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New and Notable Animation Books

Animation World History FoundationANIMATION: A WORLD HISTORY Volume 1: Foundations/The Golden
Age; Volume 2: The Birth of a Style/The Three Markets; Volume 3: Contemporary
Times
by Giannalberto Bendazzi (CRC Press/Focal Press)

 
          “Monumental”
is the only word to describe this comprehensive history of world animation.
Bendazzi also does what few film historians even attempt by placing each era of
animation into the larger framework of what was happening in the world,
especially in the arts. With the aid of a knowledgeable team of contributors,
he traces animation’s prehistory and pioneering days, then surveys the
contributions and achievements of each major country around the globe—including
little-documented nations in Africa and South America. I daresay this coverage
is unprecedented in its sweep. Nowhere else will you find useful entries on Émile Cohl, Len Lye, Chuck Jones, Fyodor
Khitruk, Norman McLaren, Osamu
Tezuka, George Griffin, and John Kricfalusi in one place. Bendazzi is
opinionated, which makes reading and browsing this epic work all the more
interesting, but his subjective views are based on wide-ranging knowledge and
scholarship. Students of animation will be indebted to him for years to come.

 

Andreas Deja-the Nine Old Men

THE NINE OLD MEN: LESSONS, TECHNIQUES AND INSPIRATION FROM
DISNEY’S GREAT ANIMATORS
by Andreas Deja (CRC Press/Focal Press)

           No one is
more passionate or eloquent about the work of great Disney artists than Andreas Deja, a
master animator and lifelong Disney aficionado whose work has distinguished the
studio’s output since the 1980s. Andreas was lucky enough to forge close ties
with seven of Walt’s legendary “nine old men” and is the perfect person to show
us what made each one unique. Using original animation drawings—and generous
sequences of penciled artwork—he identifies the qualities that set Ward
Kimball’s output apart from, say, Milt Kahl’s or Frank Thomas’s. Seeing these expressive
and beautiful, drawings through Deja’s eyes is revelatory and makes this one of
the most valuable animation books ever published—for fans and professionals
alike.

 
Mickey Mouse-emblem-american spirit

MICKEY MOUSE: EMBLEM OF THE AMERICAN SPIRIT by Gary Apgar
(Walt Disney Family Foundation/Weldon Owen)

 
          This lavishly
illustrated book explores Mickey Mouse’s impact on our culture, tracing Walt
Disney’s career in a parallel stream. Art historian Apgar (who compiled the
equally interesting A Mickey Mouse
Reader)
proves that a scholarly study doesn’t have to be dry or dense. His
clear-eyed assessment of Mickey’s many roles (movie star, merchandise king,
American symbol, corporate spokesperson and more) makes for compelling reading,
even if you think you know all there is to know about this unique and
ubiquitous character. Illustrations are derived from an impressive variety of
sources worldwide, showing Mickey’s influence on modern art, political
cartoons, and pop culture, among other realms. This book is a valuable addition
to Disney scholarship with relevance beyond the usual boundaries of an
animation book.

 

How to be a Disney Historian

HOW TO BE A DISNEY HISTORIAN by Jim Korkis; foreword by
Leonard Maltin (Theme Park Press)

 

          Jim Korkis
has contributed so much to our knowledge of All Things Disney that he impressed
Walt’s daughter, the late Diane Disney Miller, who wrote a foreword to his book
The Vault of Walt. I, too, am in his
debt for his indefatigable research and willingness to share his knowledge with
the world. That’s why I agreed to write an introduction to this volume and
explain how my 1973 book The Disney Films
came about. Jim feels that a new generation of devotees, researchers, and
scholars should learn from the experiences of those who preceded them—hence
this book, which calls on longtime Disney archivist David R. Smith as well as such
respected authors as Michael
Barrier, Alberto Becattini, Jerry Beck, Greg Ehrbar, Jim Fanning, Sam Gennawey,
Didier Ghez, J.B. Kaufman, Jeff Kurtti, David Lesjak, Todd James Pierce,
Russell Schroeder, Brian Sibley, Paula Sigman Lowery, and Werner Weiss,
as well as Theme Park Press publisher Bob McLain. I can hardly be objective
about this volume but I hope it proves useful to budding Disney authors and
researchers. You couldn’t ask for a better guide to the field than Jim Korkis
and the many contributors he has called upon. 

2 comments

  1. JLewis says:

    Have Giannalberto Bendazzi’s CARTOONS: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF CINEMA (1994) and I know he had published an earlier edition in Italian in the eighties because I recall seeing it (or another book like it) in a Rome bookstore in 1989 with some of the same color plates. What I find interesting is that he covers many foreign animation studios like the Zagreb units, as well as individual countries almost as if "units", in a style much like you did the Hollywood and New York studios in OF MICE AND MAGIC. If there is any criticism, it is that he is very "lightweight" with American animation since you, Mike Barrier and others have covered it more thoroughly.

  2. JBUTLER says:

    Ditto to JLewis’ comment about OF MICE AND MAGIC, your wonderful overview of the "golden age" of major US studio animation. It’s indispensible.

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