It’s the first day of Summer – and Mike Van Eaton has just shared with me another rare piece of animation history. Click the thumbnails below to enlarge: at left a beautiful company Christmas card (circa 1936) from Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising featuring an embedded strip of film. Below center is the strip of film, enlarged and backlit, featuring their stars Bosko and Honey, Little Cheeser and The Pups in original paintings with a Christmas motif. As a fan of MGM’s Happy Harmonies cartoons, this vintage Christmas card is a delightful discovery — with three great new paintings, never seen publicly before.
Below right, for good measure, is the original art from the end title of Peace On Earth (1939) from the cache of MGM title art Van Eaton unearthed a few weeks ago. The Christmas card is not for sale – and I thank Mike for allowing me to share it with our readers who will really appreciate it:
Animation and comics artist Scott Shaw has been posting a series of autobiographical mini comics online. His latest is based on a hilarious moment during his early years at Hanna Barbera, when Joe Barbera had Scott come into his office to listen to some music. Check it out here. Strange but true!
Shane Prigmore, whose character design talents have graced Coraline and How to Train Your Dragon, has illustrated his first book Spaceheadz (aka SPHDZ) written by Jon Scieszka and Francesco Sedita. Haven’t seen it yet but the book is out this week.
Here’s a trailer for the book, the first in a series, that explains the concept:
Our friend Martha Sigall has been in Intensive Care for the last few days. According to her son, Lee:
She was in ICU for four days with septic shock. The origin of her infection is still unknown. She had some damage to major organs. Some of that has improved and some remains. She was transferred to a regular room Saturday, then she had a little setback after midnight with a fever which has since remitted. Sunday was a very tiring day for her. We still don’t know when she will be discharged, and when she does, she will have a long bit of recovery to do. If you don’t know her address, send a private message to me, and I will try to get to my messages from time to time. Spread the word if you know someone who knows Martha. To know her is to love her.
That’s for sure. Martha is one of our last living links to the golden age of animation. She started at Leon Schelesinger’s studio (Warner Bros.) in the 1930s, and later worked for the early UPA, MGM, and inked and painted cels for Bob Clampett, Bill Melendez, Chuck Jones and practically everyone in the business. Her life in animation was recounted in this 2005 book. Recently Martha started a series of You Tube videos recalling her career. Below is the one she posted last month. Get well, Martha – you are the greatest!
Here’s the first of a series of little shorts about Giants created by designer/animators Yann Benedi and Celine Desrumaux. They say the idea is to “discover the untold truths about Giants and their conflicts with human beings”. You can read more about the Giants to come at their CelineYann blogspot.
This week: The Argyle Sweater (6/13) by Scott Hilburn; a Clay Bennett editorial cartoon (6/19); Mother Goose and Grimm (6/19) by Mike Peters; Lola (6/17) by Todd Clark; My Cage (6/15) by Ed Power and Melissa DeJusus; and Rubes (6/16) by Leigh Rubin.
(Special thanks to our crack team of comic strip monitors: Jim Lahue, Kurtis Findlay, Ed Austin, Charles Brunbaker and Uncle Wayne)
Our “Saturday Morning Cartoon” this week is an amazing student film mixing CG backgrounds with hand drawn “anime”. The Subway Time was created by Dongzhen.Li, a student at the Beijing Film Academy. Watch the film below, then check out The Making-Of Video.
Rotoscoped animation based on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory doesn’t sound like a particularly good recipe for entertainment, but French animator Nunub (aka MicaÃ«l Reynaud) has created a worthy experimental piece using those elements combined with a piece of music by Turkish rock pioneer Fikret KÄ±zÄ±lok. In his video description, Nunub says that he doesn’t particularly care for the subject matter; it was only an excuse to animate something. While he doesn’t push the abstraction as far as something like Robert Breer’s A Man and His Dog Out for Air, it’s a lot of fun watching how the subject matter becomes progressively more abstract and painterly. Try freeze-framing it for some unexpected imagery.
Go see Toy Story 3 in 3D if only to see one of the best animated shorts ever created – Teddy Newton’s Day and Night. Both films are great – Newton’s short is a masterpiece. Post your thoughts in our comments section below (Comments are open only to those who have seen the films).
The live charity auction aiding animation veteran Pres Romanillos in his fight against leukemia will take place this Sunday. The event takes places at the Animation Guild (1105 N. Hollywood Way Burbank, CA 91505) with registration beginning at 1pm and bidding at 2pm. Over 160 items will be available, including the pieces pictured in this post. For more information, including absentee bidding info, visit Pres-Aid.com.
UPDATE: Pres Romanillos passed away on July 17, 2010 from leukemia. More information can be found here.
Scion’s LA gallery is opening a group exhibition featuring classic and new works by Gary Panter, Bob Zoell and Devin Flynn. An opening reception for “ZPFfffft!!!” is Saturday night (June 19th) from 7 to 10 p.m.
Gary Panter was a featured artist in the touring exhibition, Masters of American Comics, and is well known for his Emmy Award winning set designs for Pee-wee’s Playhouse; Devin Flynn has exhibited at Deitch Projects and created the Adult Swim web series Y’all So Stupid; and Bob Zoell is a pioneer of Los Angeles street art, and is a regular contributor of cover art to The New Yorker.
Scion Installation Space, 3521 Helms Ave. (at National), Culver City, CA 90232. The reception is free with complimentary valet parking and an open bar. All artists will be present and the exhibit will run until July 10.
Based on email received this week from several Brew readers who attended E3 – this is the game with the most interesting animation and art direction. At least in 2D. And I have to agree. Rayman Origins is a prequel to the original Ubisoft Rayman game published in 1995:
Here’s a funky CG kids’ show pilot from Buenos Aires, Argentina called GlÃ¼ko & Lennon. Created by Federico Radero and Tomi Dieguez at L’Orange Gutan, the show contains a generous dose of the rainbow-colored vector-oriented design sensibility that can be found in spades at any Pictoplasma conference. They make the look work well, though I can’t imagine any US broadcasters would be hip enough to allow a show like this on the air.
Brooklyn-based animator and bona fide biker chick Lori Samsel made this cute animated piece entirely out of Japanese rice crackers. I think I’m most impressed that she managed to animate the film before eating all of the crackers. Those things are yummy!