The stipulations for who was presented and which cartoons were omitted is as follows.
1. The cartoon had to have been released between January 1, 1980 and up to December 31, 1989.
2. Has to be a cartoon series and not a stand alone movie. Five episode pilot mini series counts.
3. The cartoon had to have been made to sell merchandise such as toys, games or comic books.
4. The cartoons had to be made for USA release and not a dubbing of a foreign cartoon or anime. So if you are wondering "Where is Voltron?!" who was one of the most popular boy toys of the early 80s this is why. Voltron was imported and dubbed from the anime Beast King GoLion. Vehicle Voltron was the same but from a different anime called Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. Also there is no Robotech because it was imported from Macross and another series. Ditto for Battle of the Planets, Space Battleship Yamato, Captain Harlock, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Tranzor-Z and probably more which I never saw or can't remember.
5. No Disney cartoon characters. So no Ducktales, Gummi Bears or Chip n' Dale: Rescue Rangers.
6. No "cutsie" nonhumanoid characters. This rule ended up being broken to fill in the gaps and empty space in the foreground.
7. Each character should be the "leader" or the mascot of a cartoon. I pretty much kept to the leader concept except for Centurions and X-Men.
8. No cartoons aimed at girls. Why? Well look at what I have posted to Deviantart prior to this piece and one will see over 300 female drawings which almost covers ALL cartoons aimed towards girls.
Using these criteria helped me manage to pare down the list of characters to 40+. Below is a list of the characters and their corresponding cartoon in case someone is wondering. The list will start from the top left, move down and to the right to end at the bottom right.
01. Robotix (1987) - Argus
02. X-Men - Pryde of the X-Men/Marvel Action Universe (1989) - Wolverine (not leader)
03. Inspector Gadget (1983) - Uncle Gadget
04. Captain N: The Game Master (1989) - Kevin Keene aka Captain N / edit: I chose this one to cover Nintendo which had several titles for each character in the 80s and 90s
05. C.O.P.S. (1988) - Baldwin P. "Bulletproof" Vess
06. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors (1985) - Jayce
07. Dennis the Menace (1986) - Dennis
08. Shazam: The Animated Series (1981) - Shazam (Captain Marvel)
09. Robocop: The Animated Series/Marvel Action Universe (1988) - Robocop
10. Beetlejuice (1989) - Beetlejuice
11. Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983) - Alvin
12. Garfield and Friends (1988) - Garfield
13. The Inhumanoids (1986) - Herman "Herc" Armstrong
14. The Centurions: Power Xtreme (1986) - Ace McCloud (not leader) / edit: I needed another air character and personally liked McCloud with his space gear better than land and sea
15. Defenders of the Earth (1986) - The Phantom (was there a leader?)
16. M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (1985) - Matt Trakker
17. 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo (1985) - Scooby / edit: I probably shouldn't have included Scoob since he is more remembered for the 1969 and 1970s Scrappy Doo series.
18. The Smurfs aka Communism for kids! (1981) - Papa Smurf
19. Challenge of the Gobots (1984) - Leader-1
20. Dungeons & Dragons (1983) - Hank, The Ranger
21. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) - Leonardo
22. BraveStarr (1987) - Marshal BraveStarr
23. The Real Ghostbusters (1986) - Slimer (not leader) / edit: Slimer covered the sequel series as well
24. The Transformers (1984) - Optimus Prime / edit: was the original leader when the series started
25. G.I. Joe (1983) - Duke Hauser / edit: was the original leader when the series started
26. Superfriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984) - Superman
27. Dino-Riders (1988) - Questar
28. Sectaurs (1986) - Dargon
29. Silverhawks (1986) - Quicksilver / edit: technically Stargazer is the leader, but Quicksilver seems to lead in the field
30. Thundercats (1985) - Lion-O
31. Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats (1985) - Heathcliff
32. Dinosaucers (1987) - Allo
33. Tigersharks (1987) - Mako
34. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) - He-Man
35. Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (1981) - Spider-Man
36. Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light (1987) - Leoric
37. Galtar and the Golden Lance (1985) - Galtar
38. Pac-Man (1982) - Pac-Man
39. Blackstar (1981) - Blackstar
40. Thundarr the Barbarian (1980) - Thundarr
41. Muppet Babies (1984) - Kermit
42. The Incredible Hulk (1982) - The Hulk
43. The Simpsons (1989) - Bart Simpson
So who is missing? From what I could remember and find online some of the boys cartoons with toy lines that I couldn't fit in are StarCOM, Bionic Six, Filmation's Ghostbusters, Nintendo characters solo series and Saturday SuperCade. Cutsie characters would be Care Bears, Pound Puppies, Snorks and more (see rule 6 above).
I started at the beginning of June 2021 on this piece. As stated earlier this was supposed to be a quick setup for a banner. It didn't end up that way. There are scaling and placement issues in this finished rendition for sure. I decided to stay with the flat colors to keep it "cartoony". I wish I had planned this out better in the beginning as well. Some characters are moving towards the camera while others are just standing there posing because that was the only way to fit them in. My previous large numbered character work I did was planned out ahead and some of the issues in this piece aren't in that one. I even had to use a classic comic book artist trick of strategically placing rocks to hide feet and lower legs to help hide the off scaling. After enough manipulation of character placements I was able to fill in some of the empty spaces to no longer glaring holes. If one is curious please check out my inked versions of the 3 drawings that I did and pieced together to create this one.
01. Out of all of these characters only 7 can fly on their own without some sort of help. And really Superman and Shazam aren't 1980s properties. I find it intriguing that toy manufacturers didn't think us kids wanted our main characters to fly more.
02. My personal journey making this piece led me to learn about some cartoons I never had a chance to even see as my local stations never aired them. It made me wonder how toy manufacturers felt if certain stations didn't choose their cartoon to air on afternoons or weekends and how many toys they lost out on selling. I remember the toys for Robotix and StarCom, but I never had the cartoons to "sell" me the toy so I had no interest. Which toy lines maybe could have been the He-Man, Transformers or GI Joe of the 1980s instead?
03. I didn't realize how many properties Nintendo churned out in animation to go along with their games and printed media. No wonder they became king of the consoles at the time.
04. Filmation was lazy and reused Blackstar slightly edited for their He-Man cartoon pilot to show Mattel. Change my mind!
05. This image while working on it used up 5.3 GB of RAM and had a resolution of 14221x3507 @ 600dpi.
06. How about a version of this with all of the villains so I can blow another month? ^_^
07. Finally an image of mine worth rotating one's cell phone to view.
Interesting tidbit, Transformers kind of has...dual citizenship. What was originally two separate toy series in Japan (one, "Microman", was kind of inspired by the GI Joe but taken in a completely different direction, because why not?) was combined by Hasbro, who got the US, and probably the most of the world, rights. And then Transformers went "Back" to Japan....transformed!
I love this, and how they're all there...and how Garfield looks positively scared. Probably "where did I end up?" (There was one episode of Garfield and Friends where he somehow woke up in a completely different show, and stole a spaceship that was also the head of a robot, and said robot was technically a Transformer, but not labelled as such)
And if I didn't make one of my rules that these had to be based on cartoons that were made to sell toys instead of just the toys Transformers could have hit 3 levels since, along with Microman, they were first Diaclone in Japan which Takara released in the USA as Diakron before Hasbro said "Save these molds for Transformers!" In this instance I could have snuck in Bumblebee and just called Prime "Convoy" instead.
Yes, I wanted to try and emulate how these characters would react to a scene like this. Most would be in a heroic stance and ready to push ahead. But Garfield would want to find the lazy way out. And if he couldn't, well, I loved the Halloween Special and showed us what he and Odie would do.
As stated under my inked version of this I didn't stick strictly with their cartoon renderings. My Hulk is more of an amalgam of the 1982 cartoon, 1970s live action and classic comic Hulk. Hence the purple pants that were the norm then. The skin color is the correct green as it was literally lifted from a screenshot of one of episodes on my HDD. 1982 Hulk had more yellow in his skin tone than other versions. And the hair being all black flattens the character to me so I went with Lou Ferrigno's bad die job. Notice I also didn't make the eye brows go all the way around the eyes like the cartoon either. Thanks for the critiques. These were one of the main reasons I started posting on here.
I watched the episode from The Toys that Made Us where the sales guy made up that they had a He-Man cartoon on the spot and ran to Filmation. Apparently Mattel saw Blackstar. Odd that both series had 2 Power Swords that needed to be merged together for the ultimate power.