Friday, May 10, 2013

That Happened.

Since my friend Greg brought this post about turning Yellow Peril villains green in modern cartoon adaptations to erase their racism in a very strange fashion, and I figured I'd make a few additions.

The first is something I noted when this first appeared on Tumblr, but now I've added some pictures:

We all know Mentok from the oldschool Adult Swim show Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (and if you don't, you ought). Like nearly all of the characters he was originally from Hanna-Barberra's more obscure stable, specifically one of the original Birdman's many supervillains. But, uh, original Birdman cartoon footage was used to make the cartoon "Turner Classic Birdman" and I can't help but see some Yellow Peril influence in Mentok's design.

The At Law version looks like this:

I can't help but think, you know, somebody participated in this tradition. Maybe by accident.

The original entry also mentioned "Lizard" Ming, and I immediately recognized that. Why? Because he was part of a rebooted "hip" Flash Gordon cartoon that I used to watch religiously in 1996. I caught re-runs a few years later, and realized it was terrible.

This realization didn't come from any loyalty to the original Flash Gordon strips: I still know only the vaguest things about Flash Gordon, and could never get worked up over Dale and Flash being belly-shirted teenagers and probably a lot of other Radical-isms I'm forgetting.

I perfectly understand why I liked it as a younger kid: it was full of bright colours and crazy monsters, and Thundra and Sulfa were two great characters, likely the product of the series trying to be progressive in other ways (Dale Adren was more active than I hear she used to be, Thundra used to be a male character, and the Hawkmen were made black). But time goes on.

Anyway, Lizard Ming:

Yeah, check that out.

I apologize for the quality, but the series seems to have almost no presence online, and I quickly snapped that from a YouTube movie of the opening. Here's the entire opening (with French credits, but the theme itself is an instrumental, and is actually kinda rockin'):

Nothing else to say, really. The "greenwashing" works better when the character is technically an alien, but it still leaves a bad taste.

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