The 1980s was almost like a turning point when it came to the action genre of western animation. Before then, in the 1970s and even before then, cartoons were a different thing. Sure, cartoons in the pre-1980s era had action in them, but it was only to a point. If you want to be real anal, then you could say a cartoon like Scooby Doo had action in it all the time, considering the fact that those blasted kids were always running away from some ghoul, monster, or whatever, but Scooby Doo was still very slapstick...y and humorous. Even those cartoons in a more “serious” vain (for lack of a better term) like “The New Adventures of Batman” still had to have some kind of endearing comic relief character. With The New Adventures of Batman, this character came in the form of Bat-Mite, who is, according to Wikipedia, “a well-meaning imp from another dimension called Ergo, who considers himself Batman's biggest fan.” You could kind of hear that and think, “well, it doesn't seem as bad ass as I'd want,” unless you liked your cartoons that slapstick I guess.
This isn't me trying to bash animation from the 1970's, and nor is it me proclaiming how great the era of the 1980s was again, I do have a valid point here somewhere... and here it is. See, while the era of the 1970's could very well be defined as that sorta slapstick, comedic cartoon era, the following decade would turn that formula on its ear in a big way. A lot of the cartoon shows and cartoon characters from that era are iconic and are still around today. My personal theory for that is because the characters of this new era were larger than life and more action packed, placed in higher stake situations, filled with more kick ass action and adrenaline. When you take characters like He-Man, or Lion-O and pit them against such evil, powerful guys like Skeletor or Mumm-Ra, Roger Ramjet or Batman with his best pal, Bat-Mite are now extraordinarily lame by comparison... or at least, I'd say so.
When we look back at this decade's cartoon characters and the shows they were involved in, there is perhaps no greater show and cast of characters than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sure, you could argue that maybe something like Transformers was a greater heavyweight contender for the title of “best 80's children's franchise” considering how Transformers has seemingly been continuous since their big boom in '84, which has climaxed in huge big silver screen blockbusters, but most 20-30 year olds today who think back to their childhood remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Not only do they remember the Turtles, but they remember many of the characters who surround the titular characters- Shredder, Splinter, and April O'Neil to name just a few. To add more weight to my claim, let me give you an example- there's a guy I work with. Unlike me, I think he let go of his childhood and long time ago, and focuses on his adult life of DJ'ing, and having a good time overall. A few weeks ago, I went to work to do something personal training and was wearing my Ninja Turtles hoodie, and as I walked past him, he stopped me for a moment. My hoodie had all four of the turtles on it, and he looked at the picture then named them off the top of his head. Not only did he do that, but then he started talking to me about Shredder, Splinter and even Krang.
While retrospectively it might not seem like it, back then, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the kings of every boy's imagination. So successful were they, that the franchise and cartoon lasted well beyond the 1980's into the 90's. It is fair to say though that by the time 1992 had arrived, the Turtles were beginning to show signs of fatigue. The four Turtles had been through every scenario that the show's chief writer, David Wise could imagine, and toy manufacturer, Playmates had turned the Turtles into every different thing they could think of, including (get this list) astronauts, athletes, Olympic athletes, transformers who change into cars (original!), and sumo wrestlers, to name just a few. With all that in mind, kids were beginning to tire of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they were beginning to look for something else.
So, knee deep into a new decade (the 90's) toy companies and cartoon creators were looking for something new to create to capture childrens' imaginations with and exploit it to make lots of money through toys and other tie ins. With the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being so popular, the 1990's seemed to bring about a plethora of action cartoons where the stars of the show were anthropomorphic characters, but instead of turtles the characters became animals such as cats (lots of cats!), cows, dogs, frogs and even sharks! Every year of the 90's would bring a new team of animals, either in an animal world or the human world, whose soul purpose in life would be to defeat the bad guy, using either bad ass kung-fu (like the turtles), or awesome high-tech gadgetry, or even both, or more. Some of these franchises were great, and others didn't work out quite as well as their creators may have hoped. Either way though, there's no denying that all of these creations were interesting and worth talking about. That's where I come in. Considering I waffled on about the Power Rangers and shot the shit with you about Jim Henson's Dinosaurs, I figured I'd continue on that 1990's trend and talk to you about a bunch of action cartoon shows from the 1990's that starred animals. You'll find that some of these shows have nods to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in them, while others will openly mock it. This is Action Cartoon Creatures of The 90's, and upon reading it, if you were a 90's kid, this might stir up some fond memories for you. I certainly hope it does.
So, how's it going to work? Well, considering there are a few different shows of this type to talk about, I'm going to talk about each one, one at a time. I'll talk about the show's premise, the main characters of those shows, my memories of it, and any other cool shit that I can think to talk about. For those who like to know these sort of things, I'm not going to put these in the order that they came out, otherwise this is going to take me forever- it'll be a random order as I feel like writing them. With that in mind, let's get to it.
Biker Mice From Mars
While I wasn't a huge fan of this franchise, it can't go unrecognized that this cartoon was extremely popular back in the day, and why wouldn't it be? After all if four turtles being turned into humanoid ninjas by some glowing ooze was seen as being an awesome concept, then three anthropomorphic mice who are actually aliens from the planet Mars is going to be viewed in the same way. The fact that they're also bikers just adds to their coolness if you ask me. While the biker building show, American Chopper hadn't even been considered all those years ago back then, the Biker Mice from Mars were rocking and representing the bad ass chopper motorcycles like the alien grease monkeys that they were. The Turtles were always cool teenage beach bum types since they rode around on skateboards, surfboards or rocked the streets in their turtle van, but the Biker Mice truly oozed coolness and attitude by riding around on their motorcycles while wearing denim and leather. They almost seemed to have a bit more of a rougher edge and seemed more mature than the turtles, based on looks alone. Even the logo of the show seemed mean and edgy. With a loud opening song that could be slotted into the heavy rock or metal genre, the intro of the show would at least hook any kids attention. With the inclusion of bikes, muscular mice and heavy metal, this almost seemed like a cartoon show that your 17 year old brother would sit and watch with interest, and that was the kind of appeal that allowed Biker Mice From Mars many young fans the world over.
Who were the Biker Mice you might be asking? Let me tell you, since I'm the dude with most of the answers. Their names were Throttle, Vinnie and Modo. Immediately, you get a sense that Vinnie has the most normal (some would say boring) name of the bunch. Meanwhile, Throttle sounds like his name was taken from the ranks of the Transformers, and as for Modo... well, I dunno what to make of that name to be honest. Either way, I can tell you that Throttle is the leader and the brown coloured mouse, Modo is the gray, gruff mouse with the eye patch, and that Vinnie is the white mouse with the steel plate on the side of his face that gives him a resemblance to Kano from Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat had been released a year prior, so maybe the steel plate and red eye deal was a last minute addition for Vinnie- something that maybe he wanted added to his face to make him look more bad ass. Vinnie's all about getting the ladies, you see and he actually calls himself a “lady killer”. When you're dealing with mutant mice from Mars, I'm not sure whether to take that literally or figuratively. His favourite catch phrase is also known to be “what a rush!”, which means he's not only taken his looks from Kano, but he ripped his catch phrase off from Hawk of the wrestling tag team, the Legion of Doom.
I dunno about you, but I get the feeling that this guy hasn't got much imagination or personality of his own, but then again, the cockiest of the bunch are usually lacking in some sense. Maybe with Vinnie, he's lacking his own identity.
His brothers, Throttle and Modo are a little more endearing. As I said earlier, Modo's the strong, silent type. While Vinnie is seen as being the ladies man, he's also a bit of a romantic at heart, so that would probably reward him with the ladies instead of Vinnie. What would also help his cause in that sense is that he's the strongest motherfucker of the bunch and is armed with a mean looking robotic arm (ha! What a pun). Not only is said arm a great conversation piece and affords Modo even more strength, but it also fires lasers, too! How freaking cool is that?! That is the kind of shit that I absolutely dug when I was a kid (and to be honest, it's something that still wins me over now.) Finally, we have Throttle, the cool dude of the group. Why's he the coolest of the group? Just look at the dude- he's the one wearing the sunglasses! When a cartoon character wears a pair of shades, then you know he's the cool guy of the group. Not only does Throttle wear those cool, green shades, but he's also sporting a glove on his right hand. Don't get me wrong, though, while wearing this glove are first glance might make him seem like a Michael Jackson wannabe, the truth of the matter is that it's Throttle's battle glove (known as “nice-knucks”) which allows him to pound the poor sap he punches into next week. That's all well and good, but the thing that probably puts Throttle's awesome rating off the meter is the fact that his voice shares an uncanny resemblance to Raphael from Ninja Turtles. In fact, he IS voice by the guy who voices Raphael from Ninja Turtles- the one, the only Rob Paulsen. As far as voice actors go, I'm not sure I've heard a voice that oozes with more attitude.
The Biker Mice crash down on Earth, in Chicago, after being attacked by their enemies, aliens from the planet Plutark. These Plutark aliens are into extracting (read: stealing) the natural materials of various planets to further their own goals, and Mars was one of those planets that the Plutarkians invaded. Obviously, the Biker Mice now have a chip on their shoulder when it comes to these chumps. After crashing down in Chicago, they run into the show's resident female character, known as Charlene “Charley” Davidson (get the name?).
Does she look familiar to you? Because looking at her, she certainly reminds me of April O'Neil. It's not just in the looks, either, considering how in the first episode, after she meets the Biker Mice (where Modo asks her if she was expecting Mutant Ninja Turtles, in a comedic snub), she gets kidnapped by a dumb goon named Grease Pit (who seriously reminds me of Bebop or Rocksteady) and used against the Biker Mice. So, to review, we have a female lead who looks kind of like April, is brazen like April and gets captured by April. You've gotta love it.
Still, while Grease Pit is an enemy the Biker Mice see a lot of, though, he's not the big enemy of the show. No, indeed, for that honour goes to the guy named Lawrence Limburger- head of an industrial company in Chicago, he's actually an alien from the planet Plutark in disguise. When the Biker Mice get wind of the revelation that Limburger is on Earth mining its natural minerals and resources, I guess the Biker Mice decide to on Earth and make the guy's life miserable. It's only natural, considering they're action cartoon creatures who are all about being good guys.
In the end, the Biker Mice From Mars was a pretty cool idea, and the characters were cool enough that kids could latch on to them. They're still remembered fairly well even today, but I'm not sure if I'd place the reason for that strictly on the cartoon show, though, so much as I would say the toys really helped the show's cause.
Check 'em out. These toys were fairly big for the time and seriously detailed, as well as very colourful. They were fairly articulated for their time, which is only a bonus when it comes to these babies. Perhaps the coolest thing about the Biker Mice toys were the bikes themselves, though. I remember when I was a kid how much of a big deal it was to own a Thundertank for my Thundercats toys to ride around in, well I imagine the same applied to kids during this era when they got a bike for their Biker Mouse to ride around on. Another thing that stands out in my mind is the Lawrence Limburger toy, and the mask that came with it. In a nice touch, you were able to disguise the green, fish like mutant alien as his fat humanoid self, and could alternate it depending on your mood or what day it was. Saturday was fish face day, then Sunday would be fake human day. You've got to love the options that were presented to you here. So, the bottom line is, as far as 90's cartoons of this nature go, Biker Mice From Mars had to be one of the more successful ones when you look at the overall package. It had street cred, it had cool, mutant alien mice and it had toys coming out of the ass. If there was a franchise to rival Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' success, Biker Mice could have very well been it. Before I hang my hat on that claim, though, let's take a look at a few other franchises.
Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa
Now here's a show that's a little more obscure and if you remember this, then you're on my level of geekery and have the same kind of memory that I do. I'll leave it up to you if you think that's a good thing or a bad thing. Wild West C.O.W.- Boys of Moo Mesa (a title that's going to get real irritating to type) is a show that was devised by comic book artist, Ryan Brown, who is notable for his work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So, if we're talking about 90's cartoon shows that had a semblance of the formula that worked for the Ninja Turtles, you know Moo Mesa contains a lot of that formula, based on who spearheaded its creation.
The back story for this lesser known show is as follows- back in the 19th century, an irradiated meteor crash landed in the western American plains, which created something called a miles high mesa, invisible to the naked eye, because it was hidden high up in the clouds. Anything and everything that was on the mesa at the time the meteor struck were mutated (or “cow-metized”) and turned into anthropomorphic cows and bulls. This society of mutated cows, bulls and certain other creatures evolved and found themselves living in a mutated version of the Wild West. The characters walked like cowboys, talked like cowboys, dressed like cowboys and lived by what the main protagonists called “the code of the west”. The series follows the adventures of a band of “peacekeepers” who called themselves the C.O.W. -Boys. See, the dudes in charge of Cowtown, known as Mayor Bulloney and Sheriff Terrorbull (I hope you like the pun filled names, because there are a lot of 'em in this show) are corrupt and only interested in furthering their own agendas and making their own bank balances greater. Because of that, the three aforementioned renegades are the ones who enforce the law and the code of the west, seeing as how the town's regulators really can't be bothered with doing it, and instead mastermind all the crimes that go on in this cow filled world.
Heading up the group is Marshal Moo Montana. As the leader of the C.O.W.-Boys, Montana is tall, muscular, handsome and of course, is the blonde cow. He doesn't suffer fools or lawbreakers and has a deep sense of right and wrong. While it's been said that the code of the west that he upholds is only something that he makes up as he goes along, I guess it can't be denied that Marshal Moo is a good guy and just wants to make Moo Mesa a safer place for Bovine everywhere. For that, I take my stetson off to him. It should also be noted that Marhsal Moo was voiced by Pat Fraley. For the ignorant, Pat Fraley is the extremely talented guy who voiced TMNT favourites Casey Jones, Baxter Stockman and even Krang! You won't hear the resemblance in Moo's voice, which just goes to show how talented of a voice actor Pat really is.
Of course, this is a team effort, so where would Montana be without his trusty comrades? Backing up Marshal Moo are The Dakota Dude and The Cowlorado Kid. Amazingly enough, The Dakota Dude doesn't have much of a cow related pun to his name. Like Modo, Dakota is the strong, silent type. Unlike Modo, though, Dakota rarely ever gets emotional about things, even when near death is assured. If he does get pissed off, though, look out. Considering this guy is a big, strong bull who's built like a brick shit house, I'm sure if he hits you, then you'll literally be knocked into next week. It's probably a good idea not to piss him off, and it was probably pretty smart of Marshal Moo to keep Dakota around. Keep the big bull around to knock seven bells out of the bad guys, then take all the glory for yourself because the muscle of group just stays quiet and won't argue with the credit that you take from him. Excellent.
Finally, we have The Cowlorado Kid. He's the youngest of the group, and the self professed ladies' man (noticing a trend here?). Unlike the Biker Mice's Vinnie, Kid might have a little more going for him with the ladies than Vinnie does. He's not arrogant or cocky- instead, he seems like a bright and cheery kind of guy, who loves to play his guitar and sing. Not only that, but he's a dab hand with a lasso. I'm sure when it comes to women of the wild west, nothing made their hearts beat stronger than seeing a guy who could sing, play guitar and could lasso a “little doggie” with little trouble at all. Despite all these traits Kid had going for him, though, the guy hadn't yet earned the right to be named Moo's deputy. Ever desperate to prove himself as Moo's deputy, Kid would find himself in various close calls and scrapes that required his ass to be pulled out of the fire by Dakota and Moo. I guess in a way, he's the typical overenthusiastic young guy.
C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa was a romp 'em, stomp 'em cartoon, filled with action, comedy and references to the wild west. Naturally, cowboys are a natural fit with kids, at least back then. I know when I was a kid, playing Cowboys and Indians was always high on the agenda in the playground, at least up until a certain age. It should have been win-win and taken off with the kind of velocity that Ninja Turtles had earlier, but it didn't take off as well as it could have... at least over in the UK. Maybe the distribution of the cartoon show was pretty poor over here, which is too bad. I remember this show used to be on the DJ Kat Show every morning before I went to school, but outside of that, I'm not sure if it was shown on any other channel. See, back then, satellite tv (which is what The DJ Kat Show was on) wasn't as common place as it is today. While I was lucky enough to live in a house that always had satellite tv or cable, most other households weren't so lucky. Because of that, for a cartoon show to really gain a successful following, it had to get on the BBC's kids' slot or ITV's kids' slot (or to a lesser extent, Channel 4's weekend morning kids' block.) If it couldn't do that, there was a slim chance the cartoon would last and succeed. It's a shame that it wasn't as successful as it could have been, though. Just check out one of the toys.
Check it out. That toy is pretty damn bad ass, if I do say so myself. I would have loved to have had all the C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, if all the toys looked like that. They look so mean, muscular and bad ass that they would have definitely kicked some ass on my bedroom floor. The tie ins didn't stop there, either- there were Moo Mesa fruit snacks, Moo Mesa drinking cups, colouring books, comic books and perhaps best of all- a Moo Mesa Super Nintendo video game! Holy shit! Playing like that smash hit, Sunset Riders with a bovine feel, I'm pretty steamed over the fact C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa wasn't more successful over here in the UK, because if it was, I could have played with the toys and spent countless hours playing the video game, which was made by KONAMI. If you have a video game made by Konami, you know you've done something right.
So, is this franchise better than Biker Mice From Mars? Well, considering its international appeal was considerably weaker, I'd sadly say no. However, it can't be denied that it was an awesome try. This is an underrated classic for sure.
I dunno how you couldn't remember Street Sharks if you were growing up in this era. Even though I'd never watched the cartoon back in the day (by this point I think I was going off cartoons because I didn't view them as good as what I watched when I was younger- shock, I know) then should have at least heard of the name and seen those awesome toys in the store. Why don't we check out the toys?
As far as toys go, these are some mean looking motherfuckers. While the articulation looks to only extend to the rotation of the shark's shoulders, these are some of the most awesome looking toys I've ever seen. Consider the fact that I've seen some wicked toys come along during my life, that's certainly paying these toys a huge compliment. Speaking of huge, check out the Street Sharks themselves. I'm sure there are bodybuilders out there that are jealous of the proportions these toys have! They're also really colourful, which helps out a whole lot- after all, if you wanted to attract a kids attention back then, you had to make sure the toy looked like a walking seizure inducing sight. I guess that extends to today's toys, but during the late 80's and 90's neon colours were the order of the day. Looking at the Street Sharks, it's got to be said that the best looking one, in my opinion, is Streex. Not only does he have such a cool name, considering the fact that he has an x in his name, check out those colours. Okay, light blue probably isn't the most unusual colour for a shark or anything, but scope out those purple stripes! I've gotta tell you, if I was being mutated into a half man/half shark, I'd be seriously hoping that I came out of the process looking like Streex. I wouldn't want to be that kind of greeny brown like Jab, that's for sure. Saying that, though, Jab has some cool looking pants.
If we look at the names of the sharks, though, the winner has to be Big Slammu. Only in this kind of era could you be blessed with a name like Big Slammu. I've got to be honest, I don't know what a “slammu” is, but when you put the word “big” in front of it, it sounds like the kind of name you want if you're a bouncer, a professional wrestler, or just some mean looking dude who starts bar fights. Saying that, though, all four of the sharks have cool names. Ripster, Jab, Streex and Big Slammu- all brilliant. Sure, they aren't as clever as naming them after Renaissance painters, but considering they needed names that went with their interests, along with the fact that they're sharks, I'd say they do the job well enough. For example, Jab likes to box, so what better name to give a mutant shark who boxes than job? And considering Streex likes to rollerblade, skateboard and all those other kind of extreme street sports, Streex is a natural fit. After all, it's like an amalgamation of the words “street” and “extreme”. Then again, that could be just me thinking too much into it.
So, we've established that the Street Sharks toys are some of the baddest toys back then, but as you might know by now, toys aren't worth jack unless you have a decent cartoon to use as a vehicle to get the kids to want to buy those dolls. This is one of the later cartoons, coming in towards the end of the first half of the decade, airing from 1994 until 1995. In the show, this dude named Dr. Robert Bolton invented a genetic mutation machine. It's said that he invented this machine to help the animals in the world. If I had to guess, I reckon it would be to manipulate an animal's genetic code to get rid of the kind of ailments that certain animals are susceptible to... or some kind of scientific mumbo-jumbo like that. With all good intentions, though, there is always an asshole in the background who's ready to pervert the pure intentions of something and turn it into something evil. This is where we introduce Dr. Luther Paradigm.
Right from the get go, we see that Luther was Robert's partner, but Luther was more interested in using the genetic mutation machine for more sinister purposes as he experimented on a marlin and a lboster. When Robert found out, he attempted to destroy the machine, since he didn't want the machine to be used for evil, but as is commonplace in cartoons like this, Robert met a grizzly fate as he was accidentally mutated, then he mysteriously disappeared. With Robert out of the picture, Luther decided to just carry on with his wicked ways. He lures Robert's four sons, Bobby, John, Coop and Clint, into a trap by telling them that their dad has disappeared. So, when the four sons arrive to the lab to figure out what's going on, they're tied down on a bunch of stretchers and then injects them with the stuff that mutates their genes, turning them into huge, buff sharks!
From here, we followed the unfolding events from the episode “Sharkbite”, which I have on DVD. Aw yeah, I finally get to talk about this. See, a few years ago, at a car boot sale (I'm assuming the American version of this would be a flea market or garage sale, or something) Belinda spotted a DVD that contained 2 episodes of Street Sharks on DVD. As I recall, she said she was a fan of Street Sharks back in the day, so we decided to pick it up. For the last few years, this DVD's just been sitting around without being watched, but because I'm doing an article on Street Sharks, I finally had an excuse to put it on and have a watch to see what all the fuss of Street Sharks was about. Frustratingly enough, though, while this DVD claims to be Volume 1 of what I assume to be a collection, the two episodes on this DVD are out of chronological order. The first episode on this “volume 1” disc is actually the second episode, and I don't even know where the second episode on this disc takes place. Considering there's another shark in the second episode with long, black hair who doubles as a rock star, though, I assume it's much later on the series. This is pretty frustrating if you're like me and didn't really watch the show back in the day. Fortunately though, “Sharkbite” has a small recap at the beginning, though, so you get the just of what you missed in the first episode.
So, old Luther has the Street Sharks in his clutches. He's not satisfied with just creating these Street Sharks, though, for after they're created, he decides to dissect one of them. After all, like any mad scientist, he needs to see what makes them tick. This is where the Street Sharks' chief allies come into play. A student of the mad Dr., Lena Mack gets wind of what Luther's been up to, so she unleashes a chain of events that frees the Street Sharks, allowing them to fight back against Luther and his cronies, giving them a means to escape. With their other ally, Bends, providing the Street Sharks and Lena a vehicle to escape in, as well as a new underground hideout to lay low in, the Street Sharks make it their mission to ruin Dr. Luther's shit, and eventually find out what happened to their father. It has to be said that their hideout seems to bare an uncanny resemblance to the Ninja Turtles' lair. Unlike a sewer, though, their hideout is underneath the local ice hockey stadium, but all the same, it's a subterranean hideout filled with all the stuff the turtles have in their lair- a workout room, an entertainment room and a workshop. Unlike the Ninja Turtles, though, these teenage sharks had pizza. In a tasteless snub towards the turtles, when Lena asks if the sharks want some pizza to eat (since she wanted to stop them eating the tv...) but the sharks simply cry out “pizza? YUCK!”
As a Ninja Turtles fanatic, I can't help but point out how rude that is. >=(
While the Street Sharks lay low in their new hideout, they learn that a cover story has been leaked by Luther, who has decreed that the Street Sharks' father, Robert, is the one responsible for playing the made scientist by turning his own sons into the Street Sharks. Because of this fact, their father's name is tarnished, and the Street Sharks are viewed as evil monsters that must be taken out. This gives the Street Sharks all the drive they need for a whole cartoon series where they attempt to take down Luther.. but it wouldn't be much fun if Luther was just a bald headed mad scientist with an eye patch. As writers for these kind of things usually do, they pulled a great idea out of their ass when they decided to mutate Luther as well!
See, during the climatic moments of the “Sharkbite” episode, Luther forces the Street Sharks to surrender to him, otherwise their friend Bends would pay the price. The sharks go along with it, with a plan that they'll bust out of their captivity later and lay a whooping on Luther's ass. With the sharks in captivity, Luther decides to mutate them again. This time, instead of sharks (that still seem to have the capacity to think, feel and show sympathy), Luther wants to mutate the Street Sharks into Piranhas, since, y'know Piranhas are just vicious little shits who don't care about anything, other that ripping things apart. Before he does it to the sharks, though, he's going to test it on Bends, just to make sure it'll work right. Guess what, though? The Street Sharks now decide this is the time to break out of their bonds and butt rush Luther and rescue Bends. With some radical action music in the background, the sharks begin to fuck up Luther's shit, and in the process, Luther gets injected with the Piranha DNA! As the sharks make a list of demands, Luther begins to mutate into a half man/half piranha, whom the Street Sharks christen Dr. Piranoid. Come on, now. How freaking awesome is this? On the one side, we have a bunch of good guy sharks, and heading up the bad guys, you've got a guy in a yellow mechanical suit, who's now half piranha. I think he came out on the better end of the deal, though. After all, Dr. Piranoid looks like a bald headed man with insanely large teeth, as opposed to the sharks who look like big, muscular, mutant sharks. Which would you rather look like? I think it's a toss up, since you could look seriously cool, like the sharks, or you could look mostly normal, but have real gnarly teeth like Piranoid... Actually, y'know what? I think I'd rather look like a Mutant Ninja Turtle...
There's one more point of interest I'd like to talk about before I put the subject of the Street Sharks to bed, though. Back around the same time, Mattel released a line of toys known as Extreme Dinosaurs- I'm sure you know who they are. Using the same formula as Street Sharks, Extreme Dinosaurs followed the titular heroes' struggles against the evil Raptors, and because of how similar the two lines were, it was decided that the Street Sharks cartoon would cross over and tie in with Extreme Dinosaurs, (at the time known as as Dino Vengers) to create a show known as “Dino Vengers Featuring Street Sharks.” I know, I know- what a creative name, right?
While I wasn't a follower of the show back in the day, I couldn't deny how awesome the Street Sharks actually looked, and it was hard to argue with the appeal of them. I remember how the ads for the Street Sharks, as well as the ads for their follow ups, Extreme Dinosaurs was on tv all the time back in the day. While Moo Mesa was a more obscure show, back during this era, it seemed like the Biker Mice From Mars were dueling with the Street Sharks in capturing the hearts and minds of children everywhere.
I would love to see the Biker Mice throw down with the Street Sharks to see who'd come out the winners. Looking at it logically, though, is it fair to say that the Street Sharks would probably win? After all, the Street Sharks are sharks and the Biker Mice are... well, mice. Those sharks are huge, with teeth just as huge to match. Saying that, though the Biker Mice ARE alien mice from the planet Mars and seemed armed to the teeth with metal faceplates, robotic arms and laser blaster, so maybe it would be more of a toss up than I'm initially thinking here. Who knows. What do you think?
We've only just begun to scratch the surface on these Action Cartoon Creatures of the 90's, but I think everything that I've covered so far is enough for one day- after all, covering two of the more famous franchises, and one of the more obscure ones seems like a good round number to me. I can finish this article satisfied that we've once again looked whimsically to the past, and this time, catered more to you, the reader who was a kid in the 90's, where mice and sharks seemed to be the order of the day over mutant turtles and transforming robots. True, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is still around, and these three franchises aren't really around so much anymore, but it can't be denied that back in the day, the Biker Mice, Street Sharks and to a much lesser extent, the C.O.W.-Boys were the kind of thing that the kid of the 90's craved. They were certainly more impressive than the suck ass live action show, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.
But that's another story for another time.