Monday, December 31, 2007

Asifa Archive in Review

Father time has prepared to leave and join yet again. It is time well spent, if you enjoyed the fine points of the Asifa Archive. If you haven't here would be a good place to start. Enjoy your fresh beginnings.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A little bit of Star( Marvel style)

A small post, to get back into the groove after a long couple of weeks of studying for finals. I enjoy this cover, to yet another black and white Marvel magazine. This has more appeal and better basic construction than any of the episodes for these called "toons" I've seen. I wonder if the inside matches the cover? I also wonder who drew this. Worth checking out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Flintstone Flyer

In the last few years my view of the The Flintstones has changed dramatically, almost to the point of a Paradigm Shift. Maybe it's because I was use to the reruns of the latter episodes, when much of the initial joy of the show(and indeed, much of Hanna Barbera) evaporated, leaving little fun in its place. Like many, my view was changed by the words of John K. who,with concise words and actual pictures, made me recognize the finer qualities of the show--the backgrounds, the relationships between Fred and Barney, and the funny movements--I had long overlooked. With that in mind, I can fully understand the point of view of snooty film historians who condemn Hanna Barbera for their later gutted shows, so much so that it overshadows their great first few years. Not that it's right, but I can understand. Then again, perhaps if they were real professionals, such a mistake wouldn't happen.

With the exception of the Huckleberry Hound Show, nowhere is the funny first years epitomized than with the first Flintstones episode, The Flintstone Flyer. Keeping the singularity, the animation itself was done by one man*, Carlo Vinci, who I have also discovered(in name, not necessarily work) fairly recently. His work is thrilling ,and makes me want to practice all the more intensely. For it is is possible to create good animation and good times for your audience by yourself if you are smart and talented about it. But enough words, let the images of this fruitful few words speak for themselves.

*=Not to mention the brilliant designs of the one and only Ed Benedict.

The Flintstones: The Flintstone Flyer

(Note: while handy, this file isn't perfect. The logo is the right corner is annoying, the pause button is somewhat slow, and I think the image could be a bit sharper. I''m also curious about the colors, they seem a but duller than they should be . Nonetheless, the fact that it is free and the full screen makes it easy to pause and analyze the images more than compensates. Who knows, this may evidence enough to buy the wonderful first season DVD.)

Some good points from John K. about this particular episode:

Here and Here

Monday, November 19, 2007

Trains are apparently very tasty

Above art by Noriyoshi Ohrai

Done for a new box set by Toho coming out in Japan. Will we ever see it? Probably not. But at least Rodan and War of the Gargantuas are coming in new bi-lingual dvds. Gorath being released would also help.

Pictures/filmography of many Japanese rubber suit monsters(and King Kong):
Monster Index

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Something a little different

(The above picture has nothing to do with the rest of the piece. I just done want anyone to feel left out. That, and I just love a good drawing.)

I'm not one to espouse my opinions, at least not political ones. Not before today that is. And even now I feel a little bad because I’m perhaps being a bit too colloquial. And I'm merely linking to another site. So be it though. (Also, I need something before Thanksgiving break).

Believe me, nothing disgusts me more than forced political messages from people, especially animation, which has become burrowed with sub-par flash videos or redubbed 80's cartoon. To quote another man( Warren Beatty, who did make a fun and political film, Bullworth) "Movies are fun, but they're not a cure for cancer", which I take to mean that it's ok to have a opinion about something and say it(with solid knowledge) but realize that what you are doing as a creative person is not changing the world.

That doesn't mean people can't do both, look at Ralph Bakshi with Coonskin, Ishiro Honda with Gojira/Godzilla, or Stanley Kubrick with A Clockwork Orange. Social issues can be represented well in cartoons and so forth if you do passionately and expansive enough. But to really change something, you have to be aware and show pertinent judgment in terms of supporting the actual people who want to and can do something good. People who actually look at the world and, void of conservative (in the dictionary sense) party pandering, want to make it work. That’s why I'm throwing my hat in for Kucinich, a person a fellow politically aware cartoonist informed me of. This is more than just about a president election at a specific period. This is about voting for someone that actually --and openly-- states the ideas that will help everyone lead their life void of fretless interference(no war on drugs, free education, so forth). That is something timeless, that everyone should get behind.

And here's the proof:

The Left Coaster: A Vote For Dennis Kucinich

Update: Gore Vidal has throw his hat in the ring for Kucinich as well, making some good points about "wasting" our vote.

Dennis Kucinich: Gore Vidal

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tygers of Pan Tang double shot (live 1981)

The Tygers is, as stated in the Metal,:A Headbanger's Journey, a definitive NWOBHM band. They advanced the art of the twin guitar(especially here with the great John Sykes), they got more glam and syrupy in the later 80's (a fate also shared by Saxon and ,more perversely,Def Leppard) they never got the recognition they deserve, and they still pump out great material in the struggling 21ist century. Short and sweet, yes, just like their music.

I-Raised On Rock (03:23)

II- Love Don't Stay (04:27)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Four Fabulous Comic Covers

Sadly, not written by Steve Gerber.

The original and the best.

Not my favorite incarnation, but a funny picture nonetheless.

This is Frank Frazetta as we know him.

These and much more available at Tom Heroes(be sure to check out his Nintendo Ads as well).

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Why couldn't the Marvel comic be as good as the poster? Ridiculous, since a former Marvel Talent --the great Mike Ploog--designed most of the puppets and such. Not even the covers for the comic are good.

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kaspar the Dead Baby

"From Crazy #8. I believe it was written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Marie Severin. A particularly vicious parody that warped a lot of kids back in the '70s. It won a Shazam award for Best Humor Story in 1974."
-Robyn (scans_daily)

Now I really want there to be an Essential Crazy from Marvel. Also, Marie Severin is a damn good cartoonist(John . K was right). Mark me down for an Essential Not Brand Echh! too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yor: The Hunter from the Future (Poster)

I've never seen this movie, but I sure do enjoy this poster( and yet have no idea who it's by). But, if its as "bad"* as such great films as Commando, Halloween III: Season of the Witch(essay forthcoming), and Fire and Ice, I might check it out as soon as I can.

*As claimed by CHUD

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cartoons (vintage even)

Now this is more like it. The Fleischers, Bob Clampett, and an awesome World war II Donald Duck cartoon. Sure, they're available on the internet archive and youtube, but it's more convenient here and the video quality doesn't suck(respectively).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Audience pleasing done right (in its own way)

Daicon 4 (04:22)

To state the obvious, it's impossible today to talk about animation in the US (indeed the world) without mentioning anime. Why it is so popular is matter of debate (though Eddie Fitzgerald has good points here, here, and here ), although honestly, if you had to watch robotech or the snorks, which would you prefer? Granted the former is not cartoony or particularly formed of anything animation can and should do, but it is just more interesting than the crap people put up with in that time. Same as now. The trailer alone for Paprika looks better than shrek and sharktale combined. Another thing about anime that makes it work is that because so few people can come together and make something happen there is more of an individual feeling. Also, because there is again, so few workers and no crusty management (Japan respects its artists) they understand what the fans want and how to please them.

Both examples are shown in the short above. Although I don't personally care for the main character (a little too bland), the amusing cut style and oomph of the music more than make up for it. What's really special about this short is that the handfuls (four to six, depending on who you hear from) do the work of a far greater collective. This, the early Hanna Barbera and (to a far, far greater extent) Wizards all show creativity, not mass influx, make quality product. And again, why did they do this? To make the fans happy, by making themselves satisfied. They were fans. They cared about the art and trusted their instincts. And out of this small group came Gainaxe, who went on to make heads turn with FLCl and Neon Genesis Evangelion. From these five minutes. Sadly, some of that fun is lost on the current company, as with many studios (later Hanna Barbera) when their ranks swell.

So despite my somewhat lack of true enthusiasm for this short, I applaud it for being relentlessly forward in its entertainment capacity, showing that fans and admirers of animation can change the circumstances they live in. Something American animators sorely need to wake up and realize.

Another Fitzgerald post, which captures my feelings about anime perfectly,

Well thought out opinion on the piece: The Origin of the Species

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Moebius and his Dragoon

I guess you do learn something new every day. Today I found out the great Moebius did some of the concept art and the cover for the Panzer Dragoon (also great). Unfortunetly the cover only came out in Japan, and we Americans were stuck with a boring, terrible looking cgi cover,which I won't dignify by showing. Now, I ask you, isn't this appealing and make you want to buy the game? It does for me.

Here's the pure cover
And some more artwork

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thy Name is. . .

Nerdy, but undeniably cool.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What a sight

John K says the best examples of construction and form for cartoonists are toys, not humans(too many details). What better place to start than the greatest non-cartoon cartoon character, Gojira--and the original version too--. Someday you'll see my version when my art blog gets started.

More from John K.

Picture from Wondercon, the ridiculous con from that ridiculous country, Japan. That said, I still wish we had one like this.

More pics:
Part I
Part II
Part III
and complete with video...
Part IV

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The lighter side of Frazetta

Mention Frank Frazetta to anyone in the know, and they gush about his depictions of Death Dealer, wish they had more walls (only three or four) to put up his paintings, or silently curse that his phenomenal E.C. comics work like Squeeze Pulp(which feels somewhat similar to parts of the latter Bakshi film Hey Good Lookin') was so few in number. Hell, speaking of Bakshi, they wax negatively and positively --both equally valid to an extent-- about his film collobration with him, Fire and Ice.

But one thing you never hear--and probably because they didn't know-- is his great funny animals drawings. What, they say, the man who made Conan the Barbarian an icon drew wussy rabbits and other creatures that are best left eaten. Well, they are tasty animals, but beautiful and well constructed, and with more humor and humanity to them then most of the genre. More Bugs Bunny than Thumper. And believe it or not, this is what the real Frazetta is. Or so the man himself claims. Checkout for yourself, and decide.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Thicker than Blood-Mike Ploog

And now for the main course

Some covers
This is from a comic book coming out this year (2007) and I can't believe how good this looks. THIS is what Mike Ploog should be doing, not that those Abazad mis-mash diaries. Even better, the final product has the great Simon Bisley coloring. I urge you to go out and buy this book. I know I will. Now, will somebody please put him in a room with Steve Gerber and his new ideas for Man-Thing?!?

Note: This post is purely to express admiration for Mike Ploog. Any copyright infringement or other harmful activity is unintended. If there is a problem, please let me know immediately, and I shall sort out the problem/comply post-haste.