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Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite
Rise and Fall of the 80's Toon Empire: A Behind the Scenes Look at When He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers Ruled The Airwaves by Jason Waguespack takes you into the world of all of the most popular cartoons of the 80's. Many of these cartoons changed the landscape of young pop culture forever and still remain a part of that culture today to some extent. This book delves into the empire that was built, looking at the inspiration that created these iconic shows and just what it took to build the empire. A path that will follow the highs of this empire and the eventually crashing low.
As someone who grew up watching all of the fantastic cartoons of the boom, Transformers, GI Joe, Jem and so many more, I was really excited to have the chance to read this book. I love an insider's look and let me say that this one, for me, was a big eye opener. I had no idea how little (if anything at all) the TV stations actually paid for these fantastic cartoons. I have to thank author Jason Waguespack for making me feel nostalgic while reading, but also for opening my eyes as well. There is no doubt that without these cartoons from the 80's, our pop culture landscape would look so much different. For one thing, we would not have some of the hugely successful movie franchises that we have now.
Jason Waguespack is right when he observes that the toon empire, as it was known in the 80's, crashed, but I personally feel that it also rose from the ashes in another form. Without these cartoons, we wouldn't have their big screen counterparts today. Some of those incarnations have been fantastic and some have fallen a little short. This book is well written and clearly well researched. I highly recommend giving this a read if you are interested in a behind the scenes look at some of the best cartoons that were ever made. It will give you a different view on them and, if you're like me, will make you appreciate them even more.