Postscript for the “Thunderian Series”
Note: If you Missed any of the other works in the series including the recent one dealing with Toonami: here they are:
Back when I wanted to go to LA and be the next big star in Hollywood – as a super producer/writer for the next big Genre work, I did research on low fantasy, high fantasy – all the rest of it.
I wanted to know what type of magic that Tokien had. That Lewis had. How can that translate into the animation world (like the way Bashski did it?)
I had the Ideas, the Heart. But it was the wrong time, and it was the wrong way to go about things.
I did these articles not just as a love letter to animation, not just a what happened to Thundercats (2011), not just a critique of what is going wrong in the business, who set it up and why:
I wrote it because things cant stay the way they are. Not only in animation, but its cousin, Video Games.
What we have today, is a mishmash of things that don’t truly belong. Maybe – the things I wrote – the reasons why these events with Saban, and Axe Cop and all the rest have happened? The reason in my opinion is that the American audience is in shell shock. It isn’t their fault in the real sense.
I want people to remember – Saturday Morning’s animation series didn’t produce 26 episodes a season. They produced 13 episodes A YEAR. ONE YEAR. The only way they got paid back was the second run of the episode. That is how the business still works in live action. There was no DVD/Video Tape Market in the mid 1970′s to 1993 and if their was one it was very weak. There was no season sets. There isn’t even aspects of a world beyond the three main networks and the UHF stations back then.
So for the Thundercats (’85) to become one of the most important franchises in the history of all animation, both in the east and the west, knowing how the business was set up then, is a miracle.
And for all that, the 2011 series came out like a dud after episode 4, speaks to the many problems we have today.
The audience is splintered. There is no going back, nor getting a new audience because of the split.
The way forward, is to support people who came from nothing and are now working in the spheres of the marketplace, like Danny Choo and Bahi JD, Jason Demarco, Amid Amidi (even though I have problems with him), Karl Olson (same with him as well) and others.
And no longer trust the armchair quarterbacks.
Because of these Armchair Quarterbacks, the former kings of the “Kids Business” were able to reconfigure their business to better suit themselves and not the fans that wanted shows to match the needs of the changing world. The biggest of these became the pirates we now know as Crunchyroll, who have escaped prison because they are more favored by Government than say Kim Dotcom.
Because of the Armchair Quarterbacks, we are given the wrong impression of the Industry. Take the Case of the Fatman Interview (Kevin Smith) with Mr. Dini. Of course, Mr Dini is a legend in the industry. But Kevin Smith tried to overplay his hand, whereas the truth is somewhere in the middle. This is the same issue concerning the 2011 series of the Thundercats and its issues with Lego’s Chima (we know that Warners and Lego are doing a movie as well) These impressions do not take in account the actual changes in the businesses these products are connected in. However, to be fair, they (in the executive realm) also don’t consider the changes in the marketplaces these products deal in. Both the executives, and the fanbases do not see the bigger picture – they all crash into the same morasses that caused the same problems for DECADES on end, with no end in sight.
So what has taken place in the comic world, the animation marketplace and the video game industry is a mishmash of product aimed in the wrong places for the reasons above. And sometimes the criticism is warranted, and other times is hype from political agencies on the left and right of the spectrum that signifies nothing. All it does is make a mockery of artistic license. This is some of the reasons why when something like a “50 Shades of Gray” arrives, its a pseudo-revelation in the positive, but when the same idea of concepts is aimed toward audiences (of legal age mind you) 30 years younger (GQ Magazine with Glee)- its called the “degradation of societal norms” in the negative. When a comic book with art protecting parts that brought the majority of people life in this world is covered in a way that makes a mockery of the form, it gets passed as sexy, where as clothed grownup versions of a Cartoon Network classic with no panties shown, no sexual connation implied gets rail roaded off the plank.
We don’t have anything close to a “stable” fanbase or a “stable” marketplace. We have folks putting things to get an audience, and being done for “everybody” when “everybody” just want a show that works for a change. We have those that state that we knew better, we had the sites to see better, and we have the ideas long before they did, but never executed them for fear of losing everything.
We now see through their lies and deceit.
Its now time, before the art is lost, before the skill fades – before the cartoonists and the animators become propaganda for Venture Capital – which has brought the likes of these faux-Pixars and the like, is to develop places for the creativity to go.
I would like to see a place where “erotic” things go and be successful in their own right. I feel as though that the problems of objectification would be mitigated if it cannot be gotten rid of, if we had a successful businesses who did such work, and would allow (like they have done several times before with Video Game Models such as Lara Croft, etc) the mainstream businesses to do such. I think that way, it wouldn’t hurt the characters much. but we don’t have them so we have the half way thing which doesn’t make sense and insults everybody that looks at such “censorship” as idiotic.
I would also like to see, the worlds flavor in animation as well. Say what you will about Savita Bahabi, but India is starting to get it, albeit slow at first. Dubai has commissioned animators in Japan to do the first Middle Eastern “Anime” in Tolkaizer. And as much as Brazil has copied, they also are doing original work. Can you imagine Tolkaizer on Toonami both in the US and Asia divisions?
I would also like to see a concept that Amid Amidi stated back in 2010 or so, when it came to the mass production of animation. The idea has come. Lets see how it going to work out.
As well, I would love to see the kids be more involved in the arts, in cartooning and animation. When in the recent Grammy Awards when Macklemore stated he almost thought he was Queer because he could draw, I wonder what or where he got that statement from.
He got that statement not from the Hip-Hop culture persay, but from the Call of Duty movement as well.
Would we say such things to Tex Avery, Chuck Jones (who, his Grandson Follows me on Twitter), Alex Toth, Jack Kirby, Walt Disney?
This is the grave darkside of the movement that refused to be censored. Not everyone playing the game means ill harm, but the concepts around the movement could be a detriment and not helpful. CoD fans should know as well, the Video Game industry cannot survive on FPS and AAA games forever. Everything that is seen as “cute” or “feminine” like “drawing” (unless its parts we cannot mention here) is dismissed as weak.
It is the concept of bro culture – that place where men can be free from the influences of the “Nanny” censorship state – in where the beer flows, the women are background noise, and the guns – real or faked are blazing.
That the only way you can get respect – is that you impress these men (your friends etc) in the way they see society should be. That is, get the Girl. All the girls. Talk about the exploits. Repeat the process. Gain more cred. Don’t worry about the kids, the BROS are more important. And hey, if we have extra females – lets go have one of those parties. Never ending high school, never ending party, never ending winning.
The problem with this, everything that doesn’t fit this model is considered weak. But its not just impressing your male friends you see, but leaders who wish to promote “dudebro” as the future mainstream culture. They also must be impressed.
Their not gonna be impressed if you can draw Drawing is that “graven image thing”, that America doesn’t really deal with and still in some ways doesn’t. It has to be real, the blood, the women all of it.
And that my friends, is why we have the problems that we do today. Why nothing moves forward. It cant move forward because the cultural mindset isn’t healthy enough. It may have never even existed because we still stuck on the same cliché’s that have permeated for eighty-five years.
The Thundercats, being successful in this country, is a miracle. So is the Transformers, and all of the rest.
But what we see now, via government malfeasance with education, to the executives in the smaller companies like Saban, DHM Media (nee Cookie Jar, nee DiC), 4Kids etc, have done in promoting shows that could have been done differently and promoted sanely, to the major corporations caught between larger profit margins for “brand name” projects and “fan favorite” series with major history.
A confused, shell-shocked, animation fanbase looking for security in a ice covered prison created by a mouse (yeah, its a small dig).
We may have to come to terms that, their maybe more animated product created in the last 5 years than people or networks or even Netflix or the upcoming SonyNet (the IPTV service) can handle. And they cannot be promoted in the way they should be.
This is the reason why we need, as fans of animation, to give back to the industry – not by consuming product per-se but by supporting those that do the hard work, and leave those that wish to armchair quarterback behind in the dustbin of historical navel gazing.
I don’t want another DISASTER that befell the Thundercats series to ever happen again. Not to any franchise, anywhere.
But its going to continue to happen if we as fans of this work, continue to runaround supporting ONE genre or one “type” of work or one “proof of concept” or even the way one is more “mature” than everything else in the business.
I did that once. I trusted fanbases more than I did the art and I paid for it DEARLY. Im still recovering. Maybe I will not recover but that is not in my DNA.
Now, I don’t trust the “fandom” as a whole. I trust those that CREATE the fandoms. That Cultivate the “fandom”. I trust the process of the Artistic Endeavor more than the executive backtalk or some artists thinking they have been the best for years, and they deserved a franchise such as the Thundercats OR Transformers etc.
That’s not gonna work like that anymore. If your a fan of animation and like to give back? Give back the way that will make a difference, Not placards. Not Protests, Not Campaigns. The way IMO and yours might be different? Is to talk to these artists like human beings, follow them on twitter, have conversation with them and you may not like the answers but you have learned more than anything that E/I mandate would ever teach you or your children.
The only reason im not in LA now, looking for capital for the next great franchise is that I was reading and talking to the wrong people who knew NOTHING how the business worked. How the process worked.
Its not going to happen again.
The Thundercats that aired in 2011, MUST never happen again.
What needs to change in order to have animation to reach the points of the Wire, Breaking Bad, heck even the Walking Dead, is the things I just mentioned.
Otherwise, its just going to be background noise to a culture that had took 67 years from flight in kitty hawk, to get to the moon – but never return in the last 42.
That’s the sign of a culture going back into barbarism. Into superstition, pseudo-Protestant paganism, collectivized lies and all and all out sterility. There is no life, there is no joy and that’s were the festering begins.
Its long since time we said truly and honestly thank you to those that have lead the way in animation, and thank you to those that still do the same today.
Its the same idea, that Sony did for its video game fanbase.
Support the fans, and the fans will reach out to the rest. That’s all that was ever needed in the end.
That what Toonami does and everybody else has forgotten in the run to get everybody and conform to everyones whim.
Those franchises, those shows not named Toonami lose out. every time.
Find a base and grow it.
Find the niche and the niche will tell the rest.
That is the way to create more Pixars, More Turtles Forever, More Airbenders, more Toonami like blocks, and less Vortexx’s, Anti-Pixars, less of the post episode 4 Thundercats type series.
Its up to us.
Stop the Armchair Quarterbacks, They are false prophets. They do nothing, they say nothing, they are nothing.
Support real animators, cartoonists and artists, the real curators of culture and the real fans who cultivate their fanbase. Support those that truly care about the animation world and say THANK YOU.
I should have said that to Michael Sporn, instead of worrying what others thought about my writings.
I saying thank you to him now.
And I ask for his forgiveness, because I’m not the best animation historian in the world, but damn it I try. I’m not the best fan in the world but damn it I try. I should have been more into the splog than the “Inner Circle” – that’s my regret. And at times I kick myself into thinking I know more than I do. That’s wrong.
That’s why I will change. I grew up loving animation, and the reason why I been so critical of it is because everything else around it was “mature” and better and animation was stuck on slow because of a puritanical world view that has been taken down because of its anti-human treatises.
That world view may not change, but there are better ways so it no longer retards the art world and its higher forms of spiritual uplift.
But it must start with the individual.
What Kind of Animation World YOU want? One built on lies? Or one built on honesty?
What kind of Animation world, you as fans Truly deserve?
Because for me, concerning the Thundercats? The Sword of Omens – the symbol for the franchise; shall stay buried under the rock of the lies it never accepted, nor inherited, until truth, honor, justice and loyalty finally returns to this animation world.
But its up to you, the fans to do that.
It has always been up to you. No collective, nor the aggregate mass will change it.
If not. Go.
But if you love animation. Change it for the better.
Change it so we do have a TRUE Kids industry.
Change it so we do have places for those other works.
Change it so our country doesn’t have to be an embarrassment anymore.
Change it so the low and the high can see man isn’t lost.