Classic-Hanna

Cartoon Network 25th Anniversary

My tribute to Cartoon Network on its 25th anniversary. Starting as just reruns of classic Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes cartoons and eventually delving into original programming which became classics of their own. The channel is responsible for introducing me and many others to some of the greatest pieces of animation ever. 

If you complain that your favorite show is somehow not represented, then go back to watching Squirrel Boy, you pleb. Just kidding, but I might revisit this someday and add more characters.

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Hiiii it’s been a while *wavess *

Gonna do this this full on some day and the other ghouls as well.(and save up or contacts) 

Sibella from scobby doo and the ghoul school(just a test) Scoobydo was always my jam that is one show i loveddddddd.I dont fancy the newer ones too much but they have their moments.

I’d love to make time to redo this and work on the other girls Who should I work on next?

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R.I.P. June Foray, voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel…and many others

Vanity Fair reports: June Foray, a formidable talent who famously voiced the role of Rocky the Flying Squirrel in the children’s classic The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, among countless other beloved cartoons, has died. She was 99 years old.

Foray was a living legend in the animation community, voicing countless roles in classic Looney Tunes cartoons, Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the Rocky and Bullwinkle spin-off Boris and Natasha, and the TV special Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, where she played the part of Cindy Lou Who. She also lent her talent to the big screen, voicing roles in Disney’s Mulan (Grandmother Fa) and Cinderella (Lucifer the cat), Space Jam (Witch Hazel, Granny), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Wheezy, Lazy Hyena).

But it was her work as Rocky that brought Foray the most acclaim. She played the famously scrappy squirrel who teams up with his best friend, the slow-talking Bullwinkle J. Moose, to stop wicked Cold War-era villains Boris and Natasha. The original show lasted for five seasons, airing from 1959 to 1964. In the TV movie spin-off, she also voiced the role of Natasha.

Art by Barry Johnson

SCOOBY APOCALYPSE - A REVIEW OF YEAR ONE

The iconic group of teen sleuths and their talking, hungry dog has resonated with many, young and old throughout the years. Scooby-Doo has always been a favorite and has generally been geared towards younger viewers (despite the trekking new waters of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated). But nothing quite as unique or dark has ever been released like Scooby Apocalypse, the DC comic book series that was launched in May 2016. It has been almost a year since its initial release and the twelve issues that fans have had the opportunity to read so far have told a story unlike any Scooby-Doo story told before. Since its birthday is coming up on May 25th, I thought it was time to really look at the series overall and analyze its successes, faults, and other curious qualities.

Before I begin delving into Scooby Apocalypse’s contents, lets first make sure we know the basics of what the story is about. The name really says it all. Scooby-Doo and the four teenaged sleuths are now given a modern, darker, and more grown-up perspective in a post-apocalyptic setting. A nanite-technological virus goes haywire and transforms the entire world population into homicidal, malevolent, and truly frightening monsters. The gang must band together to find out what has happened to the world while simultaneously fighting to survive in a world where everyone is literally out to get them.

Understand that this review will contain many SPOILERS for Issues #1-12 so if you intend on reading the series at some point and don’t want it spoiled for you, you may want to skip reading this.

STORY

First allow me to address the story’s progress over twelve issues: it hasn’t gone too far. Scooby Apocalypse, while presenting a unique perspective on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon, is a very slow-moving story despite the plot. It really isn’t clear how much time has passed between Issue #1 and Issue #12 but it could be estimated to be about a month. Over the course of this month, Scooby and the gang have managed to travel from a Nevada desert to Seattle, Washington.

For a group that is supposed to be based on teenaged mystery-solvers, the 2016 post-apocalyptic Mystery Inc. is not very good at solving mysteries at all (despite this portrayal of Velma being a genius with seven doctorate degrees under her belt). So far, all that we’ve really been able to decipher from the mystery is that an elusive technology-development organization called the Complex has, with the direction of the Dinkley family, spread nanite technology worldwide in order to improve the human condition. But things go awry when the technology is activated prematurely and malfunctions, transforming humanity into a race of monsters that have decimated the planet. Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred are all inside a safe zone within the Nevada Complex facility when the nanites are activated, protecting them from the transformation. As they venture out into the unrecognizable world, they try to figure out what happened. All we’ve learned is that not all humans were transformed and that the nanites also have a sense of artificial intelligence. This isn’t a lot of information regarding the apocalypse to be relayed to readers over a whole year of reading.

Another thing to address is the small stories at the end of select issues. At the end of the main story, there are sometimes short stories that are included in the issue that tell another developing aspect of the Scooby-apocalyptic world. In the first issue, the short story revealed how Scooby and Shaggy first meet in this story. Other stories that have been shown throughout this story have been about Scrappy-Doo, a mutated dog experiment from the Complex who has a grudge against Scooby. As the stories progress, it becomes clear that soon the main story and the small stories will collide.

I’m personally not fond of the writing when it comes to Scooby Apocalypse. I find the dialogue to be severely repetitive, tiresome, and a bit flat. The dialogue is constantly pandering and trying to crack jokes in moments when it really isn’t necessary or warranted. It also makes the characters a bit exaggerated and unbelievable. There is a constant bickering between several characters over the same topics throughout all twelve issues and it gets old fast. Aside from that, we don’t learn much from each issue. There are times that an issue doesn’t really progress the plot at all, but rather the gang’s location.

I think the writing really hinders my opinions on the characters, which I will address in a moment, but it doesn’t do the story any favors. Looking back at the year this comic series has had to tell a never-before-seen Scooby-Doo story, I think its story is too slow, repetitive, sometimes pointless. There needs to be a change because readers will not be learning much about the apocalypse’s cause over the next year at this rate.

GRADE: 5/10

CHARACTERS

The problems with the storytelling in Scooby Apocalypse translates to the characters as well. It is obvious that the Mystery Inc. we all know and love have been transformed dramatically for this version of Scooby-Doo. The changes do play big roles in how the story has and will unfold.

Scooby-Doo has taken on a subtle role so far in the story as compared to the other characters. This isn’t a bad thing. Scooby has been portrayed in many ways over the course of the Scooby-Doo franchise’s history. The original cartoon Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! had the character use minimal dialogue but lots of action and comedic roles. This has changed in later series such as Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated where Scooby’s role was central and vital to the overarching plot. He had more dialogue and relevance to the story. But the most recent iteration of the franchise, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! has brought Scooby back to his core role in the show as has this comic book series. The rest of the gang really drive the story while Scooby talks very minimally. He isn’t the most important character when it comes to the plot because there are four other main characters to consider. The speech he does have is primitive because he was an early Smartdog experiment in the Complex. He acts like a real dog which is refreshing considering the new storyline being oriented towards adults. The character still draws on some of the key qualities of the source material: always wanting to eat food, scared of most things, and is courageous when his loved ones are in danger. Design-wise, I love the emoti-goggles that Scooby sports in this comic. They make him stand out compared to past iterations and make this version of him unique and recognizable.

Shaggy has some good and bad qualities in this comic series. Fans were split on how they felt about Shaggy’s new character design. Some were praising the design as it speaks to the modern-day idea of hipsters while others found it pandering and a cheap ploy to make the character more likable. But this isn’t about making Shaggy more likable; rather the design was an effort to make the character more relatable. The original Shaggy was a stereotype of 1960s/1970s hippy teenagers. It could easily be argued that Scooby Apocalypse’s Shaggy is designed to be a stereotype of the 2000s/2010s hipster culture that is observed among many millennials. This Shaggy is an employee at the Complex whose responsibility is to oversee and train the Smartdogs including Scooby-Doo. He’s an opinionated individual and is not afraid to voice what he thinks (despite this sometimes making him appear as a stereotypical hippy-minded pacifist). This Shaggy appears to be the glue in the group at this point in the story. When characters bicker or fight, he tends to try to break it up and calm the situation. Like his original counterpart, Shaggy in Scooby Apocalypse is easily frightened but does have courageous qualities when need-be. He loves to eat like Scooby, and like the original Shaggy, is best friends with the canine.

One of the most developed and interesting characters in the Scooby Apocalypse story so far is Velma. Dr. Velma Dinkley to be exact. She is one of the leading scientists in the Complex who conceived and spread the nanite technology that has transformed the human race into monsters. This character is unique compared to the others because so far, she is the only one whose backstory has been fully fleshed out and explored (Scooby’s in the first issue isn’t really comparable as it only covers two or three pages). Readers know where Velma’s choices, opinions, and motivations are coming from unlike other characters such as Daphne and Fred. Her backstory addresses her perceived neglect from her parents, superiority to her peers, and simultaneous inferiority to her four older brothers (who I will discuss later). These ideas in her head influence her career path and adult motivations because she seeks approval from her brothers. She is super intelligent (having earned 7 doctoral degrees by age 17) and still doesn’t seem to stack up to her brothers’ successes in the eyes of every member of the Dinkley family. Velma tries to remedy this by developing Project Elysium during her work at the Complex with her brothers. Project Elysium was the nanotech effort to improve humanity which has been corrupted. Velma is conflicted in regard to her role in the project and whether or work on it is responsible for the world’s demise. Visually, her design is unique as it exaggerates her smaller stature compared to the other members of the group. Velma is reserved and prefers to work alone which resonates in her character design. Her development and role in the story makes her the most interesting and successful character among the story’s roster.

Daphne is the character that has changed the most compared to original Daphne. Her character in Scooby Apocalypse is probably the most problematic as she drives a tiresome conflict that most readers are over at this point. Daphne is a journalist who sought to uncover the nefarious plans of the Complex. When the apocalypse breaks out and the gang begins their quest to remedy it and survive, Daphne devotes most of her dialogue to interrogating Velma and trying to blame her for the result of spreading the nanotechnology. This Daphne is good-hearted deep down as she has a strong distaste in killing monsters because she views it as murder. But the character is aggressive, impulsive, and blunt otherwise. Her friendship with Fred is complicated by his love for her which she does not reciprocate. She gets along most with Shaggy and Scooby in this story which is odd considering her long history with Fred in it. I don’t think her motivations are consistent and even when they appear to be, Daphne backtracks on the same old argument against Velma. It does appear that this is beginning to end as Issues #11 and #12 see them finally arriving in Seattle, but it has not done her justice otherwise. The only thing worth praising about Daphne in this storyline is her leadership role. Unlike most Scooby-Doo incarnations, Daphne takes on a stronger leadership role. It’s interesting because the only times she has shown leadership qualities otherwise in the franchise is when Fred is not present, but in this story where all characters are present, Daphne resonates as the one driving the gang. It’s an interesting and progressive choice on the writers’ part and it’s worth acknowledging and praising despite her exaggerated anger and distaste towards Velma.

There isn’t much to say about Fred. Fred has not impacted the story much at all in Scooby Apocalypse (which may be attributed to making Daphne the gang’s leader as this leadership role has always been characteristic of Fred). Over the course of 12 comic book issues, all readers really know about Fred is that he works with and is in love with Daphne. And that’s it. Fred has no real motivation other than his love for Daphne. He has tried proposing to her and at this point the jokes about his proposal have become awkward and repetitive. The character has been injured twice so far in this story which has only hindered his role and relevance to the group. This is not a complaint that Fred is not the leader; it’s an intriguing and progressive idea to make Daphne the group’s leader. But otherwise Fred doesn’t really have anything to offer the gang other than being dead weight. While the rest of the gang is off completing tasks that have been presented in each issue, Fred spends most of his time sitting in the Mystery Machine either sleeping, being unconscious, or worrying about everyone. This just isn’t a character anyone would find interesting or to be driving the story.

Oddly enough, Scrappy Doo is actually more interesting than Fred in Scooby Apocalypse. I won’t spend too much time talking about him but it should be noted that the transformation of the character into a bipedal mutant Smartdog that is rallying other Smartdogs to find Velma and Scooby-Doo is a fun idea. The mutation is a subtle reference to the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo movie and it’s fun to see Scrappy’s revival as a character since that movie (despite many fans not liking the character in one or all of his performances throughout the franchise). His role is antagonistic in the story which is great because of his complex personality. He is spiteful towards humans for how they experimented on him in the Complex, but fears how these experiments and the apocalypse have transformed him into an inhumane monster. While I find his motivation to kill Scooby a bit weak and unprecedented, he does present a threat to the gang as he searches for Velma to improve and fix the Smartdog technology allowing him to be so intelligent and observant. He may also take a stab at her too. His short stories have been giving readers a good idea of what he’s been up to since the beginning of the apocalypse and it’s going to be fun to see how Mystery Inc. will collide with Scooby’s reimagined nephew.

The only other notable character that can be discussed in Scooby Apocalypse is Rufus Dinkley, one of Velma’s older brothers. We’ve only seen him in three issues and he’s only had dialogue and a real role in two (Issues #11 and #12). He’s notably violent and impulsive. A selfish and evidently childish businessman, Rufus is abusive to his wife Daisy and his current motivation is to keep the monsters out of his tower in Seattle, Washington. We the readers know he has killed two scientists trying to figure out how to fix the transformed world and that he feels superior to his siblings. It’s going to be a violent turn-of-events come Issue #13 when he is confronted by Velma and the rest of Mystery Inc.

Overall the characters have varying levels of development, interest, and relevance to the story. I find some of them to have very weak motivations and personalities while others have clear ideas on what they are trying to accomplish in the story. Their designs are unique takes on the original counterparts and the new characters that we’ve been briefly acquainted with do present conflicts. There is a weakness though in the lack of characters in the story. Aside from the main five characters and Scrappy, the only human characters that have been introduced at all are Rufus and Daisy Dinkley in Issue #11 and Issue #12. The lack of any other characters driving the present events of Scooby Apocalypse do make the story slower and the dimensionality of it weak.

GRADE: 6/10

ART

This portion won’t be as extensive as the discussions on Scooby Apocalypse’s story and characters but the conciseness will get my opinion across. Scooby Apocalypse, over the course of 12 issues, seems to have been divided into two different categories being Issues #1-7 and Issues #8-12. My reasoning for this statement is that for the first seven issues of the comic series the art style has been consistent and appears to have been drawn or directed by the same comic artist. This then goes into Issues #8-12 where mid-comic book, the art style will dramatically change. No joke, the left page could be drawn by one artist and the right page will suddenly change art style dramatically giving the reader a quick idea that a new artist has taken over. This is a weakness for many reasons. First and foremost, I had to take a second midst reading to compare the conflicting art styles. I literally have to stop reading the story and take a look because of how dramatic the change can be at times. It also invites inconsistency to the story making me concerned about whether this problem is going to be evident in future comic art and writing for Scooby Apocalypse. I recommend that if other artists are going to experiment with how they draw Scooby Apocalypse, they do it with whole issues rather than a quarter or half of an issue. It pulls the reader out of the story and subtly but effectively changes the tone of the story itself. There are times the comic art is very sharp and intimidating, giving the reader a sense of danger which is appropriate for Scooby Apocalypse. Then the reader turns the page and the art style has changed to something a little more cartoonish which diminishes the prior tones and moods the first artist was effectively portraying.

Despite the inconsistency and changing of artists mid-issue, Scooby Apocalypse does provide a beautiful palette of colors, line art, and character designs. There was careful consideration before the comic was launched as to how the writers and creators wanted to portray Mystery Inc. in a post-apocalyptic story. It is no secret that Scooby Apocalypse stands out compared to the art of every other iteration of the Scooby story ever made (including its simultaneous cartoon on Cartoon Network Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! which is more light-hearted and comedy-driven with a modern animation style). The comic has great artists at the helm and it really does help my eyes wander throughout the books. The backgrounds are very detailed and helps with the world-building. The colors are vibrant and arguably drive the sinister aspects of the post-apocalypse at times throughout Scooby Apocalypse’s freshman year.

Whether fans love or hate the character designs, it can be agreed upon that the designs set the characters apart from their original counterparts. Seeing any of these characters will instantly make a fan identify them with Scooby Apocalypse which is a good thing if DC Comics and Warner Bros. is trying to gear Scooby Apocalypse towards older mature audiences as compared to current Scooby-Doo television programming and direct-to-video releases. The art should be praised despite its faults because it really does make Scooby-Doo fans like myself appreciate comic book art.

GRADE: 7/10

CONCLUSION

Scooby Apocalypse strives for uniqueness in a franchise filled with cartoonish chasings of bad guys in costumes. I can see the writers, artists, and producers trying to pan the comic book series as something that is very “out there” but simultaneously respectable.

The writers do want to create a post-apocalyptic world where Scooby and the rest of Mystery Inc. need to face serious problems in a sinister and adult-oriented story genre (which has been done many times before). If they can get organized and stop depending on the same flat motivations of some of these 2-dimensional characters, the story will improve and progress (readers really want to see progress; arguably nothing has happened over the course of 12 comic book issues). A lot of these issues seem like filler and could easily be cut out and replaced with more character development and progress in the gang’s quest for answers in this chaos.

The artists are doing great for the most part but need to get consistent in what they’re trying to portray. Artists that do cartoony renditions need to stay out of the mix if DC is really trying to push an adult Scooby-Doo story (take some notes from some of the villains and episodes in Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated for God’s sake!). Unless the writers and artists plan to do an issue where all the characters, monsters, and backgrounds are drawn like the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, I don’t want to see cartoony. I, as well as many reading, want to see sinister imagery and graphic content in a sharply drawn world of danger and uncertainty.

Scooby Apocalypse does deserve credit though for not completely abandoning its source material. I’m not talking about the main characters here but the subtle hints of dialogue and artwork that are trickled throughout the comic series. It should be noted that Dr. Krebs, a Complex scientist Shaggy worked closely with who invented the Mystery Machine, is named after Maynard G. Krebs, the beatnik character of the 1959 television sitcom, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis who inspired the character design of Shaggy himself. Velma’s father, Dale Dinkley (credit to him keeping his name from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated), works in politics and notably worked with Senator Jaffe when Velma was born. Senator Jaffe is named after Nicole Jaffe, the original voice of Velma in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! It’s also stated that Daphne still comes from a rich family background due to her family’s business, Blake Bubble Bath, which is inspired by her family’s business in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Blake’s Bubbles. It can’t be overlooked in Issue #12 that Rufus Dinkley has killed Complex scientist Cassidy Williams (named after the character of the same name from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated). Outside of writing, background artwork in Scooby Apocalypse has shown the small classic Mystery Machine (Issue #3) and pet store signs that say “puppy power” in a Scrappy Doo short story (Issue #9). These many Easter Eggs are subtle and fun for Scooby-Doo fans like myself so I can’t help but give Scooby Apocalypse some extra credit.

If you are a Scooby-Doo fan, I do hope you give Scooby Apocalypse a try at least. Its slow story, inconsistent art (as of late), and various character development levels and motivations do hinder the comic overall but I’d say it’s still worth a read for those who love Scooby-Doo and want something adult-oriented. While you could arguably say that Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated can give you the same thing, which it can, Scooby Apocalypse is not for children. The story does struggle to live up to stronger and more complex subject matters but it does hold onto source material that many are excited to see in this kind of genre. Scooby Apocalypse is stuck in a limbo state because while it wants to be loyal to its source material, it has yet to push the material to a point where it really takes a good stab at the story genre it’s trying to imitate.

FINAL GRADE: 6.5/10

Scooby Apocalypse is published by DC Comics and has released 12 total comic book issues. The first six are available in a Volume 1 graphic novel edition and Scooby Apocalypse Issue #13 will be available for purchase on May 10th.

Let me know what you think! Do you think that I was right in what I said about the comic? Do you disagree? Reply to this post or send me a message or chat to further the conversation!