Showing posts with label Johnny Hart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Johnny Hart. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Pure Cartoon Genius

Scribner is that rare combination of great animator and cartoonist.This looks like a Johnny Hart expression!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Early BC Sundays

These aren't the most exciting pages, but they are rare and clever. My favorite Sundays are the ones where Hart draws wild action and crazy physics - but these (in the link) all have really good continuity and a real sense of controlling time. Hart, like Don Martin is an expert at getting you to feel timing using only still pictures in continuity. That is a skill that not all cartoonists have.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Johnny Hart's Cartoon Physics

Johnny Hart's drawings look simple on the surface but they are very clever, I think. He has a great natural sense of cartoon physics or cause and effect - how one event leads logically (or illogically) to another.
It looks like he could have been influenced by Roadrunner cartoons.
His drawings have a lot of tension and feeling in them too. Each drawing contains a lot of complex information. ...and the continuity of the successive drawings is brilliant. He only has a small number of panels to describe a lot of action. Making the decisions of what parts in between the action you can leave out and still get the idea and gag across is very brain-intensive. I have trouble with that. I want to show every tiny fraction of action in my continuity and it tends to drag out the cartoons longer than necessary.
On the other hand, Hart is one of my biggest influences and largely sub-consciously. My storyboard scribble style is much like his finished drawing style. Fast and just what is essential, without worrying about making a perfectly polished drawing.
This is how I see the function of storyboards-to convey the continuity and essential part of the gag, feelings and story.
What's really hard is hanging on to these essentials from department to department in an animation studio, where the successive polishers smooth out the finish, but sand down the guts.

Look how much information and feeling is packed in that middle panel of the Dinosaur smashing into the tree. You see the impact as the main action. The tree is being ripped out by the roots as a secondary action and the roots are dragging in the opposite direction of the tree. On top of that, all the dirt is flying off the roots. The leaves are being smashed against the top of the tree in heavy bunches and a few individual leaves for texture.

Then the tree impact is causing Peter to fly out of the leaves on a raft (why does he have a raft in a tree?)

Hart is conveying pacing in still drawings, without the luxury of animation and real time. Very impressive.

You have to be a very good editor to draw powerful comic strips like this.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Johnny Hart - Mangle Master

Johnny Hart used to do Sunday pages that were all about an excuse to mangle.
Pure senseless violence.
Maybe that's why my Mom didn't like B.C.
She preferred Hi and Lois because it was "just like real life". She said I was exactly like Chip because I wouldn't clean my room and my hair was in my eyes.
Maybe I would have liked Hi and Lois better if they had mangled Chip once in awhile.
I love Hart's poses! Again, his crude finish makes you think he's not really doing anything, but these are very difficult poses to pull off.

I wish I had the original color Sundays to post. Maybe if we're lucky, Ger will find 'em for us.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

BC Sunday Action - 1 - KAZANGO

Hey, I suggest you read the comic first before you read my dumb comments, so I don't spoil the gags for you.Johnny Hart's early Sunday pages generally had more action and visual humor than his dailies. They were less dialogue oriented than his later strips where a character would stand in the same pose for 4 panels and read a pun out of Wiley's Dictionary. These Sundays are full of natural graphic design. I wish I had the actual full color Sundays to look at.
These drawings aren't slick, and on the surface even pretty crude; they have things in them that I would criticize in cartoonists' drawings if they were working for me - like small cramped areas, vague details and shapes here and there...but Hart makes up for it all with instinct and guts. Hart's pen is directly connected to his feelings, and it delineates expressions and poses not seen before; not pulled out of a stock cartoonist bag of tricks.

You can be slick but lack soul and I'd rather have the soul if I had to pick one thing. Of course if you have both - like Clampett or Avery, it's even better.
Hart's pacing and staging is comic-strip perfection.

These nose tickling expressions are hilarious and you can totally feel them. You could not write a gag like this. And not just anyone could even make it funny. It's Hart's capability of turning real feeling into a few well-placed lines that create the entertainment.

I always loved the way he drew teeth - ragged, uneven and chunky. You can tell a real cartoonist from a wimpy one by how much he loves to draw teeth in all their ugly uneven and funny glory. Like Johnny Hart and Jack Kirby. You know what I hate? When people just draw all the teeth in a blank white bar. What a waste of 32 of the most naturally funny parts of our anatomy! How dare modern animators smooth out God's beautiful imperfections!
The actual main gag in the cartoon itself is totally abstract and I love it. It's a real clever exploitation of cartoon absurdity.
It's nuts on a bunch of levels and you have to accept each nutty concept in turn in order to get to the next gag:
1) A flower can be sneezed so hard that it can spear itself through a tree - intact.
2) That action has a specific sound it makes - 'KAZANGO"
3) Wiley sensed that the word "Kazango" was written in the panel where the flower crashed through the tree. Wouldn't it be cool if every time you heard a sound, the sound effect would appear in the air around you? We just accept that in the comics without question and so Hart points it out to us. For some reason, you don't see this as much in animation, but when you do, it's great.
4) Kazango is an acceptable explanation for how it happened.

These kinds of absurdities would be hard to get past executives, because "it doesn't make sense".
As simple as these designs look, Hart manages to get good descriptive poses out of them, sometimes broad, othertimes - like in the above panel - subtle.
I also love Hart's lettering style.

BTW, isn't newsprint texture great for comics? They oughta bring it back for comic books.