Saturday, October 31, 2009

REVIEW: Angora Napkin

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.


This item's been relisted.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Goodbye Geocities

And so Geocities is shut down today. I have memories of using Geocities in my early days of using the internet. I had my first website through it (which is so embarrassing now that I never talk about it anymore). I didn't think it would last so long.

So goodbye and all that...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Old anime: Kaibutsu Kun (1968)

Here's an example of an early work of the famed Japanese animation studio, Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS; was just Tokyo Movie when this show aired): Kaibutsu Kun (1968 - Little Kaibutsu/Little Monster)

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

Vintage comics stuff on eBay

I'm selling yet even more old comic stuff on eBay, including a rare children's book featuring characters from "Gasoline Alley". See them here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More re: Family Guy

My last post prompted this response from Jerry Beck. I thought it was spot on, so I'm posting it here.

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.

Family Guy

So of all the cartoons ever made, why is "Family Guy" the most talked about? People either really LOVE it or HATE it.

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

MAD Special

This is cool. Somebody just uploaded the unaired "Mad Magazine TV Special". It's basically contents from MAD Magazine animated. If you want to see Don Martin or "Spy vs. Spy" animated.

eBay again

Relisted this item, with price reduced.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Yellow Cake

A very well done cartoon. I can't believe something this good was made by one guy.

Yellow Cake from Nick Cross on Vimeo.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Regular Show

This pilot got re-uploaded. My favorite of the bunch