Goodbye, Orphan Toons–Hello Test Pattern

15 Jan

Bosko and Bruno, going down path while Bosko carries bundle

by Rachel Newstead

If ever a question consumed Kevin and me for every waking moment in the last several years, it’s “What to do with the blogs?”

We had begun our first blog, The Home For Orphan Toons, in 2006 as a noble experiment of sorts.  We wanted to talk about animation which, it appeared to us, was not being talked about–cartoons rotting away in vaults or condemned to the $1.99 discount bin.

Neither of us, however, were prepared for the explosive growth of sites such as YouTube and Facebook, sites which render the very term “orphan toon” meaningless. A cartoon can hardly be “forgotten,” after all, if everybody and his brother can upload a copy to YouTube.  Now, rather than the cartoons, it seemed as though we had been left behind by time.

Worst of all, I, the de facto “editor”, made the typical rookie blogger mistake in not ensuring we had enough content. The “orphan toon” premise, while certainly original, was too narrow in scope, and I think deep down I had suspected as much almost from the beginning.

It seems to me we have a good deal to learn from our more successful competitors:  Thad Komorowski, Cartoon Brew, and Mark Evanier, to name just a few. Animation is the primary focus of these blogs, to be sure, but hardly the only one. Evanier especially will talk about any subject (politics, show business, whatever) his personal muse chooses to whop him upside the head with–and it’s a safe bet to assume he has a much greater following than Kevin and I.

Therefore, we intend to follow their example: this new blog, begun experimentally about a year and a half ago, will cover a much wider range of pop-culture subjects.  TV, old music, classic films (maybe even the not-so-classic) and even comic strips will have a place here.  (Though we’re probably better off leaving the politics to Evanier).

In addition, we’ll be launching a new feature, “Freeze-Frame Friday.” Starting tomorrow and every Friday thereafter, I’ll be taking a frame from a cartoon I find particularly unusual or noteworthy and discussing the style in depth (the average Rod Scribner sequence alone will have me writing for years). Confused? Well, you’ll understand it when you see it…

Another feature will be “Look What We Found” “Dig This Crazy Toon” [has a nicer ring to it, I think–R.] in which your humble toonkeepers scour the Net–or our personal libraries– for the rare or off-the-wall animated film. (An idea I admittedly swiped from the old Toon Heads program on Cartoon Network–forgive me, Jerry Beck). Of course, the same old cartoon reviews will always be here, as well as our usual rambling essays.

And the Orphan Toons blog? It will live on, as a video podcast, an audio podcast, or both. We haven’t forgotten the wonderful response we got to our earlier ‘casts, and whatever we decide, you, our readers, will be the first to know.

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