Animation Innovation: Bottom of the Ninth

By way of Mike Lynch and his excellent blog comes this very intriguing project from Ryan Woodward called Bottom of the Ninth which aims to create a true melding of comics and animation through the wonders of the tablet computer. Behold the trailer:

Impressive, yes? Even better is the official website which is full of little GIFs that give an even clearer idea of what the aim of the project is.

The best part about it are the possibilities. It’s always great to see innovation in the animation realm and this project is certainly moving the technique in new and exciting directions.

What do you think? Could Bottom of the Ninth bring animation to a whole new legion of fans?


Faith Erin Hicks’ Korra Comic

Faith Erin Hicks is an über-talented cartoonist whose Superhero Girl comic is one of my regular reads. So it was rather nice to hear that she’d drawn a comic strip concerning the new Nickelodeon show, The Legend of Korra.

Faith does the usual great job in breaking down the background to the show in Avatar: The Last Airbender and detailing what makes both shows so great (Hint: it’s the characters). She also finds time to subtly dig at the notions that have kept animated shows like Korra off the air for such a long time.

So enjoy Faith’s comic (via Tor. com)  and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂 (click to enlarge)

Two Animation-Related Examples of RW Culture

A while back, I talked about the idea of the Re-Write (RW) Culture that’s discussed by Lawrence Lessig in his book, Remix. RW culture when it relates to animation is,  for all intent and purposes, going to cover pretty much anything made by fans,

One of the most common things that fans like to make is fan fiction, where they take the characters and create new stories and tales for them. In some instances, like the ones we’re about to discuss, they go even further, and extrapolate them beyond where and when the show took place.

Via: Drunk Duck

The first is this, which sadly, remains in a state of limbo at the moment but is nonetheless a great example of a fan taking a show and creating something quite new. This is about the only thing I can post on it as its, uh, a bit mature for what I feel comfortable posting here (I mean, I get enough Google referrals from weirdos already).

Battery Powered is a well made comic that really plays on the idea that the PPG grew up at some point and basically entered adolescence and never really grew out of it. It takes the characters in a whole different direction from what we’re used to seeing.

Via: Grim Tales

The second example we’ll look at is Grim Tales. A similar concept to Battery Powered but in a very different vein. It’s a much more serious attempt to look at how characters would develop long after the time when a show is set.

It’s not a bad example, in fact, its one of the better ones out there. However, it does follow a lot of fan-fiction lines in that it takes the characters and augments them into situations that would probably not have happened in the universe of the show. A prime example of this the central tennant of the comic: Gim and Mandy get married and have kids.

Grim Tales is quite a long comic so fair play to the writers/artists who’ve kept it going this far.

Both comics are just a small sampling of what fans are capable of creating on their own free time that benefit the show in the long run by keeping it alive.


Remember, It’s Not Your Idea, It’s Your Interpretation of It

Yesterday, over on the  Cartoon Brew Biz section, I read an announcement that the Disney Channel has ordered a pilot for broadcast in 2012 tentatively called Zombies and Cheerleaders.  Now I’m not so sure about yourself, but when I read that title, the first thing that popped into my head was this:

Yes, it’s the Zombies Vs Cheerleaders comic by Stephen Frank et al at Moonstone Books. Similar topic, very similar title.

On the surface they look much the same, however each composition is/will be hugely different. The TV show is described as follows:

The story follows Zed Necrodopolis, a typical high school student with one small caveat; he happens to be a zombie. Despite a high-tech wristwatch designed to curb any appetite he may have for his classmates, he and his zombie friends remain unpopular with the school’s most influential group, the pom-pom wielding cheerleaders. Never one to back down from a challenge, Zed sets out to improve zombie student body relations and win the attention of Addison, the cheerleading squad’s newest member.

In contrast, the comic is described as:

Morbid or funny, and sometimes morbidly funny, top talent bring eclectic tales of Zombies vs Cheerleaders in this best-selling anthology series. Based on the hit sketch card series from 5FINITY Productions, read the exciting stories of the two things everyone loves: zombies and cheerleaders!

So while they appear similar on the surface, featuring zombies and cheerleaders, they differ greatly when it comes down to actual content.

This is something to be very aware of if you are writing or creating your own material. You can’t copyright ideas, only exceedingly similar interpretations. This is why we continue to see new versions of Alice in Wonderland despite the fact that the Disney version is the de facto story as far as the masses are concerned.

So don’t be afraid to use someone else’s idea for something personal you’re working on, just so long as it’s different or heads in another direction. 🙂

Recommnded Reading: Dresden Codak’s Tumblelog

It’s been a while since I’ve done a website recommendation and in order to get a bit of structure back into this blog, it’s time to start doing them again.

Today, it is the turn of Dredan Codak a.k.a talented maestro, Aaron Diaz.

If you’re not already familiar with Dresden Codak, you probably should get yourself over to the website and do some catching up. It’s a superb (web)comic with a diverse cast of characters and a great look/design.

However, that is not what I’m recommending today, well it is, but the actual site is slightly different. It’s actually the Dresden Codak tumblelog, “Indistinguishable From Magic“.

Plenty of artists use Tumblr as more of an auxiliary blog for posting scraps, development work, personal stuff, etc. Others, like the too-talented-for-words Dan Meth actually use it as the base of their entire website!

Either way, many people appreciate the flexibility that Tumblr provides in terms of design and use as well as the following capabilities and reblogging features that help grow and maintain a devoted audience.

IFM is no exception to that rule but it is the content that sets itself apart from the rest. Far more than an auxiliary blog, Aaron has turned it into a veritable gold mine of art, advice, opinion and lessons.

For example, his excellent post on character’s figures (see image above) contains the kind of honest advice that is kinda hard to come across these days. One you read it, you begin to look at characters in a whole new light.

Aaron also uses the tumblelog to interact with people who ask various questions on the comic, art and drawing in general. All are answered with the upfront honesty that defines a creator who appreciates the devotion of his fans.

In addition to all of the above, what kind of artist would Aaron be if he didn’t post some cool sketches as well?

Sketch of Janelle Monae

If you’re an artist, comic or otherwise, following Indistinguishable From Magic is a must. You simply cannot miss out on all that Aaron is posting.

Can Animated Films Make You Feel Old?

Movie AgesYesterday’s xkcd comic turned up a bit of a surprise. Oh sure, it made me feel as old as the hills (The Lion King came out how long ago???) and it gave me a good laugh. I couldn’t help noticing the list of movies Randall picked for the comic.

Out of 11 films, 5 of them are animated. That’s just under half!

Those films weren’t the only ones to come out those years so why on earth would Randall choose to use them instead of more live-action ones? It would be safe to argue that the animated movies are in fact better but I’d say it’s more likely that because of animation’s timeless qualities, the films’ ages are much harder to judge and as a result can be used for superior comic effect.

It’s just another reminder that animated films stand the test of time much better than live-action.