Thursday, June 30, 2011
What is it about this insane collection of outer space zoo animals and their adoptive family that makes this show so attractive? The concept of the Herculoids is wacky beyond of all belief. The name is at once goofy, appropriate and memorable.
There's this royal family led by the father Zandor and made up of his wife Tara and their son Dorno. They live in the wilds of the planet Quasar and are surrounded by animalistic allies. There are the duo Gloop and Gleep, amorphous creatures that can change their shapes in all sorts of ways. There is Tundro a big old rhino-looking beast who can stretch his ten legs and fire molten rocks out of his horn. There is Zok a flying dragon who can unleash bolts of energy from his eyes and his tale. And finally there is Igoo a gigantic and powerful ape-looking creature seemingly made of stone.
Looking at the assembly they form a fantastically effective fighting force. Zandor is the general, Gloop and Gleep are the flexible defense and intelligence force, Tundro is the tank-like heavy weapons platform, Igoo the awesome one-ape infantry, and Zok the amazing air force. They can defend from all points and when riled they come on like gangbusters.
That's just a wild and wooly collection if ever there was one. For more details see this link.
Somehow the late great Alex Toth created them, and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera agreed to create a cartoon show around the concept. It's so zany it defies explanation. And it worked like stink.
Aside from Space Ghost, the Herculoids are to my mind the most successful of the Hanna-Barbera 60's cartoon creations. Their loyalty to one another against bizarre threats spoke of the possibility of many different races to work together accomplish their goals. It's a message that makes the Herculoids almost an inspirational creation.
But they didn't sell all that well apparently. They are fondly remembered though, and at long last their original adventures are available on DVD from Warner Brothers. It's one of their limited on-demand releases, but there it is nonetheless. This show is one of those I promised myself I'd get no matter when it came out, and I have gotten my copy in mail. I've not yet had opportunity to screen them, but I'm eager to begin.
Here's a comic book cover gallery of all of the Herculoid cover appearances. I have all of these, so it might be time to dig them out and give them a good reading. If you want to see what the stories were like, check out this link to the Ol' Groove.