Overheard in San Diego…

WHO: Obese fanboy with a thick accent hailing from Mexico
WHAT: The guy was talking to one of the dealers
WHERE: San Diego Comic-Con
WHEN: Thursday afternoon

“Animation just isn’t what it used to be. I really prefer the classic animation, the way it used to be in the old days. When I was growing up, we had quality animation like GI Joe and Transformers.”

Needless to say, I lasted barely a day at the Con this year before heading back on Thursday evening. The stench of the event—both figurative and literal—was overwhelming. There was simply too much crass commercialism on display, and too little appreciation or joy for any art form. Today at the Con, there’ll be panels “celebrating” Family Guy and Class of 3000. Somehow I think I’ll be able to live. I hope Brew readers there get more enjoyment out of it than I did this year.


  • http://ecomancer.net Smitha

    I’m probably going to get blasted for this by other readers/professionals, but I don’t care.

    I think this comment was completely out of line. The last paragraph alone would have been fine–but why resort to mocking a fan of 80s cartoons by pointing out his weight and ethnicity? Is that supposed to be the punchline of the joke? That’s horrible and in extremely poor taste that you would point those out as characteristics to be mocked.

    I’m 25, and I grew up watching cartoons in that same time period. I run a fan site for The Pirates of Dark Water, the short-lived but high-quality Hanna-Barbera show from the early 90s. I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that I’ve loved shows like She-Ra and Thundercats since I was a little girl. That doesn’t make me any less of an animation fan. Those were the shows that have inspired the love of animation I’ve had throughout my life, and the same can be said for many other people in my age group.

    Like it or not, there isn’t exactly widespread exposure to or knowledge of the history of animation. I’ve learned a lot from reading this blog, for sure. I never really studied animation history until college, which was when I began to understand, enjoy, and appreciate them. But knowing the history and studying its evolution with the rise and fall of studios and styles doesn’t make me love these shows that were staples of my childhood any less. They may not have the same magic as a Disney film, but they still hold a lot of nostalgia for so many people who grew up watching them.

    I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t mock people for loving shows that aren’t “classics” in your preferred sense, and I would especially appreciate if you didn’t resort to such cheap, tasteless tactics in the process. Of course, having an academic interest in animation will give you a different view, but when you see a cartoon that really wows and impresses you as an 8-year-old kid, it’ll stay with you your whole life, regardless of how good a production it was.

  • http://www.io.com/~o_m/omworld OM

    …And by “literal”, I take it you mean body odor, Amid? This has been a complaint about SDCC attendees ever since the attendance started going through the roof. The estimates are about 20-25% of those “Comic Book Guys” in attendance either a) don’t know about soap and/or deodorants, or b) know about them, but refuse to use them to piss off those around them just to be jerks. Which is why I’ve always felt that Sure or Arrid should be setting up a free samples booth at SDCC, and security guards should be patrolling the masses and sending noxious offenders either to the descenting booth or ejecting fhem from the con. Nothing ruins a convention experience like having someone doing an impression of Bob Oscar Plenty, and the effect hits you from 30 feet away with such force that you have no choice but to lose those stale, overpriced nachos you just bought from the concession stand.

    Bottom Line: Remember when Andy Kaufman was taunting wrestling fans in the South about what soap and toilet paper was for? Kaufman was talking to the wrong audience that time, kids.

  • amid

    Smitha: Since when is describing somebody’s weight or ethnicity considered mocking them? I was describing the person making the asinine comment for the benefit of our readership. There was no need to mock or make fun of this guy; his words speak for themselves.

  • matt

    Wow Amid, take it on the chin man. The “who” is redundant. I feel you’re being a bit disingenuous with your reply to Smitha. If you set out to talk about con attendees bringing the stereotyping on themselves, fine. If the point was taste in animation (or lack thereof) then the irony of the quote doesn’t seem to be dependent on the type of person who said it.

    You could have edited yourself there, ESPECIALLY if as you say his words speak for themselves (as opposed to his appearance).

    Another comic-con/animation enthusiast stereotype is the elitist. THERE’S a pertinent stereotype for you AND he. Don’t throw stones my friend.

  • http://intracerswetrust.blogspot.com Dav-Odd

    Classic! Yeah, man, G.I. Joe was the dawning of a new age, we all know that.

  • http://www.carbonalley.com Jeff

    “Like it or not, there isn’t exactly widespread exposure to or knowledge of the history of animation.”

    Google it.

  • AMB

    “There was simply too much crass commercialism on display, and too little appreciation or joy for any art form.”

    100% correct. It’s telling when the impenetrable throngs of fanboys are all clustered around the big movie and videogame studios, while the artists and small press attract a much smaller audience.

    Next year they should break up the Exhibition floor, with all the NON-comic/art related stuff segregated. That way those of us interested in the art-related stuff can get to it without having to fight through crowds of people lining up to grab whatever free piece of swag is being offered to promote the latest and lamest from Hollywood.

  • Shmalex

    Whatever you’ve been exposed to when you were little is ‘classic’. To you its Looney Tunes and Disney, to some other guy its 80′s animation, which is fine. We just shouldn’t look down on others’ tastes. Especially random fans.

  • Darren

    This is the funniest post I’ve read in ages! Since when is describing a person’s characteristics considered mockery? I used to think it was a part of good storytelling. Are we wound up so tight that laughing at the faults of someone who is slightly different than us is impossible? And since when is B.O. socially acceptable? Since when is ignorance and arrogance not the target of ridicule? Have we gone so far down the P.C. slope that everything is okay, every viewpoint is valid, everyone is accepted, and “everything is beautiful in it’s own way”?

    Where have you gone Don Rickles….our nation turns its lonely eyes to you!

    BTW, I am obese and of cajun descent (not Mexican, but latin and distinctive nonetheless). A society that does not have standards is a society that ultimately allows all manner of unjust behavior in the name of tolerance, acceptance, positive self-esteem and “just getting along.”

  • esk

    Yeah, we all know how fun bad animation is.

  • Alicia

    I had this happen to me too. I was telling someone that I loved classic cartoons and he told me he did too… he had every episode of the Transformers.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    It’s fine to feel all sentimental about cartoons of your childhood, whether they are He-Man and Pirates of Dark Water or Batfink and Groovie Ghoulies. But don’t make the mistake of thinking just because they mean something to you personally that they have some sort of intrinsic quality that makes them unassailable.

    As someone who worked on cartoons that you probably watched as a kid, I can truthfully say that almost all of the animation of the late 70s and 80s was complete and utter crap. It was fine for someone like me who was just starting out to work on shows like that and learn the ropes, but I have nothing but sympathy for the old-timers who had cut their teeth on Disney features and Tom & Jerry cartoons. They were forced to stoop incredibly low just to accumulate enough time on the job to retire and get the hell out of the hell hole that the artform they loved have become. It must have felt like destroying the thing you love for the almighty dollar. No wonder so many old guys were bitter and cranky.

    We still need discerning souls who are willing to fight against concepts like “good enough to air” and “faster, cheaper”. Amid performs a valuable service by kicking complacency in the ass and reminding us that we’re working on CARTOONS, not just cranking out sausages. If Chuck Jones and Ward Kimball were alive and vital today, they would be doing the exact same thing.

    Events like the Annecy and the Platform Festival and organizations like the National Cartoonists Society and ASIFA are the places to find love, respect and knowledge about the art of anmation. The San Diego Comic Con is where you find potty, middle aged men in tattered, sweat stained homemade Star Trek uniforms ejaculating over Jerry’s Worst Cartoons of All Time program. The San Diego con has come to represent what’s wrong with animation, not what’s right about it.

  • Ricardo Reyes

    Dude, I laughed at what that guy said at the con, the same I’d laugh at your accent if you ever spoke spanish, too.

  • http://www.grillomation.blogspot.com Oscar Grillo

    Amid. Life’s too short.

  • Rhett

    Both Steve and Amid have valid perspectives, and you have both made significant and lasting contributions to the scholarship of animation, as well as acting as intelligent and vocal advocates for improved quality in the story-telling, the entertainment value, and the good-old geek factors of design, style and appeal.

    However, as a friend and a fan of both of you, I have to say that I’m truly disappointed by your tone and your defensiveness in this particular instance. We may mock some of comic and animation fandom’s so-called skippys when we’re socializing, but open mockery in the guise of reporting cheapens an otherwise extremely worthy site. Some of the people posting in response hereto were (and still are) that guy at Comic-Con not that long ago, and they know it. One person’s iconic cartoons may not have been G.I. Joe, but dumpster diving for Hanna-Barbera or UPA cels doesn’t make them any more worthy of elevated status simply by way of having more evolved taste.

    That poor chaps demoted status has been made public, in a very indiscreet and ungentlemanly fashion. If he were some significant player, and you wanted to call him out in public and challenge his approach you’d be engaging in something worth reading. Or you could have gone to a much greater extreme of satire and done what Shawn Keller did when he crafted a very biting comic based on the “Furry� crowd. But instead, you set this fellow up as a sort of “everyfan� in a way that was degrading and, frankly, beneath you. You’re so much more intelligent and discreet than this. I second the motion that you take it on the chin, because you sucker punched a lot of folks with this post, many of whom stood in line and bought your book at last year’s con, old man!

    Nobody should censor the more pointed specifics of setting the scene for your readers, Amid. To hell with being PC, but the intent here is not to underscore something quirky or comical, it was evident to many of us reading it that you were downright bitter and angry. The original post, and your reply to Smitha both hammer home something very unattractive that I’ve never known in you or your writings heretofore. (Speaking as somebody who has made that mistake and then regretted it after the fact, I can guarantee that it doesn’t make for very good reporting, it just makes for kvetching at a level most of us have grown tired of in the barage of blogging bombasts that litter the net, and I’m forever stuck with my malcontent living in cyber-infamy to be googled for all eternity.)

    For all the finger-pointing disappointment of having not found a convention floor filled with classic animation acolytes, the “latest and lamest from Hollywood” has the distinct odor of something some people are very bitter that they can’t claim as theirs. Such dismissive opinions of the Con make it sound as if a handful of spoiled debutants are angry that outsiders have taken over the prom.

    Steve and Amid, I like you both so much, and I have endless admiration for you, but the defensive disdain you’ve decided to take public appears petty, whether intended to be so or not, and in this instance and you’d do well to sit back and recognize when to respect even the people you think are beneath you.

    Take heart, Amid, the devoted film fans and scholars I used to see pass over “Cartoon Modern� at B&N in Los Angeles and here in Orlando don’t seem to know you as well as many of us do, but a fellow who perfectly fits the description of your Con attendee was delighted enough to snap it up and rush to the register to buy it the last time I was browsing the stacks. Maybe there’s a better way to educate him than to mock him, and his dollars are just as good when it comes to preserving animation history as anybody else’s.

  • Eddie Mort

    I agree with Amid’s comments about the con in general. I used to get a kick out of seeing new artists and picking up those great, cheaply printed artists’ sketchbooks at Comic Con…but there are better, less frustrating ways to do that these days

  • http://www.sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    I have never been to this event and couldn’t imagine anything of worth.

    A hearty “Huzzah” to you Amid for having the balls to thumb your nose.

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    It’s all about your point of view. For example, I’m not a huge fan of anime. There is a ton of it at the Con. I just don’t spend any time on it. I seek out the stuff I’m interested in and use my time there. The screening by Bill Plympton, the Popeye panel, the Hanna Barbera retrospective… these are all things I would have missed had I not braved the BO and bad taste.

  • http://www.slitherandfriends.com MisterSpook

    I forgot that Comic Con was a sacred temple. You should have started throwing tables and yelling at the money lenders. Flinging bars of Irish Spring and Old Spice in your wake. How DARE they deface your house!

    It’s little pimpled-geeks like you described that have destroyed animation! If only we had a place to round them up…

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C. Edwards

    ‘Oh, Boo Hoo! Amid said something that offended me and now it’s my job to wag my finger at him. Shame on you, Amid! Shaaaammmme.’ What is this, 1st grade?

    Everyone is sooo sensitive. I can see why (not agree with, mind you) someone would be so “hurt” by referencing the person’s ethnicity, but come on, this certainly isn’t the first time someone described a con attendee as being fat.

    And I loved “He-Man”, “Transformers”, “GI Joe” –all of it. I watched them all every day and every Saturday morning and memorized every theme song, but that doesn’t stop it from being the ass end era for animation. Warner, Disney, MGM classics were great then and they’re great now. 80′s cartoons designed to sell crap to kids, was never good, which is what I learned the moment I tried to go back and watch one.

  • TW

    Event that left a bad taste for me:
    Popular artist, who on Thursday was signing multiple (3 or 4 each) copies of comics he did in the last six monthes for an older gentleman, on Friday telling two obvious (teenage) fans that in order for him to sign their single comic, they needed to buy something of his as well.

    Thursday I left the line to go to the Popeye presentation… Friday I just left. It just didn’t seem important anymore.

  • Zapnut

    I think the bigger problem is why animation is represented at all at a comic convention.

  • EHH

    “Quality animation”? No wonder you left. He must have not known about Disney or Warner Bros. (in any era).

  • OliverB

    The day I can no longer make fun of fat comic convention nerds who masturbate to Lady Jane fanfiction is the day I join the republican party of canada.

  • http://vice.parodius.com/ Dave Silva

    Being one of the few Mexican readers of this website, I’m offended.

    Everyone knows Gringo fanboys are much worse. Don’t push that level of fanboyishness on US. :p

  • Yoppy

    Even though some animation isn’t as good, I’ve found, from my own experience, that the plots are one hundred times better then the cartoons of nowdays. For me, that rises the quailty.

    Also, there was Looney Tunes and Disney. Enough said.

  • Jpox

    I liked the Transformers too, as well as Golden Age Animation.
    To each his own I suppose.
    Sounds like the Comic Con is turning into a farce. At least it’s a venue to spread the word about “Classic” animation to anyone interested.

  • Bill Field

    You should have said-
    ” Si, mi amigo, the eighties was the golden age of Toy-Tie-In animation, but making those classics took their toll –Didn’t Sgt Slaughter have roid rage during a G I Joe Recording Session and maim the two guys voicing the Cobra Agents? And wasn’t it Snowblind the Transformer who changed from a DeLorean into a briefcase full of cocaine?So- now you see, my cross-the-border buddy, you should be VERY careful what you wish for…”

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWKVmCX6SKY Hasdrubal

    The San Diego Con doesn’t sound like the kind of place where one could pick up a long lost thirty year old copy of Sub-Mariner #59. Can rare comics actually be found there?

    Are there really comic books for sale there, or is it media hype without comics?

  • RR

    Comic Con has grown way too big to be of any real value to anybody other than the big studios.

    It’s all about the money now. Period. Maybe in the 70s it used to be about the fans, but now it’s all about the hype and the bottom line. All the fanboys and girls are just being used now, turned into demographics and dollar signs for the suits.

    Even the really talented big name comic artists get lost in the circus. They can’t compete with unnecessary gigantic presentations by major studios that have little or nothing to do with comics or animation.

    Amid had a good point. These conventions are kind of an unnecessary spectacle nowadays for people with even a smidge of discerning taste.

  • http://cheekyentertainment.blogspot.com Craig Clark

    The Comicon is now as big as Lollapalooza, a major pop culture flash point for the number one American export, …entertainment! I wish I would have had internet and DVD access to the wide array of animation available when I was breaking the biz. We all have our favorites. The real challenge is to come back to the exact same facility two weeks from now for the CG fest that is Siggraph, so you can have first hand comparison of the “Geek fest� vs. the “Nerd fest�.

  • MA

    Wow, that is an offensive ‘description.’

    Was San Diego Comic Con ever a serious forum for educated animation Scholars–with a capital S–to wax poetic in non-accented U.S. English about animation as a pure “art form”? You seem to want to insult this person’s ignorance of the true classics of animation history (whatever they are), but isn’t it just as historically ignorant to dismiss this viewer or other viewers who watched and, for better or worse, enjoyed the internationally produced and internationally viewed cheapo TV cartoons of the 80s? Who do you think has supported the cartoon industry over the last 20 or 30 years?

    “There was no need to mock or make fun of this guy; his words speak for themselves.”

    I can only imagine people might be saying the same thing about you in other corners of the Internet. . .

  • http://classicanimation.blogspot.com Thad Komorowski

    Sorry I didn’t see you there Amid, you should have come to the Apatoons breakfast at the LC’s!

    I go to other crap as bad as Comicon for other hobbies (music fests, etc.) so I was prepared for the worst.

    And “random obese guy” describes a good amount of the people at Comicon. Dunno why weight is such a sensitive issue for you allegedly male posters.

  • Thomas Whittaker

    You entertainment industry folks are the biggest pack of self important, egotistical asshats the world has ever seen.

    This is why I and most people I know pirate everything now.

    My dollars aren’t good because I don’t fit into your preciousssssss elite circle? Fine. I won’t trouble you with any.

    We’ve already pretty much broken Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Have fun with those, BTW.

    Hahahahahahaha! :)

  • http://www.animenewsnetwork.com Brian Hanson

    Dude, this is COMIC-CON. This isn’t an ASIFA screening. This is where literally hundreds of thousands of fanboys and nerds-at-heart come to every year to geek out for a few days and not feel bad about themselves for it. Suffice to say, if you actually WERE surprised that somebody thinks Transformers and G.I. Joe are “good,” then you went in totally unprepared. Or did you miss somehow the big “NERDS ONLY” sign hanging above the bespectacled throng of D&D players?

    Lots and lots of people that go to big nerd-fests like Comicon like Family Guy and bad 80′s cartoons, and the live-action movies they spawn. Far fewer have an interest in Woody Woodpecker. Sorry to break that to you.

    Just learn to roll with the geek flow, and Comicon (and other conventions of its ilk) are a good time. Or just stay home and grouse on the internet about everything made after 1957 sucks except for Ren & Stimpy. Whatever.

  • http://geritopiablogspot.com GeeVee

    People aren’t always nostalgic for the cartoons that were introduced during their childhood. If that were true then I’d be a huge Hanna Barbera fan. However, I recall, even as a kid, realizing that the bar had been lowered by TV animation when compared to Warner Bros / MGM (Avery) / Fleisher output from the old days . I knew it then and it really bothered me.

    So it’s not always about an academic take vs. those with a snapshot nostalgia of childhood. It’s about instinctively loving the work that was done by artists who were lucky enough to create cartoons to amuse themselves, which is also hugely inspiring. It’s like comparing a meal made by loving hands with a pre-packaged frozen dinner. Those older cartoons on average just looked funnier, had funnier voices, were more irreverent, and they WERE funnier and less calculated and less cheap looking.

    The best advances in TV animation came by way of the satiric writing quality of JayWard and the later example set by the Simpsons (regardless of how templated even that became).

    As for Comic-Con, it’s plainly unleashed with the more scary attributes of lifestyles abandoned to matted-down hair and stale body odors, which can afflict the animation and comic fans alike.

    Of course, all the above, in my snotty opinion.

  • matt

    It makes me happy that my kids gravitate to the classic Warners stuff, as I did.

    One of the things I clearly remember as a young child was not being able to reconcile seeing Hanna & Barbera’s names on the old MGM stuff, which seemed so much BETTER than their other stuff.

    And yes, it’s never O.K. not to wash, but that was that the point of the article? Nope.

  • http://reddiabla.blogspot.com/ Red Diabla

    Best.

    Thread.

    EVER.

    You boys sure are a sensitive bunch!

    I went to Comicon once. Ten years ago. I hated how big it was then, and I hear it’s ten million times worse now. The bad part is that I know quite a few animators who sell self-published sketchbooks and other cool schtuff that sells out at the con and so I never get a chance to get my greasy paws on such goodies. Is it worth shoving my way through walls of geeks, nerds, and B.O. to get an artist’s work? Thanks to the internet, the answer is no…inspiration is just a mouse-click away.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    Did anyone here read Eddie Fitzgerald’s brilliant post on Asperger’s Syndrome?

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    Aw heck, I’m hoping that the gifted consultant to Universal for the WOODY WOODPECKER collection (and I think we all know who that is, don’t we, kids?) is able to interest many, many “fan boys” and their extended families in the great new set. If there was that marketing element at the convention, then this works well toward the possibilities for future volumes…and more, so much more!!

  • Mawnck

    Let me see if I get this . . . Comic-Con sucks because (1) it’s too big (2) some of the attendees have BO (3) a significant portion of the entertainment offerings there are garbage. Funny . . . sounds suspiciously like the real world.

    I attended several interesting panels on the art of animation (I missed the ASIFA one with the UPA vets on Thursday, but wanted to note that it did happen), saw some fabulous artwork in artists’ alley, met some really amazing and talented people who are never, ever, ever going to show up in my neck of the woods, and saw gazillions of folks in various degrees of wacky attire who were obviously having a blast. (The entertainment industry entertaining people! Who knew?)

    I didn’t even have to go anywhere near the big studio booths to do it, didn’t attend anything in Hall H, didn’t stand in any lines, didn’t even take notice of anything related to The Family Guy. Plopped down and rested, struck up a conversation, or retreated into the relative serenity of the Gaslamp district if it got too overwhelming.

    Guess it’s one of those “glass half full” things. 80% crap means 20% worth seeing, and with so much to see, and laid out in such an organized manner, that 20% seems worth the price of admission to me. Whatever your interest, it’s there for you.

    If your interest is standing in the middle of the melee, getting mad, stomping out, and posting a condescending rant on your blog, you get to do that too.

    Everybody wins.

  • http://animationwriters.blogspot.com Steve

    The ethnicity thing is a non-starter. If Amid drew his comment instead of wrote, he would have drawn the guy and nobody would have said boo about it. See what happens when you paint with words, dude?

    (Note: There is tongue in cheek in the above and the below)

    My theory on Comic Con and why it gets smellier as the week goes on. It’s not that people enter with bad hygiene.

    But the people that are wearing the Star Wars outfit, or the Dr. Doom Armor, or the Obi-Wan cloak… they wear them every day for five days. And it’s not like it goes off to the dry cleaner when they return.

    Same clothes. Five days in a row. Problem solved.

    Outside of that:

    Comic Con has never been about animation first… it was about comic books first. And the only animation anybody cared about there, was animation based on comic books.

    Comic book nerds and comic book professionals have cons. Animation nerds and animation professionals have festivals. I attend both, when I can.

    And finally – A hand drawn (ish) cartoon made 71 million at the box office this weekend. Shouldn’t people be doing backflips around here?

  • http://www.theimaginaryworld.com Dan Goodsell

    I just got home from Comic Con and fell I have to weigh in with a few of my thoughts as a vendor at the show for the last few years.

    I have actually been going to comic con for about 30 years on and off. It has changed alot since the time when it was at the concourse and I would go to buy all the hard to find back issues as a kid. At comic con I saw the genesis of independent comics with Love and Rockets and TMNT. I have seen it grow as Hollywood found it an important place to market its pop culture movies. The attendence has grown to amazing paroportions 125,000 + people this year.

    But for all the mania, it is still a show that caters to many. It is not just about Storm Troopers, there is a giant small press area that has very resonable table rates. The whole designer toy section which comic con catered to long before there were chains of stores to carry such things.

    It is a place that is a breeding ground of popular culture whether you like it or not. Most of it is not to my taste but you can still buy any old comic that exists and there is more comic art there then anyone could ever afford.

    This year I met a woman selling a cool little stuffed creature, the Haminal. Comic con was a great place for her to bring her creation and get it seen by thousands of open minded people. Her people found her tucked away on 1/2 a table in row E even with all the Marvel Zombies walking around.

    In the end you cant judge 125,000 people by one ruler. I probably sold stuff to about 1500 people over the course of the 5 day show. Some where kids only 4 years old and some were grandmothers but all of them were there having fun and enjoying an event and not worrying about the ramifications of the show. The show does not need us worrying about it, it is just going to keep on going and promoting popular culture, whether is it good or bad. And any show where there is a panel about Making Fiends must be doing something right.

  • Michelle

    This post highlights why I tend not to come here very often, but when I do, why I read Jerry’s posts more than I read Amid’s.

    Amid takes all of this (& himself it would seem) *way* too seriously!

    Jerry seems to laugh at bad animation (if his Worst Cartoons Ever! shows are any indication) . Amid takes it as a personal affront.

    This post is a classic example of what I mean. Amid doesn’t like what someone says at a COMIC BOOK convention, insults said individual, then chastises a person who had the audacity to challenge him.

    Amid – can I ask you something? Do you ever sit back and *enjoy* a cartoon for what it’s worth? Or do you watch each piece of animation frame by frame to analyze its worthiness? It must be pretty hard for you to share a world with those of us who do find certain mainstream productions to be worthwhile.

    Smitha – I felt like you composed a very well-written reply to something you thought was wrong. Too bad you got grief for it!

  • Steve Gattuso

    Amid, you’re a fine person and a champion of the arts, but complaining about the invasion of crass commercialism in a comic convention dealer’s room is equal to complaining about the decline in morals at a whorehouse. Yes, far more flashy displays and Hollywood gibberish these days, but the air of hucksterism in the place hasn’t changed in the 20 years since I first went.

    There were a number of excellent panels (including a particularly hilarious one on Friday night by Jerry) that were fine examples of the depth and breadth of the comics and animation fields. Leaving Thursday night meant you missed Bill Plympton premiering his latest short the following morning. Yes, there were lots of shill events there, too. But 90% of them could be avoided by simply staying away from Hall H.

    Your problem is that you don’t have the patience to spend a hour or so looking through the con website to separate the wheat from the chaff. As for the dealer’s room, all you have to do is ignore the section between hall’s G through D by going through the lobby and you bypass the worst of the fanboyishness while being able to catch the truly cool and amazing work being presented. Did you at least stop by your publisher’s booth and sign the copies of “Cartoon Modern” that they had prominently available for sale?

  • Phil Stapleton

    Hey Amid,What’s up! Long time no here or see I’ve been tracking your journey for quite sometime now. That’s great I hope to be doing the same soon. I can understand some of your frustration regarding the true artistry of real animation but we must realize that every generation has its own visions as well as delusions of what they feel great animation is. As you know we have been there to see what the foundation of real animation is so let’s be glad that we got to experience such a ground breaking time. Keep doing what you’re doing to keep what little is left alive. I’ll make sure I will to with my project. Hope to talk to you soon.

  • red pill junkie

    Every generation has it’s classics. For me it was Don Gato y Su Pandilla and Pedro Picapiedra (Top Cat and the Flinstones, which were superbly translated by mexican artists back then). I also was exposed to Thundercats and Transformers and although I can appreciate the animation quality was not the highest, they represent a fond memory of my childhood, and I guess in the end that’s what this really is about guys: we fall in love with these characters because they remind us of the time when we were young an innocent and the world seemed full of promise. I’m sure my little nephews will feel the same in the decades to come about Dexter’s Lab and Sponge Bob: they will not appreciate the characters for their design, posing or the color of the backgrounds or any of that; they’ll appreciate them for being their play mates of their infancy.

    Saludos a todos.

  • doug holverson

    I’m sympathetic to Amid here. You had a stereotypical stupid fanboy doing a stereotypical stupid fanboy thing. He deserved the lampoon. The only thing that he could have more stereotypical is be a lily-white US fanboy.

    BTW, variations of the ’80s having “Classic Animation” and “The Greatest Cartoons” are scattered all over the Jump The Shark site.

    How much small press is going on these days? I did a lot of that stuff back in the ’80s (Captain Saucer, Flexia Bast, InterStellar OverDrive, the Samson Safety-Flex variation of Fanboy), and it seemed that a lot of the aspirations and enthusiasm dried up when the Indie Boom did.

  • Anne

    …cause the animation of most of the 1970s HB creations was sooo much better than the 1980s offerings of Dic.

    *wink*

    Come on, you can’t go to Comicon expecting it to be a bastion of high class and intellectualism. It’s a freak show/commercial/cloud of stinky funk/nerd prom. Only with cartoons. And personally, I heart it, even though attending it every year kicks my ass.

  • http://amymebberson.blogspot.com Amy Mebberson

    I just got back from my very first SDCC. I was esconsed RIGHT down in shill-central, the Tokyopop booth wedged between the Hasbro store, the Golden Compass and Pirates of the Caribbean. It was as insane as I was told to expect. Yes, I got frustrated with the con-goers who just snatched up the buttons I made AND paid for myself without even wanting to hear at least my book was ABOUT.

    But that’s Comic-Con. It’s a big crass nerd freak-show and some of us find that EXTREMELY entertaining in and of itself, despite the chaos. As others said, this ain’t Platform or Annecy. Had I encountered this individual, I’d have probably smirked and gently corrected him as to the place of 80′s toons in the animation pecking order. And this is coming from someone who’s a huge Jem and the Holograms fan.

    I, a slim, hygienic, reasonably attractive female, went to Jerry’s Worst Cartoons Ever and loved it. I also found some awesome sketchbooks and chatted with Chris Sanders and Bill Plympton. The gems are there if you bother to look.

  • Comic-Con Fan

    WHO: Amid
    WHAT: The guy whining on his blog
    WHERE: Right here
    WHEN: Practically every day

    I have no problem with parody and satire and won’t call the PC police for insensitive comments, but I’m to the point where Amid is so negative so often, I’ve given up reading him and only come here for Jerry.

    Just because everyone doesn’t share his elitist views of what’s good and what’s crap (99% of everything according to him), is no reason to stomp out of Comic-Con, take your high horse and ride home.

    Yes, the Comic-Con has gotten huge and I liked it better when it wasn’t run by the studios. But as Mark Evanier points out in his blog, you can have any convention you want if you just search it out. There are still comic books and plenty of talented artists and panels on Golden Age heroes of the artform.

    If Amid doesn’t have the wherewithal to search out the good stuff, that’s fine. With 100,000+ others there, he won’t be missed.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    Amid – can I ask you something? Do you ever sit back and *enjoy* a cartoon for what it’s worth? Or do you watch each piece of animation frame by frame to analyze its worthiness?

    Not speaking for Amid here, but speaking for myself…

    When you choose animation as your lifetime career and your personal form of expression, you cross a line. It’s no longer possible to like stuff simply because you like cartoons. It’s no longer possible to look at cartoons the way you used to as a kid, or even as a normal member of the audience. You can only look at them as examples of technique or hold them up to your own personal creative criteria for judging. You may look on that as a sad thing if you’re a sentimental sort, but it’s inevitable if you’re a professional.

    Awhile back, I read a quote by Oscar Wilde that I liked and wrote down…

    “Bad artists always admire each other’s work. They call it being large-minded and free from prejudice. But a truly great artist cannot conceive of life being shown, or beauty fashioned, under any conditions other than those he has selected.”

    We’re just talking cartoons here.

  • http://animationwriters.blogspot.com Steve

    Steven: Then, that’s a shame.

    One of the reasons you love cartoons as a kid is because of the purity of being a kid – you don’t give a crap about walk cycles or funny takes or the theory behind it… you just enjoy it.

    This is the San Diego Comic Con we’re talking about, not the Ottawa international.

    That smelly nerd (Amid’s discription) who misses his GI Joe and Transformers loves his cartoons as much as you do yours.

    Good Christ – Why is it necessary to pee on everyone’s joy to justify your own dislikes?

  • http://www.cartoonbrew.com amid

    A lot of people have misinterpreted the point of my post. To clarify, I could care less if anybody finds enjoyment in GI Joe or Transformers. That’s subjective taste. However, it is disrespectful to this art form and the people who care about it to label pieces of trash like these as “classics.” In film, nobody would be so oblivous as to label the latest Rob Schneider film a “classic”, in literature, nobody would dare call a Danielle Steele book a “classic,” but inane proclamations like the one I heard at Comic-Con are the norm for animation.

  • http://www.nightly.net/ Matt

    I think the fanboy’s assessment is offbase, but I can’t deny his sentiment.

    There seems to be that youthful age where the animation of that time takes on a nostalgic glow, over its flaws. I can’t see a repeated frame or sequence from a Fleischer group musical to a Hanna-Barbera Yogi to a Filmation Flash Gordon and call one “art” over any other.

  • Comic-Con Fan

    Once again, I have to completely disagree with you, Amid. Somewhere out there is a person whose favorite film is a Rob Schneider film and whose favorite author is Danielle Steele.

    The bigger problem is that marketing people have co-opted the word “classic”, so it no longer has any meaning. I noticed this long ago when every Disney animated film was immediately labeled “classic” by the studio.

  • Another Comic Con Fan

    Yeh, and even yer “classic” dude is still someone who gets enjoyment from animation.

    Amid, what’s your beef about about people going to one place and having fun?

    As to the stereotypes, there is absolutely no shortage of women (thin, heavy and in-between) who attend the Con, and something keeps Ray Bradbury, Matt Groening (who started out an alternative Indy newspaper comic dude), Kevin Smith and some noted animation guru named Jerry Beck showing up each year and doing panels to talk directly to the people who love their work and the things they bring to show us.

  • Fnord

    Some people blog to share their love of an artform or the creative process. They want to share their joy and enthusiasm with like-minded people.

    Unfortunately, many people blog so that they can fantasize that they are universal, infallible arbiters of taste.

    The harsh realization that there are people out there who disagree with him must have given Amid fits.

    I don’t like godzilla movies. They’re ugly, unwatchable and fail even as self-parody. But that doesn’t mean that the existence of godzilla fans send me into a rage.

    I don’t think anybody is saying that you’re not allowed to dislike 80′s cartoons, Amid. But the fact that you have arbitrarily declared that people who enjoy those shows are wrong to do so is arrogant and irresponsible.

  • matt (the first one not the 08/1/07 9:08am Matt)

    Wow again, Amid. Nice dodge there. Too bad you feel you can’t just confront this one. I feel many of us get the impression you DO think you’re infallible.

    For the second time, why do you feel that the guy’s weight or heritage is pertinent to your actual point? It’s not. At all. Don’t give us that ‘setting the scene’ malarkey. We could say the same derogatory things of you in your natty caps and blazers.

    Hey, I actually do think that stuff was a low point in animation, and all of us can sympathise with the artists that spun their wheels to make a crust. Still that has absolutely bugger-all to do with what someone looks like or where they come from (which makes it poor writing), and has been said before it’s sort of redundant to put your nose in the air about refined animation tastes or lack thereof considering you were at bloody San Diego Comic Con, for crying out loud. I must have missed the flyer about it being the new home of serious animation discussion.

    There is actually an analogy here though in case I’m heading for a banned post. You and Gary Groth. I generally enjoy both your work and do thank you for trying to raise the bar, but the elitism sticks a bit mate. You turned it into “hey folks! Look what this fat loser had to say! Haw!” rather than your usual admirable plea for higher standards.

  • Ryan

    Amid, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The word “classic” is just as subjective as any other. Hell half the time I hear the word classic I think of the really old Dinsney shorts that were crappily animated and drawn compared to what all the other studios of the time made and only because Disney has tried to make their name synonimous to the word “classic” regardless of quality.

    Stick to the words: The Golden Age of Animation. Those words are solid, they have a founded historical state that everyone can agree on. We all know when the best time in history for animators was, but to get a room full of people to agree on what exactly constitutes a classic and what makes a cartoon good is a nearly impossible feat.

    Frankly I will call Pirates of Darkwater a classic just as soon as I will call many of the first talkie Felix the Cat and Looney Toon cartoons classic (or the first known animations by Winsor McCay for that matter), because both inspired thoughts and ideas in me that many other peices of animation have been unable to produce. To me classics are the peices that inspire, motivate, and speak to someone.

    It takes more than fluid motion and a well drawn image to make an animation worth its mettle… if all it’s about is the skill of the craftmenship end of it, then there hasn’t been a truly good animation since it’s birth as I’ve yet to see another work on the level of Winsor McCay’s.

  • http://ecomancer.net Smitha

    Thanks for the support, guys. ;o) (As for, “You boys sure are a sensitive bunch!”–I’m female.)

    Yes, he was a convention geek. But so what? As much as I don’t appreciate the lingering body odor in the hallways of conventions I’ve attended, that’s still not a good enough reason to point those personal details out as part of a post meant to mock. I don’t care if people think I’m an overly PC whiner–it’s just not right and I can’t stand for it.

    Even if you’re an industry official, you need to understand that not everyone else is. Don’t look down on them for not having the same in-depth knowledge and understanding of the field that you do, and don’t look down on them for what they find nostalgic and fun, even if it may not come close to competing with the gems of the industry. As Joe said, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and all that.

    I really love how educational and eye-opening this website has been, but I’ve totally seen this same sort of disdain in other posts, and it drives me crazy. I love animation, old and new, classic and modern, quality and “crap.” I know the crap is crap but I still enjoy it. Does that make me a fool? The average viewer sees animation as entertainment, as a pastime–it’s a much easier art form to get into than most, and it’s an incredibly versatile way to paint new worlds and create life within them that grabs people with more immediacy than paintings in a museum might–and therefore the average viewer doesn’t even think about the history of animation or the process that goes into its creation. Are they fools for that, too?