Hey, remember Invasion America? Supposedly ground-breaking entry into dramatic television animation for older North American viewers? … aired at night on the WB? … produced by Steven Spielberg…?
Yeah. That was about the reaction it got when it aired.
Anyway, the show got a couple of tie-in novels, and here’s the front and back covers to one of them. According to author Christie Golden’s Wikipedia entry, she has written many Star Trek and World of Warcraft novels, and also a series of stories about a vampire elf.
The January 1985 issue of Comics Feature ran an article on Marvel Productions, a company that produced cartoons such as Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Transformers, and Muppet Babies during the 1980s, and this piece of pre-production Dungeons & Dragons artwork was included as part of the story. Unfortunately, it seems the original photograph of the art was out of focus, so this was the best scan I could make of it at the time.
This is by far my favorite NFB short and maybe my second favorite cartoon ever (after Disney’s The Band Concert, which does SO much for me).
I just found out that the filmmaker who made it, Frédéric Back, passed away last year. Very sad.
I used to watch this over and over. So amazing! During CSSSA one summer, we took a field trip to an exhibition of his art and animation. They had frosted cels from his films, each one was like a detailed painting. Everyone should be familiar with Frédéric Back’s films. Such an astounding body of work, with so much heart.
So Croatia had an animation industry in the 1980s. I was unaware of this fact, but was aware of the fruits of their labors, a little headtrip of a film called The Elm-Chanted Forest. I believe it used to play on the Disney Channel in the days you had to pay extra for it and it was commercial-free.
Anyway, here is a psychedelic musical number from the film, featuring a breakdancing mushroom caricature of Michael Jackson.
As for the art itself, the “Root of Evil” Ming the Merciless feels kinda Vincent Price-y to me, while on first impression I thought Astra kipped Jem’s font… except I think Defenders of the Earth was produced before Jem and the Holograms was. Regardless, that is some incredibly ’80s typography.
I was not a British child of the 1980s (despite exposure to Dangermouse and Count Duckula via Nickelodeon), so I’d never heard of The Trap Door until fairly recently. Here is an episode where the main character finding a radio is used as an excuse to play the full-length theme song. Well, who can resist an adorably creepy New Wave musical number?