In September 1983, Dungeons & Dragons leapt off the game board and into the world of syndicated animation with a brand-new Saturday morning cartoon.
A joint venture between Marvel Productions, original game publisher TSR, Inc., and Japan’s Toei Animation, the series follows a group of six friends who are transported into the magical world of Dungeons & Dragons during a trip to the amusement park. Each episode follows their experiences as they attempt to thwart the schemes of an evil wizard and find a way home with the help of the Dungeon Master. Featuring the voice talent of Willie Aames, Don Most, Tonia Gayle Smith, Adam Rich, Katie Leigh, Teddy Field III, Sidney Miller, Bob Holt, Diane Pershing, Peter Cullen, and Frank Welker, Dungeons & Dragons ran for three seasons and 27 episodes until its conclusion in December 1985.
During its initial run on CBS, the show was a hit and even led its time slot for a full two years. In the decades since its conclusion, the series has gone on to amass a large following and is now considered by many to be one of the very best animated television properties of its era.
In celebration of the show’s 40th anniversary, Hasbro has announced the brand new Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics action figure line. The surprise unveiling last month during the Target Fall Geek-Out online event revealed everyone’s favourite characters from the classic cartoon brought to life as never before, with premium decos, designs, and a selection of character-specific accessories. Each figure will be crafted in six-inch scale, feature a wide range of articulation for multiple posing options, and include a unique multi-sided die to build an exclusive Dungeons & Dragons dice set. Additionally, each will be encased in Hasbro’s new plastic-free packaging, which was unveiled this past July at San Diego Comic-Con.
The first wave of figures will include:
Diana The Acrobat: A fearless adventurer known for her speed, reflexes and agility, Diana is a skilled unarmed combatant praised for leadership and athletic abilities. Tomboyish and exceptionally fit, she wields an unbreakable staff in battle and adorns herself with plenty of gold paraphernalia. This figure will come complete with both static and “in motion” versions of her staff from the cartoon. A D20 die will also be included.
Hank The Ranger: A natural leader and the oldest member of the party, Hank is known for his ability to maintain strict focus and determination even in the most dangerous circumstances. As a Ranger, he is equipped with a magical longbow that shoots arrows of glowing energy. These can be used not only as weapons but also as different tools or sources of light. His deepest fear is not being the sort of leader that his friends need in their quest to return home. Hasbro’s new Hank figure will come complete with two different versions of his iconic longbow and a special D8 die.
Bobby The Barbarian: The youngest member of the party, Bobby is impulsive and ready to charge headlong into battle on the slightest whim, even against physically superior foes. He has a close friendship with Uni, a young unicorn. Bobby carries a club that he can use to trigger earthquakes or dislodge large rocks. He holds the deepest hatred toward the wizard, Venger, whose actions hurt those whom he cares about the most. This figure comes complete with his trademark club, a Uni figurine, and an exclusive D12 die.
Dungeon Master & Venger: The final figures of the first Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics assortment will be a two-pack featuring the Dungeon Master and Venger The Wizard. While the Dungeon Master acts as a guide to lead the friends back home to the real world, Venger is the main antagonist. Known for his shape-shifting abilities and legendary mood swings, Venger is one bad dude through and through. This two-pack will come complete with interchangeable hands and an exclusive percentile die and giant D20.
Hasbro is expected to announce new additions to the line soon, such as Eric The Cavalier, Presto The Magician, Sheila The Thief, and others.
When Hasbro first announced these new figures on September 23rd, they were made available for pre-order through both Hasbro Pulse and Target. Pre-orders have now expanded through other select in-store and online retailers. Collectors and fans can expect to pay $24.99 USD for the single-carded figures of Diana, Hank and Bobby. Meanwhile, the Target-exclusive Dungeon Master & Venger two-pack is priced at $49.99 USD — and selling fast, from what we hear!
So, will you be adding the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics to your collection?
Given the affection many have for this series, as well as the recent resurgence of the brand in mainstream popular culture thanks to shows like Community, Stranger Things, and The Big Bang Theory, I do not doubt that these new figures will be flying off store shelves before long.
Better grab your Bag Of Tricks and a Cloak Of Protection, collector: this quest has only just begun!
Look for the first wave of Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics to begin showing up in January 2023.