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Bam! Pow! Amazing ‘Fantastic Four’ cels actually justify this title

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I somehow missed this incredible auction when it took place in November, but thanks to Tumblr I still get to marvel at the art (not that I would’ve plunked down $850, mind you): 16 crash effects cels from Hanna-Barbera’s 1967 animated series The Fantastic Four.

Of course, those effects, coupled with Alex Toth’s character designs, are pretty much the best things about the cartoon, which like other series of the era was crippled by poor animation. These, however, are suitable for framing.

Check out some of them below, and more here.

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‘The Simpsons’ pays tribute to Hayao Miyazaki

simpsons-anime

In addition to guest appearances by Stan Lee and Harlan Ellison, Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons will also feature a tribute to anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement from filmmaking in September, only to return his attention to manga.

The hallucinatory sequence, which you can watch below, features Homer and a salaryman stumbling through the streets after a night of drinking, and encounter a veritable parade of nods to Miyazaki’s classics, from Otto as Catbus to Patty and Selma flying on broomsticks to a moving Kwik-E-Mart.

In case you don’t recognize all of the references, Salon.com has put together a video that annotates most of them (also below).

The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

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Watch Stan Lee & Harlan Ellison discuss their ‘Simpsons’ cameos

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Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons, “Married to the Blob,” not only spotlights a blossoming relationship between Comic Book Guy and a manga creator (which naturally threatens to be ruined by Homer), but also features guest appearances by Stan Lee and Harlan Ellison.

The Hollywood Reporter has debuted a featurette that goes behind the scenes with the two legends; it’s Lee’s second visit to Springfield, but for Ellison, it’s a new experience.

“I was here 12 years ago,” explains Lee, who plays himself as a Watcher-type character, “and I think I impressed them so that after 12 years they figured they had to have me back.”

Lee previously appeared in the 13th-season episode “I Am Furious (Yellow).” The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

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Forget the Avengers, Iron Man belongs in ‘Sailor Moon’

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I’m hard pressed to think of a better or, frankly, stranger way to cap off the day than with this video of Tony Stark doing his best imitation of the Sailor Moon S transformation to don his Iron Man armor.

Called “Iron Moon,” it was created by first-year animation students at South Korea’s Chungkang College of Cultural Industries as a second-semester project. I’d give them an A-minus, at least.

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Rafael Grampá’s work animated into Nike ‘Dare to be Brazilian’ ad

Grampa header

Rafael  Grampá’s art has already featured in one high-profile advertising campaign this year, for Absolut vodka. Now his work is featuring in an promo for Nike that strikes straight to the core of the Brazilian national self-image: soccer.  For any sports lovers looking forward to the 2014 World Cup, it’s an amusing piece of film, maybe even the equal of the famous 1998 airport kickabout short.

Brazil is hosting the tournament after a year of civil unrest, which featured protesters calling for the international community to boycott the World Cup amid spiraling costs and accusations of corruption. But soccer is the true national religion of Brazil, and I expect the World Cup to result in a wave of euphoria and national reconciliation, just as the 2012  Olympics caused in the United Kingdom after the riots of 2011. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this joyous advert prompts the start of this process.

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Superman’s a pain in the neck in ‘Man of Steel: The Animated Series’

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Although the Superman-doesn’t-kill controversy surrounding Man of Steel has died down significantly since the film’s June premiere, it will probably flare up a little with the Blu-ray release next week. And so while Screen Junkies is definitely late for Round 1, it’s coming out swinging with its send-up “Man of Steel: The Animated Series.”

There’s no point in spoiling the brief video, so I’ll just say that, as the title suggests, it combines the morality and logic of the film with the tone and look of the beloved cartoon, with comical results.

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‘The Simpsons’ pays moving tribute to Marcia Wallace

simpsons-chalkboard-krabappel

Although the tribute didn’t go exactly as planned, The Simpsons last night bid a touchingly appropriate farewell to actress Marcia Wallace, and her character Edna Krabappel, with a somber chalkboard gag in which a sad-eyed Bart writes “We’ll really miss you Mrs. K.”

Fox originally announced it would send off Wallace, who passed away Oct. 25 at age 70, with a 7:30 showing of “Bart the Lover,” the 1992 episode for which the actress received an Emmy Award. However, “technical issues” led to its last-minute replacement by “The Ned-Liest Catch,” the Season 22 finale in which Edna begins dating Ned Flanders.

The chalkboard bit was added to the opening of the new episode that followed, “4 Regrettings and a Funeral. Showrunner Al Jean announced the day after Wallace’s death that The Simpsons will “retire” Edna Krabappel.

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‘The Simpsons’ to honor Marcia Wallace on Sunday

simpsons-bart the lover

The Simpsons will pay tribute Sunday to Marcia Wallace, who for the past 23 years was the voice of Bart’s teacher Edna Krabappel. The actress passed away Oct. 25 at age 70.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Fox will first replace a repeat of American Dad at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT with the 1992 Simpsons episode “Bart the Lover,” for which Wallace received an Emmy Award.

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‘Addams Family’ animated movie in the works at MGM

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Charles Addams’ creepy and kooky comic creation the Addams Family is being revived again for the big screen — this time in animated form.

Variety reports that MGM is tying up a deal with media company BermanBraun for the macabre movie, which will be written by Pamela Pettler (Corpse Bride, Monster House). A stop-motion adaptation based on Addams’ original drawings was previously in the works at Illumination Entertainment, with Tim Burton set to co-write and co-produce, but that was revealed in July to be canceled.

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‘The Simpsons’ will retire Edna Krabappel

simpsons-krabappel

The producers of The Simpsons plan to “retire” Bart’s jaded yet hopelessly romantic teacher Edna Krabappel following the death on Friday of voice actor Marcia Wallace.

“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace,” showrunner Al Jean said in a statement issued Saturday. “She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.”

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Stan Lee’s Indian hero ‘Chakra: The Invincible’ to make TV debut

Chakra

Stan Lee has a pretty good track record when it comes to creating heroes, and now he’s added one more to that long list: Chakra.

The character that will make his animated debut Nov. 30 in an hour-long television movie called Chakra: The Invincible, which will air across South Asia on Cartoon Network. According to Deadline, the movie potentially could reach 34 million households. Readers received their first taste of the character in May in Liquid Comics’ Free Comic Book Day offering.

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Watch del Toro’s ‘Simpsons’ opening for ‘Treehouse of Horror’

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Fox has debuted Guillermo del Toro’s epic couch gag for The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV,” which features homages to some of the filmmaker’s own works – Hellboy, Blade and Pan’s Labyrinth among them — and horror classics ranging from The Birds and The Shining to The Phantom of the Opera and The Car. There are nods to such influential figures as H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Harryhausen, Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury, too. Heck, Hypnotoad from Futurama even gets a cameo.

Del Toro said in paying tribute to The Simpsons and his inspirations, he drew upon the MAD Magazine work of Mort Drucker, Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman.

“They would try to cram so many references in,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “You as a kid could spend an afternoon on your bed with your magnifying glass going through a frame of Mad magazine and finding all these references to this and that.”

“Treehouse of Horror XXIV” airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

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Nickelodeon orders Cooper & Ryan’s ‘Pig Goat Banana Cricket’

pig goat banana cricketNickelodeon has given a 26-episode order to Pig Goat Banana Cricket, the long-brewing animated series created by comic artists Dave Cooper and Johnny Ryan.

“For those of you who’ve been following my NICKLDN TV development journey, I’d like to virtually grab you by the shoulders, shake you dizzy, and scream into your shocked face that Johnny’s and my TV show PIGGOATBANANACRICKET just got a GREENLIGHT from the head NICKLDN honcho in NYC,” Cooper wrote in a blog post titled “Grueling 5-Year-Long Job Interview Ends in TRIUMPH!!!” “We have our own TV show, guys!!!

One of just two animated series ordered by the network (the other is Bad Seeds, from Chowder creator C.H. Greenblatt), Pig Goat Banana Cricket is described as “a series of absurd interwoven stories about four friends and roommates, Pig (the fool), Goat (the artist), Banana (the wise-guy) and Cricket (the brain).” It’s executive produced by David Sacks (The Simpsons, Regular show), who will co-write with Ryan. Cooper will also serve as art director.

A teaser animated by Nick Cross, who directed the pilot, was released last year (you’ll note Cricket was then a Mantis). Watch it below.

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‘Friendship All-Stars’ imagines a Batman sleepover

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Stoopid Buddy Stoodios — the minds behind Robot Chicken — and L Studio recently debuted Friendship All-Stars of Friendship, a series of stop-motion animated web shorts that brings together two celebrities who could be friends for a hilarious parody combination (for example, NPR’s Ira Glass and Garrison Keillor, or director Guillermo del Toro and his longtime collaborator Ron Perlman). However, the web series took it to the next level in its most recent episode, as it united parody versions of all the actors who have played Batman on the big screen — Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale — for a massively ridiculous Bat-sleepover.

The short features a cameo from Tim Button (a stuffed facsimile of director Tim Burton), but regrettably Ben Affleck was not on the invitation list for the sleepover. Maybe after the Man of Steel sequel comes out, he’ll get a chance to play pranks on Val Kilmer, too.

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Perfect ‘Futurama’ send-off: original art auction for a good cause

futurama art

Given that Wednesday is the series finale of Futurama — at least until it’s resurrected again — it seems only appropriate that we showcase  this eBay auction of a piece of original art by Bill Morrison, signed by him, series creator Matt Groening, Producer Lee Supercinski, Executive Producer David X. Cohen and the entire cast.

Anyone who attended the Futurama panel last month at Comic-Con International, where Groening used the piece to “cheat” in his draw-off against animation director Edmund Fong. (You can see the video below.)

The current bid for the drawing, which measures 48 inches by 36 inches, is $1,125. All proceeds from the auction will benefit TLC (Tiny Loving Canines), a nonprofit small-dog breed rescue in Simi Valley, California. The auction ends Sept. 8.

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