Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mickey Mouse comic by Basil Wolverton

No, this is not a premature April fool's joke, there really is a Basil Woverton drawn Mickey Mouse. I'm as surprised and awestruck as you.

Thanks to Comics Comics for the discovery.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pals [aka Christmas Night] (by Jim Tyer)


There are many "what if" versions of cartoon history; what if the Flesichers had made feature length films during their prime(1930-1934)? What if Bob Clampett's unit came under Scribner's control, rather than Mckimson's? Perhaps something of an answer to the latter question can come with the above short. Scribner was a brilliant and crazy animator, as was Jim Tyer (although, admittedly both were also drastically different in many ways).

The above cartoon is one of Tyer's few directing credits, oddly enough for the Van Buren Studio, one of the "Little King" series. It's notably crude in design, even for the time. It's very proto-UPA, proving that that particular style isn't new (among other evidence) as well as how Tyer had this particular idea of form far before the 1950's.

It's also an interesting note in the question of "do great animators make great directors?". Tyer's entry is interesting in that because he is the director there is a notable lack of his insane animation --although to be fair he was still in his infancy as this stage--. It's also carried on Tyer's famous apprentice Ralph Bakshi. He was also a great animator, but as his film progressed he often like to let other carry out his ideas, rather than use his doodles as key frames(the complete opposite of Chuck Jones). Was this part of his live and let live attitude, famously leaned from Tyer himself(check the links at the bottom)? Who knows. In any case an interesting cartoon from the golden age of animation.

Also, this and every Little King short in in a wonderful Thunderbean DVD,with far better quality than the youtube coding. SO if you like this short be sure to support a great company who cares about classic animation.The Complete Animated Adventures of the Little King

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cover to Cover: Star*Reach

Howard Chaykin

Neal Adams

Frank Brunner

Howard Chaykin

Howard Chaykin

Jeff Jones

Barry Windsor-Smith

P. Craig Russell

Ken Steacy

Frank Brunner

Ken Steacy

Frank Brunner

Steve Leialoha

Ken Steacy

Steve Leialoha

Ken Steacy

Jeff Bonivert

Lee Marrs

All covers of the title series from the company with the same name. I think the first three are classic, the seventeenth good and the rest fine. Decide for yourself(and tell me in the comments).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pogo's Special Birthday Special (by Chuck Jones)

Part 1 (08:25)

Part 2 (08:58)

Part 3 (07:41)

Made in 1969, for the 20th anniversary of the Pogo Strip, Pogo's Special Birthday Special was Chuck Jones'(along with Ben Washham) faithful adaptation, similar to the more famous Grinch Special. But while the latter was universally hailed, Birthday Special is a matter of debate among both fans of and not of the original strip(as well as Jones'); some viewing it as a failure to capture the spirit of Walt Kelly's original work(it should be noted that Kelly himself contributed to the story,as well as voicing some characters).

Personally I find it very much an enjoyable program, with the small caveat of it being rather wordy, which is odd considering how critical Jones was of illustrated radio animation, the guidelines of which Birthday Party rarely deviates from.

Tell you what, you decide whether it trashes the source material or not, with scans of it courtesy from the asifa archive, and an introduction from Mike Fontanelli.

Walt Kelly's Pogo

Concept Art
(From Abe Levitow's site)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Forbidden Animation (thematically of Batman)

This single shot was promoted to show the glass ceiling of subjects the Batman animated series was allowed --which you can see by turning upside down--, although it was still a little looser than 1980's cartoons. Also, it's a really nice, well constructed picture (courtesy of Bruce Timm), which I always appreciate.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bimbo's Initiation (by Grim and Dave)

Earlier today I was asked who my favorite animator was. I can never decide permanently, but I think Grim Natwick would be a good choice. When he worked with the great Dave Fleischer it made the cartoons that cement The Fleischers' as my favorite cartoon studio (until they started imitating Disney). The above cartoon is one of those defining cartoons, and also unfortunately the last of Natiwck's first era of the Fleischers'. This is probably the finest print you will find of this cartoon unless it's released on DVD or shown in a theater. Wanna be a member like me?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back in the day with the Marvel Gang (1969 style)

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Marvel comics,as they represent some of the finest entertainment of their (or any) era. But you may wonder, the next time your see a particularly good issue, what kind of person made this product? Well, be curious no more. From the impossibly young Stan Lee's writings, to John Buscema's solid drawing, and Marie Severin's fantastic colors, there are the people behind the funnies.

From the accurately named Comics Oughta Be Fun!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Yak Yak for Weirdo

If don't know who Jack Davis is, inquire here .

Anyhow, this just a quick way of saying sorry to a constant commenter who visited this: Weirdo. he always had nice things to say, but I never responded(mostly because I didn't have the email comments to ". . ." option on) but this is an appeasement everyone can enjoy. The near compete issue of Yak Yak number 1, featuring all Davis all the time.

Jack Davis' Yak Yak #1

Keep up the good comments buddy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stan Lee and Jim Steranko, Together? Who knew!

One of the joys of making this blog is meeting new people and their interests, which sometimes are different, but often the same but within a different focus. Joe Ackerman, who left a nice comment in the Gerber-Lilith post, has a blog of his own, which predominately celebrates comic book art. One such story that caught my eye features two celebrated creators who I never knew collaborated (three guess who, and the first two don't count).

Even stranger, the point of collaboration is a romance tale, one genre nether is associated with. This is certainly different than the funny animal, humor, or horror stories I have posted on before, but I have no shame in this story. The female lead is not cloying, rather constructed like a real woman, something out of an Allen film, or Alice from the Honeymooners. And besides, isn't variety the spice of life? Now onto the real question: Who did the marvellous color?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Three Times with Not Brand Echh(and Asifa)

I just can't get enough of this comic, can you?I love Kirby's faces, Lee's hilarious dialogue and all the other qualities that make this the biggest in-joke parody ever made. It's the best one too. Don't forget to ask for more at Aisfa.

Friday, March 7, 2008

More Steve Gerber: Lilith, the Daughter of Dracula

More evidence of a great man lost. I'll try to find as much as possible for further evidence.

A third thank you(and probably not the last) to scans_daily.

Bonus Pin-Up:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Art from Luminous Arc 1 & 2

Again, I'm not one for all anime, but good art is good art. The color theories alone in the first picture is astounding. I've yet to play this game, but am vaguely curious if it keeps close to the source; or if it rather haphazardly discards it ,like most of the major studios today(just look at any of the art of . . . Pixar books, so much inspiration discarded by the time of the final product).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Remembering Steve Gerber (1947-2008)

I’ve been thinking for days on end how to come up with the right words, the right pros/passages, and the right paragraph(s) to describe Steve Gerber’s talents. And I can’t, although I think I came close in the first ever article I wrote on him (check the subject links). I never knew the man, only his work. Therefore, I can only speak as a fan. All good writing has a goal to create material to read for pleasure, and on that front Steve Gerber wrote spectacularly. Yes, he wrote in a medium rightly controlled by the visual storytellers, but he worked magnificently with those craftsmen; never subtracting, only adding. The seventies is still my overall favorite decade for comics, and Gerber was THE man of the seventies. Go buy any his works and see why. The only thing I would like now is that all the loose ends of his writings (phantom zone, foolkiller, and misc.) get presented in a trade paperback form, so others can see his skill.

Other perspectives:

1) His own words: The infamous 1978 interview

2) A sample of his body of work (covers only)

3) His peers/colleagues memories:

If you have anything to add please do so in the comments, I will be glad to highlight them.