Kapow. Bang. Pow.
When I was a kid Saturday mornings meant animation.
Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons, The Impossibles, Frankenstein Jr, Superfriends, Bugs Bunny, Josie & the Pussycats, and later, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, She-Ra, Masters of The Universe and Transformers mezmerized my eyeballs while I ate Cap’n Crunch (a bowl of oat razors) until the roof of my mouth bled.
It was an endless, sugar-coated TV cartoon cornucopia from 7 AM to noon. Much of it was cheap, careless crap. Even lowering one’s standards to cheap, careless crap standards, it’s mostly unwatchable today.
That said, some standouts remain.
The Bugs Bunny shorts jumped off the screen because most all of them had been done by Warner Brothers Theatrical Animation division in the 40’s and 50’s.
Occassionally a TV animation studio tried to do better work. Jonny Quest and Star Trek come to mind. But much later, the Warner Brothers TV animation division would change the game with Batman: The Animated Series.
Heavily influenced by the Max and Dave Fleischer Superman cartoons from the 1940s, it remains as one of the best, most celebrated interpretations of the Dark Knight, ever. But to get there, the original team behind the show needed to lay out a master plan for what their interpretation of Batman should be - and in a way no made for TV cartoon ever had.
io9 posted it: ‘The series bible—the guide written by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Mitch Brian outlining the show’s plans for its take on Batman and his supporting characters, the world of Gotham, and even just the general writing style and format of the series—has been floating around the internet for a while, having first been re-discovered back in 2009. But even now, flicking through the entire document, it’s remarkable to see how the plans for what would become one of the most famous and beloved animated series of a generation were put together.’
For those of us who design ideas, products, environments, brands - and sometimes entire worlds for people - this series bible is an in-depth look into the scale of imagination and discipline it took to create stories that have endured across time - and may even be better 30 years later.
You can find the bible here.
On this Saturday morning, for me, the Cartoon Caped Crusader lives.