Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Funday: Cartoons Aren't Just For Kids - And Haven't Been For Fifty Years

Long before Stewie, Bart, and their friends took over at least one prime time night of television, the somewhat gruff tones of Alan Reed combined with the animation work of folks like Ed Benedict to bring American television viewers a cartoon character in prime time by the name of Frederick Joseph Flintstone - Fred Flintstone, to most of us.

It was fifty years ago last night, in fact, that the Flintstones first were introduced to the world.

It's often easy for us to forget, as we zoom through our daily lives that the year really is 2010. While we may not be contacting aliens as Arthur C. Clarke predicted we might be, we are still making amazing discoveries - and cartoons are still a huge and important element of everyday life in nearly every country in the world.

Most of us doodle as children, coloring with crayons, pencils, markers - or even sticks 'n dirt. Yet, as we grow older we hear all too often that kind of thing is for children, that drawing and artwork aren't real professions - or at least professions that pay well.

We'll admit it: cartoons - like most kinds of artistic work - are neither as respected nor as lucrative as they probably should be. The comic book industry alone has significant problems, including a perpetual distribution issue, graying readers, and the challenge of moving cartoons to the web.

Even so, we have yet to meet someone who - when they see Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their best friends Barney and Betty Rubble, or any one of the myriad characters so familiar to most of us - doesn't have a smile drawn to their face.

We've always loved the idea of all of our favorite cartoon characters living in some kind of alternate world, all together, much like in the movie "Who Framed Roger Roger Rabbit?" So when we had the chance to have John Read's collection of over 130 different cartoons, all of which were published on the same day this past April, put together in one gallery showing at our annual meeting of the North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society, we jumped at the chance.

We hope you'll make it to Omaha this weekend for the North Central Chapter NCS meeting. The festivities will include workshops, presentations - and, of course, lots of cartoonists.

Even if you don't make it to Omaha, we hope you look around you and realize how many items have characters, icons, graphics, and logos on them. Each of those graphical flourishes were created by an artist of some kind, maybe even a cartoonist.

How dull and boring the world would be without cartoons.
Yabba dabba doo, indeed.

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