Eric Goldberg’s ‘7 Questions To Ask Yourself While Studying The Work Of The Masters’

600Marc Hendry from marcanimation (one of my favorite cartoon Tumblrs) sent a question to the ‘Unofficial Disney Animators Page,’ (one of my favorite Facebook pages) and received a reply from Eric ‘The Genie’ Goldberg (one of my favorite animators)!

The question: What questions do you ask yourselves when you study another animator’s work?

To read Goldberg’s 7 Qs, click here.

‘Stand By Me, Doraemon’ Trailer Premiers, Prompting Skunk To Lament The Amazing Advances In CG And Stop-Motion Animation


The trailer for Takashi Yamazaki’s 3D CG Stand By Me, Doraemon is cute, whimsical and quickly forgettable. But maybe that’s just because I don’t speak Japanese. Maybe when the American trailer comes out and it features an English-language cast comprised of SNL alumni and Disney Channel cast-offs it will leave a more lasting impression. Continue reading

HBO’s ‘Monster’ Is Getting Stronger

600We’ve known for a while now that Guillermo del Toro is directing the pilot for a live-action HBO series based on Naoki Urasawa’s amazing manga, Monster. Pretty cool, right? Well, it gets better. Crazy hunter recently revealed that producer Stephen Thompson (Doctor Who and Sherlock) is writing the pilot!

This is like one of those heist movies where they hire the best thieves from around the globe to pull off some incredible caper. Only, instead of thieves it’s geeks, and instead of a caper it’s a TV series about a fugitive brain surgeon’s hunt for the ruthless killer whose life he once saved. So yeah, same thing.

The Falcon Wants A Wonder Woman Movie

500“There should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.”

– Anthony Mackie (a.k.a. The Falcon in Captain America: Winter Soldier) in an interview with Geek Dad.

Via: doc birdman

How Superman Serials Crippled The KKK

500On June 10, 1946, a Superman radio serial, Clan of the Fiery Cross, began airing across the U.S. The serial was a deliberate attempt on the part of the writers and producers to put a dent in the post-war resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

According to DangerousMinds.net, the serial’s sixteen episodes “exposed many of the KKK’s most guarded secrets, including code words and rituals. The Klan relied a great deal on an inscrutable air of menace and mystery, and the Superman serial stripped the Klan of that mystique utterly. Almost overnight, the Klan’s recruitment efforts began drying up completely.”

To read the rest of this amazing TRUE STORY, click here.

For Sale: Popeye Pop Art & Gundam Gravestones

600Jeff Koons’ 7 foot tall Popeye statue — only three were made! — is expected to sell for $25 million at an upcoming Sotheby’s auction. As for the 13 foot Gundam gravestones, they’re only available via the Kise Sekizai grave makers in the Shiga Prefecture of Japan. (Price unknown, buyer pays all shipping fees. No exchanges or returns.) Start savin’!

Via: The NYTimes and RocketNews24

Like I Needed ANOTHER Reason To Buy Ice Cream

500

Häagen-Dazs has teamed up with digital design firm Jam3 to bring you the enchanting app Concerto Timer. After downloading the app, simply hold your smartphone up to a pint of Häagen-Dazs, and a hologram of a classical musician appears, complete with classical score! Even cooler? Each flavor displays a different musician!

While the official product pitch describes Concerto Timer as a timer for perfect ice cream softness, it’s really just a cool party trick and a clever example of animation being used in modern marketing. The Concerto Timer app is free and available here.

Green Lantern Vs. The Focus Group

500Animation writer/director/storyboard artist/you-name-it-he-does-it Giancarlo Volpe just posted a comic strip he made (wait — he does comics now, too?!) about a focus group test he attended for Green Lantern: The Animated Series. (His credits on that one? Showrunner and producer.) It’s an interesting insight into the world of TV animation, especially the part where Volpe and the folks doing the testing walk away from the experience with completely different takes on the audience’s response. It’s a nauseating, nerve-wracking and excruciating experience, but there IS A happy ending — featuring no less than Batman: The Animated Series‘ Bruce Timm!

Click here to read.

The Real Reason Anthropomorphic Animals Wore Freestanding Shirt Collars

500“Yogi Bear was one of several Hanna-Barbera characters to have a collar. This allowed animators to keep his body static, redrawing only his head in each frame when he spoke. This reduced the number of drawings needed for a seven-minute cartoon from around 14,000 to around 2,000.” — Wikipedia entry for Yogi Bear. Image: Patrick Owsley.

‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ – Trailer 3

Looks like DreamWorks and director Dean DeBlois are going epic with How to Train Your Dragon 2.

If DeBlois can pull this trilogy off — and after seeing his work in Lilo & Stitch and the original HTTYD, I have faith that he can — Dragons could become the new face of DreamWorks. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s high time DW became famous for something other than Shrek.

Disney Is After ‘The One and Only Ivan’

501Disney is in negotiations to buy the rights to Katherine Applegate and Patricia Castelao’s Newbery Medal-winning children’s book, The One and Only Ivan. The book is about a silverback gorilla (Ivan) and a baby elephant (Stella) who hatch a plan to escape from their cages — cages located in the middle of a shopping mall! Making this story all the more marvelous, it’s based on actual events. Well, loosely based. Very loosely.

Eyegasm: Every Disney ‘Art Of’ Book…Ever

500The Disney ‘Art Of’ books are an animation fan’s nirvana. Chock full of captivating concept art, these books shine a light on the brilliant artists working behind the scenes, and give a gorgeous glimpse at what could have been. Compiled after the jump are the covers and ordering info for each and every one of these books. Kiss your paycheck goodbye. Continue reading

Gerald Scarfe’s Disney Hell (Er…Hades)

402Most animation fans know Gerald Scarfe as the artist behind Pink Floyd The Wall‘s sketchy, surreal look. But did you know that Scarfe briefly worked for Disney in the mid-90s?

S’true. Early in the production of Hercules, directors Ron Clements and John Musker hired Scarfe to help design the look of the characters. And unlike a lot of concept art, most of Scarfe’s eerie imagery actually made it into the final film! Curious? Click through…

Continue reading

Mike Judge’s Pop Culture Picks

tumblr_n38buiUHoA1ske259o1_500Mike Judge, the brilliant brain behind Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill, has compiled a long list of the cartoons, comics, movies and TV shows that helped shape his skewed sensibilities. While Robert Crumb and Ren & Stimpy may seem like par for the course, it’s Judge’s less predictable picks (Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, the comics of Harvey Pekar, Leave it to Beaver, etc.) that provide the real insight into his wide-ranging and perfectly nuanced menagerie of characters.

Click here for the full list.

Disney Artists’ Influence On WDW

imagineersImagineering Fun Fact: When Walt Disney World first opened in 1971, its Fantasyland was heavily stylized after the personal art styles of some of some of Imagineering’s most iconic artists — It’s A Small World for Mary Blair, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride for Rolly Crump and Cinderella’s Castle for Dorothea Redmond & Herb Ryman.

Via: Passport to Dreams

Go, Read: Empire Magazine’s Massive Missive On ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’

107Empire Magazine just published a massive, nine page article about the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. It’s a great read, encompassing the first film’s back-story, as well as what’s in store for audiences in HTTYD 2 and 3. We’re talking full-color film stills, cast & crew interviews, and countless minor and major spoilers. Oh, and the best part? Lots and lots of quotes from director Dean DeBlois!

Go, read!

Disney, YEEEAAAH!!!

011In a tweet dated March 23, comedian T.J. Miller announced that he will be voicing the character of Fred — a.k.a. Fredzilla — in Disney’s upcoming animated Marvel film, Big Hero 6.

For those of you not versed in the brief history of Marvel’s Big Hero 6 (roughly two dozen issues), Fred is a “quirky, weird, wannabe filmmaker…who may or may not be some sort of dragon.”

Animation fans may recognize Miller from his pitch-perfect voicing of How to Train Your Dragon‘s Tuffnut and Gravity Falls‘ sarcastic goth, Robbie. Comedy fans know Miller as a brilliant stand-up and the loudest, most energetic podcast guest EVER. (Apologies to Pete Holmes.)

Big Hero 6 hits U.S. theaters on Nov. 7, 2014.

Related: The Art of Big Hero 6

All-Time Favorites: Genshiken

97Shimoku Kio’s Genshiken is one of my all-time favorite comedy comics. It’s like a Robert Altman remake of The Breakfast Club, only instead of high school students in Saturday detention, it’s about college kids in an extracurricular otaku club.

Genshiken‘s large cast of characters comprises pretty much every factor of nerdom, from the geek chic to the geek elite to those unapologetically un-hip nerds who take pride in their outsider status. Reading their rambling conversations about comics, cartoons, cosplay and love (lots and LOTS about love!) is often as hilarious as it is cringe-worthy. Hilarious, because most comics/cartoons fans have had similar discussions. Cringe-worthy, because…do I really sound like that?! Continue reading

Who Owns What?

8cs3mv9hThe only thing more confusing than comics continuity is comics film rights. For those of you still scratching your heads as to why there’s no Spider-Man in the Marvel Movie-verse, here’s a nice visual guide explaining which movie studio owns which Marvel characters.

Pixar, Where ‘It’s All About Story Sequels.’

cars_poopAt today’s WDC annual stockholders meeting, Bob Iger announced that Cars 3 and Incredibles 2 are officially in the works, although no released dates have been set. According to Iger, Incredibles 2 will be written by Brad Bird. Will he direct? WE. DON’T. KNOW. But what we do know is the top secret plot to Cars 3.

Curious?

Click through…

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Comic Book Review: ‘Silver Surfer: Requiem’

001_smallSince the Silver Surfer’s inception in 1966, the character has been an outlet for countless authors’ overwrought, over-written, middle-aged angst.

But is it any wonder why?

Unlike most of Marvel’s menagerie, the Silver Surfer isn’t a fast-talking teenager or a testosterone fueled he-man. He’s an intellectual alien prone to alliterate elegies and impassioned pleas for peace. If you’re a corporate comics writer with a flash drive full of unpublished poetry, you couldn’t ask for a better mouthpiece.

Continue reading

Pre-Order Now: The Art Of Big Hero 6

02Walt Disney Animation and Marvel Comics’ Big Hero 6 arrives in theaters on November 7. According to the official WDA sales pitch, the CG animated film is “an action comedy adventure about Hiro Hamada, a brilliant robotics prodigy who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion — a robot named Baymax — Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city.”

Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? Well, why wait ’til November to see what Disney & Marvel have in store? The eager, the impatient and the enlightened know that you can get an early glimpse of the film via the official ‘Art Of’ book. Click here to pre-order.

Studio Ghibli’s Lovely ‘Little Nemo’ Short

Masami Hata’s Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland was released in US theaters in 1992. But did you know that at one point, Studio Ghibli was set to make the film?

S’true! Way back in 1984, Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli created this lovely “test pilot” for what was then being called Little Nemo in Dreamland. Unfortunately, after years of “development hell” (imdb), Miyazaki and his team left the project. Still, the short film that they created is pretty amazing, eh? Studio Ghibli fans will surely be reminded of the flying scenes in Porco Rosso, Kiki’s Delivery Service and pretty much every other Miyazaki movie!

Weekend Time-Waster:
1950s View-Master Documentary

0005When I was a kid, I spent hours staring into my View-Master. Back then (the 1980s), 3D was a rarity. Hollywood had abandoned it years before, and the few 3D comics you could find were usually crap. But View-Master? They never gave up on the ghettoized gimmick. In fact, with their gorgeous models and immaculate eye for color and composition, they damn near transformed ‘stereo photography’ into an art form.

My favorite View-Master reels were always the Disney and Hanna-Barbera ones. Instead of just pulling frames from the actual animation, the folks at View-Master would recreate key moments using beautiful, handmade miniatures. The results were as enchanting as they were enthralling. I know it sounds silly now, but as a little kid staring into my red, plastic View-Master, it kinda felt like I was peering through a magic portal into a world where cartoons were real. Continue reading

The Books That Inspired Disney’s Cartoons

500“Disney ruins the classic fairy tales!”

It’s the go-to gripe in every anti-Disney arsenal. This, despite the fact that none of the gripers have actually bothered to READ all of the books that Disney has based its animated features on. Hell, I’m a Disney fanatic, and even I haven’t gotten around to it. We’re talking ‘s 33 titles — and counting! You’re gonna have to forgo a lot of great television, movies, comic books, sexual encounters and, yes, other books and cartoons if’n you want to complete this syllabus.

Think you’re up for it? Well, it just so happens that I’ve cobbled together a COMPLETE LIST of the books used as the basis for Walt Disney’s animated films — including some super-cool cover art!

Continue reading

Coming Soon: 3 New Tartakovsky ‘Toons

10Sony Pictures Animation has announced THREE new Genndy Tartakovsky cartoons — Hotel Transylvania 2 (co-written by TV Funhouse‘s Robert Smigel), a CG Popeye (insert exaggerated groan here), and Genndy Tartakovsky’s Can You Imagine? (pictured above, and described as “a fantastic journey through one boy’s imagination”).

Me, personally? I think Tartakovsky is amazing. His early animated take on The Clone Wars (vol. 1 & 2) remains my third favorite Star Wars release (after the first two films). His Samurai Jack is another bit of brilliance, pairing great writing with even better visuals.

That said, I wasn’t wild about Hotel Transylvania. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. And is it just me, or does the description of Can You Imagine? sound a lot like Pixar’s upcoming Inside Out? Here’s hoping the input of Smigel and the deep pockets of Sony will provide Tartakovsky with everything he needs to make a string of stellar flicks.

Ouch.

“The ‘Big D’ is back and adjusted for inflation with TWO princesses, TWO goofy sidekicks, and THREE different orphans! [...] And who could forget the completely unnecessary, completely unexplained, magical troll rocks?”

So many pointed jabs, so many inarguable truths — and I LIKED Frozen!

“When disaster strikes, watch Anna save the day by teaming up with her sister, a merchant, a hot guy and a snowman to defeat villains like her sister, a merchant, a hot guy and a snowman.”

It’s okay. You can laugh. It’s a scientific fact: Multiple Academy Awards > the pain inflicted by YouTube parodies.

WTF Merch: Attack On Titan Playset

01If you’ve watched even the briefest bit of the amazing anime, Attack on Titan, you should already be scratching your head over this odd piece of tie-in merchandise. I mean, A COLOSSAL TITAN PLAYSET?! How creepy is that?

Making this “playset” all the weirder is the official sales pitch, which enthusiastically boasts the following bonus items: “The Titan that ate Carla…and one other secret titan are also included to help bring out the tense atmosphere. Miniature villagers and soldiers and even a broken wall are also included!”

For more pics of the playset (and a handful of other Attack on Titan items), click through. Continue reading

Go, Read:
Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney

11The NY Times has posted a beautifully written article about an autistic boy who slowly learned to interact openly and honestly with his family via the dialogue and facial/body expressions in Disney cartoons.

If you make cartoons, watch cartoons, love cartoons or have ever had even the smallest emotional epiphany due to something you’d seen in a cartoon, I wholeheartedly recommend you read it. The article is adapted from the upcoming book Life, Animated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist — and father of the titular “son” — Ron Suskind.

WARNING: When you get to the part about “sidekicks,” you WILL tear up. Click here to read!

Bill Peet: From The Circus Tent To The Silver Screen

01As a young boy, Disney story artist Bill Peet used to spend hours at the circus, drawing everything he could.

“I did have hopes of doing something with it. In those days, my secret ambition was to be an illustrator of animal stories.”

When Peet began his career at Walt Disney Studios in 1937, he felt his “secret ambition” had been achieved. Unfortunately, this feeling didn’t last long. Peet quickly discovered that animating and illustrating were two VERY different disciplines.

Continue reading

Recommended: Sci-Fi Cartoons

sfI recently interviewed War of the Worlds: Goliath director — and science fiction fanatic — Joe Pearson for Animation Scoop. (Click here to read.) The intended topic was WofW:G (now available on iTunes!), but as I’m an animation junkie always looking for a fresh fix, I decided to use my last question for purely selfish reasons:

“What SF cartoons would you recommend to animation fans exploring the genre?”

Continue reading

Tantalizing Trailer: The Boxtrolls

The stop-motion films of Laika just seem to be getting better and better. First there was quirky, captivating Coraline. Then the spooky, silly ParaNorman. Now Laika’s dropped a tantalizing trailer for their next pic, The Boxtrolls. I’m really digging the film’s grimy, grotesque, European arthouse aesthetic. It kinda reminds me of a stop-motion City of Lost Children!

The Boxtrolls hits U.S. theaters 9/26.

War of the Worlds: Goliath

WOTWGDirected by Joe Pearson (Rocko’s Modern Life, Phineas and Ferb) and starring Adam Baldwin (Firefly), War of the Worlds: Goliath is set 15 years after the events of H.G. Wells classic, The War of the Worlds, and tells the tale of the Martians inevitable return.

The film is a gripping, grandiose, alien invasion extravaganza, beautifully realized via a surprisingly seamless blend of CG and hand-drawn animation. Yes, HAND-DRAWN ANIMATION. Lots of it!

I got to interview writer/director Joe Pearson last week for Animation Scoop. Pearson not only shared a bit of the back-story for War of the Worlds: Goliath, he also detailed his long and illustrious career in the animation industry, as well as his path for breaking into the biz.

Click here to see the trailer & read the interview.