Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Character: examples of the 'Animal Superhero' genre

Example 1: Danger Mouse

As the name of the series suggests, 'Danger Mouse' has the main hero being portrayed as a mouse. The genre itself is more of a mixture between an action, secret agent and superhero. Danger Mouse doesn't exactly have any superpowers himself and relies on defeating his foes through wit and technology. He also has a mole as a sidekick named 'Penfold' who adds plenty of comedy relief to the series. Overall, Danger Mouse has the kid-friendly, Saturday-morning-cartoon feel to it.

Example 2: Darkwing Duck
Darkwing Duck was aired as a TV series during the 90s by Disney. Again, the main hero is of the same species as the title suggest. The series, and especially the hero, parodied many tropes as seen by the stereotypical superhero, giving the whole show a comedic background. The hero is bad-tempered, short-sighted and clumsy, but the plot usually came around with him coming through showing the viewers his true power. His sidekick is Launchpad McQuack from the Duck Tales series, broadly-built, but dim-witted.

Example 3:  Dynomutt
Dynomutt combines three different genres including the two that are already obvious: robotic, anthropomorphic, superhero. Dynomutt has robotic powers, but uses them ineffectively due to his clumsiness. However, he is somewhat of a sidekick due to his human super-hero master, even though the show is primarily about his pet. He and his master fight crime in the aptly named city of 'Big City'. The series once again goes down the route of comedy.

Example 4: Earthworm Jim
Originally based on the side-scrolling video game of the same name, Earthworm Jim is just as weird as its video game predecessor and is rife with post-modernity. Earthworm Jim was once an everyday garden worm until a special space suit fell from space. The worm crawled inside of it, turning it and the suit into a rather bizarre superhero mix of the two. The series blends sci-fi with the superhero genre; Earthworm Jim, throughout the series, has plenty of space-based adventure with his small puppy sidekick, Peter Puppy.

Example 5: Looatics Unleashed
A controversial series among fans of the original Loony Tunes, Loonatics Unleashed took place in a sci-fi, dark techno-punk universe with an equally dark and gritty cast of super-powered versions of the original Loony-Tunes. In 2772 the planet-city of Achmetropolis is struck by a meteor, causing all of the future Loony Tunes to gain super-powered abilities. The series was met with a strong reaction by Loony Tunes fans because they saw it as messing with the source material and a poor attempt to pander to the teenage demographic. The series attempted to take on a darker approach than most other cartoon shows attempting the merging of these two genres.

Example 6: Road Rovers

This aired from 1996 until 1997; a relatively short lived Saturday morning cartoon show. The Road Rovers are a gathering of regular canines who eventually turn into anthropomorphic superheroes, using their gadgets and powers to defeat criminals and stomp out crime. They can temporarily turn into these super-powered anthropomorphic beings to fight crime, but their alter-egos are loving, household pets. The show was another lighthearted take on these two genres.

Overall, what most of these shows have in common are that many of them are child-friendly and lighthearted to appeal to a younger demographic. In order to try and do something different, I have decided to attempt a darker tone and try to design my characters and story so that audiences can take them seriously.

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