Wednesday, December 30, 2009
And so this is the end of the decade. 10 years since we were aching over the Y2K crisis (remember that?).
This is probably the first decade I remember in its entirety. And quite frankly, I don't think I'm going to miss it much. Hopefully the 2010s will be better.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
It's that time of the month again, when I list five items to sell on eBay. I'm sorry to say none of them will be shipped in time for Christmas, but I hope you'll take a peek anyway.
This month, we have:
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So anyone remember how I mentioned that one of my cartoons got published in the best editorial cartoon book? Well, somehow I ended up with THREE extra copies of the book.
But of course one copy is enough for me to have. Considering that I actually need MORE space, and not to mention the fact that Amazon doesn't have any copies in stock, I decided to do what good Americans do in this situation.
So here's the deal. If anyone wants a copy of this book you can have it for $13. That price includes Media Mail (if you want me to ship via Priority, add $3). And as you expect, the supply is very limited, so go ahead and email me now if you want it.
If you want me to autograph it, yeah, I can do that. Not sure if that'll add value on eBay, though.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I've pretty much lost interest in editorial cartooning. Admittingly, I was never into it in the first place, just doing them as an excuse to get published.
Consider this my final chapter to this medium.
Buy it here
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Anyway, after the east-coast well dried up, he moved over to west. One of the places he worked at over there was DePatie-Freleng, and he ended up writing a handful of their theatrical shorts. One of the titles was his sole Roland and Rattfink credit, "Flying Feet" (1969), embedded below:
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Email me if you want more info (shipping, quality, etc.)
The Wizard of Id #6: The Wizard's Back
Best Political Cartoons of the Year - 2008 (Daryl Cagle)
Dilbert: When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View
Bush Leaguers: Cartoonists Take on the White House
Get Fuzzy: Blueprint for Disaster
Get Fuzzy: Groovitude
The Far Side Gallery #1
The Koky Dailies (a collection of Koky comic strip from 1979-1981)
Mutts: Cats and Dogs
Sheldon: Pure Ducky Goodness (inscribed with sketch by author Dave Kellett)
Saturday, December 5, 2009
THINK OR SINK
This was written by Jim Tyer, believe it or not. I wonder if it was inspired by Sidney the Elephant, a character he animated about a decade earlier at Terrytoons.
OLD MOTHER CLOBBER
Speaking of Terrytoons, here's one of the Clint Clobber cartoons. And what do you know, it has an animation by Tyer.
Animated by Howard Beckerman (see post below), with story by Cliff Roberts and direction by Shamus Culhane.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
After watching "The Trip" (embedded below), I decided to google Howard Beckerman's name and discovered that he has a website. It's a neat site that covers Howard's work in animation. In addition to Paramount he also worked at Rankin-Bass, the 1969 "Winky Dink" revival, and also on the Nickelodeon series "Doug".
He has a book out called "Animation: The Whole Story". There are excerpts on his website if you'd like
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
First up it's "The Trip" (1967). Shamus Culhane is listed as a director but it's really Howard Beckerman's film, considering that he not only wrote it, but animated the entire thing himself.
Here's another "Nudnik" cartoon, "Nudnik's Nudnickel" (1967). This one has story by Eli Bauer and Al Kouzel, whom Gene Deitch has collaborated with before on other projects. Bauer and Kouzel previously worked together on Terrytoons' "James Hound", doing story on all the shorts.
That's Deitch doing the voice of the bus driver.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Here are some I uploaded. One of the series Paramount attempted was Honey Halfwitch, apparently "half wizard, half girl", according to the theme song (good luck trying to get that out of your head.).
Halfway through the series the character's design was changed. I'm not sure which one I like better. What do you think?
However, the biggest highlights of the DVD wern't actually made by Paramount; they only distributed it. These highlights are the Nudnik cartoons directed by Gene Deitch. For a late 1960s American animation, Nudnik was a rarity in that it was very heavy on slapstick. Technically the series wern't made in America at all; they were done in Czechoslovakia, which were contracted to Paramount via Bill Snyder's Rembrandt Films. Here's one of the shorts:
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Cartoon Network finally aired the TV "Ed, Edd n Eddy" movie last night, after it aired in several other countries months before that.
I was never a big fan of the show, but I must say the film overwhelmed me. There were some hilarious character arcs throughout and the animation was outstanding for something made under the television production system.
The movie served as a finale to the series and I'd say it went out with a blast. The movie marked the only time a character other than the main kids appeared (Eddy's brother). Good job, Danny.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Internet can be awesome sometimes. A week after I wrote about it, somebody uploaded an episode from a 1968 black and white "Kaibutsu Kun" on YouTube.
This appears to be edited. It would've been 11 minutes long in an original broadcast (this is 9 minutes long), and there seems to be some abrupt scene changes. I'm not complaining. This is probably all that will be put up anywhere.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Teletoon's adult cartoon block, DeTour, is doing a pilot project of a sort. They ordered 10 pilots and are putting them online one at a time, giving viewers a chance to vote on their favorite. Basically their own version of the "U Pick" thing Cartoon Network did years ago. Since I don't even live in Canada, I don't plan on voting, but on a whim I decided to view their 2nd offering called "Angora Napkin", created and directed by Nick Cross (see his blog here) and Troy Little.
"Angora Napkin" is based on Troy Little's graphic novel. Having never read it, I have no clue how different it is from the animated pilot, although the style is the same from what I've seen. Animation and art direction-wise, it's a delight. The character designs are very fun to look at and the visual style on a whole is pretty enjoyable. The animation is expecially good considering that it was done in Flash. Which goes to show that if it's in the right hands Flash can be used for good.
One could compare the style to Spumco, which is not surprising since co-director Nick Cross worked for John K. on the "Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon" show. Much of the animators listed also worked on the show as well, so the similarities are to be expected.
The voices aren't bad, too. The girls can be annoying at times, but every other voices are pretty good. I like the Dolphin Boy's voice (provided by Dwayne Hill). Unfortunately, everything else falls apart really badly, and I do mean badly.
It has become a trend for cartoons to be really bizarre as possible, and this is no exception. Please note that I have nothing against cartoons with bizarre stories. There are recent examples of such shows that I find to be genuinely enjoyable, such as the off-beat "Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack". The difference, however, is that the weirdness in "Flapjack" has heart and is not just for the sake of it. "Angora Napkin" unfortunately suffers from this, where random things just happen because they can. I'm honestly tempted to compare this to "Family Guy" with better drawings.
The first story is a good example, where zombies attack the three main characters. Towards the end they discover that the undead were after the medallion one of the characters were holding. Where did that medallion come from? It just out of nowhere came, with one of the characters explaining that she stole it from another adventure. Wait, what? That was forced.
The second story is no better. After they invertedly kill the royal seamonkey family (don't ask) the guard explain that the royal power is now given to the Dolphin Boy who was in the story throughout. Well, that's just convenient. I know cartoons aren't supposed to make sense, but when good cartoon do it they try to make it seem plausible. Even in something like this it just wasn't it.
So yeah, this was a disappointment. Which is a shame because I think Nick Cross is a talented animator. I liked his "Yellow Cake" short he did not so long ago. And I also think that Mr. Cross is more than capable of doing a good weird, non-sense cartoons that's becoming a trend lately. Maybe he's better off doing independent animations?
You can watch the pilot here.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
So goodbye and all that...
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I never saw the black-and-white show but I did see the color remake that aired in the eighties. The main kid is a prince of Monster Land who wound up in the human world, along with Dracula, Werewolf, and Frankenstein's monster ("Franken" in the show). They befriended a human kid whom he always helped.
One of the things I remember was that they rented an apartment room right next to the aforementioned human kid and his older sister's (their parents are apparently dead), but it was empty except for a refrigerator which was really an opening to a tunnel that led to the spooky house the monsters were really living in (I think there was a reason for it, but I don't remember)
The Werewolf had two character designs: the human form in daylight and the wolf form in night. The two designs were used interchangeably depending on what part of the day the scene took place.
The titular character was otherwise normal looking except that he had an ability to stretch his limbs like rubber and also transform his face into something else by waving his hands on his face repeatedly (as seen in the clip I linked above).
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Whenever I'm forced to watch FAMILY GUY, I laugh and I usually enjoy it. But I'm one of the haters of the show.
My problem with the show has nothing to do with the actual show itself. I resent the reason it was created.
FAMILY GUY was conceived by Fox as a way to manufacture a hit show on the level of THE SIMPSONS. Fox shares/splits revenue from THE SIMPSONS with Matt Groening and Gracie Films (Jim Brooks). Fox saw how much THE SIMPSONS was making and wanted their own version of that success. When Seth MacFarland [sic] walked in with a rough idea of a "family" animated sitcom, Fox bought it and staffed it with the top comedy writing talent money could buy. The show was hilarious - but it bombed in the ratings.
However, as we all know, DVD sales and an Adult Swim run revived it. And Fox got their wish for a duplicate SIMPSONS that they own 100%. Good for them.
Unlike the Simpsons, South Park, and numerous other animated series, Family Guy has no soul. It doesn't come from any creators point of view. It's simply a manufactured product - not that there's anything wrong with that.
I'm delighted with Family Guy's success, because its success reflects well for animation, hand drawn animation in particular - and it spawned many other animated shows for prime time. And that's always a good thing.
No other shows, not even "Simpsons", "SpongeBob" or even "South Park" fuels bloodbath of a debate like "Family Guy".
Is it because the show is successful? Meh, there are billions of successful shows I don't like but you don't see me bitching about it. Hell, I don't even like this show much and I don't bitch about it. Instead, I'm bitching about people who bitch on this show. It's not the death of animation. FG didn't lower the standards for others to come (not that it's ever been high in the first place).
Sometimes I hate the animation community.
Just had to rant.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
CN will not air a new "Chowder" this week (it will return next week, tho...). However, last week's is up, and it's pretty funny. Called "A Faire to Remember", Chowder becomes friends with another girl, making Panini very jealous. See it, it's only going to be up for 2 weeks.
Panini's pretty much the highlight of the episode, especially the way she's drawn. And this is probably the only time you'll see her "inner male", complete with Popeye-arms, 4-o'clock shadows, and speaking in a very manly voice.
"The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" continues to amaze me. One of the neat things is that the styles vary depending on the writer/board artists. I'm beginning to love the Sean Szeles-Somvilay Xayaphone episodes that's been coming out this season and "S.S. K'Nuckles" is no exception. What I found amazing is it has like 3 different subplots going on in a 11 minute cartoon, and it ties up in the end. Watch it here.
Sean Szeles has some production art from the episode on his blog.
(and yes, folks. I actually like some of the newer cartoons. What, you think I'm stuck in the past consistently or sumthin'?)
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It was originally a comic drawn by Yasumi Yoshizawa. It got turned into an anime by Tokyo Movie Shinsha in 1972. It ran for 103 episodes.
Here's a clip. Sorry about the poor quality.
There's something to be said about the animation in this show. While crude, it's full of life with great expressions. One of the best uses of limited animation. I wish more shows today (whether it originated in USA or Japan) does that.
I loved watching "Shin Chan" as a kid in Japan and later watched its airings on Adult Swim. All I can say is, what a terrible way to go.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Some of you may remember the "U.S. Acres" segments that aired on the Garfield and Friends show years ago. What many doesn't know is that it was based on another comic strip Jim Davis was doing. It only lasted couple years (the animated series lasted longer).
Let's just say the strip was really hilarious. Read them here.
Friday, September 4, 2009
(the background is a reproduction)
The UPN Dilbert series from 1999-2000 were one of the last cartoons to be painted on cels before all the studios switched to digital ink and paint, so this is pretty cool to have.
The Dilbert cel and the woman cel came with original animation drawings (no scans yet, sorry) and one thing I noticed was that parts of the drawing were xeroxed in from a pre-existing drawing, with only the parts moving drawn in. So I guess a form of "tweening" can happen in a hand-drawn cartoon.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Mr. Greenblatt agreed for an exit interview, regarding the show and what's coming up.
What was the process of the making of an episode, from story to final editing?
It takes about nine months to create an 11-minute episode. Each week we’d start a new episode, and they’d all be overlapping like a big assembly line, with some coming in as others were going out.
We start with the outline. Either one of the writers will come to me with an idea or we’ll brainstorm one in the writers’ room. The outline is under two pages long and covers the main beats and motivations of the story. Then once the network approves it, we hand it off to the storyboard artist. Here is where the real meat of the episode is written: all the dialogue, jokes, and details. In fact, the beats would often change as the story was worked out. The storyboard artist gets six weeks to finish the board. Usually about halfway in, they would pitch it to me and Bill Reiss (the creative director) so we could make sure the story was clear.
Once the board is turned in, Bill would take a few days to add any jokes or tweaks needed. Then I would take a pass to do the same, sometimes reworking a scene if needed. Then the network made their notes. Once all the revisions were finished, we’d record the episode. With the voice track we’d build an animatic of the storyboard, like a slideshow, to be used for timing. Usually the episodes were a bit long, so we’d sadly have to cut a lot.
Then it entered the design and timing process. The designers drew and colored all the new characters and costumes and all the new backgrounds. The directors timed out all the action. Then everything was shipped to China for about three months.
We’d get the footage back as digital files and post-production would begin. First we do retakes, fixing animation that came back incorrectly or need tweaking. A lot of our retakes happen because we have to make the image fit both 4:3 and 16:9 fielding. So everything has to fit in 4:3, which means there’s lots of unused space on the right and left of the screen in 16:9. Once we have all the retakes, we being editing. We ship the episode at up to 12:30 in length, but have to cut it down to 11 minutes for airing. After it’s cut, I sit with the composers and sound effects editor to decide where and what kind of music cues and effects we should use. Two weeks later we mix all the sound. Then we do a final pass to make sure all the final visuals are correct before we deliver it to the network.
When Chowder got picked up for second season, did you make any changes, either in the show or behind the scenes?
The changes happened naturally. When you draw the characters hundreds of times, they start to fall into a simpler design and the proportions sort of lock into shape. So I made some model tweaks based off that.
The hardest part about starting a new show is getting the writing to sync up with your vision of it. So first season I spent a lot of time re-working scenes to make them more “Chowdery.” By second season, everyone had a better sense of what the show would be, so I eased off control, giving more creative freedom to the board artists.
Were there any episodes that required more work than usual?
Both Flibber Flabber Diet and Elemelons were tough. Pretty much any story with Truffles was hard at first. She can be so abrasive that we had to be a little more sensitive about finding her softer side. Eventually we realized that a little Truffles goes a long way and we decided she’d be like Oscar the Grouch, mostly hang out in her room and only showing up for a little at a time.
Is it hard coming up with stories related to cooking?
We often have a ton of interesting food ideas, but figuring out what the emotional drive attached to that story is the challenge. Each story usually involves food in some way, but they aren’t all about cooking. For instance, Chowder’s Girlfriend has them at the farmer’s market, we see the grabbles, and he bakes a cake at the end, but the story is Chowder dealing with Panini’s affection.
The funny part is when I first pitched the show, the network was afraid that every episode would be about cooking a different recipe each week. I had to convince them that is was a show about people who cook, not cooking itself. Sort of like how ER is about the people who work in a hospital, not the ins and outs of being a doctor. The pilot was The Froggy Apple Crumple Thumpkin. After that, I wrote Mahjongg Nite. It involves Chowder’s quest for mevilled eggs but it’s about him not being allowed in the kitchen. Then I wrote The Heavy Sleeper to show more of the city. These were all done before the show was even greenlit.
You wrote that Panini (then known as Borlotti) and Endive went through major changes during development. Did any other characters go through similar changes?
They didn’t change so much during as after. In development, they were just ideas. Once we started writing them, they became who they are now. As far as development goes, I was insanely lucky. Nothing major changed from the day I pitched it through series. The show ended up exactly as I had wanted. Any changes that happened occurred naturally, from bringing the characters to life and letting them grow.
You also wrote that the finale will have Chowder as an adult with his own apprentice. What will it be about (that you can tell us, at least)?
The title of it is “Chowder Grows Up,” so that should give you a pretty good idea. I had always wanted to do a Dragonball Z, where the series jumps a few years ahead but keeps on going as a normal series. So knowing we were finishing up, I figured it’d be nice to end there. It was really important to me that the fans get to see Chowder achieve his goal.
The story focuses on Chowder’s refusal to let go of his role as Mung’s apprentice. By not becoming the chef he was meant to be, his future negatively impacts the lives of everyone he cares about, like in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Ultimately he has to decide if he’s ready to take up that mantle. His new apprentice, Scraps, is introduced in the story, but the focus is still very much on Chowder. I would liked to have done some more stories with the two of them. They have a good chemistry.
Did your writers take turn writing those puppet sequences that appear in the closing credits?
Yeah, each season different writers wrote the puppet skits. I think we learned a lot as we went on; mainly that 30 seconds is hardly any time and the idea must stay very, very simple.
I'd figure I'd ask. Was the scene of Chowder moon walking in "Paint the Town" a last minute addition as a tribute or was it just good (bad?) timing?
It was done way in advance. Not only are we writing these much earlier than you’re seeing them, we have been delivering the final episodes to the network months before they air. So the timing was just a coincidence.
Are you optimistic about the future of creator-driven cartoons (or cartoons in general)?
I actually think that creator driven-cartoons have a great future ahead of them. And luckily, most executives at other networks I’ve talked to genuinely believe that the best shows come from that process. There’s a lot of good opportunity out there now, and I think we’ll see some good stuff coming out in the next few years.
What's your favorite moment in the show?
I’m going to cop out on this one and say there’s at least something in every episode that I love. Some of the best surprises for me are when I first see the stop motion footage. I love seeing those.
From what I can gather you're a big anime fan. Were there any anime influences that you deliberately included in the show?
Akira Toriyama is a big, big influence. I love his work, especially the early Dragonballs when Goku was small and cute. And one of our character designers, Serapio Calm, is also a Toriyama nut. If you look at his blog, you can see how much his designs are influenced by him.
One of Carl's influences.
Gankutsuo was another influence. I had the pattern-fill idea before I saw it but seeing it in motion solidified the fact that I could pull it off. I used it as reference to show the network and the overseas animation studio how it would look.
Anything about "Chowder" that nobody knows about?
Chowder’s a robot. Oh wait, we already revealed that. But this is actually true. In one of the conversations I had with the new regime at CN, they told me that while Chowder may be my baby, they technically paid for the parts that made it. So in effect, it’s a cyborg baby. This exact phrase was said to me. Now I know this is technically true, it’s their show, but when this person says this to justify pointless notes that go against everything you’ve been doing on a show for the previous year, its not the kind of thing that warms your heart. And it’s not the kind of thing that was ever said at CN before.
I don’t know if most people know that we did a different oven opening for almost every single half hour. There are a few in second that are repeats, but the rest are unique. The network doesn’t always run them because of the way they break up the shows.
Now that Chowder is finished, what's in store from you?
There are new ideas I’m working on that I’m very excited about. Some are very different from anything I’ve done before, and I like those kinds of challenges. So right now I’m just about to start the pitching process to other networks, and hopefully someone will let me make a new pilot.
My time at CN is definitely over for now. I’ll only be there until the end of the year when I deliver the last Chowder episode. After that I’ll be joining my friends over at Disney for a while.
So what can we expect from the remaining episodes yet to air?
I think we hit a really nice stride at the end of the second season into the third season. Hopefully the fans will enjoy the end of the run. We’ve got stories about: Shnitzel’s mysterious past, a new girl makes Panini jealous, they drive an explosive delivery around the world, Chowder becomes a musical star, Mung’s tongue gets ruined, a demonic turkey possess Chowder, Shnitzel falls in love, Endive kills Mung, the kids go scouting, everyone switches bodies, and Gazpacho gets his own episode.
Who would win in a fight between Truffles and Gazpacho's mother?
Gazpacho’s mother for sure. Truffles would fight dirty, but Gazpacho’s mom is huge and mean and would ultimately sit on her.
Any final comments?
Chowder really is a love letter to the cartoons I grew up on, and I’m glad the response has been so overwhelmingly positive. We still have many more to air so I hope everyone enjoys watching the end of the run as much as we enjoyed making it.
Chowder © Cartoon Network
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I've now come to an conclusion that animation blogs suck. I can't believe how bitter and angry things can get while discussing animation.*
Usually when I watch cartoons, bitter and angry are not what's usually in my mind (note that I said "usually"). I don't know why blogs about cartoons have to be that way. Even when you're critiquing something it's not in my mind.
This is why I only talk about cartoons I enjoy. There's enough bitterness in animation blogs already, even in this vast wasteland known as the "internet".
* - of course, when you're talking about WORKING in animation, now that's another story!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Volume 1 of "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" is being released on DVD pretty soon. You can even pre-order it on Amazon.com.
Of course the real meat are the bonus. Unlike with the Chowder DVDs they're not skimping it. Included are:
- Adventures in Voice Acting
- Adventures in Animation
- Misadventures in Song
- Meet Thurop
Flapjack is one of the most well-written, well-designed, hell, even well-animated cartoon currently airing on television right now, so it's great that a DVD is coming out. Hopefully more will follow.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Much of it were produced at Hanna-Barbera in LA area, but some were made in other parts of US (or sometimes outside; one was done in Italy). One short, "O Ratz: Rat in a Hot Tin Can", was done in Indianapolis at Perennial Pictures. It was animated there, too. One of the very few TV cartoons that wasn't outsourced to Asia.
Anyway, I got a cel from the cartoon in the mail today. Check it out
For context, the way it appeared on-screen.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Here's a clip
This was based on a comic running in Shonen Sunday. The anime only lasted 6 months but the comic lasted 12 whole years.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Can't say I'm surprised. The ratings were lackluster at best, and it aired on Friday nights, the worst night to air premieres. Especially the animated ones. (The show was originally on Wednesday nights, but the ratings were terrible so it was moved to Fridays after two weeks).
I didn't think it was terrible. Some entertaining moments here and there. But I can see why it didn't do so well. Basically, most plots are King of the Hill rejects with the politics reversed.
I'll give ABC credit for one thing: they actually aired all 13 completed episodes. I can't say the same thing for other ink-and-paint prime time sitcoms from the past 10 years that doesn't air on FOX.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
It is being published by Random House and was originally an eBook published through Joe's website.
The eBook will be taken down in a manner of days. So you'll have to be very quick about it if you can't wait for the print edition to come out.
It also details on alternative method of getting a cartoon out if you don't want to deal with network executives.