Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday morning toons: In glorious 2D!

If you're graduating this month, there's good news and bad news.

Good: You can stop accumulating student loan debt.
Good luck finding a job with which you can pay back the debt you already have accumulated.

Good: BP might be hiring.
Bad: They're only hiring lawyers.

Good: Barring a Joe Lieberman-esque miracle, Arlen Specter won't be back in the Senate next year.
One more person competing in the job market.

Good: Rand Paul will be hiring people to follow him around and say, "Uhm, What Mr. Paul meant to say was . . . ."
Bad: He has at least a theoretical chance of becoming a U.S. Senator.

Good: Iran is playing fast and loose with nuclear nonproliferation agreements, so we may not live long enough for it to matter.
Bad: Iran is playing fast and loose with nuclear nonproliferation agreements, so we may not live long enough for it to matter.

We begin, as always, with Daryl Cagle's toon round-up for this week.

p3 Picks of the Week: Mike Luckovich, Mike Lester, Pat Bagley, Mike Keefe, John Darkow, Eric Allie, Steve Sack, Adam Zyglis, Larry Wright, Jeff Stahler, Rob Rogers, and Monte Wolverton.

p3 Best of Show: Henry Payne.

p3 Legion of Honor: Bill Day.

p3 Palme d'Or: Joe Heller.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Cal Grondahl.

p3 Mystery Toon: Readers, do you get the point of this cartoon by Brian Fairrington? I haven't figured it out yet, although I like the design of it quite a bit. For a while I wasn't sure if the figures and objects were flying upward or plummeting downward, but the two figures fleeing on foot at the right suggest they're plummeting. But why? And what's the connection to Wal-Mart? And is that thing with "Wal-Mart" on the side of it a building or a gas pump? What am I missing here?

p3 World Toon Review: Patrick Chappatte (Switzerland), Tjeerd Royaards (Netherlands), Ingrid Rice (Canada), and Cam Cardow (Canada).

Ann Telnaes thinks the Tea Partiers slept through the good parts.

Mark Fiore says, "Nothing says like 'jihadi tough-guy' like attacking some dorky cartoonist."

Tom Tomorrow explores an alternate universe that differs from our own only in tiny imperceptible ways. See if you can spot the difference.

Here's Barry Blitt's illustration for this week's Frank Rich NYTimes column.on last Tuesday's "Randslide."

"Let's get married. I'm tired of being charming." RIP Bernard Schoenbaum:

Bernard Schoenbaum, who in hundreds of cartoons in The New Yorker needled the relatively affluent, the media-conscious, the irony-besotted and the socially competitive — in other words, the readers of The New Yorker — died on May 7 at his home in Whitestone, Queens. He was 89.

Schoenbaum was a master of the New Yorker style, in which the drawings were mere accessories to the punchline. It's telling that the NYTimes obit is able to summarize many of his best without showing them, but with no real sense of loss (although there are links to some of his best cartoons).

Portland homeboy Jack Ohman looks at Oregon's gubernatorial match-up. (Here's hoping that coverage of GOP candidate Dudley gets beyond "he's really tall" and "he can't hit a free throw to save his soul" before too much longer. Got that already -- thanks..)

2D or not 2D -- that is the question: Most people assume that popular music went to hell shortly after the period they listened to it most, often high school and college years. I'm that way about animation. I very rarely feature anything on the p3 Sunday Toon review that was made after the early 1950s -- not my high school or college years, thank you very much, but the point when rising production costs, advances in xerographic technology, and the emerging shift from theaters to television as the place where first-run animation appeared created a perfect storm that no amount of Pixar technology (bless their hearts) could completely undo. (Arguably you could pinpoint the moment at 1958, the year that WB musical director Carl Stalling retired.) So you can imagine that I greet this news with grave doubts:

Warner Bros. is bringing back the Looney Tunes in a big way this year.. starting out in theaters and then back to the Cartoon Network.

Looney Tunes began as a series of cartoon shorts that played in theaters before the main feature between 1930 and 1969, before becoming popular television favorites. Warner Bros. is returning to the tradition by releasing the first of three 3D shorts, "Coyote Falls" featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, which will play in front of their 3D family sequel Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, when it opens theatrically on July 30.

The first short will act as a lead-up to a new 26-episode half-hour series called The Looney Tunes Show, which will air on Cartoon Network this fall featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as roommates with the other classic Looney Tunes cartoon characters as their neighbors.


I have a hard time believing that jumping on the 3D bandwagon is going to do much for the stable of classic Warner Bros toons. Computer animation can match the fluidity and richness of classic cel animation, but without developed characters, finely-honed timing, and rich musical scores, you're too often left with something that feels like a seven-minute TV advertisement. What's the point? (For example: why, except for the box office take, is the next Pixar "Shreck" movie being released in 3D?) Meanwhile, here's the genuine article: "Going! Going! Gosh!" from 1952, the third Coyote/Road Runner short, directed by Chuck Jones, in glorious 2D (no glasses required).

BTW: Does anyone know what the proper name is for the sound the Coyote makes as he shakes himself off right before the "I've already got a date" gag?

p3 Bonus Toon: Impressed with the 37% turnout in last week's Oregon primary? Jesse Springer wasn't either.

And remember to bookmark Slate's political cartoon for the day, and Time's cartoons of the week.


Chuck Butcher said...

do you get the point of this cartoon

Walmart vacuuming up the consumer and M&P business.

Nothstine said...

Ah. Okay, I see that now. Didn't look much like a vacuum to me [still ddoesn't], but I get where it's headed now.


Still, thanks for straightening that one out.