Posted by: emjb | August 27, 2006

Link List Pimpin’ #1: Cartooning and Animation

Note: the images look stretched on some computers, normal on others. I have no idea why, so it’s just the way it is.–mjb

This is one of my favorite sections on this website. I really don’t draw that well, but I’ve always been fascinated by the whole process of cartooning, illustration, and animation. I think these artists do some of the best, and least-noticed, work out there today. The fact that the Internet allows every artist to have his or her own website and update it for a vast new audience is the biggest advance in artistic distribution since the printing press.

So, how do I choose the artists and sites I link to?

General Appreciation Sites

These include Cartoons for Grownups, which allows people who still watch “kid” shows to share their love of, say, Magilla Gorilla without shame.

Drawn! is a site for all those who create and love illustrations, whether in print or online. Some of the most amazing artwork can be found there, as well as salutes to great illustrators of the past.

Cartoon Brew concentrates on animation, such as old Tex Avery and Loony Tunes, and then newer projects such as those by Pixar or Nickelodeon. They also tend to find and post wondeful YouTube clips of bits from old Sesame Street episodes, commercials, and Disney shows that you can’t find anywhere else. Hours of time can be lost here.

Cartoonists’ and Animators’ Sites

All of the animator sites I currently have up belong to women, because under-representation of women in cartooning is still a HUGE problem, despite the amazing work they’ve been doing since the medium was born. I discovered many of these women through the work of Trina Robbins, a cartoonist herself who worked in the “wimmin’s comix” underground of the 70s.

Some of the women are fairly well known, such as Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) and Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse). Others, such as Carol Lay and Lynda Barry aren’t as well know but have devoted fans and have been featured on Salon. The rest, Ariel Bordeaux, Ellen Forney, Fawn Gehwiler, Jessica Abel (Artbabe), Lee Marrs, Linda Medley, and Nina Paley, still get little recognition outside their own field (and sometimes not even then) despite decades of brilliant output.

Comics Criticism

People who love the comics also hate the comics, because there’s lots of crappy comics work out there. Happily, many of the critics turn their criticism into funny comics of their own. Very postmodern. The ones on my list take a feminist tack (Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed) or riff on boring comics that no one reads, like Apartment 3-G (Cartoon Curmudgeon). Drink at Work has it’s own satirical strips, like Teenage Girl President, which should really be a show on the WB (or CM, whatever it’s called now). And the vicious commenters at The Foobiverse really have it in for the For Better or For Worse storylines, and run Lynn Johnston through the wringer on a regular basis.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if I should take down this section, because most of my readers don’t seem all that interested in it. At the same time, I remember how much finding each of these sites was a revelation to me, how wonderful it was to find all these hidden treasures. And it’s my website, so who cares what parts get the most traffic? So enjoy.


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