Thursday, June 15, 2017

BIRTH OF AN INDUSTRY (2015, Nicholas Sammond)

Nicholas Sammond. Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation. Durham, Duke University Press, 2015.

/ PDF / English / 400 pages /0822358522 / 978-0822358527

In Birth of an Industry, Nicholas Sammond describes how popular early American cartoon characters were derived from blackface minstrelsy. He charts the industrialization of animation in the early twentieth century, its representation in the cartoons themselves, and how important blackface minstrels were to that performance, standing in for the frustrations of animation workers. Cherished cartoon characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat, were conceived and developed using blackface minstrelsy's visual and performative conventions: these characters are not like minstrels; they are minstrels. 
They play out the social, cultural, political, and racial anxieties and desires that link race to the laboring body, just as live minstrel show performers did. Carefully examining how early animation helped to naturalize virulent racial formations, Sammond explores how cartoons used laughter and sentimentality to make those stereotypes seem not only less cruel, but actually pleasurable. Although the visible links between cartoon characters and the minstrel stage faded long ago, Sammond shows how important those links are to thinking about animation then and now, and about how cartoons continue to help to illuminate the central place of race in American cultural and social life

Sunday, June 11, 2017

THE ART OF WALT DISNEY (1988, Christopher Finch)

Christopher Finch. The Art Of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms. New York. Portland House. 1988

/ PDF / English / 160 pages / 0517664747 / 978-0517664742

First published in 1973, The Art of Walt Disney is one of the most successful and influential illustrated art books on American popular culture ever published. This book was the first to reveal the wealth of concept art, animation drawings, and archival material created in the course of animating films. In this newly revised edition, author Christopher Finch has thoroughly reworked every chapter to incorporate the vast achievements of The Walt Disney Company in filmmaking, theater, and theme parks, from Walt’s day to the present, including all-new exciting chapters on Pixar Animation Studio and Walt Disney Animation along with extensive interviews with their chief creative officer, John Lasseter, and president, Ed Catmull. Offering hundreds of new images and unparalleled access to leading filmmakers and artists at The Walt Disney Company, The Art of Walt Disney will once again capture the imaginations of animation fans young and old.

Friday, June 9, 2017

OUT OF THE INKWELL (2011, Richard Fleischer)

Richard Fleischer. Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution. Lexington University Press of Kentucky, 2011.

/ PDF / / English / / 232pages / 0813134641 / 978-0813134642

Max Fleischer (1883–1972) was for years considered Walt Disney's only real rival in the world of cartoon animation. The man behind the creation of such legendary characters as Betty Boop and the animation of Popeye the Sailor and Superman, Fleischer asserted himself as a major player in the development of Hollywood entertainment. Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution is a vivid portrait of the life and world of a man who shaped the look of cartoon animation. Also interested in technical innovation, Fleischer invented the rotoscope―a device that helped track live action and allowed his cartoons to revolutionize the way animated characters appeared and moved on-screen. In the 1920s, Fleischer created a series of "Out of the Inkwell" films, which led to a deal with Paramount.

Their character KoKo the Clown introduced new animation effects by growing out of Fleischer's pen on-screen. As the sound revolution hit film, the studio produced shorts featuring the characters interacting with songs and with the now-famous bouncing ball that dances across lyrics projected on the screen. Max Fleischer's story is also one of a creative genius struggling to fit in with the changing culture of golden age cinema. Out of the Inkwell captures the twists and turns, the triumphs and disappointments, and most of all the breathless energy of a life vibrantly lived in the world of animation magic. (Amazon)