Tag Archives: Animation

History and Monsters Repeat Themselves

oh140607Below is the original Bambi Meets Godzilla from 1969:

 

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The Official Odd Squad Book Trailer

This took awhile to put together. Perhaps a bit ambitious of me after all is said and done. I wrote it, then basically cut it in half to get it down to 30 seconds.  I did the 8 seconds of limited animation and the good folks at Ralph Smyth Entertainment in Austin providing the producing, editing, effects and voice talent.

I think it turned out well.

Seriously.

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Feline Future News #1: Tom Cruise’s Kitchen Nightmare

Check out my latest distraction from making a living below.  Produced by me and the fine folks at Ralph Smythe Entertainment (who did almost all the work while I slowed them down with executive notes like, “A kitten wouldn’t say that.”   If you like, please share.

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A Fond Farewell to United Media

This week is a re-run week due to the fact T and I missed a deadline amid the transition from United Features Syndicate to Universal Press Syndicate.   For those of you out of the loop (which is pretty much everybody),  my syndicate of the last 17 years has gone out of business.   Over the Hedge, as well as the rest of United’s line up has moved to Universal Press.

This was not a surprise.   Syndicating newspaper features is a dying business.   Fewer and fewer people are reading newspapers, which means fewer and fewer ads, which means less and less money for the necessities of life like comics.  And the digital side is not picking up the slack.

This is one reason why I started RingTales with my partner Jim Cox.  Animated comics seem like they might have a future. We’ve had over 260 million views of over 1000 of our short (30 seconds), animated comics since March 2007.

I enjoyed working with United.  They took on two of my strips (Committed and Over the Hedge) in two years back in 1994 and 1995.   Committed was a modest success and spawned a prime time animated series back in 2001.  I ended it in early 2006 when the Over the Hedge movie came out.   United worked with me to help get both of the projects made.   They were flexible and accommodating when they didn’t need to be.   And I will always appreciate that.

I had the pleasure of working with some great editors and management at United.   Diana Lovey, Amy Lago, Lisa Wilson, Mary Anne Grimes,  Reed Jackson,  Doug Stern and the late Sid Goldberg all helped realize the potential of my work.   There were some rough times, especially in the beginning, when I was often a pain in the ass.   But over the years (especially now that I’m a producer of sorts with RingTales) I’ve come to appreciate the difficulty of their jobs.  It’s hard to be a cheerleader for a struggling team.   Or a successful team, that’s never satisfied and always wants to improve.

So, lift a glass, or five or six, to the fine folks at United Media.  Best of luck in landing safely and successfully.  I hope they all, like I have at times, come to appreciate that when you stop banging your head against a wall it tends to stop hurting.

Cheers!

 

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Roger Ebert’s Review of Over the Hedge

I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile, but it’s just slipped through the cracks.   Below is the generous and kind review of the Over the Hedge film  from a man I admire a great deal.   What’s so flattering is that it appears as though Roger had/has actually read the comic strip and makes an effort to explain the difference between the strip and the film.
I think I’ve made it clear over the years that I like the movie (T likes it too), but the movie is just a part of what the strip is about and it’s geared for a much younger audience.  Roger, unlike the vast majority of reviewers (and movie goers), actually seems to have read the strip and understands the distinction.  Back in 2006 when I found this review online I was hoping against hope that he would compare and contrast the strip and the film  and was overjoyed that he did.
It’s with a great warm glow of a appreciation that I present Roger Ebert’s review.

BY ROGER EBERT / May 19, 2006

“Over the Hedge” is one of the few comic strips in which you will find debates about the Theory of Relativity, population control and global warming. None of those issues are much discussed in the new animated feature inspired by the strip, but there is a great deal about suburban sprawl, junk food and the popularity of the SUV (“How many people does it hold?” “Usually one.”)

The movie opens with the coming of spring and the emergence from hibernation of many forest animals, including some that do not actually hibernate, but never mind. Vincent the bear (voice by Nick Nolte) awakens to find that his entire stash of stolen food has been — stolen! He apprehends the master thief RJ the raccoon (Bruce Willis) and gives him a deadline to return the food, or else. RJ cleverly mobilizes the entire population of the forest to help him in this task (during which he does not quite explain the bear and the deadline). And together they confront an amazing development: During the winter, half of their forest has been replaced by a suburb, and they are separated from it by a gigantic hedge.

That’s the setup for a feature cartoon that is not at the level of “Finding Nemo” or “Shrek,” but is a lot of fun, awfully nice to look at, and filled with energy and smiles. It’s not a movie adults would probably want to attend on their own, but those taking the kids are likely to be amused, and the kids, I think, will like it just fine.

Once again we get an animal population where all the species work together instead of eating each other, and there is even the possibility of interspecies sex, when a human’s house cat falls in love with Stella the skunk (Wanda Sykes). There is also the usual speciesism; mammals and reptiles are first-class citizens, but when a dragonfly gets fried by an insect zapper, not a tear is shed.

These animals once ate leaves and roots and things, but all that has changed since Hammy the squirrel (Steve Carell) discovered nacho chips. The animals find these so delicious, they are the forest equivalent of manna, and RJ, who usurps leadership of the bunch from Verne the turtle (Garry Shandling), is happy to lead them to the promised land of nachos and other junk foods, in the garbage cans and kitchens of humans.

Like all humans who like to live with a view of beautiful forests, the humans in “Over the Hedge” are personally offended that they are occupied by animals. Gladys (Allison Janney), the head of the homeowners’ association, is personally affronted that RJ and his cronies might violate her garbage can, and brings in Dwayne (Thomas Haden Church), a pest control expert known ominously as The Verminator. “I want them exterminated as inhumanely as possible,” she tells him. She’s all heart.

The encroachment of the forest animals and the efforts of the Verminator in “Over the Hedge” don’t approach the wit and genius of a similar situation in the Academy Award-winning “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (2005), but then how could they? This movie is pitched at a different level. But the action scenes are fun, the characters are well-drawn and voiced, and I thought the film’s visual look was sort of lovely. If the animals lack the lofty thinking of their originals on the comics page, they are nevertheless a notch or two above the I.Q. levels of many an animated creature.

They have to be. It’s a hard life for a forager these days, when you’re caught between an angry bear on one side of the hedge and a street hockey game on the other.

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Brand Spankin’ New Over the Hedge YouTube Channel

To see all the cool RingTales Over the Hedge animations click on the image above or click here:  Over the Hedge Animations YouTube Channel.   Don’t forget to subscribe so you can be notified when new animations are posted.

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Cat Dog Stoop Animation: Halloween Horror

Vodpod videos no longer available.

RingTales is proud to present its first original production, Cat Dog Stoop, created by Issac Littlejohn Eddy.  Issac animates and voices Cat Dog Stoop all by himself.  Issac’s is also a blue man.  No, he’s not sad.  He’s blue because he performs with the Blue Man Group on Broadway.   And… he’s a New Yorker cartoonist.

You cans see more Cat, Dog, Stoop’s starting next week on Babelgum.

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