How Many Years Has Scooby-Doo been around? From 1969 to today we’ve seen 12 cartoon series, 36 movies (animated and live action), and over 4 comic book series (pre-DC). In 1997 DC acquired the comic book rights and has had a Scooby-Doo title in production since. The most recent of which Scooby-Doo Where Are You and Scooby-Doo Team Up ran bi-monthly selling over 80,000 copies combined in 2015*.
In all those years the most drastic reboots were probably Scrappy and the most recent abomination of a cartoon “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo” whose visual style is more akin to American Dad.
What are we getting this time? Scooby-Doo Apocalypse.
The problems with this are two-fold. First the need. A series that has maintained its relevance and its marketability for 46 years doesn’t need a reboot. There are at least 3 different cartoons featuring Scooby on the air, one of which is usually a new series. There is a constant stream of Scooby merchandise selling in all forms. Lego sets, video games, and figures and playsets are all readily available at this moment.
Now DC decided to take a series that has actually delivered consistent quality content and change it. Why? Well if I want to sound like most of what’s out there I could either say “because comics are fun man and you should keep trying new stuff!” or “because the big two don’t care about us man! it’s all the bottom line!”
Reality is somewhere in the middle. Did the front office say, hey guys we have these licenses sitting here doing nothing, anyone have any ideas? Or did one of the editors do the reverse, yelling up the food chain about having some cool ideas about some underused properties? Either way what it boils down to is that we’re getting several new series, Scooby Apocalypse, Future Quest, Wacky Raceland and The Flintstones to start, As reported on EW.com on January 28th (DC Entertainment announces new slate of Hanna-Barbera titles) with impressive and sought after artists and writers.
And if one of those series lasts a year I’ll be surprised. Let’s take a look at what those series have in store…
The Flintstones: writer Mark Russell, with designs by Amanda Conner. Of which Dan DiDio gave us this tidbit, “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…” The original cartoon ran from 1960 – 66, 6 seasons 166 episodes (+ the pilot), there was a horrible live action film, and a failed reboot. Yes the cartoon still runs in syndication but where’s the market for this? This cartoon was a best a sitcom, at worst a Honeymooners ripoff. I have little hope for this one.
Future Quest, a crossover series utilizing Hanna-Barbera’s superhero and adventure characters, starring Jonny Quest utilizing the talents of Jeff Parker and Evan “Doc” Shaner. We haven’t sen anything new with these characters since the hysterical Harvey Bridman: Attorney at Law and Spaceghost: Coast to Coast. Of all the things planned this one seems to have the most potential just based on the depth of story and character ideas these shows provide. The promo images show what I mean…
Wacky Raceland: revamped by Mark Sexton, one of the designers from Mad Max: Fury Road. I’d love to talk about this one but just the promo image is enough to just shake your head and wonder why…
And that brings us back to Scooby-Doo Apocalypse: written by Keith Giffen and Jim Lee, with art by Howard Porter, and characters redesigned by Batman artist Jim Lee. I spent the opening of this piece talking about the apparent lack of need of a reboot, the series is alive and well in many different formats. I also said I had two problems, here’s my second reason for thinking this is a horrible idea. The concept.
Let’s be clear this isn’t an art critique, that would be silly. The art is obviously pro. The teams involved in the new Hannah-Barbera titles at DC are all wonderful seriously. The problem is that it’s just silly and limiting. Why would we want and/or need to put the Scooby gang in a post-apocalyptic world, trying to rid it of mutants using what appear to be futuristic “laser guns”? One of the factors that have made, and kept, Scooby-Doo a modest success is the “meddling kids in a van, withj that dog” traveling around solving mysteries. Turning the Scooby-gang into post apocalyptic mutant hunters? Yeesh.
And by the way? Scooby reimagined in a post apocalyptic world? Been done. On a threadless t-shirt…
and that’s a reboot I probably could get behind.
What’s your take on the situation? Cash grab using underutilized properties? Heartless mining of our childhood? Good comic book fun? Sound off in the comments!
*sales figures used in this piece courtesy of http://www.comichron.com
While cruising around twitter the other day I noticed a thread between Dan Didio , (@dandidio1) DC Comics Co-Publisher and Stephen Fackler (@Fidelius_Steve),Fidelius Insurance Services’ Head of Communications, which put my mind at ease as to the fate of Scooby and the gang…
Seems the current books, Scooby Doo Where Are You? and Scooby Doo Team Up will “continue as it is.” And Jim Lee (@ DC Entertainment Co-Publisher, weighed in as well with his response…
Newsarama chimed in saying (Scooby Doo) Where Are You? is confirmed through April 2016. Shame that wasn’t in the press release. Or in any of the coverage, at least that I was able to track down. Our thanks go out to Mr Fackler for asking the question. He says his daughter is happy with the news, mine is as well.