Okay, I admit it. I’m excited about seeing The Simpsons Movie. But why are they opening it on the same weekend as the San Diego Comic Con? Over 100,000 first day ticket sales will be busy at the Con buying comics or attending Mark Evanier’s panels. I predict The Simpsons Movie will have a helluva Monday night box office gross, when all the fans get home from San Diego.
In the meantime, I think this is the first official review of the film. It was posted today by the London Times – and it’s very positive.
We were greeted first by a great array of sideshow freaks, including a little guy named ‘Poobaa’ who the barker proclaimed as being the last living Muchkin from the Wizard of oz alive (he was 9 at the time). Poor Poobaa was made to swallow fire over and over to a bored looking crowd of locals.
Then, turning the corner, I see THIS. I’ve seen a lot of things before, but this is far, far beyond the normal Blair ripoff; it’s almost an outsider art homage! I took a bunch of pictures (forgive my not quite perfect alignment of the whole thing…). I have more if you want, but I think these tell the story pretty well. This is a walk though carnival attraction. I didn’t go inside, but I bet I would have seen Red in progression, the policeman and maybe even the hippos from Fantasia…
(Click on pictures above and below to see full sized images)
Please forgive all these Popeye and Woody Woodpecker posts, but here’s a YouTube find I had to share: a 1980s British Carling Black Label Beer commercial featuring Popeye and “Brutus”. Nice to know Popeye was considered adult enough as late as this period to be in an ad for alcohol.
I was organizing some dvds tonight and stumbled upon this rare color footage from the 1941 Disney strike. If I recall correctly, it’s from the collection of Tee Bosustow, who I’m currently collaborating with on a very cool project. His father, UPA co-founder Steve Bosustow, can be seen clapping his hands in the video at about 1:22. The footage also includes strike leaders like the recently departed David Hilberman (above photo, right) and Art Babbitt (above, left). The Fats Domino song isn’t part of the original footage obviously, just something I added to break the silence.
Went to Meltdown Comics tonight and found out that two weeks from now they will be having a three day exhibit and opening reception for Project Bart. This exhibition features customized versions of Bart Simpson by 20 contemporary pop artists (the exhibit will come to New York’s Toy Tokyo Showroom Gallery in September). The Meltdown reception is on Wednesday August 1st from 7pm to 11pm.
While I was there I noticed the new Casper comics reprint book, assembled by Leslie Cabarga and myself, is now on sale. Not only on sale, but it was displayed as the “Manager’s Pick”. It was supposed to make its world premiere debut at the San Diego Comic Con next week, but it doesn’t quite have an embargo… like Harry Potter. So pick it up now, and enjoy!
Light was a comics fan who created and published (out of his basement) two important fanzines in the 1970s, The Buyers Guide For Comics Fandom and Film Collectors World (both are still published today, as Comics Buyers Guide and Movie Collectors World, by other publishers). Light’s photos are quite nostalgic to anyone (like me) who remembers going to the conventions, or getting his publications, back in the day.
Art director Hans Bacher (Mulan) has started up an incredible new blog called Animation Treasures. He’s painstakingly recreating pan backgrounds from classic animated films currently on dvd (mostly Disney ones) to offer a sense of what the original backgrounds looked like before the characters were composited on top. There’s lots of insightful notes to go along with each image. Truly a terrific educational resource that everybody should take advantage of. Thanks Hans!
This article by Chuck Salter in the new issue of Fast Company is a fascinating indepth read about the transformation of Will Vinton Studios into Laika. The story includes the first joint-interview with Laika owner Phil Knight (who also founded Nike) and his son Travis “Chilly Tee” Knight, who is an animator, director and board member at Laika. The article is slanted very much towards their side of the story, but it doesn’t pull any punches and addresses the studio’s historical baggage in the form of ousted founder Will Vinton.
When I wrote briefly about Laika a couple months ago, I described my feelings about the studio as “cautiously optimistic” and that opinion still hasn’t changed. They’re clearly an outfit with a vision (albeit not quite fully developed) and they’re run by a creative entrepreneur with a proven track record (which is more than can be said for most execs working in feature animation). And most commendable, they’re attempting to stake their claim as being an original producer of animated features instead of positioning themselves as yet another Pixar/DreamWorks clone. Now it just remains to be seen if the Knights’ big gamble will pay off; it’s definitely a story worth following.
At the San Diego Comic Con, Slave Labor Graphics is premiering a new comic book called Jellyfist, wriiten by Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim) and illustrated by J.R. Goldberg (Eric Goldberg’s daughter Jenny). I have no idea what it’s about, but the press release is hilarious. Both of them will be at the Con signing the book, all four days (Thursday through Sunday).
It’s so difficult to find folks down at the Comic-Con so here’s a thread where we can do a roll call of animation folk who’ll be attending this year. If you’re on a particular panel or just want to mention that you’ll be in attendance, let us know in this thread. Both Brewmasters Jerry and Amid will be down in San Diego. Say hello if you see us there. This comment thread is ONLY if you want to mention that you’ll be down there next week.
We’re starting to receive a lot of announcements from animation folk about what they’re selling next week at San Diego Comic-Con International. In fact, the amount of emails is becoming a bit overwhelming so we’re creating this open thread where any animation artist can announce what they’re selling. Be sure to include your booth number, website, and any other relevant details. It’s a huge convention center and we want to find you. This thread is ONLY about what cool things are being sold on the convention floor by animation folk; to keep things organized, all other comments will be deleted from this thread.
That was my reaction when I first saw it – and now I have it. I’d heard about the book, but had no idea about how all-encompassing this project was. To say that Ulrich Merkl’s The Complete Dream Of The Rarebit Fiend is exhaustive is an understatement.
I don’t know if you are familiar with Valley of the Cliffhangers, an insanely large, limited edition oversized book on Republic movie serials, but this Winsor McCay collection is its comic strip equivilent.
First off, it’s huge (12″ x 17″), heavy (it weighs almost ten pounds) and 464 pages. It costs $114.00 (U.S.$) and it’s worth every penny. It reprints, on fine glossy stock, all 369 Rarebit Fiend strips (annotated) from 1904-1913. But there is much, much more here. Combined with John Canemaker’s McCay bio (which the author highly recommends) one is left with a thoroughly complete picture of McCay’s life’s work.
This book contains numerous examples of McCay’s other work – sheet music, newspaper clippings (including a long review of his vaudeville act, and his obituary from the New York Times), and extensive illustrated section on recurring themes in McCay’s artwork, and examples of how McCay’s work influenced motion pictures like King Kong, Dumbo and Mary Poppins. An eye-opening section of comics precursors and imitators (comics and animated films) and several large quotes and articles written by McCay explaining his inspirations. There is so much more, including a DVD/CD-ROM version to enjoy on your computer.
It’s lavish, and has to be seen to be believed. This book is a must have for anyone interested in McCay, or comic strip and animation history. An important book, and a valuable companion to Canemaker’s essential McCay biography. I’ll sum up with three words of wisdom: Buy it now.
Got a few hours tonight? Tune into the online broadcast of Luxuria Music from 7-10pm PST where the guest on the “Kitsch Niche with Strike” will be animation artist and director Jordan Reichek (Ren & Stimpy, Invader Zim). Jordan also happens to be a primo collector of Disneylandia (trust me, I’ve seen the collection) and he’s sharing some of the aural parts of the collection on air tonight including rare recording session outtakes, Disneyland commercials, weird “sing-along” records made at the park and theme park cover songs. Rare photos of the park will also be displayed on the Luxuria webcam. It’s all for free at LuxuriaMusic.com.