(Re)Animations: Defenders of the Earth (1986)

Caution: Snazzy superheroics and cute alien creatures beyond this point.

An often underrated cartoon classic from the 80s, Defenders of the Earth was a product of Marvel Comics that featured three forgotten pulp comic heroes (listed left to right): Mandrake the Magician, Flash Gordon, The Phantom and a cast of supporting characters.

Falling somewhere in between DC's kid friendly Super-Friends and Ted Turner's Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Defenders of the Earth played off the heroes meet kids to battle the forces of evil shtick to some degree of success. Of course, no kids show would be complete without a cute, fluffy animal sidekick one of the kids had a pet alien named Zuffy. (Eat your heart out Buffy, you've just been "Z"ed.)

The show lasted 65 episodes in total, offering a variety of evil villains from each heroes rogues gallery with Flash Gordon's adversary, Ming the Merciless, being the biggest threat throughout the series. It was popular enough to merit its own line of comic books, a PC action game, a few parodies and even made it to DVD not once, but twice in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Having only viewed it in present times the show does feel a bit dated, but at least it doesn't suffer from the "old chum" syndrome that plagues the older Batman cartoons. Thank goodness for small favors.


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