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It’s a “Sunsword,” see? Yeah, that’s the ticket, a Sunsword … – Thundarr the Barbarian

July 23, 2010

When you’re little it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between fact and fiction, and that can take you down two very different roads. Either you can get lost in something delightful or you can be terrified by something not so nice. The intro to Thundarr the Barbarian, an early 80’s cartoon, definitely brought out the latter response in me:

Back when 1994 was in the not-too-distant future, that opening, with its tidal waves, earthquakes, and the moon cracking like an egg, spawned some nightmares for me. The end of the world was only a few years away — according to this show — and that scared me to death.

I grew out of that fear, but the memory of the show stuck with me.

Thundarr was a somewhat trippy mixture of Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian and The Road Warrior. It had for a setting a dark and forbidding far-future filled with familiar (a lot of f’s there) and decaying landmarks. And I’ve always been amused by the titular hero’s “fabulous Sunsword,” which isn’t a lightsaber though it looks and sounds EXACTLY LIKE ONE.

“Hey — isn’t this a blog about comics?” The comics connection comes from the series’ development. Howard the Duck‘s Steve Gerber came up with the idea for the program, and Alex Toth designed the three main characters (Thundarr, Princess Ariel and the Chewbacca-esque Ookla). Jack Kirby, fresh off his work on the post-apocalyptic Kamandi, handled the designs for the vaious ghouls and baddies that our heroes tangled with. In the intro you can spot one fella who bears a resemblance to Darkseid — Jack was never one to pass on recycling concepts. Waste not, want not! Also, comics writers handled some of the scripts — the great Roy Thomas is one notable name from that group.

See, there is a comics connection with this show. And a pretty strong one, at that.

I can’t say that Thundarr holds up very well, but I watched a couple of episodes before writing this post and found them to be fairly enjoyable. And I still think that the intro is boss.

“…a world of savagery, super-science, and sorcery!”

Here’s the first episode with the “Darkseid” villain — just in case you want to check it out:

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Hoosier X permalink
    July 28, 2010 7:08 pm

    Speaking of Kirby’s recycled concepts, check out “The Monster in the Iron Mask” in Tales of Suspense #34 (I think) for a prototype of Ookla the Mok.

  2. Hoosier X permalink
    July 28, 2010 7:12 pm

    Sorry! It’s Tales of Suspense #31. And he looks a lot more like Ookla inside the book than he does on the cover.

    • July 29, 2010 9:53 am

      Thanks for the info – there certainly are some similarities.

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