July 25, 2019 in Dag

I feel like a wascally wabbit

Okay, I’m off on one of my nostalgia rants again today. And the topic of today’s rant is… animation.

I’ve always loved animation. I love the way what is basically nothing but a series of drawings can be brought to life.

These days, it seems like it’s all about computer-based animation. But back when I was a kid, it was all about the hand drawn cell animation, and there were two big studios that ruled the roost – Disney and Warner Brothers (sure there was also Hanna-Barbera but let’s face it they were never in the same league).

These two studios made an interesting contrast in styles.

When it came to the pure artistry of animation, you cannot go past the great old Disney works. The colours. The design. The way the characters moved. Every frame could be put up on the wall as a piece of artwork. Every little scene was a masterpiece in itself.

The old Warner Brothers cartoons – the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies – never quite reached those peaks of artistry. The animation was always a bit sketchy in comparison. And yet, if I had to make a choice as to which I preferred, I think Warner Brothers would definitely win. There was something about these cartoons, a kind of edge, that made them so compelling to watch. The scripts were sharp and subversive, far beyond anything Disney ever did, and the characters were so strong. Admittedly, I was never that keen on Bugs Bunny, who seemed a bit smug and smarmy, but I always warmed to Daffy Duck – the ultimate fall guy – forever trying and never winning.

Many years ago, I heard a story about the circumstances in which the old Warner Brothers cartoons were produced. Apparently, the studio had little regard for the craft of animation (a big contrast from Disney, where it was the primary reason the studio existed) and treated the animators very poorly, having them working in poor conditions well away from the main studio. This instilled in the animators a strong spirit of defiance and subversiveness, which went a long way to informing the spirit of the cartoons they produced.

I can’t help but feel a sense of kinship with those old Warner Brothers animators. As I sit in my little room, creating my stories, I also feel somewhat cut off from the writing mainstream. And that feeling helps drive me towards writing the stories I want to write, not the ones the mainstream demands. I might not exactly be thumbing my nose at the writing establishment, but I’m always trying to do my thing, my way.

And if that makes me some sort of wascally wabbit, I can live with that.

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