Archive for the ‘Cartoon Graveyard’ Category

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Cartoon Graveyard: Feet of Clay

December 30, 2009

Why animate? Why make the decision that a movie, TV show, music video or what-have-you needs to be presented through drawings, stop-motion, or CGI? There are plenty of reasons one might choose – visual styles and images that can’t be plausibly created in live action, striking a certain silly tone, wanting to make sure your younger actors don’t age out of their characters. But all too often it comes down to a less-than-compelling reason: because it’s cheap. Why pay for actors, sets, and props when you can just hire an animation studio to make the whole thing? Alas, cheapness is the only plausible reason for the existence of this week’s entry, which gives new meaning to the word “inessential.”

Title: Glenn Martin, D.D.S.
Network: Nickelodeon (Nick at Nite)
Premise: Boring family has boring adventures in their boring RV.

Ugly pics after the jump.

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Cartoon Graveyard Saves Christmas

December 23, 2009

Hey, I don’t know if the culture at large has waved this fact in your face like a greasy towel or anything, but it’s pretty close to Christmas. So instead of making the usual lame jokes about consumerism being equated with patriotism or Santa Claus indulging in some uncharacteristic vice or some such thing, I thought I’d offer something practical and theme-appropriate. I proudly present the Cartoon Graveyard Guide to Christmas Cartoons That Won’t Waste Your Time.

Keep in mind, I’ll be working under the conceit that you’re marathoning all these shows at once, because hey, you’re reading the Sqlog, it’s not like you have serious demands on your time. So continue isolating yourself from friends and family with a misplaced sense of intellectual superiority and let the Christmas spirit fill your heart instead of distilled spirits filling your stomach.

Now, you’re going to want to ease yourself into this. Presumably you’ve had enough Christmas stuffed down your craw for the past month, and you’ll need to trick your brain into actually wanting to see something Yuletidey. So I’d start with the Justice League Christmas Special. Superhero action is the perfect way to distract yourself from the Christmas stuff, and this one has plenty of variety: bar brawls, Martian carols, and best of all, the Ultra-Humanite. Because in my book, everything’s better with huge, superintelligent albino gorillas who act like Sideshow Bob. Oh, who am I kidding, I just want to talk about how much that show ruled.

Twas two days before Christmas, and all up the coast, people clicked on this link for the rest of the post.

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Cartoon Graveyard: Again With The Superheroes

December 10, 2009

Some unfortunate soul out there must remember my write-up of The Spectacular Spider-Man , in which I discoursed upon the cyclical nature of TV cartoons, and superhero shows in particular. In the course of that now-legendary post, I presented the history of animated Spider-Men as an introduction to the most recent, actually pretty kickass incarnation. Today I propose to repeat the format using the X-Men, with special attention to how repeated shows about the same people are under continuous pressure to, if not top, at least distinguish themselves from the previous series. So bring on the merry mutants!

Title: Wolverine and the X-Men
Network: Nicktoons Network
Premise: C’mon, it’s the X-Men, you should know what to expect.

Unlike their arachnoid colleague, the X-Men’s history in animation is comparatively short. The group was only popular starting in the mid-seventies, when they brought in Wolverine and all the other non-American characters (for the last time, yes, he’s Canadian). So the earliest attempt at an animated version was a failed pilot narrated by Stan Lee, bearing the episode title “Pryde of the X-Men.”It’s notable mostly for the bizarre decision to give Wolverine an exaggerated Australian accent for no apparent reason other than that it was the eighties, and people were into Crocodile Dundee I guess.

More videos with silly accents after the jump.

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Cartoon Graveyard: Happy Thanksgiving, You Ingrates

November 25, 2009

Hey, so we finished the magazine last night at eleven, thus beating our deadline by TWENTY-FIVE HOURS FLAT. Top that, entire history and future of Squelch! Now we’ve scattered to the four winds to gorge upon bird meat. But before I sign off to hang out with my awesome cousins, I invite you watch that rarest of animals, a not-shitty Thanksgiving special.

Title: The Mouse on the Mayflower

Network: NBC

Premise: The Courtship of Miles Standish, but with songs and evil Cockneys.

This oddity from Rankin-Bass, which I’ve seen about a dozen times because I was a weird kid, follows a churchmouse who tags along with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower. Historical detail about ocean crossings and starvation follows, as well as less-historical subplots such as acting out the aforementioned Tennyson poem and the efforts of three jerks – two English, one American – to spark a war between their respective peoples. No Thanksgiving special for kids can ever really get into the violence that eventually followed the First Thanksgiving hugfest, but at least this one gives you a hint at the distrust and prejudice between the two groups that would lead to it. Also, it has Tennessee Ernie Ford. Let me repeat that. TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD IS IN THIS CARTOON. That alone is why The Mouse On The Mayflower gets my vote for Best Thanksgiving Special Ever. Sure, Charlie Brown is sweet and all, but he ain’t got no Ford. And now, in closing, I’ll let the man himself pummel history into your soft, mushy noggins.

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Cartoon Graveyard: Too Busy To Bother Edition

November 19, 2009

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Cartoon Graveyard: The Scarry Truth

November 12, 2009

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Childhood nostalgia has its limits. Sure, people are making big money off of movies based on cartoons based on toys, but that’s partly because no one has any original ideas for movies anymore. We remember with fondness our old Saturday morning fare and children’s books, sometime with cause, sometimes not. But some stuff just slips past until years later we see it and say “Hey, didn’t I love that at some point?” To wit: does anyone remember why they liked Busytown? You remember, those Richard Scarry books about the city populated by anthropomorphic animals that taught you what people did all day and that worms wear shoes and Tyrolean hats. Those. I, for one, had not only several Scarry books but also a CD-ROM in which you helped the town’s residents build houses and steal bananas. Yet for the life of me I can’t recall what the appeal was. So you can imagine my confusion upon discovering that this weird franchise still exists, in the form of Busytown Mysteries. What? Exactly.

For the record, it was kinda fun.

See, I didn't make this up.

Title: Busytown Mysteries

Network: CBS

Premise: Animal kids pursue the answers to life’s most trivial questions.

Click to solve the mystery of How To Read the Rest of the Post.

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Cartoon Graveyard: Can’t Stop The Motion

November 5, 2009

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Confession time: I’m a total geek for stop-motion animation. The very idea of someone going to the trouble of building tiny detailed figures, props, and sets, putting them into dioramas, and then carefully arranging them so as to create the illusion of motion, and telling a story that way, is awesome. It has to be the most labor-intensive animation method on the planet, and it’s worth it because the end product looks so goddamned cool. So naturally I’m impressed by people like Nick Park and Henry Selick that make a living out of it. Hell, Wes Anderson reportedly directed Fantastic Mister Fox from thousands of miles away, just to show off (then again, it’s not like he’s the only acclaimed filmmaker with super powers. You know the real reason Scorsese wears those glasses? That’s right, heat vision). Making a stop-motion film tells me that the director cares enough about his or her story to put a great deal of time and effort into telling it. At least, it should. Unfortunately, sometimes it means that they think the effect will be cool enough that no one will notice if they just dick around for a while. And that, alas, is what we’re dealing with.

The monkey's reaction is my own.

I'd like to think they're watching their own show in this shot.

Title: Titan Maximum

Network: Adult Swim (Cartoon Network)

Premise: Two words: shitty Voltron.

Transform into… the rest of the post!