July 28, 2008

- BET has released the trailer for their upcoming animated adaptation of Marvel's, Black Panther. It looks suspiciously like John Romita, Jr.'s artwork given the old 60's clip and move treatment of Marvel's "animated" series' of old.

- The recipients of the 2008 Winsor McCay Award have been announced: Mike Judge, John Lasseter and Nick Park. Award recipients will be celebrated at the 36th Annual Annie Awards scheduled for Friday, January 30, 2009, at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California. Via AWN.com

- ToonZone has the trailer for the upcoming animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Via Toonzone.com

- A list of the selections for this years Ottawa International Animation Festival is posted here: OIAF Selections. Peur (s) du Noir, Idiots and Angels (both recently screened by fps at Fantasia) and the critically acclaimed animated documentary, Waltz With Bashir are among the films chosen for competition.

- Sony announced at Comic Con that a 3-Pack of Ray Harryhausen films will be making it's way to DVD and Blu-ray. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea, plus the previously-released 20 Million Miles to Earth will be available individually and packaged together this October. Via High Def Digest.com

Previously on fps:
Robot Chicken and Nickelodeon at Ottawa Animation Festival '08
The Secret Garden of Ray Harryhausen

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May 22, 2008
Late last year we reported that the town of Spring Lake, Michigan, birthplace of animation pioneer Winsor McCay, was mulling creating a monument and an animation festival to honour their local boy who'd made it big. While they haven't quite got to the monument and they've ditched the inaccurate label of "birthplace of animation" for the town, they are going ahead with a festival of sorts. July June 17 will be the first Winsor McCay Day as part of the Spring Lake Heritage Festival. As expected, there will be a Winsor McCay Film Festival in the evening, featuring McCay's short films and John Canemkaer's Remembering Winsor McCay documentary.

Like any good film festival, they also encourage activities about films beyond just watching them. Preschoolers will be able to make their own stuffed Gerties, and older kids and adults can enjoy an introduction to McCay and his work as well as a drawing class. You can find out more about the festival and Spring Lake on the organizing committee's blog.

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January 10, 2008
Hake's Americana and Collectibles's latest auction features some interesting animation and comic-related articles. The current auction features almost 400 rare Disney art collectibles, including some rare Disney artwork, such as a Gustaf Tenggren sketch from The Old Mill and the first Donald Duck model sheet from the short, The Wise Little Hen. There are also Disney picture books and posters: check out the WWI poster of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Art in the lot ranges from Silly Symphonies to more recent features like The Lion King.

While acquiring the Disney artwork and memorabilia is enticing, I thought the Winsor McCay posters and miniatures, Fleischer posters, Jay Ward and Dr. Seuss items equally fascinating. If you didn't blow your budget during the holidays, you can go crazy now.

You have until the end of the month to keep your wallet under lock and key.

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November 7, 2007
The Grand Haven Tribune, a West Michigan newspaper, ran an interesting story yesterday. Animation pioneer Winsor McCay was born in the village of Spring Lake, and his earliest drawings date from when he and his family lived there; so the Village Council is mulling erecting a monument to McCay on the former site of Union School, which he had attended.

I love the idea. I'd like to see greater public recognition of the many people who forged this art form aside from Walt Disney. One problem, though: according to the article, the aim appears to be calling Spring Lake "the birthplace of animation," as McCay was animating before Disney. It's true that he was, but as those of us who celebrated animation's centenary last year know, he wasn't the first. (I suppose one could make the case that his films were the first drawn, animated narratives, but that sort of hair-splitting is usually reserved for academics and fans.)

It's hard to say where the misinformation springs from, but the tone of the article suggests that the appeal behind the notion is that McCay's work predates Disney, that Disney "reportedly borrowed techniques" from him, and that, as Spring Lake Village manager Ryan Cotton says, "[t]hey say he didn't make a lot of money like Walt Disney because he was more into the art of it as opposed to the commercial." So what we have here is a mix of hometown pride and supposition, neither of which makes for a great monument. I'd like to see McCay get more recognition, and I like the idea of an annual animation festival to honour him. I just hope that when the council realizes that McCay wasn't the first, and that they're not, in fact, "the birthplace of animation," that they'll still be interested in recognizing his work.

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