The Return of Stevie and Zoya

Here’s something exciting. Joe Horne is producing new Flash episodes of THE ADVENTURES OF STEVIE & ZOYA. It seems only appropriate to post this while I’m in New York, since Joe is a native NY’er and School of Visual Arts grad, not to mention that the cartoon is set in a futuristic New Yorx, NY. The original STEVIE & ZOYA interstitials appeared on MTV in the late-’80s, the network’s first animated serial. These new episodes don’t look anything like the old ones, but Horne has always been a visual experimenter. His personal projects – MTV’s THE SPECIALISTS (for LIQUID TELEVISION), ESPERANTO FAMILY (for MTV Europe) and the “El Hombre” segments from PEEWEE’S PLAYHOUSE – all have highly distinctive styling. The new STEVIE & ZOYA are no exception and it’s some of the funkiest Web animation I’ve seen in a long time. Guerilla Flash cartooning one could call it – raw and immediate – Joe creates each episode in under a week, making them during his spare time in the evenings; during the days he’s working on Bill Kopp’s Tom & Jerry revamp at WB.

Understanding the production process of these shorts helps explain the unique visual results. Each episode is like an animated improvisation. After deciding the rough plot and action of each short, Horne creates a list of characters, props and backgrounds he needs for the episode. He then plugs the required items into Google’s photo search engine and finds all the artwork (i.e. photos) on the Internet. These photos are then combined with his own artwork. It is a Webcartoon in the truest sense; the cartoons would be impossible to produce without the images he finds online. To add that extra personal touch, Joe also creates the soundtracks himself in Acid.

He’s produced five episodes to date, but plans to make quite a few more. According to Horne, the impetus to create new episodes of STEVIE & ZOYA was quite spontaneous: “Glen Murakami walked up to me one day and said, ‘You should make some more of those Stevie and Zoya cartoons, Joe.’” And so he did. Thank you, Glen. At the moment, the cartoons are only being emailed to friends, but if anybody wants to post the Flash shorts on their site for free, Joe told me he’s down with the idea of sharing them with a larger audience. Drop me a line and I’ll hook you up with him.