creators backed down from comments made by those who wished Zamii dead, it proved to me that nobody knows when to stand their ground and say – enough. It started from the day the Thundercats got canned, to the day that they made the move for Korra, to the issues with Steven Universe and the issues with their fanbase. The Internet given voice, the voice given form and now it has power even over the creators of these shows.

Its because the executives and the fans are from the same economic structure. The creators not only have to cowtow to said executives when it comes to content – which always been a problem for years, now have to deal with the views that has the money. The advertising agencies may aim for most viewers, but we seen now, even despite advertising laws made in order to make sure that children dont become mindless consumers, it just made things worse for all involved.

It has been mentioned before about education and the E/I. I also mentioned about the scandal concerning the lowering of wages and collusion in the theatrical animation sector. Did you know that Ed Catmull  bought a 12 million dollar house? This is after the trial finds out that the Disney board knew about these issues.

Welcome to Poof Poof, Glitter Boots, the force is with us. Netflix is about to spend five Billion dollars on “content creation” while Netflix is overvalued in the stock market by a value of 400X its price. Its the time of complaints of how a animated character looks via the eyes of a fan. Its the time when ratings “dont matter”, its audience share, that # social network outreach, insta connections and all the rest. In a world when ignorance is awarded, all those who run entertainment – and in animation, “create”and manufacture the look and feeling of a inglorious look. Not for satire, not even to make fun of the world – but to create safe spaces that don’t challenge the characters, nor the setting – and most important the viewers.

Increasingly, the Holiday classics take more importance. Years ago, they were apart of a extended program of network kids shows and which many popular shows joined in specials during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Today these holiday specials stand as the guard of a time long  past. For the shows now air on Cartoon Network/ Nick and Disney XD  are now run by feckless creators, some who feel that kowtowing to powers and those that perceive they have power, only hurts the show in the end of the day. They are not creators, they are PR men, propaganda for either a education mandate that doesn’t work, a form of social uplifting of the misfits of the world that doesn’t uplift anything but Pateron accounts and Kickstarter Funds, and content that all dines in the mesh and morrass of pesudo-scarlet letter trigger warnings, slights of political gotcha checks, and all and all out purriance. Its the wonderful world of dung emoji and it been that way since that’s all what the “Corporate Safe Space” will give us.

And in one of the sad ironies of the time, Toys has lost wonder – even Lego uses Japanese culture tropes to sell product. You usually have team ups with diffrent shows in many of a Japanese product – but it doesnt happen in the states…unless you Lego and have more clout than most other franchiser in the kids business.

It even reaches Toonami in a sense. After the announcement that they were bringing back Samurai Jack, Mr Demarco stated he wanted one of the newer Lupin series, Yukyo Mine. Not the best of the Lupin works. But even he was told by the censors he couldn’t. Its strange. Lupin hasnt been apart of American culture – so it becomes to most hardest of sells to even put it on Toonami. Of course he would get Wakfu, but then they are on Netflix.

The fact that a dude who makes Adult Swim money over fist – gets denied a show – while the Creators of the Steven Universe are allowed to get away with everything – and the creators bows down to pressure from people who wish other fans of their show dead, is sad to me. Mine(And Lupin for that matter) isn’t going to cause your network problems, the show you promote next  to the 5th iteration of legendary Looney Toons characters has become more problematic and the fact they don’t see this tells me all i need to know.

They have given up on us. The American people – the American audience. who they feel are too lost in their “common sense” to talk to. We got so many was to view the content – they think its OK to delay shows for months on end. They will watch it again and again, old episodes – six, seven times a week. It will be greater than everything we have done before.

Then the holiday classics come on. The humanity. Coming from puppets, from animation, from the voice overs, the backgrounds. They stood, even when things were being built for children around, and torn down by government edict. Yes, animation is for all.

But at times, the little ones are to be reminded there are things beyond numbers, letters, and such things we as people need to be in the world. They need the journey of the heroes, the power of belief and the joy of overcoming life’s grand trials. And these folks who would easily falter to the hands of those willing to kill don’t understand and never did truly loved the work. They loved the fame, and sold their souls to the oligarchic power structures they trying to fight against and say they are against, but in reality work for them and are in tandem with them.

They are nothing more than the Grinch.

He could be redeemed, but I doubt they can.

Can anybody be redeemed?

Not so.

Thats why these specials, are truly are. They show us were we have fallen – the simple reasons why – and putting complications on it – and excusing it only causes us to lose the plot.

“Baby stuff”, Charlotte said to Virgina there is no Santa.

“Baby stuff”, when those demons said to Zamii when they said to her kill herself – “You know how she looks LIKE!”

But its that spirit of Christmas, that these specials represent show the best of ourselves, the hope in a manger. The hope in a child born in poverty gets the only thing that can get him out of it, a football. The hope in a woman who is homeless – to get 100 bucks from a man, not for favor, but out of his heart and his own reasons. The hope of a man, who after being told after he comes back from war, that the people he fought for calls him names, cishet, warmongerer, etc. That he – suffering from a lost hand, and lost heart and mind, can find a home, an honest job, and finally a smile from a grateful nation.

But for 345 days of the year, America is “We The Spiteful”. It feels more like pity.

We don’t know what we had until its gone.

And these holiday specials remind us every year of what we truly lost, the sense that good will truly win, and hope never truly dies.

They used to be apart of a place children could go.

Now these shows, these specials that only come one time a year, are now the gold standard of the industry.

Its not a popular opinion.

But in the end, the facts remain.

Maybe we adults can never be redeemed.

But Tomorrow isnt not the far away…

And the young must find that tomorrow.

Even if time runs short.

This Saturday and for the foreseeable future of every Saturday, the rooms of the American living room is quiet like the grave…

But its never silent.

Yes, Virgina there is a Santa Claus…

If only they just believe…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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Leonard Starr, a Principal Writer on the original Thundercats series, Passes Away. http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/leonard-starr-principal-writer-original-thundercats-series-passes-away/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/leonard-starr-principal-writer-original-thundercats-series-passes-away/#respond Fri, 03 Jul 2015 03:35:21 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=55262 One of the most underrated writers of his day, Mr Starr wrote about a majority of the scripts for the Thundercats (1985) series and was the principal showrunner for the franchise. It was his past work in other comics and in very early Marvel (which was once called Timely Magazine), that showcased his work. Both […]

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One of the most underrated writers of his day, Mr Starr wrote about a majority of the scripts for the Thundercats (1985) series and was the principal showrunner for the franchise. It was his past work in other comics and in very early Marvel (which was once called Timely Magazine), that showcased his work. Both Jack Kirby and Joe Simon (the latter, one of the creators of Superman) praised him highly.

He worked on two other comics, Mary Perkins on Stage and Annie – which the later he revived and continued until 2000. He also did work on the Kelly Green Graphic Novel with Stan Drake But most of us will know him as the Thundercats main writer and producer.

He was 89 years old.

More from Mike Evanders post and on ICv2

 

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Warner to Release ThunderCats: The Complete Series Next Month http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/warner-release-thundercats-complete-series-next-month/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/warner-release-thundercats-complete-series-next-month/#respond Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=51761 Fans of the 2011 reimagining of ThunderCats should leave a space free on their shelves, as Warner Archive Collection will be releasing an all-new Blu-Ray edition of ThunderCats: The Complete Series on November 11, 2014. ThunderCats: The Complete Series will contain all 26 episodes in stunning 1080p HD, which means you get to see all […]

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Fans of the 2011 reimagining of ThunderCats should leave a space free on their shelves, as Warner Archive Collection will be releasing an all-new Blu-Ray edition of ThunderCats: The Complete Series on November 11, 2014. ThunderCats: The Complete Series will contain all 26 episodes in stunning 1080p HD, which means you get to see all the colorful action the way it was meant to be seen.

The ThunderCats are back! A generation after becoming beloved animation icons, the mighty survivors of Thundera returned for a bold, new re-imagining that mixed the best of the past with the boldness of the new. After the destruction of the cat civilization of Thundera by the evil Mumm-Ra, young Prince Lion-O leads a small band of survivors to safety. As the threats of Mumm-Ra ring in their ears, these determined cats know what they must do: find the Book of Omens. Using his powerful Sword of Omens, Lion-O guides his friends, facing vicious foes and making fantastic new allies while racing towards a showdown with Mumm-Ra. Now all 26 episodes are available in “sight beyond sight” 1080p HD on Blu-ray Disc as they were meant to be seen. So get ready to rip into the action with Lion-O, Tygra, Panthro, Snarf, Cheetara, Wily Kit, Wily Kat and hear the battle cry of “ThunderCats Ho!” once again, for the very first time!

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Rick and Morty and Space Dandy – How These Two Shows Saved Animation in 2014. http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/rick-morty-space-dandy-two-shows-saved-animation-2014/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/rick-morty-space-dandy-two-shows-saved-animation-2014/#respond Sun, 13 Apr 2014 00:54:00 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=47526   It Feels Great to be back here, and I want to talk about two shows that really has helped me love animation once more… If you are not watching these shows, something is missing in your brain right now. Rick and Morty turns everything on its ear, hasn’t had a bad episode yet,(but some […]

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It Feels Great to be back here, and I want to talk about two shows that really has helped me love animation once more…

If you are not watching these shows, something is missing in your brain right now.

Rick and Morty turns everything on its ear, hasn’t had a bad episode yet,(but some of its fans felt some of the episodes ran slow) and how it talks about existence in the first parts of the second decade of this millennium is not only on point – it’s downright scary.

While in Space Dandy, Watanabe and his guest directors (many of his guest ranges from Otomo and Yuasa) changes the way the plot is handled – and sometimes the animation and the backgrounds are the story.

These two series have revived a fire in this reviewer and historian (and budding producer and writer, let’s not forget those,) who’s also been beyond disappointed with the way certain series have been handled. I will explain that too – because it’s become a joke that these people are still slumming around making money over others that have the talent and the will.

Those jokes have ended, and the ratings (at times), the Critics (from the net to print) and the fans of animation are no longer going to take it lying down.

First, it’s time to celebrate greatness.

Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon’s Golden Achievement.

Dan Harmon has been called difficult. Strange, vinegar to others’ wine… His other major show Community has been a critical success yet rated low (but he states correctly that networks and other TV critics looking for high ratings are “psychopaths”) compared to the insipid one-man show “The Big Bang Theory”.

He is however one of the better producers and writers today – I can even say that he’s the best one in nearly a decade.

The sabbatical did wonders. From that sabbatical came Rick and Morty.

A Parody of Marty McFly and Doc from “Back to the Future” the show started simple enough… but it was the episode “Lawnmower Dog” that set things in motion.

Unlike other shows of its type – Rick and Morty does not leave ANYTHING behind.

So when Snuffles left for his new world, the world that Rick and Morty inhabits is rebuilding – until Love Potion no 9, creates other issues…forcing that Rick and Morty to go into another world, KILLING that world’s Rick and Morty and burying in the yard. And if you thought that was messed up – in Ricky Minutes (a pun on 60 Minutes, which also has many puns dissing CBS on the backend and NBC on the front end) we find out that not only are they still in that world, Summer only exists in three of these worlds (the Croneburg world as well, as one other) as both of their parents via the VR viewer (the episode deals with a cable box that has infinite channels from infinite worlds) aborted Summer and had more “successful” lives because of  that “choice”.

But it turns out that those choices turned out to be for naught – they end up together in the other universe they were viewing, realizing that they had to be together – and Summer was truly important…

What makes Ricky Minutes one of the best animation episodes in recent years, was the moment that Morty told Summer that he and Rick came from another world, and that her real brother is dead out in the yard – with Morty saying to Summer of the pathos of this Post 9/11 America: “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”

The last time I felt this way about an episode – was episode 4 of the ThunderCats (2011), and episode 21 of 4Kids’s Version of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (when the Shredder Got his head Cut Straight Clean)

I do not like comedic animation shows that much.

This may be the best one since the Simpsons back in the mid 1990’s and Family Guy in the early 2000’s.

You can do what I call “Stupid Grimdark” like in the episode where Brian and Stewie were trapped in the bank. On the other hand, you can do Greatness like this episode of Rick and Morty.

But I’m not stopping there with my praises – oh no I don’t praise a lot of shows – but this? Oh Man…

The April 8 episode changed the game again and has repercussions that the viewers might not see until the season finale, but it seems that there is a counsel of Ricks (not to dissimilar to Doctor Who’s Galafrian Counsel.) who in turn governs and watches all of the Rick and Morty’s. Well, a bad Rick (just like the Master in Doctor Who) captured a lot of Mortys from the alt-universes. The council thinks that the C-137 Rick (that is the main Rick, who wrecked the C-137 version of earth) has been killing all of the Ricks, but it turns out not to be true.

The episode has Rick and Morty going through portals to get away from Cop Versions of Ricks and Mortys – ill just let Film Critic Hulk explain this better (Note he uses all caps in his reviews):

“…BUT IT’S ALSO THE KIND OF STORY WHERE AT ONE POINT THEY WALK INTO A UNIVERSE WHERE A PIZZA IS SITTING DOWN ON THE PHONE ORDERING A PERSON… HARDEEE HAR HAR, RIGHT? BUT TWO QUICK UNIVERSE JUMPS LATER AND THE JOKE OS INVERTED TO A PLACE WHERE ANIMATE FURNITURE IS SITTING ON INANIMATE PEOPLE USING PIZZA TO ORDER A PHONE TO EAT. AND RATHER THEN LET THAT JOKE GO AWAY AS A ONE OFF BIT OF INSANITY, WE HANG OUT IN THAT WORLD FOR AWHILE AS ANIMATE FURNITURE IS AMAZED QUIETLY AMAZED IN THE BACKGROUND TO SEE PEOPLE ACTUALLY BEING ALIVE, THEN TYING IT BACK INTO THE PLOT…. DO YOU EVEN REALIZE WHAT THAT IS FROM A WRITER’S PERSPECTIVE? IT’S MAKING FUN A DUMB JOKE, TURNED INTO AN INVERTING THROWAWAY GAG, TURNED INTO PUSHING THE JOKE TO THE FURTHEST POSSIBLE POINT, TURNED INTO A MAKING IT REAL SO WE LIVE IN IT, THEN TURNED ALL OF THAT INTO PART OF THE PLOT ITSELF. NOTHING IS A THROWAWAY IN THIS SHOW. THE COST AND CONSEQUENCE OF EVERY DECISION COMES BACK TEN-FOLD. IT’S REALLY JUST THE BASIC TENET OF SCI-FI BROUGHT TO A PLACE THAT GOES FAR BEYOND A SINGLE CONCEPTUAL INVERSION. THEY’VE TURNED THE TWILIGHT ZONE INTO WORLD BUILDING, CRANKING IT UP TO 2000 MPH, ALL WHILE STILL SOMEHOW KEEPING THE STORY DRIVEN AROUND (OFTEN AWKWARD) CATHARSIS.”

I couldn’t have said it better even if I tried.

But not to be outdone, here comes Watanabe’s Space Dandy – that deals with the same topics but in an episodic manner.

 

A Dandy Guy, In Space, Time Cats, and Robots: Watanabe’s refocuses his Diamond

Many people would think that Space Dandy would be lost in the conversation – but when it ranks at times equal to Rick and Morty- it is something to consider that maybe the Japanese still has some of the best visual artists around today.

Space Dandy’s Narrative at first glance seems off – while Rick and Morty’s is beyond madding – but its interesting to note while one series is using the episodic purview in order to tell a story that is connected and leaves no stone untraced – one is using the same purview to tell different stories connected to the same universe of characters. There is a sort slight in some western media circles that the Japanese have “horrible timing” in writing scripts. Space Dandy proves them wrong, in droves.

Let’s take the two episodes dealing with the secondary characters, Meow and Robot – in the episode “There is Always Tomorrow, Baby” where Meow meets his family and old girlfriends, we get a sense of Meow’s issues and how his life wishes he was different – while his father (unlike Morty’s father in the episode “Raising Gaslorsazorp” ) supports Meow regardless of his past. Of course Meow doesn’t get the girl, unlike this counterpart in the wall-e inspired season finale, “Even Vacuum Cleaners Find Love, Baby”, which the Robot says that while it was nice to fall in love – sometimes you have to let it go.

But unlike Rick and Morty which uses interesting backgrounds and set ups – Space Dandy’s is more forceful in its look and the fact it has different directors in each episode showcases how they handle the story. Rick and Morty has been called Futuriama maxed out, taken to the next level, Space Dandy has been called the Japanese Futurama, – Dandy being Zack Braff and his crew of crazy antics.

But Space Dandy’s animation is heads and shoulders above the rest of its competition on both eastern and western circles. In some episodes, the animation carries the story – which doesn’t always happen in other series. The way they handle Dandy is interesting – for a while he acted like a bro, trying to get the ladies and what not – but you had the sense (based on the way the first season was set up) that there was a tiredness in him – yeah all this is fun, but there has to be something more – and the main plot dealt with his father’s death (which hasn’t really been solved yet.)

But from the episode dealing with the lost dog (“The Lonely Pooch Planet, Baby”) he starts to grow up – even if it’s in another time line…

 

So What’s the WUBWUBWUBDUBDUB problem, Baby?

My problem is not on these two shows. It’s not even on the network they air on.

My issue is these are two shows, is in the myriad of trash. And that maybe fine for some – but yeah I’m always looking at the big picture.

The big picture is that Dan Harmon has been getting a bad rap for years. And it’s undeserved now. Dan Harmon is one of the best producers today, better than the now Disney secured duo of Joss Wheldon and J.J. Abrams (who is now doing Star Wars Episode 7). He outclasses his compatriots and rivals (the erstwhile Wendy Cummings who produces Two Broke Girls, and Chuck Lorre, the Les Moonves puppet who runs point for several shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Mom and the rest). Dan Harmon’s team of writers that have written better episodes of sci-fi than the disappointing Agents of SHIELD (which even the Tomorrow People, which CBS is about to cancel – outclasses the Agents of Shield from production to charatization and action scenes. This proves that Warners needs to have more control over the CW’s resurgence because CBS is too old, too wasteful, and too full of themselves to continue to run the CW Network at this time.)

TV has changed, and the networks realize this – but there will be growing pains in these changes. However, many of the executives and many of the show runners (cant truly call them super-producers like Jerry Bruckheimer was) think that the old ways will still work, (and in some cases – HBO Go in particular they are correct) but these days the writers (or better yet interpreters since many of  the dramas on TV come from books, not unlike what’s happening in anime in Japan with the Light Novels). These writers are holdovers from the post 1988 strike, and a lot of the stories JJ and Joss’s teams and charatizations have lost a step compared to Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire and even say a much weaker Walking Dead, 100 or even Tomorrow People, in comparison to SHIELD.

One of the pet peeves of mine, is the cycle of bad writers that these men (and Chuck Lorre and others) continue to hire knowing that they are nowhere as good as somebody working under Brian Fuller or David Fury etc. Josh Loeb and Dan Norton (who was creative director of Thundercats 2011), are two examples.

Josh Loeb, has worked in animation before – and now the “unofficial” head of the Marvel animated universe – is working on Agents of Shield. Now you know as I do that he isn’t anywhere to be considered a competent writer of comic books, let alone animation, let even alone live action. So why Joss brings Loeb in, when they had Ennis who did some work in Shield (comic wise)?

Not to be outdone, he brings his penchant of deux et machina in everything he does, even his second and third stories has stupid resolutions.

However, the real offender is Dan Norton.

We have to go back to the MTV Geek interview where he stated some things that made me wonder why he was made the designer of the new franchise.

One, he made a comment that there were not going to be any humans, and that the Thunderian race was a result of genetic tampering… he continued:

 “Villain Slythe would also get some time in the spotlight–and a graceful exit from the series–once fans learned the very personal reason for his hatred of the ThunderCats. “What you know about Slythe,” Norton promised, “we were going to break your expectations.” Fans may remember that at the beginning of the series, we see the other races on the planet treated as second-class citizens, or worse. Ultimately, they rally to Mumm-Ra’s cause with the promise of the ability to rise and control their own destinies–but for Slythe, it was clear they’re being manipulated.

In a solo episode for Slythe, we would learn that he holds a special grudge against soldier Lynx-o, one of Claudius’ generals responsible for expanding ThunderCat territory and pushing the lizardmen further back into the marshland. One of the lizardmen festivals would be based around the hatching of the next generation, with the males going off to hunt for food and the females tending to the eggs. However, to quickly clear out the marsh, Lynx-o burns a large swath of land, killing the hatchlings of Slythe’s tribe.

After he’s lost all of his friends, after he’s lost everything, he vows at his wife’s gravestone that he would give his soul to get revenge. Cue Mumm-Ra, who offers him just that exchange, putting Slythe on a collision course with Lynx-O, who he would decapitate, finally taking his revenge. But as the Lizard-men become enslaved to Mumm-ra, he sees that Lion-O’s quest for the Soul stone would unite the races. He would betray Mumm-Ra and give Lion-O the stone, leading the villain to kill him.”

Before this interview, he did a podcast interview that many of the ideas for the Thundercats 2011 series came from both of the comic books that Wildstorm did around 2004/2005.

I hate to tell you folks this, but sometimes, bad source material leads into bad episodes. The biggest disappointment for me is how Dan Norton and Michael Jelentic (which I know the latter has talent, he worked in the Brave and the Bold) dropped the ball on the series. It broke my heart and made me question why I should even care about animation anymore. How can something I grew up loving, almost destroy it?

It’s because Mr. Norton, just like Mr. Loeb is a brownnoser. He kowtows to power, realizing getting along to get along is the way to go – when you have no discernable talent. In addition, for a person that pretty much has a deviant art account instead of a website to highlight his work (just like every damn artist I know worth his or her damn salt has), shows how far his talent really goes. Tell me Mr. Puppet, how dare you make the fans feel stupid – you and Jelentic. The series needed humans point blank. Getting rid of Mandora the Space cop was stupid. Getting rid of the Space Opera that the series was, was a bad choice. Making the series smaller, when the franchise needed a grand retelling on the same scale of an A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) speaks of intellectual weakness. Mr Norton is no better than a younger version of Chuck Lorre – a guy with the weakest amount of talent and the biggest connections – and willing to destroy fans, fanbases, his own friends and even his biggest star to just get into the executives good graces. That is not the way to go anymore, not when Netflix (despite its myriad of issues), is forcing everyone to reevaluate what TV is in the 21st century.

How can you be successful with a franchise with history when people don’t have any idea about the origins on how the business works, and what changes took place that effected broadcast and cable?

You can’t with the way Dan and Michael sleep-walked throughout the majority of the series. There hasn’t been any sort of deal to bring the series to Blu-Ray – and that should tell you how bad things have gotten.

Straight to the point, Dan Norton should be packing bags at a Costco instead of working in animation, let alone Hollywood. Moreover, the fact that he still got a job is a bit sad. The difference between the way Dan Norton and Jelentric handled the Thundercats concerning the way they worked with the Japanese studio Studio 4c isn’t the way to go anymore, now that Space Dandy aired with two animators born in the west (Bahi JD, and Thomas Romain) working freelance in Japan and doing a much better job.

Does that mean that the writers to write and the designers design and maybe the rest of the production for action series should be outsourced to Japan first before airing in the States? Should Warners just allowed Studio 4C handle the whole production of the Thundercats, because Mr Norton’s skeleton crew was not going to cut it in 2011, and you can bet your bottom dollar you don’t send 15 men for a 60 man job (and yes, that includes an orchestra).

Even the long dead 4Kids did Thundercats 2011 better than Dan and Michael’s group did, with the last two seasons of the Chaotic series!

Even lower end video games got better treatment than Thundercats 2011 and that is a god damn SHAME that Warner Brothers, should never, ever in their existence live down!

The fact that Norton and Loeb and Lorre and other weak writers, show runners still running the game in Hollywood, still brownnosing folks like Jerry Bruckheimer, JJ Abrams and Joss Wheldon, who because of the brownnosing from these weak writers, keep great producers like Dan Harmon, Justin Roliend and his folks down.

That isn’t happening anymore and I for one, approve of this development. The people in adult swim from creative to the janitors should be thanked, not treated as “Stoners” that make “Stoner” TV, which is a damn lie and to show how entrenched the liars and brownnosers are in the industry right now.

Beyond Time and Space, a future unlike any other:

Rick and Morty and Space Dandy are two different series living in an age where animation is being aimed to the lowest of the low. With a minstrel song being sung by a man in a funny hat and weak vocals, to letting go of a billion dollar franchise that doesn’t even deserve to beat some of the greatest animated movies of all time.

Its madness I tell you, but in that madness comes rays of hope – from out of the ashes of the lost opportunities of the past, comes new interpretations of science fiction, from a man who created one of the greatest of his genre, to two men who figured out American ennui where others only dare to reach.

I think the point is about both shows- it’s fun without belittling the viewer, and that point was proven in “Raising Gaslorsazorp”, Summer and Rick at the end got bulked up and beat up the bullies while “X Gonna Give it To Ya” was playing. That was the whole series concisely for me. Meanwhile, Space Dandy’s race was fun and full of life – and the end was so glorious.

Two shows, two series in a world of weakness, fear, and lies. Now that’s truly great – These shows got the fans back, dawg.

Don’t let those weak willed “BLANKS”, on those other networks tell you otherwise.

 

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Arthur Rankin, Jr Has passed away (1924 – 2014) http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/arthur-rankin-jr-passed-away-1924-2014/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/arthur-rankin-jr-passed-away-1924-2014/#respond Sat, 01 Feb 2014 05:24:22 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=45650 It is with the heaviest of hearts – that I bring this news. One of the greatest animation producers, Arthur Rankin, Jr – passes at his home in Bermuda. He was 89. The Grandson Of Henry Davenport – Mr. Rankin got his start in as part of the early years of the ABC network, as graphic designer and […]

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It is with the heaviest of hearts – that I bring this news. One of the greatest animation producers, Arthur Rankin, Jr – passes at his home in Bermuda. He was 89.

The Grandson Of Henry Davenport – Mr. Rankin got his start in as part of the early years of the ABC network, as graphic designer and set designer. He and Jules Bass created Videocraft International (which later became Rankin Bass Productions), and did work on  “The New Adventures of Pinocchio” which was animated in Japan, and another series “Tales of the Wizard of Oz” done in Canada.

This lead into the first of the Christmas Specials, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer on NBC in 1956 (before it became a CBS Mainstay). It became so popular –  Frosty the Snowman was made (animated in 1961, but didn’t air until 1968 on CBS) and several others came between the mid 60’s to the very late 70’s.

He and Bass also worked with Controversial animation superstar Ralph Bashski on several films, the Hobbit and Return of the King, along with The Last Unicorn. Rankin and Bass also had great connections in Hollywood, bring out some of the biggest stars of there time to do voice overs. One can never forget the Ives baritone on the title song “Rudolph The Read Nose Reindeer”…

But maybe the greatest contribution to animation Rankin and his business partner Bass has ever given to animation, with the help of the great toy maker Tobin (Ted) Wolf was Thundercats. The best animators in Japan and Korea with the best story borders and designers in the west joined to create action animation’s miracle series. It was one of the biggest franchises of its time, and launched the careers of several famed animators and writers. Silverhawks and Tigersharks were also created by these two men, and both men wrote for the series (under pen names).

Mr. Rankin leaves behind his wife, Olga and His Two Sons Todd and Gardner.

Source: The Bermuda Royal Gazette, Animation Scoop (Jerry Beck)

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Postscript for the “Thunderian Series” http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/postscript-thunderian-series/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/postscript-thunderian-series/#respond Thu, 30 Jan 2014 05:00:28 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=45594 Note: If you Missed any of the other works in the series including the recent one dealing with Toonami: here they are: http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/thundercats-2011-retrospective/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/long-road-mediocrity-vortexx-approved-kids-dont-it/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/child-lead-them-axe-cop-exposes-big-lie-kids-business/ http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/absolution-sins-fandom-toonamis-epic-journey/ Back when I wanted to go to LA and be the next big star in Hollywood – as a super producer/writer for the next big Genre work, I did […]

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Note: If you Missed any of the other works in the series including the recent one dealing with Toonami: here they are:

http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/thundercats-2011-retrospective/

http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/long-road-mediocrity-vortexx-approved-kids-dont-it/

http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/child-lead-them-axe-cop-exposes-big-lie-kids-business/

http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/absolution-sins-fandom-toonamis-epic-journey/

Back when I wanted to go to LA and be the next big star in Hollywood – as a super producer/writer for the next big Genre work, I did research on low fantasy, high fantasy – all the rest of it.

I wanted to know what type of magic that Tokien had. That Lewis had. How can that translate into the animation world (like the way Bashski did it?)

I had the Ideas, the Heart. But it was the wrong time, and it was the wrong way to go about things.

I did these articles not just as a love letter to animation, not just a what happened to Thundercats (2011), not just a critique of what is going wrong in the business, who set it up and why:

I wrote it because things cant stay the way they are. Not only in animation, but its cousin, Video Games.

What we have today, is a mishmash of things that don’t truly belong. Maybe – the things I wrote – the reasons why these events with Saban, and Axe Cop and all the rest have happened? The reason in my opinion is that the American audience is in shell shock. It isn’t their fault in the real sense.

I want people to remember – Saturday Morning’s animation series didn’t produce 26 episodes a season. They produced 13 episodes A YEAR. ONE YEAR. The only way they got paid back was the second run of the episode. That is how the business still works in live action. There was no DVD/Video Tape Market in the mid 1970′s to 1993 and if their was one it was very weak. There was no season sets. There isn’t even aspects of a world beyond the three main networks and the UHF stations back then.

So for the Thundercats (’85) to become one of the most important franchises in the history of all animation, both in the east and the west, knowing how the business was set up then, is a miracle.

And for all that, the 2011 series came out like a dud after episode 4, speaks to the many problems we have today.

The audience is splintered.  There is no going back, nor getting a new audience because of the split.

The way forward, is to support people who came from nothing and are now working in the spheres of the marketplace, like Danny Choo and Bahi JD, Jason Demarco, Amid Amidi (even though I have problems with him), Karl Olson (same with him as well) and others.

And no longer trust the armchair quarterbacks.

Because of these Armchair Quarterbacks, the former kings of the “Kids Business” were able to reconfigure their business to better suit themselves and not the fans that wanted shows to match the needs of the changing world. The biggest of these became the pirates we now know as Crunchyroll, who have escaped prison because they are more favored by Government than say Kim Dotcom.

Because of the Armchair Quarterbacks, we are given the wrong impression of the Industry. Take the Case of the Fatman Interview (Kevin Smith) with Mr. Dini. Of course, Mr Dini is a legend in the industry. But Kevin Smith tried to overplay his hand, whereas the truth is somewhere in the middle. This is the same issue concerning the 2011 series of the Thundercats and its issues with Lego’s Chima (we know that Warners and Lego are doing a movie as well) These impressions do not take in account the actual changes in the businesses these products are connected in. However, to be fair, they (in the executive realm)  also don’t consider the changes in the marketplaces these products deal in. Both the executives, and the fanbases do not see the bigger picture – they all crash into the same morasses that caused  the same problems for DECADES on end, with no end in sight.

So what has taken place in the comic world, the animation marketplace and the video game industry is a mishmash of product aimed in the wrong places for the reasons above. And sometimes the criticism is warranted, and other times is hype from political agencies on the left and right of the spectrum that signifies nothing. All it does is make a mockery of artistic license. This is some of the reasons why when something like a “50 Shades of Gray” arrives, its a pseudo-revelation in the positive, but when the same idea of concepts is aimed toward audiences (of legal age mind you) 30 years younger (GQ Magazine with Glee)- its called the “degradation of societal norms” in the negative. When a comic book with art protecting parts that brought the majority of people life in this world is covered in a way that makes a mockery of the form, it gets passed as sexy, where as clothed grownup versions of a Cartoon Network classic with no panties shown, no sexual connation implied gets rail roaded off the plank.

We don’t have anything close to a “stable” fanbase or a “stable” marketplace. We have folks putting things to get an audience, and being done for “everybody” when “everybody” just want a show that works for a change. We have those that state that we knew better, we had the sites to see better, and we have the ideas long before they did, but never executed them for fear of losing everything.

We now see through their lies and deceit.

Its now time, before the art is lost, before the skill fades – before the cartoonists and the animators become propaganda for Venture Capital –  which has brought the likes of these faux-Pixars and the like, is to develop places for the creativity to go.

I would like to see a place where “erotic” things go and be successful in their own right. I feel as though that the problems of objectification would be mitigated if it cannot be gotten rid of, if we had a successful businesses who did such work, and would allow (like they have done several times before with Video Game Models such as Lara Croft, etc) the mainstream businesses to do such. I think that way, it wouldn’t hurt the characters much. but we don’t have them so we have the half way thing which doesn’t make sense and insults everybody that looks at such “censorship” as idiotic.

I would also like to see, the worlds flavor in animation as well. Say what you will about Savita Bahabi, but India is starting to get it, albeit slow at first. Dubai has commissioned animators in Japan to do the first Middle Eastern “Anime” in Tolkaizer. And as much as Brazil has copied, they also are doing original work. Can you imagine Tolkaizer on Toonami both in the US and Asia divisions?

I would also like to see a concept that Amid Amidi stated back in 2010 or so, when it came to the mass production of animation. The idea has come. Lets see how it going to work out.

As well, I would love to see the kids be more involved in the arts, in cartooning and animation. When in the recent Grammy Awards when Macklemore stated he almost thought he was Queer because he could draw, I wonder what or where he got that statement from.

He got that statement not from the Hip-Hop culture persay, but from the Call of Duty movement as well.

Would we say such things to Tex Avery, Chuck Jones (who, his Grandson Follows me on Twitter), Alex Toth, Jack Kirby, Walt Disney?

This is the grave darkside of the movement that refused to be censored. Not everyone playing the game means ill harm, but the concepts around the movement could be a detriment and not helpful. CoD fans should know as well, the Video Game industry cannot survive on FPS and AAA games forever. Everything that is seen as “cute” or “feminine” like “drawing” (unless its parts we cannot mention here) is dismissed as weak.

It is the concept of bro culture – that place where men can be free from the influences of the “Nanny” censorship state – in where the beer flows, the women are background noise, and the guns – real or faked are blazing.

That the only way you can get respect – is that you impress these men (your friends etc) in the way they see society should be. That is, get the Girl. All the girls. Talk about the exploits. Repeat the process. Gain more cred. Don’t worry about the kids, the BROS are more important. And hey, if we have extra females – lets  go have one of those parties. Never ending high school, never ending party, never ending winning.

The problem with this, everything that doesn’t fit this model is considered weak. But its not just impressing your male friends you see, but leaders who wish to promote “dudebro” as the future mainstream culture. They also must be impressed.

Their not gonna be impressed if you can draw  Drawing is that “graven image thing”, that America doesn’t really deal with and still in some ways doesn’t. It has to be real, the blood, the women all of it.

And that my friends, is why we have the problems that we do today. Why nothing moves forward. It cant move forward because the cultural mindset isn’t healthy enough. It may have never even existed because we still stuck on the same cliché’s that have permeated for eighty-five years.

The Thundercats, being successful in this country, is a miracle. So is the Transformers, and all of the rest.

But what we see now, via government malfeasance with education, to the executives in the smaller companies like Saban, DHM Media (nee Cookie Jar, nee DiC), 4Kids etc, have done in promoting shows that could have been done differently and promoted sanely, to the major corporations caught between larger profit margins for “brand name” projects and “fan favorite” series with major history.

A confused, shell-shocked, animation fanbase looking for security in a ice covered prison created by a mouse (yeah, its a small dig).

We may have to come to terms that, their maybe more animated product created in the last 5 years than people or networks or even Netflix or the upcoming SonyNet (the IPTV service) can handle. And they cannot be promoted in the way they should be.

This is the reason why we need, as fans of animation, to give back to the industry – not by consuming product per-se but by supporting those that do the hard work, and leave those that wish to armchair quarterback behind in the dustbin of historical navel gazing.

I don’t want another DISASTER that befell the Thundercats series to ever happen again. Not to any franchise, anywhere.

But its going to continue to happen if we as fans of this work, continue to runaround supporting ONE genre or one “type” of work or one “proof of concept” or even the way one is more “mature” than everything else in the business.

I did that once. I trusted fanbases more than I did the art and I paid for it DEARLY. Im still recovering. Maybe I will not recover but that is not in my DNA.

Now, I don’t trust the “fandom” as a whole. I trust those that CREATE the fandoms. That Cultivate the “fandom”. I trust the process of the Artistic Endeavor more than the executive backtalk or some artists thinking they have been the best for years, and they deserved a franchise such as the Thundercats OR Transformers etc.

That’s not gonna work like that anymore. If your a fan of animation and like to give back? Give back the way that will make a difference, Not placards. Not Protests, Not Campaigns. The way IMO and yours might be different? Is to talk to these artists like human beings, follow them on twitter, have conversation with them and you may not like the answers but you have learned more than anything that E/I mandate would ever teach you or your children.

The only reason im not in LA now, looking for capital for the next great franchise is that I was reading and talking to the wrong people who knew NOTHING how the business worked. How the process worked.

Its not going to happen again.

The Thundercats that aired in 2011, MUST never happen again.

What needs to change in order to have animation to reach the points of the Wire, Breaking Bad, heck even the Walking Dead, is the things I just mentioned.

Otherwise, its just going to be background noise to a culture that had took 67 years from flight in kitty hawk, to get to the moon – but never return in the last 42.

That’s the sign of a culture going back into barbarism. Into superstition, pseudo-Protestant paganism, collectivized lies and all and all out sterility. There is no life, there is no joy and that’s were the festering begins.

Its long since time we said truly and honestly thank you to those that have lead the way in animation, and thank you to those that still do the same today.

Its the same idea, that Sony did for its video game fanbase.

Support the fans, and the fans will reach out to the rest. That’s all that was ever needed in the end.

That what Toonami does and everybody else has forgotten in the run to get everybody and conform to everyones whim.

Those franchises, those shows not named Toonami lose out. every time.

Find a base and grow it.

Find the niche and the niche will tell the rest.

That is the way to create more Pixars, More Turtles Forever, More Airbenders, more Toonami like blocks, and less Vortexx’s, Anti-Pixars, less of the post episode 4 Thundercats type series.

Its up to us.

Stop the Armchair Quarterbacks, They are false prophets. They do nothing, they say nothing, they are nothing.

Support real animators, cartoonists and artists, the real curators of culture and the real fans who cultivate their fanbase. Support those that truly care about the animation world and say THANK YOU.

I should have said that to Michael Sporn, instead of worrying what others thought about my writings.

I saying thank you to him now.

And I ask for his forgiveness, because I’m not the best animation historian in the world, but damn it I try. I’m not the best fan in the world but damn it I try. I should have been more into the splog than the “Inner Circle” – that’s my regret. And at times I kick myself into thinking I know more than I do. That’s wrong.

That’s why I will change. I grew up loving animation, and the reason why I been so critical of it is because everything else around it was “mature” and better and animation was stuck on slow because of a puritanical world view that has been taken down because of its anti-human treatises.

That world view may not change, but there are better ways so it no longer retards the art world and its higher forms of spiritual uplift.

But it must start with the individual.

What Kind of Animation World YOU want? One built on lies? Or one built on honesty?

What kind of Animation world, you as fans Truly deserve?

Because for me, concerning the Thundercats? The Sword of Omens  – the symbol for the franchise; shall stay buried under the rock of the lies it never accepted, nor inherited, until truth, honor, justice and loyalty finally returns to this animation world.

But its up to you, the fans to do that.

It has always been up to you. No collective, nor the aggregate mass will change it.

You will.

You must.

If not. Go.

But if you love animation. Change it for the better.

Change it so we do have a TRUE Kids industry.

Change it so we do have places for those other works.

Change it so our country doesn’t have to be an embarrassment anymore.

Change it so the low and the high can see man isn’t lost.

Change it…

FOR YOU.

 

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ToonBarn Interview: Thundercats Voice Actors and Writer http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/toonbarn-interviews-thundercats-voice-artists-writer/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/toonbarn-interviews-thundercats-voice-artists-writer/#comments Wed, 21 Nov 2012 23:44:37 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=35847 Over the last few weeks, I have been really lucky to have connected with some of the main players in the Original Thundercats series that aired from 1985-1989. In the 80’s, Thundercats was so popular that it had become the #1 rated cartoon in over 30 television markets in the United States. Recently, Thundercats was […]

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ToonBarn Interviews Thundercats Voice Actors and Writer, including Larry Kenney, Peter Newman, Gerrianne Raphael, and Leonard Starr

Over the last few weeks, I have been really lucky to have connected with some of the main players in the Original Thundercats series that aired from 1985-1989. In the 80’s, Thundercats was so popular that it had become the #1 rated cartoon in over 30 television markets in the United States.

Recently, Thundercats was re-booted as a new series, with different animation, different writers, and different voice actors, for the Cartoon Network. This resurgence of interest in Thundercats would never have occurred if it hadn’t been for the huge impact that was attributed to each of the people we will be talking about in this article.

The first 3 people I interviewed at RetroCon were the original voice actors for characters like Lion-O, Tygra, and Pumyra, but friends know them as Larry Kenney, Peter Newman, and Gerrianne Raphael.  The 4th person we will have is the Head Writer and Developer of the Series Bible, Leonard Starr. This portion was not a video interview, but a text interview that we were permitted to re-print for you here.

Gerrianne Raphael

Gerrianne Raphael played the voices of Pumyra and Chilla in the Thundercats series. She was asked to join the cast without an audition, because they wanted her natural voice, with the honorable touch. They needed another female Thundercat for the show, besides Cheetara, and Gerrianne fit the part perfectly.

Gerrianne Raphael from Thundercats Pumyra Chilla

Peter Newman

Peter Newman provided the voices of several characters in Thundercats, including Tygra, Monkian, and Bengali, and WillyKat.  He loved doing the show, as all of the Actors did,  and you can still see that spark in his eyes. He was one of those actors that could speak several different character parts, all in real time.

Peter Newman from Thundercats Tygra Monkian Bengali Willykat

Larry Kenney

The last Thundercats voice actor interview we had at RetroCon was with the Lord of the Thundercats, Lion-O himself, Larry Kenney. He also played Jackalman. We found out that Mel Blanc was one of Larry’s heroes and wished there were events like RetroCon where he could have met his hero. Throughout his long career, besides doing voices for Thundercats, Count Chocula and Sonny from the Cocoa Puffs commercials, he was a DJ and regular on “Imus in the Morning” on the radio. Larry has always done a great job in connecting with the fans, and he gets pretty deep into the fan experience, and what Thundercats really meant to some of these fans, in this interview.

Larry Kenney from Thundercats Lion-O Jackalman

Leonard Starr

From 1985 to 1987, Leonard Starr served as the head writer and developer on Thundercats. Starr was brought in the early production stages of ThunderCats and shown early concept drawings of characters, at which point he began to create the concepts behind the series. Starr created the Thundercats team, the Mutants and finally Mumm-Ra and submitted his work to Rankin-Bass in the form of a Series Bible. Soon, Jules Bass developed other key concepts of the series, and Starr was brought in to begin writing scripts. Although the Thundercats concept is credited as being created by Ted Wolf, Leonard Starr was one of the most influential people in the development of the series.

Leonard Starr is also an accomplished comic strip writer and artist, having created the comic strip On Stage (later titled Mary Perkins: On Stage), and receiving the National Cartoonist Society’s Story Comic Strip Award for it in 1960 and 1963, as well as their Reuben award for it in 1965.

Leonard Starr is the author of the following episodes of Thundercats:

01. Exodus
02. The Unholy Alliance
03. Berbils
04. The Slaves of Castle Plun-Darr
08. The Tower of Traps
11. The Ghost Warrior
14. The Spaceship Beneath the Sands
19. Lion-O’s Anointment First Day: The Trial of Strength
24. The Crystal Queen
25. Lion-O’S Anointment Second Day: The Trial of Speed
34. Lion-O’s Anointment Third Day: The Trial of Cunning
42. Lion-O’s Anointment Fourth Day: The Trial of Mind Power
49. Lion-O’s Anointment Final Day: The Trial of Evil
66. ThunderCats Ho! Part 1
67. ThunderCats Ho! Part 2
68. ThunderCats Ho! Part 3
69. ThunderCats Ho! Part 4
70. ThunderCats Ho! Part 5
71. Mumm-Ra Lives! Part 1
72. Mumm-Ra Lives! Part 2
73. Mumm-Ra Lives! Part 3
74. Mumm-Ra Lives! Part 4
75. Mumm-Ra Lives! Part 5

As luck would have it, my chiropractor (Thank you, Dr. Finkelstein!) works next to the nephew of Leonard Starr, the developer of the Thundercats series and a writer of several episodes. Leonard Starr was picked by Jules Bass to write the Series Bible that many of the other writers consistently used as a reference to write all of the 135 episodes. After receiving Leonard Starr’s email address, I contacted him, and asked about his work on Thundercats. He said that there was an interview he had done several years back with James Gauthier that pretty much sums up all he wanted to say about Thundercats. So, the following Interview has been reprinted with permission from Jim Gauthier, and permission from Leonard Starr (if the reader needs contact info for Jim or Leonard they can go to their website: www.homeworldpress.com) This interview is told from Jim Gauthier’s point of view.

An Interview with Leonard Starr

Leonard Starr from Thundercats

Originally posted on http://www.cheezey.org

Someone I knew, knowing that Leonard Starr and I are friends, asked about a couple of entries on the “Thundercats” site, concerning Ted Wolf’s daughter reminiscing about sitting around their dining room table creating the characters in the series. I’d dropped in on Leonard in the studio he was sharing with Stan Drake often in the 80s when in addition to writing and drawing “Annie”, collaborating with Stan on “Kelly Green”; he was also working on “Thundercats”. I remembered him working on the “Bible”, drawing a map of 3rd Earth, there was a drawing he did of Lion-O looking through the eye holes of the ‘Sword of Omens’ with the ‘Eye of Thundera’ to give him ‘Sight beyond Sight’, that kind of thing. There were also photocopies of Tcat type characters. I know, of course, that the opening credits of the show say ‘Created by Ted Wolf”, but had no doubt that Leonard was solely responsible for developing the show in the form that went on the air. Still, I was remembering events of 20 years or so ago, so I phoned him to ask about it, but then I thought, wait – the next time I come over I’ll bring a tape recorder so that you tell your side. He said “My side? I have no side. It was a job and I did what I did, but okay if you want to take the time.”

So – a week or so later, I live farther from him now, I came over to tape the session. (The clarifications in parentheses are mine.) I also brought printouts of the Ted Wolf items from the Internet. He looked at them and laughed.

Leonard: “Ted Wolf? There really was a Ted Wolf? The first I ever heard of him was when I saw his name on the opening credits of the first show.” (Leonard doesn’t spend much time on the internet, just uses his PC for Email, checking the programs on his local classical music station, research for something he’s working on, etc. He was surprised when I told him there was a lengthy site about “On Stage”. I’d be surprised if he ever checked it out.)

Jim: “So you never met him.”

Leonard: I thought it might be a manufactured name, maybe for copyright reasons, like…what was it…yes, “Alan Smithee”, a pseudonym movie directors used when they felt their work was tampered with or for whatever reason didn’t want their actual names on the credits.”

Jim: So…Wait. Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you get into “Thundercats”?

Leonard: Oh…Jules Bass (of Rankin/Bass) called me one day, said something had come in that he’d like me to take a look at, but that they were in a bit of a time crunch. Could I come in the next day? As it happened, there was an event at the Illustrators (The “Society of Illustrators” in New York) that night, and we’d be coming in for it. Great. If I could drop by the office first he’d wait for me. So, sure, I dropped Betty (L’s late wonderful wife) off at the club on the way, and got to R/B just before six. Everyone was gone of course, just Jules there, and he had an easel set up with posters, about a half dozen of them, with fully rendered drawings. At least two were of Catpeople, a Lion man I remember, maybe a Panther man, at least one Reptile man, a rendering of what would later become the Thundercar or maybe the Thundertank, and…I don’t really remember what else except for the Thundercats logo with that terrific lettering, rendered in color as all the posters were. (These were probably the photocopies I saw in Leonard’s studio) I think that striking logo was as instrumental in the show’s success as anything else. In essence, what was happening was that they were brought this material, there was a good chance of getting a show based on it on the air, but they didn’t know what the hell to do with it. R/B’s long experience in animation had been entirely in Saturday morning shows and specials and those, like “The Jackson Five”, “The Osmonds”, would have two musical numbers per half hour show, whatever plot there was pretty much connective tissue to fill what remained of the 25 minutes without commercials. This project would be for direct syndication, five days a week from the outset. It would require a basic setup of situation and characters that were capable of extension, very much like the way a continuity comic strip works, my ballpark. Did I have any thoughts on what was there, Jules wanted to know. What came to me immediately was Egypt, because of their ancient animal Gods, jackal, cat, etc. It could also bring in mummies, tombs, things that twigged me when I was a kid. The Tcats might be survivors of a dying planet, etc. Could be a way to go, Jules said. Could I do a treatment? But quickly, there was some kind of time pressure. So I said I’d give it a shot, did it the next day, just a few pages, pretty much a précis of what the first show would turn out to be, the imminent destruction of Thundera, their Exodus and so on. Jules had wanted a team so I added the other Tcats, their specific weapons, Snarf for comedy relief, named them, also the bad guys, Slythe, Monkian, Jackalman, etc, called them Mutants because it was a word that resonated with kids as bad guys… like the Tcats weren’t mutants, one critic later wanted to know?… Mumm-Ra the Immortal…no, the Everliving because “Immortal” had a benevolent sound to it, anyway, as the overarching evil that awaited them on Third Earth, which was what remained of Earth after two nuclear holocausts. I sent it in before the PO closed, and heard from Jules the next day, saying they liked it so much they were even going to pay me for it and could I come in the next day. I did, and when I got there Jules had had a Deal Memo prepared, specifying a certain sum for agreeing to the Memo, another for completion of a “Bible” which is a basic format for a series of 65 half hour shows for other writers to base their scripts on, another sum in the event of commencement of production, a price for each following script, a specific percentage of any merchandising revenues, all else to be further defined in, quote, “a more formal and complete contract now in preparation”, and so on. The merchandising percentage was okay, but merchandising is iffy. I was more interested in residuals, like the downward sliding scale on the contracts of the previous shows I’d done for them, so much for the first run, less and less for the second, third, etc. showings, so that if the Tcats ran at all, there would be additional revenue. Jules said we’d work that out when we did the formal contract. Oh- and there were consulting fees, as I’d asked him if he’d like me to ride shotgun on the scripts. Oh, God yes! he’d said. It all seemed okay, I’d done some specials that Arthur Rankin had asked me to write and they’d all gone well, no money problems, so I signed it. For openers could I give them a two-hour Tcat special, one that could also be shown as four half hour and/or one hour shows? Sure, so I rearranged my schedule, put in a couple of really heavy days and brought it in. Wait…my memory is a bit hazy here…I don’t remember if I did the Bible or the show first … Maybe the show because we didn’t know where we were with this yet. The script went in pretty much unchanged, except for some vital additions by Jules. He had Thunder…Thunder…THUNDER precede Thundercats HO!, the mummy Mumm-Ra transform into the monster Mumm-Ra and for the Sword of Omens to grow and flash when Lion-O did the call. The holocausts were cut because that might scare kids… Oh- he also changed Lion-L as I had it because of a possible conflict with the toy train people, to Lion-O. Um…Ah- he also thought there should be some juvenile Tcats, hence Wilykat and Wilykit, and…that was about it. Jules cast the actors to record the script, got a composer to do that first rate score… I think Jules himself did the lyrics… and off it went to Japan for animation. It doesn’t seem now as if it was very long before the film came back. An assistant ran it for me the next time I went in, and it looked great. The Japanese had done a terrific job designing the characters, the animation itself equal to or better than anything else around, the only error a voice identifying “a tiny blue planet” that had been colored green. More important to me was that my credit should have been “developed by” in addition to “head writer”. Asked Jules about it, he said they had to do it that way. Why? He shrugged as if he didn’t really know himself, it was out of his hands. Okay – I wasn’t envisioning a further career in animation, I had my own gig, and so the credit didn’t really matter.

Jim: And the show went on right after that?

Leonard: Soon anyway, though if it was shown in my area I wasn’t told about it, but Dik Browne (the late great Dik Browne – Hi & Lois, Hagar) called me from Sarasota, the family had seen it, liked it a lot, but – it had been shown at 8.00 PM. Wasn’t that a bad time slot for an animated kid’s show? Was it ever! The kiss of death! I figured that was that, but a day or two later Dik called again. The weekly ratings had been published in their local paper, Tcats among them, and the ratings were excellent! The numbers must have been pretty much the same wherever else it had played, because Jules called me to say it was a GO and I guess it was at this point that I wrote the Bible. I also decided that a map of Third Earth would be helpful to the subsequent writers so I designed that as well…and…I think I started right in working on scripts. Three scripts a week would have to be recorded by the actors in New York and sent to Japan, so we had to start finding writers, not easy, because most of the experienced animation writers were in California, plus, I discovered later, their price per script was roughly twice what R/B paid. Anyway, somehow scripts started coming in and …(laughs) …I made a discovery! Writers hate to write! I shouldn’t have been surprised because I’m one of them. Dorothy Parker said it for all our ilk, to wit, “I hate to write, but I like have written” Ah yes – it’s that blank sheet of paper. Hemingway called it “the White Bull”. It was almost as if some of the scripts were written the night before deadline. I’d send them back for rewrite at first but then time would run out and we’d be hung up, so I ultimately rewrote them myself, getting to see dawn from the wrong end a lot, but hey- I’m a comic artist so it was by no means the first time. Jules must have handled some of the editing because there was no way I could have could have done it all on my own.

Jim: So it was essentially you and Jules getting the scripts out.

Leonard: I guess so, but it was just as well that we didn’t have that schedule killer – Leeway! Not that it didn’t get scary. I remember Jules’ calling me one Saturday with a problem, adding “I’m getting too old for this ****!”. Just generally, it seems to me now that I was on the phone half the day with Jules or writers or the really first rate production staff. Stan was finding it disruptive, so I finally had to take another studio down the hall to handle it all.

Jim: I remember. You had Frank (Frank Bolle, Winnie Winkle, Apt. 3G, etc. one of L’s oldest and closest friends since their high school days) help you on Annie at one point.

Leonard: Yes, he penciled a sequence from my roughs and had to push his own killer schedule around to do it. Well -that’s Frank.

Jim: Yes, I met him through you and now he’s recently done the illustrations in the book I wrote with Ed Martin, “The Last Chance”.

Leonard: Oh, right. Hope it’s doing well, Jim. Uh…Anyway, we got through the first 65 shows, it was a hit, we were tired but exhilarated, and then another, I think…40 shows were ordered, but now we were in a groove so it was going more easily.

Jim: You were on it for more than a year, weren’t you?

Leonard: Oh, sure, and here comes the fun part. After about two years I asked Jules about residuals again. “Oh, we can’t give residuals on a cheap show like this.” Oh? Well, has that “formal contract in preparation” been prepared yet? “Look,”says Jules, “If you want to sue us, sue us. It’ll cost you a lot of money and you’ll lose.” Huh. He jumps right from “how about the contract” to “Sue us”? Oboy. There’s a Mexican curse that goes, “May your life be filled with lawyers”, and here it was, lawyer time. So I took my sad story to my local attorney, and he set me up with one of those lawyer factories in New York, five floors or so on Madison Avenue. It turned out that the guy assigned to my case, I forget his name, had represented R/B in a suit against Joe Levine (Joseph E. Levine, the producer that had bought up those shlock Italian muscle movies, “Hercules” et al, had them dubbed into English and made a mint. He later, crazily enough, also produced “The Graduate”) and won it for R/B. Well, great, I figured. They know each other, they’d had a good experience, they’ll talk it out, come to some kind of satisfactory resolution, and that will be that.
Ho ho. He set up a meeting with Jules, and called later that day. How did it go? He said I asked Jules, ‘What about this paper, the Deal Memo?’. Jules said, “I don’t know.” Oh? “What shall I tell my client”? Jules said, “I don’t know.” So. There it was. There was nothing for it but to sue. Papers were served, all that, lawyer stuff.
In the event, the suit didn’t get further than the deposition. R/B’s lawyer started out by saying that Stan Weston, had told him that, no question, I was almost totally responsible for the show in its present shape. Stan Weston? He was a guy who had a company called “Leisure Concepts”. He’d shown up at the R/B offices once, maybe twice after the show was a hit, happy as hell with the way things were going, complements to me…nice charismatic guy. How did his name come into the suit? If he had any connection to the show it wasn’t mentioned. Did Tcats come to R/B via “Leisure Concepts”? Well, who cares. It was a promising beginning, but the promise quickly fizzled. It turned out that a Deal Memo is a binding contract, news to me, despite having signed many a contract in my life. It being my conceit that I could read a short sentence in English comprised of words I was familiar with, I didn’t realize that “A formal and complete contract now in preparation” turned out to be one of those complex legal terms that translates as “Up yours.” I did get the specified percentage of the merchandising, future plus the revenue that had been accumulating for…Let’s see…the date of the Deal Memo was March ’84, the suit was in March ’87 to give you the time frame…minus of course, a third to the lawyers.

Jim: Bummer. You had to be furious!

Leonard: I guess so…but I mostly remember being disgusted, that such a fascinating, frustrating, exhausting, exhilarating, ultimately successful venture should have come to such a shabby end.

Jim: This whole thing seems to have been entirely with Jules Bass. Boy, you must really hate him!

Leonard: (laughs)…Jim, Jim…These stories are Legion in that business. In the “How to be a Producer Handbook” a primary rule is that if you aren’t hated, you’re not doing it right! Still – Jules goofed. I was so sure I was in Friendlyville, that I would have gone into it with a verbal agreement and a handshake and he could have aced me out of every cent, so there you go – nobody’s perfect.

Jim: You haven’t said anything about Arthur Rankin. Where was he in all this?

Leonard: Arthur was barely around at all. I assumed that he was handling the animation end in Japan, and I guess he was, because one of the very few, I think maybe three, times he was there, he sat in at a writer’s conference and said… actually I think the only thing he said during what was a long conference, was that the Japanese animators had requested that we scratch the word “hordes” out of our dictionaries. We were all guilty of loading the scripts up with characters, even me, who should have remembered that all those mob scenes we wrote would have to be drawn.

Jim: It doesn’t sound like he had much say about the creative end in all that time.

Leonard: Well…he may have had his hands full behind the scenes, who knows…but come to think of it all the other shows I’d done for Arthur seemed to be for him alone. Jules was barely around for those, so…Anyway, Arthur is a very likable guy, nice quirky sense of humor…I knew him socially, was always pleased when he called me to do a script. It was a nice change from my regular routine, fun to see it animated. Always a pleasant experience.

Jim: So you think the way it ended was all Jules’ doing?

Leonard: Oh, how can I know. Maybe each had autonomous say on their individual projects, but – Arthur’s name was on the door. I would have thought that he could resolve the whole sorry business with a phone call. There was no call.

Jim: So that was that…Oh- to backtrack, what do you think now that you know there actually was a Ted Wolf?

Leonard: (Laughs) The actual Ted Wolf! Oh…what is there to think? You know…I just saw ‘Mystic River’ and the crux of this longish movie is a very short scene, almost a throwaway, where the daughter of Sean Penn’s character comes into the back of their grocery store to tell him she’s leaving for the day. Penn is at his desk, doing accounts or whatever, his back to her. She comes up behind him, puts her arms around him, kisses him on the forehead. Penn turns his head towards her, smiles, says “Have fun” or something, his mind still on his deskwork. With just that, absolutely no shmaltz, you feel this… profound bond between them. Childless myself, I envied it, as I sometimes have of my lifelong friends and their kids, feeling that I’d really missed something, something, oh… primal…

Jim: That kind of relationship isn’t always the rule…

Leonard: Oho! Tell me about it! There were some real horror stories among them, made me feel I was well out of it, but oddly, and happily, they all, with one tragic exception, shaped up. In their forties now, pushing fifty some of them, they’ve become responsible citizens, married with kids of their own, just as square as the rest of us. The relationship between Ted Wolf and his daughter seems to be one of the best ones though. One wants to be part of that gemutlich setting around the dining table. Ted Wolf’s bio shows him to be an estimable guy, he clearly came up with the concept, received royalties for it, which you’ll have noticed, they don’t hand out willy-nilly. His daughter should never have occasion to be less proud of him. ‘Created by Ted Wolf’ will be the opening credit on ‘Thundercats’ as long as it’s being shown. His is part one of the story, mine is part two. Part three is that it’s still being enjoyed, so all in all…a happy ending.

Thundercats Logo

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RetroCon Debuts With Thundercats Voice Actors http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/toonbarn-covers-debut-retrocon/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/toonbarn-covers-debut-retrocon/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2012 17:15:53 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=35849 RetroCon: a toy and nostalgia-oriented convention in south-east Pennsylvania, debuted for the first time on Veterans Day, November 11, 2012, to huge crowds at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. RetroCon focused mainly around classic toys of the 80’s, but also spotlighted were the movies, the video games, the cartoons, the fads… you […]

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RetroCon Logo

RetroCon: a toy and nostalgia-oriented convention in south-east Pennsylvania, debuted for the first time on Veterans Day, November 11, 2012, to huge crowds at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA.

RetroCon focused mainly around classic toys of the 80’s, but also spotlighted were the movies, the video games, the cartoons, the fads… you get the idea. It’s all Retro!

RetroCon was a major toy show with lots of fun, a Back To the Future Delorean for fans to check out, a costume contest, a display of replica movie/cartoon props, several retro arcade games, and more!

Artists and Vendors were also on hand to sell their wares, but the biggest fan-pleasers were the Voice Actors from the Original Thundercats TV Series from the 80s, and the Angry Video Game Nerd.

Larry Kenney, the voice of Lion-O, Peter Newman, the Voice of Tygra, and Gerrianne Raphael, the Voice of Pumyra, all represented the Original Thundercats TV Cartoon Series that ran from 1985-1989. They signed autographs and shared nostalgic stories with the RetroCon crowds.

RetroCon Thundercats Voice Actors and Event Organizers

From the left: Peter Newman (Tygra), RetroCon Organizer Rosemary Ward, Gerrianne Raphael (Pumyra), Larry Kenney (Lion-O), RetroCon Organizer Tony Tuski

The Angry Video Game Nerd, a famous blogger for fans of Video Games, was also on hand to sign autographs.

In the costume contest, it was broken down into 4 groups: Kids, Men, Women, and Groups. In the Kids category, the winning costume was Marty McFly from the Back to the Future movies. The Men’s winner was Grimlock from Transformers Dinobots. The Women’s winner was Pizazz from Jem and the Holograms, and the Group Winner was the Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna from Superfirends, along with their space monkey, Gleek. The Overall Winner was Grimlock, as voted by fan applause.

I talked with the Organizers of RetroCon, Rosemary Ward and Tony R. Tuski, about how RetroCon began, and what they are planning for next year.

To follow the plans for next year’s RetroCon, you can go to these links:

Main page: http://www.retrocons.com/
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/retrocons

While I was there at RetroCon, I met a really nice gentleman by the name of Optimus Prime. He had his name legally changed to Optimus Prime about 12 years ago, and I even saw his driver’s license. Totally true! I had a conversation with him, and here’s how it transpired:

Here’s a recap of all the action at RetroCon, captured and edited by ToonBarn, for your enjoyment. You won’t see these images anywhere else.

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Thundercats – What Lies Above Part 2 http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-lies-part-2/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-lies-part-2/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2012 06:00:05 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=31266 Warner Bros. Entertainment has just released 2 new clips for this week’s episode of Thundercats, which is actually the 2nd part of the season finale. Entitled “What Lies Above”, the 2nd part finds the Thundercats locked in battle with Mumm-Ra’s forces in Avista city, as both sides vie for the Tech Stone. In the heat […]

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Thundercats – What Lies Above Part 2

Warner Bros. Entertainment has just released 2 new clips for this week’s episode of Thundercats, which is actually the 2nd part of the season finale. Entitled “What Lies Above”, the 2nd part finds the Thundercats locked in battle with Mumm-Ra’s forces in Avista city, as both sides vie for the Tech Stone. In the heat of battle, Lion-O finds himself betrayed by a trusted ally.

The first clip shows the Thundercats defending themselves against Mumm-Ra’s invading forces, with Lion-O using the Sword of Omens, Panthro manning a Turret, Tygra using a jet plane, and Snarf being Snarf.

The second clip shows Lion-O finally facing Mumm-Ra one on one, with Lion-O pitting the Sword of Omens and Claw Gauntlet against the Mumm-Ra’s Sword of Plundaar and Gauntlet of Plundaar.

Thundercats – What Lies Above Part 2

To find out which Thundercat betrayed Lion-O and whether the Sword of Omens can stand up to Mumm-Ra and the Sword of Plundaar or not, tune in to Cartoon Network this Saturday, June 16 at 9:30 AM ET/PT

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Thundercats: The Forever Bag http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-bag/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-bag/#respond Fri, 18 May 2012 06:00:52 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=30402 This week on Thundercats, the spotlight is given to the two smaller members of the crew, as Kit and Kat take centerstage in the episode entitled “The Forever Bag”. The episode finds the two dimunitive Thundercats following Tookit into his magical Forever Bag, which is a seemingly normal bag that is infinitely big on the […]

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Thundercats: The Forever Bag

This week on Thundercats, the spotlight is given to the two smaller members of the crew, as Kit and Kat take centerstage in the episode entitled “The Forever Bag”. The episode finds the two dimunitive Thundercats following Tookit into his magical Forever Bag, which is a seemingly normal bag that is infinitely big on the inside.

Once inside the Forever Bag, Kit and Kat meets a group of orphans who, together with Tookit, influence the Thunderkittens into going back to their thieving ways. Now, Kit and Kat must turn the tables on the charming rogue Tookit or risk going to jail.

There’s a couple of teaser clips provided below:

The first clip shows Tookit convincing Kit and Kat to enter the Forever Bag, which they did, bringing Snarf along. Their journey inside the bag is amazing, as they fall through darkness while various colors flicker and shine in the background, but the landing could use some improvement.

The second clip shows Tookit using the Forever Bag to loot a candy store, with Kit and Kat participating unknowingly.

There’s also a set of teaser pics for your enjoyment below:

Thundercats: The Forever Bag

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Thundercats: Birth of the Blade http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-birth-blade/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-birth-blade/#respond Thu, 10 May 2012 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=30194 This weekend on Thundercats, the episode “Birth of the Blade” has both Lion-O and Pumyra on the run from Mumm-Ra and his forces in the mines of Mount Plundarr. The duo aim to keep the Sword of Plundarr out of Mumm-Ra’s hands, and if you’re wondering why, the episode will provide a flashback to the […]

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Thundercats: Birth of the Blade

This weekend on Thundercats, the episode “Birth of the Blade” has both Lion-O and Pumyra on the run from Mumm-Ra and his forces in the mines of Mount Plundarr. The duo aim to keep the Sword of Plundarr out of Mumm-Ra’s hands, and if you’re wondering why, the episode will provide a flashback to the origin of said sword, and its connection to the Sword of Omens.

There’s a couple of preview clips out for the episode, the first one providing a little bit of info about the terrible story behind the sword of plundarr, and the second has Lion-O and Pumyra being trapped in a crystal bridge, with Mumm-Ra’s troops ready to pounce from either side. Lion-O decides to use the sword of plundarr, which resulted in the bridge being destroyed and everyone on it (including Lion-O and Pumyra) plunging to their doom:

There’s also a bunch of teaser pics:

Thundercats: Birth of the Blade

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Nintendo DS Gets a ThunderCats Game http://www.toonbarn.com/cartoon-network/nintendo-ds-thundercats-game/ http://www.toonbarn.com/cartoon-network/nintendo-ds-thundercats-game/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2012 19:00:30 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=29419 There will be a new game based on Cartoon Network’s modern update of the Thundercats, as developer Aspect Digital (of Naruto: Ninja Council) and Namco Bandai are currently working (or has finished working) on a new Thundercats game for the Nintendo DS. Note that the game is for the Nintendo DS, instead of Nintendo’s newer […]

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Nintendo DS Gets a ThunderCats Game

There will be a new game based on Cartoon Network’s modern update of the Thundercats, as developer Aspect Digital (of Naruto: Ninja Council) and Namco Bandai are currently working (or has finished working) on a new Thundercats game for the Nintendo DS.

Note that the game is for the Nintendo DS, instead of Nintendo’s newer 3DS. On the one hand, it means that the graphics will probably not meet current gen standards, as the DS is nowhere near as capable as the 3DS or even the PSP, but on the other hand, it is still good news because it means the title will be available to a broader range of audience, due to the fact that a lot of gamers have held on to their DS while the 3DS users will still be able to play the game due to the handheld’s backwards compatibility.

ThunderCats for the Nintendo DS will follow the storyline of the Cartoon Network series, with the game starting during the Thundera invasion of Slythe’s lizard army. The game is a standard side-scrolling hack and slash, with the player controlling Lion-O exclusively. Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro, and the Wilys can be summoned using the touchscreen for assists, while the sword of Omens can be used to unleash a screen-filling beam of destruction.

The game will use 2D graphics instead of taking advantage of the DS’ rudimentary (compared to the 3DS, at least) 3D-rendering capabilities. The game is scheduled to come out on August this year.

Nintendo DS Gets a ThunderCats Game

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ThunderCats: The Trials of Lion-O, Part Two http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-trials-lion-o-part/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-trials-lion-o-part/#respond Fri, 06 Apr 2012 22:00:24 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=28857 On the next episode of ThunderCats, we get the 2nd part of The Trials of Lion-O, in which the ThunderCats (minus Lion-O) find themselves trapped in Mumm-Ra’s Pyramid. Believing that Lion-O is dead, the cats try to escape and prevent Mumm-Ra from acquiring the Eye of Thundera, which is still embedded in the sword. There’s […]

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ThunderCats: The Trials of Lion-O, Part Two
On the next episode of ThunderCats, we get the 2nd part of The Trials of Lion-O, in which the ThunderCats (minus Lion-O) find themselves trapped in Mumm-Ra’s Pyramid. Believing that Lion-O is dead, the cats try to escape and prevent Mumm-Ra from acquiring the Eye of Thundera, which is still embedded in the sword.

There’s a couple of preview clips below to whet your appetites:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJehM3qAt9E

The first clip shows Lion-O failing a trial, in which he has to defeat Tygra. Lion-O failed because it seems that the ThunderCat still doubts his own capabilities, believing that Tygra is still the better choice to lead as king. Pleading with Jaga for a chance to save his friends, Lion-O is granted an extension until sunrise.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SkGWYhYDV4

The second clip shows the remaining cats, under the mistaken belief that Lion-O is already dead, launch a valiant, but ultimately failed attempt at preventing Mumm-Ra from extracting the eye of Thundera.

Can Lion-O make it in time to save his friends? Tune in this Saturday at 9AM, on Cartoon Network.

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ThunderCats return on March 24th http://www.toonbarn.com/cartoon-network/thundercats-return-march-24th/ http://www.toonbarn.com/cartoon-network/thundercats-return-march-24th/#respond Wed, 21 Mar 2012 19:20:31 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=28401 Cartoon Network’s ThunderCats will return for their second season on March 24th, but before you watch it, it could help if you take a refresher of sorts, by watching the recap for the entire first season: httpv://youtu.be/OXMCBWS1tFw The recap is perfect if you’ve already forgotten about the key developments in the previous season, or you […]

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ThunderCats

Cartoon Network’s ThunderCats will return for their second season on March 24th, but before you watch it, it could help if you take a refresher of sorts, by watching the recap for the entire first season:

httpv://youtu.be/OXMCBWS1tFw

The recap is perfect if you’ve already forgotten about the key developments in the previous season, or you just want to bring yourself up to speed; it also shows a few kick ass fight scenes, including Lion-O versus Tygra, as well as a glimpse at Lion-O’s father and previous lord of the Thundercats, Claudus, who met his untimely demise at the hands of a disguised (as Panthro) Mumm-Ra.

Of course, the recap will not forget to showcase some of the amazing design work done to update the look of the series, particularly the vehicles, setting, and technology involved, including a very cute reimagining of the Berbils.

ThunderCats’ Season 2 Begins Saturday, March 24, 9:30 a.m. ET/PT on the Cartoon Network

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ThunderCats Season 2: New Alliances http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-season-2-alliances/ http://www.toonbarn.com/thundercats/thundercats-season-2-alliances/#respond Mon, 12 Mar 2012 07:00:34 +0000 http://www.toonbarn.com/?p=27840 Cartoon Network’s Thundercats starts off its second season on a high note with New Alliances, an episode that follows the Thundercats as they finally go on the offensive against Mumm-Ra’s lizard army, systematically taking down the opposing army piece by piece. Lion-O even tries to get the lizard soldiers to turn against their overlord, but […]

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ThunderCats Season 2: New Alliances

Cartoon Network’s Thundercats starts off its second season on a high note with New Alliances, an episode that follows the Thundercats as they finally go on the offensive against Mumm-Ra’s lizard army, systematically taking down the opposing army piece by piece. Lion-O even tries to get the lizard soldiers to turn against their overlord, but Mumm-Ra will not sit idly by.

Mumm-Ra orders Slithe to recruit two vicious Generals, Addicus and Jaynar, to take the fight to the Thundercats. Meanwhile, the Berbils do their part by giving Panthro a new set of robotic arms, as well as upgrading the Thundertank. Can the Thundercats deal with the combined forces of Addicus and Jaynar?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJz4jSZY_VE

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGtQ3kEHo8k

You can watch New Alliance on Thundercats new timeslot, starting this Saturday, March 24, 9:30 AM ET/PT on the Cartoon Network.

“ThunderCats” © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. “ThunderCats” and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros.

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