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MichaelBarrier.com Exploring the World of Animation and Comic Art

Animated Man




Links

Most of the links on this page, new and old, are to Web sites that are serious efforts to assemble information about animated films, comic art, and their creators, but I'm also listing the sites of some of the creators themselves.

I'll begin with a few new sites I haven't listed before:

Craig Richardson is the proprietor of an increasingly important site called Toonhub.com. This is a a true "hub,"a tremendous reference source with hundreds of carefully organized links. In addition, Richardson is steadily adding valuable reference material—detailed bibliographic information about specialized magazines like Funnyworld, for example—to the site itself. This is one of those rare sites that I'm sure I'll be visiting more and more often. An update: Craig is rebuilding the site after a nightmarish crash by his Web host.

Bill Melendez, one of the last "golden age" animators still active as the head of his own studio, has put up a richly featured Web site that focuses on Bill Melendez Productions' "Peanuts" films, both TV specials and theatricals. As a person, Bill is one of the most purely enjoyable animation veterans I've ever met, and his new site has some of the flavor of his ebullient personality.

Jaime J. Weinman has a site, a blog that he calls "Something Old, Something New," that is devoted in part to animation and related subjects. When I skimmed his site, dipping into his posts as I spotted a familiar name or an intriguing subject, I realized he had accomplished the impossible: he had made me want to read what he had to say about Tiny Toon Adventures. What higher recommendation could I offer?

Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit and very active until his death in January 2005, had an official site that's still well worth visiting, and there's also an occasional email newsletter about Eisner's activities called "A Spirited Life." To get on the mailing list, write ASpiritedLife@tampabay.rr.com, and put "Eisner Newsletter" in the subject line.

Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi, proprietors of the essential Web sites Cartoon Research and Animation Blast, have pooled their resources to produce an animation blog called Cartoon Brew. This site should be anyone's first stop when they're looking for an excellent source of news and sharp-edged opinions (particularly from Amid) about developments in the field. Amid publishes in print as well as on the Web; his Animation Blast is, as it says at his site, the one animation publication that I read cover to cover.

Still another excellent source of news, animated-movies.net, shut down before I got around to recommending it (although there's still a placeholder at the site directing visitors to other sites). Fortunately, the hole left by its departure has to a large extent been plugged by a similar site, Animated-News, which like its predecessor offers a tremendous number of links to animation-related stories on the Web (as well as a very useful weekly newsletter).

The Animation World Network site is another good source of news, although I find it most valuable for the occasional critical and historical articles by people like Chris Lanier, Karl Cohen, and Martin Goodman, and for special items like Gene Deitch's autobiographical writings.

For Disney news, the most consistently helpful source is LaughingPlace.com. Among other things, it's a reliable guide to the "Easter eggs" that are a maddening side effect of the generally wonderful DVD technology. I'd also recommend getting on LaughingPlace's email list for a daily roundup of Disney news.

On the comics side, I always enjoy a visit to Geoff Blum's site. Blum is not an artist but a writer. He produced invariably intelligent and interesting text features for the various incarnations of the Carl Barks Library and is now writing comics stories in an updated Barks vein for Gemstone's new line of Disney comic books. I enjoy his site as much for his classical music reviews—not a typical component of a comics-based site!—as for any other element. You'll find those reviews on his "News and Views" page.

The following artists and writers have also put up sites, all worth an occasional visit: David Pruiksma (former animator on Disney features), John Canemaker (animator, teacher, and author of a half dozen outstanding books), Gene Deitch (the director who revived the Terrytoons studio in the fifties), and animators Bill Wray and Aaron Lane. I'm afraid I can't work up much enthusiasm for Don Bluth's site, because I can't work up any enthusiasm for Bluth's films, but Bluth's admirers will find a visit to the site rewarding.

The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts is the product of Patrick Malone's ongoing effort to gather as much information as possible about all the Disney shorts from 1922 on, including listings of video releases and censored scenes. This is a well-organized, easy-to-navigate site, with individual pages devoted to each short, and it's not all dry data, by any means: Malone devotes a lot of space on each page to visitor comments on the shorts.

Far larger is The Big Cartoon Database, which encompasses not just Disney but many other American cartoon studios, and thousands of cartoons, both theatrical and TV, with synopses and credits and occasional production notes for many of them. There's news and forums, too. The information for individual cartoons can be sketchy, but that there should even be separate listings for thousands of Hanna-Barbera and Filmation TV cartoons is mind-boggling.

A site devoted to all the cartoons produced by Columbia's Screen Gems studio is Pietro Shakarians' "Crow's Nest" (as in the Fox and the Crow). Another site with a relatively narrow focus is The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia, which includes a filmography, video clips, and other Lantz-related material.

More filmographies—for Warner Bros., Fleischer, Famous, and DePatie-Freleng cartoons—are the meat of Dave Mackey's Web site. A particularly attractive aspect of Mackey's site is the gallery of original title cards for the Warner cartoons that accompanies his filmography, but also valuable is his listing of the production numbers for the Warner cartoons. I compiled a similar list when I was writing Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age, and I found that list to be a highly useful research tool.

Another Warner Bros.-related site worth a visit is The Unofficial Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Page, which includes such out-of-the-way items as a discography of the Capitol records based on the Looney Tunes characters.

Harry McCracken's harrymccracken.com is like a continuing conversation among exceptionally intelligent animation buffs; it's always worth hearing what Harry and Mark Mayerson and their colleagues have to say. (Mark's site devoted to Al Eugster, the late Fleischer and Disney animator, is also worth a visit).

Ed Hooks teaches animators how to be good actors-a neglected (see my review of Richard Williams's The Animator's Survival Kit) but critically important skill. Hooks's Web site includes his consistently stimulating and illuminating newsletter, and he has written a book, Acting for Animators, recently reissued in a revised edition, that is a valuable pioneering treatment of its difficult subject.

Moving beyond animation and comics sites, Arts and Letters Daily is my second-favorite site, after Cartoon Brew. It consists of nothing but links, to thought-provoking articles at the Web sites of a staggering variety of publications. A surprisingly large number of those articles deal with the comics.

Another arts-related site that I consistently enjoy is Terry Teachout's Web log. He is the drama critic for the Wall Street Journal and the music critic for Commentary, as well as the author of a well-received biography of H. L. Mencken. Teachout has written sympathetically, if rarely, about animation (a rave review of the Looney Tunes DVDs for the Journal, for instance), but it's for his thoughts on other subjects that I visit his Web site.

[Revised version posted December 14, 2003; revised again, July 24, August 15, and November 22, 2004; December 19, 2005; June 19, 2006; July 7, 2007; and May 26, 2012.]

 
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