disney

Winnie the Capitalist Enemy

IMG_20180807_084304_448An illustration from a while back, on hearing the news that China has banned the new Christopher Robin movie…

“The Winnie the Pooh character has become a lighthearted way for people across China to mock their president, Xi Jinping, but it seems the government doesn’t find the joke very funny”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/07/china-bans-winnie-the-pooh-film-to-stop-comparisons-to-president-xi

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French Edition

The French edition of  Wonderland came out last week  from Bao/Paquet, changes from the english version (aside from the French) include a return to non-matte paper so the colours look closer to the original series, plus a revision of the word balloons and text so everything looks more hand-drawn/written. Hoping to get some copies of the book soon 🙂

YALSA 2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Not quite the top ten but Wonderland’s on the list at least :p

“… presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The books, recommended for those ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens”, says the website.

http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/booklistsawards/greatgraphicnovelsforteens/ggnt10.cfm

rabbit redux

Did a painted version of the wonderland cover, mostly for the French edition that’s due out next year. Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches.  It was also a chance to see if I could replicate in traditional media a piece that was coloured digitally before, and whether it was a process that I’d enjoy. Mixed feelings ultimately I guess; on the one hand it was an interesting challenge somewhat simplified by having an original to refer to , but that also meant a kind of constraint, so maybe there wasn’t as much a process of discovery and figuring things out as there usually is when painting.

DVDs watched whilst painting: season 1 of Battlestar Galactica (Edward James Olmos is great, mixed feelings about the religious angle) and seasons 2-3 of the Wire. Which felt a lot like the brilliant  Homicide Life on the Streets, which totally made sense when I found out that Homicide was based on a book by the creator of the Wire :p

What is Storytelling?

The above image, from this website, shows some of the concept art for “American Dog”, a Disney movie that turned into “Bolt” after its original director, Chris Sanders was removed.  This was apparently due to disagreements over storytelling with John Lasseter, and therefore raises parallels (in my mind) with other projects where the orginal directors/creators were removed for failing to solve “storytelling problems” (Jan Pinkava on Ratatoullie is another case and maybe Glen Keane on Rapunzel Unbraided as well) .

Apart from any talk of conflicting egoes, it does make me wonder: What exactly is good storytelling?

Pixar movies have been used as a gold standard for a while now in critical circles, and on Ratatoullie, Brad Bird is often cited as having fixed numerous storytelling issues in a matter of weeks. But here’s the rub though: as much as I loved the 2 Toy Stories and Iron Giant, I’ve been underwhelmed by later Pixar movies, from Ratatoullie to Wall-E; Bolt was a pretty bland movie as well.

Which makes me wonder what the movies would have turned out like if Sanders and Pinkava had been allowed to carry out their vision; something more personal, less commercially driven perhaps? Or were there really objectively quantifiable problems with their approach? Is good storytelling a subjective thing or is there some sort of universal (or at least human) standard we can point to? (say…a 90% rating on rottentomatoes? :p)

I guess I worry about these issues working on my own stories, particulary the current Malinky  Robot GN: is there  enough direction in the plot? Emotional engagement of the reader? Is the conflict resolution placed at the right time, at the right intensity? What would a John Lasseter make of the Brothers Quay or Jan Svankmajer?

Who exactly do we write for, and to what end?