Almost famous I felt, seeing so many people I knew at last weekend’s Comic-Con panels. I went straight from the sneak preview of Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects”, which stars my friend Bill, to a panel next door featuring Ralph Bakshi–my old “Cool World” boss (I was one of the movie’s many assistant editors).
I have never seen “Fire and Ice”, but I’m anticipating its release. Since I was a wee barbarian man-child, I have loved both Bakshi’s and Frank Frazetta’s work, so how could I not be blown away by the collaboration Ralph described as being like an animated “Frank Frazetta comic”? But truth to tell, I am a little afraid. What if the film is terrible? I will be crushed. I just don’t know if I have the strength to stand up to that kind of discouragement. I’ll let you know. Based on the clip shown, it really does look right up my alley–sword fighting aplenty and brutish creatures carrying off haughty princesses.
Though digital animation allows Ralph, essentially a low-budget filmmaker, to do work that twenty years ago would have been out of reach, he has a healthy fear of the luxuries computers afford. “Don’t love the computer too much,” he cautioned us, “You need the X Factor.” When an artist creates with his own hands accidents happen–or perhaps it’s the unconscious going to work–and things come about that could never be planned, never executed intentionally. He also pointed out that studio executives like being able to eliminate expensive artists. If a computer can approximate what 30 humans can do, the suited gang that worships the Bottom Line will always choose the computer. Ultimately, Ralph suggested, “They want to get rid of all of us and have the computer do everything.”
“The Last Days Of Coney Island” looks to be a complex story, for adults, that depicts emotions adults understand–disenchantment, longing, nostalgia, regret. The film will be animated in L.A., so all of you Cal Arts students, get your portfolios ready.
Alas, I didn’t get to say my “hello” to Ralph, though it seems unlikely he would have remembered me after a decade-plus. He was accosted by a guy from the Neighborhood (Brooklyn, that would be), someone he apparently hadn’t seen in decades and off they went together to discuss..what?…Their days at Coney Island perhaps.