Paul Rugg, the voice of Freakazoid and writer of several episodes from the series, uncovered some original sketches of the superhero that he had in storage. But they weren’t sketches from any particular episode…they were drawings from the very beginning, by Bruce Timm.
While a lot of people know Freakazoid came from the same looney team that brought us Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, what they DON’T know is that the series started out under the direction of a different team entirely…specifically, the guys who worked on Batman.
The story goes that Steven Spielberg saw Batman: The Animated Series, loved it, and wanted to make a project with Bruce Timm and company. They pitched what would become Freakazoid, and a lot of it was already there from the beginning, including the design of Freak himself. Here are some of the drawings that Rugg found…
Been going through some old storage boxes and finding some pretty cool things. These are Bruce Timm's models for the original idea of Freakazoid. Probably 1994…maybe? pic.twitter.com/9enOPHYWGo
— Paul Rugg (@pkrugg) January 19, 2021
Timm envisioned a semi-serious, semi-comedic show where the Dexter Douglas portion would be a Peter Parker teenage-angst fest and the Freakazoid portion would be super wacky (though he’d face serious threats). He had the DC character Creeper in mind when developing the show. Steven kept giving input, but most of it was “Make it funnier! Make it crazier!”
Timm and his crew weren’t interested in making an ENTIRELY comedic series, and decided to hand the production off to Tom Ruegger and his own team. Those guys inherited Timm’s sketches of heroes and villains and came up with their own backstories based on what amused them (Timm probably would not have written Caveguy as an uppity sophisticate).
Once The New Batman Adventures got underway, Timm explored his original vision for Freakazoid in the form of a Creeper episode. According to the team, their Freakazoid series would have felt like that episode and Freak would have had the voice they gave Creeper.
But it was Rugg who got to play him, and pretty much define his personality…and it was he who inherited those sketches he kept in a ratty paper bag, until finding them this week and posting them to Twitter. Under a different set of circumstances, you might not be staring at them right now.