Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Roger Rabbit Doesn't Have To Be "Funny"

It's my birthday again. So, like I've done many times on this blog of mine over the years, I will use this time to talk about one subject or another that has somewhat been nibbling at my craw for an amount of time.  Here are links to other posts I've made in the past:

Daffy Duck

Pepe Le Pew

Tweety

Jimi Hendrix

Barbra Streisand

You can read (or re-read) those posts at your leisure.  Whether you do that or not, I will still continue to elaborate on what I mean by this blog's title.  Since it's the 30th anniversary of the release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, why not take this opportunity to do so?
In order to even start to explain what I mean by Roger not needing to be funny, I first have to give a bit of background information. First off, the animation for this movie was under the guidance of a man named Richard Williams.  He got his start in the animation industry working at the Disney studio mentoring under many of the highly skilled veteran animators, 9 of which came to be known as Disney's 9 Old Men.  Flash forward to the late 80's when the Roger Rabbit film is completed and ready for screening.  After the first test screening, Mr. Williams enthusiastically got on the phone and called one of those 9 Old Men, Frank Thomas.  The phone call went something like this:

Richard Williams: Hey, Frank, have you seen footage of Who Framed Roger Rabbit yet?

Frank Thomas: Yes I have.

RW: Well the first screening went over great. People loved it.

FT: OK

RW: You should've seen the kids when Judge Doom was about to shove Roger into the dip and kill him. They all kept shouting, "NO! NO! DON'T KILL HIM!!"

FT: .......He should have.




Ouch! That's some cold-blooded shade being thrown by Frank Thomas.  Although it's not just Mr. Thomas who felt that way. I've heard consensus that the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit is terrible simply because Roger Rabbit himself is a highly unlikeable character.  This right here is the sentiment that I have some contention with.   I do not think the movie was ruined at all by Roger and I'll explain my position with two main points.

1. Roger Rabbit merely represents the golden age of animation.  We're being asked to believe that Roger had a nice huge following with his own cartoon series that was popular around the year 1947 when this movie takes place.  That's how it's set up.  Just look at the short Roger cartoon, Something's Cookin', that begins the movie and how he is presented:

His 'severed' yet smiling head appears with a glowing halo behind it just like the Disney characters. 

This is followed by concentric circles just like the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.
We then see a character card that other golden age studios, such as Walter Lantz or Terrytoons, would use especially when trying to promote new characters either being first introduced or are just starting to develop a heavy following.
And finally, the title card looks like the same design that MGM used at the start of their cartoons, especially any one of the Tom 'n' Jerry cartoons.

Then you see the basic situation in the cartoon itself.  The premise is that Roger is given the task of babysitting Baby Herman and making sure nothing happens to him..................... or else.



The mayhem ensues when Baby Herman's penchant for innocent mischief is a much bigger load to handle that Roger anticipated.  While watching him trying to accomplish his goal in any way he can, you can see the personality traits and basic schtick that Roger employs.

He has an altruistic nature similar to Mickey Mouse, Porky Pig or Andy Panda. 

He has the manic energy of Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, and pretty much most characters from any of Tex Avery's filmography.

He even possesses that whole persona of a 'nice guy who's not too smart but will do what he can to solve any problem or injure himself trying' that makes Goofy so fun to watch.

You see, Roger Rabbit seems to have been carefully crafted to embody every single golden age cartoon character ever made.  That's pretty much the type of character creation process the Simpsons spoofed in the Poochie episode.  So it's somewhat understandable that people would find him unlikable.  Heck, that's kind of how the main characters Eddie Valiant and his girlfriend Dolores feel about Roger as they hang out with him too.
However, I feel people are putting some rather unrealistic expectations on ol' Roger. Because he's in the same realm of golden age cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Donald Duck, Droopy, Woody Woodpecker, etc. that too many people expect Roger to instantly be at the same level of likability as those characters.  But, as anyone who's every created anything can tell you, that doesn't happen with just one cartoon.  Sure, for example, Bugs Bunny's first cartoon was a hit with audiences, but it was the many many cartoons afterwards that more often than not also did well with audiences are what established Bugs as a bonifide superstar character and no mere flash-in-the-pan that got lucky.
I think the movie's creators knew the uphill battle for the Roger character to win over audiences was because of this, which unfortunately gave the Rabbit that 'trying-too-hard-to-please' vibe around him which most undoubtedly contributed most to his lack of appeal.  However, I consider this to be a rather moot point because of the next point I want to make.

2. The movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit has a well crafted story.  It's plays like an homage to the great film noir detective movies that were prevalent in that same time period.  It contains a who-done-it murder mystery with many twists and turns that in my opinion all wraps up quite well.  Roger is simply a catalyst that helps this plot of intrigue move forward.  For this movie's story to work, Roger doesn't have to be a 'likeable' character per say.  It just has to be believable that Roger could have been a cartoon character in 1947 big enough that a major cartoon studio would be willing to give him work.  As long as his character can conceivably exist within that universe, I think the story still works. Whether Roger Rabbit himself could sustain any kind of following and be an appealing character for anyone in the real world is up to us as individuals. For some the answer is yes, for others it's no, and still others would have no opinion either way.

Although, Disney did take a gamble on Roger developing his own following as they released three other cartoons sometime after Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  The cartoons in question are Tummy Trouble, Roller Coaster Rabbit, and Trail Mix Up.

I'm embedding one of these cartoons below to end this blog post.  Feel free to judge for yourself if Roger is appealing enough or not to sustain any kind of a following.



Anyway, that's my birthday present to myself this year. I hope you had as much fun reading this post as I had writing it.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Blazing New Book For My Nephew


I've been working on kind of a fun project for my nephew Jody (age 4) for some time.  I've used any spare moment I can find in between my full time job and any other household chores I have to do.  But now it's finally done. I made a colouring book with a fun story in it.



Yes, the book features two characters with huge copyrights attached to them so there is no way I could sell this for money anyway.  I'm somewhat certain everyone reading this has heard of both these characters: Blaze and Speedy Gonzales.  However, for the sake of those who are unfamiliar, I'll provide some video examples below.



Blaze of the Monster Machines



Speedy Gonzales

Ok, so now everyone is caught up and now familiar with all of the characters that are in this book? Good.  Feel free to read this epic saga below.  Enjoy!




























Sunday, May 06, 2018

Fan Expo 2018 #FXR18 ..........I GOT COMPLAINTS


Well, the 2018 Fan Expo has come and gone.  I was once again in attendance just like I've been for the passed two years.



See, told ya.



I set up my table as per usual.  I put my book, Censor Monkeys Have No Class,  on its stand with all the pictures for sale right beside it.  However, I tried a few different things this year.  Instead of the usual poster, I made a new poster featuring Prof. Jordan B. Peterson arguing with some of my Censor Monkeys. I planned on using some of Dr. Peterson's 'star power' to help boost interest in my book.  To my surprise, only a very small number of people recognized Dr Peterson or the free speech platform he stands for.  So, for those woefully unfamiliar with Peterson's work, I'll embed one of my speeches he's made on the subject of free speech just below:



There, now we're all on the same page.



I also had this T-shirt made to show my solidarity with Count Dankula, someone I've blogged about previously.  Nobody really noticed the shirt at all.  Oh well.  I think the good count and any of his fans knows that I'm in his corner.

Yes, like this blog post's title says, I did receive some complaints this time.  They were about some cards I was handing out to people.

front

back

A member of the staff came to my table with one of those cards I had handed out and told me of complaints they had received.  He told me that someone had come up to the staff and said "Someone is handing this out."  Interestingly, he thought my big violation was that I had left my table to distribute these cards all over the conference floor.  It states clearly in the Expo rules not to do that. Every sale or distribution I made at that expo I made solely at my table and I told him so.  He heard me and then requested I stop handing out those cards in order to assuage to complainants.
This actually gives me a whole new immense feeling of respect for the Regina Fan Expo staff.  This guy most likely saw the graphic on the front of this card and read the text on the back.  When he saw that a complaint had been raised about it,  he immediately assumed that the big violation I did was me leaving the table to distribute it (which,as I said, I did not).  He didn't even think it could have been the content of the card that anyone could have objected to.  This shows that the Fan Expo staff understand the importance of free expression so much that they can't even conceive of anyone having a problem with the contents of what my card says.  As you can see, it contains so graphic images of sloppy sex or bloody violence nor does it contain any of the 'heavy words' George Carlin talked about: 'Piss Shit Fuck Cunt Cocksucker Motherfucker Tits' to be exact.  All it contains is a strong opinion about free speech, nothing more than that.  I guess whoever complained just can't handle strong language.  That sucks to be them.
That all happened on Saturday.  On Sunday, I obeyed the staff and refrained from distributing those cards even at my table.  But I did put a little something extra at my table.



I put up a little sign announcing that I had gotten complaints.  If anyone asked, I showed them my remaining cards to inform them about why the complaint was made.  To my delight, everyone I showed this too was confused about it.  Their common reaction was, "What's so offensive about that?"  Frankly, that is the best response to hear in this case.  Except for that one anonymous complainer, it seems that Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada is the free speech beacon to the world.  Here's hoping that this divine example spreads to every corner of the globe so that all citizens can be free from censorship once and for all.

Ok, that's my basic overview of the Fan Expo for 2018.  Now, as I always do for every comic book convention I attend, I will now post costumes pictures of everyone who visited my table.

Saturday 

Red dunce cap and tea pot head.  I don't quite understand the fetishes the kids have today.
This is a great Alice in Wonderland costume.  That Chesire Cat looks like it was purchased from a Disney store possibly.
What a lovely pixie costume. It's possibly out of A Midsummer Night's Dream. What the Puck? (Sorry, I have a headache)
Now the illuminati know of my book.  Soon it will be known to all.
This is either Captain Kirk c. Star Trek V or a displaced mountie.  Either way, I salute this man.
Ok, so an Archie Andrews/Foghorn Leghorn crossover-type character has a steam punk girlfriend. Now I've seen everything.
Two girls came dressed in dog pajamas. Should I ask if someone gave them a bone this weekend? Naw, that would be dumb.
These kids look soooooooooo excited...... and they just can't hide it.  They're about to lose control and they think they like it.
Dude looks like he's ready to join the Crusades and invade the Ottoman Empire in the name of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I for one hope he is successful in his mission.
She was one of many Hogwarts school girls at this expo. She takes the good, she takes the bad, she takes them both and there she has the facts of wizardry...... or something.
She tells me she is Kiki. I believe her.
Dayum! Gypsy girl has many loaves of bread to slice.
Her helmet's over her eyes so she doesn't know she's aiming her bazooka backwards.
There's no need to fear. Steampunk Willie with the Golden Gun is here.  Now we're all safe.
And Steampunk Willie's grandpa, Steampunk Abner, is ready to party like it's 1899 too.
Everyone who came dressed as a nail did not survive this weekend.
She's either an outer space British judge or an evil wizard. It's hard to tell those two apart really.
Deadpool was there and he straight up agreed with my free speech message.  Way to go, Deadpool. 
"MMMFPH MMMPH MMPH!" What's that, Kenny? You're steampunk now?
For real, she flipped through my book and said, "Wow, there's lots of satire." Most people would be tempted to make fun of her for openly stating what is and should be glaringly obvious. However, from my experiences in selling my books, she's one of the only people to recognize the satire in my book right away.  Most people either just look dumbfounded or confused.  Truly the dumbest I've heard is "Oh, it's a book." and "are you selling tickets to something?"  So, for her to see even the bare basics of my book right away, I'd say her intelligence is just fine. Kudos to you, m'lady, for being above all of the below average people.
I fart in your general direction, you Jedi ka-nigget!
Ok, this lady tells me that she is an artist herself and that she posts said art on her Instagram account.  She goes by the name 'kitty_cat1276'. If you have an Instagram account, look her up.

Inflamed Bellybutton and Sunburn Girl are here. Now all the baddies are scared.
Uh Oh! You'd better start behaving, kids.  Here come the hall...... 'monitors'.  (like I said, I have a headache right now).
I think they're dressed like an anime show so obscure that only 3 people in Nagasaki have seen it...... once........ back in 1987........... and even they forgot about it until now.
Rambo's little nephew Bambo who's schtick is always asking "Can I come shoot bad guys too, Uncle John??!!"
Here's a lovely couple that look like graphic novel characters that could kick everyone's ass.  Do you see that dude in the hat? I think he's triggered by my table. BWA HA HA!!!

Sunday

Three little maids from school are they...

Steampunk high priestess commands you to buy my book.  Do not shirk your obedience to her.
It looks like little Bat Girl here wants to jump into the panel and save that blonde girl's life. If only you could, little Bat Girl.
I'm walking in a spider web........ leave a message and I'll call you back.
This is not a costume, by the way.  Some wiseacre told her that this room would be full of plutonium. That's why she's dressed like this. What a fun prank.
Ach! Hoot man! It's the proud Batman Tartan! He fights the Joker with chinks of "bat haggis" which is just bat intestines in a robin's stomach. It's really disgusting. I shouldn't have brought that up.
This samurai-ish looking dude absolutely agreed with my free speech stance. "Nobody can tell me what I can and cannot say!" He stated emphatically.
He shows up again alongside his two Jedi friends. They are now all off to fight for free speech everywhere.  Godspeed, good gentlemen.
Another nice Alice in Wonderland costume.  She looks like she'd rather spend eternity drinking tea with the Mad Hatter than even flip through just 3 pages of my book. 

So, that was my Fan Expo 2018 experience. Here's hoping that the expo of 2019 will be just as memorable.