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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #167

To conclude the Anthropomorphism Retrospective, I bring you a group of characters you’ve probably never even heard of. And no, it isn’t Brute Force. (Don’t forget to peruse the archive! I actually keep it updated, now. *gasp*)

6/16/07

167. Conservation Corps

Conservation Corps 1.jpg

Here’s an obscure one. As far as I can tell, The Conservation Corps, created by Dan Nakrosis and Paul Castiglia, only had four appearances. I own three of ‘em. Their debut was in a crossover special with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. All of their adventures were published by Archie in the early ’90s. And, to answer your question, yes– they were as awesome as they look.

The team consisted of animals that were mutated by aliens into anthropomorphic super-heroes tasked with saving the environment. It sounds cheesy, and it was– gloriously so. You had Stone Hedgehog, with earth powers; Water Buffalo, with, naturally, aqua-powers; Firefly, with flame-y abilities; and Greenhorn, a rhino with plant power! In the second issue of their mini-series, they met their sister, Skyshark, who had dominion over the air and winds. Together, they taught about protecting the Earth’s ecology, and fought robots and evil aliens who wanted to mine and pollute, and also a giant oil-covered duck monster that was also a cyborg. Also? Radioactive living dinosaur skeletons. No foolin.’ That story ended on a cliffhanger, enticing readers to write in to demand a conclusion, but I don’t think anything ever came of it. Shame.

Image time!

Conservation Corps 2.jpgConservation Corps 3.jpg

Conservation Corps 8.JPGConservation Corps 9.JPG

Conservation Corps 4.jpgConservation Corps 10.JPG

My favorite aspect of this comic was how kid-friendly it was. Sure, the stories were easy and fun and “safe” and the art was delightfully cartoony, but that wasn’t all. The back pages were filled with fun extras, including letter pages and contests and special offers and gorgeous pin-ups from comic greats like Stan Sakai, Scott Shaw!, Kevin Eastman, Joe Staton, Fred Hembeck, and Eric Shanower. But the greatest part was the Fan Art page, where the kids got to submit their own pieces for publication. The story and characters must’ve captured their hearts well enough for them to draw their own material! Feast on some cool kid art (as always, click to enlarge):

Conservation Corps 5.JPGConservation Corps 6.JPGConservation Corps 7.JPG

Another great fact? The book was printed on 100% recycled paper with soy ink! Haha! Saving the environment, one comic at a time.

And that’s all I have, really. The series was short-lived and simple, but it had a good message and was made with a lot of love, and that’s what counts. Anyone else remember these characters?

So– what have the funny animals taught us? If anything, they’ve shown the world that animals are people too, and deserve our love and respect. Putting animals in humanoid form has lead to some really cute, fun comics material, and produced some fantastic ideas and exciting merchandise. They can be used to comment on the human experience, satirize social situations, or simply entertain children and adults. God bless anthropomorphism.

9 Comments

How amazing is anthropomorphism? It can even make the Captain Planet concept look (sort of) cool.

Shame this concept never took off; the radioactive living dinosaur skeletons alone would’ve turned my nephew into a devoted comics fan for life.

Well, I made it 167 days before this column came up with something I had never heard of before. Not bad.

Am I the only one who this piece stumped?

Andrew Collins

June 16, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Nope. This was a new one to me too. Not bad, just not one I was familiar with.

I really wish I wasn’t familiar with this comic book. :)

Sadly, I remember the Archie “Adventure Series” line. A lot of folks thought that they had “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1.” ;)

Sadly I still have a copy of TMNT/Conservation Corps due to my unwillingness to throw anything away.

The Kirbydotter

June 17, 2007 at 7:11 am

I never heard of it either!
Altought the ideas behind it was cool and the fact that they even went to the length of printing it in an ecological manner, I can understand why it didn’t last.

Just start on the cover. That logo is pretty lame and boring. The art is not exciting. I know we can’t all be Carl Barks or Scott Shaw! but the art on Conservation COrps is on high school cartoonist level.

Too bad because the concept was interesting.

Damn, I thought Sonic the Hedgehog would be here.

You had me at “Stone Hedgehog,” and you sold me completely at “Greenhorn.”

I don’t understand how Firefly works, though. If he’s meant to be a bug, where are his wings? Or, did they burn off?

I was stumped that I actually do sorta remember them. You’ve got some memory Bill, I’m pretty sure I had that TMNT crossover too, how else can these guys look so familiair?

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