Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Let's Argue the Merits of Wishbone and Gawk at International Cartoons

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Boy, do I wish either of the cover stories in this pair of TV Guides was as interesting as these little lesser articles I found inside.  It's 1997, and the Goosebumps story is a snore and the Elmo story is too kid-friendly.  There isn't a word of dissent for either entity in either article, though you would have heard plenty in reality (and this is where I link to the AV Club's fantastic interview with R.L. Stine.

The potential ire is instead saved for a show that up until a few years ago, I'd have sworn was a weird dream: "Wishbone", the totally-educational-you-guys-we-swear live-action series where a terrier imagines himself as the heroes of classic literature.  If you don't remember "Wishbone", the article below isn't a bad summary, but it's nothing compared to watching the show itself.  Heck, I can remember a brief, shining moment when even the TV Tropes editors joined hands in mutual respect and harmony and agreed, "Yeah, this was a weird one."

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Now we're in 1996.  Cover story "Rugrats" is already the pre-"Spongebob" Nicktoon that refuses to go away, but never mind that...

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What are children in other countries watching?  Well, it's pretty easy to find out now, what with the Internet and all, but articles like the following were all we had in '96.  It's an interesting selection to be sure.  I like how some of the summaries are deeply misleading (apparently Mortadelo is an Animorph?)

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Sketch of the Day

Random video game critters:

3.30.16 - Final Fantasy 5 and Animal Crossing

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Let's Struggle to Understand "Pokemon" and the V-Chip!

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Hey, did you know that adults have a hard time understanding "Pokemon"?  Isn't that hilarious and relatable?  Well, sure...

You know, except for the piddling detail that I *am* an adult and I love "Pokemon".  Grew up with it even.  And in 1999 I would probably give people my age who do not understand - just understand, not even necessarily like- "It's a role-playing game.  There are magical creatures with special powers that are either strong or weak against others.  You befriend and train a team of six such creatures on an adventure across the country" the side-eye.  (Hell, I don't even know how I'd react now to a person who was in college in 1999 who still does not get "Pokemon".  I hope this never happens; it would be awkward.)

Pretty sure everybody understands collectable magazine covers though:

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(This is where I remember thinking of Togepi as a Scrappy-Doo like pest at the time.  "Soul Silver" proved me wrong.)

Here's the article in full, and there are just so many great things in it.  The "Damn kids these days would rather enjoy (thing) than play the way I did when I was their age", the author's uncomfortable fixation on Misty's legs, the "This is totally cockfighting and also gambling and addiction and probably other bad things," the note that there is no inherit value in the trading card game cards but there totally is in old bottle caps (wtf?), the peek into the very late-90's trend of how everything collectable is totally going to increase in value someday you guys, and the assurance that "Pokemon" is definitely going to be a short-lived fad that nobody is going to care about in, say, twenty years.  Mmm-hmm.

I am especially in awe of the bit where he wants us to "imagine a baby Rosie O'Donnell" when picturing Pikachu.  That is the Year 1999 handily condensed into one single sentence.

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^^ I also really love those bonkers episode summaries and how they just flat-out spoil what Marill looks like without you having to do the puzzle.

Of course 1999 wasn't all cute magical elemental monsters.  This was also the year of TV ratings and the V-Chip.  I can't overstate how this was such a huge, controversial deal back in the day.  And now it's just something we live with.  It's weird how that happened and makes articles like this very strange to read in hindsight.

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Drawing of the Day

Some of those older Pokemon designs, yo...

3.3.16 - Purple Pokemon

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Let's go Behind the Scenes of "Walking With Dinosaurs"!

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Man, I almost tossed this issue out without even flipping through it.  I mean, that cover.  (I do find it funny that a very dark and serious drama based on what was happening behind the scenes of the Three Stooges was teased... thus.  Then a few years later, rumors started bubbling of a feature film telling the same sad story and peopled with fine dramatic actors, and then when it finally arrived it looked like... this.  Point is, movies about the Three Stooges are probably destined to be confounding.)

I'm very happy that I did not, because nestled deep within the pages is this fine little article about the original "Walking With Dinosaurs" miniseries.  And it's labeled as something you adults can watch with your children because why would you ever otherwise watch something about dinosaurs, which are for the children, I guess? 

I appreciate that there's a little acknowledgement of the controversy over "Walking With Dinosaurs"; how a great deal of it is purely speculative.  But I wish it was presented in less of a "pedantic scientist hates fun" way.  I'm from the future, speculative biology bordering on straight fantasy "documentaries" on the Discovery networks and the idea that paleontologists spend much of their time whining about accuracy instead of enjoying things is just going to get worse.

But never mind all that; here's the article in it's entirety:

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Sketch of the Day

For no reason (except for I don't think I've shared them here yet), gestures from the World Figure Skating Championship Exhibition:

4.3.16 - Skating Champ Gestures

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Let's See What "Toy Wishes" Thought Millenial Kids Wanted for Christmas!

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A Christmas post!  In May!  How timely!  My reasoning is twofold: 1) Going through these old magazines in roughly reverse-chronological order seems like the most fun way to go, especially since I want to save one of the oldest for last.  2) It snowed up here last week.
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So today our journey through the '90's starts in the year 2000.  Decades do tend to leak into one-another at the edges.  We'll go over strange ads I found in other, older magazines at the end. Before we go past the cover, though, I'd like to point out that Harry Potter always looked higher than the moon in that particular illustration, and I really don't think anyone can be said to "win" when the prize is live-action "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" merchandise. On that subject...

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Every single one of the things in the picture above is terrible.  But especially that ghastly RC car.  And the bath scrubbies.  And those gift boxes that look to be covered in the Grinch and Max's pelts...

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On top of that, gifting a movie tie-in book rather than, you know, the original Dr. Seuss book to a child is in every way a grinchier trick than anything any version of the Grinch has ever done.  You know what, let's stuff all this Grinch movie crap in a box, shoot it into space, and direct our attention instead to Harry Potter merchandise.

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Or... maybe let's not.  I do still find it hilarious that anyone ever thought it was a good idea to market mucus and fish flavored candy, when it's clearly meant as a joke in the books.  But basically, this is what you had for Harry Potter inspired food before officially licensed butterbeer.

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Honestly, the merchandising of Harry Potter in these days was weird all around.  These limited edition figures aren't pictured but pictures are pretty easy to find on eBay.  I'm just not sure how appealing a ceramic statue of Hagrid about to be mauled by Norbert is to a kid, especially when the damn thing originally retailed at eighty dollars.

Also, LOL forever at that singing fish.  Yeah, we all still have one of those hanging around somewhere.

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Man, I don't even know what I could add to these "Disney Dinosaur" toys that would make them funnier.  It is a good reminder of how garish and ugly the advertising campaign was.  You'd also think they'd advertise even just one toy of the supposedly highly marketable cute furry things some jackasses insisted this movie about dinosaurs had to have but oh well.

How about some random ads then?

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And I just made us all sad.

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The live-action "101 Dalmatians" movies were God-damn inescapable for a few years.  For a reminder of that, stare into these dogs' unnerving people-eyes in despair.

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I can say with all certainty that if I did not already know what they were like, this image would have made me never want to play a "Rayman" game ever.  Mother of God...
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Aw, but that's why I like TV!  Oh, '90's Enjoying-Violent-Media-Shaming. 

Note also that Constable Odo is hip and up with the young people.

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I already know that Kiddified versions of Beach Boys songs sung by animals is kind of a Thing, but since I just recently watched "Love and Mercy", this strikes me as... awkward...

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And finally, let's have a concert in a place that is currently being plowed over to make room for Star Wars.  Love that Walt Disney Records logo, though.


Drawing of the Day

Hey, you know what's strange?  I didn't find any interesting "Pokemon" toys in Toy Wishes.

3.5.16 - Pokemon Yellow!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Spring of Weird 90's Magazines

Like so many things in life, it all started innocently enough.  Not too long ago, legendary animator Andreas Deja posted an issue of Modern Maturity magazine about animated films of the 1990's.  I recognized it immediately; my grandparents had a copy of the same issue and I read it over and over until I practically had it memorized.  Please go to Deja View and read it now, if only for that list of upcoming films, yo.  Bluth's "Hansel and Gretel", something from Hannah-Barbera called "Endangered", and of course the "Roger Rabbit" sequel, which I will believe is a thing when I'm in the theater watching it.

That sent me on a quest looking through old magazines I'd collected over the years.  Sadly, I did not find that issue of Modern Maturity ... but look at what I did find:

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So.  We're going to be reading some of these this spring.  Not all of them: Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs already covered that National Geographic issue, the Pokemon Stadium magazine is just the game's guide, and the anniversary issue of Disney Adventures is surprisingly boring.  I have many more old TV Guides than shown here though, and they've turned out to be treasure troves (though I suppose that's inevitable when you do issues about television for children twice a year).  And I cannot wait to get to Summer's Best Bets For Kids, which dates back to 1993 and is so packed it might take all summer to cover. I'm saving that one for last.  The rest I'll do in chronological order why not.

I'm going to be very busy scanning all these so this post is really just a teaser.


Sketch of the Day!

You know, I don't remember my dreams often enough todraw things that appear in them, but when I do...

3.30.16 - Dream Creatures

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"The Good Dinosaur" Tweetmentary!

This one was way weirder than I expected.

It's Storify time again!  Once again, note that posts couldn't be edited for spelling or anything but they have been shuffled around a little for clarity.  If you're having trouble with the embedded Story, click here.  Thank you, everyone who watched along and contributed.


Drawing of the Day! Just a little pet portrait.

3.8.16 - Junior Pet Portrait

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Drop Everything and watch "Imagining Zootopia"

So... I'm postponing my long Chronological Disney Canon review of "Zootopia" until it's out on home media.  This is partially because everyone already knows that it is an excellent movie and there isn't much I could add to the current conversation.  It's mostly because I really want to do a Live-Tweet commentary (I need a name for these; Twitmentaries?*) of it because this cute Disney cartoon movie where animals wear clothes and talk and do people things is freakin' packed with interesting stuff to talk about. 

Which brings us, in the meantime, to this very cool and good Fusion channel documentary, "Imagining Zootopia".  It is not only reminiscent of the "Making Of" documentaries the Disney Channel used to air in the immediate wake of their new animated film releases, a tradition I dearly miss, it also demonstrates just how much careful consideration was taken into the film and the issues it tackles.  You'll get to see different, generally darker and weirder early versions of "Zootopia", great demonstrations of the intersection of art and science, moving personal stories from the writers, and it really is just awesome to see the current team of Disney animators at work.  It was posted on YouTube a few days too early, and is officially marked as unlisted, but you can watch it here.  Note that there are spoilers with regards to plot and theme, so watch this after seeing the movie.


Art of the Day!

By far the most controversial part of "Zootopia" is the traditional Disney end-credit scene, cause it's just John Lasseter pointing at the audience, laughing at us, and saying, "Ha ha, you are all Furries now!"**

My Fursona would totally fall for the Pawpcicles.

3.29.16 - Zootopians!


* - Speaking of Twitmentaries (I like that name; I'm keeping it), I really need to do "Frozen" as part of the Princess Project one of these days, huh?  I'd really like to do "Inside-Out" sometime too.  I've also been sitting on this rental DVD of "The Good Dinosaur" for days, and "E.T." was just added to Netflix Instant -- boy-howdy, that'd be an awesome one to analyze.  In the meantime, adults, watch "E.T." with a kid you know cause I feel like there's a generation who missed out on being thoroughly freaked out by it.

** - I'm going to get weird comments from humorless people about this aren't I?