This is the biggest animation history find since fragments of Elmo Aardvark began appearing in the 1990s! Two copies of the long lost, early sound RUFUS cartoons (1929) have been discovered and restored by the Deleo Animation Trust.In reality, RUFUS is the brainchild of Dutch illustrator-animator Raoul Deleo. The first Rufus restoration, “Bouncin’ Buddy” was screened in competition at Annecy 2006. For other examples of Deleo’s work, click here.(Thanks, Karl Cohen)
Here’s an odd one.We are the Strange is an independent animated feature film about “two outcasts caught in the middle of a deadly battle between bizarre monsters on their way to the ice cream shop”. The trailer is a bizarre combination of Brother Quay-like stop motion, CG and anime, and well worth checking out. It was created by someone called M dot Strange. Video game producer Shane Neville just posted an interview with Mr. dot Strange, on his webblog.
Just what we need – a revival of Jay Ward’s animated classic, George of the Jungle. However, a new series currently in production is apparently based more on the Brendan Fraser live action movie than Ward’s original Saturday morning cartoon. The website of Vancouver’s Studio B (who are producing the 26 half hours) has pre-production art from the series that at least somewhat resemble the original Jay Ward designs. The image above was distributed by Classic Media at the Licensing Show last month in New York – I guess they figured they’d go in a new, Cartoon Network-derivative direction (especially as Cartoon Network U.S. and Europe will air the show in Fall 2007). Oh well… I wish them luck.
One more time: Here’s where you can meet me at Comic-Con International: San Diego today (Thursday), tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday:
RANDOM CARTOONS SNEAK PREVIEW – Clips, interviews and production art from the new Nickelodeon Frederator series called Random Cartoons. Meet the creators, and get cool stuff! Sneak preview clips from various cartoons including MIND THE KITTY, ADVENTURE TIME, MOOBEARD, THE COW PIRATE and HORNSWIGGLE. Thursday July 20, 2:30pm in Room 2JUST ADDED: On Friday night I will be moderating the SNL: Saturday TV Funhouse Panel with Robert Smigel from 7:30 to 9:00pm. The Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and creator of Saturday Night Live’s hilarious animated “TV Funhouse” segments, Robert Smigel. We will be discussing the upcoming DVD release of SNL: The Best Of Saturday TV Funhouse, show clips from “The Ambiguously Gay Duo”, “X-Presidents”, “Saddam and Osama”, “Mr. T” and other favorites, as well as notable “lost” cartoons, banned from the airwaves forever. Q & A to follow! With appearances by animator/director Robert Marianetti and, possibly, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog (pictured above). Friday July 21, 7:30-9pm in Room 6BThen I’ll run next door at 9pm to present…THE WORST CARTOONS EVER (2006 edition) – My all-new annual screening of rock bottom cartoon crap-ola, includes different episodes of SUPER PRESIDENT, MIGHTY MR. TITAN, JOHNNY CYPHER IN DIMENSION ZERO, as well as new discoveries like Sam Singer’s PADDY THE PELICAN and Harman-Ising’s SIR GEE WHIZ. Friday July 21, 9pm in Room CDEF
I’ll also be appearing at the ASIFA-HOLLYWOOD booth (#5434) on Saturday July 22 at 11am. I’ll be handing out promotional HORNSWIGGLE buttons and postcards at all these events, and everywhere I go. See you there!
Animation Guild president Kevin Koch has written a fascinating post on the Guild blog about how to predict an animated film’s final box office gross based on the opening weekend take. Here’s Kevin’s formula and how it applies to recent CG features:
Total Domestic Gross = Opening Weekend x 3 (for a movie with no legs)
TDG = OW x 4.3 (for a movie with great legs)
Just for fun, here are the opening week multipliers of most CG features:
Polar Express — 7.4
Toy Story — 6.6
Shrek — 6.3
Jimmy Neutron — 5.8
Antz — 5.3
A Bugs Life — 4.9
Finding Nemo — 4.3
Toy Story 2 — 4.3
Shrek 2 — 4.1
Monster’s Inc. — 4.1
Hoodwinked — 4.1
Over the Hedge — 4.0
Ice Age — 3.8
The Wild — 3.8
Cars — 3.7 (so far)
The Incredibles — 3.7
Robots — 3.6
Dinosaur — 3.6
Shark Tale — 3.4
Chicken Little — 3.4
Valiant — 3.3
Ice Age 2 — 2.9
Final Fantasy — 2.8
Doogal — 2.1
In the 1920s, some kids around the Los Angeles area contributed drawings and stories to “The Junior Times” which was an insert of the LA TIMES newspaper. A number of these kids went on to become famous animation artists, including Ed Benedict, Fred Moore and Bob Clampett. I’d never seen an example of Clampett’s work from this paper, but Filboid Studge’s blog has unearthed a 1926 comic (“The Innocent Pussy”) by a 12-year-old Clampett. He also found a 1928 short story by Clampett. If you like this sort of historical crap, you’re definitely going to want to check this out.
Ok folks, the news that everybody’s been waiting for! ANIMATON BLAST #9 will debut in San Diego this week!!! It’s been a long four years since the last issue and I couldn’t be more thrilled that we managed to finish this new edition in time for the Comic-Con. My printer in Canada says the issue looks terrific and they’re FedEx’ing a batch down to San Diego today. BLAST 9 should be on the convention floor first thing Friday morning. I’m getting less issues sent down than I’d hoped so if you want to make sure you get a copy in SD, make sure to pick it up early. The exclusive seller of BLAST 9 at the Comic-Con is Stuart Ng Books (booth #5113). The rest of the issues are also being sent down from Canada, and if you’ve pre-ordered an issue, I’m expecting that they’ll be shipped the week of July 31-August 4.
Clay Kaytis of the Animation Podcast has compiled a nice round-up of animation-related booths at the Con. Among other things, he notes that LILO AND STITCH director Chris Sanders will be at the Club Coconut booth (#2044).
Kazu Kibuishi deserves a lot of praise for what he’s done with the FLIGHT graphic anthologies. He’s managed to bring together a lot of talented folks from the comic and animation communities – both well known and up-and-coming artists – and created an exciting new forum to showcase their work. The newest edition, FLIGHT 3, premiered last month and it’s another excellent edition. The Flight booth (#1131) promises to be a central gathering point for a lot of artists this year; check out the Flight Comics website for a COMPLETE LISTING of which artists will be appearing at the Flight booth and where other Flight contributors can be found on the convention floor. I’ve also heard the Flight booth will be offering some exclusives, including a new sketchbook by Rodolphe Guenoden called DIZ, DAT ‘N DOZ.
Our blogging buddies Mark Evanier, Scott Shaw!, and Earl Kress are moderating (or appearing) on several panels of note at the San Diego Comic Con later this week.Earl Kress will be discussing PINKY AND THE BRAIN and ANIMANIACS on Thursday, 4:00pm in Room 6B.Mark Evanier’s panels are always a highlight of the con. He’ll be hosting the annual Jack Kirby tribute (Friday 2pm, Room 8), interviewing artists Jim Mooney, Jerry Robinson and John Romita, and moderating two panels (Saturday at 2pm, Sunday at 1pm, Room CDEF) devoted to Cartoon Voice actors (including appearences by Billy West, Maurice LaMarche and Bob Bergen, among others). Mark will also be appearing on a panel discussing SHE-RA AND HE-MAN / DUNGEONS & DRAGONS on Friday at 4:30 PM in Room 5AB.Scott Shaw! will be at table I-8, right next to Sergio Aragonés. He’ll also be appearing, sometime during the show, at McFarlane Toys’ booth, which will have the company’s new line of classic Hanna-Barbera action figures (which Scott designed) on display. If you haven’t seen it, don’t miss Scott’s hilarious Oddball Comic Slide Show on Saturday at 4:30 PM in Room 5AB. Even if you have, this is the place to see it again!
Sketchcrawl founder and Pixar story artist Enrico Casarosa is debuting the second volume of SKETCHCRAWLINGS in San Diego. The book is a collection of watercolor sketches and autobiographical comics. Enrico’s stubby self-caricature always delivers a laugh and his storytelling sensibilities are superb – in other words, I can’t wait to pick this one up. He’ll be signing the new SKETCHCRAWLINGS at the FLIGHT comics booth (#1131) for most of Friday and Saturday, and he’ll also be doing a signing with Ronnie del Carmen on Saturday from 2:30 to 4pm at Stuart Ng Books (booth #5113).
Maverix Studios is a San Francisco-based collective of animation and comic artists. They’ll be exhibiting in San Diego this year at booth #5485. Among the artists at their booth will be director/designer Ed Bell, who has a new 40-page sketchbook called OASIS. He describes the book as a “visual prologue” to an animated short that will be starting production this fall. If you can’t make it to San Diego, the book is also available at the print-on-demand bookseller Lulu.com. Another prolific talent who’ll be appearing at the Maverix booth is animator/director Robert Valley (AEON FLUX, Gorillaz videos). He’ll have a book called MASSIVE SWERVE, which compiles his strips and sketchbook pages. That book is also available on Lulu.
I first met John K in San Diego eleven years ago so it’s only fitting to mention that John will be in attendance at this year’s Comic-Con. He’ll be appearing at the Every Picture Tells A Story booth (#4721) on Saturday from 2-5 pm, where he’ll be selling original artwork, as well as signing copies of the brand-spanking new dvd REN & STIMPY: THE LOST EPISODES, which was officially released today. Having worked on these episodes, I’m certainly not the right person to offer an unbiased review – for an objective and impartial view on these cartoons, look no further than the blog of animation authority Eddie Fitzgerald.