08 October 2008

Friday night is the new Saturday morning.

(Asajj Ventress.  Pencil sketch by el Shannisimo.)

The new Star Wars cartoon, The Clone Wars, premiered last Friday night on Cartoon Network.  I sat down and watched it with the same kind of excitement I had during Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid.  I watched it sitting on the floor like I did as a kid and it inspired me to start drawing just like the cartoons did when I was a kid.  Here are some sketches I knocked out during the show.  I really like the character designs.  The villains are awesome.  Asajj Ventress is a pretty radical design for a kid's cartoon.  The big samurai double belt thing gives her a low center of gravity which makes her feminine but she is not pretty.  She's pretty scary looking.  That long neck and sharp features make her look like a vulture.  It's a really neat design and fun to draw.
(Count Dooku a.k.a. Mr. Grumpy Face. Pencil sketch by Shannana Montana.)

The design for Count Dooku is nothing radical but I like the big evil mustache and that grumpy bottom lip.  I like most all of the character designs and think that it is a great looking show.  It is probably the best looking computer animated TV show ever.  It has some weak points.  The human admiral character looks like he came out of one of those Barbie movies.  Humans look awkward when they walk and some times seem to slide across the frame but that's pretty common in computer animation.  I never for one second thought Golem looked like he was connected to his environment in those movies about those guys walking and camping.  I am generally not a fan of computer animation.  And I know, even the stuff  that looks like hand drawn cell animation is all assembled with computers these days but you know what I mean.  Simply put, I prefer my cartoons to look like cartoons and not like video games.  The Clone Wars does look like a video game but it looks like a really cool video game.  More importantly the stories (at least the two they showed on Friday) are really good.  Well crafted, well executed fast paced episodic adventure television.  That is something we don't see often on TV.  Firefly is the last example I can think of.  Don't even go there with throwing Heroes or Lost in my face.  That stuff is just soap opera with a bigger budget.  I'm talking about entertaining TV episodes with a beginning, a middle and an end.  I love that!  That is probably a big part of the reaon that cartoons and the occasional sitcom are the only fiction TV I watch.  
Another thing I really like about these Star Wars cartoons is that they have Star Wars in them.  I've wanted this cartoon for 31 years.  It's Star Wars man!  Space ships and aliens and light sabers and droids.  Freaking Star Wars on TV!  And not some low budget movie or special.  This is a freaking Star Wars TV show!  Exclamation point!  I never thought it would happen.  Now I know a lot of my nerd pals out there have gone to the dark side and flipped the hater switch firmly to the on position when it comes to all things relating to Uncle George.  That's fine.  I'm not going to cheerleader the Star Wars cause.  You don't owe Star Wars or Lucas anything.  They are doing just fine.  From all accounts Uncle George and his nice family are living happy healthy lives and will be just fine whether anyone watches a cartoon or not.  I'm just saying that if you like short adventure stories that require none of the investment of the longer TV dramas then you should check this show out.  And yeah, if I had my way, it would be a cartoon that looks more like a cartoon and it would have Luke and Han and Chewie (It would look just like the Howard Chaykin and Carmine Infantino Star Wars comics I loved as a kid and I would be hired to help write the thing or something...) but you can't have it all and I like these characters plenty.  And have I mentioned how much I like Ahsoka Tano?  Oh and there is this guy...
(Fiskerton from The Secret Saturdays.  Pencil sketch by Shannotron 3000.)

Wait a minute.  He's no Jedi.  That's Fisk from The Secret Saturdays.  He's a gorilla cat!  The Secret Saturdays is another new addition to The Cartoon Network and half the reason I think Friday nights are the new Saturday morning.  This show is awesome!  There is almost nothing original about it but they have stolen from all my favorite Alex Toth-ish cartoons.  If you fused Thundarr, The Herculoids, Jonny Quest and Scooby-Doo you would have the awesomest adventure cartoon ever and it would be The Secret Saturdays.  I really like the Fisk character I drew above.  He is basically a cross between Chewbacca and Scooby-Doo.  I can't believe it took someone 31 years to figure you that if you mix one part Chewie and one part Scooby you get awesome.  But, the real star of the show is action mom Drew Saturday.  She's got white hair, big boots and a huge freaking sword like that girl from the Heavy Metal movie.  How can that not turn your nerometer to wow?  Don't answer that. It can't not. (Or it can will!  Grammar?! Exclamation point!)  I really like this show.  Give me The Secret Saturdays, The Clone Wars, throw in some Ben 10 and man, you've got yourself all the excitement of a great Saturday morning!  (On Friday night.)
In conclusion.  Thank you Cartoon Network.  I'm six years old again.

Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith
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