Animated Things

This week has me somewhat scattershot as I am submitting to festivals and prepping for more Victorian Cut-Out Theatre episodes. My work on VCOT has me thinking about animation as a whole, and since I have animation on the brain, I thought I'd share some of my favorite animated "Things". I wanted to do a list on features, but that excluded so many of the animations I adore. I settled on "things" as an umbrella under which to put the following list. I hope you enjoy it or at the very least, I hope you find it interesting.

The Amazing Screw-On Head: Created as a pilot for an ongoing Sci-Fi Channel animated show, wonderful little oddity is filled with everything that I like. Robots, Werewolves, vampires, mummies, adventures and impossible machinery. The voice cast is brilliant and the art style is a perfect match for Mike Mignola's original comic. It's a travesty it never got picked up.

Atlantis The Lost Empire: This is often seen as one of Disney's lesser films, but I can't get enough of it. I love the design and the grand early 1900's period. This is an animated adventure novel.

The Adventures of Mark Twain: This movie is bizarre, but I love it. The Will Vinton (responsible for the California Raisins) created this film that covers the life and writings of Mark Twain. it's beautifully animated and if you're interested at all in Mark Twain's work, give it a shot. NOTE: This film is often sited for the "Mysterious Stranger" sequence featuring the devil.

Mary Shelly's Frankenhole: Created by Dino Stamatopoulos (Star-Burns on Community), this series focusses on the trials a tribulations of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his dysfunctional family. This series is very funny, very adult and very high-concept (probably not for everyone). However the voice acting and the puppet and set designs are like nothing you've ever seen.

How Things Werk: Shortly after Disney purchased ABC, they developed their own Saturday cartoon line-up called "Disney's One Saturday Morning". This line-up was wonderful. We were treated to great shows like Pepper Ann and the Weekenders and in between each show their were smaller sometimes educational shorts to buffer us from advertising. One of the bumper programs was How Things Werk. it didn't take long for Disney to drop the ball and like it's brethren stop screening Saturday morning cartoons forever. Thank God for the internet, otherwise these gems might be lost forever. NOTE: I credit this short cartoon as one of the many bits of stimuli that informed my comic sensibilities.

Count Duckula: I have fond memories of watching this show on Nickelodeon (still in it's infancy). The opening of this show was actually wonderfully graphic in it's detailed imagery. It was like Ducktales merged with Doctor Who and the Hammer Horror films. Hasn't aged well, but the intro still kicks ass.

Animaniacs: There's no denying that the mid 90's were the golden age of television animation. Saturday Morning Cartoons still existed and shows like Batman the Animated Series and Animaniacs proved that a show could be animated and still well written.

The Neverhood: I'll admit, I've not played this game, but I've seen it played and found myself in awe of the amount of time and craft put into a video game that is nothing but puzzles. Doug Tenapel, creator of Earthworm Jim and Ratfist, came up with the concept and sold Steven Spielberg on the idea for his newly formed Dreamworks Interactive. Apparently the game was a commercial failure, however it still continues today as the holy grail of adventure games.

Well, that'ts it for now.

-Rob Out.