Just in time to toast the successful seventh season of JG Quintel’s Emmy-winning series, this somewhat slim (at 160 pages) but quite engaging hardcover is a fitting celebration of this Cartoon Network gem. Paging through, readers enter a cartoony world of polar bear portals, demonic hot dogs, and more surreal adventures of Mordecai the bluejay, Rigby the raccoon and their long-suffering coworkers.
This behind-the-scenes peek offers a healthy mix of show artwork, from Quintel’s earliest concept drawings to storyboards and series art, plus character development sketches, production art and even writers’ room doodles. This visual olio is served with in-depth interviews with Quintel and other key creatives and voice actors, expertly handled by experience animation writer (and occasional cartoonist) O’Leary. So, there’s plenty to tide you over until season eight premieres next year!
Grampa Simpson’s Guide to Aging
By Matt Groening
[Insight Editions, $24.99]
As Insight puts it: They say, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it!” Then again, those who have forgotten the past are most likely living in the Springfield Retirement Castle, repeating themselves over and over again. Yes, the latest installment of the “Vault of Simpsonology” collection tackles the mysterious beauty of decrepitude with trademark Groening humor.
In honor of family patriarch Abe Simpson, this treasure trove of wisdom is packed with mini-comics, gag ads, cantankerous cartoons and miscellaneous treats (see: Things to Do Before I Die – The Bucket List of an Underachieving Geriatric). And with all those Baby Boomers sliding into retirement (if they can afford it), you may want to order this volume in bulk for the holidays.
Animated Landscapes: History, Form and Function
Edited by Chris Pallant
[Bloomsbury Academic, $120]
Film students and cinema aficionados have long seen the value in studying the landscapes of their big screen favorites. For some directors and movements, the landscape informs much of the experience — imagine Woody Allen’s oeuvre without New York. Yet the imaginative landscapes of animated films are often overlooked.
This collection provides an intriguing counterpoint to this attitude and the dominance of character dissection in animation scholarship. Containing essays from writers around the world, the hefty book addresses everything from the history of the animated landscape, case studies in national contexts, the traversal of animated landscape, the animation of fantastical landscapes and the animation of interactive landscapes. It is an invaluable collection of works on an underrepresented subject — but, if you want to pay less than three figures for it, we recommend going straight to the Bloomsbury website for the best deal.
A Cartoon Girl’s Secret Guide to Developing Kids’ Comedy Series That Sell
By Rita Street
[Radar Cartoons on Gumroad, Free E-Book]
As industry veteran Rita Street stated regarding the book’s launch, “This is literally everything I’ve learned from buyers over the last decade on how to develop a kids’ comedy show for six- to 11-year olds. It’s casual, dense and full of real exercises that will help you create rockin’ sales materials.” She should know, as founder of Radar Cartoons, a producer, consultant, founder of Women in Animation and — ahem — former publisher of Animation Magazine.
Available as a free E-Book through radarcartoons.com and gumroad.com, this Secret Guide is your shortcut to knowing the ins-and-outs of selling the next SpongeBob (hint: you have to do more than tell people your show is “the next SpongeBob”). Street has done the hard work for you over the last decade, having landed over 1,200 pitch meetings with key development executives and selling a record 15 shows into development. If you can’t make it to one of Street’s workshops or speaking engagements, this is the next best thing.