For the Saturday Morning Cartoon blog column, of course. Also useful for other animation. Not for comics! Comics go under “Books” until further notice. UPDATE Fine, you all win, comics get their own tag.
It’s a special Free Comic Book Day edition of Saturday Morning Cartoon!
What’s Free Comic Book Day you ask? It takes place the first Saturday of May every year and is sponsored by the comic industry. Each publisher creates a special free comic and if you go to your local comic book store anywhere in North America, you can get a free comic. You can find out which stores are closest to you by visiting the official Free Comic Book Day website.
Since most of the comics are superhero oriented,but not all, here’s a couple superhero cartoons to get you in the mood for some free comics.
Today’s cartoon is change up from the usual Saturday morning fare.
French animation directors Luis Briceno and David Alapont latest short film is called Fard. It’s a futuristic cartoon about a man named Oscar and his misfortune when he takes home a package for a co-worker. It’s been hitting the festivals with some strong results and now thanks to the good people at Twitch Film, you can watch it in it’s entirety.
It was bound to happen, but given Archie’s history of clean-cut (if not socially conservative) idealism, I’m still quite surprised by this news. Not to mention the fact that the company is known for its aggressive lawsuits regarding any sort of parody and satire of Archie characters … especially those with anything to do with sex.
Still, this could be a positive thing that further normalizes homosexuality, increasing acceptance in society; or it could end up smacking of tokenism like most black comic characters in the 1970s (Hey kids! I’m Black Lightning! I have the powers of lightning, except I’m black! Oh, here comes my friend Black Racer. He has all sorts of celestial powers. And he’s black!).
But I digress. The linked article makes a number of great (and funny) observations on the subject– “there’s not much point in inventing the telephone, if you haven’t built two.”
If nothing else, this is an indication that things have come a long way since implying that Smithers was gay in early episodes of The Simpsons. Plus Reggie finally has the opportunity to come out of the closet.
That’s right. Jughead was just a red-herring all along.
Last week I featured a Ruby-Spears Cartoon that Jack Kirby had worked on calledThe Centurions. Kirby had worked for Ruby-Spears in the 1980’s and had also worked on another previous Saturday Morning Cartoon for them called Thundarr the Barbarian.
Strangely enough Ruby-Spears announced this week that they had several animated series concepts from Jack when he was working for them and they’ve decided to exploit the King’s ideas.
I just hope it’s better than some of Ruby-Spears other efforts like this classic 1995 cartoon series – Sky Surfer Strike Force. It’s about another team of heroes that all have flying surf boards and plenty of lame looking armour. They’re fighting another in the long line of evil villains that use a variation of cyber. In this case it’s the evil Cybron.
Today’s Saturday Morning Cartoon is The Centurions.
Made in the mid 1980’s by Ruby-Spears and animated in Japan by Sunrise, this series started as a five part mini-series and was followed with another 60 episodes. Legendary comic creators Jack Kirby and Gil Kane worked as consultants on the show.
The plot took place in the near future where an evil cyborg genius called Doc Terror is trying to take over the world. The Centurions are a team of men dressed in battle armor that can fuse weapons to themselves by shouting “Power Extreme!”
If you’ve seen RedLetterMedia’s hilariously accurate reviews of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones (complete with unnecessary and unfunny psychopath side story), the last of your happy memories of Star Wars have probably met the same fate as Alderaan.
Fortunately, when geniuses like George Lucas are finally crushed under the immense weight of their own dense brilliance, others will eventually rise to resuscitate and reclaim a once-entertaining story.
Canadian animator Malcolm Sutherland is one such individual. In the three short animations below, he shares his own vision of Star Wars that is almost reminiscent of the wonderfully off-model Nelvana-produced animated short from the holiday-special-of-which-none-shall-speak. Dare I say that there are also references to 1990s Klasky-Csupo Animation, or perhaps Chad VanGaalen? I dare! I dare!
It’s Easter. An it’s spring time. So today’s Saturday Morning Cartoon theme is rabbits. But not a certain licensed Warner Brothers rabbit – that’s too obvious.
First up is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney for Universal, this rabbit was the precursor to a certain mouse that Disney would create after leaving Oswald. Disney and Universal got into a fight over money and Disney left to form his own company.
Next is the first television cartoon – Crusader Rabbit. Created by Jay Ward (Rocky and Bullwinkle) and Alex Anderson in 1949, the show had very limited animation but was amusing enough to usher in the age of animated television shows.
After watching John Johnstone’s Dungeon Crawl last night, I couldn’t help but start thinking about that classic 1980’s cartoon Dungeon & Dragons.
Based on the popular role playing game – the cartoon featured a group of kids transported to another world called The Realm of Dungeons & Dragons. Once there, they all get one magically weapon. There was a magical bow, a magic shield, a magic javelin, a magical hat, a magical cloak and a magic club. I couldn’t help but think that the guy who got the shield but no sword got short-changed. Naturally they try to make it back home.
Co-produced by Marvel Comics – it featured famed comics writer Steve Gerber (Giant Size Man-Thing, Howard the Duck) as story editor and a contributing writer. The show lasted 27 episodes and was once voted the most violent television show on TV in 1985 by the National Coalition on Television Violence. Ah good times.
This week marked the end of another failed experiment by Marvel Comics. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Alex Maleev, Spider-Woman was a really good comic. Lasting only seven issues, Marvel tried to simultaneously release the comic along with what everyone keeps calling a “motion comic”. I call it a cartoon. I think the idea was to sell the motion comic online while selling the regular comic in comic stores. But the motion comic is available for free on several sites and the comic didn’t sell as well as it should have.
To create the motion comic, they took the comic and animated minor parts of it. By trying to compete in the digital age by coming up trying to come up with some thing new – all they’ve managed to do is create a poorly animated cartoon.
In 1965, a Canadian animation company called Grantray-Lawrence Animation produced a show called The Marvel Super Heroes which featured a variety of Marvel characters. They took the actual art from the comics and provided limited animation or a motion comic if you will.
If I want to read a comic, I will read a comic book. If I want to watch a cartoon, I’ll watch this.
Michael E. Uslan has produced a lot of comic book movies. The Swamp Thing movies, the Batman movies (that’s all the Batman movies – good and bad), the Batman Animated series, Catwoman, Constantine and The Spirit. He’s also written some comics such as The Spirit and more recently the Archie comics where Archie marries Veronica then marries Betty because that’s the way Archie rolls. But there was only one show that Michael E. Uslan had created, written and produced all by himself.
It was a little known 80’s cartoon called Dinosaucers. It featured intelligent anthropomorphic dinosaurs who called themselves Dinosucers and flew around in space ships fighting a group of super evil dinosaurs called the Tyrannos.
There were also four kids called the Secret Scouts that helped the Dinosaucers because giant walking intelligent dinosaurs needed sidekicks that they could feed to the enemy in a moments noticed I guess.
It’s scary to think that the future of the Batman franchise is in the hands of the man that created this cartoon.