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See How Little Orphan Annie Nearly Got Her Own 1990s Action Cartoon!

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and forty-seventh installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

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COMIC LEGEND:

Alex Toth pitched a Little Orphan Annie action-themed cartoon series in the 1990s.

STATUS:

True

The comic book icon, Alex Toth, started to work in animation in the mid-1960s. He got a job at Hanna-Barbera and he worked there for years, designing some of their best action-themed cartoons of the 1960s, like Space Ghost and the Herculoids...

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Toth was a master of design and he was used to design cartoons even beyond those that he created himself, like his brilliant models for the Super Friends...

So naturally, he was an in demand artist for when it came time to pitch new cartoons. Most of these failed pitches are completely lost to history in the sense that it is hard to even know what kind of cartoon they were meant for...

However, one notable failed pitch (one of my longest-running readers, who prefers to send in their suggestions anonymously, sent me this one a while back) had a fascinating comic connection, as Toth almost transformed Little Orphan Annie into an action star!

The late Jack Mendelsohn was one of the top cartoon writers of the mid-1980s through the early 1990s. He also helped pitch cartoon shows around this era, as well. Of of his failed pitches from 1992 was the idea of taking Little Orphan Annie and adapting her into a Jonny Quest type character in the early 1990s. Use the well-established Annie brand name but make it an adventure series.

Toth was more than up for the task of designing the characters for what would have become Annie's Awesome Foursome...

Little Orphan Annie had plenty of larger than life characters in the strip besides Annie, her dog Sandy and her adopted father, Daddy Warbucks.

There was also Punjab...

and the mysterious and powerful Mr Am...

So they had something to work with.

Here's the main cast...

Plus their heroic recurring cast...

Plus the villains of the series...

Here are some details of the main cast, who you might note that Mendelsohn and Toth made a point of being quite diverse for the era (including a character who could not walk), although...well, you know, it was very much an early 1990s attempt at being diverse...

Still, once you look past some of the cliched aspects of a few of the designs, they're really quite gorgeous. Toth was a genius.

Thanks to the aforementioned anonymous reader for suggesting this topic!

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