Monday, September 28, 2020
Friday, September 25, 2020
I wouldn’t be prepared to call this a review, because reading through this tome will take a while. But it’s certainly worth mentioning. The publisher sent me a comp copy of X-Men: The Art and Making of The Animated Series a few days ago, the newest entry from X-Men: The Animated Series producers Eric & Julia Lewald.
It covers much of the information detailed in Previously on X-Men, their in-depth retrospective of the series, with a noticeable addition. Previously was text, but this is, obviously, an art book. Not only an art book—it’s an extensive chronicle of the making of the show, describing in detail the pre-digital production of television animation in a way I haven’t seen before. But it also provides storyboards, cel art, sketches, background paintings, and very likely, a character model for every figure to appear on the show. Not only the standard character designs, but also every variation of the character.
Remember those few seconds the Blob appeared dressed as a tourist eating ice cream in Season One? It’s there. So is the initial design of Wolverine in his ’80s brown and tan costume—swapped out when Jim Lee revived his previous look in early ’92. This is not a fast read, and it isn’t a quickie cash-in on nostalgia for the show. Its closest comparison is Paul Dini and Chip Kidd’s Batman: Animated coffee table book. Not as “design-y,” but just as comprehensive and carefully cultivated. Fans of the show, or anyone with an interest in the history of animation, should seek it out.
Monday, September 21, 2020
This week at CBR, I delve into why Superman: The Animated Series didn't embrace the same classic aesthetic of Batman: The Animated Series. A post inspired by a gallery of Bruce Timm's original 1940s designs for the show that I'd totally forgotten about.
And credit to the Watchtower Database and director Dan Riba for providing some previously unseen early designs for the series. I'll include them with this post for posterity...
Monday, September 14, 2020
This week, I launch a new series that looks back on the early 2000s trend of reviving 1980s toy and cartoon properties. It all started with a certain Wizard magazine article...perhaps the last significant contribution the magazine made to comics culture in this era.
And, because the editors saw fit to cut the justification for the title "Nostalgia Snake," here's the opening paragraph as originally written:
Welcome to the first installment of a new series I'm calling Nostalgia Snake, a look at a curious phenomenon from the past...the early 2000s revival of genre properties from the 1980s. The ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake eating its own tail, usually viewed as symbolic of the concept of eternal cyclic renewal. Here, I'm talking about the twenty-year cycle of nostalgia. Just as fans were nostalgic for '80s properties in the early aughts, we've now reached twenty years since the revival of these properties. If the theory holds, this means people are now nostalgic for their nostalgia.
Monday, September 7, 2020
Adventure(s) Time is back, as I revisit the second season debut of Spider-Man: The Animated Series ...an early indication the show was headed in the wrong direction, to be honest.