Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rubber Buddies

There are some characters that have such an inherent iconic quality that regardless of whether their cartoons are hilarious or not, they just look good in rubber.
Doesn't this Peabody toy make you imagine it must be from a fantastic cartoon?
This Tom looks good too, but is not quite so distinct or iconic as the Jay Ward characters - even though the cartoons he's in are much more animated.
Some fans wonder why I make so many posts about toys and partly it's because I don't always have time to do anything elaborate so I just put up the stuff Mike Fontanelli sends me in his immature glee. But there is kind of a serious point in them: One of the most important qualities in a cartoon character is its inherent iconic appeal. Ionic characters make good toys. It's a quality that is completely non-existent today. Cartoonists used to aim for designs and personalities that had an instant appeal. Rather than this:
Somehow, about 40 years ago cartoon aims turned upside down and now characters seem to be designed to instantly depress you. Big time Hollywood producers think that if they make the audience puke, we will be curious enough to want to watch the cartoon to that makes our stomachs churn so.
Like I said, iconic quality is separate from whether the cartoon is fully animated or even funny. It's just a spark that some cartoon designers and creators had and others strove for but never achieved.
Here's the character who made for some of the best toys ever and the more off model and confused they were, the better.

I bet girls love Fred's iconic veiny club.