Mad About Cartoons

Bill Wray is trying to make the transition fine art but is known as a cartoonist, a background painter/ Art director and sometimes animation director. This will be the place he post his ocasional animation and cartooning work and also be a place to bitch or wax sentimentally about cartoons in general. It’s been a love and hate relationship for many years and the long journey may not be quite over.

Friday, March 05, 2010

the first of the last Mighty B gross close-ups

from a board sketch by me redrawn by the amazing Miles Thomson and painted by me. I'll quietly burn them off like they are doing with our new shows.

25 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

So the show is being canceled? That's a shame, I enjoyed the show very much. Especially the art and style of the characters. It was reminiscent of earlier cartoons of the 90's.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Mathieu Beaulieu said...

I love this style!

11:13 PM  
Blogger Patrick Moore said...

These close up's are some of my favorite artwork. Absolutely amazing!

8:23 AM  
Blogger John Paul Cassidy said...

Robert,

It was announced near Thanksgiving last year by Erik Wiese that THE MIGHTY B! was unceremoniously canceled. Why, I'll never really know, but I have that suspicion that ratings have nothing to do with it, despite the claims of many a detractor. The show has gotten some pretty good ratings before Nick gradually dropped the ball by showing it less, and putting it in the back seat to allow more SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS marathons. Note that every other cartoon gets shown about 1-2 hours a week, while THE MIGHTY B! gets shown only once a week to once every *two* weeks! It's gotten absolutely ridiculous. It did quite well enough to get a second season. Ratings my eye.

I honestly thought it was the best Nicktoon since REN & STIMPY (still the King of Nicktoons for me), and the last straw for the roster of good canceled shows like INVADER ZIM, MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT, THE X's, and EL TIGRE (all creator-driven shows, like THE MIGHTY B!, and all had *good* animation, and all run only once-or-twice and canceled by Nickelodeon).

When THE MIGHTY B! disappears from Nickelodeon altogether (not its ancillary networks like Nicktoons, BTW), I'll be completely done with that network. It's becoming a one-trick pony. (Well, two-trick, if you count iCARLY.)

10:30 PM  
Blogger Manomite said...

Hey JPC,

While you make good points with your rant, I still try to be forgiving towards the network and be thankful that they just even made the show to begin with. I've been a Nick fan since my toddler days and I still think it's the best choise kids have on TV. They still have more animation than Disney Channel and they haven't COMPLETELY betrayed their traditions like Cartoon Network. If Nick somehow goes under (not likely, they're too big), so does my faith in children's TV -- or any chance of those cancelled shows coming back. Think about that. Even if another company took the shows after Nick's unlikely demise, they might get treated worse by their new owners (like Doug). Do you want to take that risk?

I also disagree about Nick being a one-trick pony. While they might over-promote iCarly, I've actually seen less of SpongeBob these days (well, in comparision to last year's 10th anniversary stuff). But animation is still a big player on the network. Even if a lot of the Nicktoons today are CGI, there are still some hand-drawn ones in the works (T.U.F.F. Puppy for one). And while Mighty B has met an end, each new episode aired so far HAS gotten some type of promo next to other shows, so they're not really making it a silent death. Lastly, I'm just proud that Nick is giving new Nicktoons a chance with more than just ONE season these days. As bad as this might seem to you, there was a dark two years between Avatar and Barnyard where things were worse.

I am still a proud Nick fan -- but only the network itself, not the people who run it. I don't make comparisions to the old days, because EVERYTHINGS apparently better in the old days and judging new stuff just by comparing it with those days is pretty unfair. (as a side note, I actually used to like Ren and Stimpy too, until I saw how stuck up John K was.) I say that we should be happy with what we got, because we can't always do something about it. On top of that, most people who complain about Nick are adults or older teens. They're not even Nick's target audience. Just something to think about.

As for this painting, nice work Mr. Wray! I'd also like to ask one question about the end of Mighty B: Does everything at least wrap up pretty well, like seeing Bessie complete her quest for badges and turning superhero somehow?

8:00 AM  
Blogger James Sugrue said...

is the show getting canceled? if so, that's a real shame. It had some top notch animation, expressions, bg paintings, etc. great stuff, Bill.

9:34 AM  
Blogger benj said...

Awesome close-up painting Mr.Wray!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Nick aired the show in what I think is the worst possible time slot, and day. I recall the only time I was able to catch an episode with my younger brother was Sunday mornings at 10.

And I agree that Nick seems to be a one trick pony at the moment. They find something that works and seem to hold a vice grip to it and squeeze every last drop of insipid entertainment out of them. Shows like Spongebob and Fairly Oddparents started out well, but pushing them beyond 5 seasons seems a bit obsessive. I think this is more of a concern of Spongebob rather than Fairly Oddparents, because the latter seems to at least carry some sort of plot.

Nick seems to be playing it way too safe. Why else would they buy the licenses to Kung Fu Panda and Monster's vs Aliens? Although this is all a matter of opinion from the perspective of a viewer, I think most everything in the past WAS better. My reasoning is that they seemed to have bee more creator driven and a lot of today's shows seem to be either lackluster rip offs or extremely dumbed down humor driven shows.

As a target audience of Nick(and other kid networks) not too long ago, I can say in hindsight what made me love shows like Doug, Hey Arnold, and Recess was that I was able to empathize with the characters and the situations they often found themselves in. That's a huge part of film/tv entertainment in my opinion. But as today's cartoons stand, it seems as though characters like spongebob, flapjack, and chowder are far too annoying, and borderline mental for kids to even dare associate themselves with these insipid characters. This is all a matter of opinion though, so I maybe be wrong.

4:23 PM  
Blogger John Paul Cassidy said...

Robert,

That is exactly my problem. Giving THE MIGHTY B! that kind of timeslot is asking for a weaker response. They've hardly given it at all lately, compared to other shows that air about 2 hours a day.

For all I know, economy might be the reason the show is being canceled. Good animation/design is too expensive to do. That's one of the problems that befell INVADER ZIM.

Incidentally, while I'm not a big SPONGEBOB fan, I don't hate the show. It's just okay, but not exactly my cup of tea. My hatred is towards Nickelodeon. They are definitely playing it safe, as the show itself is generally safe and acceptable, moreso than any other show besides FAIRLY ODDPARENTS. But ridiculously expanding its timeslot lately is just too much. You'd think they were desperate for more ratings. (They're already getting higher ratings than Cartoon Network!)

I thought ODDPARENTS jumped the shark years ago, and it's gotten tired. (It should've ended in about 2005 or 2006.)

Indeed, you're also right about the state of kids shows today. We hardly get shows that are character-driven like DOUG and HEY ARNOLD (both of which I like), let alone the creator-driven stuff, which is sadly seeing decline these days.

Today's shows have gotten far more conservative in comparison. It's not just the SPONGEBOB-inspired shows, but also Cartoon Network's increase in shows for adolescent boys (the adolescent male power fantasies like BEN 10 and GENERATOR REX, and the reality shows like DUDE, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN? and DESTROY BUILD DESTROY), because of the new regime, which has a closed-minded view on cartoons. (They should be crass, boy-oriented shows that are made to sell toys, etc.) The days of DEXTER'S LAB and THE POWERPUFF GIRLS are behind them. And you wonder why they get lower ratings than Nick! (Even THE MIGHTY B! got higher ratings than BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD at one point!) At this point, they're no longer a threat to them. (Although I'd love to see how ADVENTURE TIME will affect things).

Manomite,

You offer a very fair response. Granted, I recognize that these shows are made for children, but then, so were shows like THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, which had the same wide appeal THE MIGHTY B! was going for. Whether people love or hate the show may not necessarily be the problem, as I speculated above.

I respect John K, even though I disagree with him on some things. But even though the Spumco episodes are classic, I did like the Games episodes of REN & STIMPY, which still had more power than most of the average cartoon shows at the time.

If my views on Nick seem harsh, I apologize, but my current position still stands.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Manomite said...

JPC,

Good point bringing up the economy. I meant to bring it up myself in my first post. Nick must know not to risk a lot of money during hard times and MIGHTY B must use a lot with such wild animation. Also, a lot of CG in a 2D show must be more expensive than just complete CG shows, seeing how they're making a lot (such as three different DreamWorks adaptations, an upcoming JIMMY NEUTRON spin-off, and FANBOY). I know some people hate CG, but I actually think hand-drawn and CG can work side-by-side in perfect harmony for the same company. It's obvious that economic troubles have effected everyone in the industry, but once the economy gets back to normal, I bet thing will be looking up for future Nicktoons.

The "creator-driven" concept hasn't disappeared either. There just aren't as much of those right now, but I'm confident that they won't go away.

SPONGEBOB and ODDPARENTS still being around must be Nick's way of saying, "Things are different, but we still remember the older days," since both premiered pre-millenium (ODDPARENTS started out as shorts back then). ODDPARENTS may not be the best these days, but I don't think they completely lost it yet (the visuals are still nice for one).

As for REN AND STIMPY, I'm glad to see someone who enjoys the Games episodes, since they somehow have a bad rep. Maybe because of John K getting fired and all that. Although to be honest, he didn't exactly play by the rules.

It's great that you respect my opinion and in return, I respect yours. The problem is that you can't stick up for something you like these days without some amount of destructive criticism. It's sickening.

Robert,

You're right, it really is a matter of opinion.

I stand up for Nick not just because I'm a life-long fan (really, I was one-year old when the first Nicktoons premiered), but also because I have a need to stand up for the underdogs -- not ratings or money-wise, obviously, but critic-wise. I could never stand the idea of critics, because their entire job is based of personal views, not facts. To me, there's really no "good" or "bad" show. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. You can't tell someone how to do their job just because it's the way you think is best. People need to do things the way they want to do them, which is what Nick and the people who work there obviously do. It's a free country.

6:10 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

What the Mighty B needed to be when the choice was made to pull it.

A Franchise.
I think it was becoming one, but building a brand right now seems daunting.

Killer numbers, we have good to great numbers, but to stay alive right now when you don't fit into the current mold, you need mega numbers.

CGI Boys adventure is the rage

A long history of success like Sponge Bob, Dora or Fairly Odd. Is all that's keeping 2- D going


It makes sense form a purely numbers point of view. I know that long term that killing a show that works for boys and girls that you totally own is Nick's old formula to success. I think it's hard for companies to think in those terms these days where quarterly profits rule, and buying Turtles is so expensive. ;-)

10:19 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Oh yeah and co- financing from a company with a great marketing arm.

10:22 AM  
Blogger chrisallison said...

AWESOME painting, Bill! You're the best

5:20 PM  
Blogger Manomite said...

Bill,

Thanks for giving your own insight on this.

I don't think 2D is really dying. There's just a lot of CG around and it makes it seem that way. Think about it: Disney has gotten back to hand-drawn movies, Cartoon Network has the upcoming ADVENTURE TIME, and even Nick has a least one new 2D show (T.U.F.F. PUPPY) in the works -- and I'm sure they'll make more when they get the chance.

I'm an eternal optimist, so I always have my hopes up that things will get better. We made it through the dark times of the 80's and we can make it through this. History just repeats itself.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Shawn Dickinson said...

Great drawing.
Great Basil Gogos colors!

8:00 AM  
Blogger pakoto said...

great painting, like always!

8:49 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Are you going to be moving onto another network, such as Cartoon Network? It seems as though CN is continuing to add more and more 2d animated cartoons, what with Adventure Time, Regualar Show, Symbionic Titans, Generator Rex, Horror Bots and another season of Ben 10. They even brought back the Pink Panther though I doubt that'll air for too long. Anyways, I hope the best to you and hope you end up painting the backgrounds on another great show, hopefully one with better luck this time.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Freckled Derelict said...

Wonderful Work! Oh how I will miss the B. Are you working on any new Fresno inspired art?

6:26 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Great stuff, Mr. Wray.

By the way, if it's possible, could you come to my layout blog and critique
my latest assignment?

If not, then I thank you for taking the time for checking it out.

From an aspiring animator/ cartoonist

11:07 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Seriously sad the MightyB ended, my husband and I enjoyed EVERY episode! We laughed until we had tears in our eyes at the doctor episode. I would rather see less of Spongebob and WAY more of the MightyB. Maybe they should have taken a public poll before canning it.

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