Oct 07 2013
I love cartoons. I mean, on an almost fiendish level. If a show is animated, I will give it a chance. I think there are numerous reasons for this, the main one being I grew up with a Father who was a successful freelance artist (he illustrated the old Dunkin Donuts Munchkin box), and I have always loved art as a result of it. I also love insane, irreverent shit, so it makes sense I would gravitate towards animation, where creators are often allowed more freedom to go a little more nuts than they would otherwise.
What we seem to forget is, from childhood, we are inundated with thousands upon thousands of cartoons, and it makes sense our brains would push some of those out to make room for new ones. So I decided to plug myself into my “memory machine” (sorry, it’s just a bong) and flashback to some cool-ass cartoons that, for one reason or another, most of us may have forgotten about. Make sure you take to the comments and let me know which badass cartoons I may have missed that YOU remember. See, we work together, like the f*cking Wonder Twins, who are NOT on this list, by the way. Sorry, my “memory machine” tends to make me ramble sometimes.
The Maxx (MTV, 1995)
Couldn’t find a pic from the show so had to use this photo of me and my girlfriend. Sorry.
How badass was the Maxx?
An MTV prime time cartoon based off the Sam Keith comic book of the same name, The Maxx was a hyper stylized trip that spanned many places in many different times. In theory, if you ask different people what The Maxx was about, they will all have take away something different from it. Really, The Maxx is Batman meets Bioshock Infinite, and I will tell you why that is.
The Maxx was about a homeless man and his social worker, Julie. If you take it as literal, The Maxx is about this man escaping into his mind, which he calls The Outback, where he is the powerful protector of “The Jungle Queen”, which is The Outback’s version of Julie. This is where stuff gets tough, because some say that The Outback IS a literal place, even though Julie is not aware of it, and other say it is all in this crazy guy’s head, a way of keeping himself sane and making himself feel worthy of her protecting him in the real world. Regardless of whether or not it was “real” the animation style was amazing, the themes they dealt with on the show were mature and well handled, and it really was a cartoon unlike any other. Watch it again if you have seen it, because not only has it not aged, but you will find awesome nuances you never noticed before.
This hails from a time when MTV was still cool. I know, hard to believe.
Eak! The Cat (Fox, 1992-1997)
Was Eak just a purple, special needs Garfield? Yes, yes he was, but that is just why I loved him.
What, you didn’t watch Eak! The Cat?
It was insane.
It had a dog on it named Sharky, and he was part shark.
People who watched Eak, loved it. Eak was as if Barney the Dinosaur was with Garfield, and then they had a baby in a bed of toxic waste. Eak is that baby. He has a certain nativity to him that is completely charming, but there were darker elements to the show that people would not pick up on if they only watched it at a glance.
Much like the best old-school cartoons, Eak essentially boiled down to being a string of terrible things, happening to one anthropomorphic animal. It is that very old-school, Tom and Jerry style sensibility that made Eak just a pleasure for me to watch for its five year run. Yes, this show was on for five years, and no one even remembers it. Poor Eak, tossed away and buried in the yard to be forgotten, like so many pets before him, and so many yet to be.
Sorry, my memory machine sometimes makes me overly dramatic.
Men in Black (WB from 1997-2001)
No, he doesn’t look like Will Smith, which only makes me like him more.
The Men in Black cartoon was way cooler than it should have been.
You hear Men in Black cartoon, your mind flashes back to shows like The Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon (please tell me someone else remembers the ghost busting gorilla???) but the surprise was, this show was great, and somehow managed to maintain the humor and action of the movie, as well as the chemistry between its two leads. agents J and K.
The one element that REALLY made the show work was its art style. The show had some GREAT creature designs, and considering every episode was a different alien race they had to contend with, it made for some really fun viewing on the part of the audience. You were never sure if they were going to go big or small. Never knew what interesting colors they were going to use, or what kind of alien language they would create for use in just one scene. It was a really impressive scale and scope for a cartoon, and I can’t help but think there must be some closeted Men in Black cartoon fans out there other than me, right?
All I have to say is, too bad the cartoon is better than the last two movies. Funny how that works out sometimes ( looking at you, DC Animated).
The Tick (Fox from 1994-1997)
Someone should make and then prematurely cancel an awesome, live-action version of this show, too. Oh wait, they did.
The Tick is the shit.
Just the simple fact that the last sentence would confuse him is exactly why I love him. The Tick is endearing for just how idealist yet naive he is. It is like he was granted all these amazing superpowers and gifts, yet just has the most baseline idea of how the world works, and somehow, miraculously, just skims by, inadvertently saving the day, each time. The Tick is like asking “what would happened if one of the three stooges became a super hero”?
Yet the Tick did not get the love he deserved. If there was TRUE justice in the world, the cartoon AND live-action show would both still exist. Seriously, the Tick was one of the BEST live action superheroes shows ever made. Yes, I just sad that. BatManuel for the win.
Wow, this is bringing up feelings in me. Man, I hate feelings. Damn you, memory machine!
The Oblongs (WB from 2001)
Still the best representation of New Jersey yet. No, I’m NOT kidding.
This was a cartoon based off an underground comic, and was about a family named the Oblongs, who lived in a poor area where they were commonly exposed to radiation, and are all deformed and disabled as a result of it.
Yes, it was pretty dark.
The selling point, though (outside of the fact that Will Ferrell voiced one of them) was the fact that, deformed or not, this family had a great deal of love for one another. I think it was getting past the initial shock that most people couldn’t do, and the show barely lasted half a season as a result. The cool part is now, The Oblongs have amassed a bit of a cult following, and the comic’s original creator has recently stated that some new episodes may be coming to Adult Swim at some point, which I can safely say, would be a perfect fit for this family of oddballs.
Okay, this is the part where you guys tell me I left off The Critic and Invader Zim, and I tell you that I didn’t leave them off, but rather, am saving both of those for my inevitable follow-up to this piece. If you have any suggestions OUTSIDE of those two, comment it up, my friend.
I love you all, now go read my site like good little doobs.
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