Monday, October 8, 2007


The setting sun marks the end of the first act of this episode, which means this is a good place to take a break. I get a lot of great feedback from you guys and one of the things I hear repeatedly is that people who enjoy reading this comic want more more more! Specifically, you have told me that you would prefer to wait longer in between updates if it means that you can read more pages at one time when the updates are finally done. I can't argue with that -- the comic is written to be read at one sitting, and so at your request this comic will be updated only when I have enough finished material to make it worth your while. Expect the next update to the comic in early 2008. I will give you a more specific date as soon as I know it.

About today's installment
For those of you who aren't total cartoon geeks like me and Crane, you can hear a clip of the music he is talking about here. This is the opening and closing music for the Yogi Bear Show. You have to sit through a few seconds of the opening music to get to the clip that Crane is referring to. I hope you like it and that it triggers some distant childhood memory. I know cartoons don't play the same role in everybody's childhood that they did in mine, but what can I say? My childhood was clearly better. Now go play the song and picture the Fire Island sunset fading to black. The Michaels will return in a few months with more obscure Gen-X pop culture references and wide-eyed cartoon characters engaged in sex, drugs and profanity.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ed Benedict

Early Hanna-Barbera cartoons have had a big influence on my drawing style. I had assumed that Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera designed their own classic characters, but they didn't. This amazing cartoonist named Ed Benedict designed most of them, including the Flintstones, Yogi Bear, and Huckleberry Hound. Ed's characters incorporated design concepts you still see in cartoons today: The delineated beard growth on Homer Simpson and the stubby hind legs that anthropomorphic dogs and cats chase each other with are evident in the earliest sketches Ed made for H-B way back in the fifties.

To celebrate my new discovery of this old pro I wanted to show you a tribute to his creations from another hero of the cartooning world, John Kricfalusi. John K is best known as the creator of Ren & Stimpy. He now runs a blog dedicated to the craft of animation and is often quoted in articles about Ed. In fact, Ed is listed as layout artist in the opening credits of this short. Check it out:

A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith

You can see some of Ed's original sketches of Fred, Barney, and Yogi Bear at John's blog. This particular article is one I have studied heavily to help me understand what is working and not working in my own cartoons.