By Andy Khouri
One of the coolest traditions in American television animation is of course the Simpsons “couch gag,” whereby Matt Groening’s famous family of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie perform some sort of skit before properly settling in to watch the names of their show’s creators appear on television. Over the years the gags have developed from something amusing but relatively mundane to hugely ambitious productions that sometimes eclipse the very episodes they’re intended to introduce.
Guest directors push the envelope further, with some including filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, street artist Banksy, and legendary animators Bill Plympton and John Kricfalusi, who create what amount to animated cover versions in their own idiosyncratic styles. It’s a glorious thing to behold.
This week, The Simpsons adds another auspicious guest director to its list of achievements with this latest couch gag by French animator Sylvain Chomet, the Academy Award-winning director of The Triplets of Belleville.
The man who co-created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Peter Laird is set for perhaps his weirdest voice acting gig yet this weekend’s latest CG animated episode entitled, “Ice Cream Kitty,” on Nickelodeon. Kevin Eastman will meow it up as April’s cat, who accidentally ingests a flawed retromutagen experiment — flawed because Mikey just dropped a scoop from his drippy ice cream cone into the mix — and transforms into one of the weirdest/cutest mutants the current series (or any series) has ever seen.
By Chris Sims
Ever since the announcement that RoboCop vs. Terminator was getting the deluxe edition treatment it deserves, I’ve been thinking a lot about crossovers, and the more I think, the more I’m fixated on one of the most glaring oversights of ’90s comics. Against all reason, against all logic, we never got Batman vs. Terminator. That’s crazy, right? I mean, we got Batman vs. Predator three times. THREE. And yet, nobody ever sent a robot back in time to take out Bruiser Wayne.
Now, that has been corrected, in the form of a genuinely awesome five-minute animated fan-film from Tony Guerrero and Mitchell Hammond, with music by Noir Deco, and it’s awesome
By David Brothers
Today, I’m talking to LeSean Thomas. He works as a director, storyboard artist, character designer, and producer for the [adult swim] show Black Dynamite, a spin-off of the movie starring Michael Jai White. He also created the comic Cannon Busters and worked on cartoons like The Boondocks and Legend of Korra. Thomas may seem like an odd choice for a comics podcast at first blush, but his career trajectory offers a lot for aspiring creators to learn from, demonstrates the options available to artists today, and has a lot of practical knowledge to boot. Cartoons are comics-adjacent, especially in LeSean’s case, and I think the insights he has on becoming a working professional are valuable.