L-r: Modo, Throttle, Vinnie. From a video cover.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: New World Entertainment
Created by: Rick Ungar
First Appeared: 1993
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Biker Mice from Mars follows the tradition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The most obvious point of similarity is that they give an impression of something thought up late at night, when people are competing to compose the most outlandish title, then construct a series to fit it. But a more important one is that they're funny animals with a violent edge to their humor. In fact, the three main biker mice …

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… appear to have grievous violence in their background. There was an incident at one time in which Throttle, the leader, was nearly blinded; Modo, strong but gentle, lost an arm (and that's also probably where he got his eye patch); and Vinnie, who thinks he's good with the ladies, got half his face burned off.

They were survivors of an invasion of Mars from the planet Plutark. which needed Mars's natural resources because they'd squandered all their own. They hadn't chosen Earth as their destination when escaping the Plutarkians. but it's just as well they crash-landed near Chicago, because the Plutarkians had designs on Earth's resources too. In fact, the main villain, Lawrence Limburger, was an advance agent from Plutark. masquerading as a human industrialist.

The martians only resembled mice, of course — and even that went only so far. For example, they were the size of humans. And just to show they were strange, alien creatures, they had antennae like Dodo the Kid from Outer Space or the King of the Pollywogs. They did have a human cohort, a mechanic named Charlene, or Charley, whose shop, The Last Chance Garage, kept their vehicles in repair and served as their headquarters. Dedicated to the principle that there are three things you can count on, your brains, your bros and your bikes, the three waged a constant battle to save Earth from the evil plots of Lawrence Limburger (whose skyscraper headquarters, by the way, they repeatedly demolished, only to see it renewed without comment in each fresh episode).

Biker Mice from Mars was the creation of animation writer and executive Rick Ungar, who worked on cartoons based on Marvel Comics, such as Iron Man and Fantastic Four, before launching this one in 1993. The producer was New World Entertainment, which had previously done live-action versions of The Punisher and Brenda Starr. 65 episodes were made, spread out over three seasons.

Throttle's, Modo's and Vinnie's voices were done by Rob Paulsen (Yakko Warner), Dorian Harewood (Martian Manhunter in 21st century Batman) and Ian Ziering (Harry Osborn in Spider-Man), respectively. Charley's was Leeza Miller McGee (Wendigo in The Hulk). Lawrence Limburger was William Morgan Sheppard (minor voices in Justice League animation and Disney's Gargoyles).

The series was turned into a three-issue comic book series by Marvel. It was also revived as animation in 2006, but the new version, while a going concern in Europe and elsewhere, hasn't been aired yet in America. The storyline takes a new turn, with the protagonists defending their assets against feline-like aliens called Catatonians — showing wrecking Lawrence Limburger's building isn't all they can do.


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Text ©2008 Donald D. Markstein. Art © New World Entertainment.