The first (clear) official promo image for the new THUNDERCATS revival has just popped up and, rather than it getting me strictly excited about the return of Lion-O, Panthro and Mumm-Ra, it's got me thinking about one 80s toon superhero who’s yet to have a revival.
The one who, in my humble opinion, really deserves one.
That's right, I’m talking about BRAVESTARR.
Back in the early half of the 2000s, comics based on 80s toon properties were hotter than a whole stack of furnace-raging coals. Devil’s Due started the whole trend with their G.I. JOE revival, and comics bringing back the likes of HE-MAN, TRANSFORMERS and, yes, THUNDERCATS quickly followed.
Despite being something of a sister show to HE-MAN (although not as literally as SHE-RA, ha ha...) BRAVESTARR never got similar treatment. That probably shouldn't be that surprising, as the series was actually cancelled after only one season (although, because of animation production models of that time, that one season was actually 65 episodes long) and Filmation went out of business soon after. For whatever reason, Bravestarr didn't lasso the popular imagination as well as the prince of Eternia, did.Still, out of all the characters from this era of superheroes, I've got the fondest nostalgia for Bravestarr and I really don't think he ever got a proper shot. == TEASER ==
WHO IS BRAVESTARR?Anybody who thought FIREFLY was a cool transplantation of the western into a space opera ought to check this out… as it literally was a Western on another planet (with a big heaping of superheroics, to boot.) Bravestarr was the lone galactic marshal sent to bring order to New Texas, an alien planet that had just recently been settled by prospectors rushing for a glowing, ruby-red mineral called Kerium. Magic granted him the ability to summon animals' abilities, like a bear's strength and a puma's speed, and he certainly needed those powers to battle a whole gang of evil outlaws led by the undead warlock, Tex Hex. Bravestarr has his own posse, of course, and it had an unusually-diverse roster that included a cyborg talking horse, 30/30, and a humanoid prairie dog, Deputy Fuzz.
Actually, the intro tells you everything you need to know about this dude in about a minute...
WHY WAS HE SO MEMORABLE?Maybe more than anything, BRAVESTARR's notable for having some villains who were actually kind-of genuinely scary. Compare, say, Skeletor to the monstrous demon to the right. That's Tex Hex's master, Stampede, and he looks like he's birthed from the twisted, unholy imagination of H.R. Giger in an odd issue of HEAVY METAL magazine. It's little-but-important touches like that make me think this still has some lasting potential for a revival (provided it still go through some tweaking.)
THE CASE FOR DECONSTRUCTIONISM?In a lot of ways, the explosion of Saturday Morning superheroes was analogous to the creative explosions of the 30s and the 60s that the respective dawns of the Silver and Golden Age enabled. The shows of this period were created right before Joe Lieberman got on his high horse and instigated the gradual defanging and declawing of kids' entertainment. If BRAVESTARR debuted today, I don't think it would've gotten away with having a villain as gruesome as Stampede, for example. With that in mind, I think the reason characters like the Autobots and the Joes have endured so long in fans’ interests is precisely because they were created in a freer environment.
Deconstructionism seems like the natural progression of superheroes' lifespans and, fittingly, comics-borne heroes went through a radical deconstruction in the 80s that continues to affect how they're told today. The characters got more sophisticated to reflect fans who were sticking around longer than they had traditionally (and who, thus, wanted the material to grow up with them.) Considering how all that happened 20 or 30s years after many heroes' Silver Age debuts, I figure the timing and the demand's appropriate now for the same thing to happen to these 80s toons - - and BRAVESTARR, most of all.
That darker, Warren Ellis-scripted GI: JOE RESOLUTE toon seemed to do pretty well, didn’t it? It seems to be in the zeitgeist. And just like how a lot of obscure heroes were revived and re-interpreted to great result in the 80s, I think BRAVESTARR could similarly benefit from the kind of treatment as a comic since whoever holds he license to it right now probably isn't that insistent on it sticking to what's come before.What do you maniacs think? Can you see what I see? Do we have any BRAVESTARR fans lurking in this community? Or would you all prefer SIVERHAWKS or M.A.S.K. get this treatment instead?