Sunday, January 27, 2008

Manx and Itchy Are Eighteen and Loving It!

So, now that you've been introduced to the characters of A Little Fairy Tail, make way for a little history lesson. All of the characters are brand new, created solely for this cartoon. That is, all except two: The Brothers Mice.

When I was eight, I felt that I wasn't ever going to be a good enough animator to make it on my own ( a feeling which lasted until about nine months ago ), and since the only way of getting an audience at that time ( making movies for my critical classmates ) was unsatisfactory, the only thing I knew I had left was the newspaper comic.

I had a couple of different influences then, and Charles Schulz's 'Peanuts' and Bill Watterson's 'Calvin and Hobbes' were among the top. I had all of their books, and could somewhat approximate both of their art styles.

It was with this idea in mind that I took all of my cartoons that I had been doing about my cat Tootsie ( the strip was named after her; it seems in retrospect that my compatriots and I share a fondness for our cats ) and I made a portfolio. I called the local paper and asked to speak to the editor. Eight years old, asking to speak to the editor. What chrome-plated balls on that kid.

I made a date with the editor to show her my 'Tootsie' cartoons on the basis that they would publish it weekly in their 'Letters To The Editor' section.

I didn't stay with the strip for much longer than a summer. But I did start creating new strips and characters, and by 1990 had decided that the only characters I had in my 'stable' were these two mice who I later decided where brothers. At first they were just bachelor mice sharing a hole in the wall of some unseen suburban family.

Since that was the only one that wasn't derivative as hell ( 'Tootsie' had become a yucky mix of Bill Melendez's animated version of the 'Peanuts' characters, and another strip, name lost to memory, was about a blonde white boy named Al who looked a lot like Calvin and lived with a fox named Krentz who stood upright, had puffy cheeks, and often beat up poor Al )...

....I named the mice comic 'View From The Mousehole' and never looked back.

I seemed to be interested in mice then, particularly because there was this amazing cartoon I used to watch that they had cancelled, 'Mighty Mouse (The New Adventures)' that I started watching on Saturday mornings to my dad's confusion.

I taped as many episodes as I could and watched them well into the 90's. This time around, Mighty was a very cool, modern looking version of a classic cartoon character, and I kept watching to see if I could approximate this exciting and fun art style.

The other influence came from that of Walt. I had somehow gotten my hands on a videotape that had Walt Disney sketching different versions of Mickey, and I noticed that he didn't follow logic regarding the placement of Mickey's ears. He just put them where he felt they looked best.

That was an early "rule" that I established for these guys: the ears go where they look best. They're not any real shape. At some point in '92, I decided I liked a left angle triangle for Manx's ears, and that I liked it best on a drawing of him in side-profile.

I hope I haven't offended any of you.

There's a great many things that I drew with these guys that looked relatively good, and I noticed about five years ago that every time I worked on a piece in an effort to spend time getting better at cartoon drawing, I usually drew the brothers, or more usually, Manx. And he became a star of many doodles at many boring jobs. There's cartoons in CVS's and whatnot, that show TBM* quitting their jobs and killing everyone on staff.

And now that I've finally found not only the confidence but also the right combination of people to help with finally doing a cartoon, I'm very proud that my boys get to star, front and center.

They may be bright, new and shiny to you, dear reader, but they're very old ( eighteen as of summer ) and indeed very special to me. Be nice to them.

Or I'll draw them raping your daughter and de-balling your cat with a kitchen knife.

- Trevor Thompson.

*The Brothers Mice

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