Monday, July 25, 2016

"Grape Ape?"

DC Comics has a line of comic books reinventing old Hanna-Barbera characters    out in shops right now: Scooby Apocalypse, Wacky Raceland, The Flintstones and Future Quest. The last book is a crossover series featuring the casts of Johnny Quest, The Herculoids, Birdman & The Galaxy Trio, Space Ghost, Frankenstein Jr. & The Impossibles..and is Mightor in there? If he's not, I'm sure he'll turn up. It's not entirely clear if all of these books are ongoing series. Future Quest alone feels like a maxi-series along the lines of Crisis On Infinite Earths.

What all these books have in common is that they ask us to take these cartoon characters a lot more seriously than we ever did before - although Scooby Apocalypse isn't far away from incarnations of Scooby-Doo cartoons where the "ghosts" were portrayed as real and not crooked realtors cosplaying as monsters. The likely inspiration for these makeovers was Archie Comics success with Life With Archie, Afterlife With Archie and the ultimate revamp of the line - with the exception of the digests - with the stock company characters redesigned for a more "realistic" look. None of these books are really for kids, although they'll likely be exposed to it ( the same way I saw parents take their kids to see Deadpool - "Rated 'R'? What's that?").

If this run is a hit, who's next? DC teased The Jetsons would be the next candidate...assuming someone at DC Comics is reading this, can I suggest you do something with The Great Grape Ape?

Why Grape Ape?..I used to believe that the cartoon characters who had become most-indicative of "Hanna-Barbera" - the ones that immediately come to mind among people under the age of 30 - were Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear and The Jetsons...and then the subject came up at work and my co-workers replied with "Grape Ape" and "Huckleberry Hound", so I bid that theory adieu.

"Grape Ape? Wow..they don't even show reruns of his cartoon on Boomerang."

"I know, I know...nobody believes it, but I love that character."

"Fair enough, fair enough. I like "Precious Pup" - people aren't even sure who THAT is! But they DO know Grape Ape."

I'm convinced the director of Scooby-Doo and The Monster of Mexico attempted a subliminal revival of Grape Ape by recasting him as a Chupacabra. There could be no other possible explanation for re-imagining a creature often described as vampiric, reptilian preying on goats in Puerto Rico as a burrowing simian preying on tourists in Mexico*. This Chupa was Grape Ape in all but name only.

I'm not saying a Grape Ape comic book should recast him as a Chupacabra..maybe he could be a genetically modified grape rescued by a lab animal (Beagly Beagle) and they go explore the world, on the lam, like The Zeta Project...or Kermit and Fozzie evading Doc Hopper in The Muppet Movie...but what could the villain want from Grape Ape?..maybe his bodily fluids make an excellent beverage? A key ingredient in Kopi Luwak is the excrement of a species of jungle cat; perhaps there's some delectable drink that can be mixed from Grape Ape's purple stuff?

Movin' right a-long, Grape Ape-Grape Ape, dugga-dunk, dugga-dunk...Movin' right a-long..

*still a mystery why THAT Scooby-Doo film relocated the Chupacabra "legend", to Mexico..Season 3 of "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" had an episode set in Puerto Rico ("Don't Go Near The Fortress of Fear!")...

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