Sunday, February 28, 2010

Best European Animated Cartoon Movie 2010

Directors and companies from France, Belgium, Sweden, Spain and Poland have been nominated as finalists for Cartoon Movie 2010 Tributes, the awards for outstanding contribution to the development of European animation over the last year.

The winners will be selected by the animation professionals attending Cartoon Movie 2010, the co-production forum for European animated feature films, making the awards one of the industry's most prestigious and respected honors. Organized by CARTOON the European Association of Animation Film the prizewinners will be announced on 5 March at the Centre de Congres in Lyon, France.

In line with previous editions, Cartoon Movie Tributes will select the Best Director, Distributor and Producer of the Year. The list of nominees representing genres as varied as traditional tales, comedies and futuristic fiction and animation techniques ranging from stop-motion and 2D to stereoscopic 3D reflects the diversity and richness of European animation. Five of the six films nominated are co-productions between two or more European countries.

The list of the nominees includes:

Best European Director of the Year
  • Stephane Aubier & Vincent Patar for "Panique au Village" (Belgium)
  • Tarik Saleh for "Metropia" (Sweden)
  • Dominique Monfery for "Eleanor's Secret" (France)

Best European Distributor of the Year
  • Celluloid
  • Dreams World Sales (France)
  • KINO S´WIAT (Poland)
  • Wild Bunch Distribution (France)

Best European Producer of the Year
  • Ilion Animation Studios for "Planet 51" (Spain)
  • Herold & Family for "The True Story of Puss'n Boots" (France)
  • nWave Pictures for "Around the World in 50 Years" (Belgium)
In 2009, the big winner of the Cartoon Movie Tributes was the film "The Secret of Kells" a co-production between Ireland, France and Belgium recently nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film which took Best Director (Tomm Moore) and Best Producer (Cartoon Saloon, Les Armateurs and Vivi Film) awards. France's BAC Films was selected Best Distributor of the year.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cartoon into Live Action – Ben 10

Ben 10 Alien Force is currently the number one show on Cartoon Network in the Middle East and is due to launch on terrestrial channel NBC3 in April 2010.

Cartoon Network Live on Stage Power of the Omnitrix combines the best of Ben 10 and Ben 10 Alien Force in an adrenaline pumping 90-minute theatrical extravaganza. Avid fans and young, action enthusiasts will be catapulted into the electrifying world of Ben 10 as cool skateboarding stunts, thrilling acrobatics, jaw-dropping action scenes, combined with dazzling multimedia effects take the audience on an incredible adventure.

Power of the Omnitrix features a cast of 14 dynamic characters (live actors and costumed) including Ben and his cousin Gwen Tennyson, Kevin Levin and Grandpa Max. Making their global debut live on stage are Rocks and Squidstrictor, brand-new alien superheroes from Ben 10 Alien Force! They will join popular superheroes Four Arms, Wildmutt and Heatblast, and menacing villains Vilgax and HighBreed Commander; while stunt performers will entertain the audience with incredible stunts and slick moves.

Turner CN Enterprises has signed a deal with Millennium Entertainment International which also sees the all new live action stage show Cartoon Network Live on Stage Power of the Omnitrix tour in the Middle East.

Drawing from the world's largest cartoon library of Warner Bros., MGM and Hanna-Barbera titles, the Network also showcases original series including Ben 10 and Ben 10 Alien Force.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

FUNimation Dragon Ball Z Kai

Navarre Corporation announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary FUNimation Entertainment and Japanese powerhouse producer Toei Animation Co., Ltd. have entered into a multi-year agreement for the U.S. anime leader to distribute the latest chapter of the genre-establishing Dragon Ball franchise, "Dragon Ball Z Kai."

Dragonball Z, originally crafted by the legendary Akira Toriyama, has captured the attention of its audience and influenced multitudes of creators. More than ten years after ending its run on television, the series has managed to stay in the public eye thanks to countless media offerings ranging from toys to games to DVDs. Funimation, the company that owns the rights to the series, has done a thorough job of keeping Dragonball Z on the market, making it easily accessible for fans both new and old.

Action has always been Dragonball Z's strong suit and this set doesn't disappoint, featuring multiple battles between Vegeta and Freeza's various henchmen. If there is one drawback, it's that a few of the fights are drawn out and should only last half as long as they actually do.
FUNimation Entertainment has announced the English cast of the latest chapter of the genre-establishing Dragon Ball franchise, “Dragon Ball Z Kai.”

In “Dragon Ball Z Kai” the Dragon Ball Z story is retold to more closely follow creator Akira Toriyama’s original tale about a brave young warrior named Goku.

A project personally overseen by Toriyama, “Dragon Ball Z Kai” has been re-edited and re-made using the latest in digital technology.

"Dragon Ball Z Kai has been hotly anticipated in the states," said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO of FUNimation Entertainment. "We are pleased to come together with Toei and offer passionate fans, which have been waiting for developments in the Dragon Ball universe, the opportunity to see the new series."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cartoon Network “Deltora Quest”

The Japanese fantasy-adventure series Deltora Quest is slated to air in Australia and New Zealand on Cartoon Network, starting this April to coincide with the re-launch of the book series of the same name.

Cartoon Network will also handle free-to-air and broadband distribution, as well as DVD and merchandising rights in these territories, through a deal secured with DCI Los Angeles (DCI-LA), the U.S.-based production division of Dentsu. The 52x30-minute series is based on the international top-selling book series, which Scholastic is re-launching in Australia and New Zealand around the same time the series is slated to premiere.

Cartoon Network is one of the most popular entertainment channels among kids and is currently seen in over 2 million homes in Australia. The Network is distributed on Austar, Foxtel and Optus. Launched in Australia in 1995, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.'s (TBS) Cartoon Network offers the best in animated entertainment.

Drawing from the world's largest cartoon library of Warner Bros., MGM and Hanna-Barbera titles, the Network also showcases original series including Ben 10, Ben 10 Alien Force, Chowder, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Cartoon Network is the number one channel for kids in Asia Pacific and is currently seen in over 61 million cable homes in the region. Online, Cartoon Network reaches 4.2 million unique visitors a month in Asia Pacific.

"Cartoon Network is continually strengthening its number one position in Asia Pacific with a solid mix of original productions and acquisitions. Deltora Quest will further deliver on our promise of animating kids' lives with the best in animated entertainment."

The Deltora Quest fantasy-adventure book series, one of several Deltora series penned by Australian writer Emily Rodda, was first published in 2000 by Scholastic Australia, and has since become a best-selling international children's favorite, winning numerous awards. The series out-sells the Harry Potter books in many international markets. True to the books, the Deltora Quest animation series follows the adventures of three companions, Lief, Jasmine and Barda, as they journey across the mysterious land of Deltora to recover magical artifacts and defeat Guardians of the evil Shadow Lord.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

All New Batman Animated Game

Warner Bros. has announced a video game based on the hit animated series Batman: The Brave And The Bold.

Developed in conjunction with DC Comics, the action adventure title will be available for the Wii and the DS later this year.

Players will have the option to control the Caped Crusader or battle alongside him as one of his allies from the DC Universe, such as Robin, Green Lantern or Blue Beetle. Other comic book characters, including Aquaman, will make cameo appearances in the game.

"Batman: The Brave And The Bold The Videogame further illustrates the diverse appeal of the Batman brand and the game play is a fun, vibrant extension of the animated series," said Warner Interactive senior vice president Samantha Ryan. "The game's co-op play offers kids, families and Batman fans an interactive way of experiencing the cartoon's iconic characters."

The game will also feature cross-platform connectivity between the Wii and the DS, allowing owners of both consoles to unlock the Bat-mite character.

Batman: The Brave And The Bold The Videogame will arrive on Nintendo platforms in the autumn.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tom and Jerry 70th Anniversary

The two names synonymous with cartoons, for as long as one can remember, have turned 70 this year. And far from running out of anyone’s mind, the parents of its current target audience remember it as the one show that they would watch along with their kids.

“That’s what we would connect over. I don’t remember having a problem with my kids watching Tom and Jerry, because it was mostly humor,”

The never-ending fight between the house cat Tom and the mouse, Jerry, has been a comic trademark for multiple generations reaching beyond language and nationality.

The animation teamwork of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera gave to us the never ending cartoon rivalry of Tom and Jerry. The first animated short entitled "Puss get the boot" debuted for Metro-Goldwyn -Mayer on February 10th, 1940. [I have included the cartoon here for your enjoyment] Hanna and Barbera went on to create more than one hundred cartoons from 1940-1959 winning seven academy awards for their work.

Even though various producers carried forward their story in varying styles of animation, it was best remembered for those produced by Fred Quimby. The slapstick animated short stories of Tom and Jerry were created by William Hannah and Joseph Barbera in 1940. Produced by Fred Quimby, TJ took many forms including the latest one, which instead of the silent comedy of errors take, has conversations. The others include a feature film called Tom and Jerry. The Movie in 1992, a TV series, direct to home videos and television specials.

“I don’t like the fact that Tom and Jerry talk to each other. Their silent adventures were more fun.”

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Alice in Wonderland Cartoon Collection

Many have tried and a number have succeeded, actually. As book-to-film adaptations go, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass have fared pretty well, so Tim Burton isn't exactly trying to hit a bulls-eye on a shifting smoke ring. But moviegoer’s can´t wait to see what the slightly twisted genius has done to the Alice story, or what Johnny Depp brings to the Mad Hatter certainly something different from what Edward Everett Horton brought to the role in 1933, or how Martin Short interpreted it for the 1999 TV performance. And one would guess that Helena Bonham Carter makes a slightly different Red Queen from Miranda Richardson (1999), Jayne Meadows (1985), or Eve Arden (1983).

The point is, interest is high right now, so it's more than a little timely that Infinity Entertainment Group is releasing "Alice in Wonderland: Classic Film Collection."

Included in the set is a 1915 silent version thought lost, two Disney-produced cartoon shorts from 1925, a 1966 animated a feature film with a French twist, and a 1972 British musical theatrical adaptation featuring Peter Sellers and Dudley Moore.

Fall down the rabbit hole and discover or rediscover wondrous adventures with the "Alice in Wonderland: Classic Film Collection," a special collector´s set on DVD March 30 from Infinity Entertainment Group.

Lewis Carroll´s whimsical 1865 novel, Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland, was a cinematic favorite long before Johnny Depp "went Mad." The first film (just eight minutes long) was produced in 1903. With dozens of versions since for stage, film and TV, its beloved characters have been played by some of Hollywood´s most legendary actors.

Special collector´s set, with rare film, includes:

"Alice in Wonderland" (1915)--The first version near to the novel, this silent movie starred Viola Savoy. Though many believe the film to be lost in its entirety, this presentation includes all 52 minutes. Produced long before CGI, the creatures are costumed actors and the absence of dialogue creates a surreal, dreamlike quality. Also stars Elmo Lincoln, who went on to fame as the original Tarzan.

"Alice´s Adventures in Cartoon land" (1925)--Two shorts from an animated film series directed and produced by Walt Disney himself, starring curly-haired, four-year-old Virginia Davis, called Disney´s "first cinematic star" by the New York Times, and Margie Gay. (Includes drawings some historians think may have influenced the evolution of Mickey and other iconic cartoon characters). Initially performing before a white cloth with Disney instructing, "Let´s pretend," the animated characters were added later

"Alice of Wonderland in Paris" (1966)--This enchanting feature film with French animation includes the voice of Carl Reiner.

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1972)--This British musical theatrical film adaptation features a star-studded cast, including Michael Crawford, Peter Sellers, Dudley Moore and Fiona Fullerton.

"Alice in Wonderland: Classic Film Collection" is presented in full screen with an aspect ratio of 4x3 and original sound.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Toy Story 3" Returns

"Toy Story 3" and "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" will be screened at the 2010 ShoWest confab on March 16 and March 18, respectively.

Toy Story 3, the newest Pixar Cartoon and a 3D adventure. The Disney films will be two of the largest showings at the Nielsen Film Group convention. "The opportunity to showcase the story of 'Prince of Persia' and the beloved characters of 'Toy Story 3' in front of the important professionals of the motion picture industry and owners of theaters demonstrates the significance of this audience to forthcoming blockbusters,"

Another new character from Pixar’s long awaited Toy Story 3 has been revealed, and it’s a unicorn. A unicorn named Buttercup to be exact. Over the last week or so we’ve seen several new additions pop up from the Toy Story camp including Ken and Peas-in-a-Pod.

Over at Empire, they’ve posted the latest Toy Story 3 character, and it’s quite shocking that it’s a male. With a name like Buttercup and mile long eye lashes it’s hard to believe she is a he. The character is played by Jeff Garlin, who previously voiced the Captain in the hit, Wall-E. In Toy Story 3, Buttercup has “cuddly unicorn features and velvety-soft, snow-colored fur with sparkly gold and pink accents. He sports a signature mythical golden horn and a fun-to-comb mane and tail.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oscar Nomination for the little animated film

“The Secret of Kells,” the film that grabbed a surprise Academy Award nomination for best animated feature this month, won’t be a secret to American audiences much longer.

Directed by Tomm Moore, “The Secret of Kells” tells the story of a boy living in a Celtic abbey whose adventures with fairies, she-wolves and barbarians lead to the creation of the Book of Kells, the 1,200-year-old illuminated manuscript.

In doing so, “Kells,” which received little mainstream press stateside and is yet to be released here theatrically, beat out big-budget movies like “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.”

The hand-drawn film, which has been out in theaters in Ireland nearly a year now, tells the story of a young boy trying to protect the national treasure, "The Book of Kells," from the Vikings.

“First and foremost, it’s a tribute to the quality of the film,” said Eric Beckman, president of GKIDS, the film’s U.S. distributor. It was Beckman’s company that crafted the successful campaign that earned “Kells” an Oscar nomination

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Animated “The Ricky Gervais Show”

Better comedy through lovable buffoonery and complete obliviousness made Ricky Gervais famous. It might have started with 2001's "The Office" and continued with HBO's "Extras," but Gervais has since shifted his attention from TV to film, live shows and even stuffed animals.

Since 2001, Gervais and Merchant have been behind a recurring series that landed them in the Guinness Book of World Records for most-downloaded podcast. That show found its muse in producer Karl Pilkington, a laconic sad sack who quickly became the centerpiece of the show.

HBO's latest Gervais partnering, a live version of "The Ricky Gervais Show" podcast. And that's all it is the podcast, but in animated form which means the trio stride into a soundproof booth, sit down and begin talking as their live figures slowly turn into animated ones. The animation blends elements of Hanna-Barbera simplicity with Genndy Tartakovsky and is colorful and surreal; Gervais, for example, resembles Fred Flintstone's toothier, shorter cousin.

The static nature of three talking heads (even in cartoon form) is dull, and the intermittent non-studio interstitial used to illustrate the discussion fail to provide enough of a change. Watching cartoon characters laugh at one another feels recursively silly, and not in a good way. (Truthfully, the real-life people on the show are far more animated than the 2-D cartoon characters can ever be.)

But the main issue is that this show is not really about Gervais, or even Merchant. It is the Karl Pilkington show, because the essence of all content involves Gervais or Merchant prodding Pilkington into sharing his odd theories about the world (for example, nothing worthwhile was invented post-1900), then turning into his sneering, slightly hostile peanut gallery. Gervais even calls Pilkington a "little round-headed buffoon."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Scooby-Doo into Spooky-Dog Cartoon

Nearly every child is intrigued by Scooby-Doo and his mystery-solving gang. However, these children grow into adults and some begin to take a closer look at the cartoon, often wondering what the characters are really up to.

Many of us have talked to our friends about whether Scooby-Doo and the gang were really solving mysteries. With all of the 1970s clothing, snacking, finding clues and capturing phantoms, it can make you believe something else was going on in the Mystery Machine. Most of us have continued curiosity and know something more than mystery-solving was happening.

We all knew Fred was hot for Daphne, Scooby and his hippy friend Shaggy were probably hiding a stash in the Mystery van (which explains their ever-so-frequent munchies) and they were all more than likely hallucinating when claiming to see ghosts, monsters and phantoms, possibly on a trip rather than following a clue.

With "Spooky-Dog," an interpretation of the beloved cartoon, we will all finally have our answers. Or at least we will know we were not the only ones pondering the TV show.

In a "Scooby-Doo" inspired production, UMKC's Theatre's professional training program and the Coterie Theatre have teamed up to present an adult-only version of the cartoon called "Spooky-Dog." UMKC's own Chaz Bell is technical director of the program.

"Spooky-Dog" is a unique mystery for adults who have eagerly awaited some help into the secret subtext of "Scooby-Doo."

The play involves comedy, profane language, sexual innuendoes, improvisation, interactive performances and audience participation. That being said, the show is rated PG-13 and will be shown as an evenings-only production as a part of the Coterie at Night series, a new initiative aimed toward attracting new audiences.

The teenage mystery gang in "Spooky-Dog" creates a blast of a show through confronting criminals, sexual desires and unexpected side effects from dog treats, or Scooby snacks as they're called on the TV show.

Staying true to the time period and honoring Hanna-Barbera, Director Ron Megee has incorporated costumes, music and dance moves from the late 1960s and early 70s. Megee said the thoughts most of us have been thinking about the cartoon will be revealed in the production and should be uproarious.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Kick Butt” Started

Disney's new animated show "Kick Buttowski" is for kids who already understand things their parents wish they didn't and yes, there probably was a time when a show aimed at 6- or 7-year-olds didn't assume that audience knew the phrase "kick butt."

Kick looks to be about 6 or 7 himself, though, like many kid action heroes, he talks like a 30-year-old. He fancies himself the world's greatest stunt man and daredevil, which means he does all sorts of crazy and totally unsafe things.

Kick is very self-aware,” he said. “He’s very confident and aspires to do big things. What I hope kids walk away with is that he’s funny and almost indestructible, but he sets goals. And kids can do that. They don’t have to be enormous goals, they can be small goals.

In a good way, His posse starts with Gunther, who is occasionally called his "wing man" but is more like the loyal Tonto to Kick's Lone Ranger. Gunther probably has more personality than Kick, and if this show ever hits big, Gunther could probably lobby for his own spinoff. They get periodic support from their teenage slacker friend Wade, who refers to Kick as "Daredevil Dude."

Kick's adversaries include his older brother, Brad, his spoiled sister, Brad's dim-witted friends and his clueless parents.

His adventures are compact, with two 11-minute stories in each half-hour, and he has some endearing quirks, like reciting vowels as he hurtles through space after some misguided stunt has gone awry.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Anime Cartoons

A lot of people hear “anime” and instantly make associations. They think of kids and cartoons, Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. But to over 25 students at KU, anime is a lot deeper than a simple kids cartoon.

For junior Chemistry major and president of the KU Anime Club, Kyle Lilley, watching anime has been a lifelong interest. He said it wasn’t until around 10th grade, however, when he realized that anime was more than just kids’ entertainment, but rather a large genre with an expansive adult following.

The KU Anime Club attempts to take its members’ interest in anime and broaden it to a more in-depth look at the genre. Their one rule: the shows they choose cannot have aired in the U.S. within the last five years. Lilley says that this helps to introduce variety to the club and expose the members to newer – and, often, more in-depth – shows.

So what’s the draw to anime? According to Lilley, his interest in anime is no different than having an interest in any other genre. “Why not anime as opposed to someone who likes horror?” Lilley asked. For Abraham Klein, junior Psychology major and the club’s self-proclaimed “one-man welcome-wagon,” anime is also about an interest in the aesthetic of the cartoon as well as an interest in Japanese culture.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

‘6teen’ cartoon End Finally

Having defied the aging process by remaining 6teen since 2004, the end finally has come.

The Canadian “tween”-focused animated series 6teen airs its last episode Thursday night on Teletoon, preceded by a marathon featuring episodes from the final season. 6teen focuses on six 16-year-old friends who work at a mall and find ways to amuse themselves, despite their mundane jobs.

6teen’s run has spanned four seasons and 93 episodes, and it has aired in many other countries around the world. Through its run on the Cartoon Network in the United States, 6teen won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2009 for best original song.

The series also collected two Gemini nominations in 2008 and in both 2006 and 2007 won the Alliance for Children and Television Award of Excellence for animation ages 9-14.

Fresh TV's current productions include the 'Total Drama' franchise, '6teen', 'Stoked' and the live action feature, 'My Babysitter's a Vampire'.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lego Harry Potter Cartoon Game

There’s always seemed to be an unfortunate mentality on the part of the creators of games for younger children that the game doesn’t need to be especially good, because parents are just looking for the license on the box and kids will play anything. The really unfortunate part about this is that they’re right, so what’s the motivation to do any better when there’s no need to?

With all the cards in the deck stacked against the development of high-quality kids’ games, it’s good to see things like Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PC. I got to see a hands-off demo of the game running on the 360, and it’s what you’d expect from the group that turned Star Wars and Indiana Jones into goofy plastic brick parodies: a polished, funny game, but one that’s much more for kids rather than adult fans of the franchises.

First of all, it looks really nice. Developer Traveller’s Tales mastered the look of virtual Lego bricks long ago, but the Potter world around them is also elegantly illustrated with tons of cute little details (the Lego paintings in the Hogwarts castle corridors, for example).

The silliness of the Lego action games is also a perfect fit for this franchise. Building things out of Lego bricks in Indiana Jones doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. In the magic-fueled chaos of the Potterverse, in which things are broken and magically put back together on a regular basis, the mechanic fits.

Attending lessons at Hogwarts, you’ll able to add all kinds of magic spells to your inventory, using them as you travel through the game. Unlike the earlier games, there’s no life meter — while there are a couple times in the game where you can die, in general you’re not in danger of much anything bad happening to you.

In short, kids will love it; they’ll love smashing and bashing their way through Hogwarts and all the assorted levels and they’ll think it’s all a laugh riot. And the drop-in, drop-out cooperative game play means parents and siblings can help, too

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Annie Awards for Best Animated Cartoon

Often a predictor of the annual Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Annie Awards recognize the year's best animated features, television productions, commercials, short subjects and outstanding individual achievements in the field of animation.

The travel adventure "Up" was the winner of the best animated feature at the 37th annual Annie Awards.
"Up" director Pete Docter won the award for directing in a feature production.

Also competing for top honors at the Annies, presented exclusively for animated films, were the musical fairy tale "The Princess and the Frog," the storybook adaptations "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," the dark family tale "Coraline" and the Irish adventure "The Secret of Kells."

All the films, except "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," are nominees for best animated feature film at this year's Academy Awards. "Up" is also nominated for best picture at the Oscars.

"Coraline" and "The Princess and the Frog" won three Annies apiece, including Shane Prigmore for character design in a feature production for "Coraline" and James Mansfield for animated effects for "The Princess and the Frog."

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach won the Annie for best writing in a feature presentation for "Fantastic Mr. Fox."

The winners of the Annie Awards, presented by the International Animated Film Society, were announced Saturday at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

ThunderCats Cartoons Moral

A writer from the UK contacted recently with the news that he is writing a book about ThunderCats.

Thundercats was one of the blended their moral into the episode more subtly cartoons. The characters would never address the audience, but each other, and did not suddenly monologue about what we should have learned. “Berbils”, an early episode, is pretty apt. Lion-O insists that the Thundercats build their new headquarters themselves. However, one of the berbils interjects (in really cool, synthesized voice), “We're friends. Friends help each other.” To which Tigra quips, “You know, he has a point”.

Every ThunderCats script was reviewed by a psychologist to be sure it would be a positive experience for the young viewer. It worked! If you check the statistics during the period the cartoon aired, you'll see that murder rates went down, school attendance went up and SAT scores went through the roof. When kids weren't scoring really high on their SATs or busy not committing crimes they were peeing their beds, scared to death with nightmares of Mumm-Ra, the bad guy of ThunderCats.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Actor Jeffrey Combs-Upcoming Cartoon Transformers: Prime

According to actor Jeffrey Combs, the upcoming Transformers cartoon set to debut in fall 2010 on the Hasbro Inc. /Discovery Communications. The Hub will be called Transformers: Prime.

Mr. Combs will lend his voice to Ratchet a very well known character in the Transformers world and that 26 episodes of the series have been ordered for the first season.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of such a prestigious project," Mr. Combs.

Jeffrey is quite thrilled with the opportunity to be cast in the role of Ratchet. He's not able to talk too much about the show this early in the production but did have this quote: "What I can say is that it is an honor and a privilege to be a part of such a prestigious project."

Jeffrey Combs is known mostly for his role in acting in the horror film genre as well as playing several alien characters in the popular Star Trek franchise. In the world of cartoons, Combs has lent his voice to Scaregrow in Batman: The Animated Series and several others.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Disney's Return to Hand-drawn Animation

Disney's return to old-fashioned hand drawn animation may take the rare step of pitching an African-American character in the lead, but some critics reckon it's a pretty formulaic concoction. Yet others point out that the film is filled with rich, vibrant characters and ravishing images from the paintbrushes of legendary animation directors Ron Clements and John Musker.

The Princess and the Frog is a traditional musical romance (only loosely connected to the Grimm Brothers fairy tale The Frog Prince) which recalls a cavalcade of similar Disney offerings stretching all the way back to 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

The Princess and the Frog marks Disney’s triumphant return to hand-drawn animation, features its first African-American lead and the voice of Oprah. Its directors talk to DONALD CLARKE

Treasure Planet, the team’s latest 2-D animation, had cost a fortune and looked very creaky when set beside digitally animated Pixar features such as Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc. Sure enough, the picture flopped and pundits declared that John Lasseter, the Pixar supremo, had made hand-drawn animation as redundant as tableaux vivant.

Disney superwoman Princess and Frog

Five decades after the civil human rights movement - so debatably 50 years too late - Disney has lastly made a cartoon with an Afro-American superwoman. Welcome to the contemporary world, guys.

Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) is a waitress with a burning goal to govern America. Oh, all right, that's too much for any Disney superwoman to want. She'll settle for opening her own cabaret restaurant.

Her affectionate father (Terrence Howard), turn-of-the-century America’s answer to Ainsley Harriott, gets himself killed in the Great War. Her mother (Oprah Winfrey), a seamstress, thinks Tiana should dedicate herself to finding her Prince Charming.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Charlie Chaplin 3-D cartoon

Charlie Chaplin is to be brought to life as a cartoon character via an Indian-French collaboration that will see the legendary British comedian featured in an animated television series. DQ Entertainment, an animation and special effects firm based in the southern city of Hyderabad, says it is to reproduce the entertainer’s slapstick in 3D and computer-generated images for television.

The 7 million pound project will feature computer-generated images in more than 104 six-minute episodes that are aimed at children aged six and above.

“It won’t be a realistic portrayal but more like a puppet in an offbeat universe,”

The companies plan to make some 104 episodes of six-minutes each, using Chaplin's vagabond character known as The Tramp with his trademark bowler hat and handlebar moustache. Chaplin's hapless, homeless character was made famous in movies such as The Kid, City Lights, The Gold Rush and Modern Times Original stories will also be created for the series.

The power of cartoons caricature

It's a long way from Honoré Daumier's caricatures satirizing the previous king of France to today's digital animations. But the history of political cartooning remnants the same: the serious business of poking fun at the high and powerful.

An exhibition gap this week at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University examines the state of political caricature at two essential moments: The birth of the form in comic journals such as La Caricature in 1830s France, and the beginning of a new era in which today's artists work in journalism's shifting landscape.

Among the contemporary artist featured in the show are "Doonesbury's" Garry Trudeau; veteran political cartoonists Steve Bell, Steve Brodner, Jeff Danziger and Pat Oliphant, and The News & Observer's recently retired Dwane Powell. The 19th-century illustrations center on the work of Daumier satirizing Louis-Philippe and that of his contemporaries.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Best Animated Feature Film in Cartoon Art Museum

The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco will be unveiling a new exhibit showcasing different visions of the samurai warrior, from woodblock prints and feature films to Japanese manga and anime and American comics superheroes. Drawing the Sword: Samurai in Manga and Anime.

The Cartoon Art Museum and the Hero Initiative proudly present Ed Hannigan: Covered, a retrospective exhibition celebrating the art of Ed Hannigan. This retrospective features a selection of covers and original artwork created by Hannigan for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 1970s and 1980s, including such popular characters as Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and The Defenders.

Drawing the Sword was curate by Julian Bermudez, a Los Angeles-based independent curator and producer. The exhibit will feature artwork, production stills, comic books and toys that show a range of samurai-influenced comics and anime creations, including Afro Samurai, Bleach, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Mobile Suit Gundam, Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai Champloo, Samurai Jack, Lone Wolf and Cub, Usagi Yojimbo, and Wolverine.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Groundhog Day: “Punxsutawney Phil”

Among the strange new American animals that added so much to the vocabulary of American English, the groundhog does not loom large. The Skunk (1588) and the Opossum (1610) are more colorful, the Buffalo (1633) and the grizzly bear more awe-inspiring. But of all the animals on the continent, only the lowly, unremarkable groundhog has its own day.

The groundhog also has an older, more curious name. Settlers as long ago as 1674 referred to it as a woodchuck, borrowing the name from one of the Algonquian Indian languages but spelling it as a combination of two English words. This attempt to make sense of the borrowing resulted in such nonsense as the tongue twister, "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"

Meanwhile, in the middle colonies, the wood-chucking creature acquired another name, groundhog, that goes back at least as far as 1742. In that year the Pennsylvania botanist John Bartram wrote, "The Monac or groundhog...will be as tame as a cat." Groundhog may have been a translation from the Dutch aardvarken, meaning "earth pig," or it may just have been inspired by the observation that this pudgy rodent burrows in the ground. In any case, it was as a groundhog that it got its day, February 2. The ceremony has remained as it was in this 1871 explanation: "On that day the ground-hog comes annually out of his hole, after a long winter nap, to look for his shadow. If he perceives it, he retires again to his burrow, which he does not leave for six weeks--weeks necessarily of stormy weather. But if he does not see his shadow, he stays out of his hole till he can, and the weather is sure to become mild and pleasant." In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, "Punxsutawney Phil" now does the Groundhog Day forecasting for the whole nation.