Starting in May, DC Entertainment is rolling out a series of revamped Hanna-Barbera titles including The Flintstones, Scooby Doo and Jonny Quest.
Jackson native Evan "Doc" Shaner is the artist for the series "Future Quest," which brings the likes of Space Ghost, Jonny Quest and Hadji together.
Shaner, a Jackson High alumnus, is working on the series with frequent co-collaborators writer Jeff Parker and colorist Jordie Bellaire. The trio worked together on DC Comics "Convergence: Shazam" and Image Comics' "Flash Gordon."
"It could be a daunting project, but now that we've all worked together before on some big stuff, it makes it easier," Parker said in a phone interview Thursday, April 28. "I would not want to take on a project of this magnitude without a Doc Shaner or Jordie Bellaire attached to it.
"You kind of want to go into battle with your proven troops."
Shaner, Parker and Bellaire received high praise for their work on the Flash Gordon series, with Comic Book Resources ranking it No. 31 on its top 100 comic books of 2014.
One of the best aspects of working with familiar faces is that when one of them has an idea, the team finds a way to make it happen, Parker said.
The writer, known for his work on "Batman '66," "Flash Gordon" and more, said Shaner wouldn't stop drawing the character Dino Boy from "Space Ghost." While that character wasn't included in early pitches, Parker, Shaner and Bellaire found a way to make it happen.
"It wasn't so much that I fought for it," Shaner said during the phone interview Thursday. "My daughter and I had been watching Space Ghost cartoons and Dino Boy, who is the middle cartoon, is just something she took to hard.
"That's why I kind of pushed and just kept coming back to drawing Dino Boy. Everything I make is because of my daughter."
Parker added that he sometimes switches Jonny Quest with his own 11-year-old son.
"It's a weird little exercise that comes in handy," he said. "Jonny and Hadji are around 11 and 12 years old, and if you ever hang around kids that age, it'll make you go, 'Whoa, that was some big, heavy danger.'"
"Future Quest" features new stories with Jonny Quest and his partner Hadji. While Jonny and Hadji have been a duo since 1964, Shaner and Parker is infusing the crew with new stories featuring some of Hanna-Barbera's most recognizable villains.
Making Jonny Quest the anchor of the book made incorporating an array of characters a much easier task, Shaner said.
"For me, it's just about being able to draw these characters and use a lot of the original flavor," Shaner said. "You see enough people draw -- and not that there's an absolute way to draw a character -- but people would draw Space Ghost with this thin neck. Think of him as Batman without little ears, and also, you wouldn't give Batman a scrawny neck.
"I love drawing this type of stuff; Space Ghost has a giant chin, just go for it."
You know it's Space Ghost just by looking at one of Shaner's silhouettes of the character, Parker said.
"Even if it's just a guy in a cape, you know it's that character," Parker said. "That's where the design all comes in."
"Future Quest" No. 1 hits shelves May 18. For more information on the upcoming Hanna-Barbera titles, head to the website.
Shaner graduated from Jackson High School in 2003 and went on to get a degree from Central Michigan University. His father, Joel Shaner, is Jackson High's instrumental music teacher.
He signed an exclusive deal with DC Comics in March, in a move that will keep him with the company for the foreseeable future.
"In reviewing his concepts and character sketches for "Future Quest," it reminded me of some of the classic animation and comic artists of the past, like Alex Toth and Milton Caniff," DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee said in a past press release. "It was a perfect fit for this title, and I can't wait to see him bring his talents to more DC and Vertigo titles in the future."
As for some of the other Hanna-Barbera revamps, "Scooby Doo" is getting a makeover in "Scooby Apocalypse" from artist Jim Lee, writer Keith Giffen and Howard Potter. The group of Velma, Freddie, Scooby, Shaggy and Daphne get a new "contemporary" look in this story.
Artist Amanda Conner and writer Mark Russell are bringing "The Flintstones" back to life, while writer Ken Pontac, and artists Leonardo Manco and Mark Sexton are handling the "Wacky Raceland" series.