DC Entertainment has announced plans to launch a rebooted line of comics featuring classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters. The line will feature the titles Scooby Apocalypse, Future Quest, Wacky Raceland and The Flintstones, and will focus on telling new kinds of stories with these decades old fan favorites.
"From a personal standpoint, I was always a fan of the old Hanna-Barbera characters, having grown up on them," Dan DiDio, co-publisher of DC Entertainment, tells Entertainment Weekly. "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 we handed off our materials to a number of top creators, and what came back was an exciting look that felt very true to the existence of the characters."
The publisher has selected top creators from the DC Comics roster to launch these new series, including co-publisher Jim Lee, Jeff Parker, Howard Porter, Amanda Connor, and Evan "Doc" Shaner.
"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 explains. "And then we have a great other creators: Doc [Evan "Doc" Shaner, Justice League Darkseid War: Green Lantern] is having a great time with the characters, and we brought in Mark Sexton, one of the designers from Mad Max: Fury Road to take a pass on the Rocky Races."
But for DiDio and Lee, the flagship title is Scooby Apocalypse.
"I'm a huge Scooby Doo fan, as I think most people are," admits Lee. "I mean, look at these iconic series and they were cultural touchstones for everyone. All my kids know of Scooby Doo from the various cartoons and live action movies, and we're in a period where you have people my age that are spending their days thinking about cartoon and sci-fi action movies. It's a multigenerational obsession at this point, and we just thought it would just be really interesting to take the cartoon version of these characters and see where they would be if we took what existed in the very first iteration of the cartoon and moved it into this day and age."
From an industry perspective, DC Entertainment's attempt to revitalize characters that are often thought of as retro in the public consciousness by giving them a young adult spin or crossing them over into another genre seems similar to what Archie Comics has done in recent years. You can easily draw parallels between books like Afterlife with Archie and Scooby Apocalypse, or Future Quest and the joining of the Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog videogame universes.
The Hanna-Barbera reboot books will launch in May. Check out promotional art in the gallery below.