KOMANEKO is a Japanese stop-motion animation about a cat making a stop-motion animation. In true Japanese fashion, the cat has a really big and really cut head and she exsists in an ultra-cute little cat world. Check it out!
Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
It's the last week for "Theme Songs by Rock Stars" month! In recent weeks we have heard theme songs from members of U2, Aerosmith, Cake and this week I have special one for you.
Galaxy High was a short lived Saturday morning cartoon about two teens from Earth who are selected to be Earth's representatives at a universal high school on the asteroid Flutor. Aliens from all over the galaxy are brought together to deal with issues like bullying, racism, popularity, gossip, drug abuse and other teen issues.
The series ran for only thirteen episodes (one season) from 1986 to 1987 on CBS and was created by Harry Potter director Chris Columbus. John Kricfalusi, famed creator of Ren & Stimpy, was a character designer for the show. Galaxy High had some great talent and put out some quality work. Too bad the network didn't keep it going longer.
The theme song and musical numbers in the episodes were written and performed by Don Felder. You may know him as a member of the Eagles whose number one hit Hotel California is making him piles of cash. What do you think of this theme? Worthy of the same fame? Not quite.
Tune in next week for a brand new theme: Dynamic Duos!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I was eating a hamburger at the local Red Robin reading the comics section of the newspaper when something caught my eye: Jon Arbuckle talking to Garfield about his girlfriend, Liz!
Click image to view larger
In case you're not a long-time reader of the Garfield comic-strip let me explain. Jon is a world-class geek. He couldn't get a date if his life depended on it. He enjoys playing accordion at yodelling festivals. How can this guy have a girlfriend?! Liz is the vet that Jon takes Garfield to for checkups. She has been a cast member of the strip since the seventies. She has always turned down Jon no matter how many times he asked. Why would she say yes now?
In my early years I was a huge Garfield fan. I had all the books, watched the cartoon and wore the pyjamas. But last decade of the strip has left me quite underwhelmed. Each strip had a cliche gag based on either Jon being a loser or Garfield doing something mean to Jon or Odie. All of the supporting cast member had disappeared, Garfield never went on any trips or had any adventures and there was not anything that really drew me back to the strip day after day.
Here is an example of an average Garfield strip from the last few years:
Click image to view larger
Even the artwork, as you can see from the strip above, was boring. Often the first two panels would be exactly the same with no dialogue and then the third panel would be sightly different with a lame joke. Garfield was in a rut.
But now it seems that Garfield creator, Jim Davis, really wants to do something shocking. He's giving Jon a life. I thought this would be a short week-long gag but it's been two months now and they are still dating! At last! Continuity! I love it!
Hopefully this is a new era for Garfield.
Click image to view larger
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 3:50 PM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Actually, I should have posted this yesterday because yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the death of Don Adams.
Don Adams was best known for his role as Maxwell Smart on the sitcom Get Smart (1965-1970). Not only was he the lead character but he was also a writer and director for the series. Adams won an Emmy for his Maxwell Smart character three years in a row (1967-1969)!
After Smart, Adams worked on a few more sitcoms that were nowhere near as successful as his first. But it wasn't until 1983 that fame would find him again when he lent his distinct voice to one of the best known cartoon detectives: Inspector Gadget. He provided the voice for its three year run (1983-1985) as well as a Christmas Special and a few other and spin-offs.
Inspector Gadget was produced by DiC Entertainment and the titular character was a cross between Adams' Maxwell Smart and Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther series.
In every episode Inspector Gadget would receive a mission (that always was to stop the evil Dr. Claw) that he would have to solve. He would bring his head-strong niece, Penny, and uber-smart dog, Brain. Gadget would always bungle the mission with his various gadgets and it was always up to Penny and Brain to save the day.
The show really wouldn't have been as clever or special if it weren't for Adams' unique voice talent.
Don Adams was 82 when he died from a sudden lung infection following a long battle with bone lymphoma.
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 12:02 PM
Monday, September 25, 2006
NBC has picked up the hit Christian-themed CG series VeggieTales but creator Phil Visher wasn't too happy when he heard the networks plans for the show.
In order to comply with the normal broadcast standards, NBC will be editing out religious content from the episodes. Historical and Biblical references to God are allowed but any non-historical references to God, Jesus or the Bible will be taken out, including Bob the Tomato's tagline "Remember kids, God made you special and He loves you very much!" which ends every episode.
It was only two weeks before airdate that the network told Vischer about the cuts. Vischer says that had he known such edits would take place, he would not have agreed to let the networks air the show. "I would have declined partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money," he explains.
Still, Vischer adds that he understands NBC's wish to remain religiously neutral, commenting, "VeggieTales is religious, NBC is not. I want to focus people more on 'Isn't it cool that Bob and Larry are on television.'"
VeggieTales is a series of 30 minute, computer animated DVDs created by BigIdea Productions in 1993. The series has about thirty releases, a feature film (Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie) and has sold over 50 million copies worldwide.
Anyone who has seen this show knows that the show is made for a Christian audience and the main teaching relies on Christian fundamentals. Taking out those references will strip the show of what it is.
Initially, I was mad when I first read this. I am not a fan of editing of any kind and as a Christian I am so tired of the oppression that we get on a daily basis. But then I thought about it some more. Censoring the religious content of this show is the same as censoring the any un-PC content of vintage Warner Brothers or Disney cartoons of racial stereotypes and my view on this is the same as the smoking issue I wrote about a few weeks back. The networks have a responsibility to show suitable content to their child audiences so if the fan or collector wants to see uncut episodes then they should buy the DVDs.
Read the whole article HERE.
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 9:49 AM
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Mission Hill is the story of another animated series that wasn't given the proper treatment. The WB put this show on hiatus after only two episodes due to 'poor ratings'! They later put the show back on the air but then cancelled it after six more episodes. Mission Hill has gone on to reach a cult status with the DVD sales and the repeat showing of all thirteen episodes on Canada's Teletoon.
Set in the city of Mission Hill, the show stars Andy French, a twenty-four year old who moves to the big city to become a cartoonist but is instead stuck in a dead end job as a clerk at a mattress store. Andy likes to party and live life without responsibility. He lives in an apartment with two other roommates.
Andy's life changes when his little brother, Kevin, moves in to complete his senior year at the local high school. Kevin is a straight A student who doesn't know or approve of Andy's slacker lifestyle. In each episode, Kevin learns something about loosening up and Andy learns a little something about responsibility. Oh yeah, and the show is hilarious too.
The theme song is provided by Cake who rerecorded a faster, instrumental version of Italian Leather Sofa.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
My wonderful girlfriend, Katie, is a student at Vancouver Film School. She is just completing her Foundation year and next year she will move into the 2D Animation Program.
As a grad project for Foundation Program she is making a short film about Charlie, a 2D animated character, fighting the good fight against Hector, a 3D character. This film will be only a few minutes long and will involve animating in both 2D and 3D.
She is keeping the world up to date on her progress via her blog, ipanicked.com where she posts clips, sketches and general complaints about her school's hardware and other stuff.
This clip I've included below is what she had to present today as a midterm project. It is quite good and I can't wait to see what she will be capable of after she has completed her year of 2D education.
Check out her site and show her some love (comment-wise)!
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 4:26 PM
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
When you think of the wonderful things the Flintstones have introduced to us over the years what comes to mind?
The two that stand out to me are Flintstones Chewable One-A-Day Vitamins and Post's Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles Cereal. Do you remeber any of those commercials? Well, depending on your age, you may remember some:
Flintstones Chewable One-A-Day Vitamins
Probably from the late 60s
Flintstones Chewable One-A-Day Vitamins
Probably from the early 70s
Flintstones Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles Cereal
1977 according to the person who posted this on youtube
Flintstones Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles Cereal
A parody of Raiders of the Lost Ark from 1981
Flintstones Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles Cereal
I'm guessing this one is from the late 80s
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 4:51 PM
Monday, September 18, 2006
Hanna Barbera wanted to create an action/adventure cartoon based on the popular radio serial Jack Armstrong but when licensing fell through the show was re-worked into Jonny Quest. The show ran on ABC's prime time line-up and was a huge hit. It was cancelled after one season not because of poor ratings, but because each episode went over budget due to the high attention to detail unfamiliar to other Hanna Barbera productions.
Jonny Quest was about an eleven-year-old boy named Jonny and his friend, Hadji, who tag along on every one of his father's dangerous missions. Jonny's father, Dr. Benton Quest, is one of the top scientists in the world. This causes him to be the target of many assassination attempts on various scientific explorations. For some reason he always brings the kids and their dog, Bandit, along on these trips and they always get into trouble. But Dr. Quest's bodyguard, Race Banon, was always around to save the day. Race Banon is the Jack Bauer of the cartoon world and is the fan-favourite of the show.
When the show fell into Saturday morning reruns in the 70s many parental groups demanded the show not to be aired due to its violent content often involving children in peril, on-screen murders and firearms. In fact, one scene has Dr. Quest telling Jonny and Hadji to grab the rifles and start shooting the crocodiles that are attacking their boat! Remember, this show was originally a prime time show where this content could be shown. It was not meant for a Saturday morning audience. But the networks edited the episodes and the show ran many more years.
In the eighties thirteen new episodes were made and shown with reruns called The New Adventures of Jonny Quest. The new episodes were way more kid-friendly and introduced a new female character, a young girl named Jessie.
Two telefilms were produced in the nineties, Jonny's Golden Quest in 1993, and Jonny Quest vs. The Cyber Insects in 1996. The former dealt with the Quest's past and the death of Mrs. Quest at the hands of Dr. Zin and introduced Jessie as Race's daughter. The latter telefilm was promoted as the last appearance of the classic Jonny Quest characters as a new Quest show was premiering that fall.
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest followed teenage versions of Jonny, Hadji and Jessie. Season one had the team in futuristic outfits and adventures often led them to a computer animated "Questworld". Season two brought back elements of the original series as the team would travel the world on scientific exploration. This show only lasted two seasons.
If you haven't seen Jonny Quest (1964) I would recommend you rent the dvds. The show has great stories and wonderful character designs. Comicbook fans especially should tune in.
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 12:39 PM
Friday, September 15, 2006
Popular children's book Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss will meet the big screen March 18, 2008 and the first images have been released! Horton is a story about an elephant who hears the cries from the denizes of a city living on a speck of dust.
The feature is brought to you by 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios, the same team that brought you Robots and Ice Age. Jim Carrey has signed on to be the voice of Horton and Steve Carell will lend his voice to the Mayor of Whoville!
I am so happy that this movie will be animated. I was not a fan of the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Cat in the Hat nor did I like the Jim Henson Workshop's Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss. The cartoon medium is where the world of Dr. Seuss belongs.
Probably most famous and most popular of all of Dr. Seuss' works brought to the big and small screens is the 1966 TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This show was so true to the original book and had some great designs by the legendary Chuck Jones who also was the director.
But let's talk more about Horton. These stills really capture the true image of Seuss' drawings. The stubby noses, the tuft of hair atop the mayor's head, even the buildings in the background are all ripped from the pages and brought to life. I can't wait to see them move. My only concern is that the story, being as short as it is, won't be able to fill a feature film length.
I know I will be there on opening day to see how it turns out! How about you?
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 12:12 PM
Thursday, September 14, 2006
This week's 'Theme Song By Rock Stars' is Spider-Man (the 1994 Series) written and performed by big-time Spider-Man fan Joe Perry of Aerosmith fame.
Way back when James Cameron was suppose to make a Spider-Man feature film in 1994, FOX and Marvel Films developed an animated series to go alongside the feature. The main villains of the movie were suppose to be Electro and Sandman so the creators of the show decided to not put these two villains in the show. But when they realized that this movie would never be made they put Electro in season five. Sandman never made it at all.
Fans regard this show as the most true to the feel and look of the comicbooks. Origins were fairly close to the originals for the most part and villains' costumes and attitudes were a good update. This show was also the most popular of all the Spider-Man cartoons over the years (although some will say the '67 series is the best) lasting 5 seasons and 65 episodes!
The show was cancelled when FOX decided they only wanted shows that were animated in-house. Two last episodes were cobbled together to bring some closure to the series but most fans were not happy with the way it turned out and hoped for many years that it would return and resolve unresolved plot lines.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Thank you everyone who came out to yesterday's animation night. We had a wonderful time watching some of the work of Mike Judge. Unfortunately we couldn't get a hold of any of his early work like Milton and Frog Baseball or his more interesting projects like the Animation Show and Spike and Mike's. We were limited to Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill.
But it wasn't all bad. Those two shows are both a great example of his drawing and animation style and Mike does most of the voices in B&BH and a few in KOTH too.
Beavis and Butt-Head follows the unexciting adventures of two slacker students in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Beavis and his friend Butt-Head usually have sex on their minds and their 'indestrucable teenager' way of living often gets them into trouble. But these two always come out of it smiling and laughing.
King of the Hill is the second longest running animated series next to the Simpsons. If follows the life of the Hill family in Arlen, Texas and their daily encounters with (usually) un-PC hillbilliy behaivour.
This show stays grounded in reality. The characters although animated do not do many 'cartoony' things. This series could very well be live action.
The character designs are based on Mike's unique style and Mike does the voice for Hank Hill and Boomhauer.
Here is last night's program:
Beavis and Butt-Head - Butt is it Art?
Beavis and Butt-Head - Figure Drawing
Beavis and Butt-Head - Home Improvements
Beavis and Butt-Head - dEUS music video, Suds and Soda
Beavis and Butt-Head - Wilco music video, Box Full of Letters
Beavis and Butt-Head - Pantera, This Love
King of the Hill - Luanne's Saga
King of the Hill - Peggy the Boggle Champ
South Park, Bigger Longer, Uncut - Last scene (Mike is the unmuffled voice of Kenny)
Next animation night: September 26! Be there!
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 2:22 PM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Today I have the job of watching the voice recordings from the past couple of weeks and breaking them down into scenes so the animators have a visual reference for when they animate the characters.
The two actors they have cast so far are hilarious! I'm not sure if I am allowed to say who they are yet, but they work together on a Saturday night skit show. One is afraid of reptiles on aircraft and the other doesn't like doing much on Sundays!
These two actors are funny and are bringing a lot of character to their characters! One in particular is ad-libing like crazy and it is hilarious! Space Chimps is due out in 2008! It's gonna be great!
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 3:52 PM
Monday, September 11, 2006
Here are a few new sketches of mine that I have done while watching cartoons in the past couple of days. The first is the Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister) from Animaniacs and the second is Frylock, Meatwad and Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
The third picture is John Blackstar from the short lived Blackstar cartoon from the early 80s. I like the head but it is too big in porportion to the body. The last picture is Hong Kong Phooey from the show of the same name.
I hope you enjoy them! Please leave you comments and critiques. I'm always wanting to learn how to better develop my skill.
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 9:18 AM
Friday, September 08, 2006
Today's post combines two of my most favourite things in the whole world! Cartoons and "Weird Al" Yankovic!
The first single for "Weird Al" Yankovic's new album is called Don't Download This Song. It was released on myspace (ironically) as a free download and now the video has been posted by the man himself on youtube for all to see. I have posted it here to share with everyone!
The video is animated by Academy Award winner Bill Plympton. Plympton is known for his unique animation style but he is most known for animating every single frame by himself. He has been animating shorts since 1968 and won an Oscar for his short Your Face in 1987. He has made over thirty shorts and four feature films including The Tune in 1992 and Mutant Aliens in 2001.
This is not his first time animating a music video. He has also done one for Peter Himmelman's 245 Days (1990) and Kanye West's Heard 'Em Say (2005).
This is not the first time "Weird Al" has used animation in a music video. He made a 3D video for his song Beverly Hillbillies which was a song and video parody of Dire Straits' Money For Nothing and a claymation video for Jurassic Park which was a parody of Richard Harris' Macarthur Park.
Yankovic's new album is due out September 26 (October 3 in Canada due to some manufacturing problem. Grr...) and is called Straight Outta Lynwood. I might have to drive down to the States to pick myself up a copy.
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 12:43 PM
Thursday, September 07, 2006
It's the first week of September! This month's theme is "Themes by Rock Stars"
The Batman, by The Edge
The Batman debuted on the WB! on September 11, 2001. Unlike the previous Batman: the Animated Series from 1992, this Batman was new to the game. Bruce Wayne has only been Batman for three years. He is still learning how to be a detective and a superhero.
Classic villains like the Joker, Penguin and Catwoman are constant threats to the Dark Knight, as well as modern Batman villains like Black Mask, Ragdoll and Spellbinder. Many of the villains are voiced by some very notable people including Ron Pearlman, Dan Castellanella, Clancy Brown, Gina Gershin and Brandon Routh just to name a few!
The series has, what some people are calling, a pseudo-anime style similar to the Jackie Chan Adventures. Comicbook artist Jeff Matsuda redesigned all the characters for the show along with some new personalities. Many fans, especially fans of Batman: TAS, didn't like the show because it was not as dark and it strayed to far from the comicbooks (Batgirl appeared in Season 3 becoming Batman's partner. Robin is making his debut in this year's Season 4).
I was one of the many who didn't like this show. I am a huge fan of the original animated series and to me this was an abomination. I stayed far away from it until Season One came out on DVD. I decided to give it a shot. What I found was solid animation, good stories and plenty of action. I am a converted fan.
The theme song to The Batman was composed and performed by U2's The Edge and sets the feel for the dark, mysterious and often fast paced Gotham City. The song was replaced in Season 3 for a new song composed by Andy Sturmer who also wrote the Teen Titans theme song for Puffy Ami Yumi.
You Edge fans may find this interesting too
Next week: Aerosmith's Joe Perry!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I just found out that one of my favourite voices passed away a few weeks ago.
Tony Jay, a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, was a actor at heart and did many voiceover jobs for a variety of animated programs. He loved acting in Broadway Theatre (which is evident in his voice acting performances), recorded a few books and CD and narrated several programs including Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Treasure Planet, an episode of Teen Titans and the World of Warcraft video game.
His distinct baritone voice landed him many roles as villains or narrators. Some of his more notable roles included the following:
Beauty and the Beast - Monsieur D'Arque
Fantastic Four - Galactus
Hunchback of Notre Dame - Judge Claude Frollo
Jungle Book 2 - Shere Khan
ReBoot - Megabyte
Rugrats - Dr. Lipschitz
TaleSpin - Shere Khan
Tony Jay died on August 13, 2006, aged 73 after failing to recover from endoscopic surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor in his lungs.
We will miss you Tony. Rest in Peace.
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 2:04 PM
The article about Turner Broadcasting editing smoking scenes out of some Tom & Jerry and The Flintstones cartoons is really getting some attention. I wrote my thoughts on the subject here and every animation blog seems to have mentioned it at least once.
But last night Dateline aired a segment about the no-smoking issue and it has made it to youtube already. This issue is getting the attention it deserves and Dateline is helping educate the general public.
So what do you think about this? For it or against it?
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 1:28 PM
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
My second all-time favourite movie is being given another world-wide release!
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas will hit the big screen October 20th just in time for Halloween. But this time Disney has digitally remastered this classic in Disney Digital 3D! That's right! All of your favourite characters will be even larger than life than ever before!
I can't tell you how excited I am about this. I never saw Nightmare in the theatre when it originally came out so I am thrilled to be a part of it this time around!
I should note that this movie will not be filmed in the anaglyph format as shown in the picture above. You will not be using the red/cyan 3D glasses to view it. You will have to wear glasses however. It will be like watching one of those fancy underwater IMAX movies that is narrated by Leonard Nemoy or the Muppets in 3D show at Walt Disney World.
Check out the website and trailer here.
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 12:56 PM
Friday, September 01, 2006
The new Fantastic Four Animated Series debuts tomorrow on Cartoon Network and Marvel has released a bunch of new promo posters and character model sheets from the show for all to see. Click here!
I really like the designs of this show. The characters are interesting to look at and I love the new style. I can't wait to see these guys in action!
Click for larger image
I love Bruce Timm and his character designs and influence for DC Comics shows like Batman: the Animated Series, Justice League and Teen Titans but I am also glad to see that other superhero shows are not capitalizing on that popularity.
The Batman opted for a different style that has seemed to work well for the Dark Knight and even Teen Titans has moved beyond the Bruce Timm style to make one of their own.
X-Men: Evolution had a nice clean refreshing style and I see this Fantastic Four cartoon following along that line.
Jean Grey from X-Men: Evolution
Susan Storm from Fantastic Four
Check out my previous posts here and here for more information about this new Fantastic Four Animated Series.
Posted by Kurtis Findlay at 8:49 AM