This past December, the creative community lost a very wonderful person as well as a one of the most talented illustrators of our time; Lowell Hess. I was privileged enough to interview him (twice) and meet him in person at his residence along wth his wife Nancy. They treated me like family and opened their home up to me allowing me to peruse through some absolutely amazing art pieces from throughout Lowell’s incredible career. After the memory of such a great guest during one of my earlier interviews (see guest list) was weighing heavy on my mind, I suddenly recalled a shorterencore interview (follow up) that I conducted with Lowell not too long after the original. It was quite casual in nature and I asked him to explain a bit more about his process regarding his gouache illustrations. In typical Hess fashion, he hesitated not for a second and described to me in detail about working with gouache, how he preferred to work at a smaller scale and how to freshen up a soiled gouache illustration too. The more he talked to me, the more I realized what an amazing talent I was listening too! In a sense, he could do it all.Well, as luck would have it, I located the disc with that encore interview and decided that I should share it with those who might be interested. I will refer to this as the Lowell Hess Encore Interview. So after blowing off the dust from the 6 year old disc, I present to you once again; Lowell Hess.
As a young lad on Saturday mornings during the late 60's and early 70's, transfixed in front of our little color TV in the den... watching as many cartoons as possible...., it never once occurred to me that behind all of the wonderful art and hilarious plots, were many talented artists, writers, designers and animators that labored away to produce this fantastic stuff in some studio in sunny California.
The Flintstones, Jetsons, Fang Face, Peter Potamus and the Wacky Races, just to name a few, grabbed my attention at an early age and never let go. I held on to each and every episode about as tightly as I clutched my cereal bowl filled to the brim with Quisp or Kaboom sugar ladened cereal.
Imagine my excitement when I learned that I was going to be interviewing one of the legends; an animation giant....partly responsible for my Saturday morning cartoon over-indulgences.
Jerry Eisenberg may be a stranger to some that have not familiarized themselves with the animation industry, but to those who are and to those that were captivated by the cartoons from the past, you know EXACTLY who he is. So with this knowledge, I give Jerry my 3 spoon salute,...of course...replete with dripping rainbow colored milk sliding from the spoons back into the bowl of Kaboom cereal! It is the highest honor I can give!
I'm excited to announce that yet again, we have a legend here and this time all one has to do is go back to the glory days of animation where the most memorable shows from the past possessed a common thread; STORY. When you look at an animated cartoon (past or present...Series or Movie production) the common thread to all of the hugely successful productions is that they are all "story driven"! As my guest today, Tony Benedict, will tell you, story doesn't necessarily equate to being dialogue heavy; you can drive a story with action as well.If the animation is beautiful, but the story is lacking, it WILL be forgotten. It takes a special talent and a creative mind to be able to write these stories thus bringing a cartoon to life. Tony Benedict is one of these talents and with a career that started out at Disney and journeyed through the best studios in the business, his ability to pen a script and accompany it with a storyboard earned him instant respect as well as a strong fan base that still flourishes today.The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla and The Pink Panther Show left an indelible mark on my youth and I know that I'm not alone. We can thank the many talented people behind the scenes that made it all happen and Tony Benedict is one of those writing legends that is here with me today.
I remember perusing through the paltry animated series offerings in the 90's on my television and just pining for a cartoon that one could enjoy as an adult as well as a child. Where had all of those great animated shows disappeared to? Pink Panther, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Flinstones......ahhhhh,..but lo and behold,.....what do my tear filled eyes see? It's The Angry Beavers!!! It came at a time when cartoon programming needed it! It came when everyone needed it! It was a fantastic series that was created by a fantastic creative talent; Mitch Schauer.One glance at Mitch's body of work in the creative entertainment industry and you will discover a resume that features a wide array of illustration work, comic books, graphic novels and full featured animation with all of the big name studios! With a focus on "family friendly entertainment", we need Mitch; heck, the animation industry needs Mitch!If it were possible, I could see a little bit of Mitch Schauer in one of his recent character creations, RIP MD. He would look past the scary personna of a monster and dig a bit deeper to understand the psyche of the beast. It's called "heart" and Mitch has a large one at that! You can see it in every one of his projects!
One look at the comic strip, "Pipe the Pelican", and I was hooked! With a vibe that dates back to the 30's and 40's, the style, the line art and the design aspects all point to an earlier time in cartooning history. There is a certain innocence and sense of boundless imagination in Jason Lethcoe's story and it is difficult to break away from it once you enter into Pipe's world.There's so much more to Jason than his wonderful comic strip too. One glance at his resume that features a wide array of illustration work, children's books and full featured animation and you know that you are dealing with an industry pro.Join me as I interview the amazing talent, Jason Lethcoe as he discusses his career, his passion for cartooning and the unconventional path taken to get to where he is today.
I discovered Mark Siegel purely by accident as I often do with many of my special guests on this webcast. Listening to a friend's webcast, I heard him talk in detail about this really neat webcomic that will soon be released as a graphic novel (October 5th) entitled, "Sailor Twain or the Mermaid In The Hudson". The fact that Mark employed the use of charcoal for his art throughout the story really entrigued me. After visiting his website (SailorTwain.com) I perused through the first 10 pages of the story that he generously offers in its entirety and immediately fell in love. The imagery pulls you right in from the start.Siegel's use of charcoal is masterful and a perfect fit for the backdrop of the story. Digging a bit deeper and learning of his diverse background, it's amazing to me how I missed this talented artist's work throughout the years. His portfolio is as vast as his experience and it was a pleasure to interview him and I'm grateful to him for allowing me to take some time out of his busy schedule to share his story with me. Mark is also the Editorial Director at First Second Books.
I recall as if it were yesterday, running over to the magazine rack in the grocery store when I was 10 years old, with the hopes of spotting the latest edition of MAD magazine. I wasn't always permitted to purchase the copy despite its advertised "cheap" price. Carefully I would seek out the "Fold in" and gently turn in the pages to see a transformation that wowed me as well as a million other readers throughout the world. It was interactive eye candy in 1974, and I was all too happy to partake in it! Since its beginnings in 1964, Al Jaffee's MAD magazine fold in gags have delighted us with their quick wit, hilarious satire and wonderful watercolor illustrations! There's more to this MAD man than meets the eye,...and I was fortunate enough to sit down with Al for an in-depth look at the gentleman behind the pages. The creator of Inferior Man, Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal shares with me, the many stories behind the events that lead him to a MAD life. For additional information after the interview, please be sure to check out his biography, "Al Jaffee's MAD Life" published by IT Books and available here.
I recall chilling in bed while reading books to my son and picking up an all ages comic book that had been sitting on a stack just within arm's reach on the floor. I had purchased a few books from our local comic shop a week prior and had placed them by my son's bed with the hopes of discovering a series that I could feel good about reading to a then inquisitive 8 year old. It was then that he and I first discovered the marvelous world of Franklin Richards. After a few pages in, I was hooked! The mastermind behind this great series was none other than Chris Eliopoulos and after this discovery, so too came the discovery of his other masterpiece, the online webcomic sensation Misery Loves Sherman. Chris is a lettering phenom as well as a gifted artist, and hand-lettered the first 100 issues of the ongoing Savage Dragon series, even after much of the comic book industry (including Eliopoulos himself, on other titles) had come to rely on computer-generated fonts for dialogue.He designed the fonts for Marvel Comic's in-house computer lettering unit. He has also contributed lettering work to Valiant Comics, DC Comics, and other publishers. For Dark Horse Comics, Eliopoulos wrote and/or drew some Star Wars stories.
In my household, its an impossibility to leave for work without at least seeing some excerpts from the cartoon hit, "My Life as a Teenage Robot" created by Rob Renzetti. My son has to watch it on TV before he heads off to school, therefore I must walk past it on my way to the kitchen. There's a reason for this ritual, and it is basically because my son only watches what he considers to be the BEST in cartoons. His list is a short one, but My Life as a Teenage Robot is right at the top!After watching it for awhile, I must agree! Jenny (XJ9) is a wonderful character and the stories are excellent! Ahhh but those lab rats!!!! Oh,...and the Silver Shell!!!! The art is well executed, the stories have a plot and the voices are top notch!Join me as I interview the amazing talent, Rob Renzetti, behind this amazing show that has graced our televisions across the globe. Rob was generous enough to share an hour with me as we covered his early career slaving away in the smoke clouds in Spain, leading up to the "healthier" atmosphere located in the states, working on cartoons such as Mina and the Count, Two Stupid Dogs, Dexter's Laboratory, My life as a Teenage Robot and countless others!Most may consider Rob an animation legend already, but one thing is for sure, he is an amazing talent and it was an honor to talk with him.
It's spooky, it's creepy, it's absolutely hilarious and it's poised to take the comic strip world by storm! Scary Gary is a comic strip reminiscent of the old Addam's Family style of humor, and after reading just a few strips back when I first discovered it in June, I was hooked! Join me as I interview the wonderfully talented Mark Buford, the mastermind and artist behind the comic strip Scary Gary as we cover the history behind the strip and his hopes and plans for the future of the retired vampire and his faithful henchman, Leopold. Mark has had previous syndicated comic success with another strip and we will discuss this, as well as his approach toward the development of Scary Gary.The timing was right for this interview and I hope you enjoy this special "Hallow's Eve" edition of the ZOINKS! webcast.You can follow Scary Gary at gocomics here: http://www.gocomics.com/scarygary
I could not have imagined turning on my family's old Admiral TV in the 60's and hearing a different voice coming from the lip-synched lips of Tweety and Sylvester's beloved Granny or from the mouth of that fast gliding Rocket J. Squirrel from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Equally as important as great art and a great story, a great voice can make a cartoon character last forever in our hearts and become etched in our memory.Join me as I interview the wonderfully talented and legendary voice actress June Foray and cover a prolific career that spans through an incredibly diverse history in the entertainment world. June has voiced so many characters in the animation world, that it's almost impossible to acknowledge them all. Today I focus primarily on Rocky J. Squirrel mainly because,...well,..he's the one that I WANT to focus on! So now without further delay,....here's something I hope you'll REALLY like!!
From the Dairy Farm in Payson, Utah, to an animation studio in Ireland, Don Bluth has done it all! I was fortunate enough to sit down with Don as he talks candidly about his past, his present and the future regarding his work in the animation industry. There are so many great lessons to be learned in this discussion and just talking with Don can be a motivating experience all by itself! Don's amazing career didn't just happen by chance so much as it did by seizing opportunities and taking risks along the way. One thing you will quickly learn about Don Bluth is that he is not a selfish person. He offers advice to those that seek it. His skills go beyond that of drawing and his vast understanding of acting and human behavior and expression have taken him down many creative paths. The result of such a broad understanding of the arts can be witnessed in every one of his character designs,... proving that this magic doesn’t just happen by accident. His talents and skills as an animator, character designer, and instructor can be seen and experienced firsthand at his website: http://www.donbluthanimation.com
FThe Action Adventure strip is BACK!!! (with a twist) Join me as I interview the wonderfully talented Dan Thompson as we discuss his action adventure strip Rip Haywire, which is syndicated through United Features and emits a retro feel paying tribute to some of the old classics like Dick Tracy, Johnny Hazard and Rip Kirby.Dan’s creative talents can be seen at http://www.gocomics.com/riphaywireBe sure to check out his other strip, “Lost Sheep” too! Dan’s involved with everything as is evident by KidSpot!
It is with great pleasure that once again I present to you another interview with yet another animation legend. Gene Deitch took some time out from his busy schedule and talked to me from his home in Prague (Czech Republic) to share some very insightful stories and lessons that he has learned throughout his amazing career. Gene's amazing animation career has taken him through so many turns and twists that for anyone to cover it all in one interview would be an arduous task at best; if not impossible. Personally I have a heart felt connection to Gene’s work that dates back to my very early childhood and some of my earliest memories in front of the TV watching Captain Kangaroo. I would sit in great anticipation of the cartoon interludes that were a favorite feature of the broadcast; Tom Terrific. Of course my favorite character was Tom’s sidekick, Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog!Be sure to check out more from Gene: http://genedeitchcredits.com/
Talking with Bob Scott was both enlightening and inspiring! Bob not only is a fantastic animator with such projects as "The Incredibles" and "Cats Don't Dance" under his belt, (and so many others) his recent work on his "Molly and the Bear" comic strip speaks volumes about his skills and writing ability!I challenge you to look at his strip and not walk away laughing and wondering why in the world this comic is not yet syndicated!!! Well,....I guess people came to their senses; it is now with Go Comics!
I'm both honored and excited to share with you my recent telephone interview with the Illustration legend, Lowell Hess. Mr. Hess was kind enough to grant me some time to discuss his amazing career that saw him illustrating wonderful images for Collier's magazine, Boy's Life, Golden books and so many others.Lowell was by no means a one trick pony as was evident with his incredible pop up cards and sculptures. Please visit his website for a deeper look into some of his beautiful work! If the market he was currently working in seemed to be drying up, Lowell simply re-invented himself and became a master of another art form. THAT is talent and perseverance.
Look,..It's a bird, it's a plane....no it's Joe Harris.He's right here and I talked with him for an hour about all things UNDERDOG!!!Keep in mind that it was a "land line" telephone conversation, so I was only able to record the interview at a minimum quality level. It also picked up my breathing as if I was out of breath. Oh well,..I was just very happy to be able to talk with the artist that had such a profound impact on my childhood!if you are a product of the 60’s then you KNOW Underdog!! Joe, unknowingly set the tone for what would be the style of cartoons that appealed to me and somehow I don’t think that I’m alone there.