What stories resonated most with Cartoon Brew readers this year? Below you’ll find a list of our most-read stories of 2016.

First though, a few thoughts from your faithful editor on this year’s top stories:

  • Animation tools and technology enjoyed a larger presence on Cartoon Brew in 2016 than ever before, a prominence that is reflected in our most-read pieces. The biggest story on the site this year—not to mention biggest story we’ve ever published—was about Toonz animation software going open-source. A round-up about drawing tablets also captured readers’ attention, as did behind-the-scenes dives into ILM’s vfx work on Doctor Strange, Laika’s efforts on Kubo and the Two Strings, and PDI’s classic morphing technology.
  • Labor issues in the animation industry, both past and present, remain a key point of discussion, whether it was our commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Disney strike or covering the bankruptcy of Canadian outfit Arc Productions. Even the lamentable thoughts of Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland towards the welfare of his own staff still generates significant attention, despite being a two-year-old story.
  • Speaking of labor issues, one of our unintentional big stories of the year was an interview we conducted with Sausage Party directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan. The piece, intended simply as an interview with two feature film directors, the kind of thing that we do all the time, became a sounding board for artists who had had negative experiences working on the film at Vancouver-based studio Nitrogen. The comments on Cartoon Brew were subsequently picked up by dozens of mainstream publications, snowballing into an international story that drew attention in all the entertainment industry trades up to the L.A. Times and Washington Post. The post reaffirmed the vital function of Cartoon Brew’s comments section, as a community where industry artists can speak openly and where others will listen to what artists have to say.
  • Our silly piece about Zootopia porn is in the top five. You can stop pretending on Twitter that you’re outraged.
  • The informed animation writing we publish daily doesn’t make the top 20, and it’s much less talked about or acknowledged, but it’s the stuff we really hope you’ll read. Do you want to hear from a writer who was on the ground in Ghana to learn about their developing animation scene, explore how a composer is incorporating orchestral music into a contemporary tv series, revisit one of the most legendary cartoonist gatherings of the 20th century, or explore how the fantastic creatures were designed in Fantastic Beasts? These are the stories that get us excited about the art form and these are the stories we will continue to publish daily, regardless of whether they draw the big crowds.
  • “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” holds especially true in publishing. As an editor, I would have much rather seen our incredible three-part, 10,000-word oral history about the technical challenges of creating Space Jam be more popular than a basic announcement about Space Jam being re-released into theaters for its twentieth anniversary. But the internet doesn’t work that way. The news piece about the twentieth anniversary re-release spread like wildfire thanks to Reddit, while the oral history was received with critical praise and appreciation, but not nearly as many eyeballs.

In 2016, we published over 800 hand-picked stories about animation art, history, industry, and technology. Editorially, it was our strongest year ever in terms of quality and diversity, but we’ve got even bigger things planned for 2017. Our writing team is expanding, our vision growing, for how to cover this greatest of contemporary art forms.

Thank you for being a reader of Cartoon Brew in 2016. Every piece you read, every comment you write, every link you share helps us grow. Together, let’s make 2017 the best year ever for animation.

The 20 Most-Read Cartoon Brew Stories of 2016

1. Toonz Software Used by Studio Ghibli and Futurama Being Made Free and Open Source


2. Deadpool Shattered Box Office Records, But Here’s What No One Is Talking About


3. On This Day 75 Years Ago, Disney Animation Changed Forever: The Disney Artists’ Strike of 1941


4. Gravity Falls Creator Alex Hirsch Explains Why He’s Ending the Show After 2 Seasons


5. This Petition Asks Artists To Stop Creating Zootopia Furry Porn


6. Sausage Party Directors Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan On Making 2016’s Most Outlandish Animated Film


7. Powerpuff Girl Actress On Being Shut Out of Reboot: “A Stab in the Heart”


8. Nickelodeon Is Making An Invader Zim Movie


9. An Oral History of Morphing in Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”


10. Space Jam Is Returning to Theaters For Its 20th Anniversary


11. Cartoon Network Lied To Us: Uncle Grandpa Is Ending Production


12. How ILM Made Those Insane Bending Buildings in Doctor Strange


13. Arc Productions Declares Bankruptcy, Locks Out Hundreds of Employees


14. Laika Was Crazy Enough To Animate A 16-Foot Tall Skeleton for Kubo and The Two Strings

15. Massive Studio Ghibli Exhibition Opens Tomorrow In Tokyo

Ghibli Expo.

16. Drawing Tablets Head-to-Head: iPad Pro/Pencil vs. Surface Pro vs. Wacom Cintiq Companion


17. Cartoonist Faces Up To 25 Years in Prison For Failed Kung Fu Panda Lawsuit


18. Rick and Morty Co-Creator Justin Roiland: “Fuck The Union”


19. How Animation Artists See Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton


20. CalArts Animation Student: “If I Don’t Draw Black Characters, Who Will?”


Latest News from Cartoon Brew