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Celebrating Earth Day with ‘Defenders of the Earth’

In the traditional sense, Earth Day encourages an awareness and promotion for environmental protection. While we fully support that initiative, we’ve decided to celebrate Earth Day with a twist and instead highlight a group of characters dedicated to defending our planet… from bad guys. Yup, we’re talking about the 1980s animated TV show Defenders of the Earth. Anyone remember this action-packed toon?

 

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Defenders of the Earth was developed by Marvel Productions and King Features Syndicate. In an Avengers-esque way, the series brought together classic characters first appearing in comic strips – Flash Gordon (voiced by Lou Richards), The Phantom (voiced by Peter Mark Richman), and Mandrake the Magician (voiced by Peter Renaday), along with Mandrake’s assistant Lothar (voiced by Buster Jones) – in an effort to take down Ming the Merciless and his minions, all of whom are bent on eradicating the human race. But there’s a twist: The Defenders call upon their teenage kids to help safeguard our precious planet and battle the villains, and their combined efforts take all eight on a plethora of thrilling adventures set in the future. (The future, in this case, was 2015.)

 

OK, so fans of the show probably remember all that, but did you know that Defenders of the Earth boasts two Stan Lee connections?

 

The first is hard to miss… because it barrages the viewer as the title blasts across the screen. You probably guessed it: the opening credits. The main title music is attributed to Rob Walsh and Tony Pastor, but the lyrics are all Stan. Check out the Defenders of the Earth opening sequence below.

 

 

Miss a word or two? Want to watch it again and sing along? We’ve got all the lyrics for you right here:

 

Defenders of the Earth, Defenders!

Out of the sky, his rockets ignite,

Jets into battle flying faster than light!

Flash Gordon!

 

Lord of the jungle, the hero who stalks,

The beast call him brother, the ghost who walks!

Phantom!

Defenders of the Earth, Defenders!

 

Master of magic, spells and illusion,

Enemies crumble in fear and confusion!

Mandrake!

Defenders of the Earth, Defenders! 

 

His strength is a legend, his skills conquer all,

Armed with his power, we never will fall!

Lothar!

Defenders of the Earth, Defenders! 

 

With our new young heroes proving their worth,

Four become eight, defending the Earth!

Defenders of the Earth, Defenders!

Defenders of the Earth!

 

The second Stan Lee-related Defenders of the Earth factoid brings him back to the medium he’s best known for: comicbooks. Following the animated cartoon, which ran for 65 episodes, Star Comics (an imprint of Marvel Comics) released four issues of a title aptly named Defenders of the Earth in 1987. The first issue of the series was penned by Stan (with Bob Harras) and issues 2-4 were written by Michael Higgins. Pencils on the series were courtesy Alex Saviuk, with inks by Fred Fredericks.

 

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If this bit of nostalgia has reignited your passion for the show or simply piqued your curiosity, Defenders of the Earth is available on DVD (with loads of extras!) or you can binge select episodes on Amazon Prime.  Alternatively, you can simply re-play the opening sequence over and over and over again.

 

Happy Earth Day!

 

Do you remember watching Defenders of the Earth? If so, which character was your favorite?