When "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" hits theaters, it will serve as another reminder of a bygone era. Before Japanese anime-style cartoons became all the range, Saturday mornings were populated by cartoons centered around larger-than-life heroes. It was a thinly veiled attempt to market action figures to kids. Still, it gave a generation of children cartoon heroes to idolize and imitate. These heroes defeated the villains and saved the world on a weekly basis. Looking back, this six-pack of cartoon heroes stood out as the best of the best:


Using superhuman strength given to him by Caste Grayskull, Prince Adam changed into He-Man and defended the planet Eternia from the evil plots of Skeletor. The original He-Man cartoons included syrupy moral lessons at the end of each episode, but you couldn't help like a character who turned from weak and immature royalty into a strong and bold defender of an entire planet.


Duke was the field commander of the G.I. Joe team and the second-in-command to General Hawk. He led his team against Cobra and the evil Cobra Commander to foil their plots for taking over the world. Each team member possessed specialties in weapons, hand-to-hand combat and explosives. These always came in handy during victorious battles with Cobra

Optimus Prime:

As the noble leader of the Autobots in the "Transformers" franchise, Optimus Prime made it his mission to battle Megatron and his band of Decepticons to save his home planet of Cybertron from their energy-stealing. He also took it upon himself to defend other planets – including Earth – from the Decepticons. Anything that can transform into a big Mack Truck has earned a spot among the better cartoon heroes.


It might be impossible to measure how many children choked down their vegetables because of Popeye. All he needs was a can of spinach to make his arms double in size and beat Bluto while saving Olive Oyl. There is always the matter of figuring out how to deal with his spinach addiction, but I'm sure there are recovery programs out there designed to help him.


The Caped Crusader is the bad boy every kid wants to be. Bruce Wayne just makes fighting crime feel so cool with his array of weapons and gadgets. Plus, he does it all without the aid of superpowers unlike other superheroes. All Batman needs is combat training and a generous dose of intelligence to outwit his rogues' gallery.


If you are going to rely on superpowers to fight villains, it just makes sense to take it to the maximum level. That's where Clark Kent comes in. As Superman, he receives an array of powers from the Sun. He can fly, use x-ray vision, run at lightning speeds and is invulnerable to man-made weapons. His only kryptonite is … kryptonite.