Beloved kiddie characters that got rebooted in weird ways

None of us want to let go of childhood. We cling tight to the shows we watched like life vests in this cold unforgiving sea of morality and darkness. But those shows, these silly things made for children, can't possibly be good for us—or even appealing to us—past a certain age, so we change them. And almost every time we do, it's in a Grendel-mixing-with-The-Fly monstrosity sort of way.

Robocop: The Animated Series

As with a lot of '80s action movies, most of Robocop's fans were a bit on the young side. So despite Robocop's origin story being "oh god, oh god, I got all my limbs shot off by drug dealers oh god," it was widely considered a kids' project, to the point that there were a bunch of toys and the third movie had him fight ninjas. Because c'mon, who doesn't want to see robots fighting ninjas?

But that's not even the weirdest thing that happened to Robocop. At some point, executives decided, "Hey, you know what we should do with this hardline cop who kills people for dealing drugs? Put him in a Saturday morning cartoon!" Then presumably the executive did more of the stuff Robocop kills people for selling. Yes, Robocop became a Saturday morning cartoon, the intro of which you can watch above, and the full series of which you can watch on a loop—forever—in Purgatory.

Superhero Squad presents the Marvel Universe in a light, happy way

We're going to be straight up honest with you here: Superhero Squad is the single best adaptation of the Marvel Universe, ever. Deadpool? Ha, it wishes it was this funny. The MCU? It wishes it had as much interconnectivity as this series. X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Ha, what?

The Superhero Squad show reimagines the Marvel superheroes as smaller versions of themselves, all living in a superhero town right next to an evil realm ruled by Doctor Doom. While it's not intended, it seems like a depiction of Buffalo and the Canadian border that makes us think the creators probably aren't big fans of Mounties.

What makes this show truly bizarre is that it includes about as many characters as you can possibly imagine … and yes, that includes the weird ones. Like The Punisher. He's in the show. In fact, you can check him out in the clip above. Or Red Skull. Or, perhaps best, is MODOK. In the comics, that K stands for "killing." So how does Superhero Squad's version deal with this? Simple. He's a Mental Organism Designed Only for Kick-Butt. Again: this is the best Marvel adaptation ever.

Godzilla went from terrifying monster to kid-friendly pet

Godzilla was created as a meditation on the destructive power of nuclear weapons and the loss it caused in Japan. He was a monstrous embodiment of the horror that had happened, and he stuck around because he was so fearsome. In the films that came after, he became slightly less evil, slowly becoming more of a humans' monster that defended us from other, more horrifying creatures. But in the end, he was still a huge force, a volcano that walked.

But then came the television show. There was a cartoon, and it treated Godzilla sort of the same way Scooby-Doo treated the titular character. He was the mascot, no longer the big monster of fear and destruction, now the sidekick to a bunch of adventurers.

The same story was on display when the second Godzilla animated series came about, too. C'mon, though, be honest, who doesn't want a baby Godzilla as a pet/best friend? Nobody, that's who. Nobody.

Adventures of Spawn is a kid-friendly reboot of the comic character

Spawn isn't exactly what you think of when you hear "kiddie character," but he's a big, hulking comic book character with a huge cape, lots of toys, video games, and a cartoon series. While some parents might look askance at him, he's the same as Superman at this point. However, unlike Superman, his comics were a bit too hard-core to be consumed by most children. That's where Adventures of Spawn comes in.

Adventures of Spawn was an attempt to make the demon's adventures palatable to younger children (or, let's be honest, palatable to the parents of younger children). In doing so, the comic turned Spawn from an avenging soldier to your basic superhero who works with others to stop a supervillain from collecting a McGuffin and destroying the universe. That, honestly, doesn't seem all that different from the actual Spawn series to us. Except, of course, it cut out all the rad demons and sex. Man, what kind of comic doesn't have fat demons eating people or angels with no clothes on? Lame.

The spinoff comic didn't quite catch on, which means we never got the Spawn Saturday morning cartoon. Oh, well.

Berenstain Bears are Christian

What do you remember about the Berenstein Bears? It's a book, and a cartoon series, about a small family of bears who love each other and blah blah blah boring stuff. You know what's more interesting than normal morality and families? Jesus. Let's stick some Jesus up on in there.

Yeah, apparently, the Berenstain Bears got saved. Not only that, but their Jesus? He's a bear. Because after the Crucifixion, Jesus got reincarnated as a bear and did the same thing again. Wait, did Jesus do this with every animal? We'd dig seeing the jellyfish Jesus, or maybe the Jesus fish.

Looney Tunes rebranded as HARDCORE EDGY show Loonatics Unleashed

Who's your favorite Looney Tunes character? Doesn't matter: wouldn't they be so much better if they were hard-core, anime-esque action superheroes? Oh, and also the series is going to be a post-apocalyptic world where they are the last small spark of hope in the darkness.

Of course, even that's better than the upcoming DC Universe relaunch. There, we're going to see Batman being hunted by Elmer Fudd, in a horror-inspired comic. In another, Martian Manhunter is battling Marvin the Martian for the sake of Mars. Then Wonder Woman faces her most difficult beast yet—the deadly Tasmanian devil. You ever get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, after a while, companies should admit they don't know what the heck they're doing with these characters and should just retire them? Nah, what money is there in that?!

Sonic comics are dark as heck

Sonic is a series of games where you go really, really fast. That's it. Sonic was designed to be a fast dude with an attitude, who was much more cool and fun than any of the competition out there. That's why he became so popular. Sonic has had a lot of different looks. He's had dozens and dozens of games, shows, and toys—because he represents the spirit of fast freedom and no responsibilities. He wags his finger naughtily and beats up an old dude with bad hair. He's teenagerdom personified as a blue hedgehog.

Except in the comics. There, he's more of a meditation on Dresden, destruction, and murder. He watches his friends die, even seeing his loved ones cradle their families' corpses, in tears. He lives to see his entire village bombarded, and there's nothing he, with all his speed, can do about it.

Where's the fast-loving funster we all love? Well, there's one scene where he kneels beside a grave, eulogizing all he's lost. Or how about the scene where Sonic goes to see the corpse of his crush, slowly, agonizingly, his pain writ all over his face? That's the cool, fast dude with an attitude we all know and love. F'sure. Oh, and also, sometimes, he's a werewolf.

Flintstones is reimagined as a hard-core weird satire of modern life

You know what's Yabba Dabba Doo tastic? The world of the Flintstones. It's a pretty surreal. Set in the past, but with aliens. Their alarm clocks are birds. There's like a hippo for their garbage disposal. Their toilet paper is endangered animals, probably. But it's all silly and over the top and fun. Nothing truly bad or dangerous or serious happens.

And then, there's the Flintstones comic. It's … well, dark isn't quite right. Because it's not dark, it's just serious. It deals with issues like marriage being an institution created out of fear and desperation, and how do you know if you're in love with someone or just staying with them out of loneliness? And fear? And how all of the animals enslaved are sentient so it's barely any different than slavery. Or a long-running plot about how Barney and Fred still have PTSD over their participation in a Vietnam-like war. Or the issue that deals with the creation of God as a tool of capitalism and control. Yabba Dabba Doo, indeed.

Wacky Races dies historic on Fury Road

You might remember Wacky Races. It was pretty wacky, and it had Dastardly and his Mutt, the villains, who tried anything to win the races, and then there were a bunch of goodie two-shoes who the children cheered for, and it was all good, clean fun. But not Wacky Raceland.

How to describe Wacky Raceland? Well, let's start by saying the designs for this reboot of Wacky Races were by the same person who made vehicles for Mad Max: Fury Road, and honestly, that's a pretty good comparison. Wacky Raceland is Mad Max: Fury Road but with Dastardly and some BDSM, stripperrific versions of all the characters you knew and loved. Just for comparison, check out this random panel from the comic and this random shot from the show. Wow, couldn't be any more similar, huh?

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