Tag Archives: Filmation

31 Days of Monsters, Day 6: Sir Trance-A-Lot has already got a Holy Grail. It’s Ver-ary Nice!

Playing a little bit of catch up today (didn’t get this guy posted at midnight like I wanted), but better later in the day than missing it completely I guess.  For today’s monster animation cel I have a really cool frame featuring one of Prime Evil’s main henchmen, Sir Trance-A-Lot!

I absolutely love the character design on STaL, what with his imposing skull face (mirrored on his steed Frightmare) and even his Dali-esque moustache and French-ish accent (provided by the much underappreciated Lou Scheimer.)  I love that as a ghost he’s also sort of like the Sandman from the Real Ghostbusters as his main power is to put people to sleep using his Trance Lance (which has a sawed-off tip and spews a sleep-inducing gas.)

This cel also came affixed to a production photocopy of a background, this one featuring a pretty gnarly-looking castle!

So come back each day this month for a new monster animation cel, and also, for more Halloween-y fun all month long, be sure to check out the Countdown to Halloween website for the complete list of sites participating in this year’s spooky fun.  John Rozum has been working hard compiling the list, and it looks like there is a lot of awesome sites already signed up.

31 Days of Monsters, Day 5: Poso in honor of Puzo!

Hey boils and ghouls, it’s Friday, Day 5 of the 31 Days of Monsters Countdown here at Branded and I’m slipping back into The Real Ghostbusters territory.  As a continuation of last Wednesday’s post, here’s Poso in all his pink Jabba the Hutt-like glory!

I read a bit of trivia on this character that says his name is an homage to Mario Puzo, the author of the Godfather novel (seeing as how Poso is desperately trying to become the spirit world’s own Godfather.)  We also get another glimpse of Peter Venkman covered in the yellow Psychomagnotheric Slime (originally featured in the live action Ghostbusters sequel) in this cel.  Unlike most of the Real Ghostbusters cels I’ve acquired, this one came attached (with double-sided tape) to a vintage production photocopy of a background, which leads me to believe that they may have used this cel in a reshoot or correction of some sort.  Here’s what it looks like with the background intact (if you look close you can see the darker patches with the double-sided tape near the top of the scan…)

So come back each day this month for a new monster animation cel, and also, for more Halloween-y fun all month long, be sure to check out the Countdown to Halloween website for the complete list of sites participating in this year’s spooky fun.  John Rozum has been working hard compiling the list, and it looks like there is a lot of awesome sites already signed up.

31 Days of Monsters, Day 4: Jake Kong can run rings around this Colossus!

We’re jumping back over to the Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon for today’s 31 Days of Monsters post.  This cel features Jake Kong Jr. facing off against a giant colossus, and it comes from the episode #13 (production # 68008) titled “A Friend in Need” from 1986.  In the episode, Prime Evil’s boss, Big Evil, decides to take over the organizational duties at Hauntquarters and it’s up to Jake, Eddie and Tracy to team up with Prime Evil to take Big Evil down!

 

This cel is from a segment where Big Evil animates two huge statues laying around Hauntquaters, and sends them after the heroes.  This giant metal colossus is pretty neat and reminds me a bit of the character design of Calibos from the original Clash of the Titans (p.s. world, I hate having to type “original” Clash of the Titans.)  Like most of the Filmation Ghostbusters cels I was able to acquire, this one was accompanied by a vintage production photocopy of the background…

…though in this case the background isn’t accurate (though it was taped to the cels to keep them in place on it which is weird.)  Checking in this episode I can see that the BG is a bit different (though both feature the Hauntquarters setting.)

Either way, I’m glad to have it and honestly, it’s pretty darn awesome even all by its lonesome!

I love the quality in the Filmation backgrounds, it was always an area where they never skimped…

So come back each day this month for a new monster animation cel, and also, for more Halloween-y fun all month long, be sure to check out the Countdown to Halloween website for the complete list of sites participating in this year’s spooky fun.  John Rozum has been working hard compiling the list, and it looks like there is a lot of awesome sites already signed up.

31 Days of Monsters, Day 3: Venkman gets suited up in Psychomagnotheric Slime and is chaperoned by Shifter!

Well, it’s Day 3, and I’m bouncing back to a couple of animation cels from The Real Ghostbusters featuring Peter Venkman, Luis Tully, and more importantly (to this countdown) Shifter, the greasy ex-stooge of gangster Boss Poso (who will be making an appearance shortly) from the episode Partners in Slime (which originally aired in season 5, 1989.)

This episode is fun because it’s one of the few in the series that calls back to events from the live action movies, in particular the Psychomagnotheric “mood” Slime from Ghostbusters II.  In an effort to become the kingpin of the spectral underworld, Poso kidnaps both Janine and Luis and the only way to get them back is for Shifter to smuggle Peter into Ghost Town (in New Jersey of all places.)  In order for the rouse to work, Peter has to be covered head to toe in the mood slime recovered after the battle with Vigo in GBII so that he can look ghostly and have limited spectral powers (like flight.)  For some reason the slime is yellow in the cartoon instead of the soft bubblegum pink of the film.

I guess in a way, since the slime is almost sentient, today features two ghosts.  I wanted to include this second cel from my collection so illustrate what Peter looks like fully covered in the episode.  Also, you’ll notice a sneak peak at Friday’s Ghost, as we can see a rather large pink tail that belongs to a certain mobster spook…

Also, a quick note about the original pencil drawing that accompanied this second cel.  As someone who loves cartoons, both the final episodes and all the behind the scenes work that goes into creating them, I can’t help but get a little bummed at how these elements were treated after the shows were finished being produced.  Unfortunately, at the time (in the 80s) there wasn’t a huge demand for these cels and pieces of production artwork so it was common to just stack hundreds of them in boxes (cels interspersed with their corresponding production drawing or photocopy of the background artwork) and have them shipped off to an un-climate-controlled storage unit, left to rot for years.  Luckily a lot of the cels and drawings survived, but many became fused together as the paint on the cels melted and re-dried to the drawings underneath.  The below damage isn’t all that severe, but I do have some where the production drawing had to be destroyed in order to get a good scan of the cel.  It always kills me when this happens.  Anyway, off the soapbox I hop…

So come back each day this month for a new monster animation cel, and also, for more Halloween-y fun all month long, be sure to check out the Countdown to Halloween website for the complete list of sites participating in this year’s spooky fun.  John Rozum has been working hard compiling the list, and it looks like there is a lot of awesome sites already signed up.

31 Days of Monsters, Day 2: Ghost Buggy is Raring to Go!

Alright, it’s day 2 of the 31 Days of Monsters Halloween Countdown, and since I started out with a cel from the Real Ghostbusters yesterday it’s time to switch things up and visit one from Filmation’s Ghostbusters!  I like to start these cel countdowns with stuff that’s either not-so-scary, or with characters that might otherwise be considered one of the good guys.  So, sort of like the Slimer cel, I was thinking of a character that would be sort of similar in the Filmation universe and the one that immediately sprung to mind was Ghost Buggy!

Certainly a “must” for any Ghostbusters outfit worth its salt is a sweet, yet temperamental ride, and Ghost Buggy fits that bit to a T (a haunted Model T that is.)  This southern jalopy is not only sentient, but he can also transform into all sorts of vehicles from a car to a plane, a train, and can even travel through time!  DeLorean, eat your heart out.

One of the aspects that I love about Ghost Buggy is that his face doubles at the logo for the team.  Whereas the Real Ghostbusters cartoon writers and series developers did their best to work in the “No Ghosts” logo specter into the opening credits and interstitials, Ghost Buggy is actually a part of the team in the Filmation series.  In a way GB is almost the ultimate 80s cartoon logo/faction symbol in this manner (think the Autobot, Decepticon, Cobra, and Thundercats logos.)

Anyway, I was lucky enough to score a copy of this cel with one of the vintage Filmation background photocopies, so for once we can put this cel in context of a scene.  Though I’ve yet to get my hands on some of the original Filmation background paintings, these photocopies really go a long way to making me feel like I have a small piece of this cartoon in my collection.

So come back each day this month for a new monster animation cel, and also, for more Halloween-y fun all month long, be sure to check out the Countdown to Halloween website for the complete list of sites participating in this year’s spooky fun.  John Rozum has been working hard compiling the list, and it looks like there is a lot of awesome sites already signed up.

31 Days of Monsters, Day 1: Slimer’s coming to get you!

Welcome back to another Branded in the 80s Countdown to Halloween!  This year marks my 7th year celebrating the season here on the site and I’m really excited to be able to resurrect the 31 Days of 80s Monster animation cels.  Back in 2009, and again in 2010 I had the opportunity to share a total of 62 Real Ghostbusters monster, ghost and creature animation cels from my personal collection.  This year I was able to dig up 31 new pieces, though I’ve decided to shake things up a bit and alternate between both the Real Ghostbusters and Filmation Ghostbusters cartoons.  Though TRG is arguably the more popular franchise, oddly enough Filmation GB animation cels are much harder to come by.  It’s taken me years to be able to find some, though only enough cels so that I could share them during half of my Halloween-y countdown.  So I thought it would be fun to bounce back and forth.

To get this started though, lets go back to the 31 Days of Monsters roots with this awesome cel featuring everyone’s favorite focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm, or a Class 5 full roaming vapor (who can eat a vending cart full of hotdogs like no one else), Slimer!

I absolutely fell in love with this cel when I stumbled across it.  Not only is Slimer wearing a great Hawaiian shirt, but that demonic expression is great.  I actually ended up donating this exact cel to the recent Strange Kids Club Issue 3 kickstarter to help raise the funds needs to get that comix anthology printed.  So this guy hopefully has found a new loving home where it will be displayed proudly in a “Strange” collection.  Be sure to keep tabs on the Strange Kids Club to get the details on when Issue three will be available for public purchase, as it’s going to be an issue full of fun comics and articles that you won’t want to miss.

As a bonus, here’s a scan of the accompanying pencil sketch that the base animation cel was produced from…

So come back each day this month for a new monster animation cel, and also, for more Halloween-y fun all month long, be sure to check out the Countdown to Halloween website for the complete list of sites participating in this year’s spooky fun.  John Rozum has been working hard compiling the list, and it looks like there is a lot of awesome sites already signed up.

He came, he saw, he podcasted, He-Man.

Recently the kind folks over at The Nerd Lunch podcast invited me back on the show to geek out on some more of our favorite topics.  The show features NL alums CT and Jeeg, as well as Paxton from Cavalcade of Awesome, and once again I had a blast!

We spend the episode discussing the classic Masters of the Universe toy line from Mattel.  From our first memories of the toys to how we feel about them almost 30 years later.  If you want to hear me wax nostalgic on MOTU, then head on over to Nerd Lunch and give the episode a listen.  You can also find their show on iTunes.

I can still hear the laughter echoing from the Filmation Studios hallways 25 years later…

After reading Adam Eisenberg’s Thundarr article from a 1980 issue of Fantastic magazine earlier in the week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of violence and marketing in cartoons, and the whole debacle of Action for Children’s Television in the early 80s.  9.999 times out of 10 there are usually only two reactions to the debate; people either tend to agree with A.C.T. and believe that merchandised cartoons are just 30 minute commercials that have almost nothing to offer children, or they disagree and don’t see the harm in matching toy lines and feel that cartoons are either good for kids or are at least not doing harm.  It’s easy to forget that even though the issue appears black and white, the world is always a weird gray place filled with all kinds of people (that 0.001 out of 10 people.)  For this Cartoon Commentary I’m going to take a look at someone else’s commentary for a change…

Steve (the Evil King Macrocranios) over at the Roboplastic Apocalypse pointed me to a April 25th, 1985 Washington Post editorial by Jane A. Welch, a concerned mother of two who has the most unique (at least I hope so) opinion of the merits of the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe property I’ve ever come across…

First off, though Welch’s editorial reads like the semi-crazy ranting that tends to get buried in the lifestyle section of a local paper and is really yesterday’s news on the day it sees print, the story actually caught on.  While doing a bit of research in trying to pin down the impact of Welch’s rant I came across a number of other papers from all over the country that picked up the editorial, so this was most likely Welch’s fifteen minutes.

So what is so crazy about Welch’s commentary?  Well for starters she takes the unique stance that Filmation’s He-Man cartoon has the potential to turn her then two year-old son into a bleeding heart pantywaist!  For once, a parent stands up and says that there isn’t ENOUGH violence in a cartoon and that morality of avoiding fighting and violence is downright un-American.  Welch might just be a long lost relative of Roger Sweet, the initial creator of the Masters of the Universe toy line for Mattel, as she seems to closely mimic his feelings towards the Filmation version of the He-Man storyline.

There are a couple things that I find really interesting in the editorial including the idea that the cartoon and toy line differ so much in execution and tone.  Whereas the toys were designed in the image of fierce warrior barbarians with axes, swords, and rippling muscles, the cartoon, which uses most of the same imagery, all but ignores these violent aspects of the characters in favor of moralistic, fable-like storytelling where He-Man is more likely to thrown Beastman in the mud then physically harm him in any way.  Though this dichotomy is apparent in most cartoon merchandising, it points to the underlying issue that’s really been bugging me about how my generation appropriates pop culture icons.

What I’m seeing is an issue of potential and the wish fulfillment of seeing that potential realized based on the idea of “how things work in the real world.”  So when we have a character like Superman/Clark Kent who is ripped with an unstoppable alien musculature powered by Earth’s yellow sun and very rarely unleashes the full brunt that he can dish out, it’s understandable to want to see this potential released.   What’s more maddening than a cocked gun that isn’t fired, right?   People want to see Superman punch a fist-sized hole right through Lex Luther’s head, because A) he’s got it coming, B) Superman could totally do it if he wanted to, and C) in the “real world”, if a Superman existed, he probably would do it for the “greater good”.  I think the quest set in front of the writers of this type of fiction is how to balance character potential and relatable character depth without breaking the character.   As an aging audience, I think more and more we want to see these characters broken.  As children everything is still new to us and we’re content with going along on the adventures that have limitless possibilities, and this makes serialized stories and ideal experience.   As adults we develop a different perspective on life.  We don’t see limitless possibilities, we see stark reality and the eventually of our own mortality.  Add to this the possibility of a long time familiarity with a character and it’s easy to see how we can take them for granted and want to go to that next step, the step that changes that character forever.

For fear of standing up on a soapbox, I think I should get back to the crazy editorial.  Welch complains that a character that illustrates such obvious violent potential that is never realized sends the wrong message to her son.  The idea that her son isn’t getting enough machismos, that he might learn to solve difficult issues with forethought and compassion actually scares her, which I think is so absurd it’s hilarious.  Even more surprising is her apparent stance on politics of gender, in particular in how it relates to the dynamic between Prince Adam/He-Man and Teela.  She writes:

“And there’s Teela.  At first glance she’s not extraordinary.  He-Man’s female companion has the round, full hips and tiny waist so loved by comic book artists.  The serpentine objects encircling her breasts might seem a bit much for preschoolers, but after all, cleavage didn’t hurt Wonder Woman.

Teela is Captain of the guard.  She isn’t just a soldier, but a leader of soldiers.  No kitchen duty for this woman.  More times than not, she rescues He-Man – or at least helps.  No damsel in distress here.

Again, how is this affecting children?   Young Americans might begin to think that men and women are equals – that sex isn’t necessarily destiny.”

At first blush I was taking this for sarcasm, that Welch was going to make a point about how even though she thinks He-Man is a bit of a emotional cream puff, at least Teela is handled as strong and independent.   But in re-reading it I don’t think she’s kidding.   I think she yearns for a more subservient female role model, which is strange since she brings up Wonder Woman, who’s about as strong and independent a role model for women there is in pop culture (well, except for maybe Xena.)

I want to believe that the whole editorial is a joke, or more accurately that it was snidely disguised social commentary with a tongue firmly planted in the writer’s cheek, but I’m scared that it isn’t.  What’s troubling is that in the version carried by some of the other papers, the editorial is edited, removing some of the more troubling exclamations about gender roles and at the time current American military skirmishes.  The above exceprt about Teela is reduced to the following when the editorial appears on May 8th in the Orlando Sentinel:

“…and his female companion, Teela, is a decidedly modern woman.  She’s not only a soldier, she’s a leader of soldiers.”

The question I have is, are editorials edited by the paper’s staff, or did Welch submit her thoughts to various papers in different iterations?  Either way, the clear message of useless morals and backward antiquated roles for men and women is absurdly hilarious and just a little bit frightening.  If the editorial was published as widely as it appears, I can only hope it made its way into the Filmation studios because I think I can still hear the laughter echoing from those hallways after 25 years, and it’s deep, rich and “…sounds like Gary Owens in an echo chamber…”

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Saturday Supercast Episode 22: A continuation of the discussion on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!




I’m really excited to be back this week with episode 22 of the Saturday Supercast!  In this episode Jerzy, Kevin and I finish off our exploration of the first season of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Again, for those not familiar, in the series He-Man and his friends, the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Ram Man, Orko, and Stratos wage an endless battle defending Castle Greyskull and the planet Eternia against Skeletor and his evil warriors, Beastman, Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw, Merman, and Triklops, who want to conquer and rule the world.  The series, produced by Filmation Studios in 1983, was a landmark cartoon mixing fantasy and science-fiction, reinvigorating children’s television with a sense of action and adventure, as well as helping to instill a solid sense of morality for an entire generation of kids.   Masters of the Universe was also one of the first series to break through the governmental ban on interweaving existing toy lines and cartoons, not to mention paving the way for first-run syndicated animation, defining the distribution format for shows through the 80s and 90s.


Join us as we deconstruct the series, diving into another four of our favorite episodes:


The fan favorite Evilseed




…as well as the Dragon’s Gift




Quest for the Sword




…and Prince Adam No More.




In this Saturday Supercast episode we touch on a lot of the talent that made He-Man possible including series producers Lou Scheimer (who also voiced half of the cast of characters including Orko and Stratos), voice actors John Erwin (He-Man and Beastman) and Alan Openheimer (Skeletor and Man-At-Arms), as well as some of the writers and artists such as Larry DiTillio, Tom Sito and Michael Reaves.


We also dig into the immediately identifiable synthesizer music of He-Man (as well as its Wagnerian themes, lush quality, and a debate on whether or not it helps to bind the sci-fi and fantasy genres of the series or just dates it), the series’ budgetary constraints as both boon and bane, 65 episode syndicated seasons vs. the more traditional (at the time) 13 episode Saturday morning seasons, jump-scares, Evilseed’s secret under his robes, Billie Holiday’s haunting rendition of the tragic song "Strange Fruit", Star Trek the Animated Series, solving problems with book smarts and the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program, Ray Harryhausen, the Rankin/Bass Hobbit cartoon, horrible Irish stereotypes, the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock, Ents, the Visionaries, He-Man inspiring public office, Andy Mangels and his awesome work on the BCI Ink & Paint editions of He-Man on DVD, Bustatoon’s He-Man & She-Ra Blog, Matty Collector’s amazing new line of Masters of the Universe action figures, and the insanity of the Bollywood He-Man stage show!


If you’re curious about watching this great series you can purchase a copy of season 1-part 1, or season 1-part 2 at Amazon, or head on over to Hulu where you can watch 13 of the 1st season episodes for free.


As for us, well you can find more of Jerzy’s work at:

Make Like a Tree Comics

jdrozd.blogspot.com

Art & Story Podcast


Kevin is freelance illustrator, comic creator, and podcaster whose work can be found at:

Kevin Cross.net

Big Illustration Party Time Podcast


And you’re probably already familiar with my work here at Branded.  

If you have any questions, comments, or heck, even complaints, you can drop us a line at Saturday Supercast

You can find the direct download for the episode here, or you can subscribe to the show via iTunes and find out more over at Sugary Serials.

Also, the Saturday Supercast is on Facebook and Twitter, so if you’d like to stay up to date with the goings on at the podcast, go on over and become a fan or follow us.  You won’t be sorry!


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Saturday Supercast Episode 21: Deconstructing He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!




The Saturday Supercast is back this week with our 3rd cartoon deconstruction episode.  This episode is part one of a two part discussion on the landmark 80s cartoon series He-Man and the Masters of the universe.  Join me and my co-hosts, Jerzy Drozd and Kevin Cross as we dig into the He-Man cartoon, trying to figure out why we like it so much, what could be better, and why the show was so important to an entire decade of animation that followed in it’s wake.





For those who may not know, He-Man and his friends, the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Ram Man, Orko, and Stratos wage an endless battle defending Castle Greyskull and the planet Eternia against Skeletor and his evil warriors, Beastman, Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw, Merman, and Triklops, who want to conquer and rule the world.   The series, produced by Filmation Studios in 1983, was a landmark cartoon mixing fantasy and science-fiction, reinvigorating children’s television with a sense of action and adventure, as well as helping to instill a solid sense of morality for an entire generation of kids.   Masters of the Universe was also one of the first series to break through the governmental ban on interweaving existing toy lines and cartoons, not to mention paving the way for first-run syndicated animation, defining the distribution format for shows through the 80s and 90s.


Join us as we deconstruct the overall series, and dive into three of our favorite episodes:


The Diamond Ray of Disappearance





Teela’s Quest




and The Wizard of Stone Mountain




In this episode we touch on a lot of the talent that made He-Man possible including series producers Lou Schiemer (who also voiced half of the cast of characters including Orko and Stratos) and Hal Sutherland, voice actors John Erwin (He-Man and Beastman), Alan Openheimer (Skeletor and Man-At-Arms), and Linda Gary (Teela, the Sorceress and Evil-Lyn), and some of the writers, directors and artists such as Paul Dini, Larry DiTillio, Tom Sito, Bruce Timm, Robby London, and Michael Reaves.

We also discuss the Masters of the Universe toy line, it’s inventor Roger Sweet, and its packaging, as well as Star Wars, Clash of the Titans, and Space 1999 toys, getting toys when you’re home sick as a kid, Jack Kirby’s 4th World, the MOTU mini-comics, rotoscoped animation, Barbarian fantasies in the early 80s (including Thundarr and Conan), the 2002 Mike Young Productions He-Man cartoon, how easy and boring it is to make fun of the He-Man cartoon, alter egos and how Prince Adam is an important aspect to the ideal of the He-Man mythos, the myth of Robert Johnson and his fight against the devil, Andy Mangel’s excellent special features on the BCI Eclipse editions of the original He-Man cartoon on DVD, and our friends at the Horror Etc. podcast.


If you’re curious about watching this great series you can purchase a copy of season 1-part 1, or season 1-part 2 at Amazon, or head on over to Hulu where you can watch 13 of the 1st season episodes for free.


As for us, well you can find more of Jerzy’s work at:

Make Like a Tree Comics

jdrozd.blogspot.com

Art & Story Podcast


Kevin is freelance illustrator, comic creator, and podcaster whose work can be found at:

Kevin Cross.net

Big Illustration Party Time Podcast


…and well I’m Shawn obviously, and if you’re reading this than I guess you know my work can be found at Branded in the 80s.com.


We’re keeping the podcast’s feed over at the Sugary Serials site, so if you want to subscribe to it, you can do it over there or you can use this link. I’m really excited to be podcasting again, and can’t wait to dig into more cartoons.  So head on over to the Sugary Serials and check out episode 21 of the Saturday Supercast today or you can download it by right clicking and selecting save here!


If you have any questions, comments, or heck, even complaints, you can drop us a line at Saturday Supercast!

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