5 Unintentionally Hilarious Franchise 'Hip' Reinventions
Pop culture is under constant pressure to keep up to date with what those damn kids are into -- the only problem being that pop culture is generally managed by rich, out-of-touch old dudes. That's why, when it's time to "update" a property, we wind up with some seriously cringe-worthy attempts. Like ...
Marvel Tries To Appeal To Minorities; All They Can Come Up With Is Skateboards
Back in the 1980s, Marvel Comics was being pressured to introduce at least a few characters who didn't need SPF 100 just to step outside. And so they complied, introducing new African-American superheroes like Rocket Racer and Night Thrasher. What did they have in common, besides skin color? Their superpowers revolved in some way around skateboards.
Powers such as "Fly" and "Da Bomb."
In 2003, Marvel introduced a Hispanic mutant named El Guapo to the X-Men; his power was to telekinetically control his skateboard.
One time, the skateboard beat him up for cheating on his girlfriend, Consuela.
We are not making this up.
That was only a couple of years after the X-Men met Spyke, a superhero in the X-Men: Evolution cartoon series. The whole idea of Spyke, according to the executive producer, was to create an African-American hero that reflected the racial diversity of America. And their crazy ethnic love of skateboarding.
Clearly, this is the coolest mutant power ever.
Spyke is introduced as Storm's nephew, because there are so few black people in Marvel's America that they must all be part of the same family, and his only real character traits are that he's disrespectful of authority and likes skateboards. You know, a black guy.
And it's not like Marvel doesn't know it's ridiculous. Here's an internal memo sent by one of their frustrated African-American editors ... from 1989:
Teen Titans Tries To Appeal To The Hippie Generation With Incomprehensible Dialogue
Fearing that their roster of adult superheroes was just too damn old to rope in a teenage audience, DC Comics, under the helm of writer Bob Haney, created a new team out of their existing teenage sidekicks. But the dialogue was like something out of your stuffy conservative uncle's nightmares.
For this panel, they transcribed a pitch meeting, verbatim.
Teen Titans focused on all the key teenage issues of the '60s, like hula-hoops, vinyl records, and struggling with reefer addiction. And they handled these complicated problems by mashing together words they'd heard kids say on TV into bizarre language soup, much like your "cool" junior high counselor trying to get you to narc on who brought those fireworks to school.
"Wild, wooly, and full of gumdrops is no way to go through life, chum."
The infamous "Hippieville USA" story arc revolves around the Titans going undercover as hippies while looking for a runaway teenager, and it was clearly written by the starchiest old white men this side of the Pillsbury Doughboy.
But it was way ahead of its time, by making hippies look ridiculous.
Somehow the series became popular among modern cats and chicks, despite the fact that it might as well have been written in mad-groovin' hieroglyphics, daddy-o. Apparently the kids knew the score, you dig? Cowabunga!
Nintendo Reimagines Its Characters For An Awkward Cartoon Show
There was once a time when Nintendo ruled the video game industry with an iron Power Glove, and their only rival in the console market was Sega (haha, remember Sega?). The company was so ubiquitous that they started thinking about branching out of video games and into television. And so they brought the company's most beloved characters together in a Justice League-style superhero cartoon. This became Captain N: The Game Master.
The team included the titular Captain N, a high-schooler who gets sucked into Videoland and is armed with a weapon shaped like an NES controller that shoots Tetris blocks, as well as Mega Man, Kid Icarus, Castlevania's Simon Belmont, and ... Game Boy -- a giant floating Game Boy. Yeah, they ran out of ideas real quick.
Episode 2 introduced characters like: TV Screen, Snack Bowl, and Power Pad.
The team faces off against the evil Mother Brain -- the silent villain from Metroid, who now has the voice and personality of a saucy black woman for no particular reason -- and her minions, King Hippo from Punch-Out!!, his oversized nipples, and, like, some eggplant guy.
The writers had ordered eggplant parm that day.
It doesn't seem like the worst idea. But then, why change the characters kids already love to ... appeal to kids? Simon Belmont, for example, turned from a hardass Conan analogue:
Hard ass, hard thighs, hard-
To a cowardly, incompetent meathead:
Yes, his gun is a mirror.
Mega Man, the heroic robot boy, is now a dwarf in steampunk cosplay who shakes his fist and greets people with the phrase "Mega hi!"
"It's a shoutout to how mega-high we were when we came up with this. Good times."
And then there's Alucard, the unfortunately named son of Dracula from the Castlevania series. In the game, he's a brooding, gothic vampire lord with a vaguely Ben Affleck visage:
Part scruffy Affleck, part shaven Hitler.
But in Captain N, he rides a skateboard and looks like this ...
Scientists seeking the '90s will power their time machines with this photo.
Did somebody get confused and think Alucard was black?
Yogi Bear Stars In An Ill-Advised '90s Reboot
Yogi Bear's entire shtick revolved around increasingly absurd capers to steal campers' pic-a-nic baskets, because apparently it never occurred to him that he's a bear and could simply maul them. It was a simple, uncomplicated premise that nevertheless kept generations of kids entertained from the '60s to the '80s. But in 1991, studio executives decided that the premise needed a shake-up, so they came up with Yo Yogi!
Yogi was given a brand-new, garish green outfit -- complete with a popped collar and a skateboard (still no pants, though, the pervert). And instead of stealing picnic baskets, he ran a detective agency inside a mall. You know, as the kids are all doing.
If Boo-Boo was a polar bear, they wouldn't have given him a skateboard. Just sayin'.
The characters were transplanted to Jellystone Shopping Mall, which we can only assume was built upon the clear-cut ruins of Jellystone National Park, and Yogi and Boo-Boo's traditional dialogue was updated for modern times by stitching words like "yo" and "crew" into places they have not, do not, and never will belong. It features other classic Hanna-Barbera characters like Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, and Magilla Gorilla -- now a pop star named Magilla Ice.
"If there was a problem, yo, Yogi, I'll solve it."
The show had horrible ratings and was canceled after one season, to the surprise of nobody except the "rad dudes" at Hanna-Barbera.
DC Comics Doesn't Think The Justice League Is Cool, Adds The Worst Character Ever
Back in the 1950s, DC Comics was first considering a massive cross-title team-up of heroes called the Justice League. But for some insane reason executives were worried that the kids wouldn't relate to all of their favorite heroes gathered together on the same team, so they created an all-new character just for the Justice League title: a powerless teenager named Lucas "Snapper" Carr.
"Respect your elders, hep-cats! Only get on their lawns if you're trying to help them maintain it, ya dig?"
That's how DC writers actually thought normal teenagers spoke in the 1950s. And if that wasn't bad enough, every panel featuring Snapper Carr showed him obnoxiously snapping his fingers, a character trait that somehow did not result in Batman breaking his fingers and throwing him out of an airplane by the end of the first issue.
They're already testing countless Vine stars to play him in the Justice League movie.
Snapper was created in the image of then-teen-idol Edd Byrnes, star of 77 Sunset Strip, who was also the inspiration for The Fonz. But unlike the tongue-in-cheek writers of Happy Days, DC earnestly thought the character's likability was his incomprehensible dialogue and excessive finger-snapping.
"Someone snap his neck. Superman?"
Justice League became a hit for reasons independent of a gibberish-spouting teenager with OCD, so he was gradually written out of the comic. Although he did return briefly with newfound superpowers, which he invoked by -- you guessed it -- snapping his goddamn fingers.
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No one can ever just leave well enough alone. And when they don't, we usually end up with hot garbage. See what we mean in 5 Superheroes Rendered Ridiculous By Gritty Reboots and 10 Gritty Reboots We Can't Stop Hollywood From Making.
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