Saturday, December 18, 2010

Betty Boop Film Class

Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle is one that I absolutely had to cover. For one, it's really funny. It has some great sight gags. I especially like the swarm of swimming islanders chasing Betty and Bimbo's boat around the hemisphere.

But what people truly remember the film for is accusations of racism, with which I don't agree, and one of the most memorably risque moments in all of Betty Boop where Betty dances topless, with naught but a lay covering her nipples. As with most Fleischer, the set-up is thin and actually a bit weird (Bimbo's just motoring around the planet playing a lute? Poorly?) and is little more than an excuse to have funny stuff happen.

I found this one in high-def!

About the argument for racism, I don't buy it. Yes. It's a horribly stereotyped portrayal of islanders, but it's a stereotype that pervades Western culture and literature, and IT'S FUNNY. Not because it's true, it's funny because of the culture that fostered the idea. The actual islanders are unfunny, our perceptions of them are funny. Fleischer wasn't making a statement about Hawaiian or Polynesian islanders being retarded savages, he was exploiting an idea that persists to this day. Look at Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. That was purposely and explicitly imitating the old Saturday serials. When making comedy, you take things that are common in culture and exaggerate or comment on them. To call this racist is to liken it to the portrayal of the Japanese in WWII-era cartoons, which is silly.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cartoon Vixens Store

I'm going to be opening a Cartoon Vixens store to sell prints of my original work. I'll have t-shirts, posters, the usual stuff. I wish that I could sell my Betty Boop stuff, but sadly I don't have the rights.

I'm also going to start accepting commissions. If you would like to have yourself cartoon vixenized, you'll so be able to send me an inquiry at my Gmail address, amartincolby. I haven't yet figured out the price since I'm not sure how long it will take to vixenize someone. Some of my works take days or even weeks, and I'd certainly like a quicker turn-around time than that for any portraits.

You can also request specific cartoon characters in specific poses. Say you want Betty Boop, clad in armor, wielding a chainsaw, while riding a fire-breathing walrus, I'm the man to get that done. Once I get it done, I can simply send you the image, or I can prepare a high-quality print.

UPDATE: I am likely going to charge $100 for a basic Vixenizing. This means that in whatever photo you send, your exposed body will be changed over to a cartoon. For the same price, I can Vixenize your face and put it onto a body and position of your choice. I will add a simple background for no charge. If you want a more complex background, with some objects and staging, (e.g., a library, dining room, playground, etc.) the price is $200. As with the pose and character request, I can simply send you the image or ready a print. I retain the right to use the image produced in my portfolio, but I will not sell it or make high-resolution versions widely available unless allowed.

Have a Nice Day Wallpaper

This is my first wallpaper that's available on products. It's of a gun-toting, big-breasted "pin-up." There's definitely a lot more cartoon, here, than vixen, but that's cool. I like it a lot and am very happy with the way it turned out.

4:3 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

Check out Have A Nice Day Girl at the Cartoon Vixens Store.

16:10 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

Friday, December 10, 2010

John Carter of Mars

John Carter of Mars is still a good 18 months away, but I figured now is as good a time as any to show the cartoon version of John Carter that never saw production. It was to be made by Bob Clampett back in the 1940's, but after test audiences saw this footage, the idea was canned as being too "out there" for the mid-west audience of retards.

Here's a shock, the same year that this project was canceled and Clampett moved on to other things, Universal Studios released Flash Gordon, which was a runaway hit and now a cultural touchstone. Even those poor mid-Western retards got it. You hear this a lot, in business in general but especially in early film. Some studio thinks that something is a terrible idea and tells the guys within the studio to stop working on it, until another studio does the exact same thing to great fame and success. The first studio than either eats it, or they desperately ask those same guys to do what they originally wanted to do, but impatiently ask for it on a reduced budget and schedule and it all fails.

We can now add Clampett to Fleischer in the list of guys who would have beaten Disney to the first feature-length animated film if only the studios for which they worked hadn't been daft.

P.S. both John Carter and Flash Gordon have vixens in them that I plan on producing one of. Deja Thoris and Dale Arden.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

An Original

I've uploaded wallpapers of some of my first really original work. While much of my previous stuff has either been of other properties or heavily inspired by other properties, the general characteristics of this truly feel like mine.

This is not pin-up, nor is it really a vixen. It's a female figure, but highly distorted. I've boiled the construct down to pure form, and then exaggerated or wholesale deleted features. In a sense, that's what cartoons are, so maybe that explains why I find this so appealing. I love cartoons.

Most of my original work exists only in sketches, but with this first successful transfer to vectors, I hope to get ever more of it out there. Oh, and don't think I've given up on pin-ups, cartoons, or third party works. I've got many Betty Boops, Jessica Rabbits, and others in the pipeline.

Thin Woman Kneeling

4:3 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

16:10 ratio
From Cartoon Vixens Wallpapers

Betty Boop Film Class

Betty Boop M.D. is rather par for the course by Fleischer standards. I just want to touch on most of Betty's episodes if they have even a small amount of worthwhile material.

I said that M.D. is standard fare in the sense that Fleischer's cartoons are complete chaos. The world is literally alive, which is something that neither Disney nor Warner Bros. would experiment with for decades. Disney sort of set the tone for cartoons going forward with a well-defined narrative, events, backgrounds, and characters. Fleischer obviously rejected that concept. He rejected narratives in favor of fun... stuff, and preferred to have a world that was alive with motion. Look at the first shot, you don't simply see a vehicle driving down the road, you see a vehicle driving down the road while the road, composed of water-like waves, lift and drop the car, all the while the car is dancing to the beat of whatever Fleischer was drumming. I think that if Fleischer could have afforded it or found the time, everything on the frame would be moving at all times.

Again, like Bizzy Bee, the staging is essentially an excuse to have weird stuff happen. We have about two minutes of weird stuff, one of dialog, and then the picture abandons narrative in favor of three and a half minutes of scat singing, weird imagery, and end credits.

A few interesting points: Fleischer still spent little time on lip-syncing, only doing it when absolutely necessary, with Betty. I also find it interesting how the concept of the traveling snake-oil salesman used to be so universal. Much like the junk collector from Any Rags, this used to be a cultural touchstone. It isn't just Betty that this theme appears. It was in westerns, cartoons from other studios, and even early TV, although by the age of TV this was replaced by the door-to-door salesman. Perhaps it was made more viable as people moved into cities and suburbs in increasing numbers after the war, thus negating the need for carts and stages to sell. Finally, the baby at the very end turns into Mr. Hyde from the 1931 version of the film. This film was very famous, partially for being risque by the day's standards, and would have still been in wide circulation by the time that M.D. was released almost a year later.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I just lost five hours worth of work. I'm so pissed at Adobe Fireworks. Fucking Adobe had to go and buy Macromedia and, big surprise, they're putting almost nothing into the development of the old Macromedia tools. They either outright dropped them, like Freehand, or they just stopped giving a shit, like my precious Fireworks.

I loved Fireworks. For web development it was the absolute shiznit. Adobe is so fucking desperate to differentiate Illustrator and Photoshop that tools that BOTH OF THEM SHOULD HAVE, only one of them does. Fireworks didn't have any of that garbage. Vector and bitmap editing in a single package, check!

Gah! But today, I lost five hours worth of work because glitches that have been in the last three versions of Fireworks are still there, working their magic. I'd be really pissed if I hadn't pirated this version. When it happened in the versions I actually bought, I was really pissed. So now, I'm forced to use Illustrator and Photoshop. I hate both of them, especially Photoshop. Bloated piece of crap.

Maybe I'll try Corel. Actually, yeah! What the hell has Corel been up to, these days? The last thing I remember from them is Corel Photo Paint 5 from, like, 1994.