-By Dan dos Santos
I have mentioned before my love for 80’s cartoons here on Muddy Colors, and if any of you attended the IMC this year, you certainly heard me tout it again. So needless to say, I am pretty excited about Cartoon Network relaunching ThunderCats this Friday, July 29th.
I have seen so many movies and comics of late re-vamping old classics (even re-vamps of the re-vamps!), and rarely do they live up to the originals. So part of me was really reluctant to see what they were going to do with ThunderCats. But I must say, I am quite pleased!
The ThunderCats has a really wonderful cast of characters, and such a solid backstory, that there is a TON of potential for a wide variety of interpretations, be it child-like or very adult. You can see some wonderful, un-official renditions of these characters in the recent CGHub challenge.
Ultimately, I think Cartoon Network took a really smart approach. Rather than change the characters dramatically to fit current tastes, they simply changed the animation style. The characters themselves have been altered very little. Even some of the outfits are nearly identical to the 80’s version. Yes, the abbreviated style typical of Japanese animation may be to everyone’s liking, but it lends itself well to the constraints of animation, and is undeniably popular at the moment, hopefully ensuring the show’s success. That is, after all, the real goal… not just appeasing OLD fans, but rather creating a whole generation of NEW fans.
Below are some samples of the pre-production concept art. I particularly love the treatment of WilyKit and WilyKat.
And for a real treat, check out some recently revealed concept art from the original series! It’s almost unrecognizable, as it appears the series was initially headed in a totally different direction.