OVER TIME is a wonderfully inventive and atmospheric student film, a tribute of sorts to Muppet creator Jim Henson. It was directed by Oury Atlan, Thibaut Berland and Damien Ferrie as a graduation project at the French animation/media school Supinfocom, whose CG student films routinely kick the ass out of anything produced by North American animation schools. The directing trio are now billed as Oury & Thomas and represented by Partizan Lab, the animation division of the London/Paris-based commercial firm Partizan. Watch OVER TIME here. (Thanks, Phil)
This is where I want to stay if I ever visit Lousiana.
A respected playwright is writing big Broadway musical versions of both SHREK and BETTY BOOP. “Can he pull it off without compromising his artistic integrity?” So asks this story in Sunday’s New York Times (registration required).(Thanks to Mark Mayerson for the link)
Link (via Viceland.com)
This looks so bad, it might be good… Live action GIGANTOR
The late Dan DeCarlo, creator of Josie & the Pussycats and the key artist for the Archie Comics Group for over 30 years, could really draw the ladies. His Betty & Veronica artwork lured young male comics fans (like myself) to check out the Archie books in our preteenage years – and his style influenced many aspiring cartoon artists (including Bruce Timm and Jamie Hernandez).In the 1950s, before his well known Archie stint, DeCarlo drew many a naughty cartoon for a group of men’s humor magazines, mainly for Timely Comics publisher Martin Goodman. Goodman’s Humorama line contained a series of sleazy digest cartoon magazines with titles like JOKER, LAUGH RIOT, ZIP and FUN HOUSE. DeCarlo’s cartoons aren’t very funny, but his females are hot – and Fantagraphics Books has just published a nice selection of them in a new book, THE PIN-UP ART OF DAN DECARLO, which I just found yesterday at my comics shop and am happy to highly recommend. It’s such a pleasure to look through this book – it’s the best tribute to DeCarlo I’ve seen. Fantagraphics designed the book Taschen-style, printing in black, white and shades of orange (just like actual issues of JOKER). Editors Alex Chun and Jacob Covey selected the best images from both gag cartoons and spot illutrations to show off DeCarlo’s best work.To get more of an idea of the art reprinted in this book, check out Alex Chun’s great website, Pin-Up Cartoon Gallery.com.
I get many many requests about Chuck Jones 1965 Academy Award Winning MGM cartoon THE DOT AND THE LINE. As previously noted, it’s scheduled to be released as bonus material on Frank Tashlin’s THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT in April. As a public service, I want point out its showing tonight (actually 2/13, technically tomorrow morning) on TCM – It’ll screen during TCM’s half hour Festival of Shorts #3, Sunday morning at 5:30am EST and 2:30am PST. This program repeats a few weeks later, Thursday morning March 3rd also at 5:30am EST and 2:30am PST.
This comic by Michael Shaw of BAGnews Notes suggests that there may yet be some fallout from the recent SpongeBob controversy. One of the BAGnews readers christened the new character with a most appropriate name: JesusBob ChristPants.
The Animation Block Party is a new mini-animation festival which takes place regularly in New York City. They’re holding a Valentine’s Day edition of the festival on Monday, February 14, with two different programs of independent animated shorts and an after-party at Frank’s Cocktail Lounge. Film line-up and ticket details at AnimationBlock.com.
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.
Brock writes in:
Everyone who has the stinky aftertaste of Hart’s new ‘Retro Cool’ book needs to immediately go HERE and print off page by page of “Fun With a Pencil”. Staple it together and PRESTO! They got their “retro-cool” cartoon book right THERE!
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.
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:
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.
One 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).
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.