I love Michel Gagne’s work – either as still drawings or animated. Here’s his latest animated piece:
Gagne writes more about this forthcoming video game project on his blog.
In the run up to the Comic Con next week, I’ll be posting on several unique events and items that might be of interest to our readers. Click on thumbnails above to see larger images.
First up, Steve Worth and the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive have reprinted a deluxe two-volume edition of Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman’s (1862-1935) legendary 1914 cartooning course. This is a jaw-dropping compilation of classic cartoon art and theory, illustrated with nearly 1,000 B&W illustrations and 22 hand-tipped color plates. Ralph Bakshi provides the foreword to this reprint. The two volumes will be available beginning July 23rd at ASIFA-Hollywood’s booth at the San Diego Comic-Con. (Booth #5334: To the right of the main entrance, against the lobby side wall.) Quantities are very limited. Copies will also be available for sale on ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive website soon after.
For more information on Eugene “Zim” Zimmerman, samples of his artwork and about his cartooning course, see Asifa-Hollywood’s Animation Archive.
In The Cryptid Case Files, animator Beth Sleven takes us inside a top secret government agency whose sole purpose is to hunt and capture monsters. Inspired by her love of the “B” monster-movie genre, Slevin has created a full-color, 72 page illustrated narrative that will delight monster-move addicts and animation fans alike.
The Cryptid Case Files will debut at Comic Con, where Slevin will have a booth and be on hand for a signing Saturday July 25th. The book will be available for purchase August 2009 at CryptidCaseFiles.com.
And finally, Stuart Ng – Booth 5012 at the East end of the exhibit hall – is a must-visit. Stuart will be having signings with Peter de Seve, Eric Goldberg and others during the course of the show. Stuart will also have copies of Scott Morse, Lou Romano, Don Shank & Nate Wragg’s Ancient Book of Sex and Science — a collection of paintings by four Pixar artist-designers, the second of four planned books (with an introduction by Pete Docter). This book will also be available at its publisher’s booth, Red Window (booth #4800), and at Gallery Nucleus (booth #2329).
Whether it’s the elegant animated navigation of his Flash portfolio site or the visually adventurous commercials and promos on his reel, Max Weintraub‘s work has style to spare. He’s a 2000 CalArts grad who is now living and working in Tokyo. I only discovered his work last week when his delightful freshman CalArts film, Dance Mania, featuring Michael Jackson, made the rounds on Facebook. His latest project is particularly interesting. He was commissioned by a Japanese TV network to create thirteen short animated pieces based on La Vilaine Lulu, a vintage illustrated boook by fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent. The website for the project doesn’t feature any of the episodes (as far as I can tell), but I love the simple, charming bits of animation with the girl and want to see more.
This is the grave marker for Alfred Harvey (1913-1994), founder of Harvey Comics, who is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Westchester County in New York. (Click on image to see larger picture).
I’m tempted to make some bad taste wisecracks about friendly ghosts, or how this headstone replaced an earlier one marked “Noveltoons”… but I gotta admit, that’s a really cool tombstone.
(Thanks, Mark Arnold)
There has been a lot of growth in site-specific animation over the past few years, and artists like Blu and Pablo Valbuena are finding different ways to incorporate the built environment into animation. The video installation “Tetragram for Enlargement,” created by the Italian visual artist collective Apparati Effimeri, is set against a medieval castle, and it’s one of the trippiest marriages of architecture and animation I’ve seen to date.
If you are going to the San Diego Comic Con, don’t miss Booth #501, Van Eaton Galleries. Forget the voluminous amount of vintage animation art they have (which alone is worth the visit) – Van Eaton is the exclusive seller of three brand-new animation history books you should own:
2. June Foray’s autobiography Did You Grow Up With Me Too?
Legendary voice artist June Foray has compiled a new autobiography with the help of our buddies Mark Evanier and Earl Kress. I’ve seen the book and its loaded with great first hand stories from June, loaded with little known facts about her life and career, and wonderful photos that illustrate June’s most famous (and infamous) roles. Rocky, Natasha, and Witch Hazel are as thoroughly covered as the smallest roles (including Chatty Cathy and her Twilight Zone counterpart, Talky Tina). June’s early work with Disney and on Andy’s Gang and her later involvement with Asifa and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; her friendships with Stan Freberg, Jay Ward, Bill Scott, Saul Bass and others – it’s all here in this wonderfully written volume.
June will be at the Van Eaton booth in person to sign copies from 5 PM to 6 PM on Friday, 4 PM to 6 PM on Saturday and 1 PM to 2 PM on Sunday. Signed copies will also be available from Van Eaton after the show – advance order accepted now.
3. Mark Arnold’s Created and Produced by Total Television
Arnold’s book on Total Television lays out the full story on the studio behind Underdog, The King and Odie, Tennessee Tuxedo, Go-Go Gophers, Twinkles the Elephant and many other TV characters of the 1960s. Often thought by some to be the work of Jay Ward, Total Television’s output was indeed produced at the same Mexican studio (Gamma Productions) that Ward used. Arnold untangles the history of the studio (which includes Gerneral Mills, Peter Piech and even Terrytoons!), the shows they made, the voice talent they employed, and the licensed merchandise that ensued. A complete episode guide is included. A must for your TV-Cartoon bookshelf.
See you at booth #501.
One man’s influences is another man’s Comic Con Want List. Say what you will, the man has good taste!
A release date has been announced for Walt and El Grupo, the new Ted Thomas documentary about Disney’s 1941 goodwill tour to South America – a journey which inspired the feature length Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros and several other animated films during the forties. The documentary opens September 11th in New York (The Quad Cinemas), Los Angeles (The Regent in Westwood and AMC Downtown Disney in Anaheim). The film will open September 25th in Seattle and in other cities nationwide in the weeks after that. I love the faux vintage one sheet poster (click image at left to enlarge) and am really looking forward to seeing this picture.
Peripetics is a fantastic experimental CG short. The “piece in six acts” was made by London-based Zeitguised for the opening exhibition at the Zirkel Gallery. I love the tension that is created by placing surreal, organic imagery against formal environments and movement. This Motionographer post offers insights into Zeitguised’s creative process and there’s also a behind-the-scenes video that gives a sense of how they developed their ideas. What appeals to me most about this piece is best summed up in the mission statement of Zeitguised: “If it can be shot in camera or animated using manual techniques, why use computer graphics?”
(Thanks, Red Pill Junkie)
Next summer, from a lot of people who brought you Horton Hears a Who (but not Blue Sky Studios), comes the first release from Illumination Entertainment – the new Universal Pictures animated feature film division. Here’s the first teaser trailer for Despicable Me.
(Thanks Iain Robbins)
Just got word that Dallas McKennon passed away this morning. Sunday would’ve been his 90th birthday.
Dal was a prolific voice in animation, and you’ve heard him as the voice of Gumby, Archie, Buzz Buzzard, Ben Franklin at Epcot, the fox in Mary Poppins, and in numerous Sam Singer cartoons. He was an actor in many live action movies for Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, George Pal, and Anthony Mann, but was probably best known to people the real world as a regular on the TV series Daniel Boone, playing Cinncinatus the storekeeper.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dal nine years ago and hanging out with him during one of his visits to L.A. (photo above is of me, Dal, Will Ryan and Chuck McCann, July 3rd, 2000, having lunch at the Sportsman’s Lodge) and found him to be a wonderful person. My favorite role of his was as the old sea captain, polar bear and bulldog in Tex Avery’s The Legend of Rock-A-Bye Point. So in tribute… “Sing it again for me, will ya, Charlie…”
(Thanks, Gene Hamm)
Independent animation great Bill Plympton has released a new dvd collecting all of the shorts he has created between 2004 and 2008: Guard Dog, Guide Dog, Hot Dog, Spiral, The Fan and the Flower, Shuteye Hotel, and Santa, the Fascist Years. The disc is packed with tons of extras including music videos for Kanye West, Weird Al Yankovic, and Parson Brown, TV commercials, animated documentary excerpts, and a TV special 12 Tiny Christmas Tales, as well as pencil tests, animatics, storyboards and filmmaker commentary. Animation director David Levy wrote a review of the dvd with insightful thoughts about Plympton’s work in general. Levy’s comments about the Parson Brown music video “Mexican Standoff” stood out to me:
I am tempted to describe Bill’s recent commissioned work, the music video “Mexican Standoff,” as one of those misfires in that it can appear to be an average work. But as soon as I think that, I correct myself: Average for whom? The film is full of innovative camera angles, daring animation, and enough style and ideas for 10 films. I wonder if one price Bill has paid for his productivity might be that we’ve become accustomed to his ordinary excellence. If we had never seen a Bill Plympton film before and started with “Mexican Standoff,” we might be asking, “Who did that terrific animation?” But, the value of the “Dog Days” collection is that it answers that injustice by forcing the viewer to look at this five-year period of Bill’s work as a whole.
This morning, we’re giving away a dvd signed by the legend himself. To enter, leave a comment below until 11am (Pacific time) and we’ll choose a random winner from the comments. To order the Dog Days dvd, which is $24.95, visit Plympton’s website.
Here is third installment of Cartoon Brew’s guide to the 2009 San Diego Comic Con. Below are my recommended picks of animation-related panels scheduled for Sunday July 26th. It’s a light day for animation panels, most of them are voice-over related. I’m not recommending the American Dad panel or the advance screening of the new Scooby Doo movie – but if you want to see them, or other stuff like that, check the entire schedule for Sunday here.
10:00-11:00 Phineas & Ferb panel with creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, plus the voice of Phineas, Vincent Martella, and other surprise guests — and sneak peeks of new episodes. Room 6DE
10:30-11:30 The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd–LIVE! Not quite animation, but a cartoon-like live radio show with Chuck McCann, Frank Conniff, and animation voice actors Moira Quirk, Alison Mork and Michael Rayner. Room 8
11:15-12:30 Cartoon Voices II Co-hosts Mark Evanier and Earl Kress discuss cartoon voices with Hank Garrett (G.I. Joe), Susan Silo (Biker Mice from Mars), Greg Cipes (Teen Titans), Tom Kane (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) and several more. Room 6A.
1:00-2:00 Business of Cartoon Voices A serious “how to” look at the business, telling you what it takes to get in and how to avoid getting ripped-off. Once again, Mark Evanier and Earl Kress assemble a panel of agents, casting directors and working actors for a no-nonsense look at the business. Room 2
After this, I’m goin’ home.