The horror: adult man found watching cartoons

Emru Townsend makes an excellent point today on his blog In-Betweens:

In her syndicated column, Dr. Joyce Brothers responds to a 40-something legal professional, exasperated that her 40-something legal professional boyfriend likes to watch cartoons. Even after “F.T.” says that her errant beau likes to watch the “‘adult’ ones at night” – presumably Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim – Brothers leads off her response: “It is certainly reasonable to be puzzled by seeing a grown man – a professional, no less – howling at cartoons meant for a 6-year-old.”

I find it interesting to note that despite the fact that a grown man – a professional, no less – might like cartoons, and that there are cartoons being aired for adults, there’s no thought that maybe – just maybe – they aren’t all made for six-year-olds.

MONDO POPEYE

Bobby London responds to Alternet.org’s What’s In Popeye’s Pipe?, a piece we linked to earlier this week, which referenced London’s run on Popeye:londonduck.jpg

The Bolivian Spinach Popeye strip I drew which was referred to in the Cannabis Culture article was, of course, a Miami Vice parody – it was the ’80s, remember? – but, hey, sorry folks, it was just spinach! The cartoon was okayed by very Republican KFS editor Bill Yates, who was not a fan of blatant drug references. If it had been the real dope Popeye was after, the story wouldn’t have been a satire. Dana Larsen apparently suffers from short-term memory loss because this is what I told him when he emailed me about the cartoon last year but, unfortunately, my viewpoints on my own work were rather conveniently left out of the article.To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes a boatload of spinach is just a boatload of spinach.

London was a pioneering underground cartoonist (The Air Pirates) and a founding contributor to the original NATIONAL LAMPOON. His most recent credits include storyboards and writing for DEXTER’S LAB and POWERPUFF GIRLS, and character design (King Neptune and Mindy) for THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE. He’s still drawing great strips for Playboy (DIRTY DUCK) and Nickelodeon Magazine (CODY). His time (a 6-year stint, 1986 – 1992) on Thimble Theatre starring Popeye (“my billing….lots of people drew POPEYE, but I drew THIMBLE THEATER“) returned a refreshing Segar feel back to the strip. A collection of his Popeye strips are available on book form, under the title MONDO POPEYE.

Cartoon Uncool

Here’s a whole Cartoon Retro thread taking Christopher Hart to task for his travesty of a book which I mentioned yesterday, CARTOON COOL: HOW TO DRAW NEW RETRO-STYLE CHARACTERS. Shane Glines himself comes up with a nice way that the publisher could advertise the book, while pointing out a few of the things wrong with the cover art:

Hey kids!
Learn how to use parallel lines!
Master the “No Construction” theory!
Learn how to draw eyes looking in two different directions!
Learn how to use inappropriate fonts!
Learn how to use tangents to kill your drawing!

Disney layout artist Luke Cormican says the cover reminds him of a “retarded Shane Glines.” Add your own comments.

MARTHA’S BOOK

marthabook1.jpgOne book missing from Amid’s 2005 shopping list (below) is Martha Sigall’s LIVING LIFE INSIDE THE LINES: TALES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF ANIMATION.You know Martha from her appearences on camera in various animation documentaries and Looney Tunes audio track commentary. She’s one of the last survivors of Termite Terrace. She joined Schlesinger’s studio as a teenage ink & paint girl in the 1930s, became life-long friends with Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Frank Tashlin and the entire Looney Tunes staff. She moved on to work with Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera and Tex Avery at MGM in the 1940s and enjoyed stints at UPA, Snowball (Beany & Cecil) and Melendez. She had a ring-side seat for the history of Hollywood animation and loved every minute of it.Now all of her wonderful memories of those days have been collected in this marvelous book, which goes on sale April 1st. I’ve already had a sneak peak and I highly recommend you reserve a copy now. A hardcover collectors edition is $50. but you can get the paperback edition for a $20. ($13.60 on Amazon.com).

New Animation Books

Here’s some animation and cartoon-related books coming out in the next few months…

Heard any good Mark Twain quotes lately? CHUCK JONES: CONVERSATIONS, edited by ANIMATION JOURNAL’s Maureen Furniss, compiles numerous interviews with Warner director Jones. There’s already more than enough history books about Golden Age animation where historians interpret what happened, so it’s refreshing to see books of unedited interviews, like this and the new WALT’S PEOPLE series, which give us the opportunity to hear the artists relate stories and experiences in their own words.

An updated edition of Hal Erickson’s reference tome TELEVISION CARTOON SHOWS: AN ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1949-2004 will be out in May. Unlike the previous edition which was a pricy book aimed at libraries and schools, this one seems aimed at consumers and is fairly affordable at $45. I’ll definitely be picking up a copy for my library.

Ed Hooks, actor and author of ACTING FOR ANIMATORS, was telling me about this book at Annecy last year and it sounded really interesting. It’s called ACTING IN ANIMATION: A LOOK AT 12 FILMS and it breaks down the acting performances in a dozen animated films including classics (PINOCCHIO, DUMBO), cg (TOY STORY 2, MONSTERS INC.), recent hand-drawn films (TARZAN, THE ROAD TO EL DORADO) and anime (SPIRITED AWAY, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES).

OUT OF THE INKWELL: MAX FLEISCHER AND THE ANIMATION REVOLUTION is a book by Max’s son, live-action director Richard Fleischer. According to the book description, this biography is “one of a creative genius struggling to fit in with the changing culture of golden age cinema. OUT OF THE INKWELL captures the twists and turns, the triumphs and disappointments, and most of all the breathless energy of a life vibrantly lived in the world of animation magic.”

Despite my personal lack of interest in the subject, I thought VINYL WILL KILL: AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE DESIGNER TOY PHENOMENON was a pretty cool (if tackily designed) book, packed with a lot of sketches and insight into how they make these toys.

Fans of Steinberg will appreciate this one. STEINBERG AT THE NEW YORKER by Joel Smith is a collection of all of Saul Steinberg’s NEW YORKER covers, as well as over 130 examples of inside magazine art, ranging from his line drawings to color portfolios.

Last, and most definitely least, there’s CARTOON COOL: HOW TO DRAW NEW RETRO-STYLE CHARACTERS, a book that’s wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin complaining. The atrocious cover should be the first clue that Christopher Hart hasn’t the wildest clue about how to draw “retro-styled” characters. Then again, when has Hart ever done a book that’s actually taught anybody how to draw anything correctly. Should make a good gag gift for your designer friends.

cartooncoolhart.jpg

GOLDEN AWARDS BANQUET

goldenawards.jpgThe Animation Guild is holding a Golden Awards Banquet on April 9, 2005 at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank, California. This event honors animation veterans with fifty years in the industry of screen cartooning and related fields. This year’s honorees began their careers between 1943 and 1955. The list of honorees includes:

John C. Ahern, Frank Andrina, Gerard Baldwin, Robert Balser, Carole J. Barnes, Kathy Barrows, Vincent Bassols, Howard Beckerman, Oliver “Lefty” Callahan, Paul Carlson, Rudy Cataldi, Cornelius Cole, Janis Cornell, Fred Crippen, Tissa David, Gene Deitch, Robert Dranko, John Emerson, Edward Faigin, Becky Fallberg, Ray Favata, Eve Fletcher, Rita Giddings, Lee Guttman, Victor Haboush, Ed Hansen, Martha Harrison, Bud Hester, Willie Ito, Sam Jaimes, Chris Jenkyns, Don Jurwich, Louie Kachivas, Darlene Kanagy-Brown, Sammi Lanham, Don Lusk, Bill Matthews, Burny Mattinson, Peggi R. Matz, Charles McElmurry, Jimmy T. Murakami, Ann Oliphant, Lew Ott, Doris A. Plough, Lloyd G. Rees, Rick Reinert, Robert Allen Revell, Beverly M. Robbins, Joanna Romersa, Carmen Sanderson, Mel Shaw, Marcia Sinclair, Charlene Singleton, Ken Southworth, John Sparey, Herb Stott, Iwao Takamoto, Cliff Vorhees, Manon Washburn, Merle Welton, Robert “Tiger” West, Gwen A. Wetzler, John Wilson, Alan Wilzbach, Fred Wolf. Special Award: June ForayUnderline denotes those honorees whose attendance has been confirmed as of 2/8/05. They expect most of the rest to confirm in the weeks ahead.

If you want to attend the banquet, tickets are $37.50 each with a choice of New York Steak, Chicken Marsala or a Vegetable Plate. For further ticket information, please contact Dave Brain. Any questions, suggestions or if you’d like to advertise in their program book, please contact event organizer Bob Foster at [email protected] or check the Animation Guild website.

Beck Music Videos

I’m somewhat relieved to find out that the “Hell Yes” music video I mentioned HERE recently is not an official Beck video, but rather an indie effort by Mumbleboy for the Ghettochip Malfunction ’8-bit’ remix of a Beck song. There are however two new Beck music videos worth pointing out – one is the highly inventive puppets-meet-neon “E-Pro” video by the British collective Shynola and the second is a less spectacular (but still slightly novel) ASCII-riff for “Black Tambourine” (watch in Windows Media or Real). (Thanks, Cory)

Beck E-Pro Music Video

Will the Real Jim Flora Please Stand Up

Jim Flora paintingHere’s a SITE with examples of an artist doing a poor Jim Flora impersonation. Unfortunately, the artist is Jim Flora himself, and these are some of his later works created before he passed away in 1998. There’s another site HERE with later ship paintings by Flora, and these to me are a more honest expression of his design skills, not to mention more interesting to look at. Unlike the first set of paintings which are a hollow lesser recreation of his earlier glories, these nautical works show his growth as an artist and document another facet of his unique artistic skills. Of course, for the ultimate in Flora, one can do no better than the recent book THE MISCHIEVOUS ART OF JIM FLORA which reprints all his genius jazz art from the ’40s and ’50s. (link via BoingBoing.net)

Advertising Makes the Brew Go Round

Readers of Cartoon Brew may have noticed that in the past week we have introduced Google text ads on this website. We want to stress that this will in no way affect the editorial content on this website and none of our writing will ever be influenced by the advertisers. Also, we have no control over which advertisers Google’s automated system chooses to place on our site, and we do not endorse any of these advertisers. Both of us have been reluctant to pursue advertising opportunities for the Brew because we enjoy being poor, but the reality is that we want the site to pay for itself and perhaps give us a few nickels and dimes on top of that. Google ads are a good solution because they allow us to remain objective while creating a steady revenue stream. To that end, if you enjoy and read Cartoon Brew regularly, please take the time to click on the Google ads in the right hand column. You don’t have to click today or tomorrow, but if every reader clicks on one of those ads every so often, we can continue to keep this site free without having to ask our readers for money. It’s a win-win situation for everybody…we hope.

CLUTCH CARGO ON DVD

clutchdvd.jpgWhoa! Stop the presses! This may be the biggest news of the year. Forget The Incredibles… Here comes CLUTCH CARGO!!!Giving new meaning to the term “limited animation”, Clutch Cargo innovated TV animation in a way Hanna-Barbera never dreamed – they used live action lips super-imposed over the cartoon drawings (drawings that hardly moved). Actually Clutch did pioneer the TV adventure cartoon genre, years before H-B’s Jonny Quest. And now all the episodes, the entire collection of 52 Clutch Cargo episodes (each one a 5 minute serial chapter), over seventeen hours, is coming to DVD on March 22nd in two volumes – and each volume is priced under $12.00! A steal!For more information go to TV Shows On DVD.com.

MORE OSWALD IN AMERICA

oswaldposter.jpgBrew correspondent B. Baker pointed out to me this morning this gorgeous 1927 OSWALD THE RABBIT poster being auctioned off by Heritage Galleries.I love cartoon movie posters – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular color Disney-era stock one-sheet before. It looks to be introducing the character to theatre patrons, despite the fact that the white rabbit in the center is not the “lucky rabbit” we know – the real Oswald is running all over the sides. It’s also interesting to note Walter Lantz would go with a cuter “white rabbit” design in the later 1930s. Check it out at larger size here.

HERE COMES THE PINK PANTHER

meetpinkpanther.jpgStarting this summer, the Pink Panther is going to be back in our lives in a variety of ways. In addition to a new book I’m writing (for DK Publishing), there will be new merchandise, a kids book (pictured at right) by Hope & Sybil Freleng (Friz’s daughters), the U.S. release of a complete DVD cartoon collection – and of course, a new Inspector Clouseau movie starring Steve Martin.One thing I like about all this new hoopla, is the fact that they are also merchandising Ant & Aardvark action figures – and dolls of Panther adversary The Little Man. Can a Hoot Kloot maquette be far behind?
To get yourself in the mood, Download this.

BITTER FILMS UPDATE

hertzfedltx.jpgAnimator Don Hertzfeldt wrote in with this update on his projects:

There’s an exhibit of Bitter Films animation production “art” going up in a Pasadena gallery called Nucleus starting this weekend (February 12 through February 20), with about 150 pieces from all of our films up on the walls. It’s the first time any of this stuff has been displayed in public before, so I don’t really know what to expect but I’m told there will be free drinks and live music so maybe it will be a moot point after a couple of hours and we can retreat to someplace more interesting. I’ll be milling around hiding from people for the gallery’s opening night – awkward, clammy handshakes will be enjoyed by all.Also, year 2 of The Animation Show premieres at the Nuart Theatre on the 18th. There are a bunch of good films in the program, which are listed over here. Then it’s off on tour with the show to Seattle and Vancouver and etc..

ROBOT CHICKEN

robotchicken2.jpgCartoon Network sent me a screener tape of their new Adult Swim series, ROBOT CHICKEN. Our buddies at Screen Novelties had a hand in it so I gave it a look – and I’m glad I did.robotchicken4.jpgROBOT CHICKEN is very funny. It’s sort of an SCTV-MR. SHOW skitcom with stop-motion action figures. It gets points from me for being hand animated, – heck, it gets extra points for doing a take-off on the 1948 Superman serial, but I digress. The writing is very good, the animation (considering it’s funky stop-mo with store-bought dolls) is as it should be. I laughed several times during the 12 minute first episode, and that’s as it should be too. I intend to keep watching, and advise you to check it out when it premieres Sunday Feb. 20th at 11:30pm.Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Seineich will join Tom Goes To The Mayor’s Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim and Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro on March 4th (at 7:30pm) at the Director’s Guild Theatre in Hollywood, at an Adult Swim tribute, as part of The Museum of Television & Radio’s annual William Paley Festival. This program will be hosted by Adult Swim’s Keith Crofford. More information on this event is available on the MT&R website.

More gay cartoon characters revealed!

Excerpts from a satire now posted on Salon.com:popeyesnaglepuss.jpg

Crazed right-wing moralists, take note: Before SpongeBob, there was Snagglepuss … and Huckleberry Hound … and even Popeye.By Liz Larocca
Recent events in the world of animated children’s shows have caused people to question whether the cartoon industry is promoting a homosexual agenda. Allegations have been directed at SpongeBob SquarePants for participating in a pro-gay video, and at Buster the Bunny for his fraternization with a lesbian couple and their children. While some have dismissed these allegations as the rantings of ultraconservative Christians, gay cartoon characters do in fact exist, and some of them are even politically active. I recently asked some of them to share their stories.Sitting in the living room of his well-appointed Cape Cod-style home, a cultural icon recalls his heyday with sadness and regret. “I was in constant fear of being found out,” says Popeye, sipping herbal tea. “I thought once I cast Olive Oyl, everyone would know. She was so tall and lanky, with that boyish figure …”Three days later, I’m in the parlor of a lovely San Francisco townhouse, being entertained by a self-described “proud queer, an old queen, ev-en!” “I can’t believe America didn’t know,” says Snagglepuss. “I mean, the cuff links, the flamboyance, the theater jargon — plus, I’m pink, for heaven’s sake!”"I think it’s terrific what SpongeBob is doing,” he declares as he accepts a white wine spritzer from longtime companion Huckleberry Hound. “I’ve heard rumors about Squidward, too.” Snagglepuss looks at his partner. “Two out and proud gays on one show, wouldn’t that be fabulous?!” “I had a much different Hollywood experience than Puss,” he continues. “The producers were looking for someone to host a show, to be a major player. They didn’t care that I was gay, but this was 1959, and they didn’t want any speculation about me.” He sits down on the end of the chaise longue and puts his hand on Snagglepuss’ leg. “They liked my look, but I sounded very effeminate.”"The ironic thing is, they were wrong about one of the first gay icons,” he adds. “There was always a lot of talk about Velma, but she’s strictly hetero.” “Even we believed it,” Snagglepuss admits. “But then Daphne, who’s actually bi, told me that she’d tried to get Velma to ‘experiment’ a couple times, but she wasn’t interested. Velma’s always been supportive of our cause.” Asked which characters are members of the LGBT Cartoon Alliance, Snagglepuss runs off some names: Jabberjaw, Auggie Doggie, Mr. Slate of “The Flintstones,” Elmer Fudd, Pepé Le Pew (“He’s what’s now called pan-sexual,” says Snagglepuss), everyone in “Josie and the Pussycats,” all three members of “The Hair Bear Bunch,” several Smurfs, and Gargamel, and Foghorn Leghorn.”That last one surprised even us,” Huckleberry says. “And Bugs Bunny hasn’t officially joined, but he has been to a few meetings.” He divulges, “He had to dress up as a woman a lot on the show, and then found himself doing it
off-screen.”