From the Archives: Deck Log Entry # 60 Saturday Morning Silver Age: Part Four--Hanna-Barbera, the Best to You Each Saturday Morning

In television, as in all other fields of endeavour, relative status is seldom above dispute.  However, one of those rare exceptions has to be the studio created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who became the dominant producers of television animation throughout the last half of the 20th century.  Hanna and Barbera certainly had the pedigrees to earn that distinction.  They had worked as an animation team at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio, beginning in 1939.  There, they created the famous MGM cartoon pair of Tom and Jerry, and went on to win eight Academy Awards directing the animated tussles of the cat-and-mouse duo.

 

After MGM closed its cartoon studio in 1957, the pair, now established as Hanna-Barbera Enterprises, hired most of the MGM animators, and turned its sights toward the largely untapped medium of television animation.  It was an effort which almost died a-borning.  Hanna and Barbera discovered that, unlike the movies, television didn’t have the time or the money to produce theatrical-level work.  As Joe Barbera once explained, MGM provided the funding for him and Hanna to produce five or six two-reel Tom and Jerry cartoons per year, at $40,000 a pop, while television required a five-minute cartoon to be produced every two weeks and provided less than a tenth of the MGM budget.  H-B Enterprises had made a deal with Screen Gems, the television division of Columbia Pictures.  “We received about $2,700 instead of $40,000,” said Barbera, “and that was after great negotiating and pleading.”

 

Hanna and Barbera were faced with the dilemma of either producing cartoons economically or going out of business.  Necessity resulted in their development of limited animation, the mechanics of which I described back in Part One.  This made producing cartoons at television’s pace and budget practical.  H-B’s first cartoon series was The Ruff ‘n’ Ready Show, which debuted in 1957.  While not a runaway hit, it was successful enough to follow it up with The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958.  Huck Hound was H-B’s first genuine triumph, validated by winning of the 1960 Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Children’s Programming.  The Huckleberry Hound Show also produced the first television cartoon spin-off, when Yogi Bear, who had occupied the third slot on Huck’s show, graduated to a show of his own in 1961.

 

Huck and Yogi and H-B’s next entry, Quick Draw McGraw, were syndicated and usually occupied that afternoon “children’s hour” from 4-to-5 p.m.  The animation, of course, was inferior to the movie cartoons of the ‘40’s and early ‘50’s, which forced the elimination of many of the clever sight gags that inspired belly laughs in theatre audiences.  Nor was the writing of the TV cartoons as piquant or laced with adult-level wisecracks as its movie brethren.  Still, the TV cartoon material was clever enough to overcome the limited animation.  Hanna and Barbera managed to infuse varying levels of gags and punchlines so that they appealed to small fry and older youngsters alike.  And every once in a while, a grown-up would sneak a peek or two.

 

As H-B refined both the quality of its writing and its mastery of limited animation, it gained enough clout to break into prime-time.  It scored a television first by establishing the first prime-time television cartoon, The Flintstones, in 1960.  It would also prove to be the team’s greatest evening success, running for six years and generating a never-ending run of spin-offs, commercials, and merchandising.

 

One would had to have spent the entire decade of the 1950’s living in a cave someplace not to recognise that The Flintstones was a dressed-up version of Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners, but somehow, Hanna and Barbera managed to develop the show in such a fashion that it avoided the carbon-copy association and established its own identity.  The cleverness in depicting the conveniences of “modern” Stone-Age life helped.  Also contributing to The Flintstones’ uniqueness was the show’s willingness to actually evolve.  Fred and Wilma produced a child, Pebbles, and we saw them go through the trials and adjustments of early parenthood.  A season later, neighbours Barney and Betty adopted a foundling, Bamm-Bamm.

 

With the success of The Flintstones, more H-B cartoons saw their way into the networks’ evening schedules---The Jetsons, Top Cat, and, quite probably the most well-crafted “kids’ cartoon” of all time, Jonny Quest.  Despite employing good scripts and top-notch voice talent, Hanna-Barbera could not get away from the derivative nature of their shows.  The Jetsons was a futuristic redux of The Life of Riley; Top Cat was an anthropomorphic version of Sergeant Bilko; and Jonny Quest took its premise from radio’s Jack Armstrong, All-American Boy.  None of these follow-on programmes lasted more than a year in their original forms.

 

The law of diminishing returns had kicked in.  The novelty of The Flintstones as a prime-time animated series did not sustain in the H-B’s other prime-time cartoons.  The adults looked for other fare, leaving only the kids enjoying them

 

Consequently, H-B sought more fertile ground and found it in Saturday morning, which had become the province of children’s cartoons.  After failing in their prime-time venues, both Top Cat and The Jetsons found slots in the Saturday morning schedule and among the kid-centric audience, garnered healthy ratings.  Hanna and Barbera knew then it had found a new home.

 

 

  

I have already discussed how, in 1965, CBS vice-president of daytime programming, Fred Silverman, had taken an active control of the network’s drifting Saturday-morning schedule, giving it the same attention to detail as the nighttime line-up.  A year later, as The Flintstones was winding down to its last prime-time season, Silverman was energising Saturday mornings by latching onto the Batmania sweeping the nation.  The ABC network had a lock on Batman, so Silverman grabbed up Superman.  But it wasn’t enough; he still had a few more Saturday-morning hours to fill.

 

In 1966, pinchpenny Marvel Comics wasn’t ready to take the animated plunge, so Silverman started looking around for a company that could produce original super-heroes and make them saleable.

 

Hanna-Barbera had gotten a jump on that sort of thing with its Atom Ant cartoon, which had débuted on NBC the year before.  Atom Ant was a curious blend of funny animals, super-hero derring-do, and the campy dialogue of Batman.  It wasn’t a world-beater in the ratings, but it proved popular enough to persuade Silverman that Hanna and Barbera could deliver on super-heroes, too.  With Silverman’s blessing, H-B came up with two more shows for the 1966 season, jam-packed with costumed crime-fighters.

 

Frankenstein, Jr., and the Impossibles launched on 10 September 1966. Despite the implication of the name, Frankenstein, Jr., was not related to Mary Shelley’s famous literary monster except, vaguely, in appearance.  True, Frankenstein, Jr., had been assembled from parts, but not organic ones.  Rather, he was a thirty-foot-tall robot constructed out of transistors, diodes, and servo-mechanisms by one Professor Conroy for his son, Buzz.  When crime threatened, Buzz would activate “Franky” with a control ring, then hop onto the giant robot’s back as it flew into action.

 

While generally sentient and capable of independent use of some standard equipment, such as his jet-propelled astro-boots and fingertip-installed power beams, Frankenstein, Jr., largely relied on the commands of young Buzz to combat the various villains.  Buzz’s ring enabled him to activate various devices concealed within the robot’s cavernous chest.  Much like Batman and his utility belt, Frankenstein, Jr., almost always “just happened” to have on hand whatever gadget was needed to defeat the current threat hurled against him.  Here again, Hanna-Barbera had taken a previous concept---the boy-controlling-a-giant-robot premise had come from the Japanese cartoon Gigantor---and put its own spin on it.

 

The other half of the show belonged to the Impossibles, a trio of super-heroes who tackled missions assigned to them by “Big D”, the head of a super-secret government agency.  The three crime-fighters were Coil Man, whose limbs were constructed of springs; Fluid Man, who could convert his body to water; and the mop-topped Multi-Man, who was able to replicate himself endlessly.  In civilian life, they were a rock ‘n’ roll group also named the Impossibles.  Fortunately, the public seemed no more able to make the connexion between the two Impossibles trios than it could between the Green Hornet’s sidekick, Kato, and Britt Reid’s valet, Kato.  Even if someone had put three and three together, it wouldn’t have mattered much, anyway; the heroes’ private careers as musicians were never expanded upon.  It was simply a plot device, in hopes of further luring young viewers, by inserting some knock-off rock ‘n’ roll numbers into the action.

 

While not outright comedies, the adventures of both Frankenstein, Jr., and the Impossibles were light-weight.  The emphasis was on simple super-hero action, punctuated by gags taken straight from Joe Miller’s Joke Book. These were romps, watered down to a child’s level, with no real sense of menace.

 

That was the last thing one could say about Hanna-Barbera’s other 1966 offering. 

 

 

 

Space Ghost was ultra-serious and loaded with menace---and that was only the beginning of the things the show had going for it.

 

Space Ghost, the character, was an interstellar free-lance law-enforcement officer who patrolled the galaxy.  Like any self-respecting super-hero, he had a variety of powers and gimmicks at his command.  He possessed an unusually high degree of durability and strength, on top of which, he could survive unaided underwater and in the vacuum of space.  But the most notable of all of his abilities were his power bands.

 

The power bands were twin wristlets equipped with three buttons each, but there seemed to be no end of capabilities in those six push-switches.  Not only did they permit Space Ghost to fly and to become unseen (by activating his “inviso-power”), they emitted ray beams capable of whatever the writers could think of, and they could think of a lot of them.  With a press of one of those buttons, Space Ghost could activate a magnetic ray, a force ray, a battering-ram ray, an electro-shock ray, a sonic-vibro ray, a heat ray, a freeze ray, a stun ray, a pile-driver ray, a force ray, a scatter ray, a locking ray, a laser beam, a megaton-force ray, an anti-matter ray, a destroyer ray, a reversing-force ray, a hypno ray, a force shield, or the ability to create a time warp.

 

Unlike most cartoon super-heroes, Space Ghost was given a particularly full mythos.  His headquarters was based on the Ghost Planet, and he did his patrolling in a stylised spacecraft called the Phantom Cruiser.  He was assisted in his crime-fighting by the teen-age twins Jan and Jace, outfitted in matching costumes.  Also along for the ride was the monkey Blip, also decked out in the same uniform as the twins.  As with most cartoon-hero pets, Blip was both unusually intelligent for his species and the source of the few bits of humour the show permitted.  Space Ghost, the teens, and the monkey would all stay in touch through communicators installed in the triangular ghost-motif insignia they all wore.

 

While the rich background added to the character’s popularity, there was a shroud of mystery about Space Ghost which the fans found equally fascinating.  Either through omission or intent, many questions were never addressed.  Space Ghost’s face was never seen, nor was he ever given a real name or origin.  It was presumed that he was from Earth, but that in no way was certain. 

 

Nor was the relationship between Space Ghost and the twins, Jan and Jace, certain, either.  Were they his younger siblings?  His own children?  It was generally assumed that they were his wards, but like so many other personal details, who knew?  Viewers weren’t even told if Space Ghost’s adventures took place in the present or in the future.  These unanswered questions only added to the character’s mystique.

 

So much came together to make Space Ghost a stand-out effort.  The heroes’ costumes were designed by famed comic-book artist Alex Toth, who also did the story boards for the cartoon, giving it a sleek look that made even the limited animation seem elegant.  And the modulated baritone of announcer Gary Owens served as Space Ghost’s voice, contributing to much of the character’s heroic bearing.

 

But more than anything else, what made Space Ghost memorable was its drama.  His were no light-hearted, giggle-laced, catch-the-bad-guy adventures.  Fighting crime in outer space was serious business.  Space Ghost was no-nonsense, approaching every situation with the attitude that the world was about to end at any minute (and in many of the plots, it was).  He gave his opponents no quarter.  None of this “code against killing” business that most super-heroes followed (or tried to).  If Space Ghost could take out a villain with his disintegration ray, he didn’t think twice about it.  Usually the chief bad guy survived to make return appearances (not from Space Ghost’s lack of effort, though), but his henchmen usually wound up melted, frozen, pulped, vapourised, or crushed under a mammoth piece of machinery.

 

To be fair, most of them had it coming.  A Space Ghost villain was truly evil.  Ordinary bank robbers and hold-up men were beneath the hero.  His quarry was the world-dominator, the purveyor of mass destruction, the seeker of galactic conquest.  Space Ghost’s rogues’ gallery was an array of bizarre and alien beings, with names like  Brak, Mettalus, Zorak, the Spider-Woman, Moltar, Pirahnor, and Dr. Nightmare.  As designed by Toth, their appearances alone would give the viewers the chills.

 

The villains’ plans usually included planetary take-over, widespread destruction, and/or robbery on a massive scale.  Occasionally, they focused their efforts on Space Ghost directly, either through a desire for revenge or in acknowledgement that, if their plans were to succeed, they would have to take the super-hero out first.  In these cases, the bad guy usually stuck at Space Ghost’s weakest point, the teens Jan and Jace.  While, unlike most cartoon youngsters, Jan and Jace were intelligent and competent, they were far more vulnerable to ambush than their older brother/father/mentor/whatever.  Even with the twins in peril, Space Ghost remained undaunted.  No matter what the danger or disadvantage, Space Ghost was grim-facedly determined and unbending.  Just about the only time the stony set of his jaw lightened into a smile was at some fade-out antic of Blip or the particularly satisfying end of a villain.

 

 

  

Almost lost in the majestic sweep of the galactic hero was the cartoon series sandwiched between the two Space Ghost episodes in every show.  This was Dino Boy in the Lost Valley.  Dino Boy was Todd, a normal American boy approximately twelve years of age (old enough to be reasonably capable, young enough to still think girls were yucky).  According to the premise, told at the beginning of every episode, Todd was forced to parachute from a disabled aeroplane.  He landed in the Lost Valley, an uncharted area that had inexplicably remained in the prehistoric era.  There he befriended the caveman, Ugh, and they shared many adventures, usually following the formula of becoming the captives of yet another unseen tribe or race every week.  Ostensibly, Dino Boy was trying to find a way out of the Lost Valley, but he never seemed too distressed at not having colour television, hi-fi, or a MacDonald’s.  (Probably because he didn’t have any school, either.)

 

It didn’t matter.  Nobody cared.  Everybody tuned in to watch Space Ghost and went into the kitchen to make a bowl of cereal when Dino Boy came on.

 

There would be more super-heroes to come, but Hanna-Barbera had struck gold with Space Ghost.  Atom Ant, the Impossibles, and Frankenstein, Jr., would be forgotten in due time, but Space Ghost was emblazoned into the brains of an entire generation of youthful viewers.  Of all of the original super-heroes created for Saturday-morning cartoons, he would be the most memorable and enduring.  Space Ghost was the best that Saturday-morning super-hero cartoons had to offer. 

 

In one very critical aspect, he was also the worst.  But I’m getting ‘way ahead of myself there.  We have a couple more chapters to explore first.

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Fogey!  Always a pleasure to have you weigh in, my friend, even with lengthy (but never "too long") commentary.  As always, you make good points, and, as always, I have some in reply.

You noted that “Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles” had half of the show with Franky and half with the Impossibles. Sadly, that wasn’t the case, as even the opening credits showed. This was an episodic show with two “sandwich” episodes of the Impossibles and a “filling” episode of Frankenstein Jr. For some shows, this worked excellently (I will note “Space Ghost and Dino Boy” and “Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor”, where it was hard to get as interested in Dino Boy and Moby Dick.) 


With regard to the "division of labour" on Frankenstein, Jr., and the Impossibles, you are correct:  it was one episode of Frankenstein, Jr., book-ended by two of the Impossibles  I knew that.  When I referred to the Impossibles being the "other half" of the show, I was referring to their place in the show's title, not the actual amount of running time they occupied.  Still, I should have been more clear about that, and I appreciate you keeping me honest.

However, as something of a redemption, I will point out that, yes, while the titles of two of the programmes were, indeed, Frankenstein, Jr., and the Impossibles and Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor, the title of Space Ghost's show was simply Space Ghost. The title "Space Ghost and Dino Boy" was a later adaptation used to differentiate the original show from the later Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

I’m a little surprised you left Jonny Quest quite so untouched… I think you gave him short shrift here. This was a style of animation and storytelling completely unknown until this time. There were elements to attract kids and keep their attention… but there was a lot more that was intended for grown ups. The stories were mature; the animation was exciting and revolutionary for its time. . . .; the music was thrilling and expressive; and some of those stories just scared the hell out of me.

I am second to none in admiration for Jonny Quest (the original series, that is; not any of the watered-down, in-touch-with-the-times versions that followed).  For all of the reasons you cited above.  It is, quite frankly, Hanna-Barbera's crowning achievement.

But I gave it a mere lick and promise because it wasn't the thrust of this arc of columns.  The topic was the age of Saturday-morning super-hero cartoons, what caused there to be one, and, eventually, why it went away.  To be sure, in the 1967-8 season, CBS aired reruns of the original series on Saturday mornings, at 1230.  (Brief aside:  something I never mention in this series of articles was just how long Saturday morning cartoons ran in the day during that period:  nine o'clock in the morning until two o'clock in the afternoon.)  And, yes, I could probably stretch the adventures of Doctor Quest and company under the umbrella of super-heroics.  But the show wasn't a new addition, created to fill the need for Saturday-morning super-heroes; it was a convenient slot-in.

Besides, the show deserves its own Deck Log Entry, I'm sure you'll agree.

Philip Portelli: I never felt that the Impossibles were a take on the Three Stooges.


One of the entries in the oh-so-impressive "Dial 'B" for Blog" website covers the Impossibles. In which, the author states that the three Impossibles were based on the Larry, Curly, and Moe incarnation of the Three Stooges.  He doesn't cite any reference for that comparison; he simply states it as fact.  I didn't do any further research on the subject myself, so there may be other information out there to that effect.

Something that people never seem to notice, despite its prevalence in H-B super hero cartoons; the theme music matched the action on screen.

Good eye, or . . . er. . . ear, Fogey!  That's what made the title sequences so memorable:  the coördination of scenes to music.  For that, you can credit Ted Nichols, who was the music director for Space GhostFantastic FourThe Herculoids, and Young Samson and Goliath, among others.

I am not convinced that Space Ghost’s power bands were the source of his inviso-power. He used his belt to turn invisible, which was echoed with Jan, Jace, and Blip.


You're probably right.  I can't remember if I researched that fact nine years ago, or just assumed that's how he activated his inviso-power.  If I did check an episode to be sure, which normally I would do, and saw him turn it on with a button on his power band, then it might have been a one-off instance.  Because I'm thinking you're right---he hit the button on his belt.

DC released a maxi-series last year called “Future Quest” where they crossed over several of H-B’s super heroes in one galactic battle.

I was unaware of this until I started doing research in order to polish this series of entries for presenting them "From the Archives".  I've seen it, so I cannot comment directly on it, but I suspect that I would not like it, just as I have never liked any effort to re-create something from the Silver Age (which, to all intents, the original cartoons fell under).  It cannot be done, at least, not authentically.  The sensibilities of the new creators are different.  I'm sure if I read the Future Quest series, I would spot all kinds of changes made simply because "times and attitudes are different, now."  It's the same reason I could not abide any subsequent versions of Jonny Quest.

Thanks for chiming in, my friend.  You always provide me and the others with food for thought.

Commander Benson said:

 I am not convinced that Space Ghost’s power bands were the source of his inviso-power. He used his belt to turn invisible, which was echoed with Jan, Jace, and Blip.


You're probably right.  I can't remember if I researched that fact nine years ago, or just assumed that's how he activated his inviso-power.  If I did check an episode to be sure, which normally I would do, and saw him turn it on with a button on his power band, then it might have been a one-off instance.  Because I'm thinking you're right---he hit the button on his belt.

Well, I had to check, to ensure the right gouge got out.  Unfortunately, what I found still doesn't settle the matter conclusively.

I was able to find only three episodes of the original Space Ghost on YouTube.  In one of them, "The Heat Thing", Space Ghost activates his inviso-power by simultaneously hitting the three buttons on his left power band.

That doesn't necessarily mean that you're mistaken, Fogey.  As I said earlier, one occasion---which "The Heat Thing" episode established---doesn't mean that it wasn't a one-time thing, and that later episodes didn't have him turning on his inviso-power by a belt switch.

Commander, some responses to responses:

ITEM: Yup, I got what you meant re: "Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles" etc. But Hanna-Barbera cartoons had three formats:

A) A single, long episode, e.g., the Flintstones, the Jetsons, Top Cat - and yes, I do note that all of these are funny cartoons. But Hanna-Barbera's treatment of the Fantastic Four was almost always a single episode per show as well. My, did I enjoy H-B's Fantastic Four!

B) Two episodes e.g., Shazzan, the Herculoids, Young Samson, etc. These were shows that were the purview of the title characters.

C) Three episodes, and this was the most common, For the super hero cartoons, it was the sandwich approach; and generally, I liked the "bread" cartoons better. (The exception was Birdman, because I really liked the Galaxy Trio.

D) One short episode - this was limited to the Banana Splits show unless I am misremembering, and the cartoons were "The Three Musketeers" and "The Arabian Knights."

ITEM½: Of course "Space Ghost" was the title of the show, and I should have omitted the quotation marks about Dino Boy. Then again... omitting everything about Dino Boy was okay with me...

ITEM: Jonny Quest indeed deserves its own Deck Log entry - and I cannot wait for that! I agree that everything Quest-ian after 1968 was an extremely weak cup of tea, trying to capture the original lightning in a bottle that was the original. And I suppose I agree - while JQ embraced both science fiction and espionage stories, it only trod lightly outside the boundaries of super hero.

ITEM: I do not read "Dial B for Blog" (although the title is charming to a Silver Age Fogey - sockamagee!), so I don't know about any relationship between the Stooges and the Impossibles. One might, generously, suppose some physical appearance aspects were similar... but I don't see it.

ITEM: A class should be taught to every cartoon producer on how one makes music work in cartoons, and the teachers should be Hanna and Barbera, and Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn.* I learned a lot of classic music from the Warner Brothers cartoons, and I learned about dynamic and exciting music and themes from the Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. And as noted... timing the action on screen to the music (or vice versa) was one of the details that even a limited budget couldn't detract from.

*Did someone say "Bill Lava"? I shall have to ask you to step outside, sir!

ITEM: Inviso-power - likely I don't remember enough episodes of Space Ghost exactly enough. Considering that a lot of the super hero cartoons was convenient powers (and especially Space Ghost), I wouldn't expected a ton of the same use of the same powers. I am sure I never saw different combinations of wrist band buttons for different powers. There's only so much you can do in seven minutes for a show aimed at kids...

ITEM: From your standards, you would not enjoy "Future Quest." Changes ARE made, although a lot more thing are just additions, or events that happen in the story; but they do not cleave specifically enough to the originals that you would enjoy. I'll admit to once or twice noting, "Okay, they tweaked that a little... a bit different, but necessary for the story."

But you're a pretty broad minded fellow, so if you ever get the chance to check out "Future Quest", you might find it sufficiently entertaining despite your misgivings. I liked it that much.

I shiver with anticipation for your future Deck Logs on these cartoons, and I believe that you and I will share a loathing for the group Action for Children's Television. I rekcon we'll find out!

You're right about Three Musketeers and Arabian Knights (which I enjoyed greatly). Apparently they also reran The Hillbilly Bears and had a live-action serial, Danger Island. I didn't pay much attention beyond Arabian Knights, so I don't remember those.

  Danger Island was a cliff hanger show.  An explorer in the Caribbean who was looking for his brother ran into a group of pirates and he, his daughter and young assistant (Jan Micheal Vincent, who was going by Jan Vincent back then) landed on an island looking for the lost civilization that his brother had been looking for.  They were joined by two earlier victims of the pirates and each show had them getting in and out of danger with various native tribes and the head pirate.  It was entertaining.  

Fraser Sherman said:

You're right about Three Musketeers and Arabian Knights (which I enjoyed greatly). Apparently they also reran The Hillbilly Bears and had a live-action serial, Danger Island. I didn't pay much attention beyond Arabian Knights, so I don't remember those.



Mark S. Ogilvie said:

  Danger Island was a cliff hanger show.  An explorer in the Caribbean who was looking for his brother ran into a group of pirates and he, his daughter and young assistant (Jan Micheal Vincent, who was going by Jan Vincent back then) landed on an island looking for the lost civilization that his brother had been looking for.  They were joined by two earlier victims of the pirates and each show had them getting in and out of danger with various native tribes and the head pirate.  It was entertaining.  


What I mostly remember about Danger Island were the Skeleton Men (who freaked me out a bit when I was a kid) and "Uh-oh! Chongo!"

There are three Jonny Quest comic books I can recommend to even the most diehard purist. First is the first issue of the Comico ongoing series. This issue contains two stories, one drawn by Steve Rude and the other by Doug Wildey himself (and that's a wraparound cover by Doug Wildey below). Also, the three issue Jonny Quest Classics seires (also from Comico) features adaptations of three television episodes with art by Doug Wildey. You're not going to get much more authentic than that!

I was going to mention the series, by William Messner Loebs (IIRC). Funny, clever, and his idea of what Jonny's mom would be like (in flashbacks) seems perfect.

William Messner-Loebs, yes. You do "RC". Issue #2 told the story of the death of Jonny's mother. I recall one bit of Jonny's narration in particular: "Paris is an ugly city." One of thre most beautiful cities in the world, yet Jonny remembers it as being "ugly" because he associates it with the death of his mother. Purists may not consider this story canonical, but that one turn of phrase has stuck with me all these years, and that's memorable writing.

Has Warner Brothers given her a different death?

Jonny's Golden Quest, a TV movie, showed her captured by Dr. Zinn; she dies when Dr. Quest refuses to take what Jonny believes is a clear kill shot (at the end of the movie he's the one who has to take a similar shot and discovers it's not so easy).

Ronald Morgan said:

Has Warner Brothers given her a different death?

Mrs. Quest - in non-canonical reference, the series I keep hyping, "Future Quest", shows a flashback where the Quests and the Conroys (et. al.) were working on a defense project sabotaged by F.E.A.R., and Mrs. Quest and Mr. Conroy were killed. (Which means that yes, according to this comic, Buzz Conroy and Jonny Quest and Hadji were all boyhood pals. Well, YOUNGER boyhood pals, anyhow.)

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