Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Something New That's Pretty Good

Someone sent me a link to this Plastic Man pilot and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was cartoony, visually interesting and appealing to look at. Yeah, there's too much 'tude on the main character, but I'm sure they can work that out when it goes to series.




Anyway, I would watch this for sure if I was a kid. It's a real cartoon and you can tell the creators like the audience. It sure stands out from most of what's out there.

Compare to this old version of Plastic Man made by people who hate kids.
Don't worry, I'll show you more terrible Saturday Morning stuff tomorrow.

56 comments:

Nazario said...

Argh! What's with the skin-colored eyeballs?

FriedMilk said...

Those aren't eyeballs. Those are eye-shaped tattoos!

Raff said...

I kind of see why you like this, but it's part lame ripoff of Ren and Stimpy and part same old flat and angular Fairly Odd Dexter's Samurai No-Neck. Meh.

Amanda H. said...

The title card looks like Bob Camp's stuff.

Here is my latest study:
<a href="http://voodoochild9.blogspot.com/2010/01/study-5a.html</a>

(hope the link worked!)

SoleilSmile said...

I like the BG's.
However, the story seemed to be all over the place. I lost interest half way through. I'm sure they'll work the kinks out with subsequent eps though :)

Nice to see the a voice actor was a creative force in piloting a cartoon!
Hooray for Tom Kenny!

Isaac said...

Stephen DeStefano is a real asset for the shows he works on.

seifd said...

That pilot didn't completely go to waste. It's definitely not the same style, but some ideas from it made it into the episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold featuring Plastic Man. I'm 90% sure it's the same voice actor.

Mattroplex said...

I find it interesting that the animators on the new animation completely ripped Ren's maniacal laugh movements from the old Happy Helmet episode.

J said...

I love this pilot and its hilarious that cartoon network would pick Johnny Test over this

Peter Gray said...

Loved it..loved the bit where he tried to stop people drinking water and playing in it..

Noel said...

Turn of the video (however way you want)and listen to the sound and you are back in the 80's....Cheese, but cartoony.

The Slightly-Old Pooperoo said...

First time viewer: I tune in just in time for the story behind The "L" Tongue. yay! - another mystery solved, and thanks.


plus, Tom Kenny = genius.

so there.

Lamont Cranston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mykal said...

John: I liked this a great deal. There were some similarities to Ren and Stimpy, but that's not a bad thing. -- Mykal

Zoran Taylor said...

Sad to tell you, John, that this is about six or seven years old, I think. It never went anywhere. There was a cool comic book of the same franchise around the same time, but aalong64, who's a friend of mine and comes here often, could tell you much more about it since he owns the collections of it and I don't.

@Mattroplex - I see where you're coming from, but personally I was much more immediately reminded of the big yak conniption in RCKYM.

EalaDubh said...

Somebody appears to remember Harvey Kurtzman's 'Plastic Sam' parody from the old MAD comics.

J C Roberts said...

More than a little inspired by the look of the old Mad Magazine parody, which is a lot better than the other version seen here.

Might be good if they can work around the restraint and conventional story structures that will foisted on them. I'm glad to see something with a little life in it, as long as the design sense has some thought in it.

Is it for "Cartoon" Network, or are they still too busy doing the same thing to cartoons that MTV did to music with their "CN real" garbage?

Gene Snyder said...

I remember watching "Plastic Man" as a kid. It had that goofiness to it that "Superfriends" didn't have.

Andrés Sanhueza said...

A Cartoon Network executive said in a AWN article that the series wasn't picked because of the title—"kids perceive plastic as hard and rigid, not loose and stretchy". Go figure.

J said...

I love that the Plastic Man design resembles the Mad "Plastic Sam" parody

Andrés Sanhueza said...

There are some development art in the Andy Suriano blog: http://andyupdates.blogspot.com/search/label/PLASTIC%20MAN

Kelly Toon said...

this has me really laughing at times! That never happens :( I loved the weird-looking parole officer (yellow nose and woman lips?), and the poster of The Eel in his office. The backgrounds had a nice feel and set off the characters to good advantage.
The water bad guy was fun and silly, but he had an edge. The "manaiacal laugh" was a direct lift of Ren, or is it an homage?

It is kind of flat and "wonky" but ya know, it beats 90% of what I have seen on the TV (not that I even watch it anymore). Is Johnny Test that godawful thing with the spiky kid and a talking labrador? It has to be one of the ugliest things I've ever seen,up there with "Phineas and Ferb"

Niki said...

I remember seeing this video about four years ago. I loved it but everybody else on the board liked the old plastic man better, besides maybe two others. They even made me watch an episode of it, which surprisingly didn't change my opinion.

Whit said...

WB and CN had a disagreement over who would pay for this pilot. Neither wanted to. This in an era of overcompensation for failed executives, since canned.

KennethJ said...

Oh man I loved Plastic Man, looking back on the old cartoon really made me sad how they limited his stretchy abilities with the boring comic book style animation. But finally someone has given his goofy one liners the body it deserves! I love how they took full advantage of his superpowers and made him as goofy as possible. I actually laughed out loud at some points, which is a real stamp of approval.

JohnK said...

I can't believe this is 6 years old. I assumed it was new.

I imagine it could have been very popular by now if it was picked up.

Gabriele_Gabba said...

Gosh John i love it when you say stuff like 'by people that hate kids' Cracks me up every time. It ought to be a theme in a cartoon:

An evil organisation that is fueled on the tears of children from the 1970s-80s. Perhaps one for plastic man?

Kali Fontecchio said...

Ya it's old, that's why in the corner of the video it says, "maybe we can pull an Adventure Time" so maybe you putting it on your blog will help bring it some attention again.

wolfboy said...

Thanks for posting this, John! This pilot had been a labor of love and culmination of 6-7 years trying to convince DC, WB and Cartoon Network to allow Tom Kenny and myself to make it (well before the Kyle Baker comic revamp). Someone finally said yes a few years back (2005, I believe) and yes, we received notes from all of the above mentioned.
That being said, I really appreciate your acknowledgement to knowing our audience and making something that we would've watched ourselves, versus any quarterly agenda that would've been at play. Tom and I LOVE Jack Cole, Ramona Fradon, Plastic Man and yes, homages abound: Clampett, Avery, Jones, Kurtzman, Davis (any MAD artist), Sasek and even you (one of the reasons I moved out here from Detroit to pursue animation).

In response to a couple comments here (and I appreciate and welcome any criticisms), if it looks a little "FairlyOddparentsmeetsSamuraiJack" it's because I was a designer on both, Raff.

And yes, Tom is indeed the voice of Plastic Man in (James Tucker's) new Batman: Brave and the Bold as well, which was developed not-too-much after this pilot (ouch). I actually really enjoy the new show, but my involvement has been kept more or less at arms length, unfortunately. I feel like I could've been a bigger asset. Oh well, another man's toys I suppose.

As to the myriad of reasons as to why it didn't get picked up: I heard them all, or maybe I haven't. Still not too clear as to the why exactly, but after doing 3 well-tested pilots and getting zero greenlit, I sort of threw up my hands at that point.

That being said, it's just a pilot. The subsequent storyboards we did proved we learned from some of the awkwardness doing a pilot brings (which is more for the "suites" than anyone else--hell, how many pilots actually get scene?). I think all of us involved were proud of the little bit we were able to contribute in spite of all the notes and interference. We did have a couple of champions, which I owe much gratitude towards, unfortunately their voices didn't bring much weight. It was fun to make, though--and I will always be thankful to get to play a little bit with Jack Cole's greatest creation (that sounds sort of naughty, doesn't it?).

Thanks again for the post. Looking forward to talking more.

--Andy Suriano

Amanda H. said...

Try again. My link didn't work :/
>Study 5aStudy 5a

JohnK said...

Hi Andy

good job!

I'm amazed it didn't get picked up.

RooniMan said...

That short was good. Can't believe they didn't pick this up. It's LEAGUES better that Johnny Test BS.

C said...

It's interesting to hear the history behind it. I wish it had been picked up. I'd watch it lots and lots.

PowerRangerYELLOW said...

Andy, you should try pitching your cartoons to other networks even just cable access would be helpful.

Tom green for example started out on cable access and his popularity grew over time til the point the comedy network picked up his show.

But than mtv also picked up tom's show due to it's already existing popularity on the comedy network.

what I'm saying is that if it worked for tom green than why can't it work for talented cartoonists?

Just whatever you do just make sure that people see your cartoons by any means necessary.

John-Michael Morgan said...

That's a great cartoon. Plus, Tom Kenny takes it to the next level.

The Butcher said...

Oh man, that was pretty good. It had some good animation and good, non banter dialouge. I'd definetely watch that even though I'm not a kid.

The Butcher said...

Tom Kenny is GREAT!

HemlockMan said...

Thanks for posting that pilot, John! I'd never heard of it. A shame it didn't get picked up. It has a lot of the feel of a Jack Cole comic book script. I'm sure it would only have gotten better if it had been allowed to go to full production. Alas.

aalong64 said...

John, I don't know if you've seen Kyle Baker's Plastic Man comic, but it's really cartoony. Along with the creators of this pilot, Baker is the only person who takes advantage of the fact that Plastic Man can turn into anything. Most of the time, people just have him stretch his neck a bit, or something boring like that.

I just scanned a few images from it, which you can see here:
http://aalong64.blogspot.com/2010/01/kyle-bakers-plastic-man.html

Apart from consistently hilarious writing and art, Baker was constantly experimenting with different visual styles. Unfortunately it only lasted 20 issues.

aalong64 said...

Also, to PowerRangerYellow, the reason cartoonists can't do what Tom Green did is time and money. It doesn't cost much to take a camcorder and film yourself pooing on your parents' bed, but it is pretty expensive to make a good cartoon.

If nobody watched his show, it wouldn't have mattered much, but when you spend months and thousands of dollars working on a cartoon, you kind of want to be sure people will see it.

Which is my problem-- I've made a few, but putting them on Youtube doesn't do anything-- nobody knows to look them up.

(if anybody's interested, my cartoons are at youtube.com/aalong64)

John Pannozzi said...

You must admit that girl in the old Plastic Man cartoon is pretty cute, though, flesh-colored eyes or not.

Speaking of flesh-colored eyes, maybe that trend started with Barney Rubble's eyes.

When Warner Bros. bought Turner (and with it, Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network) back in the late '90s, they redesigned the Scooby-Doo characters to not have flesh-colored eyes. It looked weird to me at the time (I even colored Shaggy's eyes pink on a video cover), but now I'm used to it. Alas, it seems they're going back to flesh-colored eyes for the new Scooby-Doo Mystery, Inc. series.

P.S. the only reason I want to pick up the DVD release of that awful Plastic Man cartoon from the '80s is because the newer Plastic Man pilot is included as an extra.

Lamont Cranston said...

d'oh d'oh d'oh.
The correct Jack Cole art link: http://colescomics.blogspot.com/

Greg said...

it could do with some new sound effects.

Yowp said...

Perhaps, John, I'm in the minority. I couldn't finish watching this. It seems like it was put together by people who showed how much they hated '80s animation by going overboard the other way.

There's too much movement for my liking. I like the Tex Avery cartoons when, suddenly but logically, you'd get a character doing some wild bit of action. Here, the characters are frantically all over the place as if to say "See! We're not stiff cartoons like that crap a generation ago."

I can't say as I can get too much into the characters, either. Daffy Duck could be over-the-top without seeming over-the-top because Clampett and others could vary his emotions. These ones are strictly hammy all the time.

But points for trying.

Yowp

JohnK said...

It's only the first cartoon. And pretty good for a first cartoon.

Have you ever seen Tex's first cartoon? Folks need practice and time to work with a character and the crew.
But Plastic Man was way above the general standard of the time and showed lots of promise.

People can sure be harsh today!

jhbmw007 said...

John I'm sure someone's probably already asked but what are your thoughts on "The Mighty Bee" I think it's on Nick or Cartoon Network?

Ben Cohen said...

I love em both...as a kid liked the old Plastic Man cartoon. As an adult digging the pilot. From Jack Cole to Kyle Baker in comics Plastic Man has seen the range from nostalgically good to actually good. But hay I am child of the 80's.

Zoran Taylor said...

"Have you ever seen Tex's first cartoon?"

You mean Page Miss Glory? That's pretty freaking sophisticated stuff animation-wise. And I'm sure I'm in the minority for finding it funny, for the same reason as Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom - It's so OBVIOUSLY over-designed it's ridiculous. And it's intentional. What is "high" society if not over-designed?

Those scowling, swaying, singing baristas are hilarious. Every single thing about them is totally incongruent with everything else: Simplistic lines-only faces with no eye whites, cross expressions with sweet voices, complete flatness all over combined with smooth, immaculate waving line movement....everything is technically perfect yet completely wrong, like real aristocracy. It's creepy as hell to the point of being funny, like Ren at his most gone.

BTW: To anyone who's curious as to what Clampett's directorial debut was, it was the opening sequence of the 1933(?) film, "When's Your Birthday?" The most impressive part of it IMO is the trip through space with asteroids whipping past the edge of the screen. The rest is pretty generic.

John-Michael Morgan said...

Forgot to mention in my other comment: I love how Plastic Man is just constantly changing with every little emotion and detail from one form to another.

And the puns...oh, the puns...

lastangelman said...

Holy crap - this looks like a direct homage the The Mad Magazine comic Plastic Sam - I love it! I amazed this was not picked up for a full series. Stupid executives! They're worse than commies!!

John Paul Cassidy said...

John,

I was just about to ask the same question as jhbmw007 just did. I'm a very big fan of THE MIGHTY B!, which I consider to be the best cartoon on Nick (or on all TV for that matter, along with THE VENTURE BROS.) since REN & STIMPY! I was so crushed to hear of its unceremonious cancellation last year (despite them giving the rest of Season 2).

I do know you got credit at the end of Season 1 in the "Special Thanks" list!

John Paul Cassidy said...

I do know you got credit at the end of Season 1 in the "Special Thanks" list!

I meant the end of *Episode* 1, sorry.

Marty Fugate said...

Jeez, John. I thought there was nothing beyond crap.

I was wrong.

jeffsimonetta said...

I attended an Animation Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2008. They had a panel with some business execs there and mentioned this pilot. They thought it was a great, but when they tested it in front of a children audience they didn't like it because the kids thought "plastic was hard," and couldn't morph like the main character was doing. So it didn't get picked up. Damn Kids..

Luke said...

I know this is old, but this show may be picked up again for DC nation.

Jacob Freez said...

I really loved the pilot. Tom Kenny is such a genius ^^ The style resembles Craig McCracken's Powerpuff Girls mixed with Ren & Stimpy and first Cartoon Cartoons.