It's official: '90s nostalgia is big business. As movies from the decade of Pogs and Macaulay Culkin get the big budget reboot treatment, and shows such as Hey Arnold return to your TV set, it seems as though just about everything from the '90s is coming back. Now, you can add Lucy Lawless' TV cheese classic Xena: Warrior Princess to the list, as the daytime TV staple is returning as a comic book thanks to publisher Dynamite Entertainment. Xena isn't alone in her comic book comeback, either; as '90s series such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (a show based on a comic) and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers have found new life with comics. Which begs the question: which '90s TV show will be next to get the comic treatment?
While big studios may hem and haw over the exorbitant costs of bringing a classic '90s TV show back for a new season, comic books make reviving properties much easier. As dedicated fans continue to scratch their '90s nostalgia itch by picking up these comics in droves, it leaves us wondering which franchise from the Grunge Era will be next to make the jump to comic books. So join CBR as we take a look back to the decade that gave us Surge and Space Jam to decide which of everyone's favorite '90s TV properties that need to come back as comics!
20 THE PIRATES OF DARK WATER
Long before Jack Sparrow drunkenly swaggered his way to big box office bucks, there was The Pirates Of Dark Water. This dark fantasy cartoon whisked viewers away to a world of swashbucklers and treasure, and while the series found a loyal following, it was canceled after a scant two seasons. But this is a series practically begging for a comic comeback.
As on-the-run prince Ren explored the alien planet of Mer in search of the mystical treasure to halt the insidious "dark water" that is slowly consuming the planet, our protagonist found himself crossing swords with the vile pirate captain Bloth and the shadowy Dark Dweller for the fate of the planet. The Pirates Of Dark Water had an interesting sci-fi-with-buccaneers hook, and this unique series has the kind of world and story that would be perfect for a comic.
Stranger Things made the niche subgenre of "kids from a decade past engage in decade-appropriate activities while also solving supernatural mysteries" red hot, as every studio tries to get a piece of that adorable-kids-in-the-'80s-solving-spooky-mysteries pie. But long before Eleven and friends popularized this trope, there was another series that followed kids utilizing the supernatural to solve mysteries: Ghostwriter!
Debuting in 1992, Ghostwriter followed a close knit group of kids in Brooklyn as they worked with a spelling-obsessed ghost dubbed "Ghostwriter" to solve local mysteries. Having been off the air since 1995, we're sure grown-up fans of this classic kids show would love a comic book follow up, chronicling the the now-adult protagonists as they team with Ghostwriter once more to solve decidedly more mature mysteries. A spelling ghost solving murder mysteries with grizzled adults? Sign us up!
18 FOREVER KNIGHT
It's the kind of goofy premise that could only be a comic book or a low-rent '90s TV show: Nick Knight, an ancient vampire, joins the police force and uses his vampiric-powers to solve crimes as a means of atoning for his centuries as a cold-hearted killer. That's right folks: it's about a vampire cop!
Over three seasons, Knight fought evil vampires and worked to bring criminals to justice, all in hopes of regaining a sliver of his humanity. Sure, it was silly, but thinking of a comic follow-up that is one part 30 Days Of Night and one part The X-Files has us wishing we could sink our fangs into this comic.
17 EARTHWORM JIM
The '90s were a strange time. After all, this was a decade in which a video game about an earthworm in a super-powered suit fighting an evil crow in space not only garnered big sales, but spawned a successful cartoon. Despite Jim's '90s success, this laser gun-wielding invertebrate hasn't been seen in some time, having dropped off the face of the Earth after a poorly received N64 outing. But we think it's time for Earthworm Jim to make his grand return.
Jim's madcap world of cow launching, sheep exploding, and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head fighting is custom made for a strange, out-there comic, and fans would love to see the "Groovy!" spouting hero and his friend/transforming monstrosity Peter Puppy return to whip evil's butt. It's the perfect time for the '90s weirdest hero to return to the spotlight.
16 VR TROOPERS
As Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers-mania swept the globe, an avalanche of imitators followed, including the moderately popular VR Troopers. Sure, this '90s-as-hell story of teenagers with attitude utilizing the powers of "virtual reality" to become crime-fighting robots may not matched the popularity of MMPR, but we argue that is the series' ridiculous hook that makes it perfect for a comic book comeback.
In the '90s, the tale of teens Ryan, Kaitlin, and J.B. utilizing the power of VR to fight evil enamored kids, but, with virtual reality headsets being a relatively common occurrence in 2019, this makes VR Troopers' gimmick just look hokey. But we think a comic follow-up this embraced this fact could sell like hot cakes; give us a series in which the VR Troopers are outdated, and have to use their '90s tech to battle an enemy that is now common in the world. VR Troopers was a totally goofy '90s show, and fans of the era would love to see the series return as a totally goofy ode to the '90s comic.
15 GOOD BURGER
Before it was a cinematic masterpiece that blessed the world with the groundbreaking Less Than Jake tune "We're All Dudes," Good Burger was a sketch on Nickelodeon's smash hit sketch comedy show All That. In weekly sketches, Kel Mitchell portrayed clueless fast food cashier Ed, as he enraged customers with his weird antics and generally spaced out at work. The sketches, and the 1997 movie the sketches inspired, remain cult favorites among '90s kids, which makes the property perfect for a comic book revisitation.
In the film, Ed, along with new hire Dexter (portrayed by SNL stand-out Kenan Thompson,) fought a monolithic burger chain, all while getting into various wacky antics. Fans would kill to see the duo return in comic form, which would allow the fast food workers to embark on all manner of wacky misadventures. Maybe they travel back in time! Or they fight burger-making robots! Listen, a comic in which Kenan and Kel fight robots would surely top the sales charts, leaving us wondering why Nick hasn't already made this comic book comeback happen. Get on it, dudes!
The '90s saw a plethora of "monster of the week" shows, where grizzled heroes would battle a new scary creature every episode. The X-Files and Buffy The Vampire Slayer started under this then-popular sub-genre, only to eventually find new narrative footing and move on to become more nuanced, story-focused shows. Brimstone was one of the less popular "monster of the week" shows, but, we believe this cult classic show could have delivered big storylines outside of its weekly monster parade, if only it had been given more time. Which is why this forgotten '90s TV series would be perfect for a comic book return.
The high-concept Brimstone followed murdered NYPD detective Zeke Stone, who is sent to Hell and conscripted by the Devil to return to Earth to hunt down 113 escaped souls. Armed with supernatural powers, Stone battles a plethora of damned escapees, all while trying to learn more about his death and the ramifications of his deal with the Devil. Canceled after a single season, Brimstone is the kind of promising show begging for a second chance as a comic.
13 AEON FLUX
There's no other way to say this: Aeon Flux was weird. This was a show featuring characters with impossible proportions, utilizing strange technology, with most episodes ending with the main character dying. There truly wasn't anything else like Aeon Flux, which helped this bizarre '90s MTV cartoon to capture a loyal audience. Stylistically ahead of its time, we think the world is finally ready for the return of Aeon Flux.
Following the leather-clad assassin Aeon Flux as she carries out hits and runs afoul of her nemesis/occasional lover Trevor Goodchild, the series dealt with heavy themes such as the ramifications of violence and the dangers of over policing. Toss in borderline fetishistic character designs and a story that often refused to make sense, Aeon Flux was utterly strange in its own unique way, and fans of the cult series would kill to see Flux make her grand return in a comic book.
12 CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS
For a brief, beautiful moment in the '90s, recycling was cool. Cartoons like Captain Planet and Toxic Crusaders taught kids the importance of protecting the planet, all while battling baddies bent on polluting the world. Captain Planet was a surprise success, and remains a cult favorite among '90s faithful to this day. It's for this reason we think it's high time for the mullet-sporting eco-conscious superhero to make his grand return.
With the help of the plucky Planeteers, Captain Planet would fight the forces of evil, all in pursuit of protecting the delicate ecosystem of Earth. Now, with global warming, melting ice caps, and air pollution a daily occurrence, the Captain would have his job cut out for him, but the concept of a comic book follow-up chronicling Captain Planet operating in a world of pressing ecological issues could make for a good read. Make it happen, Ted Turner!
11 EARTH 2
With a hokey name like Earth 2, this '90s sci-fi drama never stood a chance. But it's a damn shame, as Earth 2 delivered interesting, action-packed stories that could have made the series a cult classic, if viewers had just given the show a chance. That's why we think it's a perfect time for this lost gem to make the jump to comics.
Telling the tale of an exploratory group dubbed the "Eden Project" who are sent out from a dying Earth to seek out a new home world, leading to the group discovering a planet called G889, which is so similar to Earth that it earns the nickname "Earth 2." When the Eden Project's vessel crash lands on the opposite side of Earth 2, the group is forced to fight through savage locals in hopes of reaching a spot in which humanity can start anew. With surprising twists and an interesting world, Earth 2 was the Firefly of the '90s: canceled way too soon, and perfect to continue as a comic book.
10 AMERICAN GLADIATORS
Okay, hear us out. Sure, American Gladiators didn't really have a story of any kind; rather, it was a weekly competition show in which ludicrously buff "gladiators" with names like "Titan" and "Malibu" battled in tests of strength for supremacy. It was ridiculous, it was hokey, and it was truly '90s. American Gladiators was so goofy and '90s that it would be perfect for a tongue-in-cheek comic.
American Gladiators presented its competitors as real life superheroes, so why not embrace that in a comic book? Take the larger-than-life personalities, make them out-of-touch '90s relics, and make them fight crime! Armed with their trademark foam jousting sticks and tennis ball-launching guns, gladiators with names like Laser, Nitro, and Blaze could battle the forces of evil. It would be ridiculous, and we would read it in a second.
9 KING ARTHUR AND THE KNIGHTS OF JUSTICE
Quick! King Arthur and his knights of the round table have been captured, and Merlin the wizard must find a suitable team to save the legendary king and his loyal knights. Who should the wise wizard pick? Why, a New York football team from the '90s, of course!
Yes, King Arthur and the Knights of Justice was completely ridiculous, following the weekly adventures of the mystically imbued football team as they battled evil for the fate of Camelot. One part He-Man and one part Ronin Warriors, King Arthur and the Knights of Justice was the kind of cartoon that only could have been cooked up in the '90s, and we're betting the '90s kids who grew up with this ridiculous show would love to see it return.
8 BAYWATCH NIGHTS
You'd be hard pressed to find a more bizarre show than Baywatch Nights. After all, this spin-off saw David Hasselhoff's lifeguard character Mitch Buchannon joins a detective agency that investigates paranormal occurrences. Also, Lou Rawls was there. Laughed off the air back when it debuted, we think it's the perfect time to bring back this forgotten slice of '90s weirdness.
Originally a standard detective show, Baywatch Nights was retooled to compete with The X-Files, leading Hasselhoff to battle aliens, ghosts, and all manner of things that go bump in the night. Problem was, despite the bizarre premise, the show took itself far too seriously, and was canceled after just two seasons. Bring the show back as a comic, embrace the weird aspects of the premise, and watch as '90s kids snatch this comic off the shelves faster than you could say "David Hasselhoff fights ghosts in this comic."
If you were to ask just about any '90s sci-fi nerd what they consider to be the most underrated television show of the decade to be, odds are they would answer Sliders. Taking the "jumping from reality to reality in hopes of returning home" concept of Quantum Leap and injecting it with some heady sci-fi action, Sliders had cult classic written all over it. While the franchise has been MIA since 2000, we think it's about time Quinn Mallory and crew slid back into pop culture with a comic book.
Following a group of "Sliders," lead by physicist Mallory (memorably portrayed by '90s mainstay Jerry O'Connell), the reality-displaced team is constantly jumping to new realities in hopes of finding a way back home. Running for an impressive five seasons before ending on a cliffhanger that saw a character seemingly sacrificing himself to save Earth Prime, fans would kill for a new comic to tie up loose ends and continue the adventures of the reality hopping Sliders.
6 BIKER MICE FROM MARS
Cartoon companies quickly found the recipe for big bucks in the '90s: take an animal, make them x-treme, and make them fight crime. It worked for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it was the runaway success of the TMNT that brought about the introduction of the Biker Mice From Mars. But don't let the wannabe roots of these chopper riding rodents fool you: '90s kids would be ecstatic to see these cult favorites return.
This show did exactly what it said on the box: it followed three buff intergalactic mice with attitude as they made their way to Earth, where they promptly fought crime utilizing their advanced motorcycles. It wasn't art, but kids ate it up, and Biker Mice From Mars became a surprising hit. Dormant since a less-than-stellar 2006 reboot, '90s nostalgia makes it the perfect time for three of the '90s strangest x-treme animals to make their triumphant return in comic book form.
5 THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY JR.
It seemed like the perfect show for '90s nerds: a Bruce Campbell-starring adventure series set in a steampunk-esque wild west, written by the duo responsible for the script for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Despite all the show had going for it, The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr. lasted only a single season. But this cult classic '90s TV series has all the makings of a perfect comic book.
Campbell portrayed the titular lawyer-turned-bounty hunter, who is hired by wealthy industrialists to hunt an outlaw. Along the way, Brisco encounters all manners of strangeness derived from a mysterious device from the future dubbed "The Orb," all while utilizing steampunk inventions crafted by the eccentric Professor Wickwire. Campell-starring properties such as The Evil Dead have found a new life as comic books, and we think a weird west comic book continuation is exactly what The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr. needs.
There are '90s cartoons that inspire strong followings, and then there is Gargoyles. This cult classic Disney cartoon continues to pop up as a beloved staple of the decade, with everyone from Jonathan Frakes to Jordan Peele campaigning for a big screen version of the show. While Disney may seem to be dragging its feet on giving Gargoyles the cinematic treatment, the House of Mouse may be more receptive to a comic book continuation.
Following a cadre of ancient gargoyles named after various New York neighborhoods as they protected the Big Apple from various villain, the show ran for a healthy three seasons before ending with the gargoyles being accepted by the world. Despite the happy ending, fans remain eager for the series to return. Briefly returning as a comic with Slave Labor Graphics in 2008, Disney's increase in licensing fees saw the comic ending on a cliffhanger. '90s kids everywhere wait on baited breath for Disney to finally give this beloved series the follow-up it so desperately deserves.
3 SWAT KATS: THE RADICAL SQUADRON
We're not sure who at Hanna-Barbera thought "hey, let's make a show about a fighter jet and give it the most rocking theme song of all time," but that person deserves a medal. Swat Kats: The Radical Squardon was unlike any other action cartoon on TV, and it the show's uniqueness that make it perfect for a comic continuation.
When discharged pilots Razor and T-Bone create a custom jet fighter dubbed the Turbokat from spare parts, the duo take the name "SWAT Kats" and use their new ship to battle baddies ranging from time traveling sorcerers to robotic mobsters. With unique villains, kinetic fights, and interesting side characters, Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron had plenty of potential to continue on well past its two season run. While you might not be able to capture that rippin' theme song in a comic, fans would settle for monthly jet plane battles with their favorite radical kats.
2 STREET SHARKS
There are transparent rip-offs, and then there is Street Sharks. Designed as a quick cash-in on the x-treme creatures fighting crime boom brought on by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Street Sharks was designed from the ground up to appeal to '90s kids. Sure, with hindsight, the show was silly and incredibly dumb, but its these qualities that make Street Sharks perfect to return as a comic book.
When a group of x-treme sports partaking, slang-spouting teen brothers are "gene-slammed" with sharks, they become the Street Sharks, crime fighting sharks with attitude! Seriously, this was a show that featured roller blading shark men, a whale man with a giant tongue named "Moby Lick," and an evil lobster combined with the DNA of Genghis Khan named "Slobster." It was remarkably silly, but this thoroughly '90s franchise could do with a semi-serious reboot a la IDW's mega-popular TMNT line. Take a dose of wacky, inject some grounded reality, and watch as devoted '90s kids eat up this JAWSOME comic!
Long before superhero parody was in vogue, there was Freakazoid! A thoroughly strange mash-up of slapstick comedy, superhero adventure, and a sprinkle of early internet culture, Freakazoid! was unlike any other cartoon on the air in the '90s, and it is these properties that make this cult classic show ripe for a comic comeback.
Created by Bruce Timm (yes, THAT Bruce Timm!), Freakazoid! introduced viewers to the titular superhero, the super-powered alternate personality of Duncan Douglas, who unlocked his blue-skinned alter-ego after overloading a chip in his computer with a complex input brought on by his cat walking across the keyboard. Really, this was just set dressing for bizarre jokes about the name "Huggbees" and fights with a guy who turns beavers gold with his mystical pocket watch. The out-there humor of Freakazoid! never goes out of style, and a comic book would allow this Kids WB character to really reach his true potential. '90s kids would freak for a Freakazoid! comic!