A look at graphic novels coming out in October 2020 (and beyond), including a new "Lumberjanes" volume.
This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is the 2002 Disney-produced cartoon “Teamo Supremo.”
“Teamo Supremo” features the adventures of three kids who fight crime as superheroes. The series came out during the height of popularity of Cartoon Network’s “The Powerpuff Girls,” and thus came off to some as an attempt to cash in on the Powerpuff Girls’ popularity. (A similar simplified animation style might not’ve helped that impression). Unlike Townsville’s heroes, however, Teamo consists of three non-superpowered crime fighters, using various gadgets. Teamo’s members consist of:
- Captain Crandall: Real name Crandall; the team’s leader. Crandall for some reason believes he’s really an alien from another planet, whose super-powers haven’t fully kicked in yet; he’s also generally obsessed with superheroes. The series reveals both of his grandfathers were also former superheroes—one resembling Batman (“The Dark Talon”), the other Captain America (“The Silver Shield”). Crandall’s gear includes a utility belt containing a portable shield, high-tech marbles, a specialized yo-yo, and other equipment.
- Rope Girl: Real name Brenda. Rope Girl speaks with a bit of a Southern accent, and fights crime using a high-tech jump rope, in a fashion akin to Wonder Woman’s lasso.
- Skate Lad: Real name Hector Felipe Corrio (the only team member whose full name’s given). Skate Lad’s talent is being the state’s champion skateboarder. Hector uses a specialized high-tech rocket-powered skateboard, which also serves as Teamo’s means of transit. An episode centered around Cinco de Mayo suggests Skate Lad’s of Mexican heritage.
The trio’s crime fighting equipment was given to them by Governor Kevin, the governor of their (unnamed) state, and the state’s top-secret high-tech laboratory known as “Level 7.” Governor Kevin summons the kids whenever their talents are needed to fight the latest villain threatening their state. Said villains included ones that wouldn’t be out of place in a “straight” superhero story, such as “The Gauntlet” (a former Level 7 scientist using stolen electromagnetic “power gauntlets”), or a M.O.D.O.K-like robotic villain named “Technor.” There were also unimpressive ones like the “Put-Down Artist,” whose shtick was…insulting others.
The members of Teamo also have battle cries. Captain Crandall’s is “Buh-Za!,” Rope Girl’s is “Wuh-Pa!,” and Skate Lad’s is “Chi-Ka!” Yes, their battle cries sound more like babies learning to speak; “Avengers Assemble!,” they’re not. Though it’s interesting that Skate Lad’s cry (when spoken) is the Spanish word for “girl” (chica).
Another trait of the show was its use of (via stock footage) a somewhat-drawn-out transformation sequence for when Teamo assumed their superhero identities: Crandall stating “Rope me, Brenda!,” then the group jumping Brenda’s jump rope at high speeds until their costumes came on from out of nowhere, with flashy effects in the background. I’d presume this ability’s another high-tech feature of their Level 7-granted equipment.
On TV/home video
The show ran for two seasons on ABC, then went to Toon Disney for part of the 2000s, before vanishing from the air entirely. Since Disney’s (unfortunately) reluctant about releasing its older animated TV programs to DVD/Netflix/etc., there’s currently no (legal) way to view the show. Still, the show’s website (in all its Flash-based, 2002-era glory) is still up, which has some brief episode clips.
The series’ opening is available on YouTube:
Crandall’s voice actor is Spencer Breslin. Rope Lad and Skate Girl both share the same voice actress, Alanna Ubacha. Ubacha is an actress who’s done some other voice work, as well as star in the movie “Meet the Fockers.” The Governor’s voice is by comedian Martin Mull (the principal on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”).