alex robinson's six highlights of life in New York,
March 8, 2009
• Ha! Thanks to Jim Valentino for linking me to The Saturday Watchmen (cartoon) intro! Awesome.
• Max Estes keeps cranking out bitchin' paintings. Available for sale at Made by Max.
• Oh, and the pundits can suck it — i LOVED Watchmen. Can't wait to see it again on a high-def screen.
• Forget Batman... Comic Foundry R.I.P.!!! Last issue was a beauty. With Wizard magazine firing staffers right and left, it seems like that mag is on its last legs. And while i've been an unabashed fan of it since Jemas & Quesada reinvented Marvel Comics, the magazine has really lost its magic — none of which has to do with changing content within the industry itself. By the same token, while i still lovingly read The Comics Journal every issue, i only really devour a fraction of the content, whereas in it's heyday i read every single word within its pages.
Tim and Laura... thanks for a wonderful, if all too brief a ride. I'll really miss ya!
• Finally, a seriously big tip o' the hat to Amid (Cartoon Brew) Amidi, who penned the recently released The Art of Pixar Short Films. I'm a big fan of the "art-of" (fill in Pixar film) books, and indeed the only one i don't own is Art of Cars. (Loved the movie, but i'm not a big auto guy at all.) The series as a whole stands head and shoulders above the competition. Qualitative comparisons between Pixar films and the competition aside, the Pixar art-of books are luscious affairs that dig deep into the Pixar archives to provide a rich understanding of the idea-generating visual process behind their movies. But for all their glory, none of the art-of Pixar books to date have taken us behind the creative process, and deeper into the history of the company, the men and women who made the company the juggernaut it is today.
That has changed with Mr. Amidi's terrific The Art of Pixar Short Films. A lovingly packaged and in-depth look at not only the films themselves, but also a de-facto history of Pixar, and their critical importance in the development of digital animation in general. From their early day-jobs at Lucasfilms, this is the story of a handful of crafty idea-smiths (including widely known John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, father of comics' own Ben Catmull), who changed the face of animation.
In the front of the book, Amidi delves into the teams behind each short film, which provides wonderful context into the development of the company as a whole. This section is a veritable treasure trove of process for both aspiring professionals and armchair animation fans like myself. Amidi tells a broader, less personal story here, so on this level the book even holds its own against the "definitive" To Infinity and Beyond: The Story of Pixar.
The back two thirds of the book is chockablock full of art art art, the stuff that we're used to lapping up in the backlist of Pixar art-of books we've all come to love.
An interview with Amid about the book can be read here at the Pixar Blog.
Par for the course too for anything coming from Chronicle Books, the book is exquisitely designed and laid out. File this under "Must Have."