Showing posts with label Animation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animation. Show all posts

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Episode 165: Chatting with Doc Wyatt about Alien Bones and Super Dinosaur

Geekerati Episode 165

Episode 165: Chatting with Doc Wyatt about Alien Bones and Super Dinosaur

We were lucky enough to connect with Television and Film Producer Doc Wyatt a couple of weeks ago to discuss a couple of his newly released projects. While Doc's producing credits include films like Napoleon Dynamite, our discussion focused entirely on his work in comic books and animation. 

His most recent comic book Alien Bones is an adventure tale in the emerging "Dim Dark" genre. Tomorrow's post will include a review of the book as well as role playing game stats for some of the characters, which should give a suggestion of what I thought of the book. HINT: I liked it and so did my daughters.

Doc's a busy content creator, who's work includes a wide variety of animated series. If you like super heroes and/or Star Wars, it's likely that Doc and his writing partner Kevin Burke have worked on your favorite show. He's currently working on a number of series, but Episode 165 highlights his work on the recent Super Dinosaur series, which is an adaptation of a comic book by Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead fame. Super Dinosaur is a mash up of Science Fiction, Super Hero, and Hollow Earth tropes that is currently airing on Amazon Prime.

I don't want to reveal too much of the interview here, but here are a couple of things we touch on during the interview. 

Image result for warhammer adventures

The Dim Dark genre and books like the new Warhammer Adventures series. Let's just say that if you like Alien Bones, you'll like Warhammer Adventures and vice versa.

The Spelljammer setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game, a setting of wild fantasy adventures in outer space.

Related image
Season 20 of Doctor Who featuring Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, and the Enlightenment storyline in particular.

The classic Vincent Price horror film Witchfinder General and the comic book of the same name by Doc Wyatt.

The short lived Jeph Hephner series Agent X that ran on TNT in the early 2010s.

The amazingly entertaining Disney Junior series Octonauts that my family loved so much I had to order toys from England as Christmas presents.

The old show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which is the live action adult equivalent of Octonauts, cool ships and all.

The Marvel comic book Death's Head featuring a character originally published by Marvel's British Comic book division in the 1980s.

Image result for deathshead comic 

It's a great conversation and we'd love for you to listen.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jim Beaver (Supernatural) Discusses Buster Keaton's OUR HOSPITALITY

It's hard to describe in words the brilliance of the comedic stunt work of early Hollywood action-comedians like Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd.  Their willingness to risk life and limb to entertain audiences -- even with the safety procedures they did use -- is mind boggling. The best way to use words to describe their endeavors are usually names, names of artists who have attempted similarly insane comedic stunts. You can tell a modern audience that many of Jackie Chan's stunts were inspired by the work of Keaton, and that does a pretty effective job.  But for my generation, who encountered Jackie Chan as he entered the American Market with THE BIG BRAWL, a better comparison is Disney's character Goofy.  Many of the animated stunt comedy shorts that feature Goofy are based on the comedic endeavors of Keaton and Lloyd.

Think about that for a minute. Animation, with its infinite ability to show the unreal, was used to tell stories inspired by the real world stunt work of real world comedians.

Actor Jim Beaver has a column over at IndieWire entitled "Beaver's Lodge," and in his most recent (and second) installment he discusses Buster Keaton's film OUR HOSPITALITY.  Watch his discussion and tell me you don't want to watch this film.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Star Wars Anime? Sure. Why Not?

The Star Wars community has long been a creative force on the internet, and for the most part Lucas and Co have been very open to the use of the IP in fan created work.

I recently caught wind of a Star Wars anime project being tinkered around with on 4chan.  The project is far from finished, but this video gives a glimpse at the state of the animation -- the video I'm posting has sound that the /m/ animations lacked.

In all, I think that the animation looks good.  One thing struck me about this brief piece though, and that is how much it humanizes the Imperial Pilots.  The Star Wars films have always presented the Storm Troopers and Pilots as faceless and ominous archetypes -- and eventually as weak willed clones with subconscious "Orders" planted within their minds.  This artist, Otaking 77077, has given us a glimpse into the helmets of the pilots, and it changes the point of view in interesting ways.  I found myself rooting for the Imperials in this video.  It was an interesting sentiment to experience, as I'm used to the Empire as antagonists and not protagonists.

A part of me wonders if my point of view would have been different if the Imperials were represented with Zentradi skin tones or blue skin like the residents of Gamilon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Adventures of Tintin -- Can Digitally Animated Fight Scenes and Stunts Satisfy?

The more I look at the advertising for the upcoming Adventures of Tintin animated film, the more it looks like the film will provide for a few hours of pleasant entertainment.  There is still one major question lurking in the back of my mind...How much more exciting would all of this be if it were a live action film?

The stunts look unbelievably exciting, check out the motorcycle stunt toward the end of the trailer, but I keep asking myself "what if Jackie Chan did the stunt coordination for a live action film?"  I understand that there are limits to what the human body can do, and there are very good safety reasons to use digital effects to supplement stunts, but this film seems so action packed and exciting that I want to see it as "real" and not animated.  It seems that the film makers would be pushing more of the medium's boundaries if they attempted to recreate some of these fight scenes and stunts with real people.

I hate video game to movie comparisons as much as the next guy, but isn't one of the major reasons people attend a Tomb Raider film, or desire to watch an Uncharted movie, specifically because they want to see exciting digital experiences translated into live action.

Isn't the fight scene between Donnie Yen and Collin Chou in Flashpoint  so amazing because it has real people and you can imagine the real physical effort required to create the action sequence?

But the new Tintin film uses "motion capture" so the actors are physically engaged you say?  Some stunts can only be created digitally?  I don't buy it, and can easily imagine Jackie Chan, Harold Lloyd, or Buster Keaton doing that final motorcycle stunt.

None of this takes away from the fact that the Tintin movie looks engaging and entertaining, I'm looking forward to it.  I'm just saying that it looks like it would be "AMAZING" if it were live action.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin -- Should this really be in 3D?

As pretty as the new trailer for the upcoming Spielberg/Jackson "The Adventures of Tintin" looks -- weird motion capture movement and faces and all -- I find myself wondering if I wouldn't prefer to watch Tintin as a traditionally animated film. It is clear that the film attempts to capture some of the style of the original comic strips in the character design, but there is still some lingering tug at the back of my mind that would like to watch a film that looked less "spectacular" and allowed the spectacle of the story to tell itself. There also is something more impressive about the craftsmanship required to illustrate something like the maelstrom in "The Little Mermaid" that maintains a "tonal" verisimilitude to the overall animation of the film versus the craftsmanship required to create a similar effect digitally where the storm that looks "tonally" different from the characters of the film.

I think I just might prefer something that looked like this:

I'm still excited about the film, but the push for digital animation -- especially when unnecessary -- bothers me. I'll watch digitally animated Pooh on TV, and enjoy it, but I want to see hand drawn Pooh in the theaters. I think the same might just apply with Tintin.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Thundercats Ho!

I am overjoyed that I live in a world where I will be able to share new episodes of Thundercats with my twin daughters.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"The Legend of Korra" -- 70 Years After "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

Image © Nickelodeon

Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko created one of the best animated television shows of all time with Avatar: The Last Airbender. As the series unfolded, viewers watched the adventures of a young man named Aang as he fought to bring peace to a world at war. The show's episodes were brilliantly written tales that balanced humor, romance, and drama in a way rarely seen in American animated televisions shows.

DiMartino and Konietzko just announced that in 2011, Nickelodeon will be airing a sequel to Avatar tentatively entitled "The Legend of Korra." Where the original series was a world-spanning road trip, "Korra" will have a great deal of its action take place in a central location called Republic City. Where the bending skills of the Avatar were admired by the good citizens of the world, "Korra" will adventure in a world where (according to the creators) there is a major "anti-bender" revolt going on. Where Aang had only mastered Air-bending and spent the series wandering the globe while mastering the other three arts, "Korra" begins the tale with Korra having mastered Earth, Water, and Fire and will receive training in Air-bending from Aang's son.

If past is prologue -- and it often is -- then 2011 will be one of the best years for television animation ever. It will see the return of "Iron Man: Armored Adventures" and the start of "The Legend of Korra."

In the meantime, we'll have to wait and watch episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender to fill our addictive cravings.

Now, if we can only get Nickelodeon to release an Avatar roleplaying game.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

And Now for the Real AVATAR

From the looks of the second preview, the only problem with this adaptation of the excellent animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender is the casting.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the best animated shows I have seen in quite some time, though Phineas and Ferb is on the list, and you can view some clips and a limited number of full episodes at the links below.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Is Filmation's Old Series "Flash Gordon" Done Right?

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Steven gave me The New Adventures of Flash Gordon - The Complete Series DVD for my birthday.

He meant it as a gag gift. We have an ongoing, "let's watch bad stuff, ridicule it, and see just how awful something has to be before we turn it off" game going on. It started with my Birthday "Bad-movie-athon" viewing of In the Name of the King and has included things like Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter and Knights of Bloodsteel. So far, only Jesus Christ Vampire Slayer has been so horrible that even mockery wasn't able to make it watchable.

I have extremely fond memories of the Filmation Adventures of Flash Gordon series. Memories that I didn't believe were mere fabrication. Unlike my memories of how awesome Hawk the Slayer was -- which is now awesome for completely different reasons -- I was pretty sure that my fond memories were right on target in this case. Still, one does have to be wary of the memories of what one considered awesome during their youth. These things can come to bite you in the ass, as going back to watch episodes of Scooby Doo after the team began encountering Scooby's various relatives has proven to me. I loved the various "Doo's" as a conceit when I was a kid, I despise them now and blame Boomerang for letting me discover my childhood pleasure was a lie.

Needless to say, the DVD set of Filmation Flash Gordon episodes has been sitting on my shelf for the past couple of days as I deliberated whether to watch them with Jody and my twin daughters -- which would assume that the cartoons held up -- or to wait for a day when Steven and some other friends were over so we could MSTK the episodes -- which assumes that the cartoons would fail to live up to childhood memories.

Thankfully, our good friend Bill Cunningham over at Pulp 2.0 posted a blog entry discussing this very animated series which included a link to the invaluable SPACE: 1970 blog where Christopher Mills puts to rest all of my concerns. According to Mills, the first season of this animated series is a good adaptation of the classic comic strip.

I'll be ripping these open tonight for some family fun.

Now for some bonus material for Savage Worlds gamers out there. A few years back, I did some Savage Worlds character conversions of Flash and Ming the Merciless. I had intended on doing a full update of a number of the characters from the comic strip and serial, but haven't done any more to date. In order to encourage myself to post more character conversions from the Flash series, I'm going to post Flash and Ming here. If you want to see any future updates, you'll have to check my overly ambitiously named blog SAVAGE WORLDS CHARACTER A DAY.

Name: Flash Gordon

Yale graduate and famed polo player Flash Gordon is one of a small band are the world's only hope for salvation against the armies of Ming the Merciless.

At the novice level Flash has just parachuted to the ground near Professor Zarkov's secret rocket base and is about to begin his journey. At this time he has no "known" skill at shooting or piloting. Flash begins his journey with only the clothes on his back. No food...

Race: Human

Hero Rank: Novice

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d8, Swimming d8, Throwing d6, Streetwise d4, Piloting d4, Shooting d4

Charisma: +2, Pace: 6, Parry: 6, Toughness: 5

Hinderances: Loyal, Heroic, Enemy: Ming the Merciless

Edges: Attractive

Equipment: none.

Flash and his companions crashland on the mysterious planet Mongo and encounter some of the native beasts, two large lizard-like creatures. They are seemingly rescued by rocketships...only to discover that they have been caputured by the malevolent ruler of Mongo, Ming the Merciless. Flash makes a quick escape, but must leave Dale behind. He is still weaponless, but has acquired a new set of clothing (equivalent to leather armor) and flies off in a rocketship.

Hero Rank: Seasoned

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d8, Swimming d8, Throwing d6, Streetwise d6, Piloting d8, Shooting d6

Charisma: +2, Pace: 6, Parry: 6, Toughness: 6 (7)

Hinderances: Loyal, Heroic, Enemy: Ming the Merciless

Edges: Attractive, Command

Equipment: Leather Armor.

After crashing in his rocketship, Flash meets his first ally Thun the Prince of the Lion Men. Our heroes journey into the Cave World of Mongo (Flash's eventual hideout). They rescue dale, only to crash when attacked by mysterious creatures. Eventually they end up in the land of the Shark Men of Mongo where Flash must fight hand to hand for his life against the King of the Shark Men. He spares the life of his opponent, only to be betrayed and place in a death trap. He is once again separated from Dale.

Hero Rank: Veteran

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d10, Guts d8, Swimming d10, Throwing d6, Streetwise d6, Piloting d10, Shooting d8

Charisma: +2, Pace: 6, Parry: 8, Toughness: 6 (7)

Hinderances: Loyal, Heroic, Enemy: Ming the Merciless

Edges: Attractive, Command, Block

Equipment: Leather Armor, Rapier, Laser Pistol.

Flash as he begins to form alliances with the "Princes of Mongo."

Hero Rank: Heroic

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Skills: Fighting d10, Guts d8, Swimming d10, Throwing d8, Streetwise d6, Piloting d10, Shooting d10

Charisma: +2, Pace: 6, Parry: 8, Toughness: 6 (7)

Hinderances: Loyal, Heroic, Enemy: Ming the Merciless

Edges: Attractive, Command, Block, Fervor, Inspire

Equipment: Leather Armor, Rapier, Laser Pistol.

This is Ming the Merciless as Flash first encounters him on the planet Mongo. He is fearless, intimidating, and powerful, but we have yet to see him in "action" as a combatant.

Ming the Merciless

Threat Rating: Veteran (50)

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d10, Spirit d10, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Intimidation d10, Shooting d8, Piloting d6, Persuasion d10-2, Guts d10, Fighting d8, Knowledge (Law) d8

Charisma -2, Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 5

Hindrances: Vengeful, Bloodthirsty, Mean.

Edges: Noble, Charismatic, Command, Rich, Natural Leader.

Now that Flash has become a nuisance in Ming's backside, Ming has begun to display new powers. Ming displays physical capabilities beyond what we have originally witnessed, and a hint of mystical powers.

Threat Level: Legendary (80)

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d10, Spirit d12, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Intimidation d10, Shooting d10, Piloting d8, Persuasion d10-2, Guts d10, Fighting d10, Knowledge (Law) d10

Charisma -2, Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 5

Hindrances: Vengeful, Bloodthirsty, Mean.

Edges: Noble, Arcane Background (Psionics), Connections, Charismatic, Command, Rich, Natural Leader.

Powers: Fear, Mind Reading, Puppet.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fist of the Northstar: Mad Max Meets Superpowered Kung Fu (Hulu Recommendation Friday)

Happy New Year!

One of the great traditions of celebrating a new year, is looking back to the past and how it portrayed the future. The mid-80s were filled with post-apocalyptic narratives, but none quite as action packed as the anime series Fist of the North Star. The cartoon is best remembered for the exploding heads and bodies of its antagonists and its protagonist's favorite one-liner, "you're dead and you don't even know it yet." This is usually followed by the villain's body exploding in dramatic fashion.

Hulu has all 152 episodes of the series.

Koei Tecmo will be releasing a video game based on the manga/anime classic some time during 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Toy Movies as You Likely Won't See Them

Playing off of the recent explosion of films based on 80s toy and animation properties, animator Dan Meth brings us a few imagined films based on other properties. The first film Care Bears vs. My Little Pony doesn't list an imagined director, one could easily pick a few names, but the other films do. My personal favorite is David Cronenberg's Cabbage Patch Kids. It captures the Cronenberg feel while demonstrating just how creepy the Cabbage Patch backstory really is. It's like a combination of Village of the Damned, The Children, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Night of the Living Dead.

Toy Movies

Just for kicks, here's the preview for The Children.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kung Fu Bunny 3 (Gongfu tu ): Amateur Animation Never Looked So Good

Allen Varney, a fellow University of Nevada graduate, recently tweeted about an amateur animation series called Kung Fu Bunny. In particular, he provided a link to the series creator's YouTube posting of the third episode of the series. This particular video has been online for about a month and the two older episodes were posted in 2007. Near as I can tell, these videos were posted by an animator who identifies himself merely as "Vincent." If I could read Chinese characters, I would be able to provide a translation of his printed name. Alas, this is not the case. You can visit his personal blog at

The animation in the third episode of the series is seemlessly integrated into live action footage with remarkable effect. It's amazing how technological innovations have made it so that an amateur animator can integrated live action and animation in a way that makes Who Framed Roger Rabbit? look primitive in comparison. Certainly, some of Vincent's coloring technique, particularly the shading of the characters, was influenced by the Disney film, but the work here is excellent.

An added bonus to the video is that the narrative is wonderfully entertaining. American audiences will be familiar with the narrative tropes being used in the story as they are the time tested tropes of the Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny cartoons, Tom and Jerry, and Kid vs. Kat. In this case, our narrator wants to catch the mischievous Kung Fu Bunny and sets a trap. When this trap is evaded, and our animator mocked, he sends his trusty animated dog companion after the Bunny. The rest is comic gold.

Monday, December 07, 2009

War of the Worlds: Goliath -- Coming in 2010

Next year will see the release of Tripod Entertainment's animated Steampunk film WAR OF THE WORLDS: GOLIATH. The film's premise is that 15 years after the Martian's failed attack on the earth in 1900 the aliens return to continue their attempted conquest of Earth. Much has changed in the intervening 15 years, as the industrious have reverse engineered a substantial amount of Martian technology. This sets the stage for a more evenly balanced conflict between the two worlds. The film's trailer hints at what the film will offer. The film will star geek favorites Adam Baldwin, Peter Wingfield, and Adrian Paul.

GOLIATH isn't the first WAR OF THE WORLDS sequel to make its way through the Hollywood entertainment assembly line. In 1988, there was a 2 season syndicated television series based on the premise that the Martians who invaded during the George Pal film merely went into hibernation and didn't die when they collapsed. The series aired in the US on Fox, and it too starred Adrian Paul (during the 2nd season).

The narrative premise of GOLIATH is a promising one and the show looks to have combined the best of the Steampunk genre with some elements of the classic animated television series STAR BLAZERS. Instead of a giant space faring WWII battleship, we have a giant sky spanning battle-zeppelin. I think the battle-zeppelin wins hands down.

Steampunk is a genre that has been gaining some momentum over the past few years. It combines "Vernian" futuristic technology with a Victorian/Edwardian time frame. I would posit that the first iteration of Steampunk was the Castle Falkenstein roleplaying game by Mike Pondsmith of R. Talsorian Games (publishers of the Cyberpunk rpg) and that the genre gained real traction with the novels The Difference Engine by Gibson and Sterling and The Prestige by Priest.

It has been noted in the comments that I am in error with regards to the origin of the term and genre of Steampunk. I will concede the term's origin, but I would take issue with some of those items retroactively classified into the genre. One could classify Spenser's The Faerie Queene as Epic Fantasy, but one would be misapplying a term for fantasy fiction in the post-Morris era. The same holds for Wild, Wild, West which shares as much with James Bond as it does with Steampunk (specifically). One might as well classify Ian Fleming's brilliant Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as Steampunk. Wikipedia and "internet citations" from Locus be damned!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hulu Recommendation Friday: The Secret of NIMH

Sometimes it seems as if we've forgotten how wonderful hand drawn animation can be and the sense of marvel it can convey. Digital Animation can be, and often is, a wonderful medium in which to view stories, but there is something about hand painted cells that -- when well done -- captures the imagination in a spectacular way. Don Bluth's 1982 masterpiece, The Secret of NIMH is a film that manages to show off many of the advantages of hand drawn animation, while exhibiting few of the weaknesses. Digital animation still lacks the fluidity of well executed hand drawn animation, but that is only a matter of time.

What is special about this kind of animation is the same quality that is special about paintings in comparison to photographs. Photographs, particularly digital photographs, have a crisp quality of realism where paintings -- even spectacularly realistic paintings -- have a sense of the surreal about them. The same is true when comparing digital animation and hand drawn animation, the digital always "feels" a little more real than the hand drawn -- somehow more abstracted from reality.

Both types of animation have a well deserved place in entertainment, but sometimes we get so obsessed with the new that we forget the transformative nature of the old.

The Secret of NIMH is one of the rare movies that Jody and I own actual animation cells from and they are among our most prized possessions.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sporadic Geek Update (9/3/09)

Once in a while I like to imitate the excellent Morning Medieval Miscellany done by Professor Scott Nokes at Unlocked Wordhoard. Doing a daily update of all things pop culture related would be an absurd task for an amateur blogger. I much prefer doing individual posts highlighting things that interest me, at least as my "regular" post technique. But there are times when it's nice to kick out a Sporadic Geek Update featuring things that might otherwise be overlooked.

  • Following the merger between Marvel and Disney, Sony has backed off on the Spectacular Spider-Man Cartoon. Does this mean that Spidey is headed over to Toon Disney? What about the new Avengers and Iron Man cartoons?

  • SF Signal has a good discussion about what San Diego Comic Con can learn from Worldcon and vice-versa. With the exception of the highly predictable "pretentiously disdainful view from the old guard" by Lev Grossman, the comments are excellent. Notice the difference between his snarky anti-"common fan" rant and the insightful comments by Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books. Lassen presents the difference between the SF "tourist" and the SF "devotee" as a good thing and looks at each con in its proper light. Grossman, a critic for Time Magazine and best selling SF/Fantasy, slanders the unwanted popular rabble in a fashion typical for one who favors "literary" works.

    Lassen's Night Shade Books is a publisher of books important to the SF/F historiography. Night Shade keeps alive brilliant writers like Manly Wade Wellman and Clark Ashton Smith by releasing beautiful editions of their works. They also promote exciting, and often overlooked, new talents like Liz Williams and her Detective Inspector Chen series.

    Lassen's trying to bring in new fans and introduce them to classics. Grossman is content to denigrate those who are introduced to SF/F via Hollywood. This is ironic, because Grossman's blog at Time isn't usually so filled with venom, and his writing is engaging. One expects a little, "I wish the casual fan understood how rich the SF genre is," but one would rather not read "the rapid expansion and mainstreaming of -- for want of a better term -- nerd culture is a dangerous thing." This isn't to say there isn't room for criticism of SDCC, and how commercial it has become, just that I would have rather read it without the snark. Snark is so 90s.

  • Matt Tarbit has done a wonderful job in creating a visual representation, with links, to all the games featured in Green Ronin's wonderful Hobby Games: The 100 Best. If you are looking for the perfect resource as an introduction to "Hobby Gaming," you cannot do any better than this book and Tarbit's webpage gives you the pictures the book lacks.

  • Wolfgang Baur, and his exciting Open Design Project, have announced three new projects that are awaiting patron support. I am particularly excited about Red Eye of Azathoth, though I wish they were offering it in Gumshoe format in addition to Pathfinder and Basic Roleplaying.

  • Kobold Quarterly has an excellent interview with Joseph Goodman regarding the state of the role playing game industry.

  • Catalyst Labs, the Battletech people, have a good blog post about role playing gaming and "those kids today."

  • Topless Robot -- Village Voice Media -- provides us with a trailer for the next installment in the Star Blazers saga. Like the writer on that site, Star Blazers was my first anime. I eagerly awaited each new episode as a kid. I have embedded the preview below, but head on over to the website and give them some traffic.

  • Progressive Boink has a demonstration of the typical immature fanboy hatred of Rob Liefeld. Liefeld is certainly not among the best artists in the field, but in a field filled with talented artists who are constantly behind deadline Liefeld is a worker. I remember reading in the introduction to a Hawk and Dove trade paperback that Liefeld was one of the most tenacious "submitters" in DC Comics history. He was constantly submitting work and had a huge productivity level. He is also one of those who expanded artist's rights within the industry, took on powerhouse Marvel, and was one of the founders of Image Comics. Image is to this day one of the shining lights of the industry and promotes a number of excellent titles -- books like Invincible, or a number of other titles. Sometimes an artist's legacy isn't in the work itself, but in what that artist has done for the field as a whole. He still cannot draw feet, but he certainly didn't deserve the treatment he received from "Yellow Hat Guy."
  • Friday, July 24, 2009

    Hulu Recommendation Friday: Robotech -- The Shadow Chronicles

    Hulu's selection keeps getting better and better. Spend a little time in front of the CRT (or flatscreen) and watch the recent update of the Robotech Saga.

    What will be the fate of the Earth? Just click play and toggle the Full Screen button.

    Friday, February 29, 2008

    Conan and Jem: Christy Marx on Geekerati


    and JEM

    have in common?

    Christy Marx was a Writer and Story Editor on both of these animated series (and a whole host of others. Listen to last week's Geekerati episode as she talks about these shows and her career as a television, animation, comic book, and video game writer. You can also visit her website to find some great advice if you are looking to become a writer in the television, animation, comic book, or video game fields.

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    John Lasseter, 2D, and Glendalienism

    Anne Thompson at the Hollywood Reporter, until tomorrow when she takes over, has a link to a very good New York Times story about the future of Disney animation. The Times story is simultaneously informative about the "business" while highlighting the narrow-sighted ignorance of East Coast bias. As Kate at Fishbowl LA points out, New Yorkers don't often have the familiarity one would expect. Sometimes I think New Yorkers shouldn't be allowed to write about Los Angeles.

    Below is the comment I wrote about the article, which mentions that Disney Animation is going to have offices in Glendale.

    Overall, this is a very good article, which gives me yet another reason to love living in Glendale. It's great being a Glendalien.

    On a side note though, it continually amazes me how articles point to 2002's Treasure Planet and its failure as a symptom of how audiences lost interest in 2D animation. Rarely is it mentioned that 2002's Lilo and Stitch was a significant success for the studio. It cost less to make ($80 million to over $120 million) and made considerably more in the box office ($145 million domestic to $38.1 domestic). Lilo and Stitch was not only 2D, but it featured beautiful watercolor background paintings. It was a true 2D experience, where Treasure Planet was more 2-1/2D with more computer modeling etc.

    What is often lost in analysis is how Treasure Planet suffers from what I call, Titan A.E. syndrome (a 2000 box office flop). This syndrome is a combination of two things. First, forgetting just who the audience is for a typical (i.e. non-ultra-vi film as Alex might say) American animated film. Second, is the lack of a well written/conveyed narrative. Pixar films work because they are well written. Treasure Planet may have been Treasure Island, but it made the protagonist a whiner and added "extreme" sports elements in an attempt to attract 12-14 year old boys.

    Rule #1 in animation/comics/entertainment is "if you want 12-14 year old boys to desire your product, make it for 18 year olds." Atlantis, which featured awe-inspiring designs by Mike Mignola, was a flop for the same reason. 12-14 year old boys want to watch Full Metal Alchemist, Heavy Metal, and Samurai Champloo, they don't want Treasure Planet or its ilk.

    Pixar's movies tried to appeal to all audiences, either through humor, nostalgia, or pathos. The nostalgia of the collector (and its dark side) are a wonderful part of Toy Story 2. The pathos of "Kitty!" at the end of Monsters Inc. is heartbreaking, and the humorous adaptation of The Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai that is A Bug's Life is wonderful.

    It is the writing and quality that bring people to the theater again and again. I can only think of one well written animated film that failed and that was released with almost no fanfare, Iron Giant.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Is Stop Motion Photography Animation?

    I remember reading an article, or hearing a radio interview, about the nature of music manipulation and its relation to copyright protection. Moby was talking about how djs give added value to existing music, either altering an existing song sufficiently to give new meaning or using such small clips that the resulting mix was an entirely new song. The crux of the conversation was that the turn-table could be considered a musical instrument. I think there is some merit to that position, but that the added value needs to be significant for any given song to be a truly new creation.

    I was reminded of the above conversation when I saw the video below. It looks like Lasse Gjertsen has managed to find a way to turn stop motion photography into an animated song. All the music is original, but what struck me was Lasse's claim that he didn't know how to play a piano or a drum set. Even if he is not lying, he is obviously quite proficient at manipulating sound editing software, and video software, to create an intriguing video. But is stop motion animation of a real person animation? If this animation? Discuss.