For this entire week we’ll be highlighting the things that have been an inspiration for the Celflux project from the very beginning. Yesterday we took a look at The Herculoids, today we’re going to look at another cartoon from my early days that was a huge influence on me as a creator. A show that introduced me to the idea of the post apocalyptic world and the idea of team characters that compliment each other. This was an awesome show.Thundarr The Barbarian.
“Thundarr the Barbarian is a Saturday morning animated television series, created by Steve Gerber and produced by Ruby-Spears Productions. The series ran 2 seasons, 1980–1981 and 1981–1982. Action figures of the three main characters were released by Toynami in 2004.
Directly inspired by comic books, with the likes of R.E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian and Flash Gordon, Thundarr the Barbarian is set in a future (3994 AD) post-apocalyptic wasteland divided into kingdoms or territories – the majority of which are ruled by wizards – and whose ruins typically feature recognizable geographical features from the United States, starting in New York City and working itself to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Mount Rushmore, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.. Other episodes with recognizable settings are located in Central America, while one is in London. Another notable feature of this future Earth is that the Moon was broken in two pieces, but the gravity of the pieces drew them back together, orbiting at roughly the same height as the intact Moon once did. The shattered moon and the ruins of the former human civilization were caused by the passage of a runaway planet (more resembling a comet) between the Earth and the Moon in 1994, which, from scenes shown in the opening sequence, caused radical changes in the Earth’s climate, geography and tidal effects. However, by the time period in which the series is set (2,000 years later), the Earth and Moon seem to have settled into a new balance. Earth is reborn in a world of “savagery, super-science, and sorcery”.
When I was growing up I really, really liked Thundarr The Barbarian. The cartoon was my first experience with the idea of a post apocalyptic world. They combined a new emerging idea of magic, sword and sorcery with science fiction. The world they portrayed was accepted without question. It was believable. This was superhero stuff, but in your mind it was possible. This could really happen. So I had no problems coming up with Celflux as being a world where fantasy, superhero and sci-fi could all exist without friction.
This was also my first experience with the idea of team balance. There was a strong lead hero who was complimented by two team members. One with brute strength, and the other with softer magic. I loved Thundarr The Barbarian so much I even had a Thundarr The Barbarian lunch box.
Here is the opening sequence for Thundarr The Barbarian.
Here’s a short documentary about Thundarr The Barbarian with a look at the creative team and inspiration for the series. It shows how much of a ground breaking cartoon this was.
So here’s to early inspirations. How many of you remember Thundarr The Barbarian? Till next time. Keep dreaming.
Everard is the Creative Director and CEO of GemGfx. GemGfx is a multidisciplinary design consultancy based in Trinidad and Tobago. He has been involved in the field of Graphic Design for over 14 years. He is also the art director and co-author of the graphic novel Celflux which he created along with his wife Dixie Ann Archer-McBain.