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Western Animation / The Herculoids

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"Somewhere out in space live the Herculoids:
Zok, the laser-ray dragon, Igoo the giant rock ape
Tundro the Tremendous, Gloop and Gleep the formless, fearless wonders!
With Zandor their leader, and his wife Tara and son Dorno, they team up to protect their planet from sinister invaders!
All strong, all brave, all heroes!
They're the Herculoids!"

This 1960s Animated Series from Hanna-Barbera was unlike its contemporary, Space Ghost, in that it was set on Amzotnote , a primitive planet protected by King Zandornote . Zandor's wife, Tara, and their son, Dorno, were the only other known human inhabitants. For some reason, aliens kept trying to conquer an isolated, largely uninhabited jungle world full of monsters. Go figure.

When trouble arose, Zandor commanded a small army of exotic beasts: Gloop and Gleep, a pair of gelatinous shape-shifters; Igoo, an ape with rocklike skin; Tundro, a rhino-triceratops-like creature that could shoot burning rocks from its horn, and Zok, a flying dragon capable of firing laser beams from its eyes and tail.

In the early 1980s, the Herculoids joined Space Ghost in the Animated Anthology series Space Stars. In 2016, they also joined most of the other 1960's Hanna-Barbera adventure heroes for the massive multiplayer crossover comic book Future Quest.

This show provides examples of:

  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Zandor and Zok in "Sarko the Arkman" go into space with no special equipment but this sometimes is averted.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The title aliens of "Mutoids" were shapeshifters who had evil looking red eyes and fangs, but disguised themselves to look more human to outsiders. When we see one revert back to "monstrous", it's meant to be our first tip-off that they're evil, and Zandor even states that he was only fooled due to their altered appearance.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The Herculoids were the main feature of the Toonami themed issues of Cartoon Network Presents, with the host Moltar declaring them to be his favorite cartoon.
  • Continuity Nod: In "Attack From Space" The Herculoids travel to the enemy planet using the space ship that Sarko left behind in his debut episode.
  • Crossover: In the sixties, they appeared in the Space Ghost cartoon "The Molten Monsters of Moltar", part 4 of the six-part "Council of Doom" serial. The two crossed over more frequently on Space Stars in the eighties. And the Herculoids got to meet everybody from Jonny Quest to Birdman in Future Quest.
  • Damsel in Distress: Tara. When she wasn't getting threatened or captured by the Monster of the Week, she was being kidnapped by the lizard-snake people to be their brainwashed queen. Mitigated by her usually trying to run from danger when she isn't being ambushed. Zandor and the Herculoids always managed to rescue her -and Tara's so nice and generally sensible it's understandable why they keep doing it.
  • Deadly Disc: Zandor's shield could be used like a projectile weapon.
  • Deadly Force Field: Some alien invaders attempt to sweep away The Herculoids by generating a wide force field wall. This barrier is shown to reduce trees to toothpicks and boulders to gravel on contact. Fortunately, Igoo the rock ape deduces that such a force field would be equally deadly to those on its other side. Igoo uses a treebuchet to push the aliens from behind into their own force field.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: The heroes had slingshots loaded with Tundro's explosive rocks. Very cool, very fancy as is appropriate for the heroes.
  • Fastball Special: Gloop changes to a giant slingshot to throw Igoo, and also throws Gleep once.
  • Hammered into the Ground: In a non-comedic example, "The Crystalloids" had Igoo the rock ape pounding a Crystalloid into the ground with a club.
  • Horn Attack: Tundro's signature attack, especially of the shooting variety. He launches energy rocks out of his horn to attack his enemies.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: None of the animal Herculoids spoke in anything but stock shrieks, growls, and warbles, but the humans among them understood them just fine.
  • Jet Pack
    • "Queen Skorra": Queen Skorra's attack robots use jet packs to fly while fighting the Herculoids.
    • "The Pirates": The pirates wear jet packs while flying their "flying torpedoes" (hover vehicles). When Tundro smashes one of the vehicles and Zok destroys another one with his laser eye beams, the pirates piloting them fly away using their jet packs.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: A rare, male example with Zandor in "The Raiders Apes". His skirt lifts up with Zok flies passed him, revealing his briefs.
  • Money Mauling: Gotron almost escapes The Herculoids and justice aboard his longboat, which is laden with so much gold that it can barely move. Zandor pitches one more sack of gold at Gotron, which not only knocks him off his feet, but causes his boat to sink. Gotron never surfaces; either he can't swim, or his greed wouldn't let him unhand his gold.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Several Crystalite guards in "The Crystalites" so that Zandor and the Herculoids could infiltrate their base.
  • Plant Mooks: When a glowing meteor lands on their home world, the Herculoids find themselves battling common, harmless flora suddenly gone monstrous, aggressive and hostile.
  • Robot War: According to Future Quest, Zandor and his family are refugees from a planet conquered by its robots, and that's why they chose to settle on a primitive planet without advanced technology. Whether this backstory is canon to the original 1960s series is debatable, but it's clear that Zandor is quite familiar with technology (for example, when he had to travel to another planet, he just took one of the antagonists' spaceships and used it without any trouble).
  • Rock Beats Laser: Several enemies of the Herculoids have far more advanced tech, but lose to them either way.
  • Rock Monster: Igoo's body is made out of (or at least covered in) dense granite.
  • Rubber Man: Gloop and Gleep can stretch into any possible shape imaginable.
  • Shrink Ray: Used on the protagonists in "Tiny World of Terror" by Torrack who pits them against his microbe monsters.
  • Space Amish: The three humans certainly know about aliens and spaceships and such, and are even friends with Space Ghost, but they choose to live a primitive life.
  • Space Pirates: The villains of the episode "The Pirates". They try to leave their treasure on the Herculoids' planet, then take Dorno hostage when their plan goes south. It doesn't go well for them.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The title card spells one of the recurring bad guy's name as Sarko. Within his episodes it is pronounced as "Arko" with the S being silent.
  • Suffer the Slings: Dorno used a sling on those times when he actually participated in combat, throwing energy rocks similar to the ones Tundro fired from his horn.
  • Taken for Granite: Subverted when a medusa-type villain tried to change Igoo into stone, who already was granite.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Gleep in "The Time Creatures". He angrily turns red after getting zapped by a laser from one of the hovering machines, then morphs into one of them and returns fire at it.
  • Treasure Room: "The Raider Apes" had one in the villagers' cave system that was plundered by the Raider Apes.
  • Two Shorts: The 1960s show had two shorts per episode, both with the Herculoids.