Not all superheroes were born in the pages of comic books.  Some were dreamed up as animated cartoon characters who served to entertain children on weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings.  As a child of the 80s, I remember these characters like long lost friends of my youth.  We all had our favorites, whether it was Transformers, G.I. Joe, ThunderCats or some other obscure shows.  So join me, The Nerd as I take you on a tour of superheroes whose time may have past, but have not been forgotten.

There is nearly an endless list of animated shorts and series to draw from, but I wanted to start off with something a little older and nostalgic.  This will be one of many stops I have planned for this, my first ever on-going series.  For the premiere piece, I have selected from the world of Hanna-Barbera; The Impossibles.

The Impossibles aired thirty-six episodes of six minute shorts in 1966, which was just a few years before my time.  I remember watching them as part of a weekday afternoon cartoon show called Barney’s Army that ran for about two hours each day in my local TV market.

The shorts followed the adventures of three heroes who were hippy rock stars in their secret identities, but when called on by “Big-D” they became Fluid Man, Coil Man and Multi Man to help protect Empire City from evil.  They were based on rock bands of that era like The Beatles and The Monkees, with long hair, brightly colored outfits and swarms of screaming female fans.

As their names implied, each hero had his own unique abilities.  Fluid Man (voiced by Paul Frees) was able to turn into various forms of liquid or vaporize himself into a storm cloud.  His ability made him vulnerable to being frozen or trapped in a sponge.

Multi Man (voiced by Don Messick) could create duplicates of himself that he used for physics defying flight or as decoys.  The duplicates could not act independently but could be used to enhance his strength.  Often times, Multi Man’s duplicates were destroyed until only the original remained.

Coil Man (voiced by Hal Smith), the leader of the group was able to use his limbs as coils or springs to deliver long range punches or bounce out of harm’s way.  He was also able to drill through walls and other objects.  His spring like appearance made him vulnerable to magnets.

The group used the Impossijet to travel on their adventures.  They were contacted by “Big-D” in each episode via a small screen on Coil Man’s guitar.  They would then shed their rock star personas to battle such dastardly villains like Beamatron, Dr. Futuro, Professor Stretch and a host of others.

The shorts were tongue in cheek comedies marketed to young children, although using the 60s rock band images were meant to appeal to older kids.  The Impossibles, along with another Hanna-Barbera hero Frankenstein Jr. were given just a single issue comic in 1968 as a tie in to the television series.

Ahhh, memories of my childhood, I remember the shorts as being silly, but entertaining.  I can only imagine how kids back in 1966 received The Impossibles when they first aired.  Hanna-Barbera had a knack of creating likable, identifiable and memorable characters; and for quite a while ruled the world of children’s television.

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and that you’ll also keep checking back for the next installment of this series.  Rally ho!  And thank you InfaPlat for coming up with the name of this series!

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