Friday, June 29, 2012

What If?: The Sunbow-DIC Universe.

Following a recent joke on David J. West's blog about the name of a Cobra fronted Rock band, Cold Slither, I got to thinking about the Sunbow cartoons of the 80's and 90's and how they connect.

It's no secret that, Transformers, GIJOE, Jem and the Holograms, The Inhumanoids, and even My little Pony*, take place in the same universe. There are canonical connections that link the series together, albeit loosely,  But there are other shows from a second company known as DIC which also clearly have connections beyond the 3rd and 4th seasons of G.I.Joe. Some of these shows have shared connections for a very long time, some of them have only recently been reconnected into the universe. An example of these sorts of shows, from DiC, which find themselves in this universe now are C.O.P.S. which takes place roughly contemporaneous with Transformers: Victory (one of the Japanese only series, and is connected to G.I.JOE due to one of the characters being a descendent of the G.I.Joe, Beachhead) and M.A.S.K.. which in itself was something of a hybrid G.I.Joe & Transformers show.. even with vaguely snake themed villain, V.E.N.O.M. 

The most interesting one, which I'm particularly curious about, but have not quite gotten around to buying and watching, would be 1992's Animated Conan the Adventurer/Conan and the Young Warriors. Which, features the doughty Cimmerian striking down a snake cult which bears quite a few similarities to the villains of the G.I.Joe Movie, Cobra La.. the last vestige of a once globe spanning bio-organic insectoid-reptoid empire which was destroyed initially by the Ice age.. and then, you guessed it.. by hordes of Barbarian Humans.  We already have pseudo Old Ones in the series courtesy of the Inhumanoids.. in the form of Tendril.

Conan the Adventurer was produced by Christy Marx, the same person who produced and wrote a great number of the other series in this continuity.. and it adds a great sense of depth to a world in which there are so damn many snake cults. COBRA, V.E.N.O.M, and if you want to stretch it to include bug themes, obviously more popular in the 2020's, you have the various insect villains of C.O.P.S and the Stingers of Jem and the Holograms.

There is of course other precedent for this. Conan was a licensed property with an extensive comic series from Marvel Comics, who also created the comics for G.I.Joe and The Transformers.. both of which are at least superficially in the Marvel Comics universe, and all of which have designators in the current Multiverse Scheme.. To really throw your head out of whack, consider that not only did the Marvel Conan cross over with Moorcock's Elric, thus bringing in all of HIS multiverse.. but the Marvel Multiverse has also crossed over repeatedly with the DC Comics Multiverse.. and has been visited by The Doctor on numerous occasions. I promise, if you think about this too hard your head will start to hurt and your nose will probably bleed.

So here is my, prototype timeline for the Marvel/Hasbro/Sunbow/DiC universe. Some of these dates are in the shows themselves, and others are the result of some creativity. Jem is never specifically mentioned as to when it takes place, however, due to characters from Transformers Masterforce meeting with some characters from JEM, and News reports of Inhumanoid Attacks being show in various episodes.. it's pretty obvious it takes place AFTER Transformers is over.. The truly curious thing is, that by this point in the sunbow/DiC universe.. not only do we have the Earth Defense Command.. but the Soviet Union still exists.. as late as the 2020's. I suppose on a world with Snake themed Terrorist organizations, ancient evils spawning from the ground and Giant Robots from outer space waging civil war in our backyards.. quite a lot of things would be different.

Edit: #1 these dates are the dates the shows Occurred, not the dates the shows Aired.

Flashbacks from G.I.Joe The Movie         - 40,000bce    Sunbow/Toei
Conan - The Adventurer             -         Sunbow/Graz
Conan - And the Young Warriors         -         Sunbow/Graz
G.I.Joe - The Mass Device              - 1983        Sunbow/Toei
G.I.Joe - The Revenge of Cobra         - 1984        Sunbow/Toei
The Transformers - More than Meets the Eye            Sunbow/Toei
G.I.Joe - Season 1                 - 1985        Sunbow/Toei
The Transformers - Season 1                     Sunbow/Toei
G.I.Joe - Season 2                - 1986        Sunbow/Toei
The Transformers - Season 2                    Sunbow/Toei
G.I.Joe - The Movie                 - 1987         Sunbow/Toei
G.I.Joe - Season 3                 - 1988        DiC
G.I,Joe - Season 4                 - 1989        DiC
M.A.S.K - Season 1                         DiC
G.I.Joe - Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles    - 1994        Sunbow
M.A.S.K - Season 2                         DiC
G.I.Joe Extreme                 - 1995        Sunbow
The Transformers - The Movie             - 2005        Sunbow/Toei
The Transformers - Season 3             - 2006         Sunbow/Toei
The Transformers - Season 4             - 2007         Sunbow/Toei
The Transformers - The Headmasters         - 2010        Toei
The Transformers - Masterforce         - 2019        Toei
Jem and the Holograms - Season 1                Sunbow/Toei
Jem and the Holograms - Season 2         - 2020         Sunbow/Toei
Inhumanoids - Season 1             - 2021        Sunbow/Toei
Jem and the Holograms - Season 3                Sunbow/Toei
The Transformers - Victory             - 2025        Toei
C.O.P.S. - Season 1                         DiC
Robotix - The Movie                         Sunbow/Toei

* this is the result of a throw-away gag in one episode of my little pony.. where a sailor who looks suspiciously like Shipwreck from G.I.Joe is seen drinking out of a brown paper bag, which he then smashes upon seeing the ponies fly across the evening sky.. vowing to swear off drinking forever.


Keith said...

My head more than hurts thinking about this. It's about to explode.

Don't forget there is a supervillain in the DC Universe named Cobra, as well.

Lagomorph Rex said...

That's true. but for the sake of this particular timeline I was trying to stick only to the Animated shows from these few studios.. since they share so many connections and are stylistically connected due to mostly being animated by Toei.

David J. West said...

I think you nailed it.

Funny thing is as much as I dig the whole Conan and G.I.Joe franchise, I absolutely hated the G.I.Joe movie and Cobra-La. I was spitting nails when I was a kid at how they ruined the whole premise of G.I.Joe and Cobra by making it a weird supernatural thing.

Of course I still hated the new G.I.Joe movie from a couple years ago too.

Lagomorph Rex said...

Yeah, the G.I.Joe movie has some extremely quotable lines.. but it really didn't do anything for me. I especially disliked the way they dubbed the movie to make it so, even though Duke's heart gets eaten by a giant snake.. he doesn't die.

Oh well. The Cartoon is the Cartoon, the Comic the Comic.. and never the twain shall meet.. well.. except for the Devil's Due Comic.. which we don't like to talk about..