Feb 5, 2021

Kid Cosmic: Boy and Teenager Fight Aliens in the Worst Animation Since Adult Swim


Kid Cosmis ia a new Netflix animated series created by Craig McCraken, whose Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Chowder had plenty of gay subtexts. as well as an interesting animation style.  So I started the first episode with high hopes.  

First impression: The animation style is awful, incomplete, like a storyboard, with an unappealing brown color scheme. 

Scene 1: In a reddish-brown universe, an alien in a truck driver hat is being attacked by a squadron of battleships.  He grabs some magic stones and goes through a wormhole, evil bug guy in hot pursuit.  The flying saucer crash-lands on a barren, desolate desert on Earth, where the magic stones are scarttered onto the ground.

Scene 2: Establishing shot of a run-down farmhouse in the desert, front yard overloaded with a hoarder's paradise of rusty junk.  A run-down trailer packed with action figures, comic books, an old-fashioned tv, and a record player.  This must be the 1950s.  Hey, McCracken, didn't they teach you to fill in the shapes in art school?  

Kid Cosmic, a preteen boy dressed as a superhero, jumps out of bed and opens a safe containing the magic stones, now set into rings.  He puts one one and heads out into the yard, fighting pretend aliens, saying goodby to aging hippie Grandpa Gi, and riding his bicycle out onto the road.

Barely missing a toddler who looks like a boy but is named Rosa, standing in the road yelling "I'm a monster! Let's play!"

Scene 3
At Mo's Oasis Cafe, Jo the Waitress is looking at shots of exotic foreign locales on an old-fashioned viewmaster.  Her boss, who looks like a man but is wearing earrings and pink cowboy boots, tells her to get back to work. 

Suddenly Kid Cosmic bursts in with a big announcement: "I've stumbled onto a crashed spaceship, and found the Rings of Power!"

Hey, Jo has a cell phone!  It's not the 1950s. They just haven't bought any stuff since 1956.

Boss hates his disruption, but Jo likes him.  A little excitement in her dreary world. 

Scene 4: Kid Cosmic trying out the rings to see if they give him superpowers.

Scene 5: Jo cleaning up and complaining. Suddenly Kid Cosmic shows up, flying!  The rings are real!  

He invites her back to his trailer.  Close up of a newspaper article about the death of his parents, implying that the trauma has made him retreat into a fantasy world.  But  this is no fantasy.  He can actually fly.  I'm confused. 

Scene 6: Jo wants to play, too, so they go out into the desert to test the other rings.  Jo finds one that opens teleportation portals. 

They argue about whether to go to the big city to fight crime or stay in the squalid desert (um..aren't you both minors?  You can't just leave.)

Suddenly the bug alien from Scene 1 attacks. They manage to incapacitate him by teleporting him halfway through the trailer floor.  He tries several languages before hitting on English: "Give me the Stones of Power, or die!"  

Scene 7: Next a giant alien dog attacks.  Bug Alien -- now named Stuck Chuck --  explains that it's not his pet, it's yet another alien searching for the Stones. And there are lots more coming.  Apparently the Stones aren't part of everyone's toolkit; they are unique in the universe

Kid Cosmic still won't give up the Stones (they don't belong to you, boy).  Instead, he's going to form a superhero team to fight the coming alien menace (and keep the stones he stole).

Jo is opposed to the idea; let the military handle it.  But Kid wins her over by being vulnerable ("I need a chance to prove that I'm not just the weird kid down the road.")

I fast-forward through several more episodes.  Apparently you can't switch rings: they respond only to your DNA or something, so Kid Cosmic can only use the flying ring, and Jo only the teleportation ring.  The rest of the team consissts of: Rosa, the toddler fom the street, whose ring turns her into a giant; Grandpa Gi, who can create multiple versions of himself; and Tuna Sandwich, a cat who can see the future.  Stuck Chuck will remain stuck in the floor, reading comic books and making sarcastic remarks. The other regulars will include Jo's mother/boss and some truck drivers at the diner, one of whom is not what he seems.

Stuck Chuck is a fun character. 

There are hints of character development.  

With the team of vastly different ages, there's no chance of hetero-romance, and in fact no one expresses heterosexual interest except for two of the truck drivers at the diner (a m/f couple).  

Gender fluidity is common.  Several characters have an androgynous appearance.  Kid Comsic asks Stuck Chuck for his pronouns.

Cons: Very constrained setting and characters, just Grandpa Gi's junkyard and the diner.  Don't Cosmic Kid and Jo go to school?  Don't they have other friends?  

With the limited number of characters, same-sex buddy-bondng is impossible.

The horrible animation makes my head hurt.

See also: Kid Cosmic, Season 2; Kid Cosmic, Season 3.


  1. the style is literally what caught my attention, it doesn't look unfinished, I think it looks great and so do quite a lot of people, so that seems like a you-problem. Anyways I do think the setting while pretty cool is quite limiting with only a few places where scenes actually take place (they do solve this problem from season 2 onward). But I fail the see the problem with the lack of gay relationships. It would be cool to have some inclusivity but I wouldn't put it as a Con myself. Nice review nevertheless, I really enjoyed the show in my case.

    1. Every post is about looking for LGBT representation, so that will be the main criteria by which I evaluate the piece. If I watch for another reason, I don't post about it. Don't forget the later posts; I've reviewed the show three times. Check under the key word "Kid Cosmic"


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