The sixth annual edition of Animation Block Party runs this weekend in Brooklyn. The event is the closest thing there is to an animation festival in the New York City area. There are five programs of the latest animated shorts from around the world, as well as a few parties. Tonight at 8pm is the opening night screening, which takes place outdoors on the roof of the Automotive High School in Williamsburg. More screenings follow on Saturday and Sunday. Film line-up, ticket info and locations are all available on the Animation Block website.
Trick or treat? Direct from the Comic Con… due out just in time for Halloween, a new “Harvey” comic book from writer Todd Dezago and artist Pedro Delgado: Casper and the Spectrals. Alfred Harvey is probably rolling over in his grave, but personally I’m willing to give this take a chance. It sure beats the recent movie adaptation versions. Ardden Entertainment, who are currently publishing a nice update of Flash Gordon, is the company behind this. (Click on cover at left to see a larger image).
Another one of my memorable finds at the Anima Mundi festival is Jam by Japanese artist Mirai Mizue. The short, which can be viewed HERE, does an expert job of building up tension through a carefully orchestrated layering of sound and imagery. Although the online screen size is too small, it still communicates the unique artistic achievement of Mizue’s work.
Mickey Mouse was so popular by 1930 that every animation studio around the world tried to create unauthorized Mickey Mouse cartoons. Even live action filmmakers tried to get into the act. Check out this scene featuring actress Anny Ondra from the 1930 German talkie Die vom Rummelplatz aka “Fair People” (in Austria this feature was released as “Das Micky Maus Girl”). Check out the vintage poster here. Does anyone know if this was authorized by the Disney Studio?
(Thanks, Gary Meyer)
Animation artist Jeremy Bernstein will be at booth C05 from Thursday to Sunday with his new book: Neon Lights in the Golden Hour. It’s filled with illustrations of owls and poetry. 56 pages. 28 illustrations. 28 original poems. Full color. 6 x 9. Only 200 copies printed! Plus every buyer will get a drawing done inside as well as a 4×3 sticker. Check out Jeremy’s blog to see more images.
In case you were wondering where our buddy, artist/cartoon historian Craig Yoe will be during the San Diego Comic Con, here’s an abbreviated checklist:
THURSDAY JULY 23RD
- 12:00 to 1:00 pm Fantagraphics Book Signing “The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers” booth # 1716
FRIDAY JULY 24TH
- 3:00 to 4:00 pm Abrams Book Signing “Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster” booth # 1216
SATURDAY JULY 25TH
- 11:00 am to 12:00 pm Abrams Book Signing “Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster” booth # 1216
- 1:00 to 2:00 pm 1:00-2:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #11: The (Strange) State of Siegel and Shuster Scholarship– Brad Ricca (Case Western Reserve University), director of Last Son, a scholarly documentary on Siegel and Shuster, moderates this conversational panel featuring Craig Yoe (Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman Co-Creator Joe Shuster) and Lauren Agostino, an independent scholar, who will share letters connected to the 1947 lawsuit and portions of the original Superboy script that completely upset a lot of myths about who created Superboy. Room 30AB
Meanwhile, Variety reported that Yoe’s book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster has optioned for major motion picture by the Gotham Group. Below is an animation made up of images from Yoe’s Secret Identity book. It is not suitable for children, its for adults only and definitely not safe for work. Click at your own risk:
Oh, and if you are in L.A. next Wednesday, check out the “Secret Identity” West Coast L/Raunch Party – Wednesday July 29th from 8:00 to 10:00 pm at MeltDown Comix, 7522 W Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood California.
I’m having an unforgettably fantastic time at Anima Mundi in Brazil. One of the films that picked up an award at the festival is Mon Chinois (2008) by Cédric Villain, which looks at how the Western world stereotypes Chinese people. The film does a good job of evoking both laughter and unease from the viewer. It’s in French, but I think you’ll be able to figure it out.
I’m driving down to San Diego today and will be wandering the Comic Con dealers room tonight. I have two big commitments, so if you are looking for me these are the only two places/times I’m guaranteed to be at:
â€¢ Thursday morning at 10:30am (note the new time), I’m moderating the Astro Boy Panel, showing clips from the forthcoming movie and doing a Q&A with director David Bowers, producer Maryanne Grager, and stars Freddie Highmore and Kristen Bell. In Room 6BCF.
â€¢Friday night at 9pm, I’m screening The Worst Cartoons Ever! All-new, all terrible, all hilarious. In Room 6BCF.
So come to my panels and say hello. Beyond this, I will be spending the next four days wandering the con, trying to get into panels, looking for comics, meeting up with friends, and simply hanging out.
No, it’s not Kung Fu Panda… it’s SO not Kung Fu Panda.
Yeah, once again it’s time to take note a knock-off DVD, but this one – The Prodigy – was not created by anonymous drones in some third world country, but by former Disney and Dreamworks artists.
Here’s the synopsis:
KG – the ‘Kung Fu Girl’ with a big heart – is an underdog. When the odds are against her, she discovers that there is no limit to what she can accomplish when she believes in herself. With the help of her brave yet zany Master Panda, KG sets off on a journey to restore justice to her beautiful kingdom and rescue her beloved prince. “A hilarious side-splitting animated feature, THE PRODIGY delivers Non-Stop Kung Fu Fun!”
According to a press release they foolishly sent me:
The film represents a milestone for Writer/Director Robert D. Hanna, who created Prevalent Entertainment as an independent animation house that has employed an American team without outsourcing to foreign animators, and performs outside of the big studio system.
Some top CG Animators, Production Designers, and Artists from DreamWorks, Sony, and Disney studios all contributed. An integral part of the team is David Colman of Disney Feature Animation; he’s an Emmy Award winning artist who generated character designs for The Prodigy. David Lowery (Head of story on Shrek) was producer and supervisor of the story department, and Craig Elliott (Shark Tale, Bee Movie) was the inventive production designer. Steve Gordon (Shrek II, Anastasia, Over The Hedge) created essential story boards to flesh out the meaningful romantic storyline. Instructive Bonus Featurettes on the DVD illustrate a primer for future animators on “Animated Character Creation” and bringing the “Story To Life”; they document the pre-production work of the talented artists and animators who worked tirelessly on the film.
You be the judge. The trailer is embedded below.
Thank God for small favors… As far as I know this show doesn’t exist. Fred Grandinetti sent me this trade ad from Broadcasting Magazine (February, 1966) offering a Marx Bros. cartoon package from Filmation. Was there be a pilot? The ad offers a screening, so… could be? This was in the era when Hanna Barbera was producing Abbott and Costello, and Laurel and Hardy cartoons. In light of what Filmation would do to Jerry Lewis a few years later, let’s consider ourselves lucky the brothers Marx weren’t subjected to their cheapjack production methods.
Graphic designer Heinz Edelmann, who developed the psychedelic look of the Beatles’ animated 1960s film Yellow Submarine, died on Tuesday, aged 75. The Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, where Edelman taught illustration from 1986 to 1996, confirmed the report of his death by German daily Stuutgarter Nachrichten. AP report here.
First, this just in from Eric Goldberg:
Thought I would pass along a pre-San Diego Comic Con plug for my various attempts to become the world’s most hard-to-avoid animator. First, I will be part of the panel discussion, hosted by the illustrious Don Hahn and sponsored by AnimationMentor.com, celebrating the teachings and years of inspiration to Disney artists by Walt Stanchfield, whose class handout sheets are now lovingly compiled into a two-volume tome, Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes. Alongside me on the dais: Glen Keane, Tom Sito, and Ruben Procopio.
Thursday, July 23, Room 32 AB, 3:00 — 4:00 PM (Note the time change from previously published posts)
Then, my new collection of sketchbook cartoons, Enjoy It While You Can, Kid, is debuting at the Con, courtesy of Stuart Ng, who also happens to be the publisher. (What a coincidence!) I will be shamelessly signing and plugging it, as well as copies of Character Animation Crash Course!, at these times and locations, all a hair’s breadth away from Stuart Ng Books at Booth 5012:
Thursday, July 23, 4:30 — 6:30 PM, Booth 5022, hosted by Creative Talent Network
Saturday, July 25, 10:30 AM — 12:30 PM, Booth 5022, hosted by Creative Talent Network
Sunday, July 26, 12:00 — 2:00 PM, Booth 5019, hosted by Flesk Publications
Andy Suriano, one of the character designers for Samurai Jack, Clone Wars and the soon-to-be Genndy’s new show, and his partner’s (Ben 10 creator Joe Casey) comic book, Charlatan Ball (from Image), is being collected and released as a trade paperback at SD Comic Con this year. It’s got our mutual friend (and Suriano’s Plastic Man collaborator) Tom Kenny providing a forward. Suriano will appaer at the Image Comics booth this year (booth #2729) and have an “official” signing @ table 1, Thursday, July 23rd from 2-3pm. He’ll also be at his own table selling swag and his sketchbooks.
Mills James Productions, based in Columbus Ohio, has produced a feature length documentary on BONE creator (and former animator) Jeff Smith. The film, titled The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, BONE and the Changing Face of Comics, will debut at Comic-Con on Friday July 24th. The Comic-Con screening will be 7:30 pm in Room 5AB of the San Diego Convention Center. Writer/director Ken Mills, president of Mills James Productions, and co-producer and editor Mike Meyer will be present to introduce the film and answer questions. For more information on the documentary, visit its Web site.
Someone posted one of the shorts from The Cartoonstitute,
Cartoon Network’s former shorts program. Since they are no longer running cartoons, we might as well embed it here and take a look. Note, the sound is bad and the ending is cut off. Regardless, the heavily Spumco-influenced Awesome Chronicles of Manny and Khan by Josh Lieberman and Joey Giardina has funny drawings and pleasing design… things no longer of interest to CN.
(Thanks, Joshua Bailey)
Variety is reporting on an animation boom in South Africa, focusing its article around the country’s first CGI feature, The Lion of Judah. The “faith-based” film is being readied for a U.S. release in November, through a new company called Animated Family Films headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida.
The movie stars the voice of Ernest Borgnine (Spongebob’s own Mermaid Man) and is being produced at Cape Town’s Character Matters studio. According to the Variety article, the studio is desperate for qualified animators to join their team. One look at the trailer will demonstrate how desperate. The one sheet poster is also pretty bad.
Which reminds me – my Worst Cartoons Ever! screening is Friday night, 9pm at the San Diego Comic Con. Don’t miss it!