Over 6 months in the making and almost 3 years after Lucky, their first light painting collaboration, Darcy Prendergast and the creatives at Australia’s Oh Yeah Wow have again teamed with Melbourne-based musicians All India Radio to create their latest music video, Rippled. Painstakingly animated frame by frame, the piece is “all shot in camera, by real people, in the real world, using long exposure techniques”.
Animator/Director Hans JÃ¸rgen Sandnes, via his studio Sandnes Media, is producing a new mini-series of children’s animated music videos for NRK:
“They’re based on the songs of famed Norwegian singer/songwriter Alf PrÃ¸ysen (1914 – 1970). The series is hand-drawn, made in-house by me and my five collegues. The episodes are short “music-videos” following PrÃ¸ysens original recordings. We’re very passionate about our work, trying to master the medium of traditional 2D animation.”
That passion really shows. The first episode (of four) premieres tonight. Here’s a sample of the series:
Two I couldn’t resist sharing.
First – Tuesday’s Editorial Cartoon by Mike Peters:
Next – Monday’s “Lio” by Mark Tatulli:
(Thanks, Uncle Wayne)
If I can make each and every one of you buy a book this week, it would be one or both of these – Simply put, these are two of the best animation books of the year. Each completely different from the other, both are absolute must-haves for anyone, everyone who loves animation.
I’ve personally been a fan of Bill Plympton’s since I first saw his print cartoons in the Soho Weekly News (an NYC alternative newspaper in the 1980s). I actually met Bill at a comic con back then, but he wouldn’t remember that. However, I was lucky enough to become a personal friend of his since the time of his first short Your Face, which I helped distribute through the Tournee of Animation.
That said, I had no expectations for this large coffee-table art book, except to see lots of artwork from Bill’s films and comic strips. Boy, was I in for a surprise. First off, Bill got David Levy to co-write the book with him. Readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of Levy’s writings and previous books. Chris McDonnell (Meathaus; Bakshi’s Unfiltered) did the layout, so the book is gorgeous. What I didn’t expect was how moved, dazzled and entertained I was by Bill’s story and the abundance of varied art and images.
This is Bill’s journey, told through his voice, and every page of this 264 page book is pure joy to read or to look at. Your Face (1987) was the film that introduced us to Plympton and was a breakthrough for him as an artist. It’s fascinating to see his early work fill the first 75 pages, as you can see his many influences (Yellow Submarine, Milton Glaser, David Levine) in his drawings. Your Face really nails what we are to know as Bill’s style – and from there on, in this book, we are able to see how he’s grown as an animator through storyboards, rough comics, production cels and pencil drawings. The text recounts his entire professional career. As “the king of the independent animators”, aspiring artists will find lots of inspiration in his story.
Terry Gilliam contributes a hilarious Foreword in the front, and Bill provides a detailed Filmography in the back, along with a list of his personal inspirations (it’s a great list and includes Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Rod Scribner, Hayao Miyazaki and R. Crumb among many many others) as well as his all time favorite and worst films (where Bill counts The Chipmunk Adventure as one of the worst – even though he animated on it!).
Independently Animated: Bill Plympton is available now on Amazon.com and at whichever book retailer still exists in your city. Also, New Yorkers can pick up the book directly from Bill on Monday May 2nd. Plympton is opening the doors of his New York City studio (153 W. 27th St. #1005) Monday from 4pm to 8pm to have a gala Starving Animator’s Sale of discounted artwork from all his classics: Your Face, How to Kiss, Guard Dog, The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger, Idiots and Angels. Refreshments will be served!
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: “Race to Death Valley” (Vol. 1) is a brand new hard-cover comic strip compilation from Fantagraphics (Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, etc.). However unlike the others, this should be of particular interest to animators and Disney fans. The book reprints several early continuities (more than 200 pages of comics, all unedited) of the Mickey Mouse comic strip by Floyd Gottfredson (whose occasional collaborators included Win Smith, Jack King, Earl Duvall, Al Taliaferro and Walt Disney himself). The strips themselves are great. In fact, it’s a crime these aren’t more well known. These daily strips are part of why Mickey Mouse became a popular character and world famous icon. The serialized adventures are exciting and fun, establishing a real personality for Mickey beyond what was possible in the animated shorts. The book has lovingly restored these strips from the original negatives and proof sheets – each one crystal clear and absolutely beautiful.
If that were all there was to this book, I’d recommend it highly. But that’s not all. Co-Editor David Gerstein has, as he did with his previous Mickey and the Gang volume, loaded this book with over 60 pages of supplementary articles and features that are a MUST for all Disney history buffs. Gerstein has packed the pages with all manner of extremely rare promotional material, newspaper clippings, artwork, rare strips, publicity art, merchandising, still photos, etc. none of which I’ve ever seen published anywhere before. These “sidebar” pieces include an appreciation by Floyd Norman, an introduction by Warren Spector and a Foreword by Thomas Andrae. Gerstein himself writes over 10 articles filling in the backstories of the cast of characters, as well as bios of Gottfredson and his collaborators.
I cannot praise this volume highly enough. I want to thank Fantagraphics for sending me an advance copy hot off the press. It will be available next month in book stores and comic shops, as well as Amazon and other online retailers. Order it NOW! You will not regret it.
Allright, I admit it. I’m a sucker for any modern day use of Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes characters. Here’s Bugs and Daffy at the White House yesterday. No birth certificates required…
Here’s the Press Release that accompanies this photo.
HARE TO THE CHIEF IN 2012?
The Looney Tunes Show stars and animation icons Bugs Bunny (left) and Daffy Duck (right) joined President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in welcoming more than 30,000 guests to the 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll today, Monday, April 25, at The White House.
While in Washington, Bugs and Daffy adamantly denied persistent rumors that they are forming an exploratory committee to enter the 2012 presidential race. Pundits have noted that together they would form a balanced ticket: Bugs is an Independent, while Daffy is Highly Dependent.
The pair insist that they remain focused on next week’s launch of The Looney Tunes Show, an all-new animated comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation premiering May 3 and airing Tuesdays at 8/7c on Cartoon Network.
Are we giving this show too much coverage?
Full episodes begin airing next week, Tuesday May 3rd, on Cartoon Network.
Hip-hop clothing retailer Stussy is coming out with a line of Marvel T-shirts and is collaborating with several notable animation talents in the process. Animator Morgan Kelly directed this viral (below), with animation by Ken Perkins, Sean Szeles, Scott Wright, Jeremy Bernstein and Matt Williames; backgrounds by JJ Villard and effects by Nalena Kumar and Eric Deuel.
The first series of Stussy x Marvel shirts will be released on April 27th and uses vintage art of Marvel characters. The second set of tees, the Special Edition Artist Series, will be released on May 6th and features artwork by such artists Bill Plympton, Gary Panter, John K., Will Sweeney, David Shrigley, James Jarvis, Todd James, Mister Cartoon and Noah Butkus.
It’s Easter time and Cartoon Dump has been resurrected for another disturbing high mass of sketches, songs, puppets, stand-up comedy and actual Saturday Morning Cartoons from the 50s, 60s and 70s so bad that not even Jesus could forgive the animators of knowing not what they do.
Join us Monday night at 8pm with Frank Conniff (from MST3K), Erica Doering (as Compost Brite), Emo Philips (as our resident Cartoon Musicology Professor), along with me (Jerry Beck), J. Elvis Weinstein, Mighty Mr. Titan and special stand-up comedy guest Jimmy Dore – at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. â€¢ Free Parking! â€¢ Advanced Tickets here â€¢ Phone: (323) 666-9797 â€¢ Map & Directions. Tell us you’re coming on Facebook!
UPDATE! By popular demand, here is the first six minutes from last months live show!
Question for my fellow historians: When was the last time you saw a letter from Paul Terry or Fred Quimby? Today is your lucky day! Animation collector Martin Almeyra has been sharing with me some material from his collection of cartoon correspondence, and I thought these pieces were particularly delightful. First (click thumbnails below to enlarge) is a letter from Walter Lantz (Universal), who apparently didn’t approve the hideous cover to Gerald and Danny Peary’s 1980 book, The American Animated Cartoon (at left, click cover to enlarge). Next is note from Fred Quimby on his MGM stationary – note the cute images of Tom & Jerry at the bottom – to MGM musical director Johnny Green. Finally, a Paul Terry letter to radio broadcaster Mary Margaret McBride displaying more wit than any ten (make that twenty) Terrytoons combined! Is he coming on to her?
NBC’s sitcom Community loves animation. They recently did a full length stop-mo Christmas episode, and this past week’s 2D end tag was done by Justin Roiland and Myke Chilian (unfortunately they were non-union so they didn’t get any credit):
“The consulate complained that it was “regrettable” to see such a comic, given the fact that the safety of Japanese food exports is being verified by customs officials in both Japan and America.”
Here’s a friendly reminder to take your vitamins:
(Thanks, Clint H.)
First it was Alvin and the Chipmunks, then Yogi Bear. Once again, Hollywood has its way with animation history…
(Thanks, Thad K. and Rob Yulfo)