ward-thoat ward-thoat
DisneyWard Kimball

John Carter Showdown: Ward Kimball vs. Andrew Stanton

As Ward Kimball‘s biographer, I am obligated to share with you this post on Progress City, U. S. A. that talks about the time Ward oversaw the animation of John Carter of Mars as part of his TV special Mars and Beyond.

It’s a matter of personal taste whether you prefer Ward Kimball’s vision of a thoat:
Ward Kimball Thoat

Or Andrew Stanton’s vision of a thoat:
Andrew Stanton Thoat

  • Kimball’s thoat, anyday.

  • anonymous

    Obviously Kimball’s may have differed if he had had todays technology( if he wanted to go that route) That aside, i really like seeing the same subjects interpretations through the eyes of two very creative individuals.

  • Roland Denby

    You can’t really compare the two. I thoroughly enjoyed the Andrew Stanton film, and don’t really see why people trash it. It is what it is — a popcorn film. I have never seen Ward Kimball’s take on the property, but would like to check it out.

  • Miles

    Ward Kimball’s thoat, definitely.

  • Some Guy

    The Ward Kimball Thoat actually looks less cartoony than the Asylum’s version. http://www.millionmonkeytheater.com/moviepics17/mars11.jpg

  • Of course it’s Kimball’s thoat. (however the CG/live-action version of that character would be far worse than Stanton’s)

  • Stanton’s has precedents – the design Bob Clampett used, and the illustrations by J. Allen St, John for the Mars books, but Kimball’s has personality to spare.

  • You can’t cuddle Stanton’s thoat.
    That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?

  • Stanton’s thoat looks real neat but the cartoony look of Kimball’s thoat is a little better in my view.

  • Bob

    Apples and oranges.

  • Martin

    I think I’ve seen that second image in every fanboy’s sketchbook. That would prove Kimball’s an original one.

  • akira

    definitely the six legged scrotum for me!

  • GeneRasputinHole

    While Kimball’s creations are clearly very appealing, it would be rather difficult to conclude that they represent anything like being a more accurate representation of the creatures described in Burrough’s books than what is presented in Stanton’s film.
    Sure, the plot is a bit dense at points, (as, some might argue, is Kitch’s portrayal of the title character), but on the whole it was a rather good depiction of Burrough’s worlds and characters. The constant howling and critical sniping seems unnecessary and unprofessional.

  • Skip

    Depends on what type of story you wish to tell. For “the Zany adventures of John Carter”, I would go with Kimball’s, and I’m sure it would be one hell of a ridiculously entertaining film. However if you want to make a serious movie than you’ve got to go with Stanton’s.

  • Cameron Koller

    How are these designs even remotely comparable? Might as well start debating whether Al Hirschfeld or H.R. Giger is the funnier artist.

    • Josh

      They’re comparable in that they’re *of the same thing*. Your example just doesn’t work because it compares entire disparate careers. I personally feel that if Hirschfeld and Giger were to both take a stab at the exact same subject, the comparison would be extremely interesting.

    • Giger is the funniest!

      • Tak

        Yeah, he was totally the dark art master of the ol’ “Hide phallus in the Art” joke.

  • Nik

    Yet another call-out to Andrew Stanton? Please stop beating that dead thoat!

  • Can’t help but smile when i see Kimball’s version.

  • Billy Batz

    they both look diseased and not suitable for riding.Check out a cover for Amazing Stories to see a real one.

  • Juan

    Que nota tan cula Amid

  • Brent

    Ward’s thoat is what it is, a cartoony version of the Burroughs beast. The trouble is that it looks funny – as in funny haha rather than funny odd – and the Barsoom books are anything but funny. One can only presume what his version of Tars Tarkas or Dejah Thoris would have been like.

  • DonaldC

    Talk about apples and oranges.

  • Uland K

    Oh my, that Kimball drawing is beautiful . Is there a book of his work? Does such a thing exist?

  • Drawings are more intrinsically beautiful than “realistic” CGI because they are more human-hearted. They appeal to the individual soul because they are a more personal act of creativity, caricature and exaggeration being the essence of selective memory.

    Still, CGI can be pretty amazing.

  • Joe

    I know the right answer is Kimball’s… but I like Stanton’s better.

  • Kimball’s episodes for the Disneyland TV show, intended to establish some of the mythos for the impending Tomorrowland, are spectacular viewing. The episode referenced, “Mars and Beyond,” contains some of my favorite UPA-influenced, gag-filled Kimball fun and games, and also provides a primer that the “John Carter” trashing critics should have viewed, providing some context for Mars-centric science-fiction that they are too lazy to google for on their Disney-trashing deadline. The cartoon introduced almost 13 minutes into the youtube link to “Mars and Beyond” contains one of my favorite cartoons by Ward, made even better by the narration of Paul Frees. Oh, and I just got back from a perfect Saturday afternoon matinee of John Carter in 3D with my family, and all involved should be proud.

  • Harry T.

    Kimball’s is appealing, funny, and charming. Stanton’s is uly, boring,and dull and unimaginative.

  • Robert Schaad

    Ward’s version, please.

  • Tak

    Amid, I think you mean Michael Kutsche‘s version of a mighty Thoat of Barsoom. Andy Stanton ain’t no concept artist or mega draftsman. Although I hear that he can actually draw quite well from a comic & story boarding point of view.

  • Trevor

    Stop hating on Ward Kimball Amid!!!

  • Lindsay

    Man, I should have popped in Kimball’s “Mars and Beyond” for my St. Patrick’s Day drunk flick-fest… that would have been pretty trippy, I’d wager. ;)

  • Sarah J

    It’s hard to compare two things of such totally different styles. Kimball’s is nice, if a little simple and cartoony, but it is more unique. Stanton’s is similar to other CGI creatures we’ve been seeing lately, but it does have a certain coolness factor and I do like the rather monster-y look.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Kimball’s vision made me question my sanity at a young age! I love it!

  • B.Richards

    Evolution of time, concepts, expectations and technology. Each is of a different era, each speaks to it’s own context. The starting point is the only connection. Marylin Monroe or Lady Gaga.

  • Joe Horne

    one of the best parts of the mission to mars ride was watching parts of this film on the space ship view screen….

  • Mike Russo

    My issue with the second image is that it looks like every other big, ugly, four-legged, CGI creature done in the past 10 years. It’s boring.

    • GeneRasputinHole

      step right up- and take a gander at this gen-u-INE thoat, strait from the planet barsoom- with not one, not two, but six, count ’em- six legs-!

      • John A

        Actually, thoats have eight legs. (eight, count’em, eight)

  • Lucy

    I have a feeling if I saw something other than “Kimbell’s” I’ll have someone show up to my door, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back style, and beat the crap outta me.

  • Matt

    I can’t help but feel everyone is very obviously choosing Kimball’s simply because it’s Ward Kimball’s.

    “It’s better because it’s older and Kimball was a genius and it’s not part of a modern popcorn film”

    If you ACTUALLY compare the two designs, as opposed to comparing the two artists, the more recent one obviously took a higher level of skill (I won’t say creativity, because I’m not bashing on Kimball’s here. As many have said, creatively, they’re just different.)

    At the end of the day – Kimball’s makes me chuckle, but Stanton’s makes me believe.

  • J man

    Stantons thoat is a lot cooler, Kimballs looks like a retarded blue Bullwinkle with 8 legs and going grey. Obviously a lot of old guys red this blog and choosing Wad’s because its old school and drawn.

  • Anything Kimball did is going to be far more interesting. Kimball’s version is superior because it’s a better design.
    That thing in the live action John Carter film is just difficult to read. It’s not even fun to look at…it’s funky in a bad way (UGLY).

  • I think you need to also Bob Clampetts’ versions of John Carter.


  • Or is the CG Cricket of ‘Once Upon a Time’ better when compared to Ward’s Cricket that had Walt’s input?
    I suspect that we have a youth oriented media culture which prefers the hyper-reality of the digital computer generated image to the hand drawn and analog of earlier generations. Is either one ‘better’ than the other? Maybe or maybe not. Depending on your generational preferences.

    This doesn’t detract or dismiss the significance of Ward Kimball and his contributions to an art form that he helped shape. He created some of the most original animation that has been seen on the big or small screen and is always an inspiration to go beyond the mediocre and mundane.

  • Seems like only yesterday, but I watched as Kimball’s creative team produced this film. And, what a crew it was. Con Pederson, Ken O’Conner, Art Stevens, Julius Svendsen, Charlie Downs and John Dunn to name a few.

    If only Walt had allowed Kimball to continue with his exploration of space and science fiction.


  • I like them both. Both are masterful :)