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Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew is a team of Superhero Funny Animal characters owned by DC Comics. They were first published in their own comic book series in the early 1980s, though it didn't last very long. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Scott Shaw!, this was the first team of Funny Animal characters to be specifically recognized as being part of the DC Universe.
In their origin story, it was explained that fragments from a strange meteor (which had been shattered by Superman before it could hit Earth) were somehow transported to the Alternate Universe called Earth-C, which was inhabited by Humanoid Animals instead of humans. The fragments gave superpowers to various animals, who decided to join together and form their own superhero team, the Zoo Crew. They are:
- Captain Carrot, who is in reality mild-mannered comic-book artist Rodney Rabbit. The fragment didn't give him powers- rather, it charged up the carrots he was growing in his windowsill, so that eating them turns him into a musclebound rabbit with Super Strength -temporarily. (This is reminiscent of Super Goof's super peanuts power source.)
- Yankee Poodle, secretly gossip columnist Rova Barkitt, who gained the ability to shoot "stars" that repelled objects out of one hand and "stripes" that attracted them out of the other.
- Martial artist Felina Furr gained magic-like powers and renamed herself Alley-Kat-Abra.
- Rubberduck, actually movie actor Byrd Rentals, who became elastic.
- Fastback, actually a Country Turtle named Timmy Joe Terrapin who had gained Super Speed.
- Peter Porkchops, a pre-existing DC funny animal character, was transformed into a large, living metal being with Super Strength and Nigh Invulnerability, and thus renamed himself Pig Iron.
- Later, the team was joined by Little Cheese, actually a mouse named Chester Cheese, who had the power to shrink down to the size of... well, a mouse. A smaller mouse.
As you can see, despite supposedly being as "real" as the rest of the DC universe, Earth-C (and the series) was full of the kind of puns you see in cartoons. This is never explained beyond a "what seems funny to us make sense to them" attitude. (Lampshaded at one point when Beast Boy of the Teen Titans visits Earth-C and asks the Crew about why their cities have such "silly names").
The Zoo Crew battled both their own villains and ones from the main DC Universe (Starro, the Starfish Conqueror, an old Justice League alien enemy, in their first issue; Gorilla Grodd in their last.) They also met the "Just'a Lotta Animals" ("JLA") a team of heroes from the similar "Earth C-minus" whose heroes were Expies of DC's main heroes.
After the series was canceled, the characters reappeared in, of all places, "The Oz/Wonderland War" miniseries, which was Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Decades later in the 2000s, they reappeared in an issue of Teen Titans (as part of a comic book one of the characters was reading) in a story that parodied the "Dark Age" style of modern comics: The team had disbanded after Little Cheese's death, whose murderer turned out to be Alley-Kat-Abra! This was followed by a 2007 miniseries, Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, where the team was reunited and Abra was cleared of the murder. They were joined by a new member, the non-powered crimefighter American Eagle, secretly right-wing talk show host Johnny Jingo. However, Earth-C was flooded as a result of a war between aquatic and non-aquatic animals, and the heroes had to evacuate it on a "Space Ark." They ended up on the main Earth of The Multiverse, but found themselves changed into normal animals while there. However, they were changed back to their true forms in the last issue of the Final Crisis Crisis Crossover.
Not to be confused with that other Captain Carrot.
- Affectionate Parody
- Animal Jingoism: Subverted, it doesn't really happen here except for Alley's murder of Little Cheese (which turned out to be the work of a magically created Evil Twin.)
- Animal Superheroes
- Ascended Fanboy: Rodney Rabbit (who was already a Promoted Fanboy as a comic artist.)
- Badass Normal: American Eagle, sort of; he didn't have any super powers, and only the abilities associated with being an anthropomorphic eagle.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animals: A few of the characters.
- In an odd subversion, a good portion of the characters wear completely formfitting boots, complete with individual toes.
- Big Applesauce: Rodney hails from "Gnu York" (Earth-C's New York City).
- The Big Easy: Alley-Kat-Abra hails from "Mew Orleans", Earth-C's version of New Orleans.
- The Big Guy: Pig-Iron.
- Bizarrchitecture: The Crew's home base, the "Z-Building", which is shaped like the letter "Z". This is an Affectionate Parody of the Teen Titans' H.Q., as their series was at the height of its popularity at the time.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Pig-Iron.
- Brick Joke: The end of Final Ark, which deliberately tossed the brick for Grant Morrison to drop in Final Crisis.
- Carnivore Confusion: Earth-C's animals long ago stopped being carnivores.
- Peter Porkchops used to be a regular funny animal which was reused in this series, and in the early Peter Porkchops strips, his wolf neighbour actually wanted to eat him. This is referenced in the comic with Wolfie seeking psychiatric treatment, because he is having cannibal fantasies and it worries him. It ends badly despite his good intentions--see Our Werewolves Are Different below.
- City Mouse: Yankee Poodle.
- Combat Stilettos: Alley-Kat-Abra wears them.
- Continuity Nod: Several characters from DC's old Funny Animal comics make appearances, often turned into the Monster of the Week.
- Country Mouse: Fastback.
- Cunning Like a Fox: One of the more popular secondary characters who showed up quite a few times was a blond vixen named Farah Foxette.
- Darker and Edgier: The revival Comic Within A Comic from Teen Titans #30 & #31. The team split apart, Fantastic Speciesism running rampant, team members dead or missing, the Super Registration Act, Rodney Rabbit in the middle of a Heroic BSOD (and a bottle)... and, of course, Alley-Kat-Abra (seemingly) turning evil.
- Deep South: Fastback hails from a swamp in the rural American South, and has a hayseed personality.
- Distaff Counterpart: Carrie Carrot, for Captain Carrot. She was introduced as a Posthumous Character in the 2000's Teen Titans story -- her death mainly served to justify Rodney's Heroic BSOD, as well as someone whose name American Eagle could invoke to get Captain Carrot back in the game.
- Downer Ending: See next entry.
- Dropped A Bridge On Them: The Zoo Crew's fate at the end of The Final Ark seemed needlessly cruel and left a bad taste in a lot of long-time fans' mouths. Thankfully, this may have been a Brick Joke, resolved in Final Crisis; fan speculation has it that Grant Morrison used Final Crisis to undo what he saw as obnoxious Executive Meddling.
- Fantastic Racism: Introduced in the Teen Titans revival. A major plot element of The Final Ark was a species war brewing between land and water animals -- ducks and turtles were distrusted as Category Traitors.
- Franchise Zombie: In a Conan the Barbarian parody story.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Effectively the result when Gorilla Grodd comes to Earth-C without putting on any pants.
- G-Rated Drug: In Oz/Wonderland War, Alley-Kat-Abra actually gets a catnip high, tells Captain Carrot that he is "really cute, but would be cuter if he was a cat", uses her magic powers to turn him into one, and offers him some catnip. They're playing Sickeningly Sweethearts by the next scene until the catnip cloud's blown away. No, this wasn't from Vertigo Comics...
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal
- Hilarity Sues: At the beginning of Final Ark, Rodney Rabbit tells a convention of comic fans that the Justa Lotta Animals put out an injunction preventing the Earth-C version of DC Comics from publishing their adventures. This actually becomes a plot point: when the Zoo Crew is depowered and unable to call the JLA for assistance by normal means, Captain Carrot very quickly writes and draws a comic and sells it to Fastback for a nickel -- and a lawyer immediately emerges from a dimensional portal with a Cease and Desist notice. (He does agree to ask his clients for help -- after making Rodney go through a mountain of paperwork.)
- Hollywood California: the team's headquarters is in "Follywood, Califurnia", with two of its members being southern Califurnia natives (Rubberduck and Yankee Poodle).
- Humongous Mecha
- Incredibly Lame Pun: The series is full of them.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: The Oz/Wonderland War.
- It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: In the team's origin story, several future Zoo Crew members visit "Mew Orleans" (Earth-C's New Orleans) during its Mardi Gras celebration. This is when Alley-Kat-Abra, who lives in Mew Orleans, joins the group.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pig-Iron, Yankee Poodle
- Kangaroo Court
- Last of His Kind: American Eagle; Alley-Kat-Abra('s Evil Twin) funded the species-ist group that killed his parents.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: "Oklahoma Bones", among others.
- Magic Meteor: How most of the Zoo Crew got their powers.
- Magic Wand: Alley-Kat-Abra's "Magic Wanda".
- Millard Fillmore: Parodied as Mallard Fillmore (No relation).
- Naked People Are Funny: When Grodd the Super-Gorilla travels to Earth-C, his biggest immediate problem is everyone's reaction to his being naked.
- Morally-Ambiguous Ducktorate: Subverted with the heroic Rubberduck.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Captain Carrot is shown to have nowhere near Superman's level of invulnerability, but he's still plenty tough. Pig-Iron may be even more durable, though he's vulnerable to things that damage metal.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Farrah Foxette, Byrd Rentals, and bucketloads more.
- Now Do It Again Backwards: Literally flying a spaceship backwards in one story--to escape a Black Hole. "It'll never notice the difference!"
- Our Werewolves Are Different: One story had a "wuz-wolf"--a mild-mannered wolf who turned into a monstrous, cannibalistic human at night.
- Patriotic Fervor: Averted with Yankee Poodle; the power effects dictated the gimmick. Played straight with American Eagle.
- Pittsburgh: Pig-Iron hails from its Earth-C counterpart, "Piggsburgh."
- Punny Name: The comic is full of them.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: The Zoo Crew itself at the end of "Final Ark", though that seems to have been fixed.
- Raiders of the Lost Parody: The Crew meet a Funny Animal version of Indiana Jones called Oklahoma bones.
- Recursive Canon: Earth-C is an alternate Earth-Prime. Earth-C-Minus is an alternate DC Universe. Rodney Rabbit draws Justa Lotta Animals, who are real superheroes on Earth-C-Minus who end up suing Wombat Communications for trademark violation.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: The second type.
- Rubber Man: Rubberduck.
- Shout-Out: The uniform of Stargirl of the Justice Society of America was partly inspired by Yankee Poodle.
- Sizeshifter: Little Cheese's power.
- Starfish Alien: Literally, with old JLA foe Starro the Conqueror.
- Take That: The independent comic series Atomic Mouse might include one about the way DC has handled the Zoo Crew.
- Turtle Power: Fastback and his uncle (also an old DC Animal Superhero, The Terrific Whatzit.)
- Wolverine Publicity: Superman in the origin story. Also, Changeling from the then astronomically popular Teen Titans in the last issue (Lampshaded: "Alright, already! We admit it! We sold out!").
- World of Funny Animals