Thursday, March 29, 2007

Appeal Sells - Disney Comic Covers

This is the first of many posts on Golden Age funny animal comics.

The Disney cartoons were never as entertaining or as funny as the Warner or MGM cartoons, and in my opinion, the Fleischer and Lantz cartoons were regularly better. But what made the Disney characters and cartoons so memorable were their undeniable appeal. Animators like Ward Kimball, Fred Moore, Marc Davis, Bill Tytla, and John Sibley were all great at it.

This crosses over into the Disney comic books as well, though Mickey and Donald were more interesting (as characters with personalities) in those than they ever were animated.


They always say, "Never judge a book by its cover," but we all know that simply isn't true. If you see a comic book rack (non-existant today), you're definitely going to be drawn to the best looking one. Disney comics usually have this advantage over the other funny animal books.

Walt Kelly was masterful with his Disney covers.

These covers of Kelly are in an 'old school' style, which preserves the mystique of Walt Disney's Comics & Stories, the single greatest title Dell ever published.

Kelly did the majority of the covers in the 1940s. Carl Barks picked up in the early 1950s and he was just as great with appeal.

This golfing one is absolutely beautiful. It's appealing with a lot of action going on, yet it doesn't feel crowded like a lot of other similar covers. Nobody can do something like that today!

Oddly, they never cared about making Mickey, the one character who depended mainly on appeal, look decent. They let sloppy artists like Paul Murry and Tony Strobl, who can't even draw the simplest facial expression (let alone on-model), parade their artwork on the covers for years.

One modern master of Disney appeal was Daniel Branca, an artist from Argentina who sadly left us way too soon in 2005.

Daan Jippes (Netherlands) is probably the greatest artist alive today. He can draw just about any Disney character from any era of history magnificently.

The guys at Gladstone Publishing knew this fact, which is most likely why his fantastic work dominates many of those books of the 1980s. He is always the artist any publisher calls on to recreate any Disney comic scene.

Jippes also has an animation background which may explain his dominance over other modern artists.

So if Disney comics can look this great, why the hell are we seeing this kind of garbage everywhere?

The below image is the worst 'official' artwork of Mickey Mouse and company I've ever seen. My apologies for any damage this does to your eyes.

My point is, if you want to sell your comic book to the masses, don't settle for third-rate artwork!

More on other funny animal artists later.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Holy Shit! This Blog's a Year Old!

Whoa! Time flies - who'd have thought it'd have lasted this long! 2006 seems to have been the year for animation blogs... I wonder what the next fad will be.

I have nothing special planned whatsoever for this occasion, so here's a bunch of Looney Tunes clips. They all remind me why Termite Terrace was the most ingenious studio to ever exist in animation history.

"Bear Feat" (1949/Jones)

"Crowing Pains" (1947/McKimson)

"Daffy Duck & Egghead" (1938/Avery)

"A Gruesome Twosome" (1945/Clampett)

"High Diving Hare" (1949/Freleng)

"Mexican Joyride" (1947/Davis)

"Nasty Quacks" (1945/Tashlin)

More classic cartoon goodness to come! Thank you all for making this blog a success!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bugs Bunny Rides Again - funny animation

OK, since we already have about 150 blog posts devoted to framegrabs of how Daffy Duck's beak turns into a vagina in "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery", let's take a look at another cartoon that's on the second Golden Collection.

I still haven't gotten over Gerry Chiniquy's anemic drawing style, but he definitely did some of the funniest animation in Friz Freleng's cartoons. I think the reason why the animation in Freleng's cartoons seems weaker (compared to the other Warner directors) is that he didn't rely on squash and stretch as much.

Here's a great example, a beautifully timed scene from "Bugs Bunny Rides Again" (1948).

Look at how funny these drawings are! You can find a lot more in this and other Freleng cartoons of the same period ("Bad Ol' Putty Tat" is another great one.)


Friday, March 23, 2007

Goofy Gymnastics

I love the Disney cartoon "Goofy Gymnastics". The last minute of this one is about as wild as cartoons from Disney got. I believe Woolie Reitherman animated the bulk of the violence since it looks like his work in other shorts. John Sibley most likely animated most of the shots before the chaos ensues. Both were well-known around the studio for their animation of Goofy. While wild, this has a great bit of subtlety in it, with Goofy realizing his ass is slamming against the ground, so he covers it to soften the blow!