Here’s Badly Drawn Boy’s “The Year of the Rat” music video as directed by Canadian animator Monkmus. I wasn’t familiar with Monkmus’ work, but a quick search on-line reveals that he’s represented by Klasky Csupo’s commercial division ka-chew! You can see more examples of his work HERE. Pleasant and appealing work if not particularly groundbreaking.
This past weekend, the Design Museum in London opened an exhibition about designer Saul Bass (running through October 10). The retrospective presents a look at his entire career, but focuses on how Bass “transformed the film title into an art form.” Bass was responsible for many classic film titles including ANATOMY OF A MURDER, VERTIGO and WEST SIDE STORY, as well as the animated closing credits to AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. The museum’s website is DesignMuseum.org.
This just in: Frederator Studios and Animation Magazine are joining forces to present The Nicktoons Film Festival, a showcase of independent cartoon filmmaking by animators from around the globe. Fred Seibert, President of Frederator Studios will serve as Executive Producer of the Festival; Rita Street, Publisher of Animation Magazine and Eric Homan, VP of Creative Affairs for Frederator Studios will be the Festival Producers.Animators can download entry forms on nicktoons.com starting today and entries will be accepted through Sept. 10. Submissions should be “animated shorts no longer than 7 minutes that combine a unique look, great character designs and a funny plot.”A selection of shorts chosen by a pre-selection jury will broadcast on
Nicktoons as part of a 13-episode compilation series launching this fall. One winner will be chosen by a grand jury and awarded a $10,000. prize.
What, you say you’re still not sick of SD Con news and want more? On Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1-2 pm and on Sunday from 3:30-4:30 pm, Gary Baseman will be signing copies of his new book DUMB LUCK at the Chronicle Books booth (#1360). Sunday, at the Dark Horse booth (#2715), Tim Biskup will be signing copies of his new book 100 PAINTINGS from 3-3:30 pm. And on Saturday you can kill two birds with one stone and get both Baseman and Biskup at the Super 7 booth (#4623) from 2-3 pm. Super 7′s Neo-Kaiju Project signing will also include Seonna Hong and Todd & Kathy Schorr.
“Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon,” which hasn’t aired a new episode in over a year, will finally resume first-run installments on Friday, August 20 at 12:00pm on Spike TV.
Daisuke ‘Dice’ Tsutsumi is a talented designer/color stylist who has been working for the past few years on Blue Sky’s upcoming animated feature ROBOTS. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dice for the book THE ART OF ROBOTS, but didn’t realize he had a site until last night. His website, SimpleStroke.com, has many fine examples of his paintings and sketches and is well worth a visit. He can also do some pretty amazing things with Photoshop. You’ll be able to see much more of his work in the ROBOTS book which will be out in January.
The Television Critics Association meets twice a year in LA to screen new TV shows in advance and meet the stars involved. Aaron Barnhart at TV BARN writes about the presentation on NBC’s FATHER OF THE PRIDE:
The late Gene Siskel used to follow a rule of thumb when judging a bad movie: Would he rather watch a documentary with the filmmakers talking about their movie?I thought of that last weekend when NBC had us watch a screening of “Father of the Pride.” This is the network’s other new sitcom, the one not spun off from “Friends.” It features computer-generated likenesses of the Las Vegas animal tamers Siegfried and Roy interacting with the family of animated lions who live behind their hotel. I sat in the second row, directly behind Carl Reiner, the legendary comedian who voices one of the lions. Reiner roared on the screen and in his seat. His enthusiasm, and that of his co-stars, made up for the critics, most of whom sat through the screening stone-faced.Afterward, the cast assembled on stage and was about to take questions when Reiner, who had a wedding to get to, stood up and yelled into his clip mike, “I’m going to take that as an opportunity to say everything I want to say!” So he interviewed himself. “The question was asked many times before: ‘Why are you doing this?’ You know, I’m 83 years old. Why do I have to bother? â€¦ I have a feeling this is historic for television. If anybody disagrees with me here, you’re wrong!”As Reiner stepped off stage, John Goodman, who voices another lion, stood up and declared, “I have a bris that I’m late for.” But Goodman stayed. Squeezed into his chair, he mugged and shrugged and got big laughs from the critics. I know I wasn’t the only one wishing someone would televise him instead of “Father of the Pride.” (As it turns out, he’s also starring in a non-animated CBS comedy called, confusingly enough, “Center of the Universe.”)Later that day Keith Marder, an affable publicist at the WB network who also moonlights as a joke writer, joked “Who’s going to watch Siegfried & Roy? The tigers don’t even like them anymore.”
I’m a big fan of the work of mid-century designer Alvin Lustig, but it’s difficult to come across examples of his work. That’s why I was pleased to discover this ARTICLE by Lustig’s widow Elaine Lustig Cohen on “Alvin Lustig’s Top Ten Designs” with, you guessed it, ten examples of his work. Looking at his work, like the FORTUNE cover in the above article, it’s difficult not to conclude that animation designers were influenced by his work in the Fifties. Lustig also has a small, albeit significant, connection to the animation world. In the mid-Forties he designed two logos for United Productions of America including the studio’s famous primary-colored ovals with the studio letters – U.P.A. – inside of each.
In addition to the hilarious Jibjab.com This Land Is Your Land webtoon making the rounds, is this clever 7 minute 30s-style black & white cartoon, “Brother Can You Spare a Job?” by Tom Neely and Greg Saunders. The short version (30 seconds) of this film was a “Best Animation” finalist in MoveOn.org’s “Bush in 30 Seconds” contest. This new full-length version is packed with the same Max Fleisher, Chuck Jones and Charlie Chaplin inspiration and style.Neely and Saunders will be at the comic con this week, selling the cartoon on dvd ($6 to cover the production costs) and giving away posters at booth #1620.
One booth where I’ll be plunking down some cold, hard cash is that which belongs to Ronnie del Carmen and Enrico Casarosa (booth #1422). Their boundless energy for pursuing their own projects while holding down full-time gigs at Pixar is inspiring, not to mention that the personal work they publish is consistently top notch. Among their new offerings at the San Diego Comic con, Ronnie will debut PAPER BISCUIT #2, a 40-page comic featuring his charming character Nina, while Enrico will bring his new art book FRAGMENTS: INTERMEZZO and the second issue of THE ADVENTURES OF MIA. Enrico was kind enough to send over a copy of the new MIA and dare I say it’s even more impressive than the first issue. The elements that remain from the earlier MIA are his beautiful panel composition and cinematic sensibility, as well as his sensitive ink-and-wash style, but this second issue also adds to the mix an exciting WWII-era story with a cliffhanger ending that left me eager to find out what happens next. And while there is plenty of action in the issue, Enrico never misses an opportunity for character development. A superb example is in the middle of a chase sequence where as the spy is being pursued by the military, he stops to discard a cigarette that he’s smoking. This thoughtful attention to detail and character is a big reason why MIA #2 is such an enjoyable read and why I can’t wait for future issues.
This blog is turing into a giant plug for various events and booths at the San Diego Comic Con. Someday we are going to have to start accepting paid advertising (hint, hint).Here’s one more: Stephen Silver will be selling his book The Art of Silver at his booth #2202 – and will be doing a slideshow lecture THE ART OF SILVER: ANIMATION CHARACTER DESIGN on Thursday, July 22 from 1-2:30pm in Room 7B. He’s one of the best, so this should be a great lecture.
I had a wonderful time on Friday at the grand opening party of Toby Bluth and Dave Kuhn’s new character animation studio, CAAT Studios in North Hollywood. I wish them a lot of luck – they have incredible talent, fantastic ideas, an amazing studio and a great team of people on board.While there I ran into another cool “cat”, Cynthia Petrovic, the creator of RED TANGO, a product line based on her designs, and the webmaster of Tangoland.com. I’ve written about Petrovic before, she’s an ex-Disney, ex-Klasky (and ex-other studios) animator, artist & hyphenate who decided to create her own business, based on her own ideas and art. And she’s succeeding at it. Her website is a lot of fun and her products are neat. In an era when character animators are scrambling to find a position, Petrovic has used her head and found a nice niche for her ample talents.
BREW Co-editor Jerry Beck has two more comic con highlights to plug:#1 Wonderful World of Animation Art gallery (booth #215) along with Clampett Studio Collections will welcome the top voice talents from the popular Batman, Justice League of America, and Teen Titan cartoon series on Saturday July 24th, from 1:30-3:30pm for an exclusive two-hour authorized signing event. Scheduled to attend are ADRIENNE BARBEAU (Catwoman), KEVIN CONROY (Batman), SUSAN EISENBERG, (Wonder Woman), PHIL LAMARR (Green Lantern), SCOTT MENVILLE (Robin), GEORGE NEWBERN (Superman), TARA STRONG (Batgirl) and NICHOLLE TOM (Supergirl).#2 SpongeBob SquarePants writer and voice of Plankton and Larry Lobster, Mr. Lawrence, will sign cels on Sun. July 25th from 11:00 -12:30 PM at a special Nickelodeon booth (check with booth #215 for details).Needless to say, there are literally too many things of interest for fans of animation, comic books and motion pictures at this mega-event. My head is already spinning…
The producers sent some images from their new Comedy Central series, DRAWN TOGETHER, which will be previewing at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday. Go here for an exclusive first look at some images of the series and the main characters.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.Back in the 1970s, animation fans waited impatiently, for many long tortuous months, for a new edition of Mike Barriers FUNNYWORLD. Today with the internet, we have the advantage of being able to read Barrier’s articles and opinions online at anytime. But now we have to wait several months for Mike to update his website.Well Mike updated it today. He’s just back from a trip to Europe with observations on Disneyland Paris, additional corrections to his Carl Barks research, and a nice letter from Steve Worth about Art Babbit.Good to have you back Mike!