Monday, October 6, 2008

Life imitating cartoons

Here is a case of life imitating cartoons. Exhibit A: a gag published in Private Eye in 1998 ...


Exhibit B: A kids' animated film from 2008 which is about to hit a multiplex near you ...


OK, it's not a Disney film, and the focus is on Frankenstein's assistant, rather than the evil genius himself ... but still, it's a cuddly kids' comedy about creating a monster. I came up with the idea for the cartoon because I couldn't believe that they'd done a "Disneyfied" version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and I just thought, What will they do next? But even at the time I remember thinking that the idea of doing a kids' version of Frankenstein was probably not that far fetched. Turns out, I was right.

Here's another case of life imitating cartoons. I saw this on a cartoonists' internet forum this week (thanks to Simon Lake). Click the image to read it:


I was compelled to point out that I was killing much-loved cartoon characters 20 years ago! Along with a group of friends I used to run a self-published "adult" comic called DoodleBug in the late 1980s. With scant regard for the copyright laws, we had a regular feature called "Kill the Cartoon Character of Your Choice", which involved readers suggesting characters that they'd like to see dispatched. We would then oblige.

As a result, we had Garfield shot, Scooby Doo beheaded, Snoopy hanged, and Popeye beaten to a bloody pulp (after someone swapped his spinach for a tin of spaghetti hoops). It was all very juvenile, of course, but then we were juveniles. Well, almost. I was 19 when we started the comic. Here's one of the strips, which sees everyone's favourite cute canary meet his maker ...


Again you'll need to click the above image to read it. The similarity between the image of Sylvester the cat in my cartoon and in the Jimmy Cauty painting is incredible ... though I'm not alleging anything other than coincidence I should add.

Of course, the moral here is that if I had thought "art gallery" for these cartoons, rather than self-published comic, and if I'd written the script for a kids version of Frankenstein rather than doing that one-off gag, I'd probably be a lot richer than I am now.

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