Nothing says more about the sad, pathetic, desperate, moribund state of the US TV animation industry than the fact that Seth MacFarlane is the only artist trusted to create new animated shows for a major TV network.
Cartoonist Rex Hackelberg has posted a ton of development artwork that he created for a project called The KidMan and Lemon Show.
The idea was conceived by animation guru Chuck Gammage and the finished animated promo below was directed and animated by Jamie Mason (aka Hobo Divine). Other credits include Graham Falk (layout), Mike Geiger (inking), Clive Powsey (backgrounds) and Scott Bucsis (music).
The finished product is exactly the type of cute, fun and appealing cartoon idea that I don’t expect any contemporary animation network to produce because…well…because it’s cute, fun and appealing in a day and age that demands loud, obnoxious and ugly.
My pal Sharon Burian sent me some information on the project she just completed:
I want to alert you to a short film that I recently worked on that was one of the top ten finalists for the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Award for 2008. Go to 2008 finalists and it’s called The Museum. Actually, even though it’s still listed as a finalist, it WON and will screen in 30,000 theaters across the country!!!
Austin Formato, the director, is supposed to receive the award in the middle of March and my guess is they won’t update the site until then, but I figured I would give you a heads up for Cartoon Brew.
The film was made by all UCLA film students and animators. I animated/rotoscoped the entire Warhol painting sequence at the end. Will Kim did the Degas, James Suhr and I both worked on the animation of the Van Gogh (someone else painted the background and her name escapes me), and Donna Segal animated the Picasso. It was a very positive experience all around and I’m so excited that it’s going to screen in theaters!
Congrats to director Formato and his team. To see the short click here.
Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became An American Icon Along the Way is a book chronicling the behind-the-scenes history of the famous children’s book publisher. Though it is published by Golden Books, it appears to be more than your average corporate fluff piece, and seemingly has lots of original historical research. It is also copiously illustrated with illustrations and photos, and includes coverage of all our Golden Book favorites including Mary Blair, Gustaf Tenggren, Aurelius Battaglia, JP Miller, Alice and Martin Provensen, Mel Crawford and Tibor Gergely, among others. If anbody has actually read the book, please share your thoughts about it in the comments.
The Brew strives to stay apolitical, but this very funny and trenchant Slate article by Jeff Greenfield is worth a mention: Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck: Why voters always choose the wascally wabbit for president.
(Thanks, B. Baker)
The Animation Studies journal consists of academic papers written mainly by scholars and historians, making for a somewhat dry reading experience. However, the topics are interesting – and intelligent discourse on animation is always a good thing. The online publication is available free of charge, and the articles are licensed under a Creative Commons license.
Contents of Vol. 2 include: Animated Appeal: A Survey of Production Methods in Children’s Software by Tom Klein; (The) Death (of) the Animator, or: The Felicity of Felix by Alan Cholodenko; The Two Golden Ages of Animated Music Video by Gunnar Strom.
And last but not least, Amy Ratelle’s article Half-breed Dog, Half-breed Film: Balto as Animelodrama (which opens Volume 3) sums up the kind of article this journal specializes in. If this is your thing, click here.
Pete Mitchell, frontman of the band No More Kings, writes to Cartoon Brew:
“i’ve checked cartoonbrew pretty much every day for the past year and a half, and it never ceases to provide inspiration. i’ve always been a huge fan of ghostbot‘s work, and i finally had the pleasure of hiring them to animate my new music video.”
The music video, for their song “Michael (Jump In),” can be seen below. More behind-the-scenes details about the production of the animation are being posted both at the band’s blog and on the Ghostbot blog.
The American Cinematheque and the Art Deco Society are presenting a lecture by David Pacheco, Walt Disney Art Classics creative art director, who will detail the history of Art Deco design in the art of film animation. A special focus of the presentation is on the deco stylization of Walt Disney’s FANTASIA (1940), along with examples of animation from various Max Fleischer short cartoons including Betty Boop and Superman. Hopefully they will screen Page Miss Glory, Merry Mannequins, and All’s Fair At The Fair (pictured above). The seminar will take place at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Blvd. on Saturday March 22nd at 2pm. Admission: Cinematheque and Art Deco Society members $5; Student/Senior $8; General admission $10. For more info visit the Egyptian Theatre website
Dark Horse Comics has announced a Disney Gremlins book-signing taking place next week. A special signing at the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store in Hollywood will be held on Wednesday evening, March 19th, to celebrate the release of The Return of the Gremlins. This new comic book, by Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson, updates the characters created in the Roald Dahl’s aborted Disney wartime Gremlins project. Dean Yeagle, the artist on the comic book, and Leonard Maltin (who wrote the introduction to the hardcover Gremlins reprint) will be joining Richardson at the signing.
The Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store is stocking up on the various Gremlins books, toys and statuettes. Here are the details: The event will be from 6:00- 9:00pm. Richardson, Yeagle and Maltin will sign between 7:00-9:00pm. The Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store is located at 6834 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, CA. Should be a fun event. See ya there!
What we used to do for home entertainment before DVD and VHS tapes:
(Thanks Clay Croker)
Once again, Disney marketing has invaded the frozen food aisle. Not sure how long this has been out there, but I just discovered Mickey Mouse Pizza. Is it me, or is there something just plain wrong about eating a beloved cartoon icon made of a tomato-like sauce and artificial mozzarella cheese?
I suppose it could be worse, I suppose they could top it with salami.
(Thanks, Michael Eilerman)
There is a reason I plug Steve Moore’s online FLIP magazine every month: It’s damn good! The latest edition, now up, features the amazing DEAN YEAGLE discussing Zander’s Animation Parlour – with clips of several classic Jack Zander commercials (Freakies cereal, Good n’ Plenty candy, Crest Cavity Creeps, etc.); features on artist SUE BLANCHARD, illustrator RICHARD MORGAN and an interview with toy collector/creator/Pixar character designer JEFF PIDGEON. Go here and flip out!
Superjail is an animated series set in the cooler, but Brew reader Dominic Bisignano points out that there’s a non-profit organization called Giant Elephants Roam that teaches actual prisoners how to animate. The website features short animation tests created by inmates at the Antelope State Valley Prison in Lancaster, California, which is where the pilot program is currently underway. The program was conceived by CalArts student Vita Rabinovich. Below is an example of animation created by inmate “Doc.”
I just got a copy of Christopher Lehman’s latest book, The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films. 1907-1954. It’s an un-illustrated, 137-page survey of the black stereotypes and African American cultural influences in the Hollywood cartoons we all grew up with, and most of us still enjoy today.
Lehman goes out of his way not to applaud, criticize or denounce these films. He mainly reports in an even handed way, that they were made, what images they contain, and records any controversies surrounding them. Though he covers almost every black character I’m aware of (including Lantz’s L’il Eightball, Pal’s Jasper and Famous Studios’ Buzzy) he neglects to mention Chuck Jones’ Inki, a pretty significant character. And I’m not sure I agree with his assertions that Bugs Bunny’s personality was essentially a “black cultural characterization”. But overall Lehman did his homework, with considerable research on the NAACP’s protests against such cartoons as Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs and Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat. For more info on this publication, visit the University of Massachusetts Press website.