Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday morning toons: Special "Re-Imagining Mickey" edition

This week's toon review covers a wide range: Remembering those who died at Fort Hood, the endgame for health care reform, Iran, Afghanistan, and some sort of week-long athletic competition that ended a couple of days ago. Plus another dose of classic animation history.

As (almost) always, let's start with Daryl Cagle's toon round-up:

p3 Picks of the Week: Mike Luckovich, Pat Bagley, Monte Wolverton, Jerry Holbert, Adam Zyglis, Steve Sack, and Ed Stein.

p3 Medal of Honor: Cameron Cardow (Canada).

p3 Best in Show: Scott Stantis.

p3 Award for Fastest-Off-The-Line Movie Reference:Joe Heller.

p3 Certificate of High Fidelity: Bill Day.

Feeling like the fall and winter holidays are running into each other more and more? You're not alone: Chip Bok and John Cole.are right there with you. (Notice how, no matter which way you slice it, it's bad news to be the turkey?)

Fort Hood: Mike Keefe. Nate Beeler, Jimmy Margulies. Steve Breen. and Randy Bish.

p3 World Toon Review: Patrick Chappatte (Switzerland), Stephane Peray (Thailand), Rainer Hachfeld, (Germany) and Nirilicon (Mexico).

Rubber, meet glue: From Ann Telnaes comes this refreshing bit of perspective,

Objectivism Illustrated: Steve Ditko, the Marvel artist who co-created Spider-Man with Stan Lee in 1962 and gave the character the strange and ungraceful look that made the early issues of that comic immediately recognizable, has gotten only the merest passing mention over the years on the p3Sunday Toon review. The three "Spiderman" movies that owe much to Ditko's original style did quite a lot to boost appreciation the reclusive artist's work. Perhaps ironically, there's another body of heroic, if fantastic fiction that many readers were swept up by in high school, often never to return to it again. I refer to the works--or at least the brand--of author Ayn Rand. In the last eight decades, it's become a truism that Rand's writings tend to enjoy a revival in popularity whenever Democrats return to power in Washington DC, such as they have this year. But fans of either artist aren't always aware that there's a connection between the two going back several decades. You can read about it here. (Image via Comic Book Resources.)

Portland homeboy Jack Ohman looks on the bright side,

"Re-imagining Mickey: Writer Harlan Ellison has said that there are five literary creations that are immediately recognizable by any culture on earth: Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, Superman, . . . and Mickey Mouse. Recently, the notoriously risk-aversive Disney Corporation surprised observers by announcing its intention to tamper with #5 on Ellison's list.

[C]oncerned that Mickey has become more of a corporate symbol than a beloved character for recent generations of young people, Disney is taking the risky step of re-imagining him for the future.

The first glimmer of this will be the introduction next year of a new video game, Epic Mickey, in which the formerly squeaky clean character can be cantankerous and cunning, as well as heroic, as he traverses a forbidding wasteland.

Yes, video game merchandising is one of the reasons for "re-imagining" the rodent of reknown, but there's another reason, as illustrated by John Cole, that has to do with cracking a market every bit as large:

The project was given new impetus this week with the announcement that, after 20 years of negotiations, the company has finally received the blessing of the Chinese government to open a theme park in Shanghai, potentially unlocking a new giant market for all things Mickey.

Ironically--although, for some Disney critics, wholly predictable--the "re-imagination" is less a departure from Mickey of the past than a return to him. The Mickey Mouse who starred in the 1928 "Steamboat Willie," the first Disney cartoon to feature synchronized sound (a soundtrack as we know it today, not accompaniment in the theatre house by an organ, piano, etc.). As Steamboat Willie, Mickey was a selfish and unruly, a trickster and a trouble-maker.

But don't take my word for it:

p3 Bonus Toon: This year the state legislature scaled back some of the tax incentives targeting Oregon's dawning solar energy industry, on the grounds that they already had a generous tax break package, and would have to get by with a little less--but still quite a bit--during the economic downturn. Jesse Springer asks: Did the solar industry fly too close to the sun?

Don't forget to bookmark Slate's political cartoon for the day.

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