Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias recently unearthed a treasure from the series' past: A hand painted cel sheet from the animated series - Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm!

Originally broadcast in 1996 on the USA Network; the series incorporated a design sensibility influenced by Mortal Kombat 3 and previous games, while loosely continuing the story from the 1995 Mortal Kombat feature film. Speaking of the kid friendly cartoon, Tobias tweeted: "Series tone was mismatch but luv the simple character design."

The character sheet showcases the regular cast of the Saturday morning series, who served as a team of globetrotting heroes defending Earth from inter-dimensional invaders.

Raiden provided guidance as a typically elusive mentor, while Nightwolf directed the team from a high-tech facility in their mountain headquarters. By merging with his pet wolf Kiva [pictured], Nightwolf transformed from tech geek to warrior Shaman in special circumstances. Sub-Zero (Kuai Liang) joins the already established team in the first episode, receiving a frosty reception from the heroes, including Liu Kang, who is dealing with his role in killing Sub-Zero's older brother [in the movie].

Enemies in the series included a who's who of the games, such as; Shao Kahn, Scorpion, Kano, Sheeva Sektor &Smoke, as well as a variety of new warriors based on existing mythology. The series is notable for featurnig one of the first appearances of Quan Chi.

You can read more of John Tobias' thoughts about Mortal Kombat on screen in MK Online's now classic 2-part interview.

[Related Article: Retrospective: The Mortal Kombat Cinematic Universe]

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