Non-Cartoon Animation in Coraline

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

As seems to be the case with the rest of adult humanity (though I wouldn't extend a viewing to little kids), I had a wonderful time with the film version of Neil Gaiman's Coraline. I was initially hostile to references to the film that identified only the director and screenwriter (Henry Selick wearing two hats), I must admit. But Selick did morph the original, even as he morphed the characters, settings, and everything else in the project. Among the aspects that impressed me was that, as I watched the (2D version of the) film, I failed to recall that it was stop-motion animation, not CGI. I've heard some people say that they liked the slight "imperfections" that reminded them it was stop-motion; I never noticed them. And the fact that I had actually seen and photographed some of the figures (such as the one on the right) at last year's Comic-Con International: San Diego never occurred to me as I watched the film.

I think the nearest 3D showing is in Madison; I'm hoping it'll still be there by the time weather permits an excursion.


Identifying Cartoonists

Monday, February 16, 2009

I was delighted to be able to purchase a cartoon that fits so nicely with the pop culture I love. But.

This cartoon, bought through a Heritage auction, is one I'm sure I've seen in the past -- almost certainly in a collection of magazine cartoons. Not only did it appeal to my affection for magazine cartoons in general, of course; it also touched that nerve of love for Old Time Radio shows -- and, for that matter, for Old Time Radio shows of the Mysterious Stranger type. You can see at once the challenge, though: Who the heck drew it? Frank, yes. But which Franks were active magazine cartoonists in the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s? I consulted George Hagenauer, who put the probable age of the cartoon at earlier, rather than later. He initially guessed at Frank Beaven but then decided the art was better than most of what he's seen of Beaven's work. His guess at original publisher was Collier's, Liberty, or Saturday Evening Post.

Identifying cartoonists whose signature is not apparent has been an ongoing challenge in the field of original art, of course. Its most challenging current aspect is that of assigning credits on old comic-book stories. But that's not the only time it has me scratching my head.

Any guesses regarding credit for this cartoon?


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