As a kid, I was addicted to animation. I not only watched old Disney movies over and over, I saved up my allowance to spend it on expensive animation reference books (NERD ALERT!). I wrote passionate letters to Disney Adventures asking what was the best college for an art background that would get me employed at Disney Studios. I wrinkled my nose at the lower quality of TV animation… even as I gleefully watched any show I could at my friends’ houses; GI Joe, He-Man, She-Ra, My Little Ponies, DuckTales, and of course the amazing Muppet Babies (Saturday-morning cartoons were strictly verboten in my house; wasn’t I just the nerdiest rebel ever?).
It physically hurt, deep in my chest, to consider the possibility that when I grew up I might not be an animator. (Then a crippling fear of failure caused me to completely abandon that career possibility in college. Sigh. NEUROSES, amirite?)
I told my dad I had no idea why I was so obsessed with animation, that I knew I liked art in general, but what was this suffocating, painful joy about? His theory is that it perfectly combines two of my passions: visual art and storytelling. That’s a decent explanation, particularly since in my adulthood this love of animation has translated into a love of comics, graphic novels, webcomics, etc. (thus sequential art in general). I could expand on this by telling you about the strip I wrote in high school, The Adventures of Jayne the Mashed Banana, but let’s leave that for another time, shall we?
So this is a looong intro for a series on my favorite comics & animated films/shorts, and why they’re so awesome. First up: my favorite short animated film!
This is one of Disney’s Silly Symphonies, which were accompanied by music instead of dialog. Music Land is a humorous, clever retelling of Romeo and Juliet (without suicide!) wherein the warring families are Classical vs Jazz, Romeo is an alto sax, and Juliet is a violin. It features clever uses of instruments as other objects (metronome as a prison tower, anyone?), and the final battle is an amazing musical blowout with pipe organ cannons blaring Ride of the Valkyries. It also opens with a fantastic map–I can’t resist maps.
Next up? It probably has something to do with a mischevious little bugger…
Got an animated short you’d like to share?