LONG ISLAND NEWSDAY
This fall, Bugs Bunny goes from pesky cottontail to tail-kicking superhero.
In "Loonatics Unleashed," a new animated series that will debut on The WB network, the descendants of five other well-known animated characters join Bugs' progeny, Ace Bunny, on a team of heroes protecting Earth, circa 2772.
In this dark future, Ace, Danger Duck, Tech E. Coyote, Lexi Bunny, Rev Runner and Spaz B. Wilde are imbued with powers based on the personalities and abilities of their ancestors. Rev Runner, for instance, has the super-speed of the Road Runner while Spaz B. Wilde has the frenetic whirlwind strength implied by the Tasmanian Devil's antics.
Warner Bros., which along with the Tribune Co. (Newsday's parent) owns The WB and developed the original characters, had planned to give the Loonatics a harder visual look, but its original designs, unveiled in February, caused a stir among fans.
Thomas Adams, an 11-year-old from Tulsa, even created a Web site, www.saveourlooneytunes.com, and collected more than 195,000 online signatures protesting the characters' dark looks.
"You wouldn't change the Mona Lisa. So leave our classic Looney Tunes characters alone," the fifth-grader wrote.
In recognition of the protest, The WB promised to review its designs and the final look of the Loonatics, according to a press release.