Cartoonists and animators have given animals human characteristics for so long that audiences are now accustomed to seeing Bugs Bunny singing opera and Mickey Mouse walking his dog Pluto.
The Animated Bestiary critically evaluates the depiction of animals in cartoons and animation more generally. Paul Wells argues that artists use animals to engage with issues that would be more difficult to address directly because of political, religious, or social taboos. Consequently, and principally through anthropomorphism, animation uses animals to play out a performance of gender, sex and sexuality, racial and national traits, and shifting identity, often challenging how we think about ourselves.
Wells draws on a wide range of examples, from the original King Kongto Nick Park's Chicken Run to Disney cartoonsùsuch as Tarzan, The Jungle Book, and Brother Bearùto reflect on people by looking at the ways in which they respond to animals in cartoons and films.
Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Felix the Cat, and other beloved cartoon characters have entertained media audiences for almost a century, outliving the human stars who were once their contemporaries in studio-era Hollywood. In Animated Personalities, David McGowan asserts that iconic American theatrical short cartoon characters should be legitimately regarded as stars, equal to their live-action counterparts, not only because they have enjoyed long careers, but also because their star personas have been created and marketed in ways also used for cinematic celebrities.
Drawing on detailed archival research, McGowan analyzes how Hollywood studios constructed and manipulated the star personas of the animated characters they owned. He shows how cartoon actors frequently kept pace with their human counterparts, granting “interviews,” allowing “candid” photographs, endorsing products, and generally behaving as actual actors did—for example, Donald Duck served his country during World War II, and Mickey Mouse was even embroiled in scandal. Challenging the notion that studios needed actors with physical bodies and real off-screen lives to create stars, McGowan demonstrates that media texts have successfully articulated an off-screen existence for animated characters. Following cartoon stars from silent movies to contemporary film and television, this groundbreaking book broadens the scope of star studies to include animation, concluding with provocative questions about the nature of stardom in an age of digitally enhanced filmmaking technologies.
Animating Film Theory
Karen Beckman, ed. Duke University Press, 2014 Library of Congress NC1765.A535 2014 | Dewey Decimal 791.4334
Animating Film Theory provides an enriched understanding of the relationship between two of the most unwieldy and unstable organizing concepts in cinema and media studies: animation and film theory. For the most part, animation has been excluded from the purview of film theory. The contributors to this collection consider the reasons for this marginalization while also bringing attention to key historical contributions across a wide range of animation practices, geographic and linguistic terrains, and historical periods. They delve deep into questions of how animation might best be understood, as well as how it relates to concepts such as the still, the moving image, the frame, animism, and utopia. The contributors take on the kinds of theoretical questions that have remained underexplored because, as Karen Beckman argues, scholars of cinema and media studies have allowed themselves to be constrained by too narrow a sense of what cinema is. This collection reanimates and expands film studies by taking the concept of animation seriously.
Contributors. Karen Beckman, Suzanne Buchan, Scott Bukatman, Alan Cholodenko, Yuriko Furuhata, Alexander R. Galloway, Oliver Gaycken, Bishnupriya Ghosh, Tom Gunning, Andrew R. Johnston, Hervé Joubert-Laurencin, Gertrud Koch, Thomas LaMarre, Christopher P. Lehman, Esther Leslie, John MacKay, Mihaela Mihailova, Marc Steinberg, Tess Takahashi
Curtis, Scott Rutgers University Press, 2019 Library of Congress TR897.5.A55 2019 | Dewey Decimal 776.6
From the earliest motion pictures and cartoons of the 1900s, to the latest 3D animated feature and CGI blockbuster, animation has always been a part of the cinematic experience. While the boundaries between animation and live-action have often been carefully tended, the ubiquity of contemporary computer imaging certainly blurs those lines, thereby confirming the importance of animation for the history of American cinema. The last installment of the acclaimed Behind the Silver Screen series, Animation explores the variety of technologies and modes of production throughout the history of American animation: the artisanal, solitary labors of early animators such as Winsor McCay, or of independent animators such as Mary Ellen Bute; the industrial assembly lines of Hollywood studio-unit animation; the parsimonious production houses of the post-studio, post-war era; the collaborative approach of boutique animation and special-effect houses. Drawing on archival sources, this volume provides not only an overview of American animation history, but also, by focusing on the relationship between production and style, a unique approach to understanding animation in general.
The Anime Boom in the United States is a comprehensive and empirically grounded study of the expansion of anime marketing and sales into the United States. Using the example of Japanese animation, it examines the supporting organizational and cultural processes that constitute a transnational system for globalizing and localizing cultural commodities.
Drawing on field research, survey data, and in-depth interviews with Japanese and American professionals in the animation industry, the authors investigate anime’s arrival in the United States beginning in the 1960s, and explores the transnational networks of anime production and marketing as well as the cultural and artistic processes the genre has inspired.
This detailed study of the anime boom in the United States is the starting point for a wider investigation of the globalization of contemporary culture and the way in which global creative industries operate in an age of media digitalization and convergence. It is an indispensable guide for all those interested in understanding the dynamics of power structures in cultural and media globalization.
A formal approach to anime rethinks globalization and transnationality under neoliberalism
Anime has become synonymous with Japanese culture, but its global reach raises a perplexing question—what happens when anime is produced outside of Japan? Who actually makes anime, and how can this help us rethink notions of cultural production? In Anime’s Identity, Stevie Suan examines how anime’s recognizable media-form—no matter where it is produced—reflects the problematics of globalization. The result is an incisive look at not only anime but also the tensions of transnationality.
Far from valorizing the individualistic “originality” so often touted in national creative industries, anime reveals an alternate type of creativity based in repetition and variation. In exploring this alternative creativity and its accompanying aesthetics, Suan examines anime from fresh angles, including considerations of how anime operates like a brand of media, the intricacies of anime production occurring across national borders, inquiries into the selfhood involved in anime’s character acting, and analyses of various anime works that present differing modes of transnationality.
Anime’s Identity deftly merges theories from media studies and performance studies, introducing innovative formal concepts that connect anime to questions of dislocation on a global scale, creating a transformative new lens for analyzing popular media.
In Birth of an Industry, Nicholas Sammond describes how popular early American cartoon characters were derived from blackface minstrelsy. He charts the industrialization of animation in the early twentieth century, its representation in the cartoons themselves, and how important blackface minstrels were to that performance, standing in for the frustrations of animation workers. Cherished cartoon characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat, were conceived and developed using blackface minstrelsy's visual and performative conventions: these characters are not like minstrels; they are minstrels. They play out the social, cultural, political, and racial anxieties and desires that link race to the laboring body, just as live minstrel show performers did. Carefully examining how early animation helped to naturalize virulent racial formations, Sammond explores how cartoons used laughter and sentimentality to make those stereotypes seem not only less cruel, but actually pleasurable. Although the visible links between cartoon characters and the minstrel stage faded long ago, Sammond shows how important those links are to thinking about animation then and now, and about how cartoons continue to help to illuminate the central place of race in American cultural and social life.
If mediatization has surprisingly revealed the secret life of inert matter and the 'face of things', the flipside of this has been the petrification of living organisms, an invasion of stone bodies in a state of suspended animation. Within a contemporary imaginary pervaded by new forms of animism, the paradigm of death looms large in many areas of artistic experimentation, pushing the modern body towards mineral modes of being which revive ancient myths of flesh-made-stone and the issue of the monument. Scholars in media, visual culture and the arts propose studies of bodies of stone, from actors simulating statues to the transmutation of the filmic body into a fossil; from the real treatment of the cadaver as a mineral living object to the rediscovery of materials such as wax; from the quest for a "thermal" equivalence between stone and flesh to the transformation of the biomedical body into a living monument.
From the introduction of animated film in the early 1900s to the 1950s, ethnic humor was a staple of American-made cartoons. Yet as Christopher Lehman shows in this revealing study, the depiction of African Americans in particular became so inextricably linked to the cartoon medium as to influence its evolution through those five decades. He argues that what is in many ways most distinctive about American animation reflects white animators' visual interpretations of African American cultural expression.
The first American animators drew on popular black representations, many of which were caricatures rooted in the culture of southern slavery. During the 1920s, the advent of the sound-synchronized cartoon inspired animators to blend antebellum-era black stereotypes with the modern black cultural expressions of jazz musicians and Hollywood actors. When the film industry set out to desexualize movies through the imposition of the Hays Code in the early 1930s, it regulated the portrayal of African Americans largely by segregating black characters from others, especially white females. At the same time, animators found new ways to exploit the popularity of African American culture by creating animal characters like Bugs Bunny who exhibited characteristics associated with African Americans without being identifiably black.
By the 1950s, protests from civil rights activists and the growing popularity of white cartoon characters led animators away from much of the black representation on which they had built the medium. Even so, animated films today continue to portray African American characters and culture, and not necessarily in a favorable light.
Drawing on a wide range of sources, including interviews with former animators, archived scripts for cartoons, and the films themselves, Lehman illustrates the intimate and unmistakable connection between African Americans and animation.Choice
Comic Book Movies
Davis, Blair Rutgers University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PN1995.9.S76D38 2018 | Dewey Decimal 791.43652
Comic Book Movies explores how this genre serves as a source for modern-day myths, sometimes even incorporating ancient mythic figures like Thor and Wonder Woman’s Amazons, while engaging with the questions that haunt a post-9/11 world: How do we define heroism and morality today? How far are we willing to go when fighting terror? How can we resist a dystopian state?
Film scholar Blair Davis also considers how the genre’s visual style is equally important as its weighty themes, and he details how advances in digital effects have allowed filmmakers to incorporate elements of comic book art in innovative ways. As he reveals, comic book movies have inspired just as many innovations to Hollywood’s business model, with film franchises and transmedia storytelling helping to ensure that the genre will continue its reign over popular culture for years to come.
Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida opened in Orlando at the dawn of the Disney Renaissance. As a member of the crew, Mary E. Lescher witnessed the small studio’s rise and fall during a transformative era in company and movie history. Her in-depth interviews with fellow artists, administrators, and support personnel reveal the human dimension of a technological revolution: the dramatic shift from hand-drawn cel animation to the digital format that eclipsed it in less than a decade. She also traces the Florida Studio’s parallel existence as a part of The Magic of Disney Animation, a living theme park attraction where Lescher and her colleagues worked in full view of Walt Disney World guests eager to experience the magic of the company’s legendary animation process.
A ground-level look at the entertainment giant, The Disney Animation Renaissance profiles the people and purpose behind a little-known studio during a historic era.
With his thumbprint on the most ubiquitous films of childhood, Walt Disney is widely considered to be the most conventional of all major American moviemakers. The adjective “Disneyfied” has become shorthand for a creative work that has abandoned any controversial or substantial content to find commercial success. But does Disney deserve that reputation? Douglas Brode overturns the idea of Disney as a middlebrow filmmaker by detailing how Disney movies played a key role in transforming children of the Eisenhower era into the radical youth of the Age of Aquarius. Using close readings of Disney projects, Brode shows that Disney’s films were frequently ahead of their time thematically. Long before the cultural tumult of the sixties, Disney films preached pacifism, introduced a generation to the notion of feminism, offered the screen’s first drug-trip imagery, encouraged young people to become runaways, insisted on the need for integration, advanced the notion of a sexual revolution, created the concept of multiculturalism, called for a return to nature, nourished the cult of the righteous outlaw, justified violent radicalism in defense of individual rights, argued in favor of communal living, and encouraged antiauthoritarian attitudes. Brode argues that Disney, more than any other influence in popular culture, should be considered the primary creator of the sixties counterculture—a reality that couldn’t be further from his “conventional” reputation.
Richard Neupert University of Illinois Press, 2016 Library of Congress PN1998.3.L3925N48 2016 | Dewey Decimal 791.430233092
Celebrated as Pixar's "Chief Creative Officer," John Lasseter is a revolutionary figure in animation history and one of today's most important filmmakers. Lasseter films from Luxo Jr. to Toy Story and Cars 2 highlighted his gift for creating emotionally engaging characters. At the same time, they helped launch computer animation as a viable commercial medium and serve as blueprints for the genre's still-expanding commercial and artistic development.
Richard Neupert explores Lasseter's signature aesthetic and storytelling strategies and details how he became the architect of Pixar's studio style. Neupert contends that Lasseter's accomplishments emerged from a unique blend of technical skill and artistic vision, as well as a passion for working with collaborators. In addition, Neupert traces the director's career arc from the time Lasseter joined Pixar in 1984. As Neupert shows, Lasseter's ability to keep a foot in both animation and CGI allowed him to thrive in an unconventional corporate culture that valued creative interaction between colleagues. The ideas that emerged built an animation studio that updated and refined classical Hollywood storytelling practices--and changed commercial animation forever.
Passionate fans of anime and manga, known in Japan as otaku and active around the world, play a significant role in the creation and interpretation of this pervasive popular culture. Routinely appropriating and remixing favorite characters, narratives, imagery, and settings, otaku take control of the anime characters they consume.
Fanthropologies-the fifth volume in the Mechademia series, an annual forum devoted to Japanese anime and manga-focuses on fans, fan activities, and the otaku phenomenon. The zones of activity discussed in these essays range from fan-subs (fan-subtitled versions of anime and manga) and copyright issues to gender and nationality in fandom, dolls, and other forms of consumption that fandom offers. Individual pieces include a remarkable photo essay on the emerging art of cosplay photography; an original manga about an obsessive doll-fan; and a tour of Akihabara, Tokyo's discount electronics shopping district, by a scholar disguised as a fuzzy animal.
Contributors: Madeline Ashby; Jodie Beck, McGill U; Christopher Bolton, Williams College; Naitô Chizuko, Otsuma U; Ian Condry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Martha Cornog; Kathryn Dunlap, U of Central Florida; Ôtsuka Eiji, Kobe Design U; Gerald Figal, Vanderbilt U; Patrick W. Galbraith, U of Tokyo; Marc Hairston, U of Texas at Dallas; Marilyn Ivy, Columbia U; Koichi Iwabuchi, Waseda U; Paul Jackson; Amamiya Karin; Fan-Yi Lam; Thomas Lamarre, McGill U; Paul M. Malone, U of Waterloo; Anne McKnight, U of Southern California; Livia Monnet, U of Montreal; Susan Napier, Tufts U; Kerin Ogg; Timothy Perper; Eron Rauch; Brian Ruh, Indiana U; Nathan Shockey, Columbia U; Marc Steinberg, Concordia U; Jin C. Tomshine, U of California, San Francisco; Carissa Wolf, North Dakota State U.
How computer animation technologies became vital visualization tools in the life sciences
Who would have thought that computer animation technologies developed in the second half of the twentieth century would become essential visualization tools in today’s biosciences? This book is the first to examine this phenomenon. Molecular Capture reveals how popular media consumption and biological knowledge production have converged in molecular animations—computer simulations of molecular and cellular processes that immerse viewers in the temporal unfolding of molecular worlds—to produce new regimes of seeing and knowing.
Situating the development of this technology within an evolving field of historical, epistemological, and political negotiations, Adam Nocek argues that molecular animations not only represent a key transformation in the visual knowledge practices of life scientists but also bring into sharp focus fundamental mutations in power within neoliberal capitalism. In particular, he reveals how the convergence of the visual economies of science and entertainment in molecular animations extends neoliberal modes of governance to the perceptual practices of scientific subjects. Drawing on Alfred North Whitehead’s speculative metaphysics and Michel Foucault’s genealogy of governmentality, Nocek builds a media philosophy well equipped to examine the unique coordination of media cultures in this undertheorized form of scientific media. More specifically, he demonstrates how governmentality operates across visual practices in the biosciences and the popular mediasphere to shape a molecular animation apparatus that unites scientific knowledge and entertainment culture.
Ultimately, Molecular Capture proposes that molecular animation is an achievement of governmental design. It weaves together speculative media philosophy, science and technology studies, and design theory to investigate how scientific knowledge practices are designed through media apparatuses.
In 2008, Waltz with Bashir shocked the world by presenting a bracing story of war in what seemed like the most unlikely of formats—an animated film. Yet as Donna Kornhaber shows in this pioneering new book, the relationship between animation and war is actually as old as film itself. The world’s very first animated movie was made to solicit donations for the Second Boer War, and even Walt Disney sent his earliest creations off to fight on gruesome animated battlefields drawn from his First World War experience. As Kornhaber strikingly demonstrates, the tradition of wartime animation, long ignored by scholars and film buffs alike, is one of the world’s richest archives of wartime memory and witness.
Generation after generation, artists have turned to this most fantastical of mediums to capture real-life horrors they can express in no other way. From Chinese animators depicting the Japanese invasion of Shanghai to Bosnian animators portraying the siege of Sarajevo, from African animators documenting ethnic cleansing to South American animators reflecting on torture and civil war, from Vietnam-era protest films to the films of the French Resistance, from firsthand memories of Hiroshima to the haunting work of Holocaust survivors, the animated medium has for more than a century served as a visual repository for some of the darkest chapters in human history. It is a tradition that continues even to this day, in animated shorts made by Russian dissidents decrying the fighting in Ukraine, American soldiers returning from Iraq, or Middle Eastern artists commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Arab Spring, or the ongoing crisis in Yemen.
Nightmares in the Dream Sanctuary: War and the Animated Film vividly tells the story of these works and many others, covering the full history of animated film and spanning the entire globe. A rich, serious, and deeply felt work of groundbreaking media history, it is also an emotional testament to the power of art to capture the endurance of the human spirit in the face of atrocity.
When the San Diego Comic-Con was founded in 1970, it provided an exclusive space where fans, dealers, collectors, and industry professionals could come together to celebrate their love of comics and popular culture. In the decades since, Comic-Con has grown in size and scope, attracting hundreds of thousands of fans each summer and increased attention from the media industries, especially Hollywood, which uses the convention’s exclusivity to spread promotional hype far and wide. What made the San Diego Comic-Con a Hollywood destination? How does the industry’s presence at Comic-Con shape our ideas about what it means to be a fan? And what can this single event tell us about the relationship between media industries and their fans, past and present? Only at Comic-Con answers these questions and more as it examines the connection between exclusivity and the proliferation of media industry promotion at the longest-running comic convention in North America.
“As a man, I'm flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol... as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting”. In the 2005 reboot of the Batman film franchise, Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne articulates how the figure of the superhero can serve as a transcendent icon.
It is hard to imagine a time when superheroes have been more pervasive in our culture. Today, superheroes are intellectual property jealously guarded by media conglomerates, icons co-opted by grassroots groups as a four-color rebuttal to social inequities, masks people wear to more confidently walk convention floors and city streets, and bulletproof banners that embody regional and national identities. From activism to cosplay, this collection unmasks the symbolic function of superheroes.
Bringing together superhero scholars from a range of disciplines, alongside key industry figures such as Harley Quinn co-creator Paul Dini, The Superhero Symbol provides fresh perspectives on how characters like Captain America, Iron Man, and Wonder Woman have engaged with media, culture, and politics, to become the “everlasting” symbols to which a young Bruce Wayne once aspired.