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Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi

Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi

Here’s the cover to one of next year’s must-have animation books: Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi by Jon M. Gibson and Chris McDonnell.

I’ve peeped the interior and can report that it’s a 264-page visual feast packed with page after page of amazing artwork. Any book that can make Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings look like a competent piece of filmmaking has done its job well. Plus, a foreword by Bakshi aficionado Quentin Tarantino and interviews/anecdotes with John K, Albert Ruddy, Bruce Timm, Peter Chung, John Sparey, Tom Minton, and Frank Frazetta among others. Book launch is slated for Comic-Con International: San Diego in July 2008. Pre-order for $26.40 on Amazon.

  • Wow, cool! Been a fan of Bakshi since the late 70s with Wizards and yes, even Lord of the Rings (I was only 13 and had just finished reading the books for the first time).

  • Chuck R.

    “Any book that can make Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings look like a competent piece of filmmaking has done its job well”

    Great line, and great jacket design! I’m really looking forward to this one. Thanks for the heads-up.

  • Brian Kidd

    I look at Bakshi’s LORD OF THE RINGS as a noble, but failed, experiment. The first half-hour or so are actually quite well-done and engaging. From there, it’s obvious that funds ran low and it becomes a mish-mash of scenes from the first two books with no real narrative flow. By the end, it’s a mess. Still, as a kid it and the Rankin/Bass HOBBIT were what first turned me on to Tolkien.

    I’m a huge fan of most of his other work, with COONSKIN being my personal favorite. Too bad we’ll never see a decent release of that film.

  • Fred Sparrman

    At last a book with “amazing artwork” in it, unlike that “overwhelmingly primitive” stuff in the Pixar book.

  • Jorge Garrido

    Wow, Peter Chung?!?! Maybe he can finally show us the missing link between Rugrats and Bakshi!

    In all seriousness, I’ll be picking this up.

  • i’m in line. we owe bakshi so much.

  • I can’t wait for this book! Coonskin is, without question my favorite animated film, and it’s about time that Bakshi’s work received some solid recognition.

    Thanks for the heads up on the book. Now let’s just get someone to put together a really good documentary!

  • Chuck R.

    Brian, I agree. Bakshi’s scene of the black rider sniffing along the trail is really chilling. Peter Jackson pretty much lifted that sequence for his version, but I still prefer Bakshi’s. Sadly, the rest of the film never reaches that level.

    I hope there’s enough space dedicated to “Hey Good Lookin’.” It’s not Bakshi’s best, but I always liked the weird character designs in it.

  • Spock Foolish

    Ever since Mighty Heroes, I’ve always loved the distinct way Bakshi drew hands and fingers. I can still spot the influence in my own stuff.

  • Is this essentially a book of pictures, or does it include a biography of Ralph or analysis of his films?

    If it’s the latter, I wonder (and kinda doubt) if this book will mention the ENORMOUS “debts” (in more ways than one) that Bakshi owes to Vaughn (“Cheech Wizard” Bodé and Wallace (“The Wizard King”) Wood? I like a lot of Bakshi’s stuff (especially THE MIGHTY HEROES) but his ethics regarding the ownership of creative properties seem to be another matter entirely.

    And I also hope that the author interviewed the great Cosmo Anzolotti. He told me scads of stories about himself and Ralph as young cartoonists in NYC, including how Bakshi came up with THE MIGHTY HEROES on the spot at Terrytoons when he walked in on an otherwise disastrous pitch meeting with CBS brass, as well as drawing stories for Pines’ TOM TERRIFIC funnybook adaptation.

  • I’M ON IT! Got to get it. I have every one of Bakshi’s movies. He was ahead of his time and I can’t wait for the release of this book. It’s been a long time coming.

  • Ed

    Shame that vile gore peddler Tarantino’s got his filthy paws on it

  • Jayster

    The book looks fantastic, I think it’s clear that most cartoon fans want this book.

  • Wow, this should prove to be a VERY interesting
    book about a VERY interesting film-maker! :)

    Lookin’ forward to learning more about Bakshi, and
    his group of artists and animators that worked with him
    on ALL of those films… I hope the book DOES venture out from
    Bakshi at least a little bit, and gets into some of his crew(s), which
    I know little or nothing about. ;)

  • Scott, you should check out the DVD release of Wizards. The commentary alone is worth the price of the disk. Ralph talks about many of the artists he worked with, and goes in depth on the underground scene that he was trying to get to the big screen.

  • Thanks for all the positive comments, guys!

    Chris and I poured our hearts into every page of this book. It was an
    incredible ‘making of’ process, and we kept discovering fascinating artifacts from history along the way — almost on a daily basis.

    What you’ll find inside is:

    — A chronicle of Ralph’s early years, where he got the urge to start
    drawing in the first place, and how he climbed up the ladder from his first days at Terrytoons to writing/directing/producing features.

    — Chapters for every feature, including our personal favorite, a massive tribute to Coonskin… and some incredibly enlightening stories about the genesis of the film. This is stuff no one has heard before!

    — Hundreds of images that no one but the production crews have seen before.

    — Lots of questions answered. Ralph has saved artwork from nearly the very day he started sketching, and the visuals — and dates attached to them — will put a lot of “theories” to rest.

    — Insight into the creative process, proving to be a mini-education for any student or artist wondering how Ralph pulled off what he did with such limited budgets and resources.

    — Piles of Ralph drawings, doodles and sketches. Multiple pages of all new material and an entire painting chapter including work created just for this book. This is Ralph’s very personal work, and it’s pretty amazing what they guy has been up to these past few years.

    — A chapter that covers two decades worth of smaller productions, shorts and exciting projects that could-have-been.

    Hope that provides a bit more info. Any fan, student, or person with even the slightest interest in one of Bakshi’s films won’t be disappointed in this very heavy book (yeah, it’s thick and weighs a lot).

  • Aaron

    I’ll take Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings over Jackson’s any day.

  • Congrats to Jon and Chris! I’ll be picking this one up for sure.

  • Adam

    I’ll be buying it for the Bakshi and ignoring the Tarantino.
    It sounds like a real gem. I can’t wait.

  • Oh my god, I can’t take 2008 anymore. Indy,Batman, Bond (the new movie and the new book), turning 21, and now Ralph !

  • Chuck R.

    “I’ll take Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings over Jackson’s any day.”

    Wow, you’re a bigger fan than I. Does this mean you can watch that rotoscoped Balrog without laughing?

  • Floyd Norman

    I never worked for Ralph, but I visited nearly all his studios. Seems he was never in the same place twice. Plus, he had some pretty awesome talent on his payroll over the years.

    Ralph is still my favorite animation “crazy man.” A book? Heck! They should make a movie about this guy.

  • The wait is too long. I need to get me this NOW!

  • top cat james

    Nice to see a left-handed cartoonist!

  • I can’t wait either. The unsung hero of independant animation finally gets his due. Mighty Heroes was one of the main reasons I got into this biz.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Scott, you should check out the DVD release of Wizards. The commentary alone is worth the price of the disk. Ralph talks about many of the artists he worked with, and goes in depth on the underground scene that he was trying to get to the big screen.

    Being reminded of the near 30 minute featurette where he mentioned how he went from being an inker to an animation at Terrytoons though sheer determination and a complete disregard for the rules of the studio system to do it, amazing he never got fired for that stint (I don’t think I could ever do that in a million years if I wasn’t capable in my talent)!

    Starting to get rather psyched up for the book too!

  • Ralph is amazing- he is the Indy Animation king- I hope the Mighty Heroes gets its due in this– you see how often it’s referenced in this thread, it is his TV legacy that has made so many of us get into this shakey biz… True, he has reshaped cartoon cinema in many ways, but everyone wants more info on the Mighty Heroes– more than the Junker’s model sheet and Mighty Heroes’ size charts and few pose models– that have vitually been all that can be had art wise-although most of the episodes and the original opening(thanks to Ron Kurer) are on youtube.PLEASE –WE WANT MO’ MIGHTY HEROES !!!

  • Wow, it’s so crazy to see just how much ‘Mighty Heroes’ inspired SO many animators!… I was absolutely obsessed with the show as a kid, and I would definitely credit it with having an enormous influence on me, and from VERY early-on. :)

    When I rediscovered the show in Animation School back in the mid-90’s, I realized that I must have sensed as a kid that the show was pretty special and very unique.

    Here’s hoping that this book has some juicy tidbits and GREAT art from a show that was important to so many of us!… And hey, if not, there’s always book #2?… ;)

    BTW, the contents in the book as listed above sounds WONDERFUL as is!… Looks like ya got some very eager buyers already, Jon! :)

  • tom

    This is slightly to the side of this topic, but Bakshi’s fans can see him in a Frank Frazetta doc that came out a few years ago called “Frank Frazetta: Painting With Fire”. He’s a central figure in the doc, and is seen throughout. The doc itself is pretty entertaining, if you are or have ever been a fan of Frazetta’s. I assume that description covers anyone who has ever been a teenager in the last fifty years.

    Back to Bakshi, I’ve always been amazed that he hasn’t been bowed by the lukewarm box office his films have always received. He’s had many projects die on the table too. No reflection on the quality of the films, or of his own work- I just think he’s a real inspiration in that regard. Makes me want to get back to work, you know?

  • c.tower

    This better have something about Spiderman and Rocket Robin Hood in it!

  • The amount of art in this book is almost overwelming, it’s amazing! I think it will prove or disprove a lot of urban legends as well…

  • Hope it includes lots of info on the hellish production of Cool World (Oh please, oh please have images of the deleted scene where the denizens of the Slash Club, including the uber-cute brunette sweetheart Lonette, become humans) and has some info that great Harlem Shuffle music video. The fact that Mighty Mouse is on the cover makes me smile, seeing that Bakhi’s Mighty Mouse is my personal favorite project of his.

  • Weirdo

    I can’t wait for this to come out. Ralph Bakshi is one of my idols of animation. I hope it has artwork from abandoned projects.

  • JL

    What I find strange is the absence – as usual – of any mention of what this guy did with the original 1960’s Spider-Man cartoon. I’ve read print interviews, watched video interviews – this never comes up, almost as if Bakshi refuses to acknowledge he even had a hand in it. Is he ashamed?

  • Robert

    Im looking forward to this. I was never an animation buff and never will be, but Bakshi’s different. When you see his movies, it’s like seeing something by Martin Scorcese or Spike Lee or Tim Burton. It’s conroversial yet very indie