Friday, November 25, 2011

The Road To El Dorado

My first encounter with the DC family of heroes was through two mediums (both television based); the Superman series of feature films and the Super Friends cartoons. Both were worthy in their portrayal of the DC mythology and represented well the super heroes we know and love today. There were so many things to love about the shows I mentioned that can never be replicated. For example, there will never be another real-life Superman like the one acted out by (Mr. Christopher Reeves). For another, Batman (of the Super Friends series) was actually voiced by Adam West, at one point in time.

Like I was saying, the Super Friends series of cartoons of the 1980s was one of the starting points towards my love of action figures, super heroes, and DC Comics in general - great story line complimented by great characters. However, it was unfortunate to note that some of the characters showcased in this cartoon series never really made it out alive (for lack of a better word). El Dorado is one example.

In 1981, before the release of the well-loved Disney animated movie of the same name, there was an ethic, obviously mocha-toned superhero named El Dorado.

El Dorado was created only for the Super Friends cartoons and has never appeared in a single DC Comic. The starring role that he played in was for Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show as a full-time member. El Dorado, a Latino, was added to the roster of characters in the cartoon for the sole purpose of injecting diversity into the show's overall theme. To say that his character appeared rather stereotypical was like saying you didn't realize we was different from the rest of the Super Friends. El Dorado spoke English with an accent, and was prone to replacing the word "yes" with "si".

It was later revealed through episodes that El Dorado was, in fact, Mexican. No official origin story was ever created to explain El Dorado's past or how he got his super powers, but it has been assumed that they're empowered by ancient magic and his people's warrior-spirit, from being the descendant of Ancient Aztec Sorcerers.

His most frequently used ability was teleportation, which he accomplished by wrapping his cape over his body and vanishing. Anyone or anything he wrapped his cape around could also be teleported with him and there appeared to be no limit to the distance he could travel. Another of his frequently used powers was the ability to generate illusions. These  illusions were also capable of  generating noise and could be touched. He also exhibited some degree of mental powers, including telepathy. Later episodes expanded to include super strength, flight, and the ability to make objects appear and disappear.

El Dorado was also know for his academic prowess in all things Pre-Columbian history and has assisted the Super Friends whenever they were forced to enter unfamiliar ruins or areas in Latin America

While many non-believers may have assumed that characters such as El Dorado may have faded into the recess of time and memory, some of us fan-boys never seem to truly forget or let go of the need to re-promote such images / icons of the classic past. 

While El Dorado was scheduled to be one of the few Hanna-Barbara original heroes (along with Black Vulcan and the Wonder Twins) to receive an action figure after Samurai, the Super Powers Collection line was unfortunately canceled before the figures could be made. However, El Dorado was released in Series 18 of Mattel's DC Universe Classics along with several other Super-Friends/Super-Powers themed figures. 

You can imagine my delight that knowing that the creative directors at Mattel and DC still see it fit to cast El Dorado in this, my most favorite line of action figures.

I guess we will never know what happened to El Dorado, whether he was taken back to be among his ancestors in the Aztec heavens or managing some Beverly Hills gardening-slash-pool cleaning company. The next time you open up a bag of Doritos, spare a second and a thought for the mighty El Dorado.