I was inspired to write this up after reading a neat article on ComicVine.com posted by Tom Pinchuk called “A ThunderCats Revival? What About BraveStarr?” As huge a fan as I am of those ‘80s cartoons I grew up with, I wasn’t much into BraveStarr (westerns were never my thing, and Thirty/Thirty kinda scared me as a kid!) I was more attuned to another series that for some reason, like BraveStarr, never enjoyed the commercial success of Lion-O and his prowling pack of intergalactic exiles from Thundera––SilverHawks!
Some of you may remember Quicksilver, Bluegrass, Steelwill and Steelheart, and the Copper Kid with his mime-like musings. Together, they form a bionic superteam of space cops assigned to put an end to organized crime in the galaxy of Limbo by defeating the evil Mon*Star. Now, a lightning fast comparison of ThunderCats and SilverHawks will show that…well, the Cats are much cooler than the Hawks, of course. I mean, you can’t really compare superpowered cat people with cybernetic humanoids labeled as “Hawks” because of some metal wings and rockets built into their silver boots (Val Lewton would agree for sure.)
Despite the simplicity of the SilverHawks themselves, there are most definitely more memorable baddies in the SilverHawks’ mythos than in the ThunderCats’ one. First of all, the fact that the Hawks are hunting down space mobsters and their lackies was pretty innovative for the time. But just look at the names of some of the SilverHawks’ foes: Mo-Lec-U-Lar, Zero the Memory Theif, Windhammer and Melodia. And they each have interesting powers; Mo-Lec-U-Lar makes his way as a shapeshifter by modifying his molecular structure; Windhammer alters the weather by banging a giant tuning fork; and Melodia creates dissonance with her devastating “Sound Smasher.” Compare these hepcats with the merely mutant miscreants of ThunderCats like Slithe, Vultureman, and Ratar-O and there’s no contest. Granted, ThunderCats will always claim the pot, and rightfully so, for it’s the series that introduced audiences to quite possibly the greatest villain of all time––Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living (Mon*Star’s simply a bargain-basement version of the great demon-pharaoh, as shown in the two videos below.) But at least Mon*Star could afford some more qualified lackeys; I’d put my money on Mumbo-Jumbo in a battle of brawn against Hammerhand and his Berserkers any day!
I’m looking back on SilverHawks not so much because it’s a great series (in truth, it isn’t, especially with its opening theme song!), but because I’ve always been more a sci-fi lover than anything else. Obviously ThunderCats tells more compelling stories, has heroes that are made more of heart and less of steel and circuits, and deals with grander issues on a smaller scale; that is they are fighting for their own survival on a strange new planet, whereas the SilverHawks fight for justice in a vast, seemingly endless part of a dark cosmos.
After five strong years of syndication and the complete collection available on DVD, why on Third Earth would anyone want to wake these sleeping Cats and unwrap the Mumm-Ras of our childhoods?
I’m obviously not the biggest proponent of revivals. If something was done right the first time, there’s no need for a reprise. ThunderCats was the coolest cartoon on TV from 1985 to 1990. Why burden those classic characters with new (and more than likely diminutive) adventures and postmodern animation when Studio 4°C could just as easily brush off the wings of a series that had so much potential during its three months of airtime, despite its inability to reach the Thunderous speed it takes to soar into the hearts and consciousness of cartoon lovers everywhere? Or they could resurrect BraveStarr and let this space cowboy and his trusty (and scary!) steed Thirty/Thirty prance on into the sunrise of a new generation’s HD-optimized living room.
Let sleeping Cats lie, I say, and revive instead the dead, not those who had a great run and now deserve a well-earned retirement.
Obviously the reason for a ThunderCats revival is because there’s no risk for Studio 4°C––it’s bound to be a success. What are YOUR thoughts on revivals? Why are they cool? Why are they not?