Monday, August 23, 2010

The Red Panda

I like comic books and podcasts.  Having not been around during the old time radio show heyday, comic books and podcasts are my closest points of reference to Decoder Ring Theatre's Red Panda podcast [1].

The show is set in 1940s Toronto, where the Red Panda is a hypnotist superhero in the Batman sense--no super powers, but intense training and gadgets.  He and his sidekick, the Flying Squirrel, fight crime and goofily named villains [2]. 

I didn't expect to get hooked on this series--I thought it would be too cheesy, with its playboy vigilante, wacky gadgets, extra-thick accents, running gags and catchphrases, and elements borrowed from scifi and fantasy genres.  But the cheese is part of the fun. 

The voice acting is great, too.  A cast reads for the different characters, so it's easy to get into the story.  I'll confess it took some time to get used to The Flying Squirrel's accent, but she quickly became my favorite character, making her high-pitched nasal voice more charming than annoying.

Creator, scriptwriter, and voice of the Red Panda, Gregg Taylor, has also written a couple of books featuring his crime fighting duo.  We have one of these, Tales of the Red Panda: The Crime Cabal [3], in our collection.  If you haven't heard the show, this book still provides a good introduction to the main characters, as well as the many villains who've teamed up to become the Crime Cabal to rid Toronto of its masked crusaders.

1. Decoder Ring Theatre's Red Panda Adventures podcast
Decoder Ring Theater home page

2. Red Panda villains

3. Check out Tales of the Red Panda: The Crime Cabal from our collection

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