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Was There Nearly a Wonder Woman and the Zoo Crew Cartoon Series?

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, see how close we came to a Wonder Woman and the Zoo Crew cartoon series!

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, see how close we came to a Wonder Woman and the Zoo Crew cartoon series!

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and forty-second installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. This is an all-Wonder Woman installment for, well, no particular reason!

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

At one point in time, there was almost a cartoon series teaming up the Zoo Crew with Wonder Woman!

True

As I noted in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed, in the early 1980s, Roy Thomas approached Scott Shaw! with the idea of doing what Shaw! later described as, “What if Jack Kirby had drawn the adventures of Mighty Mouse?” As I noted in that old legend, the original concept for the funny animal superhero comic book was to do Just’a Lotta Animals, with funny animal version of the various members of the Justice League (like Super Squirrel instead of Superman. Thomas later recalled that he believed that Gerry Conway and Dann Thomas probably helped come up with some of those original characters).

However, as noted in that old legend, when Shaw! and Thomas first pitched DC Comics on the funny animal superhero concept, their idea was Super Squirrel and the Just’a Lotta Animals! However, Dick Giordano decided that this could be a problem, as one of the attractive aspects of this Captain Carrot idea is that it would be easy to turn into a cartoon series. he problem there, though, is what if DC had licensed, say, Superman to one studio and Wonder Woman to another and the licensors took issue with DC having a funny animal version of Wonder Woman sold to ANOTHER studio (or heck, what if the studio they licensed Superman to had a problem with them doing a cartoon with a funny animal version of Superman). So Giordano told them to come up with original characters and Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew was the result.

The concept for the series started with Starro attacking Earth in two different universes at once (the “regular” DC Earth and Earth-C, filled with anthropographic animals). Starro made a device that made humans act like animals and then the funny animals to act like their equivalent animals on “our” Earth. Superman got involved, and he accidentally gave superpowers to a number of the animals on Earth-C, including a cartoonist named Roger Rabbit, who became Captain Carrot.

These animals teamed up together as the Zoo Crew. The Zoo Crew was made up of Captain Carrot, Pig-Iron, Fastback, Rubberduck, Yankee Poodle, American Eagle and Alley-Kat-Abra.

RELATED: Did Archie Once Run the Same Story Twice, With Just the Faces Changed?

And wouldn’t you know it, Giordano was obviously correct, as very quickly, Ruby-Spears approached DC to see about adapting the series for a Saturday Morning cartoon program on ABC. Roy Thomas recalled:

Very soon after it debuted, CAPTAIN CARROT AND HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW! was optioned for a CBS cartoon show. Both a “bible” for the show and a pilot script were written by then-prominent animation writer Jeff Scott (the working name of one of the sons of longtime comicbook artist Norman Maurer and his wife Joan, the daughter of Moe Howard of the Three Stooges. The show was fairly faithful to the comic, except that the character Alley-Kat-Abra was dropped… I can only surmise they didn’t want to deal with magic as a super-power. I remember that they also, understandably, changed the name of the city “Gnu York,” which works in print but not on audible TV, to “New Yak.”

Shaw! also elaborated, “[N]either Roy Thomas nor I were ever asked to participate in the pitch process, even though we not only co-created the characters, we actually own a percentage of ’em. Instead, Jeffrey Scott wrote the pitch and — from what I’ve heard — the great Jack (PAULINE PERIL) Manning drew the presentation boards”

RELATED: See How DC Added the Zero Hour Connection to Starman After the Fact

That pitch didn’t get picked up. However, what’s even more interesting is the SECOND attempt at getting the series picked up for a show! As Shaw! explained, “But this is the most ODDBALL aspect of the second pitch: apparently inspired by DYNOMUTT, this version was to star the Zoo Crew — Captain Carrot, Pig-Iron, Alley-Kat-Abra, Fastback, Yankee Poodle and Rubberduck — teamed up with WONDER WOMAN! Go figure!”

Thomas recalled that it might have also involved Lynda Carter making live action appearances as Wonder Woman, but he wasn’t sure about that, as he never saw any design sheets or anything like that.

Isn’t that fascinating, though? That the original concept for the cartoon series specifically involved Wonder Woman, or at least a funny animal version of Wonder Woman, and that was specifically turned down by DC because the company didn’t want to risk messing with the licenses of its various superhero characters and then the pitch for the altered funny animal series ended up STILL involving Wonder Woman! That’s really wild.

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew was a great comic book series, and it would have made a great cartoon, as well.

Check out some entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Who Was the Surprising Mystery Owner of Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl Costume?

2. Did the Authors of Curious George Escape From the Nazis on Bicycles With a Copy of the Manuscript?

3. Was a Joke In An Issue of Cable/Deadpool Really the Inspiration for Ryan Reynolds Playing Deadpool?

4. Were TV Dinners Invented Due to Swanson Having Too Many Thanksgiving Turkeys Left Over?

Check back soon for part 2 of this installment’s legends!

Feel free to send suggestions for future comic legends to me at either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com

CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over fifteen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed).

He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo.

He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References.

Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you’d like to see featured at brianc@cbr.com!

SOME OTHER ENTERTAINMENT LEGENDS!

PART TWO SOON!

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