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The New York Times on the new Looney Tunes

Brooks Barnes recounts the recent history – and uncertain future – of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes franchise in today’s New York Times. The article contains some interesting details, quotes from the execs (not to mention a plug for my forthcoming book), and this intriguing shot (below) from the new CGI Road Runner cartoons.

  • The road runner shot looks amazing!
    the bugs & daffy, not so much…

  • RobEB

    Ugly stuff…

  • RobEB

    According to the article, WB is pulling out all the stops to get the characters in front of audiences again. They’re doing everything they can…EXCEPT showing the original cartoons on TV…

  • Daffy’s feet look kinda like the way Donald Duck’s feet were drawn in the early 30s comics.

    I for one think Daffy looks amazing. Bugs…. meh… I will say that’s a better drawing of him, than in previous examples.

  • I wish they’d have put the $ into continuing with The Golden Collection and licensing content to Cartoon Network or other TV channels (if Cartoon Network had something against cartoons…).

  • Kristjan

    Time too stick with Larrva Rood Runners and the Daffy Speady cartoons.

  • Chris

    Coyote looks cool. Not so sure about the one above that though.

  • Jason

    Daffy doesn’t look too bad to me, clearly leaning more to the genuine Daffy personality than his later Cynical Bastard phase, if one can tell that much from a single picture. Something is very wrong with Bugs, though.

  • lampshade


    hey, the CGI shot doesn’t look so bad though

  • I agree, Rafa. Wile E Coyote looks fantastic.

  • diego

    Jerry, I don’t really get what you’re saying. Based on what could we say they’re on the right track? What top animation talent are we talking about? I’m not being sarcastic, I really want to know.

  • diego– “Based on what could we say they’re on the right track?”

    Based on my knowledge, albeit limited, of some of the artists involved in the production.

    diego -“What top animation talent are we talking about?”

    Spike Brandt, Tony Cervone, Ken Boyer, June Foray, Bob Bergen, Jessica Borutski, etc.
    I have not seen anything on this show other than what we’ve posted on Cartoon Brew, so I have no idea if the show will be any good. But I’m an optimist… and I want to Looney Tunes to succeed.

  • These both look great (in before the hatefest).

  • ben

    i think i threw up a little in my mouth at that crappy flash drawing of the new looney tunes designs

  • Brokenshell44

    Agree with Rafa. I think a CG Road Runner could work if they focus on the speechless appeal of the original cartoon.

    The Bugs & Daffy shot…..*Shudder* The thing is, Daffy doesn’t look all that bad as an update, but Bugs is just horendous!

  • Rick Greene

    The Road Runner shot looks like an old View Master reel slide. Like it!!

  • I got a chance to watch one of the road runner cg shorts recently and it was actually really quite good.

  • I actually think both things look pretty great. Even Bugs looks certainly better than he did in that other frame or the display we saw in Jessica Borutski’s blog.

    I don’t know if I will get accustomed to see RoadRunner and Wile E. Coyote in CGI, but it seems that they have done it pretty well. But…even if the CGI is good, I’m more interested in the traditional animated part.

  • Anna

    Daffy is all “yaaay!” and Bugs… do not want

    I am cautiously optimistic about some new Road Runner shorts! The preview image looks like it could go great places with a good writer

  • Artisticulated

    I agree with Ben. Flashed Looney Tunes… *bglorph*

  • That coyote looks TERRIFIC!!!!
    I love it!

    Bugs and Daffy look almost as good too.

  • erlab

    I was seriously SCARED of Daffy’s welcoming expression! Now that I know Bugs WILL look like that, I will just have to live with it or ignore the show.

    CN is still running the original cartoons in the morning right?

    That CG Road Runner series has potential to be really good.

  • Yes! I love that ViewMaster look on the Coyote! That one looks like a lot of fun.

    I’m looking forward to the Bugs and Daffy show as well. We haven’t had such good looking WB art since Tazmania which I thought was a pretty nice show. It looks like there is an intent here to do something right with these characters. I’m all for it!

  • I don’t know about the talent working on this show, as many (including Paul Dini) got fired. One of the newer writers is one of the writers from SPACE JAM.

  • Karen

    “ith the Road Runner, who never utters a sound other than the occasional “beep, beep,” and Wile E. Coyote, Warner went directly back to the classic looks — although they will be rendered with computers, an appearance that is now most familiar to children.”

    So, they’re going back to the “classic looks,” but doing it on the computer? That cg coyote looks awful. And I’m sure the animation (produced in India) will be “classic,” too.

  • Jeff

    From the NYT article:

    “The minute you start drawing Bugs Bunny exactly as he was drawn in 1949, you expect the same animation and the voice to be exactly the same,” Mr. Register said. “That’s obviously not possible, so you pull the best stuff from the characters and do something slightly new with it.”

    Why is it not possible to have the animation look the same?

  • However…I do find interesting that it seems one of the Road Runner shorts is going to be shown in theaters?

    I wonder if they got inspired in Scrat’s success. Scrat is clearly inspired in Wile E. Coyote so now the inspirational character goes CGI. The audience really loves Scrat’s shorts and his moments in the Ice Age pictures, I wonder how it will work for good old Wile E…

  • johnnn

    i think the CGI Road Runner is a legit way to keep some looney tunes alive… as long as they follow the rules and premise of the original RR shorts, it could definitely work.
    the bugs and daffy stuff seems like they’re forcing it way too much… would probably be better off putting the money and effort into creating a series with new characters. if they want to keep the Looney Tunes alive so badly, re-airing the old shorts from the 40s/50s would be the easiest, safest, and most dignified approach.

  • Ed Thompson

    I will try not to judge the show until I see it, but with Warner’s track record over the last 30 years, I can’t say I have a lot of optimism about this effort.

  • I’m looking forward to seeing this stuff move around!

  • AB

    Duffy’s design is much, much stronger than that of Bugs. (However, I would reconsider the spikiness of his tail and lower body. It doesn’t seem to go with the more curvilinear elements in the face and arms).

    As for Bugs… YIKES. His proportions feel extremely weird and there is something about his face (the nose or the large teeth, perhaps?) that makes him feel completely out of character. He seems a bit short as well.

    As for Wile E. Coyote, I’m actually kind of exited. It seems it could translate very well into 3D.

  • “Once there is new content out there, then retailers will become more interested in it.”

    What an idiot. According to the article these characters generate a billion dollars annually worldwide, without a single short being shown on TV. Imagine if kids today actually got to watch some Clampett and Jones cartoons everyday. There would be no need for new content. How can these people not realize what they have?!? Mind blowing.

    The Wile E Coyote image looks great. Of course I have little faith that the animation as a whole will be very good.

  • whoa those flash designs look kind of familiar…

  • The cgi coyote looks pretty nifty!
    But Bugs is having a serious tude problem…and his feet and
    Dafy looks good :D
    despite his gigantic feet

  • Daffy looks a little too sharp in places but otherwise OK. It will be interesting to see if WB sticks to the classic screwball comedy that the Looney Tunes were known for or updates the humor to better match today’s tastes. In other words, will Looney Tunes 2010 resemble “Adventure Time” or “Flapjack” in tone.

    Oh and damn that Wile E. Coyote looks good!

  • Why is Daffey made of thistles? I hope that Coyote shot is going to be as good as it looks now!

  • Mike Luzzi

    1. Amid, this is a much better tone than your past posts. Way to tone back the bitter sarcasm and report in a more professional manner.

    2. The Flash Looney Tunes look better here than in the last image. Not bad. Interested, though, to see how they move.

    3. Wile E Coyote looks pretty sweet. It is exciting to see some new shorts, CGI for those two might make for an interesting challenge. Let’s see how they do. The short will be in theatres? That’s great! The shorts were made in India? That’s really unfortunate.

  • Lil Jimmy

    What the flip is with that nasty smug looking Bugs Bunny. Why’re studios afraid of round shapes? Daffy however looks awesome…despite those heinous spikes on his bottom. But that Bugs Bunny is way too awful, if you hate Bugs Bunny there is no point in doing the Looney Tunes is all I’m saying.

  • Mike Luzzi says: “Amid, this is a much better tone than your past posts. Way to tone back the bitter sarcasm and report in a more professional manner.”

    You do realize that the reason this post is presented in a more professional manner is because that’s Jerry reporting the news, not Amid, right?

  • James R

    The Wile E. Coyote shorts are being produced by Reel FX Entertainment in Dallas, TX. They’ve done DVD and television commercial work on big Dreamworks and Sony properties. From what I hear it’s not as great as the old stuff but looking pretty good overall.

  • Baron Lego

    All this does is make me pine for the original shorts.

  • Tony Montealegre

    Are they trying to make Bugs look like Groucho Marx? If so, it’s not a good approximation and I’d rather he’d go back to what Robert McKimson modeled of the wabbit in 1943…

  • say what you will about the bugs and daffy remodeling, but i have to say that the coyote shot looks awesome!!! i’m definitely excited to see the whole cartoon!!

  • coyote

    “The short will be in theatres? That’s great! The shorts were made in India? That’s really unfortunate.”

    Don’t worry, the shorts aren’t being made in India. They’re being done by Reel FX in Dallas.

  • I’ll probably give the Flash show a chance, but I still don’t get why they need to draw Bugs Bunny with a straight edge.

  • top cat james

    Is Bugs giving us the “Italian Arm Salute” in response to Brewsters criticizing his horrible appearance? Yeah, same to you, buddy.

  • Craig

    Looks like they spend the entire budget on the CGI short and then paid some kid twenty bucks to do the cartoon.

  • erlab

    You remember there were going to be new Road Runner shorts for the theatre in 2D? But Back In Action tanked, and they canceled production on all of them!?

    I hope they learn.

  • Gary

    Why do people like crappy drawings? It’s alright to evolve a design, but do it right… what ever happen to curves? Shape and Form. Caricature is fine but learned to draw first. Did they get too complicated to draw? Oh that’s right… most people don’t draw anymore… they spend their days in studios tweeking and moving cut-outs around a screen, guess that way you forget what appeal is. The animation bible, the Illusion of Life tells people not to do this kind of stuff. I can understand people Liking Wile Coyote, it has depth, structure, expression, although a bit of twining but passable. But the flash stuff, geez, I hope this godforsaken show dies along with this disgracful trend. Why is art out of animation? Money? That’s just sad… Limited doesn’t mean crap, it means effecient.

  • Cyber Fox

    Will you people PLEASE stop acting like the Sonic The Hedgehog fanboys and wait for “The Looney Tunes Show”?

  • tgentry

    I guess I’m just restating what many others have already said, but the genericized, Flash-happy Bugs and Daffy make me incredibly sad. It’s odd that the 3D coyote looks much more organic and cartoon-like than the more trendy and souless look of Bugs and Daffy. Looking forward to the updated Roadrunners.

  • i like the coyote cgi shot

    looks almost like stop-motion, which is a style i think would work very well for that sketch

  • vfx

    The real fun will be when everyone gets to frame-by-frame through the CG animation to see just how spot on it is to the classic stuff.

  • Frank Schoonover

    The New York Times came down on every recent WB animated LT project but one, Duck Dodgers. Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone were its kingpins, and the article is shilling for this new series, which those guys are also behind. The deliberate omission avoided any negative comparison. Isn’t Hollywood payola wonderful?

  • to those who are saying daffy was never pointy in the 40’s:

    ….except when Scribner under Clampett got a hold a those butt feathers and made them razor sharp barbs of hilarity.
    daffy was better when he was…. well, daffy. Here’s hopin’ he WOOHOOs!

    and hey,Ive heard it ain’t animated in flash, it’s animated in some software called “overseas”.

  • Bugs looks like a draft of some fan art.

    They can toss all the money in the world at this and hire the most talented people to work on it, but they still won’t have the one thing the old shorts had .. time. Compare how many cartoons, say, the Jones unit worked on it a year to how many are being produced for television. The people working on it won’t be able to devote the same amount of time.

    So many different things were put into the, um, cartoon brew, to make the old ones a success. And even still, the brew was going flat by the end of the ’50s. So I don’t hold out a lot of hope an entirely new group will be able to assemble all the elements to bring back the characters. But I wish them the best.

    And it doesn’t take Professor I.Q. High to tell Warners the reason the old characters have been generating less revenue is YOU TOOK THEM OFF TV and reduced their exposure! Con-sarned idjits.

  • Mark Sonntag

    Not sure about the odd couple type concept for the show, sounds a little like an animated Melrose Place. But I’ll give it a chance, can’t be any worse than some of the stuff out on the air.

  • actually scrolling thru the comments of john K’s blog where I stole that image from, wadda ya know, the designer had this to say:

    jessicaLynn said…

    “One thing that stood out to me with these stills is Daffy Ducks tail feathers and head feathers. His bum feathers mimic his head feathers. It creates an amazing overwhelming feeling of emotion. Especially in the “I Love that man” picture! Look at that angle from right to left!!! SO energized and stiff.
    hehehehhe there you go John!!”

    8:36 PM
    Blogger JohnK said…

    “Wow, Jess!

    I never noticed that! It just goes to show you how warm those old American animators were!
    Boy, 60 years after Rod animated a butt acting finally someone noticed!
    You should win some kind of award for observation.”

    …and She did, John. She did. She won the gig that would make all brew commentators spit at her forever.

    So there. The feathers aren’t pointy. They’re “stiff”.

  • I think Daffy looks pretty all right, actually.

    I saw on Jessica Borutski’s blog this photo that features drawings of other characters, too, on her blog: The charm shows a lot better in these than in the still we’ve seen previously, in my opinion.

    Jessica is really talented, as are other people working on the show. It was easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to redoing characters that can’t really get any more iconic, yeah, but with a bit of distance and a bit more info, now, I feel like we could be pleasantly surprised.

  • i love how the CG shot surprised me (and maybe everyone else ) by how great it looks! cant wait to see animation.

    Ill wait to see an episode of the bugs and daffy action before i pass judgement but I dunno…

    I wish they had just put all the money into making Theatrical shorts again and playing them before live action movies…get a new team of artists and let them have fun with these characters!

  • NC

    I know I’m about to get a world of hurt for saying this but A LOT of people didn’t like Genndy Tartakovski’s Clone Wars design (The 2d version not the CG version). But after the shorts aired people changed their tune. Hopefully, I repeat HOPEFULLY the same can be said about Looney Tunes. I wouldn’t say I’m cautiously optimistic, more like delaying pessimism.

  • just read the article – so the CG shorts will be in theatres – thats cool.

    Do first graders really not know who bugs bunny is? I seriously doubt that but hmm….

  • looney

    The cg shorts are not being done nor do they have any relation to the freaky bugs and daffy, fyi.

  • Craig

    Other than Bugs’ facial expression nothing is different between this image and the other screen. And as far as info goes this article didn’t really tell me anything important other than the cost per episode which seems absurd, the fact that they’re pretty much doing this soley for the money and that the Elmer Fudd is going to sing a two minute song about grilled cheese which makes me grimace. In fact the only big thing about the article in my opinion is that the episodes will have three stories which would be a good thing if it weren’t for the fact that they say they all have a connection to one another. So basically episodes will have an A, B and C plot.

  • Tom

    Both of these shots look great, in my opinion. I think that since the Road Runner was mainly Chuck Jones’ baby, there is no reason to try to compete with that. Taking the characters into new territory like CG makes logical sense, allowing them to be reborn apart from Jones’ long shadow.

    Since Bugs and Daffy were directed and produced by many different creators, sticking with 2D, and updating them nicely like this also makes great sense. I’m hopeful. I’m not going to let the previous “breakfast nook” image get me down. Best of luck to the Looneys and the hard working men and women behind them.

  • Why is the coyote the same colour as the background? I barely can make out his silhouette. One key element of Chuck Jones’ success always was the clarity of his layouts: everything reads immediately.

    I’ll wait for some examples of real animation, maybe it gets better in movement.

  • I was about to post another comment saying EXACTLY the same two things Tom has said. Yes, RoadRunner only worked when Chuck Jones was the director, it’s all about how he draws Wile E. Coyote facial features. With Friz Freleng it was just another chase cartoon with generic characters. I’m not sure CGI will make it any justice but it’s a new way to go.

    Also, did they talk about this in John Ks blog? I missed it.

    >>Other than Bugs’ facial expression nothing is different between this image and the other screen. >>

    True, but personally I think he looks a little better in this pose. His tiny body is less noticeable and the face is quite expressive. I still think his body should be at least the same size of Daffy’s but I guess it’s some kind of trick to accentuate the feet. I would also make his cheek wider, but hey, those are not my designs.

    This Bugs is very different to McKimson’s or Friz’ but it has element of Clampett’s and Jones’. It also kind of reminded me of the primitive version from Hare-Um Scare-Um (Shorter, more rounded cheeks).

    I still think the suburb concept seems more limited than the characters designs which could work just fine.

  • I’m actually all for it. If it’s anything like the care and attention Disney put into those Mickey Mousework shorts, it should be a good show.

  • Peter H

    I think that if you have to redesign the characters to “Mickey Mouse” proportions (small body, big head hands and feet) then they’ve done a good job – but WHY do it?

    Bugs’ long lean body is part of his character: it gives him the ability to lounge in a cool, laconic manner – a trait shared by the Pink Panther. Short and stubby aint cool and laconic – it’s Yosemite Sam!

    Why try to revive the traditional characters if you’re going to have to change them? Tiny Toons did the right thing – if you must have stumpy characters (assuming that under-5s can only respond to stumpy characters?) make them new characters.

    But if you want the old characters – keep them looking roughly the same! (rework them, yes, make them suit the needs of modern production methods and give the directors and animators freedom to do it their way – but don’t just impose a design concept on them that doesn’t fit!)

    Would anyone who knows, inside WB or out, care to name and shame the person who insisted they had to be made short and stumpy? (I do hope they didn’t reason “Tiny Toons worked, Loonatics didn’t: Loonatics were tall and thin, Tiny Toons were short and stumpy. Ergo…” because that means they don’t know that the originals worked – both in the cinema AND on TV!)

    And as for suggesting that they cannot match the animation of the originals – that’s just insulting to the new animation team. There is no style of animation to match – the animation was wild under Avery and controlled under Jones – the challenge is to keep the situation alive and funny. I think that that is more about good strong posing (created for the scene rather than off-the-shelf) than the amount of animation.

  • I’ve worked in the Looney Tunes comics since 1998. I must say that this is one bold move for WB but smart nonetheless.
    I’ve seen so many changes in direction and designs for the Looney Tunes over the years but this goes directly to the public that they want to get. “Manga-Cosplay-Naruto-Kawaii-loving-kids” Now they can sport a Bugs Bunny t-shirt without friends making fun of him.

    However, I don’t endose the hiding of the Looney Tunes origins. Like pulling out the original shorts. So far I heard that all of us who were involved in the original franchise were dismissed of our chores because ,supposedly, we won’t be able to take the hang of this new direction.
    Curiously, Daffy’s desing has a lot of influence of the Daffy I used to draw for the comics:

    Anyway, don’t take this as a complain. WB has been very kind to me all over these 12 years of service. I’m sure that if they ever ask me to give it a shot I’ll try to do my best.

  • Kyle B

    That Wile E shot looks great! Heres hoping the animation for it doesn’t look as cheap as typical television CGI. On the 2D end, Bugs is the only design that bothers me, every time I see him it reminds me of Golly Gopher from that awful Reanimated movie. I think the other designs are pretty well done though, especially Sylvester’s.

  • The cotoyote look good, but I’m nervous to see it move.

  • Still not thrilled with the updated look of Bugs and Daffy…but I’ll withhold judgment on the series until I see a few episodes.

    The Wile E. Coyote shot has me pumped, though. The look is very reminiscent (to me, at least) of the beautiful 3-D Viewmaster reels from the ’60s. And I LOVED those things as a kid!

    Here’s some examples of the art I’m referring to, for all you youngsters.

  • Dave O.

    “The bar had gone so low that we could only go up,” is not exactly a clarion call. From what I got from this article, it looks like WB execs are repeating themselves all over again by throwing money at these characters that they don’t have a clue to do with.

    The Looney Tunes classics remain classic because they weren’t born out of this MBA-led kleptomaniac “brand” renewal. The WB directors, animators, and voice actors were the vanguard that remains to be surpassed in terms of craft, timing, and execution. As Amid wrote in “Cartoon Modern” we might be in a silver age of animation in terms of design, but not in terms of content. Not to declare this latest incarnation dead on arrival, but all signs point to ‘meh’. Will it make first graders more aware of Taz and Elmer Fudd (and therefore make them good consumers of the all-important merch)? Probably. Will they be timeless? Hmm…

  • Gummo

    I like the faces on Bugs and Daffy, they definitely convey the characters well.

    The bodies, though, are simply horrible. The proportions are awful. What is the point of giving Bugs Bunny bowling ball feet and a tiny round body? It’s not cute, it’s not attractive, and it’s not Bugs Bunny.

    Daffy fares better, at least in the 2 stills I’ve seen.

    And, though this might sound strange, I really like the hands on both characters. I don’t know why, they just look very expressive.

    But as I said before, I question the whole premise of dropping the characters into suburbia. It seems to me to be very Dell Comics, and at least 50 year out of date.

    I don’t know what to think about the Coyote still. While it does have a retro Viewmaster look to it, he’s way too vicious looking to be comical. And i agree with the poster above who said he doesn’t stand out enough from the background.

    I would love to be wrong about this whole Loony Toons revival, but I have to admit I’m pessimistic.

  • Nichole

    I remember watching Looney Toons on Saturday mornings when I was in high school, which was back in 2003. Why can’t they do that? Or continue where they left off with traditional cartoons? I don’t know. I read this article and headed here to see what you thought. I don’t think it sounds very good.

  • mat

    So our first new big-screen road runner short and they cats and dogs 2. Why not harry potter?

    You know it will be seen. If they they want kids to see the looney tunes why not put some of the classic films in front of some of thier films or when they release a kids movie throw one on the dvd as an extra like disney does?

  • Nichole

    Also, Bugs’ torso is so short! And Daffy’s hair is too spiky.

  • The truth

    Looney toons, much like popeye, betty boop and mr magoo , is such a strong product of its time, that any attempt at a reinvention for today’s kids will lack what makes the original what it is and end up failing.

    My opinion? I think warners should leave looney toons alone. Stop reinventing it for the kids of today- kids today have their own cartoon heroes to obsess over. Its sad that brilliance of the looney toons cartoons arent appreciated by youngsters these days, but i think its even more of a tragedy when sanatised, watered down versions of bugs bunny and co are brought out for kids to ignore and for adults to shake their heads at.

    Also, that one screenshot of CG Wiley coyote really has my curiosity piqued- this road runner short could be really good….i hope….

  • That CGI shot looks a-h-s-u-m

  • >>Will it make first graders more aware of Taz and Elmer Fudd (and therefore make them good consumers of the all-important merch)? Probably. Will they be timeless? Hmm…>>

    I don’t think they have to be timeless. They just have to be fun and entertaining. How many animated SERIES are timeless? Not a lot of them. And this one is using classic characters, there is no way they could make it as well as the original creators cause those were some of the most brilliant people in animated history and they did it as theatrical shorts and not in a tv production system.

    This just have to be a fun show that reflects the personality of the characters. Duck Dodgers series wasn’t “timeless” and there were better and worse episodes, but it was entertaining as a whole. It didn’t try to be better than the shorts and it couldn’t be, but it used the characters with respect and provided a decent entertainment in the process. That’s all that I’d ask for.

    I don’t think the characters were created for kids and I doubt they need to give them kids proportions for them to like them, but as far as it doesn’t change the way the characters act or the humor way too much (which happened in both Loonatics and Baby Looney Tunes) I think it’s ok to try to attract a new generation.

    On the other hand I really find it quite sad that the only two Looney Tunes movies that had been aired at theaters are as mediocre as Space Jam and LT: Back In Action. They had the chance to do a feature-length movie in the spirit of the Looney Tunes and they ended with movies that are barely entertaining, let alone being timeless.

  • From the NYT article: “Despite misfires, the Looney Tunes brand is a still formidable part of Warner Brothers’ consumer products business, especially overseas, where syndicated reruns of various incarnations still enjoy heavy play.”

    And therein lies the problem. If the classic TUNES were still readily available on US networks, local stations and cable, as they apparently are overseas, then merchandising here wouldn’t be an issue. It isn’t rocket science and it sure doesn’t require a reboot with misguided ugly designs and CGI.

  • Tom

    Nichole – I think Daffy’s doing a take and the spikiness reflects that.

  • VinceP

    From the article:

    “He added that art from “The Loonatics Unleashed” is framed and hanging in Warner’s animation offices as a reminder of what not to do.”


    I hope the show is good. I wish the best of luck to WB in trying to live up to Chuck Jones’ awesomeness.

  • While I wish WB would focus on bringing a new stock of characters in rather than rehash a classic (which clearly makes nerds angry), I’ve liked everything I’ve seen and heard so far, and the crew sounds amazing. I’m optimistic, but cautiously optimistic. That’s in part, because I’m willing to let go of some preconceived notions. Saying things like “Bugs’ feet are too big!” are exactly why we have the boring, restrained versions of the Looney Tunes we’ve had lately instead of the daring, bold images the original directors created. It’s evolution, baby!

  • Mike Luzzi

    @Charles Brubaker: Whoops, no, I missed that. It was late, and I was burning the midnight oil. Forgive my slip up.

  • Scarabim

    I HATE Bug’s feet. Hate them hate them hate them. And they couldn’t make his cheek ruffs a little fluffy? How does that interfere with Flash animation? Honestly, I have no problem with a little redesign of the classic characters, but the Bugs redesign is awful. (Looks like he knows it too – see that “I’m in pain” expression, and how he’s hiding behind Daffy?) Speaking of the duck, Daffy’s not too bad, but that’s not much comfort, because as good a character as he is, he’s not Looney Tune’s signature character- Bugs is. I shudder to think what Porky looks like.

    That CGI frame of Wile E. actually looks kinda cool, though. Although I do see some contrast problems there…but it is just one frame.

  • Russell H

    My main concern is about the “setup;” that is, the idea of all the characters living together on the same street. One of the great aspects of the classic WB cartoons was that they could take place anywhere and at any time: in a city, a forest, the tropics, the North Pole, in a sci-fi future, in Ancient Rome or Merrie Olde England, etc. I can’t understand why they’d intentionally limit their possibilities by sticking their characters in a single setting like that.

  • Scarabim

    This whole bring-back-the-franchise stuff with the Loonies is similar to what’s going on with the Muppets. Disney has hired this guy Jason Segal, who makes raunchy, R-rated comedies, to write and direct a Muppets movie, from what I’ve read. To make the puppets more “modern”, I guess. Eckkk. And this is just the latest attempt to revive Jim Henson’s puppets, and so far, all of the prior attempts have apparently ended up as failures. Which doesn’t surprise me, because Jim Henson is gone and somebody else is doing Kermit. I guess what I’m trying to say is, maybe the magic just can’t be recaptured. Yet people keep trying. And I don’t get why all that effort is expended trying to revive things that are better off dead, when the same effort might actually create something fresh, new and possibly good.

    I just don’t get it….

  • captainmurphy

    “Why is it not possible to have the animation look the same?”

    Because too much production is done in Flash, and because an entire generation of talent thinks breaking the fourth wall with a sarcastic eyebrow and forced grin is always funny.

    Although Daffy survives in much better shape, it is still fairly sad to see
    arms and legs obviously pined on as layer elements behind a set torso shape.

  • I’ll be honest, I didn’t like that Bugs design at first glance, but it’s actually growing on me. A lot will depend on how he moves and the voice/dialogue he gets. Daffy, on the other hand, looks GREAT! So much energy there, I love that!

    I’ll also toss in my compliments to Amid for much better reporting than before. More of this, please.

  • Screw this new Looney Toons show, everyone’s already said it better, but I just also want to mention how great that CG still looks for the new Wile E. Coyote. Definitely reminds me of a Viewmaster still, jaggedsmile.

  • purin

    Wow, Daffy looks pointy, to the point of being dangerous! 3D Coyote looks surprisingly good, though that reflection on his knife isn’t necessary.

    Then again, if Tiny Toons was coming out now I’d probably think it was a stupid idea, but, even if it was stylistically more like Baby Looney Toons or Loonatics, it would still stand out for its content (and addictive theme song).

  • @Russell – I don’t think limiting the setting in surburbia will prevent them from somehow ending up in various other locations. Hell, American Dad and Family Guy usually puts there characters in bizarre places by the goofiest (and stupidest) of plot lines.

  • To those who think todays kids would love the original Looney Tunes shorts, here’s a cold shower for you: I taught animation workshops to youngsters (between ages 10 and 16) for 7 years and most of them didn’t care for the shorts when I ran them. Know what they preferred? Futurama, South Park and a slew of the Adult Swim shows. The LT shorts may be classics but that doesn’t mean today’s audiences would care for them any more than they would for the Stooges, Marx Brothers or anything else in that vein. Humor has to evolve with each new generation.

  • (Note: This comment is written on my Nintendo Wii.) The CGI pic of Wile E. does look appealing, not unlike “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, despite that “Clubhouse” is made for preschoolers and I’m in my 30’s. The Bugs and Daffy pic, on the other hand…

  • Bob

    Not to get off-topic here. But reading about these ambitious Looney Tunes plans makes me wonder why Disney isn’t making new short films about Mickey and the gang.

  • robblerobble

    Nowhere in the NYT article does it mention Flash being used for production. Where did this morsel of (mis)information come from? Is it based on anything other than the line quality of that single promotional image? Or is this simply more use of the word “Flash” as a pejorative?

  • I used to work for Warner Classics and as much as I respect the artists working on these films, it always seemed as if the corporation did not know how to treat the characters. They made them too pop culture-ish. The great things about the golden age of Looney Tunes was that the studio really did not care about what they did as long as they turned out a short. That made them funny and they really pushed the ideas. It just seems as if they are trying to hard to be funny or some VP exec is giving lame notes to the directors. I say, let the directors have total creative freedom and do as many of the shorts without dialogue. Mel-Blanc was the best and nobody can replicate his amazing voice. I also hate how clean everything looks. Either go CG or try and replicate that dirty, gritty feeling the old ones had. No tones and highlights. Another issue is that I imagine the animation is all being sent overseas??? Lame. Keep it in the US!

  • I admit that I was very harsh when I first saw these redesigned versions of the Looney Tunes characters. Now that I look at these drawings again, I can find a lot of appeal and fun in these, despite all the proportion changes. Plus, Jessica Borutski is a very talented animator herself. I still don’t really like the way that Bugs was redesigned, but Daffy looks great. He doesn’t look like a rehash of Chuck Jones’ design or a big jerk like he has been in these recent Looney Tunes productions. Even Wile E. Coyote looks good in CG surprisingly.

    Kevin Langley hit the nail on the head though. The Looney Tunes aren’t really gonna generate that much money if the damn original cartoons aren’t shown TV anymore. Executives have the strangest logic I’ve ever seen.

  • “And I don’t get why all that effort is expended trying to revive things that are better off dead, when the same effort might actually create something fresh, new and possibly good.

    I just don’t get it….”

    Because even when someone does do something new and fresh, a lot of your “purists” who pretend to know what’s best for the cartoon community will still try to invalidate it.

    The Looney Tunes are iconic. But so are the characters from every fairy tale and classic literature we ever grew up with. Was there ever a rule stating those figures MUST “retire” long after their creators were gone? Certainly not, or else Chuck Jones wouldn’t have dared to create a series based on the Three Bears. Nor would Tex Avery have created one of the funniest Red Riding Hood cartoons ever.

    As long as Warner Brothers still care to use these characters, besides being mere symbols of a past generation, there’s no feasible way to keep them frozen in time. Disney came to this realization long ago when they made the first new Mickey Mouse cartoons in 30 years.

  • Alissa

    Bugs and Daffy look like they should be in the Kingdom Hearts videogame series. Not saying that’s bad, they just don’t look like how I’m used to them.

    To JPDJ, what children were you showing those shorts to? My sister is 10 and she adores old cartoons and thinks most newer shows are “boring and look like poo” (her words, not mine).

    Why can’t Warner Bros. try to capture the free-range madness and fun that made Looney Tunes great instead of constantly putting a new spin on it?

  • As much as I love the Looney Toon classics, I do fear that the WB execs have a big fear of the censors and parents who deem the classics as too violent. It’s a weird mentality that has pervaded the landscape for the worse.

    For example, I was watching How I Spent My Summer Vacation, and I felt kinda uncomfortable about how much Babs Bunny was being beat up. Then I SLAPPED myself and realized a) it’s a damn cartoon and b) this was the norm for 90s (and before) animation. Even I was affected by the social prowess of violence in animation and how it skewed my perception of what we watch, and it shouldn’t have.

  • Hal

    One of the best experiences I’ve had in a cinema recently was when the Vista in Los Angeles attached a film print of “FEED THE KITTY” in front of its screenings of FANTASTIC MR. FOX last fall – just set the right tone for that movie (and is one of my favorite WB shorts ever). A really good new Road Runner short would be the best thing to reinvigorate GOOD theatrical shorts since… well, Pixar kept the tradition alive. What was the last non-Pixar theatrical short before a feature? Sony’s terribly unfunny THE CHUB-CHUBS before Sony’s terribly unfunny MEN IN BLACK 2?

  • The 3D Coyote is looking pretty slick. Years ago I asked if there was any chance that we’d see some computer generated Looney Tunes and I was met with a resounding “NO, NEVER”. While it’s nice to see the characters being used and promoted, the original cartoons are still deserving of attention too. I have my reservations about the new CG toons but I’m hoping we are all pleasantly surprised by the final product.

  • Autumn

    I still hate Bugs’ design with a burning passion. I’ll judge the show when I see it…but Bugs’ design is just awful. AWFUL.

    He’s purple. He’s short. He’s round. I’m sure Jessica Borutski’s a talented girl, but…why this? WHY?


    And if WB wants first graders to know who these characters are, PUT LT BACK ON THE AIR SO THEY CAN SEE THEM!!! DUH!

  • John A

    Why do people find the old Bugs Bunny so hard to draw? This new design is horrible.

  • John Dorian

    “He added that art from “The Loonatics Unleashed” is framed and hanging in Warner’s animation offices as a reminder of what not to do.”

    My hopes are up just from that statement, and it means that they are putting a lot of effort in the program, and with a big budget, (almost like the 90s when Jean MacCurdy and Tom Ruegger were running WB Animation) and some good writing that’s original and also kin to the originals, I think we would have a hit here.

  • udx

    Ya know, reading that New York Times article, I am glad they a) Acknowledge Tiny Toons and b) Show an image of Babs Bunny(Maybe they may stick her in the Looney Tunes Show. But that’s just wishful thinking)

  • What is up with Bugs’ arms? The sizing is all messed up… the arm further back is twice the size of the arm that is closest to us!

  • @Alyssa: I’m not saying ALL children are disinterested in LT classics. Just that kids in general don’t. Many of the kids I taught had an easier time sitting still for Spongebob (which is a pretty great show actually) and Futurama than they did for Looney Tunes. I had better luck with some of the Tom & Jerry shorts but not by much. I forced older Disney features down their throats because, well, I taught from the 9 Old Men & Richard Williams playbooks!

    My point is, while re-broadcasting the originals would be great–that’s how I first came to love that wascally wabbit–there’s no reason to update the humor for today’s tastes. Tiny Toons and Animaniacs worked great for the 90s. Let’s see what works for today.

  • COYOTE FALLS looks to be THE Looney Tunes event for me! Coyote looks incredible in 3D (and yeah, comparable to a vintage ViewMaster 3D film)! Would love to see better shots of the Road Runner. :)

    Still have mixed feelings about THE LOONEY TUNES SHOW, though.

  • Okay, here’s a question: Just WHY is it easier for kids to sit through Spongebob, than Looney Tunes?

  • Dear Cartoonbrew comment viewers,
    I weep in sorrow for what the future holds of looney tunes. I am shocked and appalled for what has become of my old friends bugs, daffy, and road runner. These cartoons were made during a different time,circumstances,technology, and SKILL. Spike Brandt, Tony Cervone, Ken Boyer, Bob Bergen, Jessica Borutski, etc. are taking something that is not theirs and twisting, manipulating, deforming these characters into something they find fit and calling it “entertainment”. The classic characters I hold near and dear are going to vanish into thin air because this these new cartoons are all the new generation is going to knew. They are turning the beloved-it artwork of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, and etc. into a novelty. All who work on these new cartoons should be ashamed to work in the animation business. They need to know they are destroy the innocent lives of the looney tunes characters. I can not stand by and watch. REVOLUTION I say, WE NEED TO RISE UP, RISE UP AGAINST THIS NEW MEDIUM. All we me, contact me at [email protected] YEAH ITS ON LIKE DONKEY KONG

  • Art L

    Chuck Jones couldn’t make good WB LT cartoons in the 1990’s. Larry Doyle failed at it with a million bucks per short backing him. The Warner execs were behind these sorry projects all the way. Hope this fares better.

  • Caresse

    Ahhh I <3 the way CG Coyote looks! I agree with what was said before, it almost looks stop-motion. I disagree with the dislike of the reflection – but I think they should have morphed it a little bit so that it actually fit the shape of the knife.

    And I agree the Bugs looks like crap, but the Daffy looks great. I get what they were going for though – they wanted to portray Bugs as sleek and Daffy as obnoxious – if nothing else, it’s proof that it’s easier to portray extremism than it is to portray subtlety.

  • Scarabim

    **Because even when someone does do something new and fresh, a lot of your “purists” who pretend to know what’s best for the cartoon community will still try to invalidate it.**

    If you’re referring to the new, fresh (I notice you left out my phrase “possibly good”) version of Looney Tunes, then you misunderstood me; what *I* was referring to was the idea of studios directing efforts AWAY from reviving old stuff like the Muppets and Looney Tunes and TOWARDS creating something new, fresh and possibly good. As I mentioned, the Muppets have been “revived” several times now, and all the efforts seem to have failed, and same with Looney Tunes. Maybe the magic can’t be recaptured and it’s really doing the characters a disservice to keep trying to bring them back – especially to a generation of kids who aren’t all that impressed or interested in them. John Kricfalusi once referred to the Looney Tunes characters as resurrected zombies or some such, and that’s pretty accurate, I’m afraid. Maybe they’re better off left alone.

  • Scarabim

    **Okay, here’s a question: Just WHY is it easier for kids to sit through Spongebob, than Looney Tunes?**

    A good question. I’ll take a stab at it: maybe the reason is that kids identify more easily with Spongebob, who’s more childlike, than with Bugs, who’s more of an adult.

  • Brendan Spillane

    As I stated elsewhere, it’s best to see Bugs & Daffy actually MOVING before passing any kind of judgment. Wile E. DOES look good in three dimensions, though!

  • Anthony C.

    As much as I’m not a fan of CGI animation, I can’t deny how great and faithful (to the originial) the Wild E. still looks.

    Everyone’s still whining about the Bugs and Daffy, I’ll wait until it’s on the air.

  • David Breneman

    The Roadrunner picture looks like the kind of model interpretations of cell animation that View Master used to make for their 3D reel sets.

  • Kyle B

    “Not to get off-topic here. But reading about these ambitious Looney Tunes plans makes me wonder why Disney isn’t making new short films about Mickey and the gang.”

    This is going purely off of conjecture, but I bet they’re waiting to see how Epic Mickey is received.

  • Sam

    Seems like Warner Bros is desperate or something… to get back their audience to remember them again or something.

    Is it really.. uhm, that hard to come up with new original works again? These stuff are like sequels stuff, they have been done to death. Students follow the Road Runner formula so much in their films too and Bugs Bunny.. I don’t know.

    I don’t even want to sound bitter about this entire thing but it just frustrates the hell out of me that instead of creating new works and new opportunities, and opening up to new ideas and creative projects, they just kept redoing the classic stuff because it used to work before or something. Playing safe and boring.

  • OtherDan

    I don’t have the energy to read this thread, but I think Mel Blanc was the real key to these characters…Good luck! But, I wish we’d just create our own new characters and stories that could hold a candle to the classics we’re all so fond of. It would be a lot more fun to work on.

  • Kyle Maloney

    My thoughts on the 2d one haven’t really changed from the last post on here, so I’ll just say that I’m cautiously optimistic about it, even if so far I’m not liking the new designs. mainly for Bugs.

    The CGI shot looks surprisingly well done though. Hope it holds up in motion.

  • Obo

    To all the people whining about LT not being aired in the states?

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe the reason why LT isn’t being shown here is because the rating for LT have been terrible? Acme hour was one of the lowest rated shows on CN before it went off the air, pulling in less viewers than Tom and Jerry.

  • Manny

    I can’t help but find Bugs rather weirdly attractive, due to that pic. Maybe b’cos I’m a furry. I don’t know.

    And I want to squee out and hug our poor Wile E. He looks sooo cute.

  • ZN

    Brandon: Keep in mind that we have kids growing up now who have never seen cel animation before. TV has been digital ink and paint for years now. To us, hand inked and painted cel animation looks and feels just right, but to a kid, it looks duller, older, softer. Especially when you’re talking about older kids who start to get snobbier and pickier.

  • Charles

    Good thing Chuck ain’t around to see the Looney Tunes franchise gone to Dungville! These new character designs alone would have sent him to his grave.

  • I’m pretty surprised about how everybody loves the CGI Coyote and hate the 2D designs. Even though the Wile E. Coyote image looks good, the 2D drawing looks a lot more appealing to me. There is cuteness, skill and expressiveness in it.

    I think it’s just because the 2D designs are different and Wile E. looks similar but in 3D. I understand people not liking some of the design decisions when they think about the characters. I agree with Peter H. Bugs’ long body is part of his character and it’s weird to see him like this.

    However, if I forget about the character, the drawing is appealing enough. It doesn’t look terrible like Loonatics or devoid of style like most LT merchandising.

    People should differ the quality of the drawing from the design decisions. You can say you don’t like the proportions but I fail to see what’s so ugly about the drawing and it’s definitely not badly drawn.

    And even the design decision part is not that much of a deal. Maybe if the series is a big success and we start watching these designs everywhere instead of the original ones then there could be a problem with it. But the way I see it now it’s pretty much like the original creators drawing the characters in different ways. Yes, they did keep the proportions more similar but I never liked how McKimson drew Bugs in some of his shorts, when he draws him fat, but that doesn’t make me hate all those shorts per se. They are not my fave ones but I can watch them if they have good gags.

    This is Bugs in these series. Jones’ designs are not going to change because of this and I can always watch a Jones’ short whenever I want to.

    I’m not mad about this new Bugs but it doesn’t look ugly either. I can perfectly watch a cartoon with those designs without feeling sick. I don’t think they’re corrupting Bugs because his feet are longer or his body is short. I can think it’s not the best decision but at the end of the day if the stories are fun and the animation is well done, who cares? This is not like Loonatics where the look of it instantanely puts me off.

  • So much focus on the look of these classic characters, but what I am interested in seeing the most is how they are writing/boarding these things.

    They can look EXACTLY like the old designs & please all the venomous Looney Tunes fanatics, but if the gags & writing sucks then who cares what they look like?

  • Jack

    yes, it’s a sad but true fact that little kids DON”T know the Looney Tunes characters, unless their parents show them on dvd or VHS tapes.

  • Obo: “Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe the reason why LT isn’t being shown here is because the rating for LT have been terrible? Acme Hour was one of the lowest rated shows on CN before it went off the air…”

    In its later years, the Acme Hour was an hour of one-shots, lacking Bugs, Daffy, or any other well-known characters.

    I may like the one-shots myself, but kids like the well-known characters. So I’m not surprised this was ratings suicide. But there was no getting CN to correct a mistake: rather than revise the show, they kept it just as it was until its ratings killed it. It was CN’s way or the highway.

  • Scarabim, the muppets never worked in features IMO. However I think Muppets Tonight, the tv show, was created when Jim Henson had already dead (correct me if I’m wrong) and it was a very good show that actually reflects the Muppets characters and their humor in a very faithful way.

    I wish this show will do anything similar for the Looney Tunes, though it’s a lot more difficult.

  • Animation character design is in a weird state of flux these days.

    Either it’s minimalistic – iconic “anime” style designs….or it’s the “hyper-photo-realism” of CG and seeing every single pore and hair on the character.

    What happened to the balance of simple cartoon drawing?? Bring back the art and appreciation of drawing, man.

    ….urg. The usual “oversized head and feet and hands” ….”Anime-style Bugs Bunny”…. no thank you….

  • TKO

    I’m stoked for the new show! I think Daffy looks great – love the modern sort of faux-hawk going on, and his ‘spiky’ bottom half reminds me of his personality – so I’m all for the new design. Also, I always thought Bugs had a smug streak in him anyways, so I’m happy to see the arms folded, eyebrows raised, standing behind Daffy who’s trying to steal the show!