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13-year-old Walking Dead fan creates Daryl Dixon animated short

Like many of us, 13-year-old Nick Mastrangelo is a fan of Daryl Dixon, the crossbow-shooting, motorcycle-riding loner from AMC’s The Walking Dead. But while the rest of us are content to watch Merle’s younger brother kill walkers, and the occasional owl and possum, once a week, aspiring animator Nick created his own Daryl Dixon adventure. The result is bloody, manic and undeniably awesome (Robert Kirkman calls it “the coolest thing I’ve seen all day”). If The Walking Dead can spin off a weekly talk show, then I see no reason why it can’t spawn a series of animated shorts (by Nick Mastrangelo, naturally). Get on it, AMC.

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The Goon Kickstarter campaign gets funded with $441,900

The Kickstarter campaign to fund a feature-length story reel for the stalled CGI-animated adaptation of The Goon ended successfully Sunday, exceeding its $400,000 goal by $41,900.

“Frankly, we don’t have the words to describe our APPRECIATION, Goon Fans,” the message on the Kickstarter page states. “We NEVER could have imagined how much SUPPORT we’d receive from this fan community. It’s truly been OVERWHELMING. Through your time, energy, dedication, and donations, you’ve given us an AMAZING opportunity to help keep The Goon Movie dream alive.”

That dream dates back to at least 2008, when it was announced that producer David Fincher and Blur Studio would adapt the acclaimed comic by Eric Powell. Progress soon stalled, however, as financing proved difficult. Test footage, featuring the voices of Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti, was at last revealed last year, giving fans hope the project might eventually see the light of day. With few additional signs of movement, Powell gave in to pressure and revealed at Comic-Con International he would turn to Kickstarter.

The result of the campaign won’t be the actual film; that budget is pegged at somewhere around $45 million. Instead the $441,900 will be used to finance a story reel to shop to studios.

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The Simpsons’ Montgomery Burns offers his services to Mitt Romney

Boo-urns

Sure, President Obama has received high praise from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and, just today, the endorsement of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but Mitt Romney has now secured the invaluable assistance of the Springfield Republican Party.

In a video message from C. Montgomery Burns, the nuclear power tycoon and kingmaker offers the candidate a way to overcome “the one thing that might deny us the presidency that is the God-given property of the Republican Party.” It’s not the 47-percent video, the overseas bank accounts or even, as Mr. Smithers says, “the tax returns that even Wesley Snipes would call suspicious.” No, no, no … it’s the harrowing tale of Seamus the dog.

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

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The Goon movie Kickstarter campaign launches

Three months after teasing he would give in to pressure and use Kickstarter to help fund the stalled CG-animated adaptation of his comic, The Goon creator Eric Powell launched the campaign this morning. Although the film’s budget has been pegged at $45 million, the drive’s goal is $400,000 to pay for a feature-length story reel to shop around to studios.

Billed as an effort by Powell, producer David Fincher, Blur Studio and Dark Horse Entertainment, the campaign asks fans to “Help us make a NEW KIND of animated film … one that’s LOUD, VIOLENT and OFFENSIVE TO YOUR GRANDMA.”

Announced in 2008, the animated movie has been slow moving as the producers searched for financial backers. “The Goon is in the exact same position it’s been in for the past couple of years,” Powell said in January. “Prepping the design and script while searching for funding.” About a year ago, the cartoonist shared well-received test footage that featured the voice talents of Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti, who are set to return for the story reel and the eventual feature.

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This weekend, it’s Power-Con/ThunderCon

This weekend, fans of Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power and ThunderCats will descend on Torrance, California, for the second annual Power-Con/ThunderCon, an event devoted to the 1980s media franchises.

While much of the programming is dedicated to the toy and animation aspects of the pop-culture mainstays, there are panels devoted to the He-Man and She-Ra minicomics (they came with the original action figures) and the ThunderCats comics, “the Art of Eternia,” MVCreations (which created He-Man comics from 2002 to 2004), and the rarely seen He-Man newspaper comic strips.

Comics guests include Blond, Shannon Eric Denton, Leanne Hannah, Larry Houston, Josh Howard, Pepe Moreno, Tone Rodriguez, Nei Ruffino, Mark Dos Santos, Tim Seeley, Felipe Smith, Matt Tyree, Anthony Washington and Dave Wilkins.

Power-Con/ThunderCon kicks off Saturday morning at the Torrance Marriott South Bay and continues through Sunday.

Joshua Middleton shares art from Green Lantern animated series

While comics fans may miss seeing new work from Joshua Middleton on comics shelves (the covers to Sword & Sorcery and Before Watchmen were nice!), there’s some consolation in knowing that although the artist isn’t actively illustrating comics he is keeping within the superhero landscape. Middleton recently posted some landscape designs he created for Warner Bros. Animation’s Green Lantern: The Animated Series, which he worked on for some time. What he’s revealed so far is his renditions of Oa, interplanetary headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps. In his brief post, Middleton explains some of the obstacles from an art direction standpoint to the Green Lantern concept and how he overcame them for his work on the series.

“One major problem from an art direction perspective, with Green Lantern: The Animated Series and anything Green Lantern in general, is the overabundance of green,” Middleton writes. “It can be difficult to come up with nice color palettes when everybody and everything in the scene is glowing green. Matters were not made better with the introduction of Red Lanterns, as we now had the world’s weirdest Christmas to deal with.”

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Fox, Tobey Maguire to adapt Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard

Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures is teaming with Fox Animation and Wedgeworks to adapt Doug TenNapel’s latest project Cardboard (I reviewed the graphic novel last month). TenNapel himself will executive produce alongside Material Pictures, with Fox Animation Chris Wedge also producing. Wedge directed the first Ice Age, and has been the voice of Scrat the squirrel throughout the hit series. He also executive produced Ice Age: The Meltdown.

According to Variety, Wedge may also direct the film, and if the project moves forward there’s a possibility that Maguire will voice one of the main characters (most likely Mike, the out-of-work dad who buys his son some magic cardboard for his birthday).

Two other TenNapel graphic novels are currently in development at other studios: Monster Zoo at Paramount Pictures, and Ghostopolis at Disney.


Matthew Hunter looks at the legacy of Looney Tunes in comics

Comics and cartoons have been inexorably linked since their foundations in the early 1900s, and we’ve seen everyone from Winsor McCay to Charles Schulz to Judd Winick jump back and forth between animation and comic books. And now one die-hard fan of the legendary cartoon series Looney Tunes is dusting off the under-appreciated history of Bugs Bunny and pals in comics form for a new blog called Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics.

“Ever since the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes [animated]series began in 1930, the characters have had a side career in comics, both newspaper strips and comic books,” writes Matthew Hunter. Looney Tunes first hit comics in 1941 under the auspices of Western Publishing’s Dell Comics, and for more than 40 years published a variety of titles featuring the stars of the brand. After that company shuttered in the ’80s, DC Comics — its parent company Warner Bros. owns the properties — took over and continues to publish them to this day.

Since Hunter launched his blog in May, he’s posted a number of great (and not-so-great examples) of Looney Tunes in print, with everything from 1940s Dell strips all the way to present-day DC work. Definitely great for some Saturday afternoon reading — or ready any time, for that matter.

 

Watch Superman’s Best Friend: You will believe a dog can … um …

Although it’s often been said that the Man of Steel, with his god-like powers, can be difficult to relate to, many a dog owner have found themselves in the same place as the Last Son of Krypton in Superman’s Best Friend, the beautiful and mesmerizing animated short film by Brent Underhill. The premise is simple: Superman arrives at the Fortress of Solitude to discover Krypto waiting, in dire need of a walk. The execution, however, is hilarious, if perhaps a bit not safe for work for those squeamish about the detailed depiction of a (super-) dog answering the call of nature.

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After Classic Media purchase, DreamWorks mulls TV (but not comics)

DreamWorks Comics Presents Fat Albert?

The inarguable success of Marvel Studios has Hollywood’s attention. In an industry forever nervous about new ideas, the strategy impulsively becomes how to duplicate it.

DreamWorks Animation’s $155 million purchase of Classic Media was inspired, at least in part, by the record-shattering performance of Marvel’s The Avengers, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told Reuters. And similar to Marvel’s pre-Iron Man days, Katzenberg sees this as a strong opportunity to farm out the newly acquired characters to other studios for adaptation. Aside from its Mr. Peabody & Sherman 3D movie already in the works, DreamWorks has no plans to create new live-action features based on the Classic Media characters. But the small screen may be another matter: The studio is setting up its own television or Internet channel, but whether this is to re-run classic episodes, like Cartoon Network does with Boomerang, or for new series is still unknown.

“A channel is one of the many opportunities we see for combining the DreamWorks brand with this extraordinary library of characters,” Katzenberg said. “It could be a domestic cable channel, international, even an Internet channel.”

But more immediately, the purchase provides DreamWorks additional leverage as it negotiates to renew its distribution deal with Paramount Pictures.

All of this studio-driven activity around comic book properties sounds great, but where does that leave the comics themselves? Will DreamWorks open a comics publishing company? Will Doctor Solar be reunited with the recently revived Valiant Universe? Will The Lone Ranger vanish from Dynamite Entertainment’s line-up? What about Ape Entertainment’s Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich relaunches? Will the world finally get a new Fat Albert comic?

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DreamWorks Animation buys Classic Media for $155 million

After submitting an offer last week, DreamWorks Animation announced this morning it has bought Classic Media for $155 million. The purchase brings with it comics, cartoon and television properties as diverse as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Lone Ranger, Where’s Waldo?, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the licensing and production rights to Gold Key characters like Magnus, Robot Fighter, Doctor Solar, and Turok, Son of Stone.

“Classic Media brings a large and diverse collection of characters and branded assets that is extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation’s franchise business, and we plan to leverage it across our motion picture, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital, theme park and live entertainment channels,” DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement. Founders and co-CEOs Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman – seasoned executives with over 20 years of industry experience and a proven track record of success in managing high-quality content – have built an amazing team at Classic Media and are a welcome addition to the DreamWorks Animation family.”

Classic Media was founded in 2000 by former Marvel Entertainment CEO Ellenbogen and former Broadway Video executive Engelman, who spent much of the next decade acquiring the entire, or partial, libraries of companies like Rankin/Bass, Filmation, Harvey Comics and Jay Ward Productions, and ancillary rights to Golden Books properties, Tribune Media Services comic strips and World Events Productions cartoons.

Hub recreates Dark Knight Rise trailer for Batman cartoon marathon

Coinciding with the Friday premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, the cable channel The Hub is airing a 10-episode marathon of Batman: The Animated Series, the beloved early-1990s cartoon that’s held up by a generation of fans as the gold standard for animated adaptations of comic books.

To promote the event, The Hub has created a teaser that recreates the trailer for the final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy using clips from the show and the original voice cast. You can watch it below.

The marathon, dubbed “Batman: The Animated Series Rises” kicks off Friday at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on The Hub.

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CCI: Eric Powell turning to Kickstarter for The Goon movie

Although The Goon creator Eric Powell had previously dismissed the notion of using Kickstarter to fund the stalled CG-animated adaptation of the comic, noting the project’s budget is $45 million, he’s now caved to public pressure.

Taking to Twitter this morning from his booth at Comic-Con International, Powell wrote, “Ok, everybody that’s been yelling at me for us to do a Kickstarter for the Goon film,” and included the above photo of a flier bearing the headline, “Let’s Kickstart This Fuckin’ Film!” and information on how to be notified when the campaign launches.

Produced by Blur Studio and David Fincher from a script by Powell, The Goon film stars Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown as the voices of the Goon and Franky. Although announced in 2008, the project has been slow moving as the producers searched for financial backers. “The Goon is in the exact same position it’s been in for the past couple of years,” Powell said in January. “Prepping the design and script while searching for funding.”

More recently, he explained the delay to Comic Book Resources, saying, “It’s just the combination of finding the right people, the people who understand it and get it and don’t want Goon to have a singing, talking dog and coming up with the right budget. They’re still plugging away, they’re still talking to people — it’s not dead by any means. But it’s just a waiting game, it’s finding the right people.”

However, more than a year ago we got a look at test footage, which you can see below.

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SDCC’ 12 | A roundup of pre-con con news

Comic-Con International in San Diego may officially open today (last night was Preview Night), but the news has been rolling in for awhile. So let’s take a look at what’s been announced thus far.

• Of course you can’t have Comic-Con without news about Comic-Con itself. CBR’s Kiel Phegley spoke with CCI’s David Glanzer about the show, while Ryan Ingram spoke with Scott Morse about the Tr!ckster satellite event. And it seems like every non-comics media outlet reports on the show in some form or fashion; here’s an article by The Christian Post about religion and the show, for example. And finally, Tuesday brought the tragic news that a con attendee camping out for today’s Twilight panel was killed in front of the convention center after being struck by a car.

• I’m not 100 percent sure if it qualifies as Comic-Con news, but since it was officially announced in the Entertainment Weekly Comic-Con issue, let’s just go with it. Marvel’s big news going into the Con is that they plan to relaunch several titles later this year as part of “Marvel NOW!” Their recently released solicitations reveal they plan to cancel nine titles in October, but of course you can expect many if not all of them to come back in some form or fashion as Marvel NOW! rolls out.

• Mike Mignola and Hellboy return this December in Hellboy in Hell, the first four-issue miniseries in a series of miniseries about the title character’s post-demise adventures.

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SDCC ’12 | Arrow, Man of Steel and DC Nation among WB swag bags

The must-have accessory for Comic-Con International is back with the announcement that, for the third consecutive year, Warner Bros. will hand out more than 130,000 oversized tote bags to convention attendees. Okay, “oversized” may be a bit of an understatement, as the messenger-style bags are 24 inches and 29 inches — roomy enough to haul swag back to the hotel As room each day — and include a protective pocket to hold any posters.

As usual, the totes are emblazoned with Warner Bros. properties with a Comic-Con presence: This year, it’s Arrow, DC Nation, Man of Steel, Fringe, Pacific Rim, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and The Big Bang Theory.

Last year’s bags included a design promoting DC’ Comics’ relaunched Justice League, but this year it’s all about television and film. Alas, it looks like the studio is holding out for the big reveals of the two movies; all of the other bags can be seen below.

Comic-Con kicks off Wednesday with Preview Night.

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