Two weeks of Student Posts of the Week…

Due to a whole set of unforeseen circumstances, I didn’t post Student Posts of the Week for the week of the fifteenth, so I’m making up for that by hitting two weeks at once.

As always, I’m not able to highlight all the blog posts I felt were particularly good or interesting– there’s just far too many of them. What you have here, then, is a selection from two weeks’ worth of solid student work… With extremely brief commentary from me.

Kristina Wade gives us a very nice introduction to WWII propaganda cartoons– Education for Death and Der Fuerher’s Face are two classics that no student of 20th century history should miss, and it was especially instructive to compare them to the Soviet anti-Nazi propaganda cartoon she included.

Andrew Steward presents us with a fascinating peek at what could well be the first crossover of animated characters from (very) different continuities, with a cartoon that combines two of the Fleisher Brothers’ most popular properties– Superman and Popeye. An unlikely but entertaining pairing, even if it’s not one of the best Fleisher Popeye cartoons out there.

Justin Pangilinan blogs about a topic that touches on concepts of international intellectual property, fair use, digital “piracy,” and fandom– some of my favorite topics– in his discussion of fan-subtitled (“fansubbed”) anime.

Elliot Meek discusses The Snowman as an example of a longer-form silent cartoon… I hadn’t seen this cartoon since I was a kid, and I’d forgotten how much I loved the art when I was little. It’s a little treacly now, but it holds up as an interesting cartoon. Definitely not as good an example of long-form silent animation as the first forty five minutes of Wall-E, but at the same time, this one ends before you get the ridiculous weird fat humans in hoverchairs and the HAL-9000 rip-off baddie.

Samitra Denardo gives us an excellent introduction to John Sutherland’s industrial animations, including Rhapsody of Steel, which is another can’t-miss piece of animation…definitely worth checking out.

James Benjamin Davis blogged about the recent feature 9 that touches on something that I wish more students would explore in their blogs– the assumption that just because a film is animated, it’s aimed at an audience of children. Seems to have started up a bit of a discussion, too.

Finally, two really fascinating posts about Pixar: Scott Bell made me think about the way Pixar makes movies by pointing out something I’d never really thought about: Pixar movies are almost all “about” one animation problem– Monsters, Inc. is essentially a movie about hair, for example. Jeannie Hilleary discusses the Easter Eggs that Pixar animators have left in their movies. Pixar plans their projects so far in advance that you can actually spot Wall-E in Toy Story.

Two weeks of Student Posts of the Week…

Due to a whole set of unforeseen circumstances, I didn’t post Student Posts of the Week for the week of the fifteenth, so I’m making up for that by hitting two weeks at once.

As always, I’m not able to highlight all the blog posts I felt were particularly good or interesting– there’s just far too many of them. What you have here, then, is a selection from two weeks’ worth of solid student work… With extremely brief commentary from me.

Kristina Wade gives us a very nice introduction to WWII propaganda cartoons– Education for Death and Der Fuerher’s Face are two classics that no student of 20th century history should miss, and it was especially instructive to compare them to the Soviet anti-Nazi propaganda cartoon she included.

Andrew Steward presents us with a fascinating peek at what could well be the first crossover of animated characters from (very) different continuities, with a cartoon that combines two of the Fleisher Brothers’ most popular properties– Superman and Popeye. An unlikely but entertaining pairing, even if it’s not one of the best Fleisher Popeye cartoons out there.

Justin Pangilinan blogs about a topic that touches on concepts of international intellectual property, fair use, digital “piracy,” and fandom– some of my favorite topics– in his discussion of fan-subtitled (“fansubbed”) anime.

Elliot Meek discusses The Snowman as an example of a longer-form silent cartoon… I hadn’t seen this cartoon since I was a kid, and I’d forgotten how much I loved the art when I was little. It’s a little treacly now, but it holds up as an interesting cartoon. Definitely not as good an example of long-form silent animation as the first forty five minutes of Wall-E, but at the same time, this one ends before you get the ridiculous weird fat humans in hoverchairs and the HAL-9000 rip-off baddie.

Samitra Denardo gives us an excellent introduction to John Sutherland’s industrial animations, including Rhapsody of Steel, which is another can’t-miss piece of animation…definitely worth checking out.

James Benjamin Davis blogged about the recent feature 9 that touches on something that I wish more students would explore in their blogs– the assumption that just because a film is animated, it’s aimed at an audience of children. Seems to have started up a bit of a discussion, too.

Finally, two really fascinating posts about Pixar: Scott Bell made me think about the way Pixar makes movies by pointing out something I’d never really thought about: Pixar movies are almost all “about” one animation problem– Monsters, Inc. is essentially a movie about hair, for example. Jeannie Hilleary discusses the Easter Eggs that Pixar animators have left in their movies. Pixar plans their projects so far in advance that you can actually spot Wall-E in Toy Story.

Student Posts of the Week

It’s yet another really great week of student posts for HIST 389, History of Animation. To run through just a few:

Bonnie Hansen explores the business side of the House of Mouse, looking at the selling of Disney’s famous princesses– not to young girls, but to grown women. Specifically, she looks at the marketing of Disney-branded weddings. It’s a view of a small but no doubt lucrative market that I was unaware of; one that, while I would never want such a wedding myself, I find fascinating.

Sandra Kellerhals historicizes and contextualizes The Jetsons, in terms of the futurism and optimism of the 1960s “space craze.” I was taken aback to realize that a show that– however fanciful– so influences our views of what “the future” might look like only lasted a single season.

In a pair of posts that work best taken together, Alissa Potter and Megan Pettry discuss the use of the Xerographic process in the first two Disney features to implement it, Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmations.

And finally, Erica LoMonaco looks at Pixar’s Cars as a paen to Route 66 as the “Main Street of America,” before the advent of the interstate highway system. Any blog post that makes me even consider watching a movie that features Larry the Cable Guy deserves some special kind of kudos.

Student Post(s) of the Week

Dr. Petrik, for whom I’m TAing History of Animation, has asked me to highlight a good student post each week, so that students who are having trouble might be able to look at some of the better examples and learn from them.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) this week, there’s too many to choose from. A rundown of just a few of the posts I enjoyed, thought were good, made me think, etc…

Amanda Cole’s post looking at “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” as an homage to the greats of early short-subject animation does a nice job of linking a work with its predecessors.

Ian Crawford’s post does a very nice job of looking at a nontraditional source– a promotional video from the Cartoon Network– and using that to look at a moment in the history of the business of cartoons.

Joe Gayk’s post tries to go past the specific and to ponder some of the reasons for animation’s popularity. While the example Joe uses is markedly contemporary, I think his model of animation’s excess as a release valve to urban stresses could be particularly interesting when applied to the first twenty or thirty years of animation’s history.

Carlyn Pocalyko gives an almost encyclopedic view of “Rock-a-Doodle,” a colossal flop that I have to admit I’d forgotten about entirely, historicizing it as a watershed moment– as the movie where we can see Don Bluth’s relevance slip through his fingers.

…That’s just a few, and there were several other really great examples this week. Good work, guys– keep it up!

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