Sunday, October 30, 2011

How Astroboy was made

Fans of old-school anime will enjoy this. It's a short documentary Mushi Production put together that shows how Astroboy was made. It's in Japanese but there are English subtitles.

It's fun to see how Japanese studios make cartoons vs. how American studios does. It was a standard back then in Japan for the director to do the storyboards themselves; it still is today, although due to heavy workload there are also separate people doing the boards under the eyes of the director.

And then there's the voices. If you wondered why lip-sync is often wonky in Japanese cartoons, it's because voices are done AFTER the animation has been inked and painted and photographed. In America the voices are done first, which are then broken down onto timing sheets and given to the animator to animate the mouths with.

Although I believe at Max Fleischer's studio the voices were done after the animation was completed. Can anyone verify that?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

At the Zü books

I've posted about At the Zü before, but just recently I realized that the strip is being collected into books.

I consider this to be an underrated comic strip. It was only around for three years back in the late '90s so it was obscure even then. Still, it's nice that the strip is getting SOME availability.

Both books are being published via CreateSpace. I bought one and the printing's great. Planning to buy second one today.

See sample strips here. In the meantime you can buy the books here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Capitol Critters

In the 1960s, after The Flintstones became a hit on prime-time, networks tried to duplicating the success by picking up other cartoons for the evening timeslot, which included Calvin and the Colonel, The Alvin Show, Top Cat, The Jetsons, and the ilk. None of them made an impact until they started rerunning them on Saturday Mornings.

Similar thing happened in the 1990s. The Simpsons half-hour debuted in 1989 and it was a screaming success on FOX network. Naturally other networks wanted a piece of the action. This resulted in Capitol Critters (ABC 1992), Fish Police (CBS 1992), Family Dog (CBS 1992), and The Critic (ABC then FOX, 1994-95). Alas, they didn't make impact as the yellow-skinned family and was gone after a short time.

Capitol Critters is an interesting one. A co-production of Hanna-Barbera and Steven Bochco Productions, the show followed a mouse moving in with his relatives in the White House after his home got destroyed. The show had 13 episodes, but only 7 were broadcast on ABC. It wasn't until Cartoon Network picked it up in 1995 that the remaining 6 were shown anywhere.

From what I've seen it wasn't bad. It's not great, but not awful either. But I think the big problem was that the show's style is, well, kiddy. This is a style you often associate in children's animated films from the likes of Don Bluth, not on prime-time cartoons. Really, if you took out the swear words and maybe tone down the current issues presented in the storylines this would have fit right in on the Saturday morning time slot. Hell, it probably would have lasted longer there if ABC had done that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Third Pig

Halloween is coming up, so I'd figure I'd post this. This is an episode of the Tales from the Crypt show that aired on HBO years ago. For the final episode they decided to animate the story, courtesy of Bill Kopp and Pat Ventura. The animation was produced by Nelvana studio in Canada Toonz Animation in New Zealand.

It's probably one of the funniest cartoons ever made for television. Delightfully gross with funny drawings and voice acting. Many people have mixed feelings about Pat Ventura's cartoons, but I think he (and Kopp) really hits the spot in this one. So I'm linking it.

Just beware that the cartoon can get really gruesome at times (although it's more of a super-extreme "gross out" show) so if you're not into that stuff, stay away.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Super 6

Mike Kazaleh sent me this. It's John Dunn's original lyrics to the Super 6 theme song. The show was DePatie-Freleng's first foray into the world of Saturday Morning cartoons, airing on NBC starting 1966. Note that some of the words was changed to fit the tune of the tune better (see video below).

Bill Lava did the music and Gary Lewis sang the song.