What caused this sudden interest in the name Astria?
A Saturday morning cartoon called The Space Sentinels (originally titled The Young Sentinels). It premiered in September of 1977, and the main characters were a trio of teenage superheros that represented three different racial groups:
- Mercury (Asian) “the amazing athlete who can match the speed of light”
- Astria (African-American) “able to assume any living form”
- Hercules (white) “empowered with the strength of a hundred men”
Astria was one of the few African-American superheroes on television around this time. (The Super Friends character Black Vulcan was another.)
Like Hercules and Mercury, Astria’s name was taken from a figure in ancient mythology: the Greek goddess Astraea.
Though I’m writing her name “Astria” here, I have to admit that I don’t know which spelling was used in the cartoon. Every source I checked seemed to use a different variant (Astrea at Wikipedia, Astraea at IMDb, etc.) and none of the episodes I watched on YouTube showed her name on-screen.
Speaking of episodes, not very many exist: only 13 aired before The Space Sentinels was cancelled. Was the mixed-race cartoon too ahead of its time to survive? Hm…
So which of those three debut spellings do you like best — Astria, Astrea or Astreia?
Source: Terrace, Vincent. Television Introductions: Narrated TV Program Openings since 1949. Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, 2014.