The Allure of Sequential Art, Part 1

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?).

*after these messages… dum-da-da-da…we’ll be riiiiight back!*

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!

Music Land (animated short)

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?

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6 thoughts on “The Allure of Sequential Art, Part 1

  1. Claire says:

    Okay, I love how the saxophone rows himself over to the Land of Symphony on a marimba/xylophone. LOVE.

    One of my favorite animated shorts played before Toy Story 3. (Gotta love Pixar!) It’s called “Day and Night”:

    Day and Night

    I thought this short was simultaneously so original and also a throwback to old-school animation (the style of the two man-creatures, for one). I couldn’t resist its charms! Not to mention, the overall message brought tears to my eyes. It was a nice warm-up for bawling my eyes out during Toy Story 3. 😉

    Really looking forward to this series!

    • Starr Hoffman says:

      oh man, i’m waiting to watch it until i see Toy Story 3, but considering how AWESOME all Pixar shorts/films/everything-including-doughnuts are, i’m sure it rocks.

      i LOVE the one in front of the original Toy Story, with the little dear old man playing chess with himself. ❤

  2. Momo says:

    You are so busted…about the cartoon thing, Ha ha!! I am now doing a mural project for ur Church. A whole building of seven rooms!!! Do you still have reference pics of Jayne…The Mashed Banana’s Nursery? We are doing realistic, not animated animals..for a Noah’s Ark theme. Love Momo

  3. Troy Sims says:

    I have a confession to make. I collected Disney Masterpiece VHS tapes before I had kids. I even took a date to go see Aladdin at the theatre and this was during my long-hair heavy metal days… Thought you’d get a kick out of that confession….

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