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Archive for the ‘Merchandising’


“Original Cartoon Posters from Frederator Studios”

April 26th, 2010

book cover 1 FREDERATOR POSTERS
There’s no book release party this week, but nonetheless our poster book is available for sale over at Amazon.com.

I’ve had a lot of fun with our self promotion over the years, especially posters. It turns out I came of age during posters last great hurrah in the 60s, when every kid had day-glo posters pasted all over the bedroom walls, horrifying parents everywhere. But slowly over the years posters went from a commercial necessity to a collectible art item. I wanted in on the action, and sporadically commissioned posters in the 80s, often as promotion for my advertising agency, but it wasn’t until the cartoon biz my jones fired up in earnest.

Starting with What A Cartoon!, where I wanted to give our shorts creators their due, and continuing with Frederator’s launch, I’ve looked for a good excuse to litter some limited edition walls myself. Sporadically, we try to get an annual New Year’s release, and then something practical (usually budget) gets in the way. Certainly, we try and get something going for most of our new cartoons too.
back

So, keeping in the tradition the book collection of our first series of postcards, we collected 12 years of Frederator posters together for your viewing pleasure. As a bonus, there most of the HB What A Cartoon! posters too, plus a lot of one-off digitals for events you might or might not be aware of. And some Comic-Con collectibles too! “51 illustrations” in all, as it hypes on the back cover.

You might have seen the earlier digital download draft, but here’s the final, published version, if you want to take a quick, electronic gander.

Original Cartoon Posters from Frederator Studios

PS: Don’t forget to check out the cool Fanboy & Chum Chum and Adventure Time stuff that’s included.

The AT T Project.

February 4th, 2008

If you’re an “Adventure Time” follower (cartoon here, blog here) you’re as impatient as we are about seeing more of them. We’re rushing as fast as we can to convince those who need convincing that it’s a great show, but in the meanwhile we keep looking for ways to make us all happy. Starting today we’ve found a way to bring AT home.

AT creator Pen Ward is creating 12 limited edition “Adventure Time” t-shirts. That’s one a week for the next 12 weeks, starting today. They’re limited editions, so each one will only be in the store for a week, so if you’re a hard core fan…

By the way, in his post announcing the T’s, Pen generously offered to sign your shirt at the San Diego Comion.

OK, so enjoy AT T#01, it’s going to be a blast.

Here it is, Adventure Time T-Shirt Time!! with Pen ‘n’ Fred.

Resurrecting The Flintstones?

January 28th, 2008

Fred Flintstone art

This Flintstones style guide was one of the last projects I oversaw as the last president of Hanna-Barbera cartoons. But it was probably one of the first things I wanted to accomplish.

Shortly after I joined the company I had an enlightening dinner with John Kricfalusi where we got to know each other. In addition to discussing some first principles of cartoon making (where I told John to my thoughts about doing classic-type shorts and found out he’d thinking along the same lines; I guess there are no original ideas) John told me about his frustrations about the ‘evolution’ Hanna-Barbera’s classic characters had taken since the early 1960s. He introduced me to master designer Ed Benedict, one of his heroes, who’s designed everyone from Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, and The Flintstones. And how HB’s cutifying and firming up the modeling of the characters had actually completely robbed them of their personalities.


John made perfect sense to me and solidified an ignorant instinct I had about the lessening of the vintage Hanna-Barbera shows that started losing their power around the time of The Jetsons. It became one of my missions at the studio to restore the power of the great, funny drawings in the company’s heritage. So, in addition to the resurrection of the a shorts program I tried to instill a passion for the great designs that built the joint.

Boy was it hard. For thirty years the culture had re-developed around the cute, squat, and dull designs that emerged around the early/mid 60s; it had convinced itself that that art was the ‘good stuff’ and the earlier models were crude, inexact, and ‘bad.’ But, as the young artists started to re-populate the ranks, their interest in the original designs and animation started to take hold and eventually led us to master artist Craig Kellman (now working primarily with Genndy Tartakovky’s Orphanage).

Fred Flintstone Model Comparisons

Not more than 25 in 1996, Craig was commissioned by HB Licensing Creative Director Russell Hicks to completely redesign the licensing guide that had come out just the year before. And wow did he take to it. Hundreds –probably thousands– of drawings poured out from Craig’s desk. Superior drawings too, too great for someone of his tender age. But, one by one, anyone could see their power and their humor, and soon enough we completely republished the style guide, a “redux” if you will.
Check out the drawings above and you’ll see how much Ed’s influence was on Craig, but also the pathetic, enemic versions that have dominated for the last 50 years.

From “On the Rocks”

Alas, we were a little too late. Seemingly within minutes after publication Ted Turner sold Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network to Time Warner. No one there really gave a crap about old or new designs, and the Cartoon Network executives with senior responsibility were more interested in their employment than the studio. A few of them –Mike Lazzo, Linda Simensky, and Brian Miller– thankfully had enough juice to get a 90 minute special,”On the Rocks,” produced using the models. But, by then, The Flintstones had lost their mojo and the film went pretty much unnoticed.

But, don’t fret. The designs exist forever, and one day The Flintstones will come back, with a passionate advocate steering them to wonderful comedy greatness. In the meantime, enjoy some of Craig’s designs.

The job I really wanted.

October 28th, 2007

When I was seven years old “The Huckleberry Hound Show” made me fall in love with Hanna-Barbera cartoons forever. So when I accidentally became President of the studio in 1992 I was naturally biased towards honoring the classic characters that made me a fan in the first place.

It took us a few years to get it together on a lot of fronts (saving the studio from extinction was job one) but by 1995 we had key initiatives in place, including licensing Creative Director Russell Hicks, Animation Art head Tom Barreca, and business head Alan Keith. The whole studio was constantly disappointed with the lack of cool stuff from our licensees so we decided to take matters into our own hands. We began with building and stocking a retail store right in the studio with the merchandised we wished someone else would do (maybe if we sent sample to a licensee they’d see the wisdom in our way and make the product for mass consumption). And soon, the idea percolated up, in those pre-Ecommerce days, we should have a high end catalog to make the best stuff available to the general public.

Russell, Tom, Animation Art Creative Director Eric Homan, and AA Director David Barenholtz put their teams to work developing contemporary merch we thought was worthy of our classic characters, and conceiving a catalog to showcase the stuff properly. I got heavily involved (frankly, I probably would’ve taken the job as catalog chief if they’d asked in 1992; I had an unhealthy obsession with catalog selling). By 1996 everything was ready.

And then Ted Turner sold the company.

The dingbats from Warner Bros. (the division Hanna-Barbera was attached to in the merger) were of a classic corporate take-over mold. They completely flamed everything Hanna-Barbera. Whatever we did was considered sub-standard, everything they did was great (of course, who could forget Histeria?). Dump the crap, shred the catalog, please listen to what we want you to do. It was little consolation that Peter Starrett, the head dingbat at the Warner Bros. stores, was summarily corporately executed as his grand vision of retail went down in flames.
…..
Hanna-Barbera Creative Director: Russell Hicks
Animation Art Creative Director: Eric Homan
Written by Marty Pekar
Designed by Susan McIntyre

Animation Art Vice President: Tom Barecca
Animation Art Director: David Barenholtz