Friday, 14 November 2014

Book Review: Hear The Roar! The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Thundercats

ThunderCats was one of the biggies in the 80s. I'd definitely say the top 3 franchises that launched  in the 80s (thus I can discount Star Wars as 'top 3' sounds a lot better than 'top 4') were Masters of the Universe, Transformers & ThunderCats.

This book, written by David Crichton, covers every single aspect of the ThunderCats creation, cartoon and toyline, in great detail. This book covers everything: the initial ideas for the series, its development, profiles of all the writers, all the voice artists, commentaries on all the episodes, the toyline and much, much more.

The great thing about being 'unauthorised' is that their's absolutely no censorship from the Power That Be. While in the beginning everyone at Rankin Bass got along perfectly, by the end not everyone was on the best of terms. All those interviewed are honest about their feelings and their actions. The episodes, also, are looked at critically, both by the book author and the cartoon writers.

I admit that I wasn't engrossed in the entire book. As I mentioned, the book covers every aspect of the series in great detail. This is a thick, text-packed volume, to the point of being a little intimidating when you first pick it up and flick through it. Some parts of production, I, personally, was just not as interested in as others. This didn't matter, however, as I could just skim these sections and move onto aspects to which I was interested.

While I don't know, I assume author, David Crichton, is British as the book includes things such as the original UK airdates (which are all over the place - the UK didn't get some season 1 ThunderCats episodes until the 90s and none of season 2) and a brief discussion of it being imported.

There are a few colour behind the scenes photos in the centre, along with packaged photos of all the figures. I would have loved to have seen more photos, boxart for all the vehicles and large photos of all the figures out of their packaging. Maybe a coffee-table edition can be launched on Kickstarter?

If I have one complaint about the book it's that its tone implies that ThunderCats is still incredibly popular today. This may have been the optimism when the book was published a few years ago (just before the ThunderCats cartoon remake was released) but, sadly, this just isn't true now. It's definitely a cult favourite and many 30-somethings will be able to recite the catchphrases, but, for whatever reason, it's no where near as popular as, for example, Transformers and Ninja Turtles. The relaunch failed to catch on among kids, there are no toys (even collectors' figures) on sale currently, not even a comic book.

The future for ThunderCast is currently very dim indeed.

But we have our memories and this is a fascinating book about the making of a cherished part of the childhood of everyone(?) who grew up in the 80s. While the market for it is definitely niche, it's a must-buy for everyone who bought the DVDs.

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