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Thursday, February 04, 2016 

DC goes the cliched route, launching "gritty" reboot of Hanna-Barbera cartoons

And when Dan DiDio is involved, you know something could be wrong. Entertainment Weekly (via the AV Club) interviewed him about their plans to "reboot" the cartoon products as comics aimed at people who they think never saw them before:
[...] Featuring books like Scooby Apocalypse, Future Quest, Wacky Raceland and The Flintstones, DC is looking not to rehash old stories, but revitalize the characters in a new day and age — while keeping their charm, of course.

“From a personal standpoint, I was always a fan of the old Hanna-Barbera characters, having grown up on them,” says Dan DiDio, co-publisher of DC Entertainment. “I think what you find right now is there’s so much material on pop culture, and these characters resonate with so much of our fanbase. It was so fun to go out and look at them, but not just bring back versions that existed 40, 50 years ago and really look at it the way of saying, if these characters were created and interpreted today, how would they exist? So we handed off our materials to a number of top creators, and what came back was an exciting look that felt very true to the existence of the characters.”
If they're even remotely gritty, as some of the news material says, then they're not being very true to the original material at all, and the writers/artists they've assigned to the books cannot be trusted to understand that. Especially when DiDio says the following:
“We didn’t want to just repeat what people saw in the past,” adds DiDio. “It’s really important for this to resonate with folks who have never even heard of the characters. If this is the first they’re seeing it, we want them to be enjoying the material. So from our standpoint, our goal is to make this exciting and accessible to all generations, whether they’re fans of the material and the characters or not.” As for what they hope the reaction to these new and updated characters will be?

“Outrage!” Lee jokes with a laugh. “I hope that they put a smile on people’s faces. I think we think of these characters so much as our childhood, and I want people to kind of embrace these updated versions of the characters and really understand that at the core, these concepts are not just limited to little kids.”
DiDio makes it sound like they're hoping the crowd they supposedly covet has no interest in the original cartoons, or, like they think nobody likes the old Hanna-Barbera products at all. What kind of faith is that in the zygotes? Again, if this is even remotely a gritty take on the cartoons, then they neither understand nor respect what they claim to be fans of. And Jim Lee's one-word comment may not be as much a joke as we'd like to think. The original cartoons of the Flintstones and Jetsons from the 1960s may not have been limited in marketing to children, since they began on prime time, whereas later iterations were usually broadcast more on Saturday mornings. But even back in the day, whatever one thinks of those cartoons, they were usually done in far better taste than what these new adaptations are bound to be like.
“When we discuss the plot of these books, the smile that comes over people’s faces is infectious,” says DiDio. “And even without reading any of the stories, they’re already excited at what we’re trying to accomplish. As a longtime fan of this material…this is my childhood dream come true. And when you see what’s going to happen with Scooby and Wacky Races, even if you were cynical about how we approached these things, you’re going to love everything once you see the finished product.”

Turning these Saturday morning “kiddie” cartoons into young adult comic fare isn’t so out of the question, given that the shows themes at the time were just as suited to adults as they were to kids. “You have to have to remember that Jonny Quest and Flintstones were both primetime fare when they were introduced,” says DiDio. “They were already going for the older audience at that moment.”
Oh, but what if it turns out these new products are much more "adult" fare than kiddie fare? That is, what if they're more mature in tone? DiDio doesn't even seem to realize that the prime time cartoons weren't built on utter lewdness like most of DC's superhero output's become infested with.
What can fans expect from this new series? “You’re gonna have an epic adventure in the future stories with Jonny Quest and Space Ghost,” says DiDio. “You’re going to have a scary, dangerous world in Wacky Raceland that is just as strange and dynamic as you hope it would be. I think Scooby Doo is going to excite people and challenge people, and I think that we’re going to use Flintstones to really bring out that voice and social commentary that they might’ve brought out in the ’60s and raise it back for today.”
That could just as well suggest their liberal politics will show up in the books, and just why it's better to skip it, and stick with the older cartoons instead. As I've said before, DiDio alone is reason enough to avoid these new renditions, which are bound to cost quite a bit as pamphlets, another reason why it's just not worth the effort.

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Wacky Races was a Saturday morning cartoon, a slapstick comedy for preteen kids. The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Jonny Quest were originally broadcast in prime time, but they were for the whole family. Parents and children watched them together. Jonny Quest was the closest to a grim-and-gritty style, but even it was tame by today's standards. It was no more violent than Silver Age comic books, and was probably less violent than a lot of prime time live action TV shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Gunsmoke).

This is just another case of DC making a mess of things, as they (and Marvel) have been doing since the Bronze Age.

What's the point if reviving classic characters and series, and then changing them to "resonate" with people who have "never heard of them"? All they are doing is annoying the fans of the originals. Why not create new characters? Or use already existing, but more recent, characters that the younger fans have heard of?

And using The Flintstones for "social commentary" (i.e., left-wing propaganda)? Good grief.

DC is just exploiting the trademarks and brand names while throwing out everything that made the characters popular in the first place.

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