Sunday, April 15, 2007

The SGC2C band: Goby/Christy

[Happy 13th Anniversary You Old Ghost Planet!]

Back when I first started work on Space Ghost Coast to Coast in 1993, I was more or less given a blank check on a lot of the design and "casting" aspects of the production. As Zorak was always my favorite old SG villain I put him in the music director/Paul Shaffer role early on (I actually had no designs on doing his voice on the show when I made that call --I just really liked humanoid bug characters). Moltar was picked to be the director soon after that (and that was largely due to the fact that the first Space Ghost cartoon we looked at at Designefx (where I worked at the time and where the show was being put together) was The ovens of Moltor, and there he is, looking into a screen and pushing buttons).

The rest of the band and who would be in it from the 1966 Space Ghost roster was also left up to me, so I chose The Sorcerer (partially just because he was voiced by the original Fred Flintstone Alan Reed), and the uh..."Owl-cat guy" (who incidentally was the only SG villain never identified by name in his one-n-only original episode appearance).

But when it came to the drummer I wanted to create a new character --sort of a space version of Benny the Ball from Top Cat was my first thinking. Once I'd done a couple of drawings I decided to make the character more an homage to a dog my mom owned when I was growing up named Christy. She was part Chihuahua, part Pug, and all mean. A crazy and psychotic little dog that terrorized my friends, family and virtually everyone but my mom, whom she adored. She was part of my life from the time I was 6 to my second stint in college.

Early in 1983 I tried to take some polaroids of her and she naturally attacked the camera.
Yes mothers, she was a holy terror awright...
(I should probably clarify that in the above foto she's moving so fast that you can see the patio and garden hose through her like a double exposure)

Late in her life in 1984 I made her the subject of a roll of super-8 film, set it to part of the second movement of Stravinski's The Rite of Spring and Called it Christy's Lament. She died about six weeks later. I made about a dozen copies of the film for people over the years including Cartoon Network (and Space Ghost) head honcho Mike Lazzo. (I will post it here as soon as I can get You Tube to work with the Google version of Blogger --so far no luck.)

I decided to call the character Goby (after a 1970s gaffe in The Monster Times where Varan the Unbelievable was misidentified in a still from Destroy All Monsters with that name). We proceeded with the pilot production with the name Goby in mind. But in the end, M. Lazzo, having seen Christy's Lament and privvy to the origins of the character insisted that the stubby space-dog should just be called Christy. Hey, who was I to argue?

Though the character --unlike Christy herself-- remained mute and fairly passive for the entirety of SGC2C's 10 year+ run, I had always intended him/her to howl or think in thought balloons of type or pictures. Ah well... maybe next time around.

Much, much more soon!

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

In Good Company

A couple of seasons ago on Aqua Teen I animated a scene of an unsuspecting Meatwad rotating in a microwave. (Hey, it completed the set... I had already animated the 360 turnarounds on Frylock and Master Shake the year before) Since he doesn't have any distinguishing features to speak of on his seldom-seen non-talking side ('cept seeds) I sculpted up a little Meatwad to provide myself some reference on the scene using some meat-colored Super-Sculpey. But I didn't rotoscope it --and if you watch the episode it's pretty obvious-- I just "eyeballed it" and drew the different positions directly from turning the model in measured-off increments. It turned out a lot cartoonier than it would have if it'd been a straight roto...but it still had some real solidity to it. Do I have a clip?, ...nope, but I DO have a pic of the Sculpey Microwave Meatwad hanging out with Gleep and Gloop from the Herculoids set on my bar. Just small talk. Nothing serious, I guarantee.


Friday, December 22, 2006

The face behind the Ghost

"A new post? Wow, I thought he forgot he even HAD this page!"
I guess that must seem true, at least. In actuality I just didn't realize how long it had been since I posted anything over here.
So here be a little Xmas post for ye... to make up for me long absence at this helm. Arrrr!
Some time ago, collector George Aldrich sent this scan to me off an original Alex Toth model sheet he owns. (He had actually shown me the original at last summer's DragonCon.) Here was a side of Space Ghost I had never seen (and George said the guy who had sold it to him had claimed that it was actually a "lost" model sheet of sorts and had NEVER BEEN PRINTED before). What makes this sheet unique is that it showcases the never-before-seen (on the original show at least) face of Space Ghost himself! Dig it.

My thanks and Holiday wishes go out to to George Aldrich, the Alex Toth family, the Joe Barbera family, Mike Lazzo & family, Keith Crofford & family, all my pals at Cartoon Network, Turner Studios, Williams Street, Primal Screen, and everyone who has visited or commented on this blog this year.
Happy Holidays, gang! I'll be adding a lot more to this site in 2007 so "stay tuned".

Sunday, August 06, 2006

In the Beginning...

Hard to believe next month it'll be thirteen years since I started work on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Also can't believe how many people are already gone who were associated with the Show as it first aired. Starting with Herve' Villachez (who was originally to play Ed Macmahon to Space Ghost's Carson in the Pre-Zorak and Moltar model for the show), the list would eventually include Sonny Sharrock, Ran Coney, Charlie Willis, and most recently "Ghost Master" Alex Toth himself.
Of course Alex never consciously worked on Coast to Coast, but a lot of the scenes that I picked for repurposing on that show were from original 1966 scenes he had laid out ("The Sandman" episode in particular). The first thing I asked for when I started work on SGC2C was as many model sheets as possible. Of course, back then Cartoon Network didn't know exactly what they had yet, or where to find it, so I was pretty much on my own on that one. (Luckily, I knew some guys that were still working at H-B at the time and one of them sent me a packet of SG goodies.)
Since I wanted to start this blog at the beginning --and pay the late, great Mr. Toth some tribute at the same time if I could-- then how better than with a look at some of the Ghost drawings that started it all? Okay, that said--here's some choice original art --most of which are Toth. Some were scanned right off the originals --the ones I own at least --the rest from as close to the source as I could muster). Enjoy!

Here's a really odd original piece of "Ghost Team" conceptual art...almost a halfway-point in design between Space Angel (1960) and Space Ghost.

This one is a little more H-B at least (the "Jace" kid looks a lot like Jonny Quest)...But what exactly provides the"ghost" hook here?

Now we're getting somewhere! This original Toth model sheet that goes a long way to define the look of classic Space Ghost. (Though the power band buttons were still located on his belt at this point.)

Of course on the original series we never see Space Ghost's true identity (and offhand I can't think of any other hero from this time-period that just didn't have a secret identity) but if we had, this is what Alex thought he would look like...

Here's Alex's models for Jan and Jace too.

Okay --now here's a peculiarity. This Space Ghost cast size chart (dated April 11, '66) includes
a mod-hairdo Jan and Lil' Dr. Soonev (from SG episode The Energy Monster). Could it be that at this point he was to have been the Ghost Planet science officer?

Whatever the reason, check out the next page and boom...Soonev is gone! Somebody gave 'im the "invisible snowman" treatment. (Also SG now has the familiar power bands, Jan has the familiar hair-do, and blip lost a little weight and became a cuter monkey with a shorter tail.)

...Add a little adjustment to SG's chest imblem and Bada-Bing! all fixed. (And youse didn't see nothin' unnerstand?)

Final SG color model, looking pretty dead-on (here printed a little dark...) from May 2, '66 --less than a month after the "Soonev incident".

More changes! The original 1966 Zorak model sheet. Looks from here like The Z-Man was almost the T-Man...Note that not only does it actually say TORAK and his Henchmen on the left, but you can see where a Z has been pasted on top of the T on the right. (Ironically Zorak is one of the few villian models not drawn by Toth)

Moltar changed to Moltor too, (as he was called in his first SG appearance "The Ovens of Moltor") Here's the original Toth model...

The original Brak and Sisto model sheet. (See, Brak Show fans? Sisto was so on the original Space Ghost show!)

Ah, the lovely Tansut...He's the only Coast to Coast character that I made a conscious decision to make older than he was on the original show. With Don Kennedy's (60-something) voice comin' out of him to begin with it just seemed like a natural decision.

(All characters copyright Cartoon Network)

That's it for now, folks. More early art comin' soon!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


So... I've had this site up over a month and this is my second entry... dat's... swell. I have gotten a considerable amount of stuff posted on my ArgleBargle blog over next door, at least...
But here...I don't know. If I had a psychiatrist he'd probably say it just means that I'd ultimately rather endorse oddities or glorify accomplishments of others rather than toot my own tin horn.
Um, yeah, actually that does come a lot easier for me, for sure. It's a natural tendency.
Too much self-loathing, it would seem.
Uh-huh, I guess you could say...*...Okay, now wait justaminute!
Rather than psycho-analyze myself, I should just run this interview I did for KEYFRAMES the Atlanta-Asifa newsletter a couple of years ago (Aw crap, I just checked it and it's like four years old). It's got more info than I would probably reveal these days about the beginnings and history of Space Ghost Coast to Coast , the short-lived C2C comic book and the project I was (independently) working at the time The Hy Angst Show (I'll eventually get into that project on the ArgleBargle! blog). Jim Massara was the Keyframes editor for this, the very first issue and he conducted the interview at my studio. I will have more art-related posts up soon, but for now...Enjoy!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bad Craziness

So gang, this is my adult swim blog where I will adress all things adult swim oriented that I've been involved with...or that I just think are really cool and worth the look. I'm just getting started now, obviously...but stay tuned!