10 More Cartoons Ready for the Future Quest Treatment

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10 More Cartoons Ready for the <i>Future Quest</i> Treatment

To say that reactions to DC’s new Hanna-Barbera comics have been mixed is an understatement: a vocal contingent of fans seem downright apoplectic over tribal-tattoo Fred and bondage-sexpot Penelope Pitstop. And while the more-or-less faithful Flintstones has largely flown under the radar, as close to a comic-fan majority as you’re likely to find seems to be in agreement: Future Quest looks stellar.

Helmed by Jeff Parker and Evan “Doc” Shaner, the team behind the Convergence tie-in highlight Shazam!, Future Quest mashes up a medley of Hanna-Barbera action/adventure and sci-fi properties with a reverence that Scooby Apocalypse and Wacky Raceland appear to lack. Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio and Mightor are all back, taken seriously (no late-night talk shows or law practice to be found) but not too seriously. To coincide with the release of Future Quest #1, Paste offers ten more cartoon properties from bygone eras deserving of a faithful comic continuation.

The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo ('85)

Let's kick off the list by acknowledging that all of these cartoons are affected by the twin powers of rose-tinted nostalgia and hazy childhood memories. It's entirely likely that The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo is hot garbage, but it's one iteration of the franchise that attempted an overarching story (Scooby and his crew have to recapture 13 escaped spirits). It also switched up the cast with the addition of an ambiguously Asian street kid and Vincent Van Ghoul, voiced by none other than screen legend Vincent Price. With a slightly scarier premise—these demons and haunts are real—13 Ghosts could be a fun jumping-off point for an all-ages Scooby revival that toes the horror line in the same vein as Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy.

The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan ('72)

Don't rush to Twitter just yet—we know this entry is problematic. The character Charlie Chan, while created to be a positive representation of Asian heroism in 1926, wasn't portrayed by an actor of Asian descent until this cartoon, nearly half a century later. Despite Chan's yellowface origins, this 16-episode show featured an all-Asian cast of characters solving mysteries and performing pop songs (the two main professions of teens in the '60s and '70s). Imagine the kind of self-aware take that Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew brought to The Shadow Hero and Chan Clan could be Goldie Vance for a community of readers who still rarely see themselves reflected on the page.

Captain Planet and the Planeteers ('90)

Every child of the '90s is ready to see this environmental hero and his teen team back in action—especially since we seem to have taken absolutely none of the show's world-preserving messages to heart. Where was the green mullet when fracking became a boom industry? How does his diverse supporting cast feel about the Keystone Pipeline? Tap any of the comic world's borderline anarchists (most of them are employed at Black Mask these days) to co-write with an environmental scientist and print the result on recycled paper: the world can't wait much longer for Captain Planet to save us.

The Jetsons ('62)

The Flintstones isn't getting nearly as much attention (positive or otherwise) as DC's other Hanna-Barbera launches, but the working-class satire pitch from writer Mark Russell (Prez) feels like it deserves a far-future complement in The Jetsons. In this retro sci-fi world, corporations own the working man and everyone lives in stilted cities where the surprisingly common threat of a thousand-foot plummet is more of a daily laugh than a deadly risk. Remember how far-fetched the Jetsons' videophone seemed even twenty years ago during the show's Cartoon Network syndication? Once Russell is done with the Stone Age, let's see what he can do in an imagined future that seems eerily, depressingly like our present.

The Pirates of Dark Water ('91)

The Pirates of Dark Water is peak Did-this-show-really-exist-or-did-I-make-it-up? Short-lived, surprisingly serious and dark for the time and with only a minor toy presence, Pirates is almost a proto-The Last Airbender in the way that it introduced a full-bodied fictional world. Unfortunately, it didn't catch on, and now a generation of kids is left wondering where that weird flying monkey action figure came from. The pirate market is wide open in comics these days—paging the team of Princeless: The Pirate Princess to set sail once again, perhaps?

She-Ra: Princess of Power ('85)

DC intermittently publishes Masters of the Universe comics that seem to capture the deep fanbase and few others, but it's He-Man's long-lost sister who we want to see given a major new platform. Created as a girl-toy extension of the MotU brand and long suffering under that stigma, Princess of Power has as rich and compelling of a mythology as any '80s toy cash-in. Although She-Ra has popped up in the He-Man-focused comics, we want to see a Jem and the Holograms-style revival that respects and updates the source material—and we wouldn't mind Jem artist Sophie Campbell channeling her Glory days on the book, either.

SilverHawks ('86)

SilverHawks is what you get when you bring a Brandon Peterson cover to life: shiny and chrome! A bald attempt to recapture the ThunderCats magic with metallic bird-inspired cowboys and cops in space, SilverHawks never gained the same fervent fan following—which means fewer diehards to please or piss off. It's a bonkers concept that deserves a revisit, and would help flesh out a line that includes the aforementioned feline fan-favorite. Just don't spring for a '90s chrome variant cover, please. (And if this show doesn't ring a bell, substitute the equally avian Battle of the Planets, the beloved American bastardization of Gatchaman.)

Super Friends ('73)

Before Jeff Parker got hired to mix and match '60s cartoon characters, he scripted a healthy run on Batman '66, the popular comic extension of the campy Adam West television show. DC followed that book with Wonder Woman '77, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to extend the throwback love to this gentle take on the publisher's pantheon. Throughout its various iterations, Super Friends introduced Silver-Age versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the gang to America's children, instilling a lifelong love for these iconic characters. Heck, Super Friends is the first time Cyborg was included in the League—a development not reflected in the comics until 2011. With a bright and inviting art style and no burdensome continuity or seriousness, Super Friends could be DC's next digital-first nostalgia hit.

Thundarr the Barbarian ('80)

Future Quest readers probably expected to see Thundarr, Princess Ariel and Ookla the Mok among the cast, but the post-apocalyptic fantasy/action show was actually a Ruby-Spears Production joint, not a Hanna-Barbera property. Thundarr boasts an intimidating comic pedigree though: legends like Steve Gerber, Martin Pasko, Mark Evanier, Alex Toth and even Jack Kirby worked on conceptualizing and designing the barbarian's world. The brief 21 episodes produced between 1980 and 1983 hardly scratch the surface of what that all-star roster dreamt up. Imagine world-class talent like Chris Samnee or Mike Del Mundo taking another shot at this forgotten comic-adjacent gem.

ThunderCats ('85)

Thunder…Thunder…ThunderCats, Ho! Few cartoons have inspired as much nostalgia as this weird little ditty. Humanoid cats versus a buff mummy—what was up with the '80s that this concept succeeded? While sidekick Snarf may be universally loathed to this day, the ThunderCats themselves have entranced several generations, thanks both to the original run and the acclaimed but short-lived revival in 2011. It's the '80s version we'd like to see revisited in the comics, with its sleek, simple designs intact. Although...female lead Cheetara may be partially responsible for creating furry culture, so bringing ThunderCats back in the form of an ongoing comic may be a bit of a double-edged Sword of Omens…