Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo - Concept art and storyboards from the best cartoon of the century so far
"I am now addicted to Adventure Time; actually, I am in awe of it.” Director Guillermo del Toro expressed this opinion in his forward to this massive book of art from the cartoon series, and I agree with him.
I love everything about Adventure Time: the constrained-crazy character design, the candy-colored otherworldly sets, the untraditional-but-nevertheless-engrossing stories, and the bromantic relationship between Finn the Human and Jake the shape shifting dog, who embark on their Jodorowsky-esque adventures on a post-civilization Earth (all we really know is that our world ended as we knew it after the Great Mushroom War and the cartoon takes place about 1,000 years after).
This book is a deep dive into the Land of Ooo (the new name for Earth), with tons of concept sketches, marked-up scripts, and production art. It’s also an oral history of the development of the series, with interviews from the show’s creative team sprinkled throughout.
Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo, by Chris McDonnell
Saturday Morning Slow Jams' slick R&B cover of the Transformers theme. Don't miss their takes on Muppet Babies (below), Ducktales, Pokemon, Animaniacs, and many more.
Over at Dangerous Minds, Richard turns us on to the late animator John David Wilson whose credits include the likes of Disney's Peter Pan, Mr. Magoo cartoons, and the opening to Grease, and also made terrifically fun cartoon music videos for The Kinks, Joni Mitchell, and others that aired in the 1970s on the Sonny and Cher Show!
Glenn Fleishman on a crowdfunded journey into the history of comics in AmericaRead the rest
Interview with the creators of Stripped, feature-length doc about comic strips [New Disruptors Podcast #68]
Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder created the movie Stripped about the past, present, and future of comic strips and their creators. Dave is the creator and cartoonist of two webcomics titles, Sheldon and Drive, and the co-author of How To Make Webcomics. He is one of a small but growing group of webcomics artists who are self-sufficient. Fred is a veteran cinemographer, nominated for Best Cinematography at Sundance for his work on Four Sheets to the Wind. He has been shooting commercials for much of his career.
Together, they matched Fred's filmmaking skills with Dave's personal knowledge of the field and his contacts to create the first feature-length documentary on the topic, funded in part through two Kickstarter campaigns. They don't pull punches about the difficulties of being a comic-strip artist, but they show all the joy and love that goes into the work along with many potential bright lights already illuminating parts of the field and shining on the horizon.
This episode is sponsored by:
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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.
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The terrific humorist and cartoonist Doogie Horner, who wrote last year's hit Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, has a new book out called 100 Ghosts, which consists of drawings of well-known people and characters depicted as cartoony ghosts.
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.
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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.
Cartoon Closets presents wonderful fashion collages inspired by cartoon characters!
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.
Martin also wrote Encyclopaedia of Hell: An Invasion Manual for Demons Concerning the Planet Earth and the Human Race Which Infests It, which we featured on Boing Boing in 2011. Both books were designed by Crap Hound zinester genius Sean Tejaratchi.
Adventure Time is probably the best cartoon currently running on TV. Here's a sneak peek at the forthcoming book, Adventure Time Encyclopaedia: Inhabitants, Lore, Spells, and Ancient Crypt Warnings of the Land of Ooo Circa 19.56 B.G.E. - 501 A.G.E., by Martin Olson, the voice actor of The Lord of Evil on the show, who narrates the book in character. (Martin is the author of the wonderful Encyclopaedia of Hell by Satan, too!)See pages from Adventure Time Encyclopaedia
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.
"What's Up, Doc?" (Radiolab)
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.
Katie sez, "'This Modern World' generic gun control cartoon perfectly describes the discussion regarding the Newtown shooting. It was made for the Tucson shooting but, sadly, applies equally to all gun massacres in the USA."
Last night, my nine-year-old daughter Jane and I watched an episode of our favorite cartoon together: Gravity Falls. (See Jane's interview with the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch, here.)
In the episode, the kids break into a derelict 7-Eleven style convenience store and find out that it's haunted. Inside the store, 12-year-old Mabel discovers a cache of powdered sugar candy called Smile Dip, which has strong psychedelic qualities. While she is drooling and glassy eyed, she goes on an incredible inner journey, as evidenced in the video snippet above.
At the end of the episode, some random-looking text appears on the screen for a second or so: RQZDUGV DRVKLPD! I paused the video and snapped a photo:
Jane reminded me that the beginning of every episode has a weird cartoony occult image that flashes on the screen for a fraction of the second. This image, also, contains random-looking text: VWDQ LV QRW ZKDW KH VHHPV
It's text written in a substitution cipher. Jane and I had cracked that cryptogram a couple of months ago. It says, STAN IS NOT WHAT HE SEEMS (Stan is Dipper and Mabel's great uncle, proprietor of the Mystery Shack occult curio store located in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.)
Jane and I used the same substitution cipher to attempt to decode the text from the episode we saw last night. We came up with: ONWARDS AOSHIMA!
"That doesn't seem right," I told Jane. But Jane said, "No! That's what Mabel says when she's riding the dolphin." She was right!
What does "Onwards Aoshima" mean? Google revealed that a lot of people have already cracked the cryptogram, and that every episode of Gravity Falls has a cryptogram at the end of it. but I haven't come across any explanation of what the term means. Aoshima is an island in Japan, but what does that have to do with Gravity Falls? The mystery deepens!
Gravity Falls is a thoroughly enjoyable cartoon. These little puzzles that are sprinkled throughout each episode take it to another level. I love this show.
Ronaldthecock produced this Black Mesa/Michigan J Frog mashup as part of a machinima challenge on steamcommunity.com:
Let's have another Theme week. Starting sunday September 16th and running through sunday September 23rd, will be Critter week. in honor of the release of Black Mesa this friday, Make Videos of headcrabs, bullsquids, antlions, alien swarm monsters, or whatever creepy crawly you want. Put "OSFM critter week" in the Video description and post it here. There are a couple people working on rigs to make animating monsters like headcrabs easier, so keep an eye out and I'll post them here.
[Video Link] My daughter and I are hooked on Gravity Falls, a quirky new cartoon series on Disney about about the goings-on in an occult curio shack in the Pacific Northwest (see Jane's interview with show creator Alex Hirsch here). Now David and his son are hooked, too!
The next episode, which airs Friday, September 14, features Street Fighter style animation by the amazing pixel artist Paul Robertson (some of his art is NSFW).
Here's another clip:
Last month I bought a season pass on iTunes for a new cartoon series on the Disney Channel called Gravity Falls. My family was about to take a long plane trip and even though I didn't know anything about the show, the artwork alone gave me a hunch that it would be something my 9-year-old daughter Jane would like.
She ended up watching The Powerpuff Girls the whole time on the plane instead, but when we got home we watched Gravity Falls together and we loved it. It's about a brother and sister (Dipper and Mabel) who go to the Pacific Northwest to spend the summer with their "Grunkle Stan," a fez-wearing proprietor of "The Mystery Shack," which trades in occult items, crpytozoological specimens, and other Fortean curiosities. The woods surrounding the Mystery Shack are populated by bigfoots and jackalopes, while the town's human residents are even stranger.
Intrigued, we got in touch with the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch, and Jane asked him a few questions:
What is that hat Grunkle Stan wears? Does he ever take it off?
Like all cool people, Stan wears a fez pretty much constantly. According to legend, it gives him special powers, like the ability to cover his bald spot, and a place to hide his parking tickets. He bestows the fez upon Mabel in a future episode, and she learns of its awesome responsibility...
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Marvel superheroes are going on summer vacation with Phineas and Ferb, and Archer is going to Bob's Burgers. When you consider what it would mean stylistically and comedically, cartoon mashups can be a pretty beautiful (and beautifully weird) thing. As a fervent supporter of them, as well as someone who has written her fair share of fan fiction, I have five suggestions for potential crossovers with shows that are currently on the air. Would any of them actually happen? Probably not, but we can all dream can't we?
Disclaimer: I'm pretty sure there is zero chance of these actually happening.
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I enjoyed this short animation called "Ballad of Poisonberry Pete," a western starring anthropomorphic pies and cakes. It's a film by Adam Campbell, Elizabeth McMahill, and Uri Lotan and was presented at Cartoon Brew's 3rd Student Animation Festival.
Thomas Haller Buchanan says: "It's fun to see Charles Schulz delineate grown-ups and cars and such. It shows that the simplicity in Peanuts was a chosen exile."