Ralph Bakshi

Spider-Man 1967

America has watched lot of Spider-Man over the years. After all, the newly released The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel of a reboot of a trilogy of movies that are barely a decade old. The new wave of ubiquity is self-evident. Yet the superhero also spent years and years on television and in video games. The original Spider-Man cartoon series began airing in 1967 and there have been eight more iterations over the years. This is a totally different situation than, for example, that of Captain America whose cartoon life begins and ends with The Marvel Super Heroes in 1966 (which I featured here last month). There’s also been something of a glut recently. Spider-Man Unlimited aired from 1999-2001 followed by Spider-Man: The New Animated Series in 2001, The Spectacular Spider-Man in 2008-2009 and Ultimate Spider-Man in 2012. None of them were particularly successful, either critically or commercially. So it makes sense to take a look back at (and watch) that original TV series, a strange little classic created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in 1967.

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bakshi last days still

Tired of animation that makes you happy and stupid? Then return that ticket for Escape From Planet Earth and spend that $10 on a new, comeback effort by Ralph Bakshi, famed animator behind Fritz the Cat, Wizards and the 1978 version of The Lord of the Rings. It’s been more than 20 years since his last feature, the hybrid Cool World, but a new series of shorts in the works could wind up leading to another. The series is titled Last Days of Coney Island, a noir-ish political toon set on that edge of New York City during the ’60s. The $10 you could put towards the crowdfunding campaign will get you an pre-release look at the result online. That’s if the first installment is fully financed. And with less than half the goal reached at the half-way point, that might not happen (the deadline is March 3). It does seem that $165,000 is a pretty steep amount for a seven-minute product, but this isn’t just anyone’s project. Bakshi is a legend. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of his work, but I love that he exists. And I want to see his animation continue to exist because it’s bold and different and, as he implies, we need artistic entertainment that might bring us down and should make us think, especially about ourselves. Is it weird to want to put money into something I don’t like? Why not, I pay my taxes every year…

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Back last summer when Robert Rodriguez was talking about the projects he was cooking up for the future, most of the focus was on his prospective Sin City and Machete sequels. And, since then, both Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For have been officially announced as his next two projects. Those weren’t the only movies he was expressing an interest in making back then, however; he was also into the idea of remaking the animated 1983 film Fire and Ice, which was directed by Ralph Bakshi and inspired by the artwork of Frank Frazetta, who also served as co-writer on the film. If you don’t know who Frank Frazetta is, he’s a science fiction and fantasy illustrator whose work you’ve undoubtedly seen at some point in your life. He’s done all sorts of book covers, comics, paintings, and whatnot, and usually his work involves alien landscapes, muscle-bound warriors, scantily clad women, and some sort of stabbing weapon. You know, it’s the sort of stuff that you’d get airbrushed on the side of an awesome panel van.

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Here’s a fun fact: Prior to 2001’s releases of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone, fantasy movies were frequently silly, low-budget shlockfests that actors only wanted to make so they could eat something other than whatever they scraped from under their fridge for another month. (For the record, I am told that this lifestyle — I like to call it Underfridging — is good for bolstering your immune system. On the other hand, high potential for scurvy. Your call.) And since the Harry Potter series has spanned eight films and employed every single actor in Britain at least once (twice in the case of Warwick Davis), you know there’s a treasure trove of painfully cheesy fantasy movies lurking in their collective resumes. Let’s take a look at some of them!

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To be honest, we were just way too busy positing alternate actresses to replace Megan Fox in Transformers 3 that we had not time to think about who might actually end up in the movie. This and more in today’s B-Roll.

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also thinks the 80s are going to be the best decade ever in the world of film. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to rent more movies on VHS.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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