Animator Comics Super-Market

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Super*market LA is a quarterly independent comics event based in Los Angeles. The next one, this Sunday March 30th, will spotlight comic book creators working in the animation industry. The show will also include comic book and indie artists from the local area and as far as New York bringing their books, mini-comics, zines, and original art. Our friend Stuart Ng will have a special booth there showing off comics and sketchbooks by French and European animators.

Publishers/creators wanting to sign up for the event can follow the link above or email exhibitors-at-supermarketla.com. More info about Super*market LA can be found on its website.

Super*market LA: The Animator Special – March 30 – 12 noon to 6pm – at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA.

The Origin of Mankind

They say animation warps impressionable minds. Here is a piece of propaganda that was created to scare people from becoming Mormon, produced on the level of a 1970s Filmation cartoon.

Let me apologize in advance. This may be one of the all-time worst things I’ve ever posted on the Brew. It’s not a TV Funhouse parody, it’s for real; it includes some scary, racist propaganda. I do not condone the message or beliefs presented in this film, it is posted as part of my ongoing research for the Worst Cartoons Ever Made.

Don Hertzfeldt Leaves The Animation Show

Sad news from our favorite touring cartoon festival, The Animation Show. Don Hertzfeldt, who co-founded the Show with Mike Judge, announced in his online journal on March 16 that he will no longer be involved with the Show. The reasons for his departure are vague; the text of his online post reads:

last week i decided it was time for me to part ways with the animation show. it’s been five years and three tours and some good memories. they have a new tour rolling through theaters this summer and i don’t know what will be in it but i encourage you to go check it out

The Animation Show is still being run by a competent group of folks and I have no reason to believe that they won’t continue to grow and prosper. Still, Hertzfeldt was a huge part of the Show’s personality and it’s sad to see him leave.

2007 Award Finalist: The Hanna Barbera Treasury

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I just found out that my Hanna Barbera Treasury has become a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards.

Before we get too excited, keep in mind I’m competing against 652 finalists in 61 catagories. The Hanna Barbera Treasury is nominated in the Popular Culture catagory, against some strong competition, including one book on The Beatles and another on Alex Raymond (Flash Gordon).

According to the ForeWord Magazine website, “ForeWord’s Book of the Year Awards program was designed to discover distinctive books across a number of genres. The winners will be determined by a panel of librarians and booksellers, selected from our readership. Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners, as well as Editor’s Choice Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction will be announced at a special program at BookExpo America at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles on May 30. The ceremony is open to all BEA attendees.”

My thanks to the editors and designers at Palace Press/Insight Editions for creating such an incredibly fun tribute to the legacy of Hanna Barbera. This was a rare case where the finished book turned out exactly as better than I envisioned it.

Classic Disney Art Returns to the US

Sleeping Beauty

The NY Times reports that Disney is having returned to them over 250 pieces of original classic artwork, most of it from Sleeping Beauty. These pieces had been lost for decades until four years ago, when they were found in a janitorial closet in Japan’s Chiba University. The fascinating story of their discovery is documented in the Times piece.

After restoration work, the pieces began touring Japanese museums in 2006. The artwork was also printed in this awesome exhibition catalog. Hopefully with the artwork now coming back into Disney’s hands, they’ll take the initiative of publishing an English-language version of the catalog, or better yet, combine it with the Sleeping Beauty artwork already in their archives to create the ultimate “Art of Sleeping Beauty” volume. Now there’s a book I’d love to have on my bookshelf!

Amitabh Bachchan For US Prime Minister

Amitabh Bachchan

Badmash a new Indian animation studio with bases in Pune, India and Berkeley, California is promoting itself with a political parody site about legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and his candidacy for “prime minister” of the US. The site is notable for a couple of slickly produced Flash animation pieces–Dishoom 2008, and a parody of a Hillary Clinton campaign ad, It’s 3AM, America.

(Thanks, Kevin Elam)

Top Carrot

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Tim Hollis sent this in:

Last night, while clearing things out of a glass display case, I found the this plastic bag that someone sent to me probably 20 years ago. I thought you might get a chuckle out of such blatant H-B trademark infringement. All I can say is that it’s a good thing Officer Dibble wasn’t a vegetarian… or a rabbit…

“Yes, he’s a chief, he’s the king, he’s a vegetable thing…”

Get Well Soon, Jim Korkis

jimkorkis1.jpgAnimation historian Jim Korkis had a series of three small strokes last week. The strokes were in a portion of the brain that control balance and equilibrium, so he’s a bit unsteady, but he has no paralysis or speech impediment, and did not have a heart attack (as many stroke victims do after their initial incident). I understand he’s doing pretty well, all things considered.

Jim is one of the most renown and respected animation historians in our field, and certainly one of the most knowledgeable Disney scholars I know. He’s also a great friend. Get well soon, Jim!

Mike Nguyen’s blog

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Mike Nguyen is one of the best traditional character animators I know. Fiercely independent, Mike’s working on his own feature film essentially by himself, and has been blogging about it, and his random thoughts about animating – with video clips, sketches and sculpture online – every week on rainplace.net. Check it out. To paraphrase the motto of the old Gotham Book Mart: “Wise animators fish here”.

Cartoon Dump again!

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We’re baaaaack!

Live comedy! Horrible animation! Cartoon Dump is live in Los Angeles every 4th Tues. of the month at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. Hope to see you on Tuesday March 25th when we welcome this month’s Special Guest: Greg Proops!!

LA Review

Feature article by Peter Sanderson of Quick Stop Entertainment

An interview with Compost Brite

Advanced tickets

Photo above from our November show (Left to right: Jerry Beck, Joel Hodgson, Frank Conniff, Kristen the Cue Card Goddess, Erica Doering, Lizzy Cooperman and Patton Oswalt.)

Justin Wright (1981-2008)

Justin Wright

Sad news out of Pixar. Story supervisor Ronnie del Carmen reports on his blog that newly minted Pixar story artist Justin Wright passed away Tuesday evening at age 27. The cause of death was a heart attack; this article about Justin says that he had health complications as a child and had received a heart transplant. I’m not familiar with his work owing to his nascent career but his personal illustration blog offers a glimpse of his drawing talent.

Here are links to some of the tributes appearing online from friends, family and Pixar co-workers:
Nate Wragg
Austin Madison
Kyle Shockley
Phil Rynda
Ted Mathot
Lindsay
Scott Morse
Bill Cone
John Sanford
Jeff Pidgeon
James Robertson
Enrico Casarosa
Nick Sung
Kate RW
Michael Wright
Kelly Matten
JoJo
Alex Woo

Frank & Artie

What’s wrong with the following sentence in this Andreas Deja interview: “I got to know, not only Marc Davis, but Frank Thomas, Artie Johnson, Ward Kimball, all these great animators, and just ask them all these questions about how they did certain things, what their trials and errors were, the ups and downs.”

Then again, the same article also doesn’t spell Rodin properly so it’s probably asking them too much to do the most basic research about animation history.

Gabe Swarr for Radiohead and AniBoom

Gabe Swarr was commissioned to create this Flash-animated musical piece below advertising Radiohead and AniBoom’s “In Rainbows Music Video Contest.” As Brew readers know, I’m not a fan of contests like these, but of all the animation contests one could possibly enter, the AniBoom ones tend to be the least icky. For example, this particular contest is structured in such a way so that storyboards are judged first and you’re not being asked to submit an entirely finished product. Afterwards, the winning storyboards are even given a small sum of money to produce their videos.

As for Swarr’s piece, it’s a large leap from his usually recognizable work. He explains on his blog: “My approach was to keep as close to Radiohead’s established video style. My natural style is kind of opposite of that, so it was a cool creative challenge.”

Kung Fu Panda kicks ass!

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I see a lot of animated features in advance and, for the most part, keep my opinions to myself until the movie is in general release. Today I had the opportunity to screen Kung Fu Panda and cannot contain myself. I’m not going to write a review or post spoilers – but I just want to alert you to what I believe is one of the best CG animated films I’ve ever seen.

Yup. Right up there with The Incredibles. Dreamworks has done it. No joke.

The art direction, the voices, the character animation, the comedy, the action scenes, the opening 2-D cartoon sequence, the heart… it all works. Don’t miss this in a theatre. I don’t care what you think of the trailer, or Dreamworks track record, or anything like that. None of that matters. This film is good, and will a big hit. Mark my words – you’ll want the action figures.

Yes, this is a rave. I’ll post a more formal review as we get closer to its release. I just wanted to be the first to tell you.

[Disclosure: I am currently working on a book (unrelated to Kung Fu Panda) for Dreamworks.]

Chester Cheetah in CG

Chester Cheetah

Speaking of creepy CG translations of 2D characters, the new adult-targeted Cheetos ad campaign starring Chester Cheetah is highly questionable, not only because of its mean-spirited and unfunny message but also for its incredibly poor and unappealing animation. The integration into the live-action is particularly weak, and the character’s scaling into the real-world looks wrong, probably because our eyes have difficulty accepting an adult cheetah the size of a domesticated cat.

Slate magazine, on the other hand, loves the ads calling them “delightfully creepy.” Watch one of the spots below and two more here and here.

(Thanks, Jessica Plummer)

Bone Marrow for Emru

Emru Townsend

Animation writer and critic Emru Townsend was diagnosed last December with leukemia and a condition called monosomy 7. He is in need of finding a bone marrow donor match soon. While donors can’t specify who they want to donate too, Emru’s family has started a website HealEmru.com that offers information on bone marrow donation and teaches adults how to sign up for their country’s bone marrow registry.

For those who aren’t familiar with Emru’s work, he founded Frames Per Second Magazine in 1991 and has continued its publication in one form or another up through today at FPSmagazine.com. As a fellow publisher, I can say that nobody publishes an animation-related magazine to get rich; we do it because we love the art form, and Emru has for decades been one of animation’s best friends and most intelligent critics. Both Jerry and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Spoon Video by Double Triple and Ryan Junell

Spoon video

In this day and age of slick and mostly overwrought CG visuals, it’s refreshing to see some lo-fi cutout animation, especially when it’s as beautifully done as the latest Spoon music video “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb.” The video is directed by Double Triple and Ryan Junell (Junell animated the Obama campaign spots we wrote about last month). Be sure and also check out this terrific Flickr photoset offering a look at the video’s production process.

TMBG music videos

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I just had to share. I’m really enjoying these recently posted animated spots which adapt songs from the They Might Be Giants-Disney CD, Here Come the 123s.

Pascal Campion directed this little treat (via yesterday’s No Fat Clips blog): 813-Mile Car Trip; and today Cold Hard Flash previewed I Can Add by Adam Sacks and David Cowles. Disney is posting a new one each week on itunes. Collect them all!