Posts Tagged ‘Birdman’

Oscars2015463790992This year’s Academy Awards nominees feature some movies that are so full of media literacy lessons – like Boyhood which was discussed in an earlier post, American Sniper which will be the subject of a new post on mediateacher.net that will appear this week, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) which features truly groundbreaking collaboration between director Alejandro González Iñárritu, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (featured in Moving Images and a number of mediateacher posts), its actors including Michael Keaton, and percussionist and composer Antonio Sánchez, among others – and it will be very interesting to see the ones chosen in various categories by the Academy voters.  The tricky relationship of history, truth, authenticity, and accuracy that has been seen in debates related to Selma and The Imitation Game as well as the multiply-controversial American Sniper is a key thematic core to lessons in Moving Images, and there will be upcoming posts that feature information and links within our already well-developed category of social studies-related media lessons.

Me-and-My-Moulton-post1Meanwhile, for most of the general public, the categories for the short films are the most unknown quantities on the Oscar ballot.  You might want to check out this piece by A.O. Scott for any last-minute info and for a short film that shows the nominees for animation.  One of the animated shorts, Me and My Moulton, is by Torill Kove, who directed past winner The Danish Poet, which is available with other past winners on an excellent BluRay by Shorts International.

Read Full Post »

On this standard Toth Black Canary comic page one can see a distinctively cinematic story board

Alex Toth was certainly one of the most compelling and dedicated visual storytellers working in comics and television animation during the second half of the 20th century.  His stylistic and narrative prowess was formidable, and a study of his artistic development during the 1950’s and 1960’s provides some of the most inspiring and informative lessons that anyone working in visual communications can hope to encounter.  Genius, Isolated, the first volume of a comprehensive biographical trilogy on Toth by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell, came out last year, and the next book – Genius, Illustratedis due out in a few months.

Space Ghost by Alex Toth

Having worked in a wide variety of comic genres in the 1950’s, during the 60’s Toth shifted to working mostly in the medium of television animation, and he created some of the most strongly designed cartoons ever to hit the airwaves, including Space Ghost, Birdman, The Galaxy Trio, and The Herculoids, and he contributed to Doug Wildey’s influential Jonny Quest.  Throughout his life, Toth loved movies, and he consistently talked about the impact of cinematic storytelling on his work and approach to layouts, pacing, and character design.

Toth model sheet for animated Three Musketeers

A few years ago, Hanna-Barbera released some of the Toth cartoon series on DVD, and a highlight of those discs was the inclusion of some excellent documentaries on Toth’s life and complicated personality, artistic impact, and working methods.  One moment that stuck out for me among those biographical pieces was a reference to a series of “How-To” comics that Toth produced during the 70’s when he was working on the popular Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon.  I was overjoyed recently to see on the Toth website, run by his family, that they had posted these pages among their archives.  They are stunning and engrossing to anyone interested in animation history, professional draftsmanship, and television production traditions and techniques.  I certainly hope they are going to appear among the pages of the second and third installments of the “Genius” books chronicling the dramatic life and vibrant artistry of Alex Toth.

Read Full Post »