HERITAGE AUCTION

heritage auction items

heritage coverOnce again, my friends at HERITAGE COMICS AUCTIONS have released their latest drool-inducing catalog of “stuff I would buy if I were a billionaire”.paramount coverAmong the offerings in Auction #811 (June 11-12, 2004) are: THE WISE LITTLE HEN model sheet – which is perhaps the first Donald Duck model sheet; original art for a complete 1953 CASPER comic book story; tons of mint copies of classic comic books including Harvey’s PARAMOUNT ANIMATED COMICS #5 and DC’s FUNNY STUFF #1; and lotsa Walt Kelly POGO art.
The folks at Heritage are good guys (I did a consulting job for them in March) and their catalog (which is online) must be seen to be believed. From Curt Swan to R. Crumb, from Frank Frazzetta to Schulz – Amazing stuff!

ITALY ANIMATION FESTIVAL

Let’s add another international animation festival to this year’s calender: If you are in Italy in September the Chiavari Animation Festival will take place from September 21-25, 2004. Animation historian Giannalberto Bendazzi is hosting this event. It’s exactly opposite Chrs Robinson’s international cartoon party (aka the Ottawa Animation Festival). Perhaps the two events can have a video hook-up and compare awards?

A Disney Book We Didn’t Need

Screenplay by Disney
SCREENPLAY BY DISNEY is supposed to give “tips and techniques to bring magic to your moviemaking.” If you’ve ever wondered, ‘How can I get a little bit of that sweet BROTHER BEAR storytelling magic in my animation screenplay,’ then the book may prove useful. But to understand the Disney story development process used for their good features, look no further than John Canemaker’s PAPER DREAMS: THE ART AND ARTISTS OF DISNEY STORYBOARDS.

PBS KIDS CHANNEL

pbs kids logoJust what we need: another kids cartoon channel! PBS KIDS is considering spinning itself into a 24 hour basic cable channel.However, this time I’m actually semi-excited about the idea. Why? Because our pal Linda Simensky (formerly of Nick & Cartoon Network) is now a development exec for PBS Kids – and this move to turn PBS Kids into a profit-making round-the-clock service could provide her with the funds to stimulate some of the more interesting animation creatives, who could ultimately generate some cool new shows for the channel.

CHINESE TOM & JERRY

chinese tom & jerryReader “Lyris” sent this in: “You may or may not know about this, but there’s a DVD in China of Tom & Jerry featuring all the Hanna-Barbera shorts (except for the cinemascope ones) in chronological order.”It’s actually not a bootleg set, it’s distributed by a company named Bo Ying and is packaged fairly nicely. All of the shorts seem to be uncut, except for the fact that the MGM cards at the start of each short has been replaced with a card for the company that distributes the DVD. The image quality’s fairly decent (definitely watchable and far better than VHS) and although the package states the set is encoded for Region 6, the versions I received are actually Region 0 and since China uses the NTSC video standard, this means you’ll be able to play them in America without any special hardware.”We just missed one on ebay – but methinks this is a bootleg. I’ll look into it.

UNCLE DISNEY

Brew reader Mike Crandol sends in this sound bite: “Have you heard this new song released by Patterson Hood? The entire song is about what Walt would think of what’s become of his company.”The question is has Roy heard it yet? Lyrics include: “When they thaw out Uncle Disney, gonna be some changes made. Pointing fingers, asking questions. Forty years of decisions made…”Listen to the song here.

BOWERS AND McCAY

pete roleumRick Dominicus of DVD ANGLE has posted a review of the Joseph Losey thriller TIME WITHOUT PITY noting that Losey’s debut short, PETE ROLEUM AND HIS COUSINS, made for the 1939 New York World’s Fair (Petroleum Industry Exhibit) is included as a bonus feature.This industrial short was animated by surrealist stop-motion master Charley Bowers (Pop & Mom In Wild Oysters) and is also available on the incredible, must-have, CHARLEY BOWERS DVD from Image Entertainment.Image is on a roll – while I’m at it, I might as well give another plug to their WINSOR McCAY: THE MASTER EDITION dvd collection which goes on sale next week. Wall to wall Canemaker commentary, rare still gallery, and every piece of Winsor McCay animation all in one place! Great stuff!

Animation Blast #9, Robots and Annecy

John Dunn DrawingIt’s not often that I feel compelled to run a news item related to myself, but I figure it’s best to get all of this personal and site-related info out of the way at once. First and foremost is ANIMATION BLAST #9. Due to an unforeseen project (see below), the issue has fallen behind yet again. The good news is that the issue is very nearly finished and I’m preparing to send it off to the printer. However the BLAST is being printed overseas for the first time and my Asian printer informs me that the issue will take three months to print and ship back to the States. At this point it’s looking like BLAST #9 will definitely be out around September. My sincere apologies for the delay as I know many folks (myself included) have been anxiously awaiting this issue for the past year. Rest assured that I’m working long hours to get the issue finished. If you have pre-ordered and have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at amid_at_animationblast_dot_com.

The Art of RobotsNext, a little about the unexpected project which led to the delay of ANIMATION BLAST #9. Jerry Beck alluded to this last week in his BookExpo comments. In early-’04, Chronicle Books approached me about writing the “art of” book for Fox/Blue Sky’s forthcoming feature ROBOTS. I accepted and have had a fine time working on the book for the past few months. ROBOTS is one of the more visually distinctive animated features of recent memory, with a perfect melding of Bill Joyce’s illustration style and Blue Sky’s CG prowess, and the resulting book (co-authored with Bill Joyce) will hopefully reflect the unique design qualities of the film. The BOOK will be out in January 2005, with ROBOTS itself opening in March of next year. This project came my way because I was already writing another book for Chronicle, and although that’s even further down the line, let me just say that if you enjoy the work of Tom Oreb, Ed Benedict, John Hubley and other geniuses of animation design, then you’ll probably dig this second book. It’ll be out in Spring 2006.

A couple other brief notes. AnimationBlast.com hasn’t been updated since the launch of this website, but it will be soon. Interviews from out-of-print editions of ANIMATION BLAST, as well as other long-form material, will be posted on the site. The first piece, which will be on-line within the next few days, is in honor of the recently departed Pete Alvarado. It is an extended version of the interview I conducted with him in BLAST #2. The interview originally appeared in the fall 1999 issue of ANIMATION JOURNAL.

Also, I’m heading out to the Annecy Animation Festival next week. It’ll be my first time in Annecy and I’m really looking forward to checking out some great animation, not to mention the city itself, which I’m told is quite beautiful. If my laptop cooperates, I plan on posting regular updates from Annecy. If you want to get together at the festival, you can email me at amid_at_animationblast_dot_com.

LORENZO

lorenzoA reminder that the Disney animated short LORENZO will be released on Friday with the Kate Hudson feature film, RAISING HELEN.Artist and animation art conservationist Ron Barbagallo has written a nice page about the film, with quotes from the filmmakers on the techniques used.
Also check out the rest of Ron’s Animation Art Conservation website, where Ron discusses his spectacular work in restoring original animation production art.

One Billion Reasons to Love Roy

The LOS ANGELES BUSINESS JOURNAL has published their annual list of the richest Angelenos and there are 28 billionaires living in the LA area, up from 23 a year ago. One of the five new members of the billionaire’s club is none other than Roy E. Disney. Looks like Roy has a few extra bucks to spend on his campaign to oust fellow 10-digits-club member Eisner. The BUSINESS JOURNAL doesn’t have the article on-line, but this bit about Roy was reported on LA Observed.

A Cartoon with Bite

The WASHINGTON POST’s Lisa de Moraes files an amusing report (“On NBC’s Lineup, ‘Pride’ but No Shame”) from NBC’s 2004 upfront for advertisers and critics in which she sardonically notes that it’s the first time a network has used a partially paralyzed mauling victim to help promote a new TV series. Of course, that person was “Siegfried and Roy”‘s Roy Horn, who made an appearance in New York last week to promote DreamWorks’ primetime animated series FATHER OF THE PRIDE. De Moraes writes in the POST:

In clips shown to advertisers, jokes took on a tacky inappropriateness, as when Animated Roy says to Animated Lion Family, “Goodbye my lions, or should I say ‘GRRRRRR!,’ ” as he crouches down and tries to look like a wild cat.

And then she notes Conan O’Brien’s routine about said show:

“He’s been horribly mauled — let’s make a show about it!” O’Brien said, pretending to be an NBC suit, to nervous tittering in the audience.

The article notes that right before FATHER OF THE PRIDE debuts, NBC will broadcast a special hosted by Maria Shriver about Horn, the tiger incident and his recovery.

Sketchbooks Galore

Peter de Seve SketchbookLast week I wrote about Stephen Silver’s excellent new art book. I also saw another great hardcover sketchbook recently (thanks Bob) – this one from illustrator/character designer Peter de Seve. This came out a couple months ago in Europe and it’s overflowing with beautiful imaginative drawings with a spirited line recalling Heinrich Kley’s work. The book is a bit difficult to find being that it’s a European import, but folks in LA can pick it up at Stuart Ng Books while folks elsewhere can order it from Amazon Canada.

Another sketchbook that I get asked about quite frequently is the one by Jim Smith (REN & STIMPY, SAMURAI JACK) which debuted at last year’s San Diego Comic Con. Jim, like Peter de Seve, is one of those rare talents who is an incredible draftsman/illustrator/cartoonist all rolled into one. I hope we’ll be seeing a more comprehensive collection of Jim’s artwork down the line, but until then, this sketchbook called LONELY ARE THE NAKED is a must-have. Mr. Smith tells me that the only place in LA which currently has copies is House of Secrets (1918 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, CA 91506; 818/562.1900).

More In This Month’s Wired

Another reason to get your hands on the issue of WIRED that Jerry mentions below is that my pal Jon Gibson has a nice piece in there about filmmaker Kyle Cooper, who is among a handful of modern film title designers on a par with Saul Bass and Pablo Ferro. Cooper talks about his new studio Prologue Films, which is an attempt to pull back and focus on fewer and higher quality projects than his previous design shop Imaginary Forces. The article also mentions a recently published monograph about Kyle Cooper (written by Andrea Codrington) which I’ve been meaning to pick up.

Animation Festival Done Right

Ottawa Animation FestivalThe WEBSITE for the Ottawa Animation Festival (September 22-26, 2004) has just posted details for all of their screenings and retrospectives, and it’s pretty damn exciting. Kudos to artistic director Chris Robinson for putting together one of the most diverse and daring group of programs I’ve ever seen for an animation fest. The screenings range all the way from Soviet propaganda films to contemporary French animation, Popeye to Harvey Birdman, and Hayao Miyazaki to Robert Breer. There’s also original programming concepts like the “Words in Motion” series. Even the competition jury members are cool folk like Bill Plympton, Gary Baseman and Mo Willems. I’m honored to be the programmer for one of the tributes at this year’s Ottawa fest: the Fred Crippen Retrospective. This is the first major retrospective of Fred’s work, and if you only know him as the creator of ROGER RAMJET, then be prepared for an eye-opening experience. Fred will also be coming up to Ottawa to partake in the festivities.

UPA COMICS

upa comics

Here are four issues of UPA’s first comic book: Dell’s “GERALD McBOING BOING AND THE NEAR SIGHTED MR. MAGOO”. This series ran five issues in 1952-53 – then Dell published seven more issues of just plain “MR. MAGOO” spread out over the next decade. DC’s FOX & CROW outsold the Dell UPA comics no doubt, but for Columbia Pictures, Magoo & McBoing Boing brought more prestige at the box office – and that’s what counts!
Click over to Diamond Galleries’ Scoop to see the covers enlarged!

TICKET TO JERUSALEM

This may be the oddest film I plug on the Brew:Next week at the REDCAT they are showing a feature film psuedo documentary called TICKET TO JERUSALEM. Here’s the plot: A Palestinian 16mm film collector running a mobile cinema from his old truck throughout the West Bank (mainly showing Heckle & Jeckle cartoons!) tries to get into forbidden Jerusalem to do a special outdoor screening.It sounds like something I’d like to see. It screens in L.A. next Wednesday night at 9:30pm at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Redcat Theater. The trailer is here.