Ready to form Voltron! New comic highlights St. Louis connections with beloved cartoon
“Ready to form Voltron!”
Fans of the mid-1980s TV show Voltron will recognize that phrase as the moment five robots join together to protect Earth from evil aliens. Now, local company Lion Forge Comicswill release a comic based on the series.
“I’ve been a fan of Voltron. It was one of those properties that I grew up with in the ‘80s, so it was probably my favorite show ever,” said Lion Forge head David Steward.
The new comic is part of a Voltron revitalization happening this summer. The Lion Forge comic will be produced to coincide with the recent reboot of the series by DreamWorks. The new version of the show, “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” was released this month.
The show and comic follow five Earth military cadets that discover giant robot lions, that fit together to form a larger robot, designed to battle evil invaders from outer space.
The new comic is just one of St. Louis’ many connections to the beloved TV series. St. Louisan Bob Koplar’s father, Ted Koplar, produced the original Voltron through his company World Events Productions. Koplar helped broker the partnership between Lion Forge and DreamWorks. He said he’s proud that part of the Voltron legacy in St. Louis.
“We’re proud everywhere we go to say the idea of Voltron was conceived in St. Louis, Missouri, and that’s where we think its true home is,” said Koplar.
Both Steward and Koplar acknowledge there’s a balance to be struck with the new comic and show. How do you please hardcore fans while adding something new to the story?
Koplar paraphrased the show’s executive producer, Joaquim Dos Santos to explain their approach.
“'We made the show that we remembered seeing, not necessarily the show that we saw,'” Koplar said.
Steward thinks the project has appeal outside comic book and animation fans.
“I remember this interview given by Kobe Bryant, talking about the Lakers, and he’s talking about ‘how I got the team together and we formed up like Voltron, and we beat the other team,'” said Steward.
The Lion Forge comics will fill in the narrative gaps and develop character and story lines between seasons of the Netflix series. The first Voltron: Legendary Defender series will be released in July.
Voltron Fun Facts:
- Voltron is an adaptation of the Japanese series, Beast King GoLion.
- The show was discovered by Bob Koplar’s father, Ted Koplar, who was president of KPLR-TV for many years, and created by Peter Keefe and John Teichmann for Koplar’s World Events Productions in St. Louis.
- The original Voltron show was released in 1984.
- There have been multiple comic and TV series reboots of the franchise in the past 30 years.
- A live action adaptation of the series was nixed after a legal dispute between World Events Productions and Toei Animation, Beast King GoLion’s production company.
- In honor of the reboot, a Voltron Statue was installed in the Central West End neighborhood near the Koplar’s apartment where the Voltron concept was developed.
- According to Steward, a second season of Voltron: Legendary Defender is in the works.
Follow Willis Ryder Arnold on Twitter: @willisrarnold