Animation Monday: Clarence / Mixels On Cartoon Network


Geek Alabama Animation

On this Animation Monday, I am talking about two shows on Cartoon Network.  One show has shown a sneak peek and will premiere in April.  While the other cartoon is a short series airing on the channel.

Clarence

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Last week, Cartoon Network aired the pilot for Clarence.  While the series will not premiere until April, everyone got a chance to see a sneak peek of the series.  Clarence is an animated series created by Skyler Page for Cartoon Network.  Page, a former storyboard artist for the Cartoon Network series Adventure Time and Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, developed the series at Cartoon Network Studios in 2012 as part of their animated short development initiative.  The series revolves around a young boy named Clarence, who is optimistic about everything.

And yes, Clarence is very optimistic about his life.  In the eyes of Clarence, the world is full of possibility and wonder.  In the pilot, Clarence is the new kid in school and tries to invite his classmates to a slumber party while at school, Clarence does not get much response and one classmate even throws the invitation back to Clarence.  When Clarence gets home from school, his mother is making some food, but goes out to a Tupperware party.  You know how it feels when you are the new kid at school, trying to make friends is always a tough thing!

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Luckily, two boys, named Jeff and Sumo comes to Clarence’s slumber party.  Jeff has a square head and I would consider him the geek/nerd of the three boys.  In the pilot, Jeff is always getting answers right on a TV quiz show and he does not like doing things he normally does not do.  I believe Clarence will change that!  The other friend, named Sumo, had all of his hair cut off by Clarence in the pilot, this is something I would never do.  Sumo is a party person and likes to take some risks, like releasing bees from a pinata, indoors.

Clarence’s mom is more relaxed and judging by the pilot, will let Clarence do whatever he wants.  The mom does have a boyfriend, named Chad, who looks like he is lazy.  Yep, he wears his underwear in the house, and drinks milk right out of the carton.  So after watching the pilot, I thought the storytelling was good, as Clarence and his friends will do many things real boys and girls might never even think of doing.  I would consider Clarence as a more grown up version of the classic cartoon Rugrats.  The animation is flash computerized, as most cartoons are animated that way today.  The characters animation is more basic.  The character’s teeth are very basic!

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Yep, I think Clarence will do well for Cartoon Network, and their boy demographic.  The only thing I do not like seeing Cartoon Network doing, is starting Adult Swim even earlier at 7 pm Central at the end of March.  For those without DVR’s, the new cartoons will start even earlier, and it will force those folks to not see the new cartoons or go online.  Yeah, showing adult cartoons even earlier has some parents upset.  Learn more about Clarence at: http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/

Mixels

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Mixels is a 2014 short form comedy animated television series currently airing on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.  The LEGO Group and Cartoon Network produced the series together with the help of world-class animators, voice actors, and toy designers.  The series revolves around the Mixels, small creatures that can mix and combine with one another in creative and unpredictable storylines.  Here is one short episode featuring the Mixels.

LEGO is hoping that the Mixels brand takes off globally.  A mobile app will be released for the series, as well as a website where everyone can learn about the Mixels, and three series of collectible Lego building toys based on the characters.  I wonder why we did not see any Mixels during The Lego Movie, I am willing to bet we will see some Mixels when The Lego Movie 2 comes out.  The animation in the short Mixels videos is not CGI animation, its traditional animation!  Something you don’t see too much anymore.

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Mixels involves nine different, fun-loving tribes who inhabit a fantasy land of adventure and wonder.  They can mix (combining Mixels of different tribes), max (combining Mixels of the same tribe), and murp (when a mix goes horribly wrong) in all kind of situations, using the mysterious cubits.  All that stands in their way are the small, evil Nixels.  As you know, most cartoons are only created so toys can be sold.  And in Mixels, this is no exception! The LEGO Group will be handling all toy merchandise for the Mixels franchise, and Cartoon Network will handle all non-toy merchandising.

It looks like that Mixels is one of those several short series Cartoon Network is developing for online when Adult Swim expands at the end of March.  Yes, more people have computers and internet access, but Mixels should get some more air time on TV.  So far, the episodes released are not making me rush out to buy some toys, and Cartoon Network and LEGO Group needs to make Mixels a full-time 30 minute series.  That is, if they want to take Mixels seriously.  Learn more about Mixels at: http://www.mixels.com/

Videos and images copyright from Cartoon Network

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Animation Monday: Rick and Morty On Adult Swim


Geek Alabama Animation

Before I talk about Rick and Morty on Adult Swim, I need to talk about the latest Family Guy episode where Brian Griffin was brought back.  When Brian died, I did this post talking about my thoughts about the episode.  And I said this:

“I think Seth MacFarlane has done something which he knew what he was doing.  He is getting the exact reaction input that he wanted. That episode was to bring up fan discussions of why and why not Brian should be written off.  The writers of Family Guy, I hope, have come up with a way to bring back Brian Griffin, most likely with the help of a time machine.”

See, I was right!  Seth MacFarlane on Twitter confirmed that killing off Brian Griffin was a stunt.  I thought this stunt was a way to increase ratings and the ratings did increase!  Many people were also talking about it on social media.  Seth said this on Twitter.

And he is right, Christmas time is a time to be grateful for family.  You never know when your loved ones can be gone for good.  Seth said the show would be crazy if they killed off Brian for good, and I am happy to see Brian back!  I hope we will see Vinny return to a future Family Guy episode!  Speaking of dogs, the second episode of Rick and Morty where the dogs take over the human world then leave was brilliant!

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Now to talk about this new show on Adult Swim called Rick and Morty.  Rick and Morty is an American animated television series created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland.  Roiland voices the eponymous main characters Rick, a scientist and alcoholic, and Morty, Rick’s grandson, as Rick proves himself to be a negative influence on Morty and his family.  I wonder why only 11 episodes were made, because judging by this show, they are going to need to make more episodes!

The cartoon is not for kids!  Rick is a genius scientist whose alcoholic tendencies are the source of concern for his daughter’s family over the safety of their son, Morty.  The parents are not happy seeing Rick drinking.  The grandson of Rick, Morty, is usually dragged into Rick’s adventures.  And the adventures involves things like going into outer space and shooting guns.  Then dropping back into school through a portal.  It was funny seeing Morty going into dumb mode after losing most of his brain function.  Why was Rick not helping him?

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The series is created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, and is based on Justin Roiland’s Channel 101 shorts, “The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti”, which were inspired by Back to the Future’s Emmett Brown and Marty McFly.  I see the connection between this show and Back to the Future!  Other inspiration from this show comes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who.  This show has your average comedy mixed in with super cool sci-fi stuff!  Yes, geeks and nerds will like this show!

The animation is pretty good for Adult Swim.  The animation has a simple feel too it, with basic lines and colors unless you see those cool sci-fi scenes!  The storylines also has a great mix of comedy and supernatural stuff!  The characters are mostly offbeat and sometimes crazy, but it works!  If you like seeing wacky characters and wacky inventions like a dog talking advice, you will like Rick and Morty.  I have enjoyed watching this show so far!  This show is a mix of Sanjay and Craig, Bob’s Burgers, and Regular Show.

The first season will have multiple guest appearances including Tom Kenny, Maurice LaMarche, John Oliver, David Cross, Claudia Black, Virginia Hey, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Phil Hendrie, Dana Carvey, Aislinn Paul, and Cassie Steele.  New episodes of Rick and Morty airs on Monday nights on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.  Learn more about Rick and Morty at: http://video.adultswim.com/rick-and-morty/  Watch the first two episodes before they are taken off of YouTube!

All images and videos copyright from Adult Swim

Animation Monday: Axe Cop / High School USA


Geek Alabama Animation

Over the weekend, FOX premiered Axe Cop and High School USA as part of their new Animation Domination High Def block.  And yes, I did watch both of the premieres!  I liked the beginning where it featured some animated features from the events of the last week.  Yep, Catnado is going to get popular!  Let’s first talk about Axe Cop.

Axe Cop

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Axe Cop sounds like what you think it is.  This cartoon features the titular Axe Cop (who requires only two minutes sleep and a diet of birthday cake) and his partner, Flute Cop, as they fight crime.  The office for Axe Cop features a huge amount of hatchets which he uses to chop the heads off of the bad guys.  Axe Cop goes on a night mission and encounters Warthog Man who is crying because his friends are gone.

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Axe Cop has a short tempter, which he shows when he runs over a car to jump a huge ramp!  You then get to encounter a talking dog and another superhero.  One crazy backstory, how can little chickens turn into war machines during the Great Chicken Head War?  After picking up a dinosaur horn, Axe Cop breaks into a scientist lab full of aliens, and we get to witness a head being chopped off!  Axe Cop and the guys then encounter the King of All Bad Guys.  They go inside his head to the brain but get trapped.  Then a guy with a lion’s head and a cheetah’s brain appears.

Axe Cop uses a dinosaur horn to summon dinosaurs to Earth to eat the brain of the King of All Bad Guys.  When Axe Cop and friends land in the stomach bile, they encounter other people.  Then they have to escape, and it’s not through the mouth.  Axe Cop then has dinner with Flute Cop in the middle of the night.  Yep, this was a weird story like you see on Adult Swim.

High School USA

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In this show, it starts off at High School USA.  The animation style is just like what you see in the Archie Comics.  Apparently, using puppies can quiet down teenagers!  The teens are in the gym for a bully conference and then a dance is announced, this makes the teens pay attention!  At a diner, some girls kiss each other and Brad is worried that he is a bully, then he punches walls at his home.  Brad gets a text message to meet someone at the corner of WedgieLand and SwirlyBrook, yes there is such a thing!

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Brad encounters a cyber bully, then walks into AntagoNerds, the ultimate bully paradise!  This place is where bullies can be bullies, and brad takes advantage of it, while being recorded by a phone camera.  Back at the high school, everyone is looking at Brad’s bully video, which gets him kicked out of the dance.  At Marsh’s home, his father tells him that bullies are a cornerstone of society, right?  At Brad’s house, we see an overweight women on the couch and she actually gets up to answer the door.  It’s a miracle!  Sadly, Brad’s mother is a bully to him as well.

Brad gets into the dance to perform some music.  The Original Band cancelled and a new band takes their place, while Brad is booed by the crowd.  After a short speech, the band gets to perform.  Both shows had their interesting humor and they are definitely aimed at the teenager and young adult crowd.  Some critics are already panning ADHD because it’s a cheap alternative to Adult Swim.  But I liked both shows, and if ADHD succeeds against Adult Swim and Saturday Night Live, it will open the door to other animators.  Let’s hope that happens!  By the way, you need to watch some of the funny short animations on the Animation Domination High Def YouTube channel, just like this one!

Learn more about ADHD at: http://www.foxadhd.com/

The Entire Cartoon Universe


I found this awesome Kickstarter project that has already have enough funding to be funded on September 16th.  Ray Sumser from New York has been working on a mural of the entire cartoon universe called “The Characternity” for a couple of months now.  And this looks so amazing!  He has done extensive research and in the mural you will find cartoon characters from pop culture in TV, movies, comic books, internet, games, books, and even from company advertising.  You know that your drawing has to be good when Adult Swim mentions it!

Ray Sumser is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding to finish this masterpiece.  And if you pledge some money, there are some great rewards like a print of the piece and a chance to suggest a character for the project.  Check out a progress shot of the mural taken on September 14th.  Click on the link to zoom in to the mural.

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You have until 10:59pm on Sunday September 16th to pledge funding to this project.  Go tohttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/characternity/the-characternity-a-picture-of-the-cartoon-univers to pledge funding right now!  I would love to pledge some funding to this project but being unemployed for 14 months takes a toll on you!

For more information on Ray Sumser go to: http://www.raysumser.com/.

By the way I might be entering the Kickstarter world very soon!  Click on my drawings link below to learn what I do.  Yes I do think road drawings can be cool!

http://geekalabama.com/about-us/drawings/

Animation at Alabama Phoenix Festival


I would consider this my Animation Monday post for this week.  Some of the guests at the Alabama Phoenix Festival were very talented animators.  The festival had the comic area where you could see comic book animators and people who love to draw do their work!

One of the panels I attended was Animated Characters with C. Martin Croker and Kevin Rubio.  And both guys has had an interesting history.  C. Martin Croker started working for Cartoon Network when it launched back in 1992.  Then he developed and animated the show Space Ghost Coast to Coast.  The show threw crazy questions to all of the guests that appeared.  And the show did whatever it wanted to capture the weird emotions in its guests.  A little known secret about the show is most of the animation came from the original Space Ghost series back in the 1960′s.

Originally Aqua Teen Hunger Force was a failed episode from the Space Ghost show.  Aqua Teen was brought back when Adult Swim launched on Cartoon Network.  And now there are around 120 Aqua Teen episodes versus 96 Space Ghost Coast to Coast episodes.  Croker said the first episodes of Aqua Teen and the episodes today are night- to-day.  It took him around four months to produce the first two episodes.  And he even gave the people a hint to watch the Paul episodes on Aqua Teen coming soon!  And Aqua Teen is animated on Photoshop while many other animated shows are animated on Flash.

Before the end of the festival I talked to C. Martin Croker and he had some interesting animation!

Kevin Rubio has worked for Lucas Films for 15 years.  He works on the shows Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the Ben 10 franchise.   He was amazed at the great success of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and its Emmy nomination.  He loves that its grown up fans are called Bronies.  The latest show in the Ben 10 franchise is called Ben 10: Omniverse premiering soon on Cartoon Network.  One part of the show he gave away is Ben at age 16 and Ben at age 10 will meet up.  Currently there are around 38 episodes made but he could not go into detail about anything else.

Both guys gave some great advice about being animators.  Animators are good at knowing   all episodes from past cartoons.  Because they have to go back sometimes to grab images and create new stuff such as commercials and new TV shows.  In fact the Atlanta metro is home to numerous animators and shows such as Archer which is made in Atlanta.  And for all of you Animaniacs fans out there.  Sorry the master tapes are in a mine somewhere in Utah.

Next up was a couple of panels done by Kittyhawk.  Kittyhawk has done comics for around 13 years now.  The first panel was about making a comic page.  Most comics and cartoons are done on a computer now.  She recommended not to write any words on a page first.  Do the drawings and then describe what’s in the scene.  And try not to use many words on a page as well.  She also told everyone not to feel bad if you use a pencil to create your page.  But it’s now recommended to go digital.  She uses the Manga Studio EX program to create her comics.  And for anyone creating comics; “if it’s not working, toss it aside.”  A great piece of advice.  Here are some photos from this panel.

Another panel I attended from Kittyhawk was all about drawing Hentai (porn).  The people including me enjoyed watching some Japanese porn which was very hardcore!  We also got to draw some Hentai.  Here is my drawing with the private parts censored.  (I have to keep this a family blog)  If you want to see the uncensored version shoot me an e-mail at barcncpt44@aol.com.

Another panel involving an animator was Page by Page with Larry Hama.  This panel with Sean Taylor was all about the comics career of Larry Hama which he got into by accident. Larry was a fan of comics when he was a kid.  And he wanted to be a fashion designer or a shoe artist when he grew up.  When he got into the comics business; he had mentors that helped him make comics.  He considered that to be “very lucky.”  Larry Hama has worked for Marvel as an editor for around 15 years.  And he has also worked for DC comics as well.

Larry Hama said that technology has changed everything about comics.  And today the internet has made it possible for anyone to learn how to make comics.  He never considered himself a writer.  And he sees comics as a story with a series of pictures.  When he was working at Marvel Comics he was one of the last writers in the editor’s bay.  And when a team from Hasbro came to him to talk about starting Gi-Joe; he said yes.  Mainly because he needed the freelance work.  And he did around 155 issues and got no reviews from anyone.

During the first meeting he was shown 10 black and white drawings with one or two words.  And somehow he made it work to the success it is today.  When the Gi-Joe movies came out he got no say about the movies.  And he was not happy when Snake Eyes talked in the movie.  He also talked about how he creates his comics.  Larry said he has no idea what’s on page three while he works on page one.  And he makes things up while he is writing and animating a comic book.  He also loved how he helped turn Snake Eyes into a mythology.  Overall it is was a great panel!

At the end of this post I wanted to share some pictures of a volunteer laying down while a mask is curing on his face. Yes this was very cool!  Notice how hard it is to separate the mask from the mold.  And the green goo that was put on people’s thumbs was to make a plaster mold thumb of themselves!