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Cartoonists document Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

Art by Luis Simoes
The last few days have seen no small amount of drama in Hong Kong, as disenfranchised students are calling attention to their lack of political freedoms. The students have taken up umbrellas to protect themselves from the massive amounts of tear gas the riot police have used as a means of restoring order. 

On Facebook you can find two groups dedicated to recording the scenes at the the Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, and Admiralty areas of Hong Kong. Urban Sketchers Hong Kong (USHK) and Sketcher-Kee have both been in existence for about a year, and have responded to the recent unrest with vigor. Its members have been posting sketches featuring unfriendly police, tense protesters, and poetically empty or chaotically crammed urban vistas dominated by umbrellas and the color yellow. 

At the moment the protests are in a bit of a lull, as protest leaders have met with government officials and agreed to meet for talks starting on October 10. Student leader Lester Shum has said that the protests would continue until “practical measures [have] been forged between the government and the people.”

USHK cofounder Alvin Wong emphasized to Hyperallergic‘s Laura C. Mallonee the value of documenting “the biggest pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong history,” no matter the risk. As Wong Suede of Sketcher-Kee says, “We want to use our ability to make awareness for the public, to share our observations, experiences, and thoughts via the Internet to the world. ... We hope we can support and encourage the protesters who are fighting for Hong Kong … since we are also protestors, we hope it may [achieve something] for the whole movement.”

Art by Rob Sketcherman

Art by Collins Yeung ART

Art by Wink Au
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Commie Toons: Middle-aged Cubans miss the Soviet-era cartoons of their youth
07:30 am



Cheburashka toy

Cubans in their forties and fifties may not have vintage Disney toys from the 1960’s and 1970’s or boxed sets of every Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, but chances are they may still have a Bolek and Lolek toy or book somewhere. And they’re probably downloading hours worth of other old cartoons from the Soviet era.

Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959 state television ran cartoons from Bulgaria, East Germany, Poland (Bolek and Lolek), Hungary (Gustavus), and the Soviet Union (Mashinka and the Bear, Ny, pogodi!) . A lot of these cartoons did not have dialogue, preventing the need for dubbed audio. 

Following the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991 Warsaw Pact cartoons were no longer shown in Cuba, but there was a generation of young adults with fond memories of them.

A graphic designer, Darwin Fornes, started a small business in Havana this year, which he called Chamakovich, and printed up 300 T-shirts featuring his favorite cartoon characters from his ‘80s childhood. Despite the dire Cuban economy, his first run sold out almost immediately. Darwin told La Jiribilla that he used grayscale for the images of Bolek and Lolek for added authenticity: most Cubans had black-and-white televisions well into the ‘90s.

Here is a selection of the quirky and adorable cartoons that inspired Fornes’ T-shirts:

Bolek and Lolek (Poland):

Mashenka (Little Masha) and the Bear (U.S.S.R.):

More Soviet-era cartoons after the jump…

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Amazing Grace

I HAD to share this cartoon, because it really tickled me.

It’s from The Spectator magazine, and is a reference to the fantastic performance by Grace Jones at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, where she sang “Slave To The Rhythm” while hula-hooping non-stop for the best part of four minutes. She’s 64, in case you forgot. And as fierce & fabulous as ever. Grace is the REAL queen:

Grace Jones “Slave To The Rhythm” (live at the Diamond Jubilee)

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Navel-gazing: Stimpy takes a trip

Ren, Stimpy and Stinky, by Laberzink

This is one for all you fans of 60s psychedelia, and especially pastiche 60s psychedelia. Not to mention being one for fans of transgressive cartoons, and in particular one of the best cartoon shows of all time, John K’s Ren & Stimpy.

In this clip Stimpy gets invited to climb into his own stomach by his belly-button, which disturbingly enough looks like a talking foreskin. Im sure that’a a metaphor for something or other, but as I have not seen the full episode I can’t offer the context. Once inside his navel Stimpy is treated to some pretty great visuals and a very neat tune called “Climb Inside My World”, performed by Chris Goss (producer of Kyuss, Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age among many others), here channeling that groovy ‘67 spirit of the Beatles and the Small Faces.

It’s great that what was nominally a kids show could get away with something like this. Of course, this was before cartoons were taken seriously as “adult” entertainment, and we can thank Ren & Stimpy hugely for that change in perception. A bit like Stimpy’s own changing perspective.

Ignore the German intro and skip straight to 0:23 for the action. Ooh, there’s that pesky number 23, but I’m sure it’s just a co-incidence…

Thanks Joe!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Ren & Stimpy creator John K animates The Simpsons

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Lego: Minimalist cartoon characters
06:05 am



Lego. Cartoons. Imagination. What’s not to like?

Clever advertising campaign for Lego by German advertising agency Jung von Matt.
With thanks to Vítor Rua

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bringing peace to a universe near you, it’s the ‘Space Stallions’

If, like me, you were raised on a strict diet of American and Japanese cartoons as a child of the 80s, then you are in for a treat with Space Stallions, which comes across as THE best kids show that never existed. And that’s just on the strength of the intro sequence.

An homage to likes of Ulysses 31, ThunderCats and Bravestarr, Space Stallions was created by The Animation Workshop, and what a great job they did too. We’re particularly tickled by the sword-cum-keytar, and the convoluted plot dynamics that would only make sense to a sugar-rushing 8-year-old:


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
No Drama Without Synthetic Violence: Ray Harryhausen’s Creatures (Not Monsters!)

Stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen turns 90 today. It’s a perfect time to appreciate his contributions over more than a half-century. Harryhausen’s parade of creatures—giant squids, gargantuan bees, serpentine genies, sword-wielding skeletons, huge crabs, etc.—have fuelled the nerdy fantasies and stoney dreams of many a Boomer teen.

Although the labor-intensive stop-motion method now seems the quaint realm of the video artiste, we shouldn’t overlook its predominance in the realm of pre-CGI modeling. But putting that aside, as you’ll see in Mat Bergman’s obsessive tribute below, Harryhausen refined the interaction between stop-action models and live-action, which sets him apart from acolytes like Tim Burton  and Henry Selick. Catch the interview as well—Ray’s a truly warm wit.



Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment