Growing up there were so many cool cartoons. One that always caught this Dorks attention, and remains one of the lesser followed/known is the Spiral Zone. Airing in 1987-88, Spiral Zone was the Trademarked to Tonka toys and ran for 65 episodes. In the end, the series was a financial flop on the part of Tonka, so it appeared they never wanted the light of day to shine upon this great creation ever again. Until recently, the only episodes available for viewing was a small collection of 6 episodes released on VHS by Tonka. Well one man’s love for the series and his shear tenacity shined through to provide a new 8 disc DVD set collecting all of the original episodes!
Now, down to business. Like all other cartoons of this genre there was a traditional good vs. evil, but the entire plot was a much more dark and dismal. In a nutshell we have the bad guy, Overlord, a deranged manic bent on world domination. Overlord, accompanied by his minions called the Black Widows, planted a series of Zone Generators around the world’s most populated areas. When the generators are activated, all of the people succumb to the zone and are turned to zombie like slaves of the Black Widows. So of course, the Widows equip the slaves with weapons and use them as an army. To add to the effect, the zone causes these icky orange lesions on the skin of the slaves…yeah, that’s great!
Now, enter our heroes, the Spiral Zone Riders! These men and women are not your garden variety military; they are the cream of the crop…The Earth’s most Powerful Solders. Led by Commander Dirk Courage, the Riders are equipped with special suits that protect them from the effects of the zone generators. They also have a large assortment of great vehicles and funky backpacks that make them a virtual power house. So the series is based around the Zone Riders slowly trying to enter new zone territories and destroy the generators without being killed by the Black Widows. All the while, Overlord is trying to create new zones and plant a larger foothold on the Earth.
My take…great idea, typical 80’s cartoon execution…now available again for your viewing pleasure. For your reading pleasure, DC Comics had a short 4 issue run of the comic around the time of the series as well…and just in case you get all into this great classic, Tonka released a full line of 10 inch action figures and vehicles around the series. For the time, these figures were some of the best, and I would know this cause I still have four of them in my collection.
This Universal Dork encourages anyone who is interested in this series to visit the www.SPIRAL-ZONE.com to learn more.