Thundarr the Barbarian was a show that was ahead of it’s time. Perhaps some kids just weren’t ready for the shattered Earth of 3994 AD. As a matter of fact I doubt that the parents were happy with the sword and sorcery violence either. I’m not truly sure why it didn’t survive past two seasons…or why it took 24 years to finally get some action figures!
On the other hand I can tell you in all honesty that I ate up Thundarr The Barbarian with a spoon. A spoon covered in stuck on Boo Berry marshmallows mind you but a spoon nonetheless. Furthermore I beg you to answer the question how anyone couldn’t love this show. You had character designs by the likes of Jack Kirby and Alex Toth. Then the whole series was dreamed up by Man-Thing and Howard the Duck creator, Steve Gerber!
On the other hand my love of the show may have had a little something to do with seeing 1982’s Conan the Barbarian in theaters. I will admit I was probably too young for it at the time…or maybe I was actually at just at the right age?
Now Thundarr The Barbarian was produced by Ruby-Spears and aired on the ABC television network from 1980 to 1982. In all the series had 21 episodes. However that isn’t where I saw the show. I actually watched it in 1983 when it made the jump as a rerun on Saturday Morning on NBC.
If you frequent The Retroist I’m sure when you think of Thundarr the first thing that pops into your mind is that stunning intro!
Now check out this Thundarr The Barbarian lunchbox!
Thanks to the generosity of none other than RetroArtBlog we can totally drool over this vintage Aladdin produced lunchbox. I believe that RetroArtBlog picked it up on an online auction. A thing of beauty I bet you will agree – even it it was manufactured after the age of metal lunch boxes!
I want to point out something odd about this 1981 lunchbox and thermos. The folks at Aladdin decided to forego the villainous Gemini. Instead as is evident they went with the King of the Groundlings! Not complaining, just addressing an interesting design choice.
A super thanks to RetroArtBlog once again. Not just for granting me permission to share his recent acquisition with you but for also taking the photographs!
Want to know more about Thundarr The Barbarian?
You are totally in luck as The Retroist Podcast #48 is totally all about that classic cartoon series!
This piece by Joltin’ Johnny Lucas was posted on his Flickr page and listed as a commission. What an amazing commission. I have never seen Thundarr, Ookla or Ariel look so gritty. John’s work has appeared in funny books published by D.C., Marvel, Darkhorse, Ad House and Top Cow. When they finally do that Thundarr revival I hope they give him a call.
I got up this morning with a sore stomach from too much low quality German food. On my schedule was some movie watching and writing. Now, last night I has watched some Japanese monster movies, which is what I planned on writing about while I watched some b-movie horror. But my stomach demanded comfort watching. And when I finally decided on what to watch this morning, Thundarr the Barbarian, I felt compelled to write about it.
Why Thundarr? Well the complete series has been freshly released on The Warner Archive and it is the perfect Sci-Fi/Fantasy cartoon series to watch during October. If you know nothing of this amazing series, you can of course listen to the Thundarr the Barbarian Podcast or just read this handy dandy summary of the show:
Man’s civilization is cast in ruin when a runaway planet speeds between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction. Two-thousand years later, Earth is reborn from the ashes with a savage landscape, strange creatures and a primitive sense of justice. But one man fights to spread peace throughout the land: he is Thundarr the Barbarian and the show stars Thundarr and his companions Ookla the Mok and sorceress Princess Ariel. Using their strength, courage and wits plus Thundarr’s magical Sunsword, they journey from village to village, liberating slaves and battling all kinds of beasts, mutants, wizards, thieves and robots. The future of Earth may be shrouded in darkness, but Thundarr the Barbarian bursts into action as a shining symbol of hope for humanity.
Monsters! Wizards! Robots! Mutants! Magic! While it ain’t straight up horror, which I know purists like to stick with, this is the perfect show to watch on a chilly Saturday morning and since the set has 21 episodes, you can stretch the show out over the next few weekends or marathon it like I did this morning over a recuperative bowl of buttery Quisp cereal. Watching it all in order I am still blown away by the character design and the storytelling. Just watch the pilot and I think you will agree, this is a show that deserved at least 100 episodes and a reboot is long overdue.
Thundarr is another home run from the Warner Archive. So order your copy today.
Welcome to the Retroist Thundarr the Barbarian Podcast. That is right, this week I talk all about the sword and sorcery cartoon Thundarr the Barbarian. First I talk about my protracted sword & sorcery phase and how it got me ready to watch Thundarr. Then I move onto the show and talk about its making, cast, plot, characters, legacy and much more. This show is a highlight of 80s animation, I hope I am able to persuade you to check it out.
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