Mideast Animation

I came across this modest story in Dubai’s Khaleej Times about locally-produced Mideast animation. It notes:

Cartoons are fast becoming a serious business in the region. New animation companies and talented creatives are gaining international attention for their inspirational characters and shows that focus on life and culture in the Middle East. …

Companies in the Middle East now see animation as big business, even though the region is a relative newcomer when it comes to producing its own content, lagging behind markets of India and South Korea.

It includes looks at such productions as “Shaabiyat Al Cartoon … a social comedy dealing with the problems of the Gulf community through the lives of people from different cultures living in Dubai” and Freej (Neighborhood),  which  “is widely seen as the first indigenous computer animated cartoon about four elderly grandmothers and their dealing with life in the fast-paced, ever-changing, modern-day Dubai.” The above video is a report on  a visit by Freej creator Mohammad Saeed Harib, when he visited Kuwait, and gave a lecture atGulf University for Science & Technology (GUST); it includes clips from the series (in Arabic), while he speaks in both English and Arabic.

More from Life: Hanna-Barbera, 1960

Carlo Vinci at Hanna-Barbera in 1960The caption in the Life/Google archive for the photo above (by Allan Grant) reads: “Carlo Vinci, artist drawing cartoon at Hanna-barbara [sic] productions.” Taken in 1960, the year Hanna Barbera became the force in television animation with The Flintstones, when it debuted on the ABC network on prime time.  The image below has the caption: “Joe Barbera (R), [with] partner Bill Hanna (L), creators of animated cartoons.”

Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna in 1960.

Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas Is Now Available

Astro Boy and Anime cover Though the official publication date is March 2009, Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas: An Insider’s View of the Birth of a Pop Culture Phenomenon, Fred Ladd’s personal history of anime and his involvement in it, is now available and is priced at $35.00. (I am the second author, though save for writing some sidebars and doing the index, my role was mainly editorial.) It is available directly from the publisher, McFarland, and from a number of online retailers both here and abroad, including Amazon. (The latter indicates that copies will not be shipped until after December 24th.)

Tezuka playing accordion

Tezuka and Astro Boy The above image of Osamu Tezuka playing the accordion (he apparently liked to surprise guests by showing off his musical talents doing this) is one of several supplied by Tezuka Productions that got into the final book. However, a number did not. Among the latter is the drawing of the right of Tezuka with Tetsuan Atomu (Mighty Atom)/Astro Boy.

Jungle Emperor introducedThe above is from Tezuka’s autobiographical manga, Paper Fortress, and Jungle Emperor obviously refers to the first TV version of Jungulu Taitei Leo (Jungle Emperor Leo)/Kimba the White Lion.