Everyone loves it when modern creators take classic characters and stories beloved by millions and update it all to fit in better with the modern artistic palate. That sentence, of course, is sarcasm. In any event, in a move that will surely divide people along strict partisan lines, DC Comics has announced that many of their top creators including Jim Lee, Jeff Porter, Amanda Connor, Howard Porter, and Evan “Doc” Shanner, are bringing back brand new versions of classic cartoons from Hanna Barbera. The Flintstones, Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, and Scooby Doo will all be back in new stories from DC Comics, and wait till you see the artwork!
In a preview in Entertainment Weekly, DC Entertainment co-publisher Dan DiDio explained that this wasn’t a feckless cash grab on the basis of nostalgia sells, but instead this was a really personal project for him. “From a personal standpoint, I was always a fan of the old Hanna-Barbera characters, having grown up on them,” DiDio explained . “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 what have we got? Four new comics that will come out this spring: Scooby Apocalypse, Future Quest, Wacky Raceland and The Flintstones. Of course, it’s not enough to bring these characters back and just tell new stories with them, they have to be updated for savvy media audiences that might not be able to simply enjoy tales of cave people living side-by-side with dinosaurs. “What you’ll see is that Amanda Connor really looked at the Flintstones and found a way to move them forward, even though they’re set in the past,” DiDio said.
“We didn’t want to just repeat what people saw in the past,” He added. “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.”
“And there are certain things you can do in longform serialized content that you can’t do in other media,” Jim Lee added. “And we want to take advantage of that and give our creators the freedom to take chances with these characters in a way you might not see in other media. I think that’s the fun of working in comics.”
Whether or not fans will have fun with the uber buff Fred and Barney and the 90s super model slim Wilma and Betty, is still to be determined. “I hope that they put a smile on people’s faces,” said Lee. “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.”
You’ll be able to see for yourself when these first four Hanna Barbera titles hit comic book store shelves this coming May. Check out a gallery of artwork below.