Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Swing You Sinners (1930)

I just learned how to embed a YouTube video, so I figured why not take a moment to showcase some classic animation? This is a Fleischer short from before the more famed days of Bettie Boop and Popeye. It features a bopping jazz soundtrack, great visual gags, and lots of surreal animation—all the elements Fleischer Studios is best known for. Be sure to watch it to the very end, as there is a really bizarre finale. The Animation Archive offers a Quicktime version with less compression: view it here. They also have this to say about it:

One of the films preserved with the assistance of ASIFA-Hollywood was the classic Fleischer Talkartoon, Swing, You Sinners. Animated by Ted Sears and Willard Bowsky, with an eye-popping surreal ending by Grim Natwick and Bowsky, this film was the first of many Fleischer cartoons that mixed surrealism, cartoony ghosts & goblins, and hot jazz. While other studios built their cartoons around fairy tale stories or topical gags, the Fleischers constructed cartoons in the same way jazz music was constructed... statement of the theme, a series of variations and a big finish.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Thursday, July 12, 2007

ARGH! Teaser

I just completed my latest 2-page comic for ARGH!, a Spanish comic magazine. Issue #3 will be all in black and yellow with no words this time around, because they want to distribute it all around Europe. Lucky me, because I love doing wordless comics. Félix tells me that he got a ton of submissions this time, and the quality continues to improve. This time I drew up a comic more in the spirit of the magazine, which leans towards the grotesque. The above panel is a teaser to hold you over until the magazine comes out in a couple of months. (Will the wait pain you nearly this much?...I can only hope!) You can see my comic for ARGH! #2 at this earlier post.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Robbery! (continued)

I'm wrapping up a pretty fun little animation this weekend, the same one I posted an early keyframe from in mid June. Just putting the finishing touches on it now. It's all animated in Flash, and I created the backgrounds in Painter—a program I rarely use, but which is working perfectly to create the kind of background texture I had in mind. It's been a blast adapting my style to fit into the 1950s period of animation. And of course, who wouldn't love making a cartoon with robbers in it? The little woman makes it out okay, so don't worry.

UPDATE: You can now view the full animation a this post:
A Robbery! (animated)

Popeye Restored

I've blogged about Fleischer cartoons before—easily one of my favorite styles of animation from the 20s and 30s. The guys over at Classic Cartoons have posted a bunch of screenshots from the upcoming fully restored Popeye DVD set, and they are just breathtaking to see. The detail and crispness matches what you might expect if you were looking at cel on background, minus a bit of film grainyness. I've seen a handful of these, either on VHS when I was a kid, or all compressed on the internet. But never with this crispness and clarity. I've included a couple below. Amid Amidi over at Cartoon Brew is also tracking this as well. Definitely a DVD to get—due out end of July.

UPDATE: John K has some great insight about Popeye, and the soon to be released DVD on his blog as well. Check out these posts:
(Popeye Rules) (What makes a character?)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Doctor Velcro

This is a one-pager that I just inked up in honor of my friend, John Lechner (if you don't know by now, he's the amazing comic artist and creator of Sticky Burr). I thought it would be fun to do a little Sticky Burr comic of my own, featuring the nefarious evil-doer Doctor Velcro. Nothing like the real deal, though. This was all in good fun. I have to hand it to John, it ain't easy drawing all those little burrs!
(click to view larger image)

Renée Kurilla, artist cohort and FableVisionary extrordinaire, also fashioned a plush Sticky Burr, which you can see at her blog.