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Inanimate Cartoons at SPX

Douglas Wolk, of Reading Comics fame, moderated an informative panel exploring the relationship between animation and comics this evening at SPX. Joining Wolk on the panel were Kim Deitch, Jeff Smith, Tom Neely and Roger Langridge.

All of the panelists except Langridge have had (or continue to have) animation experience, and all of them expressed a preference for making comics over animation given the art-by-committee nature of most commercial animation, and the plain fact that creating animation simply takes a long, long time. Comics were compared to storyboards at one point, which led Smith to observe that “comics have a different sort of heat coming off the page than storyboards,” and that, “you can change the camera angle, so to speak, a lot more frequently in comics, and for different reasons.”

Seemingly feeling the need to defend Flash animation at one point, Smith strongly recommended the animated videos of Graham Annable (of Grickle fame), which he called “hilariously creepy,” calling out one video in particular as being “unbelievably funny.” That video is called “Space Wolf” and we present it now for your viewing pleasure:

In response to a question about powerfully influential and/or inspiring animation, all of the panelists but one responded with the classics (the Fleischers, Tex Avery, etc.). Kim Deitch was the holdout when he said of the contemporary master Hayao Miyazaki, “I swear to God, if that guy ain’t the king of cartoons –I mean right now– I’d like to know who is.” Hear hear.

The final question of the panel, posed by moderator Douglas Wolk to Jeff Smith, who owned an animation studio for eight years before beginning Bone, was whether Smith would ever consider going back to animation. Smith’s response? “Hell, no! Animation is so much work!”

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