Recommended Viewing: TIE Fighter

Paul Michael Johnson has created an intense and intoxicating animated Star Wars short — by himself!

Yes, as unbelievable as it may seem, Johnson animated the WHOLE THING by his lonesome, only asking for help on the score and sound. Johnson’s visual inspiration (well, besides ILM’s awesome, original starship designs) are the classic space anime of the 1980s. Do yourself a favor and set aside 9 minutes to really savor it. You’ll be glad you did!

(Post-prequels, I can’t believe I’m getting excited about Star Wars again.)

Does Disney’s ‘Avengers Playset’ Spoil A Secret Superheroine Cameo?

cmaDisney’s new Avengers Figure Playset contains one character who is definitely not part of the Avengers…yet. CAPTAIN MARVEL! Does that mean we might see her in Avengers: Age of Ultron?


This cameo isn’t all that far-fetched when you consider that Captain Marvel — aka Ms. Marvel, aka Carol Danvers — will be starring in her own Marvel film in 2018. Plus, Joss Whedon LOVES him some strong female characters, so it seems like a pretty likely cameo if you ask me.

To get a better look at the figure and playset, click here.

Air Force Officers Identified With Avery’s Wolf

wolfe“Personnel of the 667th Bombardment Squadron, training in Gainesville, Fla., have adopted this scene from the MGM cartoon, Red Hot Riding Hood, as their squadron insignia. The ‘Wolfe’ — in white tie and tails — appears on all their planes. In writing to Fred Quimby, in charge of cartoon production at MGM studios, the commandant stated that they wanted the drawings because ‘the modern wolf is so typical of many of our officers here.’” — Showmen’s Trade Review 1/1/44 (x)

Dad & Daughter Make LEGO ‘Jurassic Park’

The Legend: Get ready for squeals and feels! The daddy/daughter team of Paul and Haley Hollingsworth made a stop-motion version of Jurassic Park using LEGO. The results are delightful!

The Facts: Dad and daughter were joined by a small cadre of filmmaker friends who helped build sets, animate characters, shoot the film and score it. Oh, and it cost $100k in LEGO! That said, it’s still a pretty rad testament to the cool stuff creative parents can do to inspire their kids. Hell, I wish I had friends/a dad/a LEGO collection like that!

Wide-Eyed Infants Love Crazy-Eyed Cartoons

7“According to Chinese myth, when the bottom of the white part of the eye, known as the sclera, is visible it represents physical imbalance in the body and is claimed to be present in alcoholics, drug addicts and people who over-consume sugar or grain. Conversely, when the upper sclera is visible it is said to be an indication of mental imbalance in people such as psychotics, murderers, and anyone rageful.” — Wikipedia entry for Sanpaku

Ah, but what does it mean when the upper AND lower sclera are visible in CARTOON CHARACTERS?

According to the marketing wizards/graphic design apostates behind Little Baby Bums, instant appeal with infants and over ONE BILLION VIEWS on YouTube. Stupid babies.

Coming Soon: The California Raisins Movie

cr3Cartoon Brew reports that Rusty Citron (a.k.a. president and founder of the ‘Actors Hall of Fame Foundation,’ a.k.a. the former senior vice-president at New World Pictures in the late 1980s, a.k.a. just another one of those cliched, level-headed, Hollywood realists you always hear about in books and movies) is running around town, attempting to interest someone — anyone! — in his live-action/CG hybrid movie starring 80s ad icons, the California Raisins. Will this feature feature the original Raisins, A.C., Beebop, Stretch and Red? (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Or will this reunion be like every other Motown reunion and include one original member and a bunch of random, younger, more photogenic guys grapes? Honestly, who cares?

Japanese Government Deletes 700,000 Illegal Online Anime & Manga Files

7The Manga-Anime Guardians (great name!), a joint anti-piracy project created by the Japanese government, the government’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (bad name!), the Content Overseas Distribution Association (worse name!), and several of Japan’s largest animation studios and publishers, announced today that they have succeeded in deleting over 700,000 illegal online anime and manga files.

According to The Manga-Anime Guardians’ official press release, 447,096 illegal manga files from 577 titles and 264,601 anime files from 90 titles were deleted due to the campaign, which targets online manga reading sites, video streaming sites and torrent sites.

WTF Merch: Roger Rabbit Dip Flip Game

dipflipTIL that Disney once put out a Roger Rabbit-themed game where players act as the villainous Judge Doom, tossing ‘toons (including Roger, Jessica and Baby Herman) into a spinning barrel of deadly Dip.

Yes, you read that right: THE POINT OF THE GAME IS TO KILL THE GOOD GUYS!!

Feeling evil? Roger Rabbit Dip Flip currently sells for $15 on Amazon.

Banned In The USA:
Kemco’s ‘Roger Rabbit’ Video Game

pppleaseBack in 1989, Japanese animation addicts and their video game counterparts were blessed with the Famicom Disk System game, Roger Rabbit. The game was a Super Mario Bros.-esque ‘platformer’ loosely based on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and would’ve surely been my favorite game at the time had it ever been released in America. Alas, conflicting copyrights prohibited this brief moment of happiness from ever entering my otherwise unbearable childhood. Woe was me.
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Sneak Peek: ‘Pinocchio: The Disney Epic’

pinoccTwo years ago, J.B Kaufman put out one of the most thoroughly researched and lavishly illustrated animation history books of all time, The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Two months from now, he’s set to release his follow-up, Pinocchio: The Disney Epic. Want a sneak peek? Continue reading

Minor Spoilers: The LEGO Movie Sequel

pooThe Santa Barbara Film Festival recently held a screening of The LEGO Movie. After the screening, the film’s writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller took the stage for a Q&A session. Two minor spoilers/pretty big story points were unveiled there:

1. The LEGO Movie Sequel will take place in a “weird, dystopian version of Bricksburg.”

2. EMMETT HAS A SISTER(!), and she will be traveling side by side with Emmett as they navigate this “weird, dystopian version of Bricksburg.” Continue reading

Charles Addams Vs. The Haunted Mansion

caLong Forgotten — a wonderful, Haunted Mansion-themed blog –  has put together a piece detailing the many instances where Disney’s Imagineers found inspiration from the work of cartoonist Charles Addams. The Haunted Mansion concept art of Ken Andersen, in particular, borrowed quite liberally (i.e. SWIPED WHOLE) from Addams’ work. As a lifelong fan of both The Addams Family and the Haunted Mansion, I found it fascinating. Click here to check it out.

Fake Surprise: ‘Frozen 2’ Is Happening!!!

f2In what is perhaps the least surprising corporate cartoon news since DreamWorks’ last tax write-off, the Walt Disney Company has officially announced plans to make a sequel to their $1.3 billion hit, Frozen. The big reveal came during today’s annual Disney shareholders meeting. The only real shocker? John Lasseter made the statement sans specially-made Hawaiian shirt. (Via.)

Related: Frozen’s Marketing Is Hella Sketchy (Or: Why Is Disney Using Hand-Drawn Art To Promote Their CG Films?)

‘Toy Story 4’ Gets Director #2

15John Lasseter has hired a co-director for Toy Story 4. Helping our Hawaiian-shirted hero elevate/desecrate (opinions vary) one of the most fully realized trilogies in cinema history is Josh Cooley, the head of story on Inside Out and director of an Inside Out-themed short scheduled to appear on that film’s Blu-ray. Congrats, Josh! (x)

Related: Toy Story 4 “Is Not A Continuation Of Toy Story 3″ and “Will NOT Focus On Interaction Between Characters And Children”

Laika Expanding Their Studio By 70%

ll(…and from the looks of things, not a moment too soon)

Laika Animation Studio plans to build a 105,000-square-foot addition onto its production facility, increasing its size by 70 percent. The studio wants more space as it ups its release schedule, moving from one movie every two years to one movie per year. (x)

While I’m happy for the studio and delighted by the idea of more Laika films, I’d be remiss if’n I didn’t share this jewel from Hayao Miyazaki: “Speaking from my own experience, I would say you shouldn’t grow your studio too big. You need to make fewer films. I think my producer would agree. Making too many films puts you in a hectic situation. Try to stay modest.”

Go, Buy: Disney’s Mix & Match Villains

mmGenie animator Eric Goldberg and his wife Susan have created this BEAUTIFUL and BIZARRE book where you take the iconic Disney villains (Maleficent, Cruella De Vil, Jafar, Ursula, the Queen of Hearts, etc.) and mix and match their costumes, faces and legs to come up with some truly hilarious results. What’s more, the text also changes according to your mixing, as does the appearance of the side-kicks and protagonists! The result is silly, twisted, mind-f*ck fun. Oh, and the best part? Disney’s Mix and Match Villains Book is currently $1 on Amazon.

‘Powers’ Episode 1 Now Online

Episode 1 of Powers, based on the long-running comic book series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, is now online. The series is a ‘Playstation orginal,’ and has been garnering strong reviews from everyone from Forbes to Nerdist.

I just finished watching the first ep, and I’ve gotta say — it’s one of the better superhero series premiers in recent memory. The characters are sharp, and the world – although new – already feels familiar and believable. I know I’ll be back for future episodes. What about you?

‘Watership Down’ CG Remake In The Works

12The BBC are developing a CG remake of Watership Down, The Radio Times reports. A BBC ‘insider’ has been quoted as saying:

People love the 1978 film, but with new CGI technology we can do amazing things – you can see the wind blowing the fur which you didn’t get with the cartoon film.

You heard that right, folks: REALISTIC WIND FX IN THE LIFELIKE CG FUR! Take that, original life-changing, heartbreaking, hand-drawn version! Continue reading

Toy Story 4 “Is Not A Continuation Of Toy Story 3,” “Will NOT Focus On Interaction Between Characters And Children”

18Wow. This is actually kinda shocking. Pixar president Jim Morris recently sat down with, and wedged in among the usual cliches about ‘story is everything’ and free cereal bars were a few HUGE revelations about the sequel no one was waiting for – Toy Story 4.

(Note: This interview was translated from Spanish. All boldprint is ours. Oh, and make sure to stick around for Morris’ last few lines. CRAZY!) Continue reading

Go, Buy: $4 Gorillaz Pillow Covers

gddpcIt’s a fact: This handmade, silk-screened, officially unlicensed Gorillaz pillow case was the ONLY wedding gift Prince William and Kate Middleton didn’t return for cash. Now you, too, can lay your inflated ego upon the fine art of drunken chapbook artist Jamie Hewlett — for mere pence on the pound! Rest easy in the knowledge that this museum-quality textile was made in a factory unwilling or unable to report any deaths due to overwork and exhaustion. That’s guilt-free luxury! Normally $40, this lovely bit of machine washable ‘pop art’ is now on sale for just $4 on Amazon. Click here to order.

Frozen: Now With 100% More Peeping Toms!

01 “In Frozen, a painting based on [Jean-Honoré Fragonard's] The Swing hangs in the palace, but the version in the film omits the male figure hidden in the bushes, peeping up the swinger’s dress.” — Mike Pants

Don’t worry, Disney. I fixed it for you.

Related: Frozen’s Marketing Is Hella Sketchy (Or: Why Is Disney Using Hand-Drawn Art To Promote Their CG Films?)

‘Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales’
(Cool Concept, Cumbersome Title)

r2THR reports, “Disney XD has picked up Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales, an animated take on the six Star Wars movies. The limited series consists of five 22-minute episodes that will air later this year. [...] But this is not an ordinary Star Wars in 22 minutes. The conceit is that the movies are being retold through the eyes of robots C-3PO and R2-D2 in a brand new story.” Continue reading

In Memory of: The Disney Afternoon

80Yesterday’s announcement that Disney would be re-booting DuckTales in 2017 reminded me of a GREAT interview that The Animation Guild Blog did with Tad Stones back in 2011. In that interview, Stone detailed the creation and decimation of the 90s ‘Disney Afternoon.’ Stone knows what he’s talking about, too — he played an integral part in nearly every show! Click here to listen. (Note: The Disney Afternoon portion begins at roughly the 21 minute mark of Part 2, then continues into Part 3.)

Rob Schrab To Direct ‘LEGO Movie’ Sequel

15Rob Schrab will make his feature directorial debut on Warner Bros.’ upcoming The LEGO Movie Sequel. Schrab has directed quite a few great episodes of Community and Parks And Recreation, but he snatched my heart forever by creating the AMAZING action/comedy comic book, Scud: The Disposable Assassin. The LEGO Movie Sequel is scheduled for a May 2017 release.

Coming Soon: ‘Hell & Back’

gfShadowmachine (BoJack Horseman) has announced their newest animated production, Hell & Back. According to the Shadowmachine website, Hell & Back is “an aggressive R-rated stop-motion animated comedy about three friends and their misadventure through hell.” Hell & Back will feature the voice-work of Nick Swardson, Danny McBride, Rob Riggle, TJ Miller and Bob Odenkirk. If you read that last line and thought, ‘Wow, that is an insanely awesome cast,’ drop me an email. We have super-similar taste in comedy!

Disney Releases 7 New ‘Big Hero 6’ Posters For Purely Selfless Reasons

11Big Hero 6 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. To help hype the release, Disney has put out a new line of BH6 digital posters. The designs aren’t perfect, but still pretty clever, aping the look of DIY stencils screened on old copies of Hiro Hamada’s local newspaper, The San Fransokyo Times. And hey, they’re FREE! (Psst, kids! Don’t forget to tell your recently divorced parents to buy you a copy for each of your homes! You don’t want to be without a copy for even a minute!)

Click through to view the lot of ‘em. Continue reading

Recommended Reading: The Hidden Story of Harley Quinn and How She Became the Superhero World’s Most Successful Woman

quinnVulture’s Abraham Riesman has put together a thorough examination of the rise and fall and resurrection of DC Comics’ clown princess of crime, Harley Quinn. As a big fan of her early appearances in Batman: The Animated Series, Mad Love and The Batman Adventures comics, I completely agree with a lot of what is said in this piece about Harley’s post-B:TAS appearances — they’re out of character, unoriginal, cliche T&A. That said, she’s more popular than ever. Click here to read.

Diego Rivera Was A Big Cartoon Fan

27“If we look at the characteristics of the animated cartoons which are shown in movies, we find them to be of the purest and most definitive graphic style, of the greatest efficiency as social products, drawings joyous and simple that make the masses of tired men and women rest, make the children laugh til they are weary and ready for sleep and will let the grownups rest undisturbed.

“Mickey Mouse was one of the genuine heroes of American Art in the first half of the 20th Century.”

Diego Rivera, Mickey Mouse and American Art (1932), via

Top 5: Superhero Funnybooks
(…That Are Actually Funny)

37The term ‘funnybook’ is a holdover from a bygone era. An era when people still used the word ‘bygone’ and bought comic books that aimed to tickle their funny-bone instead of firing off some weird, alpha-male, wish fulfillment synapses in the pleasure centers of their brain.

Ah, but even in today’s grim ‘n’ gritty world of pseudo-realistic superhero comics there still exist a few books that aspire to be silly. There aren’t many (and they never last long), but they’re out there: Honest-to-goodness, capital-F Funnybooks — just like Grandma used to read! Listed below are five of my favorites.
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Is Pixar Making A Musical?

60In a recent interview with the UK radio show Saturday Night At The Movies, frequent Pixar composer Randy Newman was describing the falling out he had with Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, when he said the following:

“Lee Unkrich had Toy Story 3 temped with my music and it was limiting to me. [...] Now he’s not going to use me to work with him again. He’s doing a musical now.”

For the sake of fueling rumors and creating hysteria, let’s repeat that last line, only this time in boldface and with multiple exclamation marks: “He’s doing a musical now[!!!]“ Continue reading

Dave Bennett On Disney’s ‘Orange Bird’ Short

24Jim Korkis and Cartoon Research have posted a swell piece detailing the creation of Disney’s one and only Orange Bird short, Foods and Fun: A Nutrition Adventure (1980). The best part of this post is the fact that they got the film’s jack-of-all-trades, Dave Bennett, (“my duties included character and prop design, storyboarding, track editing and reading, timing out the exposure sheets for the animators, layout, assistant animating”) to tell the tale! Click here to read.