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Skybound Entertainment, the company behind Walking Dead and the animated series Invincible, is reviving the legendary Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation. It is now accepting submissions for the 2024 edition.

A date for festival hasn’t been nailed down yet, but the first window of submissions will be free and open to residents of the U.S., U.K., and Canada (excluding Quebec) until January 5, 2024. Skybound is accepting submissions in three categories: Festival of Animation, Sick & Twisted, and Arty Farty.

Initially launched in 1977, Spike & Mike’s festivals played a key role in legitimizing independent and adult animation in the United States. The touring festival became renowned for showcasing the artistry of animation and offering a platform to young and experienced artists alike. The festival’s heyday was in the Eighties and Nineties, but it was a victim of its own success. As animation became an accepted mainstream adult art form, the event’s relevance tapered off, before finally ending in the 2010s.

But Spike & Mike’s importance during its glory days cannot be overstated. The festival screened the work of hundreds of iconic filmmakers, many of whom were still in the early stages of their careers. Some of the filmmakers whose work was presented at the festival include Pete Docter, Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Karen Aqua, John Dilworth, Alison Snowden, Brad Bird, Craig McCracken, Mike Judge, Nick Park, Chris Wedge, Andrew Stanton, Wendy Tilby, Amanda Forbis, Marv Newland, Bill Plympton, Erica Russell, Will Vinton, Joanna Priestley, Barry Purves, and Joan Gratz.

The Spike & Mike relaunch is about more than just the Festival of Animation, though. According to Skybound, the plan is to:

  • Relaunch Animation Festivals: Revive the Spike & Mike animation events, inviting creators worldwide to engage in their distinctive, unconventional style.
  • Distribute Content Digitally: Make handpicked animated shorts available online, enhancing global accessibility to both recent and legacy library content while honoring the festivals’ gonzo roots.
  • Forge New Partnerships: Seek collaborations with contemporary animation creators across a variety of mediums and platforms to spotlight today’s talent.
  • Reintroduce The Library: Assess opportunities to either rejuvenate iconic tales from the past or craft fresh narratives influenced by its library.

Skybound is encouraging animators, universities, and organizations around the world to submit original works for the chance to be featured in the library of Skybound Presents: Spike & Mike. A word of caution to Cartoon Brew readers: carefully review the terms before submitting anything through the Spike & Mike website, as the contract is not creator-friendly. The simple act of submitting your film grants an inexplicably broad license to Skybound to do whatever they want with your animation with no guaranteed compensation, and such terms could negatively impact more lucrative distribution and licensing opportunities.

Announcing the reboot, Skybound Entertainment head of studio Marge Dean said in a release:

Spike & Mike has been a seminal platform for creative voices in animation. There would be no place for shows like Invincible to exist without their efforts to develop a safe space for creators to express both the uplifting and introspective or ‘sick and twisted’ in an incredibly innovative, complex, and boundless art form.

Rick Jacobs, managing partner of linear content at Skybound, added:

Bringing this iconic brand under the Skybound umbrella is an enormous opportunity to bring Spike & Mike’s rebel origins to the masses and expand upon what we’re already doing in adult animation. Co-founder Mike Gribble once stated that their mission was “to find the most original, funniest, and weirdest animation in the world and play it.” Digitizing the festivals opens the doors for – and to – millions of talented of creators across the globe who will shepherd a new generation of animation.

Spike & Mike’s co-founder Craig “Spike” Decker also celebrated the news:

I’m incredibly appreciative of Skybound’s respect and understanding of what the Spike & Mike brand has accomplished and what we can continue to offer. I’m excited to see what they’re able to do for existing Spike & Mike work and look forward to developing a new chapter with them.