Llyn Foulkes Retrospective Opens February 3 at Hammer

“Deliverance” by Llyn Foulkes, 2007.

Painter Llyn Foulkes will be the subject of a major retrospective at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles that opens on February 3. The exhibit will travel to the New Museum in New York in June 2013 and to the Museum Kurhaus Kleve in Germany in November 2013.

Besides his obvious importance in West Coast art, Foulkes has a fascinating animation connection: he became Ward Kimball’s son-in-law when he married Ward’s oldest daughter, Kelly, in 1960. The marriage didn’t last, but Ward had a lasting impact on Foulkes.

Most curiously, Ward inadvertently turned Foulkes into a vehement opponent of Mickey Mouse. Foulkes’ unflattering depictions of Mickey have appeared in his work for decades and serve as a broader commentary on the ways that corporations condition and influence consumers through benign Pop symbols. The press notes for the Hammer exhibit tell more of the story:

In the late 1970s Foulkes’s former father-in-law Ward Kimball (one of the head animators at Disney Studios) gave him a copy of the Mickey Mouse Club Handbook from 1934, and Foulkes read the letter inside detailing how the club would teach children to be well-behaved, polite citizens. Dismayed by Disney’s attempts at brainwashing, Foulkes developed a skepticism and distrust that have remained with him ever since. A few years later he began to take his paintings in a new direction, and Mickey Mouse became a recurring character. The seminal work “Made in Hollywood” (1983) features a copy of the letter from the Mickey Mouse Club Handbook.

Llyn Foulkes photo by Ward Kimball, 1962. (And yes, that’s a dead cat in the painting behind him.)

I interviewed Llyn when I was researching my biography of Ward Kimball, and my book touches on the relationship between Ward and Llyn. Llyn’s success as a fine artist in the early-Sixties was a big inspiration to Ward, who began pursuing his kinetic art seriously around the same time. Despite a big difference in age, Kimball and Foulkes got along well and shared a similar set of hobbies. Notably, Foulkes, in addition to being a painter, is also a musician, and he plays a self-built one-man musical instrument called the Machine:

Here’s the description of the Hammer show followed by some more images:

The Hammer Museum presents an extensive career retrospective devoted to the work of the groundbreaking painter and musician Llyn Foulkes (b. 1934 in Yakima, Washington), on view from February 3 to May 19, 2013. One of the most influential yet under recognized artists of his generation, Foulkes makes work that stands out for its raw, immediate, and unfiltered qualities. His extraordinarily diverse body of work—including impeccably painted landscapes, mixed-media constructions, deeply disturbing portraits, and narrative tableaux—resists categorization and defies expectations, distinguishing Foulkes as a truly singular artist.

LLYN FOULKES is organized by Hammer curator Ali Subotnick and will feature approximately 140 artworks from public and private collections in the U.S. and Europe, some of which have not been seen for decades. The exhibition will explore the entire scope of the artist’s career, including early cartoons and drawings, his macabre, emotionally-charged paintings of the early 1960s; his epic rock and postcard paintings of the late 1960s and early 1970s; his “bloody head” series of mutilated figures from the late 1970s through the present; his social commentary paintings targeting corporate America (especially Disney), which include his remarkable narrative tableaux that combine painting with woodworking, found materials, and thick mounds of modeling paste, seamlessly blended into the painted surface to create a remarkable illusion of depth. The show will also feature a video of Foulkes playing his Machine, a one-man instrument consisting of horns, bass, organ pipes, percussion and more. LLYN FOULKES will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue including essays by novelist and art critic Jim Lewis, writer Jason Weiss, and curator Ali Subotnick.

Jam Session at Ward Kimball’s home in 1973: Top row, from left to right: John Kimball, Al Dodge, George Probert, Robert Crumb, Ward Kimball. Bottom row, from left to right: Robert Armstrong, Spencer Quinn, Llyn Foulkes (on drums).

Kelly Kimball and Llyn Foulkes with their daughter, Laurey. Photo by Ward Kimball, 1962.

Wedding cake toppers that Ward designed for Llyn and Kelly’s wedding, 1960.

“Corporate Kiss” by Llyn Foulkes, 2001.

“Uncle Walt” by Llyn Foulkes, 1995.

“Mr. President” by Llyn Foulkes, 2006.

“Ghost Stories” trailer by Late Night Work Club

I first posted about the animation collective Late Night Work Club back in November. The group was started by Scott Benson with Charles Huettner, Eimhin McNamara and Eamonn O’Neill, who then we reached out to other people they knew and respected.

They’ve just released the trailer for their first shorts anthology, Ghost Stories, which will be released this coming Spring. In addition to the collective’s founders mention above, the anthology features the work of Sean Buckelew, Dave Prosser, Jake Armstrong, Erin Kilkenny, Alex Grigg, Daniella Orsini, Joe Orton, Conor Finnegan, Louise Bagnall and Christen Bach. Based on the trailer, it looks terrific:

Warner Bros. Anniversary DVD Set salutes Hanna Barbera

This year, Warner Home Video is releasing several DVD boxed sets designed to celebrate the film studio’s 90th anniversary. A few of them will actually compile cartoons. They’ve just announced one of these: The Best of Warner Bros.: Hanna Barbera 25 Cartoon Collection, a 2-DVD set available on May 21st, for $26.99 ($18.89 on Amazon). It includes selected H-B cartoons from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70′s. The contents are:

The Ruff & Reddy Show (1957) “Planet Pirates” (episode 1)
Huckleberry Hound (1958) “Spud Dud”
Yogi Bear (1958) “Snow White Bear”
Hokey Wolf (1961) “Castle Hassle”
Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks (1958) “A Wise Quack,”
The Quick Draw McGraw Show (1959) “Masking for Trouble”
Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy (1959) “Gone to the Ducks”
Snooper and Blabber (1959) “The Lion is Busy” with Snagglepuss
Loopy De Loop (1959) “Wolf Hounded”

The Flintstones (1960) “Love Letters On The Rocks” 30 mins.
The Yogi Bear Show (1961)
Snagglepuss “The Roaring Lion”
Yakky Doodle “Hasty Tasty”
Top Cat (1961) “T.C. Minds the Baby” 30 mins.
Wally Gator “Gator-Napper”
Touché Turtle and Dum Dum “Rapid Rabbit” with Ricochet Rabbit Lippy the Lion & Hardy Har Har “Hick Hikers”
The Jetsons (1962) “Rosie the Robot” 30 mins
The Magilla Gorilla Show (1964) “Makin’ with the Magilla”
Punkin’ Puss & Mushmouse “Callin’ All Kin”
Ricochet Rabbit & Droop-a-Long “Will ‘O the Whip”
Jonny Quest (1964) “The Robot Spy” 30 mins.
Peter Potamus (1964) “Cleo Trio”
Breezly and Sneezly “Stars and Gripes”
Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey “Black Bart”
Atom Ant “The Big Gimmick”
Secret Squirrel “Cuckoo Clock Cuckoo”
Squiddly Diddly “Way Out Squiddly”
Precious Pupp “Precious Jewels”
The Hillbilly Bears “Do The Bear”
Winsome Witch “Have Broom will Travel”
Frankenstein, Jr. “The Shocking Electrical Monster’
The Impossibles (1966) “The Spinner”
Space Ghost “The Heat Thing”
Dino Boy “The Sacrifice”
Space Kidettes (1966) “Moleman Menace’
The Abbott and Costello Cartoon Show “Gadzooka”
Birdman (1967) “Birdman Meets Birdboy”
The Galaxy Trio (1967) “Revolt of the Robots”
The Herculoids (1967) “Attack from Space”
Cattanooga Cats (1969) “Witch Whacky”
It’s The Wolf (1969) “Slumber Jacks”
Motormouse and Autocat (1969) “Wheelin’ and Dealin’”

The Funky Phantom (1971) “The Liberty Bell Caper” 30 mins.
Jabberjaw (1976) “Dr. Lo has Got to Go” 30 mins.

Sounds like quite a bargain to me. Sharp-eyed CB readers Rodrigo Tramonte and Homero Bender noted on Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page that the rabbit pictured on the box between Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw is not a familiar Hanna Barbera character (see below). It’s actually “Rapid Rabbit” from a late Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theatrical short, Rabbit Stew And Rabbits Too (1969).

Apparently the artist meant to use a Ricochet Rabbit (the particular Ricochet Rabbit cartoon on this set is titled “Rapid Rabbit“). I’ve been told Warner Bros. will correct the artwork on the final package.

(Thanks, TV Shows on DVD)

“King Of The Hill” Do’s and Don’ts

The show may be cancelled, but this list of animation rules – “60 and counting” – for artists on Fox’s King Of The Hill is a great read.

Some of this is show policy, some of it is good common sense. All of it gives us insight into how the visual sense of show was achieved – and what the “guidelines for life in Arlen” were like. No “limp wrists”, no “Josey (sic) and The Pussycats” action, and lots of rules for eating and drinking…

Click here to see the whole list.

(Thanks, Kiff Knight)

“El Tigre” Creator Jorge Gutierrez Moves Into Features with “Book of Life”

“Book of Life” producer Guillermo del Toro (left) and director Jorge Gutierrez

El Tigre co-creator Jorge R. Gutierrez is moving into feature film directing.

He continues the recent trend of TV artists transitioning into feature animation, following Genndy Tartakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania and Rich Moore’s Wreck-It Ralph.

Gutierrez’s CG feature, Book of Life, will be released on October 10, 2014, by Fox Animation Studios. Unlike Tartakovsky and Moore who took over the reins of existing studio projects, Gutierrez is working from an original idea he’s been developing on and off since 2001.

The film, described in preliminary news reports as a Romeo and Juliet-style love story set against a Mexican Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) backdrop, will be produced at the Dallas animation house Reel FX.

Reel FX is best known for its Looney Tunes CGI shorts (I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat, Coyote Falls) and other service work like the two Open Season sequels. They are making a push into original animated features with this film, as well as Jimmy Hayward’s Turkeys, which has also been slated for 2014.

Book of Life was optioned by Reel FX’s Brad Booker, but the film had originally been optioned in 2007 by DreamWorks. It never went beyond development at DreamWorks. Gutierrez cited creative differences between himself and the studio, but he says that Jeffrey Katzenberg was “a total gentleman” and returned all of his rights, which allowed him to take the project elsewhere.

The distributor Fox Animation Studios, which is a distinct entity from Fox’s subsidiary Blue Sky Studios, is a new contender in theatrical animation and all eyes will be on them as they prepare Book of Life as one of their first major releases. Further pressure was added last year by Pixar’s announcement that Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich would develop a Day of the Dead-themed feature of his own, though no release date has been set for the Pixar film.

Gutierrez’s career in animation up to this point could be seen as one giant warm-up act for this film. Born in Mexico and a graduate of the CalArts Experimental Animation Program, he has steadfastly labored to inject a Latino flavor into American animation for the past decade.

Mexican folk and pop culture plays a central role in nearly all of his work: his CalArts thesis film Carmelo (2000) was similarly Day of the Dead-themed; El Macho (2001), an early online animated series for Sony celebrated lucha libra culture; his Nick series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera (2007, co-created with his wife Sandra Equihua), was colorful Mexican pop made digestible for American audiences.

Book of Life gained mainstream cred when Guillermo del Toro, who is the most successful Mexican-born director working in Hollywood today, came on board as a producer. “As a true cinematic hero of mine, Guillermo del Toro has not disappointed,” Gutierrez says. “A true collaborator, he has taught me a ton. He has has been an incredible producer (he’s very hard on me and I am very thankful) and has really protected me and the integrity of the film.”

The script is being written by Gutierrez and veteran TV scribe Doug Langdale (who was the head writer on El Tigre). Gutierrez is designing all the characters with his wife and frequent creative collaborator, Sandra Equihua. Other key creative personnel include Simon Varela (Production Design), Paul Sullivan (Art Director), Ricardo Curtis (Head of Story), and Gustavo Santaolalla (Composer). The film will begin animation production this summer.

I’ll be rooting for Book of Life, not only because I’ve known Jorge for years, but because I know his capacity to handle this type of material. There is a need for authenticity and passion in mainstream feature animation, and at the very least, we can be assured that Jorge will bring those elements to the project.

Gutierrez’s arrival as a feature director also represents the inevitable, if unbearably sluggish, diversification of theatrical animation. Women, Asians, Latinos, Blacks and almost every other group of people have been underrepresented in Hollywood animation for decades. Today, the industry has no choice but to add new voices into the mix. Hispanics attend movies more often than other segments of the American population, and Latin America is the fastest-growing movie market in the world. The time is now for a film like Book of Life.

February in LA: “Ladies of Animation”

This just in from downtown Los Angeles gallery GRspace.

Their upcoming Ladies of Animation show is the latest in an ongoing series centered on the art of animation. Curated by a former artistic manager at Pixar and Disney, Gennie Rim, the exhibition underlines the personal work of more than a dozen female artists from major studios including Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks. Character designers and animators, story and visual development artists from films such as Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frankenweenie and Paperman will be featured.

Opening Reception will be held on Saturday, February 9th. The show will run through March 2nd. Here’s the official Pres Release. My advice: Go!

“Ladies of Animation” Art Show Showcases Female Talent in Animation

Show Runs from February 9th to March 2nd, 2013

Los Angeles, CA – Gennie Rim, former artistic manager at Pixar and Disney, picks up her ongoing series centered on the art of animation with a new exhibit, “Ladies of Animation,” underlining the personal work of female artists from major studios including Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks. The Opening Reception will be held on Saturday, February 9th from 6 – 10 p.m at GRspace (114 W. 4th St. Los Angeles, CA 90013). The show runs through March 2nd, 2013.

Featured in the show are: Victoria Ying, Sho Murase, Helen Chen, Nicole Mitchell, Clio Chiang, Griselda Sastrawinata, Anna Chambers, Lorelay Bove, Claire Keane, Fawn Veerasunthorn, Brittney Lee, Kendelle Hoyer and Lissa Treiman.

The women’s contributions span many disciplines within the world of animation from the design of feature characters to story and visual development in films such as Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frankenweenie and Paperman. The reach of their work extends beyond the studios into the arenas of toy design, graphic novels and advertising.

Of these artists, Rim says, “All of these women are world-class talent, and their personal work should be seen and recognized within the community of animation, and also within the world of fine art.”

A portion of proceeds will be used to support GRworks’ free monthly art workshop for kids — Rim’s simultaneous effort to foster interest and support for youth arts in Los Angeles. The next workshop, taught by animation artists, is scheduled for Saturday, February 23rd from 1 – 3 p.m. at GRspace. For more information, please email [email protected]

About GRworks

Founded by animation professional Gennie Rim, GRworks was conceived in 2012 to bridge the gap between the creativity in commercial animation and fine art. Integral to the vision and philosophy of GRworks is the desire to create a space for highly talented production artists to pursue and exhibit personal works to the fine art and contemporary art communities. GRworks-curated shows have showcased many of the animation industry’s top talent. Rim brings more than 15 years of experience in animation and film, working at such industry titans as Disney and Pixar.

Peter Robbins, Voice of Charlie Brown, Arrested in San Diego (UPDATED)

You’re a bad man, Charlie Brown! Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown in animated specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, was arrested last Sunday on an outstanding felony warrant and held on $550,000 bail. The charges: four felony counts of making a threat to cause death or great bodily injury and a single felony count of stalking. More details in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

On an upbeat note, Robbins seems like a fun guy when he’s not stalking people and sports a cool Peanuts tattoo on his arm:

(UPDATE—Jan. 24): According to this Reuters story, Robbins was arrested for threats to his girlfriend, a police sergeant and a plastic surgeon who had performed breast enhancement surgery on his girlfriend. He has been released on $50,000 bond and will appear in court on January 28.

Upcoming Radio Interview with John McAfee and His Animator Friend Chad Essley

If you’re into bizarre and trashy tabloid tales, chances are you’ve been enthralled by the saga of antivirus software pioneer and murder suspect John McAfee. Of course, like any good story, it has an animation twist. Portland-based animator Chad Essley has been helping McAfee out and serving as his unofficial biographer.

Essley is current working on a graphic novel about McAfee called The Hinterland. Both Essley and McAfee will appear on the KBOO Radio show Words & Pictures tomorrow morning (January 24th from 11:30am to noon PST). Program co-host S.W. Conser describes what they’ll talk about:

Along with discussion of The Hinterland and other projects in the offing, you’ll hear tales of John and Chad’s adventures in Belize (some never before discussed in either the print or the broadcast media) as well as some of John and Chad’s ideas for film and game production here in Portland.

Friday Feb. 1 in LA: An Evening With Bill Plympton

Plympton is coming west – again!

One of the most entertaining ways to spend an evening is to see Bill Plympton, watch his films and hear him talk about animation. He’ll be making one of his rare West Coast appearances on Friday February 1st at The Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

Trepany House and Muybridge International Present an evening with Oscar-nominated Animator, Bill Plympton! He will present clips from his latest feature film, Cheatin’, screen classic animated short films, and a Q&A session you won’t want to miss!


PLUS: Special appearance by actor Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket, The Dark Knight Rises) who narrated Santa The Fascist Years and voice Bertie in Bill’s re-imagining of Winsor McCay’s The Flying House.

Friday February 1st at 8pm, $20. Get Tickets here.

Chris Sanders’ Cut Scenes from “The Croods”

Director Chris Sanders (How To Train Your Dragon) is posting while in post-production on The Croods. He’s letting us see some of his deleted boards, of scenes that were cut or altered, on his new Dreamworks film. Sanders art is magnificent – his storytelling is superb. Head on over to Chris Sanders’ blog now and check it out!

A Few Thoughts on Machinima’s Two New Original Series

The YouTube channel Machinima, which was the subject of a recent LA Weekly piece about exploitative business practices, is continuing to grow its animation programming under its Happy Hour label. This month they debuted two new original Flash series—Space Adventure Legend Quest, created by Chris Voigt, (aka Sexual Lobster), and Action Faction, created by Jon Etheridge and Tony Schnur.

It becomes harder and harder everyday to distinguish between shows that are made for cable programming blocks like “Adult Swim” and animation produced for the Internet. The advent of Flash, combined with diminishing budgets, has been the industry’s great equalizer. What was formerly considered “amateur” animation on Newgrounds has now been elevated to mainstream status as it is commissioned by Google-funded YouTube channels like Machinima and mainstream networks like Fox, which is ramping up its Animation Domination High-Def programming.

Production values are no longer an imperative; the number of views is what matters. If more people watch a piece of animation produced for $5,000 than a piece of animation produced for $500,000, then there is no reason to spend the larger sum of money. It is this new and emerging paradigm that threatens the entire TV animation industry. Shows no longer need bloated crews of dozens when a couple of guys working from home and subsisting on Ramen and Doritos can attract a bigger following online.

This new approach to animation doesn’t break the rules because it knows no rules. It is created as everything else is on the Internet: fast, cheap, and without reverence for the past. It would be a pointless exercise to react to it or make any judgement about its quality. Let us simply acknowledge that the cartoons fulfill an economic need and satisfy an audience. They aren’t designed to stimulate the senses or challenge viewers, but only to sate the Internet’s insatiable appetite for fresh content. By that standard, they do their job well.

Cartoon Brew Upgrades to Disqus Commenting System

Earlier this week, we upgraded our commenting system to the widely used Disqus. Certain aspects of our commenting system haven’t changed. For example, all comments are still moderated so they won’t appear immediately on the site. Also, because of the sensitive nature of a lot of industry-related issues, we still allow readers to comment anonymously without registering through any other site (although, as always, you must provide a valid working email address that won’t be seen by anyone but the moderators).

With Disqus, however, we are introducing a host of new features that we’d wanted for the Brew. For starters, the new system allows readers to log in via Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and OpenID. The vast majority of readers have at least one of these accounts, and this hassle-free login means you don’t have to sign up for any new accounts to take advantage of the community features.

The community features allow readers to identify themselves with an avatar. Clicking on a reader’s name shows their profile and commenting history. “Liking” and “disliking” another other reader’s comments now helps to determine a comment’s placement on the site, with the most highly-rated ones promoted to the top of the comments and the low-rated ones at the bottom (or hidden from view). If you prefer, you can also view comments chronologically. Also, if you choose, you can be notified when someone replies to your comment on Cartoon Brew.

We’ve always taken a lot of pride in the quality of comments on the site. Sure, there are silly disagreements and dumb things are occasionally said, but at the end of the day, the comments represent the most robust and knowledgeable community of animation supporters on the Internet, from industry professionals to fans to students. You never know who’s going to comment here, and we’re thrilled that so many of our industry greats have participated in Cartoon Brew’s online community throughout the years, including David Silverman, Lauren Faust, Brad Bird, Chris Sanders, Paul Dini, Eric Goldberg, Gene Deitch, Bob Kurtz and Bill Kroyer. As the site continues to grow, we hope that you’ll participate in our community too, and help keep Cartoon Brew the hub of intelligent animation conversation.

We’re still in the transition phase and working out some of the quirks. Send any bug reports to our tech support page and we’ll look into it.

New Biographies of Photographer/Murderer Eadweard Muybridge and Cartoonist Thomas Nast

These two newly published books should be worth a look, especially for those who are interested in the 19th century roots of American cartooning and animation.

Eadweard Muybridge never animated a frame in his life, but his sequential photographs of animal locomotion and human action were vitally important to the development of animation craft. Less known about Muybridge is that he also murdered a man in cold blood. Edward Ball’s new book The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures explores Muybridge’s life, and especially his relationship with California governor Leland Stanford, who was one of the photographer’s early benefactors. This book review in the Boston Globe sheds more light on the book’s contents.

Another new arrival in the biography category tells the story of a seminal figure in American cartooning, Thomas Nast. His work serves as a reminder to artists that cartoons can be a powerful and impactful medium. Nast used funny drawings to attack those in power and his drawings helped lead to the downfall of the famously corrupt New York politician “Boss” Tweed. Nast’s drawings are also responsible for a good deal of America’s cultural iconography from the elephant symbol of the Republican party to the American-ized image of Santa Claus. Fiona Deans Halloran’s Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons claims to be the most comprehensive biography of Nast to date. Here is a review of the book in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Technicolor Options Rights to Graphic Novel Series “The Deep”

This press release that arrived in the inbox this morning was interesting to me because I wasn’t aware that Technicolor, which has a long and illustrious history as a technology company, is making a push into original content development. In addition to The Deep, they are developing Berkeley Breathed’s Pete & Pickles, and Atomic Puppet, a co-production with Mercury Filmworks. Should these projects move forward, the animation would be produced at Technicolor’s studio in Bangalore, India.

Paris (France) – January 22, 2013 – Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH) has optioned the rights for the international hit graphic novel series, THE DEEP, created by writer Tom Taylor (Star Wars: Blood Ties, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Injustice: Gods Among Us) and illustrator James Brouwer (Justice League Beyond), and published by Gestalt Comics.

The Deep: Here Be Dragons graphic novel won the Aurealis Award (Australia’s annual literary awards for science fiction, fantasy and fiction) for “Best Illustrated Book / Graphic Novel” of 2011 and was also nominated for “Best Children’s Fiction (illustrated).” Technicolor Digital Productions aims to develop and produce 26 half-hour episodes of THE DEEP, which follows the incredible adventures of a family of underwater explorers. The CGI-animated series targets Kids 8 – 12 and their families. Each self-contained episode of THE DEEP will bring the family a step closer to unraveling the mysteries of the deep sea; and every story will be filled with action, adventure, incredible sea monsters, fantastic vehicles, unbelievable bravery, and the odd family squabble, of course!

“THE DEEP is one of those unique properties that truly appeals to all ages and genders by delivering compelling entertainment in the form of enthralling adventure, heart-pounding danger, laugh out loud humor and incredible discoveries all wrapped in unbreakable familial relationships,” said Steven Wendland, Vice President, Technicolor Digital Productions. “It’s the family we all dreamed of being a part of when we were kids and are anxious and excited to share with our own children now.”

“Technicolor is the ideal animation studio to bring THE DEEP to life,” added Robert Chandler, Executive Producer, THE DEEP. “The CG team at Technicolor has the ability not only to visually knock your socks off, but also to deliver moments of tenderness, character and heart. That’s why THE DEEP and Technicolor make a great partnership. It is that special combination which leads to creating great series and stories.”

THE DEEP follows the Nekton family, comprised of the independent and fearless 12 year old Antaeus, Ant to his friends; his analytical 15 year old sister Fontaine, an astute navigator; and their parents Will, an oceanographer and former Olympic swimmer, and Kaiko, a marine biologist who is fiercely protective of all sea life, including Ant’s pet fish, Jeffrey. Continuing a long family legacy, the Nektons live aboard a state of the art submarine, The Aronnax, while exploring unchartered areas of the earth’s oceans. Each member of the family has unique skills and are all equally passionate about sea life conservation. They seek to solve the ultimate mysteries that appear to be connected to a place we know as Atlantis.

THE DEEP was created by multi-award-winning playwright, screenwriter and author Tom Taylor, best known for his many Star Wars graphic novels and comic books for Lucasfilm and Dark Horse Comics; and illustrator James Brouwer who has worked as a pre-production and concept artist on a range of film, television and games projects for major studios. Brouwer moved into comics in 2011 with The Deep: Here Be Dragons and has since illustrated for DC Comics.

Technicolor Digital Productions produces high-quality CG animation for feature films, television, direct-to-video, commercials, video games and location-based entertainment through its industry-leading production facility in Bangalore, India. The group launched its original content development initiative in 2010 and is currently in development on several projects, including Berkeley Breathed’s Pete & Pickles, and Atomic Puppet, a co-production with Mercury Filmworks. Complementing its services business with original content creation, Technical Digital Productions continues to work with major animation clients including Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Mattel, Rockstar Games, Sony Computer Entertainment America and Square Enix.

Dexter’s Laboratory: “Rude Removal”

Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim has posted the “lost” Dexter’s Laboratory cartoon, Rude Removal.

Produced in 1998, Rob Renzetti directed this episode that was originally meant to be shown only on late night television. The cartoon contains all manner of foul language and rude behavior. Cartoon Network changed their mind about airing it and pulled the show at the last minute. Since then, this episode was only screened at selected Comic Cons.

The version placed online today still censors all the dirty words – but it’s great to finally see what the fuss was all about:

(Thanks, Tom Smith)

Friday in NYC: Cartoon Cryptozoology

Attention New York animation archaeologists! There is an event coming up this Friday, January 25th with local “Cartoon Cryptozoologist”, Thomas Stathes, we think you should know about.

The Obscura Society NYC is presenting another screening curated by Mr. Stathes, using rare film prints drawn from his vast archive.

As Winter 2013 draws on, Tom Stathes has curated animated cartoons from the 1920s-1930s for every season of the year. Searching his vast stacks of 16mm animation rarities and Tom has hand-selected a wide array of gems: frolicking Springtime fun and hot Summer calamities for those with a warmer temperament, and breezy, cool Autumn shenanigans as well as snowy Winter escapades for those who relish the cold months. For a glimpse into past visions of the seasons as depicted by the merry-makers of early film animation, come enjoy the latest screening–shown in real 16mm film, with a real projector–a unique experience you’ll be sure to enjoy!

Tom Stathes is a “Cartoon Cryptozoologist”, with a rare film print collection comprised of over 1,000 shorts. His archive consists of everything from Felix the Cat and Farmer Alfalfa to silent reels from Bray Studios and Out of the Inkwell. A native-New Yorker, he turned his passion for the city’s animation legacy into a preservation mission. With his Bray Animation Project, he has worked with several film and comic historians to document the studios invaluable output. For more information go to the Cartoons On Film blog or the Bray Animation website.

Friday, January 25, 2013, 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
This showing is part of the “Atlas Obscura Speakers” series of talks at Observatory, 543 Union Street (at Nevins), Brooklyn, NY 11215. 543 Union Street is the large red brick building on right. Go right on Nevins and left down the alley through large black gates. Gallery is the second door on the left. Enter Observatory via Proteus Gowanus Gallery. Advance Tickets recommended buy tickets here.

The Best Of International Rocketship

Animator Marv Newland is the only person I know who doesn’t have a website or an email address. I don’t know if he even reads the internet.

Yesterday I received a small package from him, it was a DVD with a letter telling about his new compilation DVD. He wrote:

“Dear Jerry,

Enclosed is your copy of the freshly released BEST OF INTERNATIONAL ROCKETSHIP dvd. No voting. No warnings. No Extras.

There was a limited number produced as the potential audience may also be limited, numerically and in other departments not fit to remark about in this missive.

The dvd is for sale at $20. (U.S. or Candian dollars) shipping included. Send check to: International Rocketship, 278-1857 West 4th Ave. Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1M4 Canada. DVDs shipped via the miracle of the postal system.

Hope you are keeping well and remember your name when wake up each and every morning.


As the limited potential audience for this disc is mainly composed of the readers of this blog, I think Marv was fishing for a plug. I’m only too happy to comply.

I’m not sure if the International Rocketship shorts have been compiled before, but I didn’t have them – so I’m grateful to have them now. Anijam, Lupo The Butcher, Black Hula, Sing Beast Sing, Pink Komkommer, Bambi Meets Godzilla and more – all remastered from original 35mm camera negatives. Wonderful stuff. For twenty bucks – it’s a steal!

So send Marv $20. and tell him I sent you. He’ll probably include you a hand-written note to thank you.

In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, here are two photo galleries worth exploring:

The Amazing Wood Carvings of Charles Ponstingl

This you gotta see.

Collector Mel Birnkrant has posted an amazing story – and gallery – of art created by amateur wood carver Charles Ponstingl. Beginning in 1973 Ponstingl began (at age 38) carving over 200 wood dioramas, creating three-dimensional shadowbox homages to beloved comic strip and animated cartoon characters.

In addition to doing pieces devoted to Disney classics, Ponstingl tackled everything from Little Nemo to Mary Jane and Sniffles! Mutt and Jeff, Snuffy Smith, Popeye, Beetle Bailey, Sad Sack are some of the comic strips he did; Felix The Cat, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Mickey, Donald and Goofy are among the animated characters he’s carved.

Some of the carvings are spot on recreations, some are way off-model – but all of them are charming and clearly done with a lot of love and care.

Collector Birnkrant discovered Ponstingl’s folk art and bought many of the pieces – telling the remarkable story behind them and showing off the collection on his website. Click thumbnails below to enlarge three great examples – check out the story and see more amazing stuff here.

(Thanks, Ed Austin and Mark Mayerson)

“Silent Sillies” by Anthony Hunter

I’m a big fan of retro-animation tributes – here’s a clever one in comic strip form. Ohio-based cartoonist Anthony Hunter has begun posting Silent Sillies (“A silent cartoon… in comic strip form”) one each week on his new website.

Hunter has a whole cast of period characters and illustrates a different silent animation cliche each week in cute and clever ways. Here’s a sample:

Warner Bros. Animation/Hanna-Barbera Scholarship

Calling all students! Warner Bros. Animation is trying to get the word out on an animation scholarship program that the studio is offering to graduating high school students/incoming college Freshman. Below is the basic info along with a link to the application. It’s a great opportunity… don’t be a moroon – go for it!

2013 Warner Bros. Animation/Hanna-Barbera Honorship

Who: Any graduating high school senior enrolling in a college, university, or trade school to study animation.

What: Through the Warner Bros. Reach program, one outstanding student is awarded the Hanna-Barbera/Animation Honorship each year that includes a scholarship and four full-time paid internships at the company during four consecutive summers while enrolled in college. Successful Reach program graduates will be eligible for full-time positions at Warner Bros.

How: Application (w/ instructions) can be downloaded via this link.

When: Application deadline is by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2013

“Incredibles” poster by Robert McGinnis

Brad Bird has leaked (via Twitter) this poster for The Incredibles.

It was painted by Robert McGinnis, the veteran artist who created the advertising art for many 60s spy flicks, including the Matt Helm and James Bond movies (Thunderball, You Only Live Twice), poster art for the iconic Breakfast At Tiffanys and Barbarella, and over 1200 paperback novels. McGinnis began his career as an apprentice at the Walt Disney Studio.

Here’s the poster that might have been, if Brad Bird had his way…

(Thanks, Ed Austin via BleedingCool.com)

Pixar Sales Demo Reel (1988)

Once upon a time, long before Buzz Lightyear and Lightning MacQueen, Pixar was a struggling start-up looking for clients interested in their imaging computers. Here is their sales demo reel from 1988. It shows what the studio was producing in the earliest days before character animation took over – and also features an appearance by a younger Ed Catmull.

(Thanks, Chris Sobieniak)