Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday morning toons: Old Jedi mind tricks

 Obi-Wan makes a pass with his hand:
“Now is not the time to discuss gun violence in America.”

“Now is not the time to remember that unions created the American middle class.”

“Now is not the time to point out that the Republicans have no budget plan.”
The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

Today's toons were selected by my personal midichlorians from the week's pages at GoComics,, Slate, Time,, Daryl Cagle, and other fine sources.

p3 Picks of the Week: Mike Luckovich, R. J. Matson, , Tom Toles, Steve Sack, Jeff Danziger, Daryl Cagle, Nate Beeler, Randy Bish, Matt Wuerker, Jen Sorenson, and Monte Wolverton.

p3 Best of Show: Lee Judge.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium (tie): Steve Kelly, David Fitzsimmons, and Kevin Siers.

p3 World Toon Review: Ingrid Rice (Canada), Cam Cardow (Canada), Christo Komarnitski (Bulgaria), and Michael Kountouris (Greece),

Ann Telnaes examines one of the fundamental functions of the House of Representatives.

Mark Fiore wishes you a high-tech little Christmas. Marvelous!

Taiwan's Next Media Animation brings you the most anticipated movie review of the year: their review of the first part of “The Hobbit” trilogy.

Ever wonder what it would be like to work for Taiwan's NMA? Well, wonder no more.

Some people like the work of Prague-based American animator Gene Deitch. I've never been one of them. I think he ruined almost everything he ever touched, and over a long career, he got his hands on a lot of well-known properties: Tom and Jerry (only a ”handful” of which he'd ever seen before taking on the assignment, and he disliked those), Popeye, and Krazy Kat, all suffered on his watch. His “Tom Teriffic,” shown on Captain Kangaroo's children's show in the late 1950s, was fun if you were a preschooler, but that's about it. But here's a property I was astonished to hear his name associated with: In 1966, Deitch directed an animated test-version of -- ready? -- “The Hobbit.” It's about 12 minutes long and its story would be only dimly recognizable to anyone who's read Tolkein's classic. (Deitch has an explanation for that, although you can decide how convincing you find it.) It has the interesting use of moody, abstract backgrounds and limited animation techniques reminiscent of UPA, where Deitch worked in the early 1950s. Apart from casual violence done to the story itself, I object to the ugly character drawings by the main artist, Adolph Born. I realize I haven't given it a very attractive spin, but still: If only for its rarity value, give it a look.

Tom Tomorrow tunes in for another adventure of those two heros tearing down the streets of the city in search of people to save. (Hint: They drive a red and white Ford Gran Torino.)

Keith Knight notes a painful irony. A really painful irony.

Tom the Dancing Bug recounts a totally expected journey.

Red Meat's Ted Johnson tests a new system.

The Comics Curmudgeon makes a sad discovery. Sadly, this is not the first such discovery. Or even the second. Or the third.

Rather me than the dumb aminal! No (actual) animals were harmed in the making of “Be Kind to Aminals,” directed in 1935 by Dave Fleischer, animated by Willard Bowsky and Charles Hastings, with uncredited musical direction by Sammy Timberg and voice acting by Floyd Buckley (the voice of Popeye on the Popeye radio program) instead of then-series regular Billy Costello. Check out the statue in the opening scene. The song during the “banana scene” is “Yes, We Have No Bananas,” a novelty song sung by Eddie Cantor on Broadway in 1922; the horse-kissing theme is “Love in Bloom” (made popular the year before by Bing Crosby, a Paramount property like Popeye); and the march when Bluto gets his three-sided come-uppance is John Philip Sousa's “The Stars and Strips Forever.”

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The p3 Big Oregon Toon Block:

Jack Ohman is still grandfathered in as an Oregonian, but it looks like his new employer, the Sacramento Bee gives him time off at Christmas. Go figure. We'll look for him next week and see what happens.

Matt Bors invokes the only kind of science Republicans respect: Toon physics.

Jesse Springer reads us those wonderful, familiar verses about how Christmas doesn't come from a store: ”Then he paused, and Phil Knight put a hand to his ear . . . “:

Test your toon-captioning mojo at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.)

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