I’ve proudly told people that I’m of the last generation of kids that was raised on reruns. Not long after my stint as a kid did cable really take off and channels upon channels of new shows just for kids started showing up. No longer would children have to watch reruns of cartoons from two decades earlier (or longer)…and that’s a shame.
With the exception of a few shows, the Saturday morning cartoons I knew were timeless. Back then I didn’t know they were reruns…they were just awesome cartoons to me. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the likes of Space Ghost were from the 1960s. But it didn’t matter. It had a superhero, spaceships, aliens and action…what more could a growing boy need?
Those cartoons shaped my childhood. They certainly helped mold my love for science fiction and animation. They guided my own artistic creations and writing. I’m not saying modern cartoons don’t do the same thing, but those cartoons were mine. Well, not really…they belonged to the kids before me, and the kids before them…but I didn’t know that, nor did I care.
Space Ghost, Herculoids, Thundarr, Bird Man…they were my heroes long before I was reading Spider-Man or Batman. They’re the reason I loved those guys in the first place. By the time I saw Superman, I was “in the know” thanks to Hanna-Barbera’s greatest heroes.
But times change and with the advent of more cable channels and eventually the streaming world we live in now, kids no longer have to “settle” for reruns. There’s something new waiting for them one click over. And then next month, they’ll be some new show vying for their attention. I feel the lack of reruns has created a gap between generations that didn’t exist before.
The fact I watched all the same cartoons as someone 10 years old than me (or older), gave me a connection with them and the past that I never anticipated, and it’s benefitted me for the better. Being able to connect with your generational peers is important but so is all the cross-generational stuff. I always said the things that connect everyone are toys and cartoons…that was true for a long time but one of those is starting to erode.
But maybe there’s hope
Just announced recently is that DC Comics will starting several new series featuring the Hanna-Barbera heroes I miss so much. Space Ghost, Jonny Quest and Herculoids are all coming to the comics with some new adventures, even if they’re slightly reimagined. An interview article from Entertainment Weekly seems to suggest there will be some cross-universe adventures, which could be a lot of fun.
It other places it looks like they might be trying too hard, especially if the new Flintstones art suggests anything. But I’ll take the bad with the good…and I can only believe this will be a good thing.
I don’t expect these comics to be popular, I just don’t think the Hanna-Barbera universe has enough connection today, even in people like myself that grew up on the stuff. Hopefully, I’m wrong, but I’m not holding my breath. Yet I hope there is enough success to possibly have some new cartoons made. With all the distribution channels available now – from YouTube to Netflix – getting a new Herculoids cartoon out to the masses is trivial. At least maybe it’ll get the old cartoons back online to watch?
A boy can dream, right?
These comic books won’t bring back the superheroes I love but maybe, just maybe, some kids will pick up the comics and fall in love with these characters in their own way. I can only hope in 10 years time that I’m at work and some young co-worker mentions something about Space Ghost and we find that common connection.
The article doesn’t give any timeline or date for this stuff. Maybe this year, hopefully. Or maybe this is all in the “idea” stage and it’ll never happen. It seems like an easy win to me, but I rarely baulk when asked to pay for nostalgia.