Veteran TV artist Aaron Springer, long recognized in the industry for his strong cartooning skills, is finally getting his own TV series. Billy Dilley’s Super-Duper Subterranean Summer will premiere on Disney XD in 2017, the network revealed last Friday.
The comedy series follows Billy Dilley, an “eccentric science-obsessed seventh-grader,” and his lab partners Zeke and Marsha, who discover a magical world beneath the Earth’s surface during their summer break. Jessica McKenna (Comedy Bang! Bang!) will voice Billy, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Zeke, and Catie Wayne (Animalist) as Marsha. The series is based on a pilot that Disney TV Animation announced in 2014.
Springer first gained attention for his raunchy CalArts student film Baby’s New Formula (1995) which screened in Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. In the late-1990s, Springer developed his skills at Spumco on projects like A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith, the early online series Weekend Pussy Hunt, and the Bjork music video “I Miss You.” (Disclosure: In the early-2000s, Springer also drew a cover and a few interior comics for a zine I used to publish called Animation Blast.)
His industry credits include Spongebob Squarepants, Samurai Jack, and more recently, Disney’s Mickey Mouse shorts, but he may be best known for his projects which never made it past the pilot stage, such as Adult Swim’s Korgoth of Barbaria and Cartoon Network’s Periwinkle Around the World, both of which found cult followings over the years. Those projects can be seen below:
Whether Springer will be able to incorporate his unique sensibilities into a Disney children’s series remains to be seen. Another recent Disney series, Pickle and Peanut, has proven that there’s some space for experimentation within the studio’s TV department, yet a children’s series still feels like a compromise for a creator like Springer with a proven track record for quirky, freewheeling, adult-leaning cartoons.
Along with Billy Dilley, Disney TV Animation also announced a greenlight on a second series last week: Country Club, about the adventures of country boy Cricket Green in the big city, from brothers Chris and Shane Houghton (Harvey Beaks). Rob Renzetti (Gravity Falls, My Life as a Teenage Robot) will executive produce, and the Houghtons serve as co-executive producers.
The network also ordered a season three pickup for Daron Nefcy’s Star vs. The Forces of Evil and a second season of the short-form comedy series Two More Eggs by Mike and Matt Chapman.