Hanna-Barbera started operation in 1957, with animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The outfit quickly became the top creator of television cartoons in America. Its most famous creations include many of the most beloved cartoons in American history, including The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons, The Smurfs, and many more.
On top of these landmark cartoons, Hanna-Barbera also dabbled in fantasy, science fiction, and superhero cartoons of its own creation. Among these are extremely recognizable characters and a few that history has since forgotten. With over 60 years of animation history, there were so many to pick from, but we've taken a shot at ranking the most powerful Hanna-Barbera characters ever.
Popeye the Sailor initially saw life in 1929, in a comic book strip created by Elzie Crisler Segar. He ended up in movie shorts thanks to Fleischer Studios. In 1978, Hanna-Barbera picked up the rights to the sailor and began broadcasting The All-New Popeye Hour on Saturday mornings. They also produced two more shows based on Popeye in the 1980s.
Popeye the Sailor gained immense strength by eating his spinach. One of the main plotlines has Bluto wanting Popeye's girl Olive Oyl and Popeye needing his spinach to stand up to the much larger bully. The spinach gives him almost immeasurable strength.
9 BLUE FALCON AND DYNOMUTT
In 1976, Hanna-Barbera introduced a new superhero in the cartoon Dynomutt, Dog Wonder. The hero was the Blue Falcon and Dynomutt was his sidekick. These cartoons were originally part of The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour. This pairing allowed the superhero duo to interact with Scooby and the gang, as Scooby was a massive fan of Dynomutt.
Blue Falcon is based on Batman (he's also a millionaire superhero who fights crime) and Dynomutt is his mechanical robot dog. While Blue Falcon is an experienced and powerful hero thanks to his gadgets, Dynomutt often blunders around, his transistors able to do anything but often malfunctioning.
8 ATOM ANT
Atom Ant is a Hanna-Barbera character who has almost been forgotten. The pint-sized hero originally appeared in The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show from 1965 to 1967 on Saturday morning television. Secret Squirrel was a secret agent (Agent 000), while Atom Ant was the hero of an anthill in the country.
Atom Ant has super strength, invulnerability, the ability to fly and super speed. The police often call on him to help them catch bad guys (who often parody Batman antagonists). His main enemy is the Ferocious Flea, and he usually starts off his mission by yelling "Up and at 'em, Atom Ant." He should not be confused with 1980s new wave music star Adam Ant.
7 HARVEY BIRDMAN
Most people today know all about Harvey Birdman thanks to his TV show on Adult Swim, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. As a matter of fact, that show brought many Hanna-Barbera characters back to the public consciousness years after they fell to the sands of time. However, before Harvey was an attorney, he was a superhero.
In 1967, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio premiered on NBC on Saturday mornings. The cartoon had Birdman leading a team that included Avenger, Falcon 7, and Birdboy against villains that included Number One. Birdman had powers given to him by the sun god Ra, which allowed him to shoot solar rays and create a solar-powered shield.
6 THE IMPOSSIBLES
In 1966, Hanna-Barbera produced a new superhero team in the cartoon Frankenstein, Jr. and the Impossibles. Each episode had a Frankenstein, Jr. cartoon and two Impossibles episodes. It only lasted two seasons, because this was an era where parents protested violence in children's television programming.
The Impossibles were rock and roll musicians who were also superheroes. Coil Man could use his arms and legs like springs, Fluid Man could turn himself into liquid form, and Multi-Man could create numerous duplicates of himself, which were mostly used as decoys. Their powers were later given to members of the Super Globetrotters in 1979.
5 SPACE GHOST
Space Ghost is another Hanna-Barbera character that became even more popular when he was reintroduced years later on the Cartoon Network (and later on Adult Swim). Of course, he became extremely popular on Space Ghost Coast to Coast, as a talk show host whose band leader happened to be his enemy on his original cartoon.
That was Space Ghost and Dino Boy in 1966. In 1981, Space Ghost was back in Space Stars and then Space Ghost Coast to Coast in 1994. Interestingly, DC added Space Ghost to their line and debuted him in comic books. His powers included super strength, flight, invisibility, force field generation, and wristbands that allow him to project energy.
4 MIGHTY MIGHTOR
In 1967, Hanna-Barbera released a cartoon called Moby Dick and Mighty Mightor. The episodes started with the Mightor stories and then the Moby Dick stories came second. When it comes to Mightor, a young caveman named Tor saves an ancient hermit who rewards him with a club that turns Tor into Mightor and his pet into a fire-breathing dragon.
The Mighty Mightor has superhuman strength, invulnerability, flight, and super speed. He can also use his club as a weapon, as it shoots rays, fire, x-ray beams, powerful winds, and tractor beams. Mightor uses his powers to protect his village from evil villains.
3 THE POWERPUFF GIRLS
The Powerpuff Girls started under the banner of Hanna-Barbera for the show's first four seasons, before moving to the Cartoon Network. Created by Craig McCracken, the superhero show centered on three young kindergarten girls named Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup.
They live with their father, a scientist named Professor Utonium, who actually created them when trying to create a perfect little girl using "sugar, spice and everything nice." He inadvertently created girls with superhuman strength and speed, invulnerability, flight, x-ray vision, and more. Their powers were strong enough to beat all their villains -- including Mojo Jojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins, and Princess Morbucks-- despite their small size.
2 CAPTAIN PLANET
Created in 1990, Captain Planet and the Planeteers was a superhero cartoon that dealt with environmental awareness and fighting to protect the planet itself. Much like the Power Rangers, Captain Planet himself was a combination of five individual heroes who could combine and power-up to stop the ultimate evil.
Kwame possessed the powers of the earth and was the leader. Wheeler controlled fire, Linka controlled the wind, Gi controlled water, and Ma-Ti controlled the power of kindness. From all over the world (Ghana, New York, the Soviet Union, Asia, Brazil), they combined to create a hero that had all the powers of the planet.
In 1978, Hanna-Barbera brought one of the most famous monsters in movie history to the small screen, for a Saturday morning cartoon called The Godzilla Power Hour. It saw the monstrous Godzilla teaming up with the crew of a research ship to battle evil. It sounds ridiculous, but it worked, thanks partially to the young dinosaur that the crew adopted -- Godzooky, Godzilla's nephew (based loosely on Minilla from the movies).
Even with the silly premise, Godzilla was still Godzilla. He was giant and could defeat other monsters. He could breathe fire (instead of atomic energy). He could shoot laser beams from his eyes. When it comes to Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, none are as powerful as Godzilla, King of the Monsters.