Greetings and salutations my fellow nerdkin. Welcome to the start of a new series of articles which will feature long lost television shows, cartoons, comics, and video games. Currently, nerdfandom is at an all-time high and it doesn’t seem like it will be dissipating anytime soon. In fact, the faces of representation and the type of storytelling in movies, comics, and game seems becoming little by little more and more diversified. However, nerdfandom was not always so popular and so rich across different types of media. So whenever we got a new cool show or movie we would hold onto our new treasure into our adult years long after it had disappeared.
For our first article we are going to look at an animated series from the late 90s, WildC.A.T.s. The series was based off of a comic from WildStorm Productions by the same name. The characters from the comic were created by living comic legends, Jim Lee and Brandon Choi. It was shown on CBS on Saturday morning during its “Action Zone” showcase which also featured Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Skeleton Warriors. Sadly, the series was canceled after its first season, which was a modest thirteen episodes. If you are really interested you can find the episodes online in various places (I’m not going to drop you any hints).
Two races are locked in an eternal war, which spans across galaxies. On one side is the noble and heroic Kherubim and on the other side is the evil horde of the Daemonites. The Kherubim have crash landed on planet Earth eons ago and through the ages have merged with humanity. However, their ancient war with the Daemonites will once again ignite now that their leader Helspont has come to Earth to find the mystical object of immense power, the Orb (cue the ominous music). To combat the Daemonites, billionaire industrialist, Jacob Marlowe assembles a team of Kherubim warriors to do battle with Helspont and his minions.
Jacob Marlow (aka Lord Emp): In the comics he is a Kherubim lord and a bilionaire. In the cartoon he’s just a billionaire (I don’t think he’s complaining though).
Spartan: A Kherubim reborn as a cyborg. He can fly and shoot energy bolts. However, he does have a hard time with demonstrating/processing emotion, this makes him seem antisocial. It should be noted that his ability to remain calm during battle is what makes a great leader.
Zealot: A renowned Kherubim warrior who was on the original Kherubim ship when it crashed on planet Earth. She is technically immortal and has live many different types of lives while she has been on Earth. She founded the female group of warriors called the Coda. Her partner in crime is fellow team member Grifter.
Grifter: A jack of all trades mercenary. He has been personally trained in the Coda arts by Zealot herself.
Void: An android and a sentient Kherubim supercomputer.
Warblade: The groups own personal T-1000, but with green hair.
Maul: A Kherubim/Human hybrid who increase his size and strength to monstrous proportions. He has to be careful because if he grows in strength too much then he begin to lose his higher intelligence and become a primal beast.
Voodoo: A Kherubim/Human hybrid who has psychic and telekinetic powers. In the comics she works as a high profile exotic dancer. However, since the cartoon was supposed to be family friendly her background story was changed.
Helspont: The bad guy. Has a family skull for a head. Looks like Ghostrider with a cape.
What do we love about this show?
Honestly, in the 90s we were spoiled with some great superhero cartoon shows like X-Men, Spider-Man, and of course Batman: The Animated Series. WildC.A.Ts did a great job of presenting the characters and that story in a way which strongly reflected the source material in the comics, but through a family-friendly filter. If you are familiar with this series you know that it has a lot of parallels between X-Men are another comic, which the Jim Lee worked on. So when both series were running at the same time back in 1994 it was kind of like watching GoBots go up against Transformers. Additionally, it was just really cool to see Jim Lee’s character brought to life through animation.
What do we not love about this show?
Unfortunately, the biggest detractor from this show is the fact the series is only thirteen episodes. While the show doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, at same time you are left with a feeling that you are leaving the universe too early.
This show provided young kids with a superhero show that was not from one of the big two brands. So it was nice to be able to learn about a comic universe, which you might not have been familiar if not for seeing the show on Saturday morning. Do yourself a favor and check it out!!