People riding armored dinosaurs into battle. What kid wouldn’t want that toy? No little boy I know or met. You may have seen two different takes on that in the Imaginext toyline (one with high-tech, another with more ancient tech) but the idea began with the 1980s toyline and cartoon Dino-Riders, aired as part of the Marvel Action Universe syndicated programming block. Two different alien groups, humans and non-humans (guess which one is the heroes?), crashland on prehistoric Earth, and their war continues. I’m darn surprised this wasn’t more popular than it was.

Tonight we’ll look at the first episode of the series, so “cleverly” titled “The Adventure Begins”. The pilot was released on home video by Tyco, the company who made the line, with a framing device that seems unnecessary. A group of kids visiting a museum, one kid is bored by the boring teacher and goes into the room with dinosuars, and that somehow transitions to the story. It has nothing to do with the story and will never show up in the series so you can basically ignore it until the actual show starts. Nice bit of rotoscoping though. The ads were on the video, using the commercial breaks for the TV show.

What is it with Marvel Productions and alien spaceships crashing on planets? The TransformersRobotix, this show…there’s definitely a pattern here, two of them on ancient Earth. (At least the Valorians get to spend the time awake.) I also wonder how the Valorians and Rulons know what Earth is or what dinosaurs are, and I don’t think that’s ever explained. I guess it’s just to keep up with the audience. Certainly kids know what dinosaurs are.

Note how the two groups work. The Valorians work with the dinos while the Rulons use the mind control devices. This was also reflected in the first series of Imaginext dino figures for preschoolers. For whatever reason they switched to ancient tribes commanding or working with dinosaurs. Either works I guess. I also found out that there were three minicomics produced, one in Japan and two in the US, so I’m sure we’ll see them in Free Comic Inside soon.

There’s also been talk of bring the concept back as a movie, live-action of course thanks to Hollywood’s bias against animation, and also probably dark and violent and not for kids. Because only man-children get to have fun anymore and they hate anything made for kids. So here’s another childhood favorite mistreated rather than brought to the next generation.

There were 14 episodes total, the last a direct-to-video special that brought the Dino-Riders to the Ice Age, an attempt to add to the toyline. The toys lasted from 1988 to 1990 with the Ice Age subline. The cartoon had one season as part of the Marvel Action Universe, which included re-runs of NBC’s Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends and an adaptation of RoboCop oddly enough, which was interrupted one week by the unsold X-Men pilot Pryde Of The X-Men. Maybe if this movie is made people will look into where it came from. The 80s had the best action cartoons.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

3 responses »

  1. Sean says:

    I definitely heard the voices of Cobra Commander and Darkseid in this episode! What can I say….I’m impressed by this cartoon Dino-Riders. The animation is well done, and the story line is decent too. I like the combination of dinosaurs and newly arrived aliens interacting on prehistoric Earth. This is the first time I ever saw this cartoon…I totally missed out on it during the 80s. I have to say that this show seems even better than Hanna Barbera’s Valley of the Dinosaurs cartoon from the 1970s. I looked up Dino-Riders on wikipedia, and it said that Marvel produced a three issue mini-series of Dino-Riders comic books in 1989. Based on what I saw in this episode, I would be interested in tracking down these three issues. Wikipedia noted that the comic book was a little darker than the cartoon. Also, I saw your link on the possible Dino-Riders movie. That would be great to watch. Another thing that I found interesting was the wikipedia article talking about how Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals would also be invovled as characters in the cartoon. Of course, cave men and dinosaurs did not really exist at the same time, but all kinds of toys and shows have had cave men and dinosaurs interacting together (Valley of the Dinosaurs being just one example). Dino-Riders also would later include Ice Age figures such as a wooly mammoth and giant sloth. Tronix, what are the Imaginext dino figures that you keep talking about?

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    • The last series of the toyline (and as I mentioned the last episode of the show) was set in the Ice Age. That’s where the cavemen came from.

      Imaginext is a Fisher Price action figure line. It includes licensed stuff like Power Rangers and DC superheroes but also original adventure series set in space or rescue teams, etc. There were two separate lines involving dinosaurs and people. The gimmick of the line is the “power pad” you place the human figures on to the vehicles, playsets, or dino armor to activate various special features.

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      • Sean says:

        Thanks for that info. Overall, Dinoriders is a cool concept, and it sounds like it will be reborn as the powers that be feel like they can make some Benjamins off a revived movie and other merchandise. Perhaps another comic line of Dinoriders will appear again.

        Like

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