Brew reader Dean Kendrick directed me to his website and his animation – and I feel it’s worth bringing to the attention to the rest of our readers.Kendrick has been creating award winning independent animation for over a decade now – short gag films, music videos, as well as experimental, avant garde, and non-narrative pieces that are fun to watch. Most are 2-D, but some employ live action pixilation with super 8 film or are made on “toys” like Fisher Price Pixelvision and Mattel’s Optigan. Dean is also behind the alternative musical group The Irritants. It’s good stuff.
Jackson Beck (no relation to ye Brewmaster), the Voice of Bluto, Brutus, the narrator of radio’s (and Filmation’s) Superman, Buzzy the Crow, King Leonardo,and numerous voice overs in everything from TV commercials to Woody Allen’s Take The Money And Run has passed away at age 92.My favorite Jackson Beck performance is that of the suburbanite who brings home a man-eating cannibal from a jungle expedition in Famous Studio’s 1958 cartoon CHEW CHEW BABY. He narrates the entire cartoon as good ‘ol boy who shows “Chew Chew” all around Cincinnatti, blissfully unaware that the cannibal is eating all his friends around him. I also enjoyed Beck’s many roles on the Superman radio show – from narrator, to gangsters to office boy “Beanie”, Beck was the true star of that show.I met him once, in his apartment, where he threw a party for Sid Raymond (this was in 1995). Because we shared last names we discussed the possibility of being related, but I was happy just to meet the man and tell him how much I enjoyed his work. He was a gentleman and a wonderful guy.His Newsday obit
I had a great time at the San Diego Comic Con this year.The convention is so big, so massive, so overwhelming – it’s like an annual World’s Fair of pop culture that has to be experienced in person for full effect. No written con report or video tapes, nor still photos or blogs can really capture the excitement of being part of this subculture that has slowly-but-surely taken over a specific city, Hollywood and perhaps the entire world.I attended my first comic book convention at age 13, in 1968: the Phil Seuling New York Comic Con. And I’ve been to at least one (sometimes several) major comic book convention every year ever since. My first San Diego Comic Con was at the El Cortez Hotel in 1977 – the year Star Wars came out.I’ve proudly watched San Diego grow into a monster. Last year it finally felt “too big” for me. So this year, I planned to make the con my own. My version of the convention was completely different than my friends.Sid & meThe convention is like a 20 screen multiplex with different programming on each for every hour of the day. You have to program the con yourself. This year I did that and had a great time. Sure I missed half of Mark Evanier’s terrific panels, I didn’t attend the Cartoon Network party, and I couldn’t see the Lucasfilm presentations – but I had my own convention and it was great.Con highlights: my interview Harvey Comics editor Sid Jacobson, finding out stories behind the Harvey brothers, Paramount & Famous Studios and who all the Casper/Richie writers and artists were. This was taped for posterity by the comic con (I don’t have a copy – don’t ask), so hopefully historians will be able to view this in the future.I also really enjoyed the movie preview panels – more than I thought I would. Robert Rodriquez’ film of Frank Miller’s SIN CITY looks amazing. It’s almost an experimental film, in stark black & white (with flashes of red), it’s literally Miller’s graphic novel in live action… similiarly SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is a film I know I will love – but, based on the clips I saw, I fear the mainstream audience will not “get it”. It’s like the greatest 1937 Republic serial ever made – sort of a Captain Midnight meets Tailspin Tommy meets Spy Smasher – using state of the art technology to achieve the same effects Universal had 65 years ago with simple “rear-screen” projection and miniatures. I can’t wait to see the whole film. It looks great to me.A scene from
Team AmericaTwo films really blew me away: First, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE looks like it will be the funniest film of the year. It is a spoof of Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet “Super-Marionation” TV puppet shows, but with great acting (puppeteering?) and a South Park mindset – about a team of American super agents who chase terrorists around the globe. The villian is North Korea’s Kim Jong-il (think “Dr. Daka”, from the 1943 Batman serial, with Cartman’s voice) who, in a hilarious clip screened, does away with weapon’s inspector Hans Blix by sending him into a shark tank. This had me screaming with laughter. Matt & Trey said they had the begining of the film and the end of the film written and shot – but they are making up the middle as they go along (not unlike the way they create South Park on a weekly basis).A scene from
The IncrediblesThe other film that blew everyone away was the footage from Pixar’s THE INCREDIBLES. It was incredible. Brad Bird came down and showed two clips – both were hilarious. The first was an action sequence (Mr. Incredible versus a robot) which was both funny, thrilling and eye-popping. The character designs and action push the boundries once again – and it’s easy to predict that this film will continue Pixar’s winning streak at the box office.I also had fun at the WGA Animation Writers party, the Apatoons breakfast, Mark Evanier’s Chuck McCann spotlight, my Worst Cartoons screening, a panel on the history of the San Diego Comic Con and numerous other panels, dinners and seeing friends I usually only run into once a year on the dealers room floor.And I met many Brew readers who said hello – and encouraged us to continue. Thank you all. And if I didn’t see you there this year – let’s get together next year.
Spumco has posted numerous clips (RealPlayer required) from the upcoming three all-new episodes of REN & STIMPY (returning to Spike TV on Friday August 20 at 12:00pm). Be warned: some of these clips are not suitable for children! Check ‘em out here .
As expected, the attendence and enormity of this Comic-Con is overwhelming.Yesterday I enjoyed Mark Evanier’s panel featuring Golden Age and Silver Age artists, writers and editors, then sat in on an intriguing panel about the origins of the San Diego Comic-Con itself, caught a few minutes of the FREAKS & GEEKS panel, and attended a panel on the origins of anime in the U.S. – but I blew everything else off my schedule later that day to explore the twelve-acre dealers’ room. Stuart Ng’s book booth is a jaw-dropper. If you are at the Con and reading this, find booth #1030 for an incredible collection of rare books of interest to cartoon and comic art fans.Sensory overload has already set in. Today I interview Sid Jacobson (Harvey Comics) and sit in on a panel tribute to Bob Clampett. More when I get back on Monday.
I have no powerbook and no digital camera… but I’m on my way to the San Diego Comic Con this morning and have no idea when or if I can blog from there. Hopefully they have an internet cafe nearby or a “business center” in my hotel. That is, if I can get away from all the panels, dealers room, parties and dinners I have planned. If you are coming to the con, hopefully we’ll run into you somewhere. Here are Jerry’s plans and Amid’s plans – feel free to tell us how much you like Cartoon Brew (we need the encouragement) and have a great weekend!
More details to come, but here’s an early heads up: On September 7th and 8th at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, John K. will appear in person and program two days of animated cartoons.On Tuesday Septemer 7th, John will present a retrospective of classic Spumco – including “director’s cuts” of some of his most infamous Ren & Stimpy and Mighty Mouse cartoons. John will explain the painful process of working with network executives, explain in-jokes and answer audience questions.On Wednesday night September 8th, John will introduce and discuss the classic Hollywood cartoons that have influenced him and his work. This will include many surprising choices, including animated films from Lantz, Terry, Avery, Jones, Fleischer and of course a heaping dose of Clampett.I will have more information about these two evenings of animated bliss as we get closer. I just wanted you to mark the dates on your calender now. It’s going to be fun!
After the Comic-con, on Monday night (7/26) at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, there will be the first public screening of the restored Max Fleischer’s two reel Technicolor cartoon, POPEYE THE SAILOR MEETS SINDBAD THE SAILOR (1936), an incredible 35mm print with the original titles.The admission is $5., they will also be running a 35mm print of the Our Gang short BORED OF EDUCATION (1936) and the feature film, ANTHONY ADVERSE (1936).
They say the showtime is 7:30pm, but they usually run the feature at that time. They run the shorts prior to that, so if you are coming, I urge you to be there by 6:45pm. For more info on this program, go here. And I’ll see you there Monday night.
The fun starts in two days…Howard Green at Disney sent us this update on THE INCREDIBLES panel:
Pixar Animation Studios offers a sneak peek at its much-anticipated new computer-animated feature, “The Incredibles” (coming from Walt Disney Pictures on November 5th), as it spotlights the career and creative genius of Brad Bird.Join Brad (“The Iron Giant”), producer John Walker, and moderator Mark Cotta Vaz (author of The Art of Finding Nemo, etc.) as they discuss the filmmaking process and present the World Premiere of a scene from the film, along with other surprises. Those attending this presentation will receive an exclusive Comic-Con poster for “The Incredibles” designed by the legendary Mike Mignola. Mike and Brad will be on hand for a special limited signing immediately following the program. Other giveaway items too for those in attendance.
This just in: Frederator Studios and Animation Magazine are joining forces to present The Nicktoons Film Festival, a showcase of independent cartoon filmmaking by animators from around the globe. Fred Seibert, President of Frederator Studios will serve as Executive Producer of the Festival; Rita Street, Publisher of Animation Magazine and Eric Homan, VP of Creative Affairs for Frederator Studios will be the Festival Producers.Animators can download entry forms on nicktoons.com starting today and entries will be accepted through Sept. 10. Submissions should be “animated shorts no longer than 7 minutes that combine a unique look, great character designs and a funny plot.”A selection of shorts chosen by a pre-selection jury will broadcast on
Nicktoons as part of a 13-episode compilation series launching this fall. One winner will be chosen by a grand jury and awarded a $10,000. prize.
“Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon,” which hasn’t aired a new episode in over a year, will finally resume first-run installments on Friday, August 20 at 12:00pm on Spike TV.
The Television Critics Association meets twice a year in LA to screen new TV shows in advance and meet the stars involved. Aaron Barnhart at TV BARN writes about the presentation on NBC’s FATHER OF THE PRIDE:
The late Gene Siskel used to follow a rule of thumb when judging a bad movie: Would he rather watch a documentary with the filmmakers talking about their movie?I thought of that last weekend when NBC had us watch a screening of “Father of the Pride.” This is the network’s other new sitcom, the one not spun off from “Friends.” It features computer-generated likenesses of the Las Vegas animal tamers Siegfried and Roy interacting with the family of animated lions who live behind their hotel. I sat in the second row, directly behind Carl Reiner, the legendary comedian who voices one of the lions. Reiner roared on the screen and in his seat. His enthusiasm, and that of his co-stars, made up for the critics, most of whom sat through the screening stone-faced.Afterward, the cast assembled on stage and was about to take questions when Reiner, who had a wedding to get to, stood up and yelled into his clip mike, “I’m going to take that as an opportunity to say everything I want to say!” So he interviewed himself. “The question was asked many times before: ‘Why are you doing this?’ You know, I’m 83 years old. Why do I have to bother? â€¦ I have a feeling this is historic for television. If anybody disagrees with me here, you’re wrong!”As Reiner stepped off stage, John Goodman, who voices another lion, stood up and declared, “I have a bris that I’m late for.” But Goodman stayed. Squeezed into his chair, he mugged and shrugged and got big laughs from the critics. I know I wasn’t the only one wishing someone would televise him instead of “Father of the Pride.” (As it turns out, he’s also starring in a non-animated CBS comedy called, confusingly enough, “Center of the Universe.”)Later that day Keith Marder, an affable publicist at the WB network who also moonlights as a joke writer, joked “Who’s going to watch Siegfried & Roy? The tigers don’t even like them anymore.”
In addition to the hilarious Jibjab.com This Land Is Your Land webtoon making the rounds, is this clever 7 minute 30s-style black & white cartoon, “Brother Can You Spare a Job?” by Tom Neely and Greg Saunders. The short version (30 seconds) of this film was a “Best Animation” finalist in MoveOn.org’s “Bush in 30 Seconds” contest. This new full-length version is packed with the same Max Fleisher, Chuck Jones and Charlie Chaplin inspiration and style.Neely and Saunders will be at the comic con this week, selling the cartoon on dvd ($6 to cover the production costs) and giving away posters at booth #1620.
This blog is turing into a giant plug for various events and booths at the San Diego Comic Con. Someday we are going to have to start accepting paid advertising (hint, hint).Here’s one more: Stephen Silver will be selling his book The Art of Silver at his booth #2202 – and will be doing a slideshow lecture THE ART OF SILVER: ANIMATION CHARACTER DESIGN on Thursday, July 22 from 1-2:30pm in Room 7B. He’s one of the best, so this should be a great lecture.
I had a wonderful time on Friday at the grand opening party of Toby Bluth and Dave Kuhn’s new character animation studio, CAAT Studios in North Hollywood. I wish them a lot of luck – they have incredible talent, fantastic ideas, an amazing studio and a great team of people on board.While there I ran into another cool “cat”, Cynthia Petrovic, the creator of RED TANGO, a product line based on her designs, and the webmaster of Tangoland.com. I’ve written about Petrovic before, she’s an ex-Disney, ex-Klasky (and ex-other studios) animator, artist & hyphenate who decided to create her own business, based on her own ideas and art. And she’s succeeding at it. Her website is a lot of fun and her products are neat. In an era when character animators are scrambling to find a position, Petrovic has used her head and found a nice niche for her ample talents.