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’Super President’: This forgotten 1967 cartoon was gloriously stupid (and racist as hell)
09.23.2015
09:41 am

Topics:
Animation
Television
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:


 
As much as I relish the inherent entertainment value of a potential Trump vs Sanders showdown/battle-for-the-soul-of-a-nation next year, I feel like America™ really needs a president like James Norcross. Silver-haired, square-jawed, dapper, and resolute, his clear-sighted judiciousness could unite this fractured nation, while his ability to alter his body’s molecular structure could protect us from a perilous world full of appalling ethnic stereotype supervillains.

That’s pretty dumb, isn’t it? But it was the actual premise of a short-lived 1967 TV cartoon called Super President. Produced by DePatie-Freleng, the animation studio best known for the Pink Panther film credit sequences and the cartoon series that spun off from them, Super President’s premise was a stretch, even for a cheaply produced children’s superhero show. The viewer was asked to suspend disbelief that the President of the United States could possibly have time to maintain a secret crimefighter double life, that his batcave-ish lair underneath the White House (to which the series always refers as the “Presidential Mansion” for some reason) could possibly go unnoticed, and that the nom de heroics “Super President” wasn’t kind of a huge screaming giveaway that he was, you know, THE PRESIDENT. Yet only the requisite sidekick/advisor/character who needs rescuing a lot Jerry Sayles knew Norcross’ secret.
 

 
There was no way this was going to last. Even if the show wasn’t howlingly dumb (stupider shows have lived long and vigorous lives), I can’t imagine the portrayal of a dashing, indomitable, gracefully-aging POTUS so soon after the Kennedy assassination didn’t sting at least a little—maybe Norcross was intended as a wishful-thinking alternative to the disappointing Lyndon Johnson? It probably wan’t that deep. Watching it almost 50 years after its creation, it’s hard to shake off the values dissonance inherent in its depictions of its antagonists. Offensive portrayals of non-Euro characters were mighty common back then (Hanna-Barbera holds up especially poorly on that count; Jonny Quest for one seems embarrassingly colonialist by today’s standards, but few of their titles were free of non-white representations that don’t seem deeply embarrassing today) but some of the portrayals here are around the bend even for the ‘60s.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
A new super-gay video game challenges you to wash a guy’s back in the gym showers
09.21.2015
10:44 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Art
Games
Queer

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Video game designer Robert Yang has has quite the homoerotic resume. He developed Cobra Club, the game where you try to alter a dick pic to optimum beauty, and Stick Shift, a game where you pleasure your gay car. There’s the (consensual) spanking game, Hurt Me Plenty, and Succulent, where you watch a man fellate an popsicle. Rinse and Repeat is Yang’s latest, and it’s surprisingly subtle on the homoeroticism (relatively speaking). The object?  Wash a man’s back in the gym shower. That’s it. Just a super-gay locker room fantasy with a healthy dose of camp, and not half-bad graphics, either!

Yang lays out the scenario on his site thusly:

Was he in your Tactical Zumba class, or was it Blood Pilates? Usually you wouldn’t risk a shower right after class, they already talk enough shit about you, but the other day—a cough then a smirk and then a knowing glance, that’s all it ever takes until you start hoping against hope.

Don’t fuck it up. Show up when he’ll show up, right after class. Set multiple alarms on your phone, mark your calendar, clear your schedule. What is this terror? What is this ecstasy? What is it that fills you with this extraordinary excitement?... Boy, it’s the promise of a workout.

The whole thing is really funny and cheeky (get it?), right down to the aviator sunglasses your bathing buddy leaves on during his shower. You can download Rinse and Repeat here (for free!) and watch a preview below. All dicks are pixelated, but do I really need to tell you that it’s NSFW?
 

 
Via Kotaku

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Moonbeam City’ spoofs ‘Miami Vice’ with every 80s cliché under the neon pink moon
09.14.2015
12:48 pm

Topics:
Animation
Television

Tags:


 
It’s much easier to write about something you really, really love—or conversely really, really hate—than something you feel lukewarm about. Passion in one direction or the other is generally speaking, a necessary component of blogging: “Here’s this thing I feel enthusiastic about” (or the flipside of that). And this is why I’ve been sitting in front of my keyboard all morning trying to think of something to write about the new Comedy Central series, Moonbeam City, which I watched last night. I wanted to like it. I expected that I would. Conceptually it’s pretty neat—a neon-hued pisstake of Miami Vice rendered very much in the style of artist Patrick Nagel with a gloriously synthed-out soundtrack partaking in every 80s musical trope—but ultimately Moonbeam City just left me pretty cold.

Moonbeam City‘s pilot episode “Mall Hath No Mercy” (which you can watch now in advance of its Wednesday night TV debut on the Comedy Central website) introduces us to “Dazzle Novak,” an idiotic cop in the “Sonny” Crockett mold. He’s an incompetent, vain, skirt-chasing, narcissistic fashion plate who can’t shoot straight, but he’s the “#1 Cop” in Moonbeam City, or at least that what his coffee mug reads. He’s an undercover cop who wrecks havoc on the pink fluorescent Art Deco metropolis he loves, with car chases and macho catch phrases like “I hope your brain is hungry—it’s having bullets for dinner.”
 

“Captain Pizzaz Miller” voiced by Elizabeth Banks
 
There’s much to recommend in Moonbeam City—the animation, done by Los Angeles studio Titmouse (Superjail!, Metalocalypse, Black Dynamite) is pure eye candy—truly the best of the best—and the music, by Night Club, is pitch perfect, too. There’s the voice-over work of Rob Lowe, Elizabeth Banks, Kara Mara and Will Forte. The problem is that it looks and sounds better than it is written.

Clearly Comedy Central have higher hopes for Moonbeam City than I do, scheduling its premiere after South Park‘s 19th season premiere. Sadly Moonbeam City seems, to me, to be a one trick pony. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous product, but once you get over the art direction and audio-visual flash, the writing is just kind of “blah” and pedestrian. Honestly, I’m kinda on the fence about watching a second episode. I don’t really see where they could take it. But don’t take my word for it, you can watch the Moonbeam City pilot here.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Is raver cop the best anti-police art of 2015? (Yes. Yes it is.)
09.04.2015
10:42 am

Topics:
Animation
Art
Politics

Tags:


 
Cops and donuts are a cliched pairing, sure, but just when you thought the final joke had been wrung from our collective psyche, someone does something so… amazing, that you just want to stand up and applaud. This 3D animation of a raver cop titled “Antonyms for Prejudice” is from a Spanish animator only known as “ofortvna.” The sparse caption—“donut mess with a cop”—doesn’t give us much of an artist’s statement either, but it really doesn’t require that much of an explanation.

So maybe it’s not explicitly political or particularly insightful, but hey, absurdist cop-mockery is a pretty easy message to digest, and once you see our boy in blue start dancing hypnotically beneath a cascade of donuts to a very earnestly soulful cover version of “Maniac”—the song made famous in Flashdance—you just kinda sit back and enjoy.
 

 
Via The Creators Project

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Animator of twisted Lewis Carroll reboot ‘Malice in Wonderland’ has done a bizarre ‘Wizard of Oz’
08.11.2015
09:50 am

Topics:
Animation
Books

Tags:


 
Experimental animator Vince Collins is best known for his his psychedelic nightmare Malice in Wonderland, a 1982 reboot of Alice in Wonderland that manages to completely warp its source material in four fascinating, horrifying minutes. Collins actually acknowledged in a VICE interview that the short was intended as a pornographic send-off to the psychedelic era (for example, at one point, our grotesque nod to “Alice” recedes into her own vagina, which earned him serious backlash from a few feminists). Luckily for us, Collins continues to make us uncomfortable with depraved renditions of children’s cultural touchstones!

In 2013 Collins made “Lizard of Oz,” a 3D re-imagining of Dorothy and her friends’ journey down the Yellow Brick Road. The violent, techy aesthetic equips Dorothy with an automatic weapon and the Wicked Witch of the West with a high tech drone operation—the whole thing looks cool as hell. The cartoon was apparently so controversial that it was quickly been banned by YouTube, although it was soon restored with an age warning. So enjoy, but beware—this is not Judy Garland!
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Teach your kids their ABC’s with evil: David Lynch’s horrific 1968 short, ‘The Alphabet’
07.21.2015
10:00 am

Topics:
Animation
Movies

Tags:


 
Prior to my first viewing of Eraserhead, I was warned I’d be horrified and repulsed beyond all belief. Instead, I was stricken with maternal concern for the sickly “baby,” and afflicted with sympathetic anxiety for its suffering parents; as far as I was concerned, David Lynch had created an avant-garde family melodrama, albeit in the aesthetics of a particularly affecting dark and morbid surrealism. Knowing now that Lynch had a toddler during the making of the film lends some credibility to my interpretation. Lynch’s portrayal of “children” is obviously pretty damned disturbing, but I’d argue his more horrifying use of kiddies comes from his 1968 short, “The Alphabet.”

This partially animated experimental film was inspired by the young niece of Lynch’s wife Peggy—the child had been reciting the alphabet in her sleep during a nightmare. Lynch painted Peggy white and filmed her in a room painted black for optimum eerie contrast. In a stark and ghostly bed, she is tormented by a phantasmal alphabet in a series of erratic, disorienting shots before blood spatters sheets; the results are absolutely hellish. The distorted crying you hear in “The Alphabet” is Lynch’s baby daughter, so the film truly is a family affair.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Department store ad gives real-life shoplifters cutesy cartoon heads
07.16.2015
01:00 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Crime

Tags:


 
It’s difficult to know what deeper meaning could lie behind the tactic that high-end department store Harvey Nichols used this week to promote their new app—taking actual closed-circuit video footage of actual shoplifters caught in the act and presenting it with adorable little cartoon character heads placed over the lawbreakers’ faces. But you know, meaning shmeaning, the clips are curiously resonant and the kind of weird-ass experimental footage you’re going to want setting the tone at your next ‘shrooms party.

It’s even the case that a public service is contributed, as the clip decisively segues from shoplifters naughtily slipping valuables into their pockets etc. to their frantic attempts to escape security personnel and, inevitably, some glum time spent in a holding room. Crime doesn’t pay, kids! Don’t go there.

Credit goes to the ad agency adam&eveDDB for hiring Layzell Brothers to execute the cutesy robber heads. The jaunty music is Wot Do You Call It?” by Wiley.
 

 
via It’s Nice That

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Early concept art for ‘The Flintstones’?
07.15.2015
09:25 am

Topics:
Animation
Art
Television

Tags:


 
On the Yowp blog, your first stop for Hanna-Barbera stuff, there was a post yesterday showcasing some early concept art that was used in making The Flintstones.

The items had been put up for auction at the Van Eaton Gallery in Sherman Oaks, California, and two of them are listed as having already been sold. No artist is listed. The person who runs Yowp wonders whether the items are “retro” or “actually drawn in 1959 or 1960 in preparation for The Flintstones.”

My two cents: Nobody who was familiar with The Flintstones in its mature state would have drawn anything looking like this. That’s my guess. But I don’t know. 

The three images below, you can see a larger image by clicking on them.
 

“Fred Flintstone, Wilma Flintstone, Barney Rubble”: sold for $4000
 

“Fred Flintstone and Ann Margrock?”: Still available!
 

“Fred Flintstone”: sold for $2000
 
via Tombolare

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Nose’: Brother Theodore voices this brilliant animated adaptation of surreal Gogol short story
07.14.2015
12:18 pm

Topics:
Animals
Animation
Art
Books

Tags:


 
Darkly comic performance artist Brother Theodore’s trademark manic, impassioned delivery made him an obvious choice for cartoon voice work. Although he was one of the more frequent guests on 80s David Letterman shows, I actually first heard him as a kid incessantly watching the 1982 animated feature, The Last Unicorn (he perfectly voiced an evil hunchback). He also made a great Gollum in the really underrated 1980 cartoon of The Hobbit—again, perfect casting. However, Theodore really shined at monologue, which is why this 1966 animated adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s satirical short story “The Nose” is so strong; he does every voice—the narrator, our tragic protagonist (Nathan Naspicker), the cruel and unfeeling police, and even the rogue nose itself.

“A Nose” is obviously slightly reworked for a light cartoon audience. Rather than Gogol’s 1830’s St. Petersburg, director Mordi Gerstein chose to set the story “in the Year of our Lord 1305, on the 25th of March in the city of Pittsburgh.” Poor Nathan Naspicker finds that his nose has abandoned him and started a life of its own. As Naspicker attempts to track down his roving schnozz, he begins to despair. There is no moral, it’s just pure madness, but it has a happy ending (kind of?)! The format of the film is actually quite experimental as well—partially animated, partially live action. It’s a cute cartoon for kids, but it’s definitely pure Brother Theodore in all his mad glory.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Bartkira’: Japanese anime classic ‘Akira’ gets Simpsonized
07.06.2015
11:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animation
Art
Television

Tags:


 
If you’ve not seen the definitive anime Akira, I highly suggest you make the time to watch it. If you’ve not read the comic it’s based on, I demand you get on that shit, like, yesterday. Set in post-nuclear Tokyo (well, technically “Neo-Tokyo,” an artificial island in the bay), Akira is a sort of post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story—just with telepathy, gang wars and terrorism. The first of the six volume series was released in 1982, but the decrepit futurism and universal themes have made it a timeless classic.It’s difficult to imagine anyone collaborating with or updating it, but the Akira/Simpsons mash-up, Bartkira, is positively inspired.
 

 
Hundreds of cartoonists are collaborating to re-create all six volumes of the series, panel by panel, recast with characters from The Simpsons—you can see the cast list (pre-determined for consistency) here. The project will run until the series is reproduced in its entirity, and you can actually submit your Bartkira fan art to the Tumblr (which has a ton of great art), or send samples of your work to bartkiracommittee@gmail.com if you want to contribute to the actual Bartkira comic.
 
As if that wasn’t ambitious enough, over fifty animators have actually produced a video trailer for the project, and it’s dead-on. If you’re wondering if this is legal, so are the artists involved:

We’re not sure. We kind of just leapt into it. To be on the safe side, we’re keeping Bartkira as an entirely non-profit operation and we’re giving all the proceeds from sales of books, shirts and so on to charity. If you’ve made merchandise from your Bartkira artwork, we encourage you to do the same. We suspect the project occupies a legal grey area protected by parody laws. Regardless, as of writing we’re a year in and we haven’t received our cease-and-desist yet.

Supposedly, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo got a kick out of the project, and while Matt Groening hasn’t been reached for comment, he’s got a huge collection of bootleg Simpsons merch, and likely wouldn’t care. And who wouldn’t be flattered by a project this formidable? The scope and artistry of the parody is positively sublime.
 

 

 

 
H/t Jason Clarke

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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