Friday, April 17, 2015

Girls and Guys from Summits and Skies


Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux from Gwenn GERMAIN on Vimeo.

Gwenn Germain is a 22 year-old french artist, who created this stunning animation, inspired by Hayao Miyazaki, Jean Giraud and Syd Mead.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Reblog: Rantasmo Korra



This is an awesome video by Rantasmo about The Legend of Korra.

I think when discussions of queerbaiting come up, it is important to look at the role social censorship has had in affecting what is allowed on the screen based on what is considered morally appropriate in child/family targeting animation. If we look at a film produced during the Hays code, we would never describe a flamboyant character as queerbaiting. During the Hays code LGBTQ characters were not allowed on the screen. Coded behavior, dialogue and visual markers were the only way to hint at a character sexuality. Similarly, in American animation creators work within the confines of what is considered appropriate for their target audience.

Here are some quotes from  Bryan Konietzko, co-creator of The Legend of Korra, that shows both the way creators censor their own ideas when they assume something won't be approved of by networks, as well as the censorship by the network in shaping the original intent for the characters:

 "As we wrote Book 1, before the audience had ever laid eyes on Korra and Asami, it was an idea I would kick around the writers’ room. At first we didn't give it much weight, not because we think same-sex relationships are a joke, but because we never assumed it was something we would ever get away with depicting on an animated show for a kids network in this day and age, or at least in 2010. "

"We approached the network and while they were supportive there was a limit to how far we could go with it, as just about every article I read accurately deduced. It was originally written in the script over a year ago that Korra and Asami held hands as they walked into the spirit portal. We went back and forth on it in the storyboards, but later in the retake process I staged a revision where they turned towards each other, clasping both hands in a reverential manner, in a direct reference to Varrick and Zhu Li’s nuptial pose from a few minutes prior. "

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cartoon Closet Part 5

Part 5: Female Duos (in practice)


While there are not a lot of examples of female duos to draw from in animation (pun intended), in this section I will look at a popular pair of female duo side characters: Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. 

moving image. Harley holding onto Ivy, as ivy displays credit cards like a hand of cards

Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) was a darker look at the franchise then early television versions. Incorporating quick dialogue and a film noir aesthetic, it used coding and visual and verbal euphemisms to wink at the older audience that made up a large portion of it's viewers.

Harley Quinn was a character created for the series, and one that became so popular she was incorporated into the comic book canon. The short comic, Mad Love, featuring Harley's back-story won an Eisner Award.





moving image of harley and ivy with jewleryIn Batman: The Animated Series. Harley is top henchwoman to the Joker who she is also in a not so subtle relationship with (see above video). She and the Joker are a comedy duo team, with Harley as the devoted heart to the Joker's brains. 

As a duo they embody all the traditional elements of a comedy team including slapstick violence... but with the dark setting of the show the violence against Harley at the hands of the Joker is presented to adult viewers as a clearly-coded case of domestic abuse. As Zack Beauchamp writes in Batman: The Animated Series. 

"The abusive structure of the Joker-Quinn relationship being obvious to adults but invisible to the show’s young audience reminds the adult viewer of how societal blindness perpetuates actual instances of horrific abuse."
ivy and harley having dinner wearing only men's shirts
In the episode Harley and Ivy Harley is kicked out by the Joker and ends up teaming up with Poison Ivy. The duo become a crime team, and Ivy takes the position of the brains in the comedy duo she forms with Harley.  While only containing a relatively short screen time together, fans latched on to their ambiguous relationship. 

The characters lived together in Ivy's home, with one bed. They had meals together, languishing in a casual attire of just men's shirts. Scene's driving in Ivy's pink convertible drew visual reference to  Thelma and Louise. 



ivy and harley in a convertablethelma and louise in a convertable
The question of whether or not the lesbian undertones of the relationship were originally intended is debated by fans. Considering the sophisticated writing style of the show, and the repeated use of coded adult narratives, it is not a far stretch to say that the writers knew exactly what they were doing. The comic Batman:Harley and Ivy which features writing from Paul Dino and artwork from Bruce Timm (the producer of the animated series), also includes much slashy fan-service and a prison shower scenes of the two.

Regardless of whether or not the gay undertones were originally intended, just as viewers loved the character of Harley Quinn, viewers loved her ambiguous friendship with Poison Ivy. Even her most recent series, Harley Quinn (New 52), incorporates her winking relationship with Ivy as a part of her character.




In the next section I will look at the history of the 80s, and what led to the 90's revival of the animated Male Duo.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Glen Keane's Duet

Color:



Pencil:
  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Disney Channel Toon Gender Ratio 1990s

From the start of 1990 to the end of 1999 there were 24 narrative cartoons that aired on Disney. Some of these started before the nineties, and some continued into the 2000s, but all cartoons that aired during this decade are included. Cartoon shows featuring shorts with a rotating cast (Raw Toonage, Mickey Mouse Works, and The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show) were not included.

Shows:
Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985-1991), Duck Tales (1987-1990), The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988-1991), Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers (1989-1990), TaleSpin (1990-1991), Darkwing Duck (1991-1992), Goof Troop (1992-1993), The Little Mermaid (1992-1994), Bonkers (1993-1994), Marsupilami (1993), Aladdin (1994-1995), Gargoyles (1994-1997), The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa (1995-1999), Quack Pack (1996), Mighty Ducks (1996-1997), Jungle Cubs (1996-1998), Disney's Doug (1996-2000), 101 Dalmatians (1997-1998), Nightmare Ned (1997), Recess (1997-2003), Pepper Ann (1997-2002), Hercules (1998-1999), PB&J Otter (1998-2000), The Weekenders (1999-2004), 

Ensemble Casts

Adventures of Gummi Bears (4M, 2F)
Tummi (M), Zummi (M), Grammi (F), Gruffi (M), Sunni (F), Cubbi (M)
Duck Tales (4M)
Scrooge McDuck (M), Huey (M), Dewey (M), Louie (M) 
Gargoyles (6M, 2F)
Goliath (M l), Elisa Maza (F), Hudson (M), Brooklyn (M), Lexington (M), Broadway (M), Angela (F), Bronx (M)
Quack Pack (4M)
Donald Duck (M), Huey (M), Dewey (M), Louie (M)
Mighty Ducks (4M 2F)
WildWing Flashblade (M l), NoseDive Flashblade (M), Duke L'Orange (M), Mallory McMallerd (F), Tanya Vanderflock (F), Check Hardwing (M),
Jungle Cubs (6M)
Baloo (M l), Bagheera (M), Louie (M), Shere Kahn (M), Kaa (M), Hathi (M)
101 Dalmations (2M, 2F)
Lucky (M l), Cadpig (F), Rolly (M), Spot (F)
Recess (4M, 2F)
T.J. (M l), Spinelli (F), Vince (M), Gretchen (F), Gus (M), Mikey (M)
PB&J Otters (2F, 1M)
Peanut (M), Butter (F), Jelly (F)
Weekenders (2M, 2F)
Tino (M l), Lor (F), Carver (M), Tish (F)

Main Character (Plus Supporting Ensemble)
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (M) (6M, 1F)
Winnie the Pooh (M)
Tigger (M), Piglet (M), Rabbit (M), Eeyore (M), Owl (M), Roo (M), Kanga (F) 
TaleSpin (M) (3M, 2F)
Baloo (M)
Kit (M), Rebecca (F), Molly (F), Wildcat (M), Louis (M)
Darkwing Duck (M) (2M, 1F)
Drake Mallard (M)
Gosalyne (F), Launchpad (M), Honker (M)
The Little Mermaid (F) (2M)
Ariel (F)
Sebastian (M), Flounder (M)
Bonkers (M) (1M, 1F)
Bonkers (M)
Miranda Wright (F), Lucky Piquel (M)
Marsupilami (M) (2M)
Marsupilami (M)
Maurice (M), Stewart (M)
Aladdin (M) (1M, 1F)
Aladdin (M)
Jasmine (F), Genie (M)
Disney's Doug (M) (3M, 2F)
Doug (M)
Skeeter (M), Roger (M), Patti (F), Beebe (F), Porkchop (M)
Nightmare Ned (M)
Ned (M)
Pepper Ann (F) (3F, 1M)
Pepper Ann (F)
Nicky (F), Milo (M), Lydia (F), Moose (F)
Hercules (M) (1M, 1F)
Icarus (M), Cassandra (F)

Duo (Plus Supporting Ensemble)
Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers (2M) (2M, 1F)
Chip (M), Dale (M)
Monterey (M), Gadget (F), Zipper (M)
Goof Troop (2M) (2M, 2F)
Goofy (M), Max (M),
Peter (M), Peg (F), P.J. (M), Pistol (F)
Timon and Pumbaa (2M)
Timon (M), Pumbaa (M)

Out of 68 main characters: 52 M, 16 F
Out of 109 main characters and main supporting characters: 78M, 31F

19 shows had a male lead and male majority (79%), 2 had a female lead and female majority, 1 had a female lead and a male majority, 2 had equal male and female main characters

In all cases where there was a leader in an ensemble cartoon (5), the leader was a male character.
In both of the cartoons that had equal male and female main characters, a male character was the leader.

While ensemble cartoons had an average of 5 characters, there were never more then 2 female characters on an ensemble show.

1/24 shows had at least 3 female main characters including ensembles (Pepper Ann with 4).
14/24 shows had 3 or more male main characters including ensembles

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Actual Cannibal

Pop art at its finest.

Am I the only one who wants to see a horror film with Shia LaBeouf playing himself? In the movie, he would just have been cast in the part of a cannibalistic serial killer, unfortunately he would take method acting to an extreme. What would start out as simply living in the woods for character authenticity would slowly spiral out of control, until crew members start going missing.

It would, of course, be a musical.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Banned, Censored, and the Obscure: Part 3

Witch's Night Out


When I was at the store they had a  Halloween cartoon for sale that I haven't seen in years. Every year after trick-or-treating my family would watch this special. While not banned, or censored, this is one of those strangely obscure cartoons that has a cult following and is not well remembered, (despite the fact that it was released on VHS, and aired every year on the Disney channel and Fox through the mid nineties.)

This is the first year it has been released on DVD. Blogger and author Adam Selzer has the most  information on this cartoon, and a fabulous interview with Jonathan Rogers the creator of Witch's Night Out. Rogers apparently had no idea until about five years ago that the special had even been airing for all those years, or that it had such strong fan base. He currently has partnered with Jimmy Cross and written a Valentine and Thanksgiving special that *fingers crossed* will soon be made.

Witch's Night Out is the story of a morose witch who has been out of work for some time. Meanwhile, the adults of the town decide to throw a Halloween party in what they believe is an abandoned house (really the home of the witch). The adults are out of touch with their child side. None dress up, and  Goodly who helps plan the event sees the whole thing as a sort of community building activity. Tender and Small our child protagonists want to celebrate the spirit of Halloween and reach out to the witch to help them.


The character designs are like nothing you've seen before. Each character has a playful outline and is painted a monochrome color, with the kind of inky edges that makes me think Shinbone Alley. It is vibrant, fun, and the perfect kind of kid-friendly creepy. It starts with a catchy song, blasts through the twenty something minute short, and ends with everyone happily embracing the Halloween festivities.

I remember finding this cartoon visually enthralling as a kid, but I also remember loving the ending. Halloween is about having the opportunity to be someone you're not, but it is also - as is the case for the gently wicked Malicious and Rotten - an opportunity to explore who you could be. Even just for a night.

Having just rewatched it I can definitely recommend the DVD, it cost me a whopping $5 on sale for Halloween, comes with some golden age bonus cartoons, and has been gloriously remastered. It was also everything I remembered it to be.