Monday, March 17, 2014

The Body Electric (Atkinson Film-Arts, 1985)

Recently I discovered an interesting animated special produced up in Canada I never saw before, but only recall the name simply because of some model sheets a kind fellow had sent me years ago.  The special was titled "The Body Electric" and involved a race against time for two inhabitants of an enclosed city trying to escape being killed by the robotic forces that took over their civilization (a la The Matrix I suppose).  It was produced by Ottawa-based Atkinson Film-Arts, who had produced many other notable works in the 80's including the earliest featuring Kevin Gillis' "The Raccoons", "Babar & Father Christmas", several Care Bears specials, the Teddy Ruxpin series and even a Xmas special based on Lynn Johnston's "For Better or For Worse".  The copy was later bought out by another studio and eventually went bankrupt by the end of the decade.

Here's one TV report on the studio from 1986...

Here's the model sheets from The Body Electric for anyone curious into checking them out!

Here's an animated .gif I prepared of one scene where Woody slingshots a security camera.  This shot was animated by Graham Falk and cleaned-up by Gerard de Souza, who supplied me with copies of the drawings/model sheets from this production so big thanks to him!

And last, the special itself!  It was lucky someone up there managed to record it though I suppose the fact that the music along was by the rock group Rush is the reason for it at all.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The International Book of Comics (Denis Gifford, 1984)

Back in the 1980's my mom picked up this little title (though a rather giant book for an 9-10 year old to have) from some book shop she went to (or maybe it was a garage sale, I dunno).  All I know was that it was about comics but not what I had thought of at all as the comics I would get at the local drug store a few blocks from home.  This was a rather interesting book chronicle up to that point in time, comics of all sorts, genres and periods, though mostly UK-centric given it's author but also does quite a good job on the North American side too.  Not so much for those of other countries though they do try to get in a blurb or two.  Japan apparently gets lumped into a section on horror and a copy of the initial US release of "Barefoot Gen" is seen in the opening pages (not a whole log on manga at all but to alleviate that, I'd recommend Frederik Schodt's "Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics").

The following are some random pages from the book, which was published both in the UK and US...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Yearbook Musings

In another blog I maintain I dove into pages of my mom's yearbook from 1958.  Right here, I'm going to dove into several yearbook-related things that either I was involved in or inspired from, though mainly from junior high.

This first page are pages of a yearbook my older brother had when he went to Washington Jr. High School during the 1988-89 school year.  It featured this wraparound cover that I use to gloss over whenever I got my dirty fingers on it.  The artwork was done by several members of the yearbook staff at the time including my brother's schoolyard chum Rob Newbold (older brother of Vegas lounge performer Matt Newbold).  His illustrations use to impressed me and probably gave me some idea I could do that too.

When I attended Washington Jr. High in 1990, I so wanted to be on that staff but I had to wait until I was in the 8th grade, in the meantime, I had to sample what that class got to do for their yearbook editorial decisions, which didn't changed very much, these things were no different from what the elementary schools did before, the only difference was in letting the kids get to mess around with the blue-lined bristol boards, X-acto knives and rubber cement, as they either cut 'n pasted original work, photographs, clip art and assorted text to create these tack masterpieces.  Jesse Monte's cover though use to make me giggle as I thought the indi--eh, Native American on the cover had a censor bar over his middle!  Sometime after I left the school the original "Warriors" gave way to "Wildcats" (political correctness wins again).

Now it was my turn the following year, though looking at this scan number of pages (and from a borrowed copy as this belonged to my younger siblings who were in the 7th grade that year), it seemed like my involvement was very minimal.  There wasn't a fancy original cover like the previous years (this time it was a standard template they chose instead), also they didn't let me do anything other than draw these tiny cartoons to put in there and hardly anything else like the challenging pasting of the individual school photos on the regular boards for each page, so I was off on my own during the time I was there.  Many of these pen & ink wonders was the first time I got to use an actual bottle of Higgins drawing ink and a dip pen, though I think the nib on it was a scratcher rather than a regular nib but that was all they had.  Looks very crude today but it was something and I probably got complimented for it.

For the remainder of my high school life I didn't get quite as much artwork into print as I had hoped, often I might get my face printed in the school paper or a drawing placed on the wall for Pep Club, one glorious moment I can recall is submitting a winning entry for Whitmer's Spring Supplemental cover.  I had originally planned this as a "wraparound" cover so the dimensions were adequate enough to work, but they never took up my idea at all and simply printed it on one side so you had to turn it over to see.  Just seems kinda dumb really but at least it got printed at all and that was all I had hoped for (though they had to fiddle around with the colors and areas to make it printable in the process but it was a small quibble).

Yearbook Supplimental Cover by studio-toledo on deviantART

To close this, here's a drawing I did as a little birthday greeting to a few pals I knew from high school featuring our school mascot.