View Full Version : Thundarr the Barbarian

11-02-2011, 07:55 PM
Where my old dudes at? :(

I just acquired a personal Holy Grail, the complete Thundarr the Barbarian series, on dvd.

It was, what should have been, the best 80's cartoon period hands down by far.
The concept was so mind-blowing at the time, they had to have a narrator tell you the premise of the show at the beginning of each episode so kids could understand what the fuck was going on:

The year 1994: From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction. Man's civilization is cast in ruin. Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn... A strange new world rises from the old: a world of savagery, super science, and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice! With his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil. He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!


The show was on from 1980 to 1982, so 1994 was the far-flung future.

It's so cool because, although it was almost unwatchable, even when I was a kid, it felt like the greatest show ever. :huh:
This was because the writing sucked, the art sucked and the animation sucked, but the concepts and character designs were beyond the beyond of wicked awesome, better than anything else on TV.
There was something magical and different about the show. It did not fit in with the other cartoons. It was like it was invented by exactly my kind of geniuses, but they were hobbled, forced to express their genius in a crap medium.
That is how it seemed to me even as a kid. For instance, Thundarr had a sword and he was always fighting bizarre creatures, but his sword would always magically, harmlessly bounce off of them. His fabulous "Sunsword" was only good for cutting ropes or tree limbs. There was little satisfaction when they'd encounter robot enemies and he would practically break the fourth wall and announce "They're ROBOTS! :eek: So...it's okay for my sword to chop their arms and heads off now. :)"
It came down to, choppable robots and magically impervious demons/wizards.

Anyway, the amazing cool thing was, years later, probably in 1994, I'm a religious Jack Kirby fanatic and I'm so grateful to have found all these Jack Kirby zines...and within one, I learn for the first time that Jack Kirby worked on Thundarr the Barbarian!
That explains why it was such cool-looking spectacle better than everything else on TV, despite the horrible writing/animation. It was imbued with Kirby.

So, you grow up and having learned all yer comic book histories, it all comes together...the show was created by Steve Gerber. Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway wrote for it. The heroes were designed by Alex Toth and they left most of the villains, monsters, henchmen and secondary characters to God, Jack Kirby.
Jesus Christ. No wonder it seemed "different" from Captain Caveman meets the Fonz, etc.

The problem has been, since it was so different, bizarre and flawed, it was not the hugest cultural touchstone mega-hit like Care Bears or G.I. Joe, so I have not been able to watch it anywhere. I really wanted to see it again, to see how much Kirby came through now that I know about his involvement.
Now I've watched some episodes and it's amazing how much Kirby magic is there, filtered through retarded network standards, corporate concerns and the faceless staff of sub-par "animators" who were paid to try to copy Kirby's designs, like swine presented with pearls.

It's frustrating. If ever there was a show that should be remade it is Thundarr the Barbarian. It's so cheap and the quality of the drawing is all over the place but mostly okay or terrible, and the suits took the wicked awesome concept and clearly made them write it down to 5 year olds, but dude, the first episode I watch, Thundarr is fighting...The Statue of Liberty, which is spraying flames out of it's torch at the wretched remnants of humanity below.

I can do nothing but love a show where birdmen are being led by a mummy.

If only the people who do Brave and the Bold would remake this. :(

The Kirby

This show now reminds me of the 90's Silver Surfer cartoon in that you're watching clueless drawers doing their best to ape Kirby designs, so you're kind of glad to see some Kirby squiggles, crackles and zig-zag ornamentation on TV, but, they don't understand what Kirby was doing so it's maimed in translation. Nowadays a Bruce Timm-type could do it all justice.

But anyway, you'll see village kids straight outta Forever People, most nerds know the evil wizard Gemini is like a 2-faced Darkseid, you see lots of sea-going humans who look straight outta 60's Thors with the big beards and stony faces, etc., there's a gang of pirates who reminded me of Flippa Dippa from the Newsboy Legion in the Kirby Jimmy Olsens, there's a lizard man who blows Death Flower pollen from a fish bowl pistol who looks like he's from Captain Victory, there are these awesome henchmen who are...lizard-dog-faced men with bodies like T. Rexes...so cool to see man-sized humanoids with tiny T. Rex arms, wearing armor and stuff...the whole thing is similar to Kamandi, there are man-apes, crocodile-men, bird-men, rat people, in the Fallouty subways of "Manhat"...

Too bad the show itself is so lame.
First, I remembered that Thundarr exclaims "DEMON DOGS!!! :eek:" or "Lords of LIGHT!!! :eek:" a lot.
I did not realize that he does it literally every time anything unusual happens, and in this awesome world, that is all of the time. I need a fan edit with all the Demon Dogs and Lords of Light removed.
Princess Ariel has a great, distinctive voice (performed by Nellie Bellflower, who has a great, distinctive name.) but she's usually the Princess Peach here, which is okay when an evil wizard ties her up in an erotic pose or Thundarr has to throw her over his shoulder, sticking her ass in the air, but it gets to be boring as every evil wizard they encounter figures out he can gain leverage over Thundarr by threatening the girl.
Also, she's got magical powers, but talk about overpowered. Her power is: to do whatever they need done. Kind of like a retarded Green Lantern, she shoots energy out of her hands which can create bubbles, stun rays, explosions, nets, force fields, ropes, bridges...she can levitate shit, paralyze people, shoot heat rays, light up caverns...she's every spell in D+D.
Her "Kryptonite" is that she's helpless if you bind her wrists so she can't do her magical hand gestures so there's that at least, but this just means Thundarr will have to find her and untie her hands every fucking episode.
The stories reminded me of why I couldn't do the comics I wanted to do...same deal, awesome characters, awesome scenarios, awesome ideas, no story.
It's usually Ad Libs...evil wizard of the week took magical weapon/amulet of the week from downtrodden villagers/innocent, simple folk of the week so Thundarr must find the evil wizard of the week and stop him/her and return the magical weapon/amulet of the week or destroy it because it's too powerful and the evil wizard often uses magic to jumpstart the big ruined remnant of the 20th century of the week like a helicopter, the Statue of Liberty or a train or a missile...

Next lameness, Ookla the Mok is half Chewbacca and half Jar Jar Binks, he met Thundarr when they were slaves together, Thundarr's Sunsword is a lightsaber...Star Wars much? :rolleyes:
Their big twist is, see, Chewbacca was based on a dog, wull, Ookla is like, a cat, 'cause, he really hates water.

Whatever, it's such a cool post-apocalypse, like if Fallout and Conan had a baby and one of your handful of chances to see Jack Kirby designs moving around on your TV.
Fuck the Brave and the Bold people for not remaking this already. :mad:

Les Groper
11-02-2011, 07:59 PM
A "..The Barbarian" thread above a "Conan" thread = mass hysteria.

11-02-2011, 08:06 PM
I remember watching this as a kid. Looking at that picture it looks like barbarian luke and angry chewbacca.

tiny white penis
11-02-2011, 08:10 PM
Don't worry Wil, maybe Michael Bay will make it into a movie or something. Or Alexander Aja or someone. I mean if Cobra is getting a movie...

11-02-2011, 08:13 PM
I tried looking up a cosplay Princess Ariel. I can't unsee what I saw.

11-02-2011, 08:40 PM
Are we talkin', I should wait till I get home or I should wait until I've digested my lunch?

11-02-2011, 08:46 PM
Hahaha... I'd totally forgotten about this.

Ookla the Mok.

Ahahaha... I loved this show. :o

11-02-2011, 08:50 PM
Are we talkin', I should wait till I get home or I should wait until I've digested my lunch?

Definitely the latter.

11-02-2011, 09:05 PM
Hahaha... I'd totally forgotten about this.

Ookla the Mok.

Ahahaha... I loved this show. :oI asked "Where my old dudes at?" because initially I asked "Where my old people at." and I changed it because I didn't think even the tomboyest of the tomboys would have watched this show. :o

11-02-2011, 10:15 PM
Ookla got all the chicks. :o haha


11-03-2011, 03:21 PM
Mmm, thick Mok chicks,


11-03-2011, 03:31 PM
I wanted Princess Ariel's powers. Only I was pretty sure I would be smart enough not to get my hands tied up before I could use them against whomever was attacking me. That was always the lamest part. It was always like: "idiot woman... why don't you net him or somehow use your powers to stop him BEFORE he grabs you and ties your hands?!?" :crazy:

11-03-2011, 03:40 PM
I'm glad that there is still modesty in the future and Ookla wears tight black shorts.

12-12-2011, 06:24 PM
Omg the whole frustration is laid out here:


Look at that first picture. That's how it should've looked.

Mr Sparkle
12-12-2011, 10:50 PM
This was one of the first Cartoons I watched when I got to Tijuana, it was all in English and I didn't speak it, but I still super dug the post apocalypse thing.
they played this back with Blackstar ( a proto He-man really) and I think they, along with sesame street, taught me English.
also, they drew Ariel super hot for some reason.