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Comic Book / Wacky Raceland

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"Before there was the race, there were the racers; fighting, starving, killing, despairing. The post-apocalyptic world is a Darwinian crucible where warriors are either forged or consumed. I wait patiently for each individual's lowest moment, and then approach them with offers of utopia in exchange for the race. I am the Announcer, and this is my function."
The Announcer

Wacky Raceland is a comic book by DC Comics set in a messy, ugly, dangerous world where racers take part in deadly races. The competitors have been promised the last place on Earth where a human could thrive if they win. The others will be left to die in this dark Mad Max–inspired hell.

It was one of the first series announced to be part of the Hanna-Barbera Beyond initiative (and the first to be cancelled). Oh, and this is based on Wacky Races.

Wacky Raceland provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Their flashback tale makes it clear Luke and Blubber were this pre-racing. They survived the apocalypse as children and spent years fighting and surviving until well into their twenties in spite of being trapped in a world filled with monsters and cannibals and being dead drunk at least 90% of the time. May be a Mythology Gag in that, in the original series, Lazy Luke is asleep and with his feet on the wheel most of the time, yet very rarely gets involved in an accident or injured at all.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Both played straight and inverted due to the more realistic designs. Dick Dastardly now looks like Johnny Depp while the Ant Hill Mob resemble goblins.
  • Adaptational Badass: Everyone is now much tougher than they were in the cartoon. Justified by the fact that they'd have to be to survive a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
  • Adaptational Gender Identity: Sergeant Blast, who was a cis man in the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon, is reinterpreted as a trans woman.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the original series Dick Dastardly is a Card-Carrying Villain. Here, he's more of an Anti-Hero racing in order to bring his wife and son back.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Penelope Pitstop was sort of a stereotypical southern belle in the original show, but here she appears to be Greek, born and raised.
  • Adaptational Villainy: A lot of the characters are much nastier than they were in Wacky Races, including Red Max being a Nazi.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The Red Max is now the Red Baron and Dick Dastardly used to be known as Richard D'Astardlieu before the the world became a wasteland.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Blubber Bear, who was a bear in the original cartoon, here is a human man who wears the pelt of a bear that gave him brain damage before the Announcer brought him and Luke into the Race.
  • After the End: And it seems to be a clusterbang of various things. Such as nukes, floods, and nanite swarms. It's revealed that the Announcer deliberately caused all this.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: The Red Baron sings the praises of the Announcer by calling her an Aryan Goddess who is giving him a chance to create a new "Master Race". She's actually a Brain in a Jar, but in her original body she was actually black.
  • All Men Are Perverts: A mutant with three heads and Dick Dastardly both act lecherous towards Penelope.
  • Always Save the Girl: Peter Perfect, as ever... This goes even worse for him than in the original, since by the time he's trying to rescue Penny she's already gotten herself out of trouble...and to her exasperation she ends up having to save him instead. In a mythology gag the Ant Hill Mob offer to help when Penelope faces down a licentious mutant in the bar, although once she politely says she doesn't need any help they happily get on with their own fight.
  • Ambiguously Evil:
    • The Announcer. She's apparently omnipotent and is putting what may be the last of humanity through a road of death traps. It's eventually revealed that she was part of the secret organization that created the Ant Hill Mob and Mutley, and after being rendered a Brain in a Jar, she went insane and destroyed the world for fun.
    • The Gruesome Twosome where originally Dark Is Not Evil but being Demoted to Extra in the comic it's hard to tell if they suffered the same Adaptational Villainy as everyone else.
  • The Alcoholic: Lazy Luke. Before he and his brother entered the Race, they were dead drunk most of the time.
  • Artistic License – Biology: A lizard pees on one of the cars in the first few pages of issue 1. Lizards actually don't urinate; they expel renal and digestive wastes in the same, ah, package.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Red Baron quotes a passage from Genesis about the destruction of Sodam and Gomarrah while watching Las Vegas being destroyed by a flood from the broken Hoover Dam.
  • Artifact Title: Just look at the page image. Sure, there's racing, but does it look remotely wacky to you?
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: "Well, the house might've won, but that poor bastard on the wheel sure lost his... Dick? You all right?"
  • The Atoner: Dick Dastardly failed to save his wife and son due to cowardice, now he's racing in order to bring them back.
  • Badass Long Coat: Dick Dastardly still wears one, now made of leather.
  • Bar Brawl: One occurs between the racers and the other patrons in a desert bar in the first issue.
  • Batman Gambit: After his wife the Announcer became an insane Brain in a Jar and started destroying the world, Pat Pending gave her the compulsion to create the Race, knowing that eventually the racers would come back to the Butcher Shop, at which point he could use their AI cars to destroy her.
  • Bears Are Bad News: In Lazy Luke and Blubber's backstory in the first issue, a bear showed up out of nowhere and nearly killed Blubber, scarring him and giving him brain damage.
  • Benevolent A.I.: Most of the cars.
  • Big Bad: The Announcer.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Many of the monsters roaming the wasteland have this vibe.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The racers (except Peter) are arguably Villain Protagonists, especially Pat Pending, but the Announcer is an Omnicidal Maniac who's responsible for all of the misfortunes in the book.
  • Brain in a Jar: The Announcer is actually the disembodied brain of Pat Pending's wife.
  • Butt-Monkey: Peter Perfect is lucky to still be alive given how disastrous his attempts to help Penelope Pitstop go.
  • Combining Mecha: The cars are revealed during the final issue to be able to combine into the Wacky Racebot.
  • Contemporary Caveman: The Slag Brothers are actual caveman that were reanimated by Pat Pending, just so he could watch them kill each other.
  • Crapsack World: Mutants that will eat you and make you watch. Nanite swarms stripping you to the bone. Radiation and eldritch abominations everywhere.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Penelope killed her abusive step-father after he killed her boyfriend right in front of her then her mother and sister were drowned in a flood.
    • Luke and Blubber have been surviving the apocalypse since childhood (somehow) then Blubber was ripped apart by a bear.
    • Dick Dastardly lost his wife and son due to cowardice.
    • Muttley, The Ant Hill Mob and The Slag Brothers were subjected to cruel experiments by the Butcher Shop
    • The Announcer had her body destroyed and became a Brain in a Jar eventually going insane.
  • Darker and Edgier: A post-apocalyptic version of a racing cartoon comedy.
  • Death by Origin Story: The Announcer took someone from all the racers to motivate them into racing.
  • Decomposite Character: Based on the notion that all Hanna-Barbera Beyond comics belong in the same verse, Dick Dastardly was decomposed into Richard D'Astardlieu, a pianist-turned-racer; and Richard Atcherly, a Lieutenant Colonel flying for the U.S. Air Force. Muttley was decomposed into D'Astardlieu's dog sidekick and a radioactive mix-up of Captain Dudley Muller and his pet dog.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dick Dastardly and the Mean Machine (the cars seem to be designed to reflect their owners personalities).
  • Demoted to Extra: The Gruesome Twosome are Flat Characters, Private Meekly is a Satellite Character and Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth don't even seem to get out of their car.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: The trope namer, as always. Deconstructed as it keeps on backfiring even worse than in the cartoon and usually nearly kills everyone, making them want to kill him.
  • Does This Make Me Look Fat?: Professor Pat Pending's Brain in a Jar wife asks if those electrodes make her cerebellum look big.
  • Doing In the Wizard: The Eldritch Abominations are actually mutants created by the Butcher Shop.
  • Double Standard: Invoked. When Penelope Pitstop wins a race by riding a sandtipede, Dick Dastardly claims it'd be considered cheating if he did it.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Red Baron
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • At the end the racers (minus Pat) decide to go for a drink together despite finding out there is no utopia and therefore have no need to see each other anymore.
    • The Slag Brothers were trying to kill each other when they were frozen but see to have become this after escaping.
  • The Friend No One Likes: Dick Dastardly is clearly the least popular racer, though it's not as deserved as in the series, since he's more of an Anti-Hero racing in order to bring his wife and son back.
  • Gender Flip:
    • The Announcer of all people.
    • Sargent Blast is trans.
  • Genius Bruiser: Pat Pending.
  • Gone Horribly Right: All the Butcher Shop's experiments led to the apocalypse and subsequently their deaths.
  • Hidden Depths: Dick Dastardly is a skilled pianist who lost his wife and son and helped the butcher shop escapees get their memories back, Muttley is an Uplifted Animal who led a revolution against the immoral scientist who experimented on him.
  • Hive Mind: The Ant Hill Mob have this. Justified as they're part of the Butcher Shop's experiments in making a Clone Army.
  • I Lied: As it turned out there never was a utopia.
  • Karma Houdini: The Announcer takes over her husband and walks away while everyone else is distracted.
  • Lovecraft Lite: There is no shortage of titanic monsters roaming the post-apocalyptic world and how much they are unable to inconvenience the characters. Best exemplified by the Slag Brothers in Issue 4:
    Yah! Yah! Yah! We slew an Elder God!
  • Mad Scientist: Pat Pending. It is revealed that he was part of The Butcher Shop, the mysterious organization that created all the horrific creatures and hazards that tore apart the world. Plus, he is shown to be directly responsible for the experiments that created Muttley and the Ant Hill Gang, and for bringing back the Slag Brothers from their frozen grave (with the only purpose of seeing them kill each other).
  • Meaningful Name: The Ant Hill Mob, because their a Hive Mind.
  • Meta Origin: The Butcher Shop.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Penelope Pitstop now dresses in a latex catsuit and gimp hood. Since she's first seen in normal clothes just before recruitment and this outfit was given to her by the announcer this may have been an intended trope in universe as well.
  • Mushroom Samba: All the racers get to experience one after the Slag Brothers accidentally feed them hallucinogenic mushrooms. It causes the Slag Brothers, Ant Hill Mob and Muttley to remember their time at the Butcher Shop and kick off the finale.
  • My Greatest Failure: Dick Dastardly being a Dirty Coward led to the death of his wife and son, he became a racer because the announcer promised to clone them.
  • Mythology Gag: There are a few references to the original cartoons, most notably Penelope and the Ant Hill Mob still being on good terms. They rush to her aid during the bar brawl...not that she needs their help, but she's still happy to see them.
  • Nice Guy: Peter Perfect tries to be helpful and polite.
  • Pedophile Priest: When Peter Perfect reveals that he used to be an altar boy, Dick responds by making a tasteless joke about missing the touch of his pastor's hand and those hot, sweaty confessional sessions.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The Red Baron. Not only is he a Nazi in this version, but he also makes transphobic remarks toward Sergeant Blast (who is a trans woman in this continuity) as well as a homophobic comment toward Rufus Ruffcut.
  • Polluted Wasteland: The whole world is this except for an utopia where the racing team with the biggest number of victories will be allowed to live.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: Mutley, among others. Though with some slight modifications to say the least.
  • Race Lift: Pat Pending went from a red haired white scientist to a white haired black scientist.
  • Related in the Adaptation: The Ant Hill Mob are clones created by Pat Pending and his wife (The Announcer) along with Muttley. Inverted by the Slag Brothers who seem to just be two cavemen who were frozen together while fighting.
  • Sentient Vehicle: The Announcer has given the cars awareness, intelligence, memory, and even the ability to talk. Mean Machine is quite vocally disdainful of Dick and Mutely.
  • Series Continuity Error: Luke and Blubber were seen in the middle of the apocalypse when they were kids but everybody else's flashbacks show them as grown adults when the apocalypse started.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Dick Dastardly is an unabashed jerk and has always been so, but a flashback confirms that leaving his family to die to save his own skin is something he's genuinely ashamed of and wishes to correct.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the Neon Caesar is forcing the racers to fight Gladiator Games, Penelope at one point sneers "Are you not entertained, asshat?" while killing one of his goons.
    • The process that Muttley is subjected to in the Butcher Shop is refereed to as SC-00-B2.
    • The appearance of Las Vegas in issue 4- having mostly survived the apocalypse but with each casino now being run by a gang of thematic tribals- would appear to be a Fallout: New Vegas reference.
    • Sergeant Blast's depiction here recalls the controversial case of Synthia Blast, a child killer and former gang member who made headlines when they came out as trans in prison.
  • Spotting the Thread: Dick Dastardly figures out what the butcher shop is when he notices the logo is in the skin of all the monsters they've been fighting.
  • Take That!: Issue 4 has a very unsubtle jab towards Donald Trump and his scheme to keep foreigners out of the United States with a wall when the racers visiting Vegas run into a performer dressed as a certain blonde-haired executive declaring he will build walls and make everyone pay for it.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The racers may be against each other but the one rule is all the racers must stay alive for the race to continue so if it seems like someones about to die they have to go and rescue them.
    • The cars are programed to look out for their owners, some are less happy about it than others.
  • The End... Or Is It?:After Pat Pending kills the announcer and destroys the remnants of the Butcher Shop, the remaining racers drive off into the desert. The Final shot reveals that Pat Pending has a smaller version of the Announcer's Brain in a Jar attached to the back of his head, ready to continue her plans.
  • The Gambling Addict: Red Baron
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In issue 5 upon seeing a giant sandtipede, Dick Dastardly declares "This is going to suck, Muttley".... "For those bastard centipedes, I mean!"