Friday, February 11, 2011

Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Comic Book Pages (Manga Edition)!


Sometimes people ask me how to get into animation. Mostly I encourage them to keep drawing, preferably from real life to get those fundamentals solid, and that's pretty good advice, I think. But the curmudgeon in me just wants to warn them away, because the truth of the matter is that animation is, by and large, a lot of work for very little reward.

By way of example, lets consider a sequence from Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases! As a transition from Bat-Mite's lair to the manga section of the show, we had to come up with a few fake pages of a Japanese Batman comic, based on the old comics by Jiro Kuwata. Legal wouldn't let us just use scans from the originals, so we had to cobble together some fakes, made to look enough like Jiro Kuwata's art to be recognizable, but not enough to exact duplicates of the original.

So I spent a couple weeks coming up with these 6 fake pages -



-and then we sent it off to legal, who had some tiny changes. Next up, inks-


-so with the legal hurdles cleared, we got Craig Cuqro to colour the pages, and added a layer of aged paper texture from Bill Dunn. We also got some dialogue translated into Japanese by Toshi Hiruma (I can't remember what it says any more, sorry) -








 -and wrapped it all up in this cover, drawn by Lynell Forestall, inked by Robert Lacko and again coloured by Craig Cuqro and aged up by Bill Dunn -



All told, the whole process probably took about a month. Now watch it go by onscreen - 

video

And that's after we duplicated the cycle to extend it. So in a nutshell, we compressed a month's worth of labour into three seconds of screentime. So there's my advice for aspiring animators - always remember that animation is a medium that will drain years off of your lifespan and leave you mere snippets of footage in return.

And keep drawing!

All characters and art ™and © DC Comics

15 comments:

Tannerama said...

Hahaha You're right Ben. I'm giving it up!

Ben Jones said...

When you're a happy and healthy 100 year old man, you'll thank me. Although I will have been dead for many decades already. Please instruct the mortician-bots to have a continuous loop of the four and a half minutes of art I spent my life labouring over playing on my hover-tombstone at all times.

Chip Kidd said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Youngberg! said...

That sucks, but your pages do not suck. Please feel free to donate them to my art collection. Did you ink them as well?

Ben Jones said...

I did ink them myself! I guess you can add them to the hover-tombstone as well.

Chip Kidd said...

Hi Ben, I just want to thank you and all the rest of the guys at B&B who did such an AMAZING JOB on this. It really was a dream come true to watch it. My endless thanks and gratitude, '
Chip K

Chris Battle said...

Ahhh, but always remember we can frame-by-frame it on DVD to give it the obsessive love it deserves! AWESOME.

Anonymous said...

Aw Animation is still Awesome and so are your blogs. I still want to be an animator even though my parents are totally against it.

Ben Jones said...

Chip - And thanks right back to yoy for making the book that inspired it!

Chris - By the power of the pause button, I will find my immortality! Or something like that.

Anon - I don't want to encourage anyone to ignore their parents (I'm sure they only want the best for you and all), but if you like animating, keep it up! Just make sure to get a day job in the meantime.

Anonymous said...

Are you really not the Ben Jones of Paper Rad fame who is also currently working on a Cartoon Network show?

That is TOO weird

O_o

Ben Jones said...

It's true, I'm not him. I do sometimes get his emails, but he is an entirely separate and distinct individual also named Ben Jones, who happens to also be a cartoonist working on Cartoon Network shows. So far, we haven't met, which is probably best for the continued integrity of the space/time continuum.

Trevor said...

So you can confirm you are not a Highlander and there can be more than one Ben Jones?

Ben Jones said...

Absolutely, although I may just be saying that so no one gets tempted to chop my head off.

delphi_ote said...

Or maybe you're saying it because you're hoping to get the drop on your unsuspecting appellation doppelganger.

Rick Lucey said...

Thanks for sharing these. It was fun seeing the show itself. I always dig seeing production work and the raw stuff as much as the finished material!