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Warner Bros. animation art: The characters, the creators, the limited editions Hardcover – 2002

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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"Before 1977, relatively few people were aware of animation cels as an art form," Beck and Friedwald inaugurally opine. Discussion of collectible cel art soon slips away, though, as the object becomes not to evaluate Warner animation, but to praise it on big, lavishly illustrated pages that are bound for heavy duty. Exhaustiveness is not a concern: Beck and Friedwald spotlight a lesser character like Michigan J. Frog, but not many others, mostly, it seems, because M. J. is the spokes-'toon for Warner's TV network. Still, there is plenty of tribute to major creative stalwarts like voice man Mel Blanc and directors Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Bob McKimson, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones. The upbeat exposition even cites a few controversies, such as the trimming of Heckling Hare that contributed to Avery's leaving Warner (what the original ending was or why it was changed are never specified, though). Mickey Mouse may be a more successful corporate shill, but Bugs Bunny is the quintessential funny animal. Celebrate him and his posse with this grand tribute. Mike Tribby --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes and Noble Books (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760734925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760734926
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 10.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,015,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jerry Beck is an animation historian and cartoon producer. His over fifteen books on the subject include The Animated Movie Guide, Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide and The 50 Greatest Cartoons. He is currently edits and writes two popular animation blogs, Cartoon Research and Animation Scoop.

Beck is a former studio exec with Nickelodeon and Disney, and is currently a consulting producer to Warner Bros., Universal and Disney for their classic animation dvd compilations. Beck has programmed retrospectives for the Annecy and Ottawa Animation Festivals, Turner Classic Movies, The Museum of Modern Art and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He has taught animation history at NYU, SVA, the AFI and UCLA. He is the host/producer of the annual "Worst Cartoons Ever" screening at the Comic-Con International: San Diego.

Beck started his career in film distribution, working at MGM/UA, Orion Classics, Cannon Films and Expanded Entertainment (Tournee of Animation), before starting his own company, Streamline Pictures in 1989, the first U.S. distributor to import anime features such as Otomo's Akira and Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle In The Sky. Beck was instrumental in launching Animation Magazine, and has written for The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Beck was also the West Coast Bureau Chief for Kidscreen magazine in 2000. He co-created and co-wrote the animation blog CARTOON BREW from March 2004 through February 2013. He has also created, written and produced animated films for various clients. He is presently teaching a course on Animation History at Woodbury University in Burbank, California.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for animation geeks. You get to see all sorts of animation art by Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, and Robert McKimson. There's even some pull-out pages with huge art pictures. There's also great profiles on a good amount of characters and their creators- the directors, the writers, and the voices/sound crew. I would only recommend a filmography for the book, rather than the "highlights" in the back.
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Format: Hardcover
If you like to own some really cool prints of Bugs Bunny, Tweety, or just the old folks from the Warner Bros. Studio, this is the book! It goes through the history of the animation studio and its founders. Chuck Jones is similar to Walt Disney, he had his own crew of animation masters to create a whole new perspective of cartoon.
One disappointing about this book is that its published date is 1997. Sadly "The Iron Giant" (released 1999) and "Cats Don't Dance" (1997) did not make it to the book; two of the most successful WB animated feature film. However, it is still a book to own and look for inspiration.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This huge book is a must-own for any fan of Bugs, Daffy, Yosemite, Foghorn, et al. Not only do you get a well-rounded look at every aspect of the Warner Bros. animation department and how it started, you're treated to hundreds and hundreds of drawn images, artwork and photos. Even the characters that only made one appearance in the cartoons are give multiple pictures in and out of the cartoon they starred in like Michigan J. Frog ('Hello my honey, hello my baby, hello my ragtime gaaaaalll') and the furry monster in high tops, Gossomer. I love all of those pre-1960 cartoons, especially those of Tex Avery. I can't find any fault in this book. It's huge and it is fully loaded with beautiful artwork. Due note, though, that a large portion of the artwork in this book are from the limited edition cells that WB used to sell in their retail stores for large dollars. It doesn't detract from my pleasure of it as many of them are faithful recreations of classic scenes and it gives you the unique opportunity to see these characters in (sometimes slightly) different situations or in variations of the original. The cover is thick with the 4 characters you see printed on what looks like a clear animation cell and the paper is thick. The craftsmanship is of this book (hardcover) is exceptional.

I saw this in an antique store for fifty bucks, came to Amazon and picked it up for less than 10, shipped. It's worth fifty but you can't beat getting it for under ten bucks. It's a no-brainer and a wonderful gift for anyone that's a fan of these classic cartoons. When you see it, you'll know what I mean.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was well done and very appealing to the eye and informational to read. It gives the reader some good history of Warner Bros. cartoons and the rarely credited artists. Through-out the book there are pointers on how to draw various characters, but unfortunatly they are not as complete as one might have it. However, the overall is terrific.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a must-have reference for those trying to draw the Looney Tunes, as well as those wanting to add this to a collection. The art in here is entirely re-produced cels just for collectors, instead of the original scenes from the show - so you will see quite a bit you've never seen.

The best I love about this book are the oversized prints of those limited edition production cels. It also has a cel catalog in the back, allowing you to see supposedly all the art cels they've produced. The text is essentially a little history of the company, the franchise, and the characters - some nice knowledge to have if you love the show.

There is also a chapter dedicated to the newer shows, although there's only a page or three on each of them with not that many graphics. Considering there has not been any other art books I know of on these shows, this book is even worth getting just for those: Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Bat Man, Superman. Again, the supersized prints!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cool (and large) volume on the history of one of the most remarkably influential animation houses of the past century. Paper and image quality is great as is the binding. The material is intriguing and the layout lends itself well to exploration of the characters, concepts and people behind it all. Where Disney brought a classic, more conforming, yet profoundly beautiful aesthetic to animation, Warner Bros brought the "edge" in it's designs, characters and concepts that all could relate to. Yes. Still relevant today in theoretical as well as many practical terms and certainly a great historical recap. Get this book and one on Disney (The Illusion of Life) and you've basically got the pantheon of the foundations of animation, it's history, technique, legends and iconic characters in two awesome volumes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If Your Intrested In How Looney Tunes Characters are drawn and detail about them this is a book for you
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This a beautifully done table size book. It is hardcover with what looks like a cell on the cover of Porky, Tweety, Daffy, and Bugs. It is a well done history book on WB animation as an art form. I have study animation art at the college level and find that it is an art form that has been somewhat over looked as a legitimate art form. Well, it is and this book proves it. It is a great read with plenty of pictures and character development background.
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