Archive for the ‘Animation’ Category

Apocalypse averted

July 9, 2014

An animated classic from my childhood almost got Carey-ed away.

Comics go to the movies – TV specials

January 11, 2012

The AV Club has a nice write-up on comic strips that were turned into obscure TV specials.

Certainly the most interesting, yet not very succesful, is the pilot for a Wizard of Id series done not in animation, not with human actors, but with Muppets. I got to see this over a decade ago at a Johnny Hart exhibit in Binghamton NY. Johnny himself was our guide and said the coming of Sesame Street stopped the process from going further.

The one that you’d think would be the hardest to adapt – The Far Side – because of its lack of characters and plot, is the best of the ones I’ve seen. Surreally fun. (I still have it on ye ol’ video tape from when it first appeared on TV.)

They don’t give  much love to the Cathy special. But take a look at the clip there. I happen to think it’s well written and acted. Take that, h8trs.

I wouldn’t normally suggest that anyone read the comments on the AV Club – they often have little to do with the subject and are just people wanting to hear themselves talk (or, type). This time there are some interesting tidbits in the discussions as well as links to other clips. I think one of them was a Slovenia-produced Hagar the Horrible.

And now for something (somewhat) completely different…

August 14, 2011


I grew up on Monty Python. When it first started being shown on our local PBS station in the early 70s I was in junior high. The people who “got it” were my friends and it shaped our newly budding senses of humor. Here’s a video clip (via Daily Cartoonist) from back in the day of animator Terry Gilliam explaining how he does what he does (or, did). And he shows how he created the rightly-famous carnivorous baby carriage cartoon from above.

I don’t normally link to stuff like this, but it was so exiting to see that if I had seen it back in the day, my teenage head would have exploded with joy.

(Back in the day. There, I just wanted to type it a third time.)

Summer T-shirt Spectacular!! Part 1

June 1, 2011

Yep, it’s summer – the prime t-shirt wearing time of year. I am a cartoonist, and in many ways a cartoon geek, but not the kind of geek that wears a lot of cartoon t-shirts.

Or am I?

Today I put on the above t-shirt so I thought I’d post my shirt every time it’s a cartoon one (at least until they start repeating) and try to explain my way out of it so as not to look like as big a dork as fear I might be.

This is obviously an Underdog shirt. I watched the cartoon as a kid but was never a big fan (although Wally Cox as the voice of Underdog was a big plus). I like mottled gray shirts, I liked the design and its hipster pre-distressed look. And I like that it was $5 at my favorite store, Five Below.

To be completely vain about it, the coolness factor for a cartoon shirt is in reverse proportion to the popularity of the character. Underdog is a lot less popular than, say, Wolverine, so I probably wouldn’t wear a Wolverine shirt.

(Underdog also had a cool theme song, made even cooler in this version by the Butthole Surfers.)

Music with art

April 8, 2011

Just got home from doing a wee bit of a talk about art, cartooning and meaning as a lead-in to the “music with art” piece Twilight of the Gods (music by Andrew Boysen, Jr, art by Erik A. Evensen) at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg PA. (You can check it out at Evensen site.) I spoke on the validity of comics/cartoons presenting serious subjects like this – a retelling of a Scandinavian myth about the apocalypse. (And you’re not going to get any more serious than the apocalypse.)

Here’s part of my shtick:

“The thing to remember is that comics is a medium, merely a way to get a story or idea across, same as a book, or theater, or movies. We don’t think of all movies as being about masked killers who hunt unfortunate teenagers on the night of their prom. That’s a horror movie. That’s a genre. We accept film as being a flexible enough form to contain a heartfelt drama about a young woman coming of age during the depression whose entire family is wiped out by a unknown and incurable disease but heroically faces adversity to live an enriching, inspiring life. Or a comedy about a police officer who puts on a fat suit to pose as very, very large woman which, somehow, helps him to fight crime.”

Simpons reference alert

June 20, 2010

We were offered a “Baby on Board” sign by a friend. We turned it down, but I was think we should have accepted only so I add to it, in Sharpie, “something, something, Burt Ward.”

Thursday is the new Sunday – Ransom!

July 9, 2009


The germ of the idea for the Sunday strip rerunning on today was an animated greeting card I did for years ago. At the time Amazon was encouraging us to come up with fake, silly holidays for people to send e-cards for (because people need to be encouraged to spend more time on the internet). Unfortunately I can’t get the file to actually animate on my blog so here’s some still frames of it.





(Really, it’s funnier if you see it animated. If anyone has any tech tips on how to make an animated gif work, drop me a line.)

The drop panel at top is pretty self-explanatory.

Up! (WARNING: here there be spoilers)

June 23, 2009

(It’s only one…and it’s pretty minor…but I just didn’t want the blame…)


In the new Pixar movie “Up!” a scientist fits dogs with collars that allow them to talk.

I used this exact same idea in a pitch for an animated TV show a couple of years ago (which was recycled from a comic strip I was peddling in the mid 90s).

I in no way think that they ripped me off – I think it was just one of those things that happens.

In actuality, I can’t claim complete ownership anyway. I “borrowed” the idea from a “Man from Atlantis” comic from the 70’s.

A confession…

February 8, 2009

Someone once said, “There are no new ideas.”

I wish that was a justification for what I’m about to tell you, but it’s not.

There’s a series that’s been rerunning on about Bo getting a job at a petting zoo. In today’s strip Bo finds out he has to join a union: “The Brotherhood of Petting Animals, Trolley Conductors and Pastry Chefs, Local 843.” I liked the idea of dissimilar careers being in the same union.

Then I was watching a DVD collection of The Simpsons from 1994 and in the episode “Last Exit to Springfield” we find out Homer’s union is “The International Brotherhood of Jazz Dancers, Pastry Chefs, and Nuclear Technicians.”

True, their writers may not have been the first to come up with the “dissimilar career union” gag. It may just be one of those funny ideas that different people come up with independently*, but for me to inadvertently rip-off the idea of including “pastry chefs”…gosh, it’s just so embarrassing. (I believe that when I was watching this episode with my wife and saw the union part, I actually jumped up, said, “Oh no. Oh no.” over and over again, and ran into my studio to dig through strips to see if I had screwed up as bad as I feared. Of course, I had.)

Now, I am a huge Simpsons fan. I believe that its first ten years are some of the finest television ever produced. And it just goes to show how your influences can bubble to the surface in ways you hadn’t figured on (beyond having entire conversations with your friends the consist of nothing but lines from The Simpsons).

And, before all you Simpsonerds jump on it, yes, I know there was a duck named Stuart who worked at the Nuclear Power Plant in another episode. I just thought it would be funny to have the shop steward at a petting zoo be a small duck. C’mon, his name is Mr. Quackers – gimme some credit here.

* This happens a lot more often than you might think. Having been in the trenches – writing 365 hopefully funny ideas a year – I’ve seen it first hand.

My new class – “Graphic Novel to Film”

January 19, 2009

My new class at Gettysburg College started on Friday. I mentioned this class when I posted about why I was not going to review Frank Miller’s film version of The Spirit. Here’s a list of what we’re going to be looking at:

(Even though “graphic novel” has become it’s own genre in the public’s mind, I’m expanding the definition for the class to be “work done under one creator”. Let’s face it, a graphic novel is just a long comic.)

The Spirit (2008 flop and 1987 TV movie)
Sin City
American Splendor
Ghost World
The Rockteer
V for Vendetta
(live action film “Asterix and Obelix vs Caesar” and animated feature)
(by Osamu Tezuka)
Road to Perdition
History of Violence

And for the mid-term paper:
Tales from the Crypt
(the HBO TV series)