Saturday morning cartoon pioneer Lou Scheimer, whose Filmation company created Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Groovie Goolies, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and many other classics of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, has died. He was 84. Above, Scheimer with some of his Filmation characters in an illustration from the cover of his book, "Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation." From the New York Times:
Filmation was considered noteworthy on two counts: it kept production in the United States in an age of increasing outsourcing (then as now, the labor-intensive work of animating many American cartoons was done in Asia) and it sought to produce cartoons with a message of social tolerance.
Someone once asked Charles Bukowski what compelled him to write. His answer: "An idiotic urge." That's a short way of what he said in this poem, beautifully illustrated at Zen Pencils (Motto: "Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks.")
Doogie emailed me and offered to draw some exclusive ghosts for Boing Boing. I suggested Orange is the New Black. It turns out that Doogie loves the show as much as I do, and he drew 12 of the characters from the show as ghosts (13 if you count Little Boo). He did a fantastic job! Check out all of Doogie's OITNB ghosts below.
Miffy is a much-loved cartoon rabbit, designed by Dutch artist Dick Bruna in the 1950s. His publishers, however, now deem it in need of a refresh "to appeal to a modern British audience." From the BBC:
They will feature new translations of Bruna's original rhyming verse by award-winning poet Tony Mitton. The books Miffy, Miffy at the Gallery and Miffy at the Zoo will be the first to be re-launched in February 2014. A variety of novelty and activity books will also be published alongside the traditional square Miffy hardbacks. It is 50 years since the series was first published in the UK.
Beyond this, however, no details have been given of the planned revamp. Frankly, the mind boggles at the possibilities! We could have Miffy struggling to reconcile her animal nature with the world around her, only to find surprising opportunities in the fast-changing and fluid world of human gender identity.
Actually, that's the best idea I've had for a classic-comic revamp since "Elderly Scottish naval captain tracks down the intrepid young reporter who was once his lover, but has long-since fallen into a dissolute life as a gun runner in the Belgian Congo."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing, which bills itself as a "directory of wonderful things." He joins us to share some of his recent finds.
This time, it's The Adventure Time Encyclopedia and the iPad game Blocksworld.
The Cartoon Network's show Adventure Time is ostensibly for children, but eagerly devoured by people of all ages. It follows the psychedelic adventures of a boy named Finn and his dog Jake. The new Adventure Time Encyclopedia, "translated" by comedy writer Martin Olson, features new original artwork and everything you ever wanted to know about the post-apocalyptic land of Oooo. Mark also suggests downloading the Blocksworld app for iPad, a virtual Lego-like world with huge creative possibilities.
Here's the trailer for The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia book trailer. The book, which is fantastically weird and fun, was written by my pal Martin Olson, who plays Hunson Abadeer (aka "The Lord of Evil") on Adventure Time.
In 1961, Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble, and literally a thousand other cartoon characters (see vide above), was in a terrible car crash that put him in a coma. Nothing could rouse him until his surgeon addressed him as Bugs Bunny. Of course, Blanc's response was: "What's up, Doc?" Here's a 2012 short episode of Radiolab where they interview the surgeon, a neuroscientist, and Mel Blanc's son, Noel.
Next week, I'll be speaking at the SkepTech Conference, a new gathering put together by University of Minnesota students. The lineup features some great folks from the science and skeptic communities, including bloggers PZ Myers and Hemant Mehta, and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal cartoonist Zach Weinersmith. Registration is free. Come check it out! — Maggie
The incredibly fun-sounding new animated series from IFC, Out There, has assembled a heck of a great cast to voice its characters. In addition to series creator Ryan Quincy, who is providing the voice of the lead role of Chad Stevens, here is who else has come on board and who they'll be playing (via press release):
Out There chronicles the coming-of-age misadventures of socially awkward Chad (Ryan Quincy), his little brother Jay (Kate Micucci) and his best friend, Chris (Justin Roiland). Living in the small town of Holford, the boys wander its surreal, bleak landscape waiting out their last few years of adolescence. Along the way, viewers meet Chad’s conservative parents, Wayne (John DiMaggio) and Rose (Megan Mullally), as well as Chris’s single mother, Joanie (Pamela Adlon) and her disastrous boyfriend, Terry (Fred Armisen). They also meet the object of Chad’s affection, Sharla (Linda Cardellini).
I don't know about you, but where John DiMaggio and Pamela Adlon go, I'll follow, to say nothing of Armisen, Micucci, and Mullally. Here's to a brand new year of more silly, weird cartoons! Out There premieres on Friday, February 22 on IFC.