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'80s Cartoons (Boys)

Today we continue our look at the best decade for cartoons, the ‘80s, by examining the top guys’ cartoons from that decade:

Worst: There were a lot of bad boys’ cartoons from the ‘80s, but two really come to mind: the GOBOTS were the worst of TV rip-offs. In every way imaginable, they paled in comparison to their cartoon cousins. I’m not talking about I DREAM OF JEANNIE vs. BEWITCHED, or CHICAGO HOPE vs. E.R., where one show was superior, but the other was good. No, the GOBOTS just sucked. Also on this list I would put GHOSTBUSTERS, only because this could have been a really great cartoon, but instead it turned out so boring and average. I mean, seriously: I can remember watching the PUNKY BREWSTER cartoon on a competing network when it was on at the same time as GHOSTBUSTERS. That’s bad. Now the best:

#3 HE-MAN – I can still vividly remember the day we tuned in FOX (then a UHF channel) by putting the TV in a different corner of the basement and messing with the rabbit ears. (Those of you under 20, ask your older siblings or parents about rabbit ears). After ten minutes of fiddling, there is was, scratch sound and snowy picture, but HE-MAN. I don’t think I could have been happier if you’d made me an actual Master of the Universe. He-Man was already huge because of the action figures. (This itself is another story, involving betrayal and my brother, but another time.) By the time they figured out to make a TV show, kids were psyched. It turned out the cartoon was not as dark as the little comics that would come with each figure or accessory (like the ultra-cool Castle Greyskull), but then again, it was TV. One thing they did was add a Clark Kent persona to He-Man, a wuss named Adam. Battle Cat had to have one too, the biggest pussy (cat) in the universe: Cringer. However, the true genius was adding Orko, this little magician thingy from another planet who was a bigger coward than Cringer. Orko brought much needed comic relief to afternoon TV. Good Times. (Interestingly, of the remakes that have come out lately, the new HE-MAN and of course JUSTICE LEAGUE are in my opinion the only ones worth watching.)

#2 TRANSFORMERS – He came to Earth to save mankind. He was despised and rejected by men, but he never forsook them as he battled the powerful enemy. Has there EVER been a more noble, good-hearted “I’d follow him into the gates of Hell” leader than Optimus Prime? Everything about the TRANSFORMERS ruled. Yes, in a way they just took the concept of VOLTRON and extended it, but in such a cool way. TRANSFORMERS wouldn’t have worked without those great personalities. Along with Optimus Prime were such greats as Jazz, Beachcomber and Hot Rod, and along with the hated Megatron was the cool Shockwave, Octane, and the most deserving cartoon of his own talk show (with the exception of Cobra Commander); Starscream. These were the heroes of old; robots of renown.

And the number one guys’ cartoon…..

#1 G.I. JOE – I know there’s a lot of love out there for Transformers and others, but this isn’t even arguable. G.I. Joe redefined cool like nothing else in the decade, except for maybe Hulk Hogan. You think about that. First of all you had great guys to cheer for. Duke, Flint, Lady Jay, Scarlett, Gung Ho, Roadblock, Shipwreck, and let’s not forget Stormshadow; the most enigmatic and morally conflicted good guy of the entire decade. But just as important (and perhaps more so), you had colorful wonderful eminently watchable bad guys. You had a supremely cool Day-to-Day Commander in Destro. You had Zartan, the Dreadnoks, Dr. Mindbender, the Baroness, the twins, and through it all, the craziest most entertaining guy you could ask for in a villain: Cobra Commander; part Hitler, part Stewie on FAMILY GUY. Now you know, and knowing’s half the battle.

Up next: best cartoons that both genders could watch (even though girls still had cooties then)