Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!

Infobox comics organization
name=The Zoo Crew


imagesize=
caption=Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew,
art by Scott Shaw
publisher=DC Comics
debut="New Teen Titans" #16, February 1982
creators=Roy Thomas
Scott Shaw!
base=Follywood, Califurnia (Earth-C's version of Hollywood, California)
members=Captain Carrot
Pig-Iron
Yankee Poodle
Alley-Kat-Abra
Fastback
Rubberduck
American Eagle
cat= teams
subcat=DC Comics
hero=y
villain=
sortkey=Zoo Crew|

"Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!" is a DC Comics comic book about a team of funny animal superheroes called the Zoo Crew. The characters first appeared in a special insert in "The New Teen Titans" #16 (February 1982), which was shortly followed by getting its own series, which was published from 1982 to 1983. The Zoo Crew characters were created by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw. Although the series, which was the last original funny animal property created by DC Comics, proved short-lived (lasting only 20 issues), it is still fondly remembered by many comic fans of its generation, and the characters appear occasionally in cameos in the mainstream DC Universe.

A "Showcase Presents" reprinting of the entire series was slated for September 2007, but has been postponed along with several other Showcase editions due to royalty issues in DC's contracts of the 1980s.

In October 2007 a three-issue series called "Captain Carrot and the Final Ark" began, featuring the Zoo Crew some time after the Teen Titans storyline.

Location

The various members of the Zoo Crew lived on a parallel Earth that, during DC's pre-Crisis multiverse system, was named "Earth-C." Earth-C consisted of a world where various anthropomorphized talking animals existed; the series featured a lot of pun names for real-world aspects. For instance, the Zoo Crew operated out of "Follywood, Califurnia," a parody of Hollywood, California; similar puns included places with names such as "Gnu York" (New York City), "Tallahatchee" (Tallahassee, Florida), "Cornada" (Canada), and the "United Species of America" (United States of America).

The president of Earth-C's version of the U.S. was "Mallard Fillmore" (a reference to 19th century U.S. president Millard Fillmore); other famous figures of Earth-C included "Liz Whaler" (Elizabeth Taylor), "Marlin Brando" (Marlon Brando), and "Byrd Rentals" (Burt Reynolds)---the last of whom became a member of the Zoo Crew.

Historical figures and events on Earth-C included the "Second Weird War" (World War II; Earth-C's version featured the U.S. and the Allies fighting the "Ratzis" (Nazis) and President "Abraham Linkidd" (a goat, Earth-C's version of Abraham Lincoln), who was immortalized in the nation's capital "Waspington, D.C." (Washington, D.C.) at the "Linkidd Memorial."

Earth-C's population also consisted of the various "funny animal" characters that appeared in DC Comics over the years, particularly those in such Golden Age and Silver Age DC titles as "Funny Stuff," "The Dodo and the Frog", "Real Screen Comics," and so forth. Indeed, several characters from these series made cameos during the run of "Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew".

Eventually, readers (and the Zoo Crew) were introduced to the parallel Earth of "Earth-C-Minus," which turned out to be the home of "Just'a Lotta Animals" (a parody of the Justice League of America) and whose world was an all-animal reflection of the mainstream DC Universe.

After the 1985 miniseries "Crisis on Infinite Earths", it was stated that Earth-C and Earth-C-Minus were actually "alternate dimensions" rather than parallel Earths, and thus were spared from the effects of "Crisis". [Comic book reference | writer=Mougin, Lou, Waid, Mark | penciller=Pérez, George | title=Official Crisis on Infinite Earths Index | volume=1 | issue=1 | date=March, 1986 | publisher=Eclipse Comics/Independent Comics ] More recently, the miniseries "The Kingdom" presented Earth-C as a Hypertime reality. In the current series, "Countdown", the Monitors include one who has a neck and head that appears to resemble a giraffe's. There is an equivalent of Earth-C in the newly reestablished DC Multiverse, designated "Earth 26", with a history and population similar to that of the Pre-Crisis Earth-C.

Origin

The origin of the team came about when Superman was investigating a strange phenomenon causing the citizens of Metropolis to begin acting like their primate ancestors. He soon found a ray streaking at him from a strange barrier surrounding the Earth, which prompted him to use a meteorite as protection. When the ray struck the meteorite, Superman and the meteor's fragments were sent from Superman's native dimension into Earth-C. There, Superman met several of the world's residents, who had gained superpowers when they were struck by the various meteor fragments.

The animals and Superman soon teamed up to stop the source of the ray (which was also causing the denizens of Earth-C to behave like their non-anthropomorized animal ancestors), which turned out to be the old Justice League villain Starro, a sentient starfish, who was launching his de-evolution assault from the Earth-C universe's Pluto. After defeating the villain, the animals decided to stick together and form the Zoo Crew, and Superman returned home.

Zoo Crew reunited

In "Teen Titans" vol.3, #30-31 (December 2005-January 2006), the Zoo Crew made their first return appearance in some time, in stories presented as excerpts from a comic book story—"Whatever Happened to Captain Carrot?"—that Kid Devil reads in #30. In these excerpts, the Zoo Crew is shown to have mostly disbanded and now live in a "darker" world than in their prior adventures. Little Cheese has been killed, Fastback has disappeared, Captain Carrot is in self-imposed retirement after the death of his partner, Carrie Carrot, the secret identities of Alley-Kat-Abra and Yankee Poodle are now public knowledge, and Pig-Iron and Rubberduck are operating as costumed heroes in secret. The story is a parody of the grim and gritty trend most often identified with late 1980s to early 1990s superhero comics, and it includes references to several of DC's own series (such as "" and "Watchmen", including the cover of the "Captain Carrot" comic which bears a resemblance to the cover of "Watchmen" #1). In the end, after sending Alley-Kat-Abra (actually, her impersonator, "Dark Alley") to prison for murdering Little Cheese (her motive revealed to be simply that cats hate mice), Captain Carrot and the remaining Zoo Crew members return to action with a new member, the American Eagle, on their way to retrieve Fastback from the future (where Dark Alley had banished him).

Countdown

The Zoo Crew return in a "Countdown to Final Crisis" tie-in entitled "Captain Carrot and the Final Ark!" (October-December 2007). In the new DC Multiverse, the Zoo Crew now reside on Earth-26. They are rendered unable to use their powers due to a Collar I.D. Initiative, which requires superheroes to reveal their secret identities to the government (this is later revealed to be a sham, a way to strip heroes of their powers). Alley-Kat-Abra returns to the team, revealing that it was an evil duplicate, "Dark Alley", that had committed her crimes. The Zoo Crew face off against Starro and Rash Al Paca, who are attempting to flood the earth. The villains' plan succeeds, and the Zoo Crew have an ocean liner loaded with refugees that is transported off the planet by the Just'a Lotta Animals. The New Dogs then accidentally send the ship to New Earth via a Kaboom Tube. Hawkgirl, Zatanna and Red Arrow encounter the ship and land it safely, though all the passengers, including the Zoo Crew, are transformed into non-anthropomorphic animals.

Team Members

The members of the Zoo Crew include:
*Captain Carrot: Roger Rodney Rabbit of "Gnu York"; a rabbit. The leader of the team whose real name is Roger (or Rodney, as the latter comics named him to avoid confusion with the Disney film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit") Rabbit. He would eat one of his "cosmic carrots" (as Rodney called them), Rodney would gain superpowers for roughly 24 hours although major exertion could exhaust the powers sooner, which include super-strength, endurance, heightened hearing and vision senses and a super-powerful leap. As such, he is the only member who has to constantly replenish his powers and keeps a pair of carrots holstered on his person for such a need in emergencies. The source of these carrots was initially a windowbox which he grew carrots in, which one of the meteor fragments had struck. Later he arranged a grow-op at the team headquarters to ensure an adequate continuous supply. In his alter ego, Rodney was the writer and artist of the comic book "Just'a Lotta Animals", until its members sued for copyright violation and prevented any further reproduction of their adventures.
*Alley-Kat-Abra: Felina Furr of "Mew Orleans" (a parody of New Orleans, Louisiana); a cat. A martial arts instructor and student of the mystical arts, Felina uses her "Magic Wanda" (a magic wand) to cast various types of spells. She has a crush on Rodney/Captain Carrot, and was relieved to see Wonder Wabbit (of Earth C-Minus) return to her own world due to her attraction to him. She was imprisoned by Feline Faust, unknown to her team mates, during which time an evil counterpart, "Dark Alley," murdered Little Cheese while masquerading as her.
*Pig-Iron: Peter Porkchops of "Piggsburgh" (a parody of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania); a pig. Struck by a meteor fragment, the diminutive Peter fell (along with the meteorite) into a vat of molten metal in the steel mill where he worked. The consequent chemical reaction transformed his now-enormous body into living steel, with strength and invulnerability to match. Peter was originally a character from an earlier series of DC "funny animal" comics. Pig-Iron was also nicknamed the "Swine of Steel" and "Porcine Powerhouse".
*Rubberduck: Byrd Rentals of "Follywood, Califurnia" (a parody of Hollywood, California); a duck. Byrd, a movie star, was given the power to stretch his body into any shape and length when a meteor fragment struck his hot tub. Byrd Rentals' name is a parody of actor Burt Reynolds. Rubberduck was also nicknamed the "Malleable Mallard."
*Yankee Poodle: Rova Barkitt, also of "Follywood"; a poodle. Rova, who worked as a gossip columnist, was interviewing Byrd when they were both struck by meteor fragments. Rova gained the ability to project a repelling force (in the form of blue stars) with one hand and an attraction force (in the form of red-and-white stripes) with the other. Rova Barkitt's name is a parody of gossip columnist Rona Barrett.
*Fastback: Timmy Joe Terrapin of the fictional "Okey-Dokey" (a parody of the Okefenokee) swamp in the American south; a turtle. While trying to catch a bus to "Kornsas City" (Kansas City, Missouri), Timmy was struck by a meteor fragment and gained the ability to move at superchelonian speed. Fastback was also nicknamed the "Reptilian Rocket." Timmy Joe is not the first superspeedster in his family. His uncle Merton McSnurtle was secretly The Terrific Whatzit, a crime fighter during the Second Weird War. One issue mentions McSnutle's participation in "Operation Overlard". (Battle of Normandy)
*Little Cheese: Chester Cheese, a student at Follywood High School; a mouse. Chester had the ability to shrink from the comparable size of his teammates to a size of only a few centimeters, and was the only team member to not gain his powers from a meteor fragment (rather, he gained them from eating a piece of experimental cheese brought back from Earth-C's moon), and thus the first non-founding member. He soon revealed his secret identity to the public and left the Crew to become a lawyer. "Dark Alley", an evil counterpart of Alley-Kat-Abra, later killed him. Little Cheese is also noteworthy for being one of the earliest examples of an openly homosexual character in American comics.
*American Eagle: Replaced Little Cheese on the reconstituted Zoo Crew after the latter's death. In his civilian life, the Eagle is Johnny Jingo, "the talk radio host with two right wings." He is the only member who does not have powers, though he does use gadgets similar to those used by Batman.

In the story in "Teen Titans" vol.3, #30-31, deceased Earth-C meta-animals named (other than Little Cheese) include Carrie Carrot, Giant Giraffe, Marvel Bunny Jr., Ballistic Baboon, Snurtle McTurtle, Amazing Ant, and Power Panda. These may or may not have been former Zoo Crew teammates.

Villains

Enemies of the Zoo Crew included:
* Dr. Hoot: an owl who used various scientific gadgets to commit crimes.
* A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C.: A Cabal Recently Organized Solely To Instigate Crimes, a secretive organization that plotted to over throw the American government.
* Brother Hood: A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C.'s shadowy leader, named for his black hood. He turned out to be "Feathers" Fillmore, Mallard Fillmore's criminally adept brother.
* Cold Turkey: A turkey with weather control and "cold ray" devices; he called his hoodlums "Snowbirds."
* Jailhouse Roc: a giant flying vulture who had been in jail since the late 1950s until he was released to work for A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C.
* Digger O'Doom: a mole who gained tremendous strength after eating one of Rodney's carrots.
* Frogzilla: formerly Fennimore Frog, who was turned into a giant frog by A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C. as a means of seeking revenge against his old foe, Dunbar Dodo. Both Fennimore and Dunbar originally appeared in DC's "funny animal" title "The Dodo and the Frog".
* Feline Faust: a cat sorcerer from Earth-C-Minus, and a counterpart of DC Comics villain Felix Faust. His servitor, "Dark Alley", later killed Little Cheese and framed Alley-Kat-Abra for the crime.
* Gorilla Grodd: The brilliant, mind-controlling gorilla once transported himself to Earth-C, only to be defeated by the Zoo Crew.
* Armordillo: A villain from the Lone Stork State of Taxes with "nine-banded armor" and razor-sharp claws.
* Kongaroo: A massive kangaroo from Australia who was transformed into a giant by A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C.
* King Kone: Garrison Gorrilla, a disgruntled ex-employee ape of the Basset & Robins ice cream company who wore a refrigerated suit (a la Mr. Freeze), equipped with a gun that projected destructive blasts of ice cream.
* The Time-Keeper: A rotund bear who collected great moments from history, disrupting the normal flow of time on Earth-C. His time-control powers were considerable; he proved capable of aging or infantizing others at will, and transporting others through space and time. He attempted to pursue Alley-Kat Abra romantically.
* Salamandroid: A heat-based villain and creation of Dr. Hoot; a member of the anti-mammal movement.
* Rash Al Paca: An Earth-26 analogue of Ra's al Ghul, he is working with the anti-mammal movement to flood the world.
* Starro: A piece of the DCU's Starfish conqueror regenerated to full-strength on the Zoo Crew's world, though his tactics were somewhat different. He was the Zoo Crew's first opponent, and most recently appeared in "Captain Carrot and the Final Ark".

Trivia

*A DC Comics character introduced in the 1990s, Stargirl, wears a costume that resembles Yankee Poodle's; Stargirl's creator, Geoff Johns, is said to be an avid fan of the Zoo Crew. In "JSA" #81, a younger Courtney is seen watching a Zoo Crew cartoon, lending credence to the theory, and later in "Teen Titans" vol.3, #30-31 (also written by Johns), Zoo Crew comics are referenced
*In "Birds of Prey" #100, kid's meal glasses featuring Zoo Crew characters are shown.
*Mike and Carole Curtis of Shanda Fantasy Arts approached DC for permission to use the Zoo Crew for their own comic, but DC refused on the policy that they never allow other companies to publish their characters. The Curtises resorted to reviving Atomic Mouse instead. In reaction to the Crew's fate in the "Countdown" mini-series, SFA has announced an upcoming "Atomic Mouse" comic book, "Atomic Mouse Meets Power Jack And The Lost Menagerie", with the participation of Zoo Crew creator Roy Thomas, where it is clearly implied that the title character will rescue a furry superhero team suffering a similar fate who will be a parody of the Zoo Crew.
*In "Superman" #668, Superman is shown with a Pig-Iron watch.
*An issue of Buzzboy features a villain named "Time-Quake, the Chrono-Duck" who bears a resemblance to Rubberduck.

References

External links

* [http://obscure.dcuguide.com/c.htm#CAPTAINCARROT Obscure DCU Guide: Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew]
* [http://www.comics-db.com/DC_Comics/C/Captain_Carrot/index.html Big Comic Book DataBase entry]
* [http://www.toonopedia.com/carrot.htm Toonopedia entry on the Zoo Crew]
* [http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=6273 Interview with series co-creator Scott Shaw! on the Zoo Crew story in "Teen Titans" (current series) #30 & #31]
* [http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/index.cgi?column=yabs&article=264 Aliens Vs. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew]


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