So, a couple of things have happened recently that got me thinking I should post some stuff again. First, obviously, is the unveiling of Disney Epic Mickey. You can read all about it in the November issue of Game Informer magazine, and all over the GI website these days.
Frankly, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the response. I don’t know why, but I expected to get more grief about making a Mickey Mouse game. Nice to see that, for the most part, folks are open to the idea — even enthusiastic!
As a result of all the press, I’ve been bombarded with emails asking me weirdly personal questions about my favorite Disney things — theme park rides, characters, comic book artists and writers. Figured I’d just post some answers here to settle things down a bit. (And if you’ve read my earlier posts about compulsive list making, you know I’ll take any opportunity to make a list of my N favorite things!) So here goes:
If you’re expecting anything earth-shattering here, forget it. I love the traditional favorites:
- Disney Animation Academy: Come on, they can even teach ME to draw Disney characters. How cool is that?
- Fantasmic!: What a great show – exciting, romantic, technically amazing, and it’s as close as Mickey’s gotten to being a hero in years. Plus, the music just does it for me. Great, great score…
- Haunted Mansion: Grim Grinning Ghosts, the stretching room, changing paintings. I’m in.
- Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar: I love behind the scenes stuff. What can I say? I only wish this were bigger and even cooler.
- Indiana Jones Adventure: Best. Disney. Ride. Ever. I ride it every time I go to the parks.
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic: Great 3D and it’s genuinely funny.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Do I have to say anything?
- Space Mountain: A mostly horizontal roller coaster? Count me in. I’m not wild about vertical g’s but horizontal g forces are great. And it’s in the dark. I love it.
I’m only talking Disney here, right? I’m a huge comic geek (about which I guess I’ll blog some other time), but as far as Disney artists go, here’s my list. Not many surprises here — well, it might seem odd that Paul Murry isn’t on the list, but I’ve just never really loved his stuff. And Romano Scarpa’s books are fine but, again, just never did it for me. Anyway, here are the guys who DID make my cut:
- Carl Barks: Best. Comic. Writer. Oh yeah, and Artist. Ever. End of discussion.
- Floyd Gottfredson: The Mickey guy for over 40 years. While the animation studio was reducing Mickey to straightman status, Gottfredson always treated him like the hero he should have been.
- Noel Van Horn: My favorite Disney artist and writer working today. If you can find a copy of his story, Shadows, you’ll know why I love this guy’s work so much. He takes Mickey places most artists wouldn’t dare. And while his art style is simple, it’s so damn expressive. Love it.
- William Van Horn: Like father like son, I guess. William is Noel’s dad and talent definitely has a genetic component! William Van Horn’s duck stories are over the top, action packed, slapstick at its best.
- Don Rosa: The heir apparent to Carl Barks and many people’s favorite Disney artist/writer. I like his stuff a lot, but find his art style almost TOO detailed and his reverence for the Barks canon a little too constraining. I admire Rosa’s work a lot, but reading it is a little too much work for me to flat-out love it.
- Carson Van Osten: I’ve had the incredible pleasure and honor to work with Carson and, man, can the guy draw! Holy cow. His personal take on Mickey Mouse was hugely important to the Disney Epic Mickey game. And he did a bunch of character design work for us that’s mind-blowing. His comics work from the 70s on ain’t bad either! (He tells great stories, too! And played bass in the band The Nazz! What a guy.)
Again, don’t expect a ton of surprises (other than that I’ve never been much of a Goofy fan… and I thought the introduction of Launchpad McQuack into the duck universe was unnecessary and kind of unfortunate).
- Scrooge McDuck: Filthy rich, adventurous, fearless, softy at heart (but don’t let on!). He swims in the coins in his money bin. Coolest character in the Disney family, easy.
- Mickey Mouse: Um. Hello? He’s the Mouse!
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: Funny, funny cartoons. Complete anarchy. Does completely impossible things, constantly.
- Donald Duck: I’ve never been able to understand a word Donald says (sorry Ducky Nash and the rest of the Donald voice artists…), but who cares? When he gets red in the face and explodes with anger, it’s great fun. (If you haven’t seen the cartoon Donald’s Crime, find it.)
- Ludwig Von Drake: I think I learned more from him than I did from many of my teachers! And that accent made me laugh every time when I was a kid.
- Stitch: Easily the best of the recent Disney characters. The writers and animators really let loose with him!
- The Aracuan Bird: The most trouble-makingest Disney character ever. As close as Disney ever got to creating something that would have fit right in in a Tex Avery cartoon.
- Chernabog: Scary, scary, scary!
- Maleficent: Scarier, scarier, scarier!
That’s a start. Let me know what your favorites are.