Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Space Ghost vs...Zorak???

The bipedal mantis, Zorak, was a world conquering villain (voiced by Don Messick) on the SPACE GHOST cartoon show of 1966, and then later became an even better comic foil and blues singer (voiced by C. Martin Croker) on SPACE GHOST: COAST TO COAST and CARTOON PLANET (as seen above with the red background) during the 1990s.

While his voice and role might have changed in the intervening three decades, his look stayed the same. So, what gives with the Zorak represented in this artwork pulled from the first issue of the "Space Ghost" Gold Key comic book I found amidst my rubble? Published in 1966, when the original cartoon series first aired, the title of the opening story is "Zorak's Revenge" (no credits are listed for writer or artists. If any one has this information, please pass it along to me), which presupposes that it was published after at least one of the televised episodes featuring Zorak aired. But look at Zorak in the illustrations. Since much of the art on the inner and outer cover is taken from model sheets for Space Ghost, his teen-aged sidekicks Jace and Jan, and even Blip, their space monkey, I can only wonder if model sheets for the villains had been done at the point work on the comic book was started. As it stands it looked like someone asked what Zorak looked like, and was told, "some kind of insect person." He is somewhat interesting looking, but Zorak, he ain't.


Trevour said...

That's a very odd Zorak. I faintly remember watching reruns of the old Space Ghost episodes when I was a kid (in the mid-'80s), but I became a real fan of all things Space Ghost with the wacky Coast To Coast and Ghost Planet episodes over a decade later. I even have the Musical Bar-B-Que and Surf & Turf albums.

Did you ever see the Zorak in the Joe Kelly/Ariel Olivetti Space Ghost comic from last year? I know the story was done in a serious tone and the illustrations were nearly epic at times, but Zorak looked more like a dinosaur man and less of a big green mantis. Still an entertaining series, though!

Rozum said...

I have mixed feelings about the recent SPACE GHOST mini-series that you bring up. While the story was somewhat entertaining and the artwork was impressive, I was less than thrilled with the "reimagining" of Space Ghost itself.

I have no problem with fleshing out 2-dimensional characters (I'm working on such a project for DC right now), but this constant need to make everything dark and gritty seems incompatible, and unneccessary, with Space Ghost. There are so many other ways they could have gone with the series that would have been as valid, and more entertaining.

I know I sound like an old codger going on about how things were better in the good ole days, or an obsessive fanboy complaining that his cape was the wrong color yellow, or something, but it's not the case.

I grew up with the classic Space Ghost cartoons, but really loved the 90s reinvention, and even got to write some of the tie-in comic books. I just was undewhelmed by the dark and gritty mini-series.

Stepping off my soapbox now.

Trevour said...

I have no objections there... I never did buy the last few issues... I think I only got issues 1-4 - you're right on the money. When I first heard there was gonna be an origin type story of Space Ghost, I thought it was going to stay in line with the established 'classic' Space Ghost. And now that you mention it, it does seem rather unnecessary to make a dark storyline. And I actually thought Alex Ross was doing the whole comic at first, until I was disappointed later to find out he was only doing the covers.

I only picked up one CN Space Ghost issue, I think around 97-98. Which ones did you work on? I'll have to find that issue now!

Rozum said...

Issues #15 and #18 of "Cartoon Network Presents: Space Ghost Coast to Coast"

One was a story about Zorak getting his hands on Space Ghost's power bands for some revenge. The other had Space Ghost getting Lokar to write love letters for him.

There may have been a third, but I can't recall. I happened to have these two on the list I've tried compiling of all my comic book work.