Sunday, November 27, 2011

1996 Upper Deck Johnny Quest

The date of my birth puts me in just about the perfect wheelhouse NOT to be a fan of Johnny Quest. The original series aired in 1964-65, and probably lived on through the 1970s through reruns. This was followed decades later by The New Adventures of Johnny Quest, which theoretically should have been on my radar, but wasn't, probably because the series lasted only 13 episodes. The the time the series on which this pack of cards was based, The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest, was on television, I was nearly finished with high school, and the only cartoons I watched were The Simpsons and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. This pack of cards is as problematic as the final TV series. I'm familiar with the broad outline of the show, but none of its intricacies. Adult Swim meta-cartoons have provided much of my knowledge of Hanna-Barbera staples, namely the simmering undercurrent of homosexual tension between Benton Quest and Race Bannon.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
26 Dr. Jeremiah Surd
Good God, these cards are a mess! I cannot tell you how difficult it was for me to identify the subject of each card. With no fewer than seven separate places for text on the front of the card, the design seemed to combine early Geocities elements with a seventh grader's myspace page circa 2005. I don't know where to look, and I feel defeated.

35 Dr. Jeremiah Surd (???) Again?
I'm not sure if this card is part of the base set or not. It doesn't seem to be one of the listed inserts, but the card numbering is of a different style than the first one. Surd's profile is on the back, but we have this URL group shot on the front. I want to track down a laserdisc of this show so I can unscramble my brain.

22 Hadji
Back to the base design, I see. Hadji is a familiar main character, albeit with a rebooted wardrobe. The post-1993 WTC bombing environment most likely dictated a turban-free cartoon. Also clearly a Power Rangers derived look.

HC2 Hadji's Clues - Courage Overcomes Fear
If I rub off a portion of the back of this card, I'll get a clue that will help me while I play the Johnny Quest CD-ROM Adventure. I'm not falling for that one. (Turns out I was wrong on the turban thing, too.) Odds on this insert were 1:5.

47 Villain ^2 -- Ezekiel Rage / Dr. Jeremiah Surd
All Surd, all the time baby!

44 Tools of the Trade - Surd's High-Tech Wheelchair
Seriously, I cannot get away from this guy. And another design shift. Can anyone tell me what the base design even is? I give up. Just watch Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. At least that has more Race Bannon than this pack.