It’s nothing new to see a reboot or remake of a classic Hollywood film franchise. We’ve been doing it for years. For a lot of adult geeks, it can be really interesting to see some of our favorite cartoons spring back to life either as new TV shows, comics or as feature films.
Nostalgia is a very marketable thing and for a number of reasons. A classic franchise can bring with it sentimental value that helps sell the product as a collectable or even to simply act as a fun reminder of our youth. It also serves as a connection between ourselves as adults and our children. It allows us to share our heroes with those younger than us and find some common connection.
Many of our favorite heroes simply never go away and their stories span generations of readers. The Marvel comics and movies do well to create shared connections between young and old. But, more than Hollywood films and their characters, superheroes have been around now for decades – consistently and constantly evolving – and will likely be around for years to come. What’s really fascinating are those flash-in-the-pan stories from our youth based on cartoon franchises that may have been around for a decade or less (sometimes significantly less) and then disappeared. They were kings of the playground for a short window of time. They may have eclipsed Batman and Spider-man in terms of popularity, but their existence as a hot item held a far shorter lifespan.
This week introduced us to a very solid preview of upcoming 10-episode Netflix Voltron series that will premiere in June (and all at once too for those of us who love our Netflix binges). There’s also been a rumour that M.A.S.K. may be making a return to comics. There are almost too many old shows from our childhood making a comeback, but let’s look at a few that have either hit the shelves this week, will be hitting the shelves next week or are currently airing again on TV or hitting the silver screen.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Boom! Studios has released a new Power rangers comic series based on their original U.S. incarnations. The story so far has been pretty deep and has featured the full cast of original characters and some of our favorite Power Rangers villains (Rita Repulsa) and is worth a look for longtime fans.
For those not interested in reading the comics, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are also receiving a feature film with a few images revealed showing the updated looks for the heroes and Rita.
While the Power Rangers (and the Super Sentai series it is derived from) has aired pretty much non-stop for years now, many grew up holding the original 1993-1996 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers incarnation close to their hearts.
My Little Pony
Yes, it’s hard not to count My Little Pony. The My Little Pony Frendship Is Magic TV series has aired for a full five seasons with a sixth season underway and a full length feature being produced. The IDW Publishing comic book has it’s 42nd issue on the shelve this week and the My Little Pony Friends Forever comic saw its 28th issue hit the shelves earlier this month. It’s hard to deny the scope of the fan base. While certainly not the first attempt to reboot the franchise since it’s inception, it has certainly proven to be the most successful.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Another series that has had many reboots over the years, the Ninja Turtles are still going strong. IDW has published issue 58 of the ongoing series this week and the third incarnation of the cartoon is well into its fourth season. A film is set to hit the silver screen this summer (the second of the Michael Bay Ninja Turtles films) with Bebop, Rocksteady and Krang all looking to make appearances.
G.I. Joe has never really gone anywhere. A comic in one form or another has almost always been on the shelf and #228 of the IDW Publishing series hit the shelves earlier this month. They also recently crossed paths with the Street Fighter characters in Street Fighter X G.I. Joe #3 which was released. G.I. Joe toys continue to be ubiquitous to toy stores as well. The recent feature films, for better or for worse, are behind us. There’s no cartoon series currently, but it may only be a matter of time.
Like G.I. Joe, the Transformers have never really gone far. Sure, their popularity faded somewhat after the original cartoon series ended, but the toys have been on shelves fairly consistently ever since with an almost innumerable number of cartoon series having aired both in the US and Japan. Robots in Disguise is the title of the current TV series and the Michael Bay film series, for better or worse, continues to generate sequels and huge box office numbers. IDW has published both Transformers More than Meets the Eye #52 and Transformers Sins of Wreckers #4 earlier this month. The franchise is prolific and will likely continue to generate various new series and takes on the characters for years to come.
Jem and the Holograms
The less said about the recent Jem film the better, but the recent comic series from IDW has been a stellar read for any fans of the original series. While the original cast were portrayed as near identical in the 80’s in terms of their builds (likely due to the toys at the time) the most recent incarnation gives the characters more distinct looks and develops their personalities in far greater depth than the fun but somewhat shallow cartoon many grew up with.
Of course, there are many other reboots and retools not mentioned. Another franchise from years past resurrected by IDW, Micronauts #2 will be hitting the shelves soon. Archie is enjoying a brilliant rebirth with the new Archie comic and the new Jughead comic. Scooby Doo will be getting an interesting facelift in his new comic as well. Pokemon is still hitting the shelves with new cards, video games and a continuing cartoon series. Care Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids, Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake are all kicking around too.
There are certainly plenty of new franchises for young and old to enjoy – on TV, in theaters and in comics – but it can be fun to revisit and share in some of your favorite franchises for your youth. Some of them come and go at a speed where you might miss them if you blinked (the recent Thundercats reboot) while others never really seemed to go away.
If you were to sit and watch your favorite shows from your youth again, you might be a bit shocked at how our nostalgia has warped some of our favorites into something far greater than they originally were. It can still be fun to share them and it can be impressive to see how the folks who grew up with these characters have reshaped them decades later.