Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Delightful Nonsense

Jim Tyer. What an enigma!
There is a rumor that he not only drew his own comics; he wrote them too, and it seems likely because his stories are so much weirder than the other Terrytoons comics.His drawings break just enough rules to make them look crazy. He doesn't break every rule though, as many cartoons today do.
As funny as his drawings look, the dialogue is almost as funny to me.

I think Jim Tyer comics are great entertainment for kids, because they are distilled silliness - exactly what kids expect from cartoons. ...and what everyone else used to expect, but have been trained against.

They aren't drawn as crazy as his animation, although you can find some pretty funny images now and again.
I think Tyer has 2 audiences.

1) kids: his comic books. You can actually see the individual drawings and read silly stories.

2) Cartoon connoisseurs - his animation is wacky in a way that the average person probably doesn't really notice, but hardened animation fans who look really close at everything do.

This makes some people hate him and accuse him of being wacky for wacky sake or having no control.

Others think he is a lovable rebel. I'm not sure he is rebelling on purpose, or if he is just oblivious to the stories he is animating for. By all accounts he was a very conservative Christian Republican in real life. They don't make Republicans like thy used to! Chester Gould is another perfect Repubican as Mike F and I were discussing last night.

It does seem like his animaton completely distracts from the stories, which at a controlled studio like Warner Bros. would be a fault.

But at Terrytoons, I think it's a plus because the stories and direction are so poor that you need someone to punch them up by not caring about them and who'll just make every scene crazy and fun to watch - regardless of the context.
He does have moments of control in his animation, where it looks like something is moving a certain way on purpose, rather than just being a string of random accidents.

If I had some Terrytoons on DVD, I could show you some of the stuff. I wish they would release them. It would be a service to humanity.

I do have a tape I made years ago of a few minutes of his wildest animation cut together, but don't know how to transfer it to digital. Anyone in the LA area want to help me?


Thanks to Chris Lopez for his great site! He is reviving tons of great cartoon art and comics that should have been reprinted in books long ago.