I love cartoons. I mean, on an almost fiendish level. If a show is animated, I will give it a chance. I also love insane, irreverent shit, so it makes sense I would gravitate towards animation, where creators are often allowed more freedom to go a little more nuts than they would otherwise.
What we seem to forget is, from childhood, we are inundated with thousands upon thousands of cartoons, and it makes sense our brains would push some of those out to make room for new ones. So I decided to plug myself into my “memory machine” and flashback to some cool-ass cartoons that, for one reason or another, most of us may have forgotten about.
3. THE MAXX (1995)
How fucking badass was The Maxx?
An MTV prime time cartoon based off the Sam Keith comic book of the same name, The Maxx was a hyper stylized trip that spanned many places in many different times. In theory, if you ask different people what The Maxx was about, they will all take away something different from it. Really, The Maxx is Batman meets Bioshock Infinite, and I will tell you why that is.
The Maxx was about a homeless man and his social worker, Julie. If you take it as literal, The Maxx is about this man escaping into his mind, which he calls The Outback, where he is the powerful protector of “The Jungle Queen,” which is The Outback’s version of Julie.
This is where stuff gets tough, because some say that The Outback is a literal place, and others say it is all in this crazy guy’s head, a way of keeping himself sane and making himself feel worthy of her protecting him in the real world. Regardless of whether or not it was “real,” the animation style was amazing, the themes they dealt with on the show were mature and well handled, and it really was a cartoon unlike any other.
This hails from a time when MTV was still cool. I know, hard to believe.
2. EAK! THE CAT (1992-1997)
Was Eak just a purple, special needs Garfield? Yes, yes he was, but that is just why I loved him.
What, you didn’t watch Eak! The Cat?
It was insane.
It had a dog on it named Sharky, and he was part shark.
People who watched Eak, loved it. Eak was as if Barney the Dinosaur fucked Garfield, and then they had a baby in a bed of toxic waste. Eak is that baby. He has a certain naiveté to him that is completely charming, but there were darker elements to the show that people would not pick up on if they only watched it at a glance.
Much like the best old-school cartoons, Eak essentially boiled down to being a string of terrible things happening to one anthropomorphic animal. It has that very old school, Tom and Jerry style sensibility that made Eak just a pleasure for me to watch for its five-year run.
1. THE TICK (1994-1997)
The Tick is the shit.
Just the simple fact that the last sentence would confuse him is exactly why I love him. The Tick is endearing for just how idealist yet naive he is. It is like he was granted all these amazing superpowers and gifts, yet just has the most baseline idea of how the world works, and somehow, miraculously, just skims by, inadvertently saving the day each time. The Tick is like asking, “what would happened if one of the Three Stooges became a superhero”?
Yet The Tick did not get the love he deserved. If there were TRUE justice in the world, the show would both still exist.