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How Nickelodeon Nostalgia Stole My Comic-Con

By: Zero Omega

The Annual San Diego Comic-Con International, a yearly event that showcases everything you need to know about comics, movies, and all things entertainment. A large amount of people go for the amazing announcements coming out of the famous Hall H where Marvel, DC, and other big companies have ready. Others go for the massive exhibit hall filled with comics and artists galore. Some go for pleasure, business, basically any reason under the sun you can think of. Some people don’t even have an actual way to get in but still go. Typically the memories that people make usually involve being one of the first to see an awesome new trailer or upcoming news of a new TV show or movie. In my case, Nickelodeon nostalgia is what stole my Comic-Con memories.

The year is 1993, Nickelodeon is its cartoon prime with its original animated series Doug, Rugrats, and Ren & Stimpy. These shows would soon be joined by a newcomer by animator and creator Joe Murray, this show is a little something called Rocko’s Modern Life. The antics of Rocko and his friends Heffer Wolfe and Filburt was one for the ages. The show is a wonderful satire on the modern day 90s that both kids and adults could love. Rocko’s Modern Life wrapped up after three years and 52 episodes, though right as it ended a new fan favorite would hit the air waves by animator Craig Bartlett, Hey Arnold.

Hey Arnold premiered on Nickelodeon on 1996 and took children by storm with its story of Arnold and his friends at school P.S. 118 and his grandparents and residents at the Sunset Arms boarding house. As a kid, it hit on all the themes of kids of our time growing up. There was one character any kid could relate to, or a situation that they were familiar with. It was an awesome episodic series that cared deeply about its continuity, a huge credit to Craig for keeping to the story that he wanted to tell. Hey Arnold ran for slightly longer than Rocko’s Modern Life, nearly eight years, 102 episodes, and one movie.

That was then, but this is now. Fast forward to Comic-Con 2017 and there are two panels being hosted. On Friday it is the Rocko’s Modern Life – Return to Earth panel, on Saturday it is the Hey Arnold!: From Hillwood to the Jungle! Panel. I knew about the upcoming Hey Arnold movie from last year’s Comic-Con announcement where we got confirmation that Nickelodeon green lit the production of the movie, the new Rocko’s Modern Life took me by surprise. Like Hey Arnold, the new Rocko production will be an animated movie instead of a full on TV series. Friday was the first of two panels, and we were treated to this incredible trailer:

It is immediately clear what creator Joe Murray wants from this return, Rocko’s modern take on today’s modern world. BuzzBucks, oPhones, security cameras watching your every move, food trucks, 3D printing, and a plethora of other satire about our current day living. While it is new content to play with, it keeps the same charm that Rocko’s Modern Life had in its original run. Joe Murray let us know that we’d see the return of a myriad of characters that were present throughout the series and I know that I’m definitely excited to see them all. The great thing about this movie is how Joe wants to kick off right as he ended Rocko’s Modern Life. In the last episode the gang goes up into space, at the beginning of the movie they’ll be returning from space 20 years later. From there, the trailer speaks for itself. Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling will debut next year.

Saturday would then roll around and we would be treated to the following trailer for Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie

And the crowd would absolutely go insane. The trailer teases us about so much and gets us excited for what is to come for Arnold and his adventures. The great thing about this preview is the amount of nostalgia it packs in. Whereas Rocko gives us laughs from its satire about our modern culture, Arnold gives us a feel-good moment as we call back to our child hood. Many of the moments in the preview are animated from the perspective of Helga (Arnold’s classmate who is completely infatuated with him) as she films him, as an obsessed love sick stalker might do… It’s brilliant though, instead of reminding us of Arnold’s good deeds with simple flash backs, we are given these great moments through another character’s eyes that adds a brief, enjoyable, layer of fun to the preview. Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie premieres Fall this year.

As a 90s kid growing up, the return of these two series, even as movies, gets me so giddy with excitement. While I could have lined up for the more major panels with premieres for the next latest and biggest movies, I don’t regret indulging my nostalgia one bit. While I didn’t get to see the latest preview of Deadpool 2, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Arrow, The Flash, Black Panther, or Infinity Wars, I did get to see Arnold and Rocko. For this 90s kid, hat’s awesome enough for me.

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