All week we’ve been looking at some early inspirations that got me started on the road of creating my own characters and stories. Just to be clear, there are too many things that influenced me in my early years, so these are just some that I’ve singled out for special mention. Today I’ve decided to talk about a very popular, but in my opinion forgotten, cartoon from the 1980s. Forgotten except for the loyal fans across the globe who still hold it near and dear to their hearts. Today we talk about Visionaries: Knights of The Magical Light.
“It was a time when magic was more powerful than science, and only those who control the magic, control destiny. They are the Visionaries.”
“Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light was originally a range of action figures from Hasbro, released in 1987. This action figure range was promoted by two different media, telling the stories of the characters. The better known of the two was a half hour animated television series made by Sunbow Productions in the same year, but there was also a comic book series issued by Star Comics.
The toyline was not a big success, which led to both the series and the comic being cancelled after a very short run. The comic lasted only 6 issues, and was cancelled halfway through a four-part storyline. The animated series lasted one season of 13 episodes, and was not picked up for a second, possibly because all Sunbow cartoons came to an end after The Transformers season 4 three-parter (“The Rebirth”) and G.I. Joe: The Movie, when Sunbow lost its contract and did not get it renewed.
The story was set on the planet Prysmos, an advanced society where all electronics had failed and the people were forced to rely on the old magics. The Visionaries consist of two groups of knights — the Spectral Knights and the Darkling Lords. They are both called to for a competition by the wizard Merklynn. After surviving traps, dangerous creatures, and each other, the survivors on both sides are rewarded. Everyone of them is given a different animal totem which appears on the front of their armor, which they can turn into. The animals are selected by Merklynn based on their personalities.”
I can still remember how excited I got when I heard the Visionaries intro. Those words spoken by the very dynamic voice of the shows narrator Malachi Throne, over some dramatic operatic type music. The heavy male voice, almost Gregorian Monkish, choir singing the intro. The song was only four lines long. But it was extremely awesome. The animation for the show’s intro was also like nothing I’d ever seen. It was quick, dark, rich colours and mind blowing.
Knights of the Magical Light.
With Magical Powers they fight.
Powers of mind, strength, skill, ‘n’ speed.
Powers to accomplish the greatest of deeds.
Knights of the Magical Light.”
Here’s the intro.
It was very interesting to know that the cartoon was not the primary object of production. It was actually the action figures. The cartoon and the comic were actually marketing tools created to promote the toys. They both suffered early demises because of the poor sales of the toys. I’m sorry the creators didn’t decide to continue the cartoon, because it was really popular and up to this day is still a classic.
There are some really dedicated fans of the Visionaries who have put together a virtual encyclopaedia of the Visionaries. You can find a lot more information on the show, the comic and the cartoon there. http://www.thevisionaries.net/
Do you remember the Visionaries, and was it one of your early inspirations? Till next time.
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.