CAVE KIDSMedium: Comic books
Licensed from: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1962
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The "caveman" setting has been popular among cartoonists since before B.C., Alley Oop or even Our Antediluvian Ancestors. But once The Flintstones got well established, it seems almost as if Hanna-Barbera has the franchise on cavemen. When their Cave Kids debuted in the early 1960s, there was a general impression that it was a Flintstones spin-off despite the fact that it didn't have a
single character in common with the older series until Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm joined the cast a couple of years later. All it got from that source was its "modern stone age" setting, which included prehistoric animals filling in for 20th century devices the way they did in The Flintstones (in a schtick borrowed from the old Max Fleischer "Stone Age" cartoons) and the habit of using words related to "rock" or "stone" in personal or place names.
Cave Kids was the Hanna-Barbera equivalent of Bucky Bug, the first Disney star to debut in comics rather than animation. In Disney's case, Bucky was followed up by Uncle Scrooge, Merry Menagerie, Moby Duck and any number of other properties that started out in comics, but Hanna-Barbera had less of a comics presence all along, and never did develop a stable of characters from that medium.
This bunch never was animated at all. The animated Cave Kids series, which came along decades later, starred Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm from the beginning, and was otherwise unrelated to this one. It's easy to get an impression they were the studio's most obscure stars, but Mr. & Mrs. J. Evil Scientist (1961), who actually did make a couple of animated appearances (in supporting roles) before doing their four comics issues, easily out-obscured them.
At any rate, the kids were first seen in the back pages of Dell's Comic Album #16, dated February, 1962. A year later, Gold Key published their second appearance, Cave Kids #1 (February, 1963). They were a gang of kids in the tradition of Reg'lar Fellers, The Newsboy Legion or, more recently (and younger), Rugrats. Age-wise, they were closer to the latter than, say, the kids in Just Kids, about, say, that of the Peanuts cast.
There were about a dozen or so, including Buddy Boulder, Small Stuff and Sheepy. The inevitable genius kid who wore thick glasses was Izzy Einstone. Gypsy Crystal carried a transparent ball around all the time, and used it the way fictional gypsies usually do. There was even a superhero in the gang, Rocky Ranger, who wore a mask as he busied himself doing good deeds. Rocky rode around on a Flappysaurus, a flying dinosaur apparently not known to modern science, which didn't look very much like a pterodactyl.
As a modern stone age kid gang, Cave Kids staggered along for a few years, averaging an issue every three months or so, 16 in all. Other Hanna-Barbera characters, such as Wally Gator or The Gruesomes, appeared in the back pages. Space Kidettes made their only comics appearance there and on the cover, in the final issue, which was dated March, 1967.