Curtis

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Take note: Ray Billingsley’s syndicated comic strip, Curtis, is referencing out-of-work Disney 2D animators in this week’s continuity. (click here for Tuesday’s strip, here for Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s).

(Thanks, Uncle Wayne)


  • Killroy McFate

    “Could I get extra pickles on that, Mr. Sito?”

  • joecab

    I don’t get it. Where’s the joke?

  • http://www.frankrause.com Fran Krause

    Great. Just what we need. Reinforcing the “animators are fat guys with ponytails” stereotype.

    Besides, unemployed animators don’t go into food service. We paint houses.

  • elan

    I’ve never seen such irrelevant dribble in my life.

  • Tira

    I hate that damn comic.

    Monday: Curtis, turn that rap junk down!
    Tuesday: Mom! Curtis is trying to hit me for new reason!
    Wednesday: Mr. Wilkins! Why are you reading comics in class!
    Thursday: Uh oh, it’s Derrick and Onion.
    Friday: Go out with me Michelle! Get away from me, Chutney!
    Saturday: Some shit about Flyspeck Island
    Sunday: Goddamn, ladies where funny hats to church.
    Next Monday: Curtis, turn that rap junk down!
    [lather rinse repeat]

    It’s nice to see him try a different subject than the usual life rafts of Flyspeck Island/rap junk/warm n fuzzies for Michelle, but even this is pretty crap.

  • Paul N

    It’ll be interesting to see where he’s going with this. He’s worked in the right amount of bitterness and bile, that’s for sure…

  • Rat

    Tira, for someone who hates it, you sure seem to know all the characters!

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    That looks like the BIG BOY comics that used to be given away free in Shoneys, except not as funny.

  • Ryan

    Boy, those are hilarious! Some real knee-slappers there.

  • http://amymebberson.blogspot.com Amy Mebberson

    I’m an ex-Disney laid-off 2D animation artist and I love Pixar
    (??)
    I don’t get it either.

    Yep, this is JUST how we coped – by weeping at random kids.
    Hey guys, let’s animate all syndicated cartoonists as shlubs who don’t know how the world outside of family/kids works.
    That’d be about as accurate as the way he’s depicting 2D animators here.

    According to his wiki article, Billingsley did an internship at Disney in ’79. A year later, he was a syndicated cartoonist, so he’s clearly speaking from a WEALTH of experience.

  • http://beesbuzz.biz fluffy

    Does that lady have a mustache?

    More seriously, I have to wonder if Billingsley realizes that Pixar contributed a lot of the effects to Aladdin and Lion King (and even going as far back as Beauty and the Beast), and that Pixar is also one of Disney’s biggest champions of traditional animation techniques (they just happen to do most of them in 3D).

  • http://tsutpen.blogspot.com Stephen

    Frig, give me Uncle Funny Bunny.

  • doug holverson

    Before I realized that he was a fat guy with a ponytail, I thought about the old lady that was the librarian for my old grade school. She really did have one of *those* on her face.

    And do unemployed animators have to fight it out with teachers on summer vacation for houses to paint?

  • Fred Sparrman

    Mr. Billingsley makes a very public show of support for hand-drawn animators, and in return he gets his work trashed here. Lovely!

    You’d think animators might have developed a “sense of perspective”…

  • J Hobart B

    Forgive me, I’ve never seen “Curtis” before. Is this supposed to be funny? Or is it one of those running-continuity strips like “For Better Or For Worse” where it’s just six panels of nothing in particular happening?

  • Steve

    Why does that kid wear a boot on his head?

  • Tira

    Rat – It’s been in my home comics page since I was a sprog and those pages are my bible. (Now, the really interesting story was when his mom got jumped in the early 90s.) I read ‘Curtis’ when I should be going straight to ‘Zits’ or ‘Get Fuzzy’. At least I kicked my ‘Brenda Starr’ habit.

  • Agent from HARM

    Nice to know that we can laugh about out-of-work animators… Oh wait, no one’s laughing.

  • John S

    This strip is a prime example of the sad state of newspaper comics.
    It might have been “funny” as a one day gag, but he’s reeaaally reaching in order to turn it into a series. That last line isn’t even remotely funny. It’s obvious he has an axe to grind with CG in general and Pixar in particular. He’s either a former 2d animator or if freinds with a 2d animator.

  • Paul N

    “Mr. Billingsley makes a very public show of support for hand-drawn animators, and in return he gets his work trashed here. Lovely!

    You’d think animators might have developed a “sense of perspective”…”

    See “bitterness and bile” comment above…

  • http://www.pegbarproductions.com Simon Stahl

    This makes me wonder why nobody’s thought of outsourcing bland, repetitive comics to Korea.

  • Tira

    Fred – I appreciate the support, but I don’t appreciate sloppy generalizations and blaming what’s a much bigger problem on one company. And it’s a company that’s been doing a lot of good for animation and film. This isn’t the first time he’s done this.

    J Hobart B – At least FBoFW has strong characters and engaging storylines. (Well, I think so. Lol) Curtis is a one trick pony that should have gone on its last trip to the vet a long time ago.

  • http://www.octop.com Aleksandar Vujovic

    not funny. bad comic. awful writer, lazy cartoonist.

  • http://www.adamkoford.com Adam

    You got your sandwich, get out of the way so other people can order!

  • Fred Sparrman

    If not necessarily a “show of support” as I said earlier, he’s at least heightening awareness of 2D vs. 3D animation. It will be interesting to see where he’s going with this.

  • http://afrokids.com Floyd Norman

    It’s okay to be bitter — as long as you’re funny.

    I’m still waiting for the punch line.

  • http://www.itsthecat.com Mark Kausler

    The “animator” behind the counter looks like Bill Matthews!

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    I wouldn’t spend a red cent on this comic strip.

  • http://drgrantz.deviantart.com/ revned

    Not much ‘comic’ in this strip. There has to be some sort of payoff at the end of the week… will Curtis have a change of heart and stop watching CGI films? Will the unemployed animator have a change of heart and learn to love CGI films? Will eating that ridiculous sandwich give Curtis explosive diarrhea? Will Subway sue Ray Billingsley for using the term ‘sandwich artist’? Will anybody here care enough to keep reading?

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Like noticing one guy hasn’t seen a Curtis strip in his life. All I could say is that it replaced Bloom County in the daily section of my local paper 19 years ago. In some way, it was the beginning of the end for my comic reading enjoyment.

  • Tira

    Adam – Okay, that gave me the giggles.

    Fred – I hope this goes somewhere as well, but past comics have showed Billingsley is quick to pick a scapegoat and make huge generalizations about the problem. He’ll lay on the moralizing for the rest of the week, and then it’s back to [insert 'Monday' plot here]. He has good intentions, but I don’t think it’s helping.

  • Kyle B

    About a year or two ago, he did the same shtick only in the form of a sunday comic about Curtis’ dad complaining about CGI movies, how they’re a dime a dozen, and about how very little of them seem to realize what makes the medium great.

    At least back then he had a point.

  • Martin

    Doesn’t the writer realize Pixar si the reason 2D is coming back to Disney?? Not funny…

  • http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/mjf7583 Michael F.

    I bet he feels that 3D films are lifeless moneygrabbers when compared to 2D films. That’s no true! 2D films were just as much of lifeless moneygrabbers (at least in the Disney realm of things).

    Besides, no one should take what Ray Billingsley says seriously. This guy is a broken record.

    Oh, and Tira – it’s “Onion.” Every time I make jokes about how dumb the strip is I always have to use quotes. :D

  • Fidel

    Worst.
    Comic strip.
    Ever.

  • Fidel

    OH and you have to love the fact that throughout the comic strip, Curtis has no idea what the guy is talking about with a mere “?” or “!” to explain how he feels. He doesn’t understand it…and neither do we.

  • Rat

    It’s like the last panel of the Mallard Filmore parody from the Jon Stewart book.

    “Oops, I forgot to tell a joke.”

    http://bp2.blogger.com/_jcwxlcTTqKQ/RbbEP-N7hlI/AAAAAAAAAB8/xqt4qAC4cPk/s320/mfparodyamericathebook.jpg

  • Steve Gattuso

    “Mr. Billingsley makes a very public show of support for hand-drawn animators, and in return he gets his work trashed here. Lovely!”

    And Sen. Obama should appreciate that delightfully satirical “New Yorker” cover, too. -_-

    Call it a whim, but I’m willing to bet money that most 2-d animators would prefer not to be depicted as whiny losers who blame their lack of work on a tight group of creative, driven, and extraordinarily talented artists & writers instead of the monkeysuits who actually made the brain dead decisions to dump them.

  • http://www.comicssherpa.com/site/feature?uc_comic=csjvn Larry Levine

    Anyone notice the guy isn’t wearing latex gloves–isn’t handling prepared food with bare hands a health violation?

  • Marbles

    Oh brother. Give me a break, folks. I think Curtis is lame in the writing department myself, but is it necessary to be this nasty about it? This is the kind of thing that keeps me from wanting to join comic/animation forums—too many of you people can be extremely, gratuitously unpleasant (key word “gratuitous”—sophomoric mockery seems to be an end in and of itself. Hardly a gentleman’s sport.)

  • Kevin

    Well, for once, the nastiness is well deserved. Curtis is one of those strips that’s well past its prime, even though it’s a decade younger than Garfield.

    BTW, If you were to outsource comics to Korea, then you’d probably end up with some that are better drawn, sad to say.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Everytime i’ve met a retired 2D animator the biggest thing that comes across is anger and bitterness.

    @Larry. No, gloves are not required. Not here anyway. That’s just theater to distract you from the way they cough on your sandwich.

  • Kyle B

    So I just read today’s strip, and I’m confused. Whats an “impure” artist and how do they differ from the “pure” artists? Does every Pixar member have the spawn of Satan living inside of them? I guess they probably do if a bland comic strip is calling them out!

    Thanks Ray for opening my eyes to this great evil!!

  • http://billdrastalblog.blogspot.com/ Bill Drastal

    I’m sure this strip contains and well researched and thought out criticism of Pixar…..right? Lets all drink our bitter-hol and be disappointed with everything.

  • Zavkram

    I have never liked this strip since it was first introduced. One thing that I dislike about it is that Billingsley adds too much visual/verbal detail to his individual panels. Actually I think a more apt verb would be “clutters”…

    It’s not enough that in the last panel of Tuesday’s strip (the first strip to outline this particular “story”) that the cartoonist’s dialogue balloon contains the word, “Baw!” (to indicate the fact that he’s crying), no… Billingsley has to add other words like “Boo-Hoo” outside the balloon–just in case we don’t get the fact that this guy is crying.

    BTW, that’s not a boot on Curtis’s head… it’s supposed to be a baseball cap worn backward.

    I also dislike the fact that none of the characters in this strip age like real people . When the heck is Curtis ever going to go to middle or high school (not that I actually care)?

    And, yes, I’m aware that the characters in “Peanuts” and “Calvin and Hobbes” never aged much, either… although that convention somehow made those particular strips more endearing (to me, anyway…)

    I must say, however, that Billingsley has improved somewhat in his graphic style over the years; although I still find the way that he designs some of his ancillary characters to be nothing short of ludicrous… What in the world is up with “Gunk’s” eyes, is he crazy or merely dyslexic?

  • elan

    You know, after reading today’s strip, it seems like they might be treading into “libel” territory…..I’m pretty sure what he’s saying is inaccurate about Disney laying off workers because of Pixar. They’ve laid off workers for various reasons, on and off since 1949. Heck, they layed off (CG) animators this week!

  • Reader

    If this is supposed to be a tribute to “hand drawn” animation, it fails miserably. And FWIW last time I looked the average age of the people who lost jobs when 2D folded up was about 20 years younger than this guy depicted here…but oh well!

    Zavkram-thanks. I did indeed think it was a boot on his head.

  • doug holverson

    This may accidentally be timely. I got some second-hand info that Disney just laid off a gob of artists after Bolt.

  • http://kellymcnutt.blogspot.com Kelly

    Looks to me like Billingsley doesn’t realize that the problem lies with the suits, not the artists.

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    I laughed really hard at this.
    And not because it was funny.

  • Sniffles

    Well, geez …

    Pixar didn’t cause the layoffs of 2D animators from Disney. If anything “Pixar” (if we understand that as shorthand for Ed Catmull and John Lasseter) have done more to revive 2D animation at Disney than almost anyone else.

    I appreciate Ray Billingsley’s sentiment (which I think is sincere, but misguided) grieving for the loss of 2D animation jobs ; however, an historically informed viewpoint would have made this episode more relevant. No need to slam CG or Pixar especially. (C’mon now, we need some real insider jokes about the last days of disco: Henry the dog , the “Evita” speech, and feng shui consultants bringing a fresh new vibe to the halls of feature animation during The Reign-of-Error c. 2003 – 2006. )

  • Marbles

    So it’s insipid, badly thought-out, and unfunny. So the hell what? Just roll your eyes and move on, while appreciating the “sincere, but misguided” sentiment, as Sniffles puts it. Really. Are all animation devotees really as petty and spiteful as they like to appear online? Because this is damn depressing. Some of you people sound as gratuitously coldblooded as those insufferable vultures at Foobiverse (whom, despite having very good points to make, embody the reason that the “glass houses” expression was coined.)

  • Reader

    “Marbles”: in the first place, calm down. Are you a close relative or the artist himself?

    A cartoonist puts up a storyline that a lot of the readers of this particular website actually lived. And even the mere “devotees” know pretty well how it is in the animation world(it’s not like it hasn’t been covered IN DEPTH for years now in the media).

    So when a pro strip artist writes something that’s way off base and actually is embarrassing and has the opposite effect that was intended-if the intentions were friendly-yeah, people take shots at it. Tough luck for the clueless guy but after all, he was the one who dropped his short here.

    If we were “coldblooded” then yeah, we’d shrug and move on. But this person has taken real-life events and twisted them, in the process insulting some of the most sincere, talented and supportive of 2D people in the frickin’ business, using the name of real companies. Don’t you get that?
    So this guy gets slammed, and rightly so. It’s a forum for animation folk here, not for fans of an obscure daily strip.

  • Tsimone Tse Tse

    Amazingly somber topic for a strip whose style & humor I’ve always regarded as stuck in some time warp between Fat Albert & Diff’rent Strokes.

    “Wha’chu talkin’ bout Willis”

  • matt

    If we’re talking about recent history at Disney I would have at least been more accurately bitter about Disney firing 2d guys (for all the talk about training them all up) and getting 3d guys for Dinosaur then firing THEM when the film didn’t do well (didn’t seem to matter that it wasn’t the animators’ fault – the suits weren’t going to fire THEMSELVES I guess) only to find hmm people do pay to see 3d flicks so it wasn’t the animators’ fault after all. And then repeat with the firing pattern… And as a footnote, remember the hide of Disney not letting the animators buy their own desks and stuff in the big 2d equipment fire-sale. I guess Treasure Planet’s failure REALLY confused those suits.

    Funny how none of that had anything to do with Pixar. I guess Marbles and his/her ilk/fellow defenders also conveniently forgot that Pixar’s biggest contribution (aside from making them billions of dollars) to Disney back then was CAPS, which used tech to enable and streamline the 2d process and return the look to something much closer to classic Disney than zeroxed linework.

    It’s not petty to ask for accuracy when that’s sort of what it hinged on in the first place, and every bit of spite is justified. Damn depressing is someone who harms more than helps, THAT’S damn depressing for you. Also, the main guy running Disney is Pixar’s top CREATIVE guy (who wants to re-establish Disney as a 2d and director-driven or more to the point QUALITY driven studio, all fallibility aside). How can you argue that’s evil compared to the previous overlords?!

    P.S. Oh… It all makes sense to me now – “I was let go when -ugh- Pixar joined the fold”: maybe he/she actually means they were working for something on either direct to video 2d ‘masterpieces’ or Eisner’s spite project Circle 7 and therefore let go when Lasseter and Catmull came on (but tried to redirect as many employees as possible rather than just firing everyone). You wanna talk spite Marbles? Circle 7 baby, Circle 7.

  • Marbles

    “I guess Marbles and his/her ilk/fellow defenders also conveniently forgot that Pixar’s biggest contribution (aside from making them billions of dollars) to Disney back then was CAPS”

    Matt, that has nothing to do with what I’m talking about. I’m not defending OR attacking Pixar at all.

    Reader: Now, YOU actually have a good point to make. You have a legitimate issue with Billingsley’s words based on experience. I’m not in the business, but I know that Billingsley’s “version” of the fall of 2-D is nonsensical and simpleminded. I can clearly see how this would be insulting. But it’s not your kinds of comments I’m talking about. You’re not taking un-called for, childish cheap shots. I hope you can see the difference between your words and some others that have been left.

    “Are you a close relative or the artist himself?”
    Well, apart from the whole “six degrees of separation” possibility or the fantasically unpredictable results of family tree researches (Barack Obama and Dick Cheney, anyone?), I must answer in the negative.

  • http://www.adamkoford.com Adam

    It’s Friday and he still hasn’t eaten the sandwich.

  • http://www.warnerart.com Eric

    I can remember Maurice Noble saying “Have you seen the commercial with the talking 3D toilet? That’s what I think about 3D animation”. In all fairness, the the two art forms share common threads but are vastly different and should not be directly compared but rather appreciated seperately for what they are.

  • http://drgrantz.deviantart.com/ revned

    Upon continued reading of this strip, I find that I have absolutely NO COMPASSION WHATSOEVER for the unemployed animator. It leads me to believe that he was fired from Disney not because he couldn’t adapt from 2D to 3D, but because he’s a big fat annoying crybaby.

    I get the feeling that this week’s strip will conclude with Curtis running out of the store (without paying for the sandwich) because he’s late for a screening of WALL-E.

  • Zavkram

    Sorry to have gone OT in my last post… One thing that puzzles me about all this is why Billingsley is commenting on this topic NOW. If he had introduced this particular storyline in his strip around the time that Disney more or less abandoned 2D animation (I believe it was following the release of “Home on the Range”) it might have been at least remotely funny.

    A nice touch of irony might have been if the guy was working at Starbucks!

  • doug holverson

    I’ve forwarded these to my sister. She agrees that the animator looks a lot like the old “mustache lady” from our old grade school.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Like noticing the Friday strip taking a stab at anime. Course there was that guy who directed Tekkon Kinkreet (course having been a computer programmer himself), but that has only been one of the few western guys who have been involved in a Japanese animated production.

  • Tsimone Tse Tse

    Amid, you dropped the ball on this one.
    You could have created Cartoon Brew’s “Predict the Punchline for Friday’s strip.”

    Curtis –
    “But mister, you still didn’t give me my Wall*E Happy Meal toy!”
    or (breaking the plane)
    “He worked on CINDERELLA II? – NO WONDER HE’s HERE!

    OR!

    Unemployed Sandwhich Making Guy –
    “Meet Happy Subs new supervisor – David Stainton !!!!!”

    You could have awarded the winner a “Subway” card.
    Or better yet, have an out of work 2-D animator come to your house and make a sandwich for you (as long as you let them eat too – and don’t make fun of their pony tail).

  • Stephani Soejono

    Seems like this is just a misguided attempt to criticize CG animation in general in order to elevate Traditional animation.

    Yes, the drawings on paper came to life but so does the CG models. It takes hours to refine and sculpt any decent CG character not to mention the rigging. Both of them require specific craftsmanship that takes a lifetime to perfect. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but I can’t believe there still are people who think that CG animation is made at a push of a button.

  • matt

    Hey Marbles,

    You’re absolutely right, I shouldn’t have lumped you in with the other defenders. My apologies. Serves me right for doing the usual 3-in-the-morning post. That was sloppy of me.

    All my points still stand about the strip itself though!