Real Name: Thundarr
Identity/Class: Normal human
Occupation: Barbarian warrior, wanderer, former gladiator, slave
Affiliations: Ookla the Mok, Princess Ariel, Tyron, Tai, Arak, Tye, Chief Oblach, the Mok Tribes, the Amazon Women, Shara the Barbarian, Merlek the Sorcerer, Yeek, the Women of Prophecy (Maya, Cinda, Valerie Storm), Thorac
Enemies: Sabien, Gemini (aka Janus), Raiders of the Abyss, Garth, Morag, Captain Kordon and the River Pirates, General Zoa, Mindok, Zebron, the Brotherhood of Night, Striya, Sholow, Simius, the Stalker from the Stars, Kublai, Zogar, Crom, Judag, Skullus, Sarott, Vortak, Circe, the Hawkmen, the Silicoids, Vashtarr, Lord Argoth, Yando, Korb, Artemus, the Man-Apes, the Carocs, the Desert People, the Groundlings, the Little People
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Thundarr the Barbarian, Master of the Sun Sword
Base of Operations: Mobile throughout 3394 A.D. Earth, centered around North America
First Appearance: Thundarr the Barbarian, "Secret of the Black Pearl" (first aired on October 4th, 1980)
Powers/Abilities: Thundarr is extraordinarily strong and exceptionally fit. He has amazing stamina and can withstand surprising amounts of punishment and still stay on his feet and fight. He is also a superlative swordsman, hand to hand combatant and acrobat, and is a crafty and cunning fighter. He possesses excellent wilderness survival skills and is a competent horseback rider. Thundarr can understand the spoken Mok language, which resembles a combination of snarls and howls, but never demonstrated the facility to speak it himself.
Thundarr's signature weapon is the magical artifact known as the Sunsword. Reputed to be one of the most powerful weapons in existence, the Sunsword resembles an ordinary metallic hilt with a grip, a pommel, and a guard when not in use. However, when activated it generates an incandescent glowing energy blade of approximately a foot and half in length. This energy blade can cut through virtually any substance; it slices through metal or rock with equal ease. It also disrupts magical energies and thus it can pierce even normally impenetrable magical barriers and shields, interrupt and counter cast spells, and even deflect energy blasts. Thundarr possesses an empathic link to the Sunsword itself, which is bonded to him and him alone. He alone can ignite or extinguish the energy blade at will; thus it can not be used against or without him. His link can be disrupted should the Sunsword be drained of its stored supply of magical energy. If this happens, Thundarr has to undergo a ritual where he recharges the Sunsword via one of the Pools of Power, which also reforges his link to the blade itself. When not in use, Thundarr attaches the hilt to one of his wrist bands for ease of carrying it and ready access to it. The only known weakness of the Sunsword is negative red lightning generated by negastorms. These potent electrical disruptions greatly drain the powers of the Sunsword to the point where Thundarr can barely use it, forcing him to recharge it to restore the blade's potency.
History: In 1994, a runaway planet hurtled out of the depths of space and passed between the Earth and the Moon. The titanic forces unleashed by this rogue planetoid shattered the Moon; causing massive seismic upheavals ranging from huge sinkholes, earthquakes, erupting volcanoes and tidal waves, and stripped away a large portion of the atmosphere of the Earth, exposing the planet to massive levels of solar and cosmic radiations and destroying civilization.
Two thousand years later, Earth had descended into brutal savagery. Mutants and bizarre creatures roamed the planet; the remnants of human civilization cowered in pitiful enclaves while powerful wizard tyrants reigned over pocket kingdoms through a bizarre hybrid of super-science and sorcery.
A slave to the Sorcerer Sabien, the gladiator Thundarr encountered and befriended a fellow slave, a Mok known as Ookla. Becoming infatuated with Thundarr's nobility and strength, Sabien's stepdaughter, the Princess Ariel, helped Thundarr and Ookla escape her cruel stepfather's imprisonment and gifted the gladiator with a fabulous weapon, the Sun Sword. However, her actions branded her an outcast and a criminal in her stepfather's eyes and with nowhere else to go to, she chose to go into exile with Thundarr and Ookla.
Thundarr travelled across the devastated Earth of 3394 A.D. with his stalwart companions. His time as a slave had instilled a strong distrust for all wizards and sorcerers in him, as well as a deep abiding hatred for slavery and tyranny, and so, during his wanderings, he frequently found himself confronting evil warlords, dark wizards, various gigantic monsters, strange hostile mutants, alien vampires, and even the occasional routine bandits and outlaws as he upheld his barbarian code of honor. One of his most recurring nemeses was the sorcerer Gemini, the outlandish sorcerer with his rotating two faces.
Comments: Created by Steve Gerber, the creator of Howard the Duck, and designed by Alex Toth, the designer of Space Ghost. Thundarr was voiced by Bob Ridgely and clearly owes a considerable amount of inspiration to Conan the Barbarian and Star Wars respectively (as his Sunsword bears a distinct resemblance to the Jedi lightsaber and his faithful shaggy companion Ookla the Mok could be a distant relative to Chewbacca the Wookie).
Produced by Ruby-Spears Productions, the series ran for two seasons, from 1980 to 1982, and 21 thirty-minute episodes were made.
Thundarr the Barbarian transcended the other cartoons of its day with its imaginative and surprisingly mature (for a children's cartoon) background of an apocalyptic wasteland of clearly recognizable modern day landmarks and ruined buildings that ranged from New York City, Mount Rushmore, Cape Canaverel, Hollywood and San Francisco. Not too surprisingly considering that the two collaborators were originally comic book writers. It commanded a respectable audience following and undoubtedly could have continued longer than a mere 21 episodes, but ABC instituted a new policy of replacing their Saturday cartoon block (at least temporarily) with cartoon versions of some of their more popular sitcom series "Mork & Mindy", "Laverne & Shirley", and Fonzie from "Happy Days". Thus, Thundarr who managed to survive the cataclysmic days of Future Earth, was abruptly cancelled mid-season in 1982.
Thundarr later returned via the occasional television rerun but he has since rode off into obscurity although he still has managed to retain a small cult following. He retained sufficient popularity that in 2004, Toynami releases a series of action figures based on him and his companions.
Among some common misconceptions about the series is that Jack Kirby helped create it. Kirby did contribute many backgrounds and secondary character designs, mainly the villains to the series. One of Thundarr's few recurring nemeses, the Dark Wizard Gemini (who bears a strong resemblance to Jack Kirby's Darkseid), was created by him; but Thundarr, Princess Ariel, and Ookla the Mok were all personally designed by Alex Toth. Steve Gerber was deeply impressed with Jack Kirby's creation "Kamanidi: The Last Boy on Earth" and because of the similarities with Thundarr he brought Kirby in to help with the background designs.
In addition, Thundarr was not created by Hanna-Barbera. Ruby-Spears, the production company which produced Thundarr was founded by two long-time employees of Hanna-Barbera (and who helped create their most famous creation, Scooby Doo). Ruby-Spears would subsequently become sister companies with Hanna-Barbera in 1981, and Thundarr was later folded into their cartoon ranks.
Thundarr has never appeared in the medium of comic books although a brief attempt was made to adapt it into a weekly newspaper comic serial. Jack Kirby was chosen to be the artist and created several samples but it was never chosen for syndication.
Secret of the Black Pearl
Harvest of Doom
Mindok the Mind Menace
Raiders of the Abyss
Treasure of the Moks
Attack of the Amazon Women
The Brotherhood of Night
Challenge of the Wizards
Valley of the Man Apes
Stalker From the Stars
Portal Into Time
Battle of the Barbarians
Den of the Sleeping Demon
City of Evil
Island of the Body Snatchers
Last Train to Doomsday
Prophecy of Peril
Fortress of Fear
Master of the Stolen Sunsword
Trial by Terror
Thanks to Michael Higuchi for the above profile.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
any other barbarians
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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