thrift store finds: saturday morning nbcomics

As a child, I loved Saturday morning cartoons and I loved comic books. My favorite advertisements in comic books were when the major networks would run full-page ads touting their new weekend cartoon blocks.

Ads like this ran every year when I was growing up and I poured over them religiously. I grew up during a time when cable television had yet to gain a real foothold in most households and I was lucky enough to be catered to every Saturday morning by NBC, CBS, ABC, and New York’s local affiliate WPIX. I would sit with these advertisements and the “Television” guide included with the Sunday New York Times and plan out my TV watching plan of attack as though I were a four star general.

Memories of this came flooding back when I encountered today’s Thrift Store Find…

Saturday Morning NBComics, published by Harvey Comics. Cover price is $1.25… I picked this book up for a quarter. The book is oddly titled and I’m glad I don’t ever have to say it out loud… but you should give it a go! NB Comics? NBC Omics? I don’t know.

I cannot find ANY artist or writer credits on the stories collected here. If you’ve got any idea as to who was working on these comics, please drop me a line.

I should also say I am unsure from whence this comic came. The inside cover has a picture of Geoffrey the Giraffe alludes to a contest NBC ran called KidsVote ’91. I have no recollection of KidsVote, but I’m guessing this was some kind of Toys r Us giveaway.

Saturday Morning NBComics is a 32 page anthology series and it introduces the majority of the networks Saturday Morning line-up from the 1991-1992 television season. Interestingly, 1991-1992 was the last season where NBC had a Saturday morning block of kid-friendly programming… for the ’92-’93 season, they switched to a cheaper and more teen friendly block of shows. We’re looking at HISTORY here, people.

Like I said, this is an anthology series wherein each story ends on a cliffhanger which would (presumably) lead into an episode of the series airing on Saturday morning. I’ll run down the lot, with my memories and impressions. I’ll also provide some commentary as to which shows I was watching at the time, based on this very helpful Wikipedia entry.

Wish Kid starring Macaulay Culkin leads off the comic. The child star ofHome Alone, Culkin was a kid-friendly entertainment juggernaut in 1991; it made perfect sense to put him into an animated series. Weirdly, the show was NOT about Macaulay Culkin… instead, Culkin lent his voice to a character who possessed a magic baseball glove. When he pounded his fist into the glove three times, his wishes could be granted. The wishes had all sorts of limits and complications that I remember annoying me as a kid. I liked Home Alone, but not enough to make this my number one viewing choice. According to the ever reliable Wiki, CBS was airing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the time Wish Kid was on NBC. No contest there, I’d have been watching the Turtles.

Yo Yogi! is mostly remembered for being an abomination on the memories of the Hanna Barbera characters it set out to youth-ify. The series took Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss and company and recast them as teenage crimefighters and, as illustrated above, fashion victims. In this story, similarly to the previous Wish Kid comic, Snagglepuss becomes a superhero using Atom Ant’s misplaced helmet. I have to admit, NBC again had a loser here, as far as I was concerned.

I’ve never been a great fan of the HB characters and having them walk around wearing day-glo shirts solving mysteries didn’t do anything for me as a kid. At 8:30 in the morning on Saturday, I would have had my dial tuned to FOX for Bobby’s World.

ProStars was another “let’s take a real life celebrity and build a Saturday morning cartoon around them!” show. This time, the main characters were professional athletes Michael Jordon, Bo Jackson, and Wayne Gretzky. ProStars cast the trio as crime fighters who use high-tech sports equipment to fight bad guys and spread pro-social values.

This stinker never made my personal viewing schedule; I didn’t care about organized sports then and I don’t care about them now. I probably would have been watching Garfield and Friends on CBS instead of this dreck.

Ditto Space Cats. I don’t remember watching this show once, although it looks as though it boasted a decent pedigree of vocal talent- Rob Paulsonand Townsend Coleman are two great voice actors who would go onto work on, among MANY projects, two of my favorite animated series of the 1990′s, Animanacs and The Tick respectively.

Also interspersed in Saturday Morning NBComics are games and one page gags featuring the cast of Saved by the Bell. Bell was a shoddy cornerstone of my generation’s television watching. SbtB’s cheap sets, silly plots, and over-the-top dramatics were inescapable once the show slipped into syndication. I know some episodes of Saved by the Bell by heart, that’s how often I’ve seen them over the years. I didn’t watch Saved by the Bell when it was airing first run; by 11:30, FOX was airing some iteration of WWF Wrestling. ’91 to ’92 would have been the time I was most obsessed with pro wrestling so I most definitely would have been watching that instead of Screech, Zach, and Slater.

Apparently Zack Morris lettered in… being Zack Morris? I’m guessing that’s what the Z on his coat stands for, right? Actually, if you’ve seen the show, that’s not too far out to consider.

Interestingly, Saturday Morning NBComics leaves out what was likely the most interesting part of NBC’s schedule: Captain N: The Game Master and Super Mario World. I was Nintendo obsessed in 1991; you couldn’t pull me away from the TV when those shows were airing. Their lack of inclusion stems from the license for Nintendo comics being held by a smaller comic publishing company called Valiant Comics.


One Response to “thrift store finds: saturday morning nbcomics”

  1. […] oh boy, I would have thought Saturday Morning NBComics would have been the final word on comic books created and published about …… but I would have been […]

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