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Both Sides of the Coin: Comics Into Animation

Take a look at comics and their animation counterparts by Bill Plympton, Todd McFarlane and Christian Clark.

Here are examples of two comic strips and one comic book that have been adapted into animated properties. All three have remained very similar both visually and thematically to their original comic form. However, the addition of sound has heightened the comedic or dramatic effect of all three pieces as has the addition of movement. However, Christian Clark's The Water Pump benefits the most from this transfer of medium. The use of color and music sound effects greatly strengthens the comics' emotional impact.

Bill Plympton's How To Kiss.

This strip was originally published in the July 23, 1981 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. After this initial publication, Plympton recalls that he received such a number of positive responses from people who wanted to publish it on posters, t-shirts, etc., that he knew he should develop it further. Plympton then proceeded to develop and animate the short film, How to Kiss as released in 1987.

Quicktime (1,012 k) A sequence from Bill Plympton's animated film, How to Kiss.

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Todd McFarlane's Spawn.

Originally published as a comic book by Todd McFarlane's Image Comics in May 1992, Spawn quickly attracted a fan following, resulting in a line of merchandising and development deals. Spawn is now a weekly animated TV series on HBO. A live-action feature film is also in the works from New Line Features that will include CG effects by ILM.

Quicktime files from an episode of the HBO Animated Series, Spawn. © HBO.Spawn

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Christian Clark's The Water Pump.

The Water Pump was created in response to the 1994 cholera epidemic in Somalia, and published by UNICEF in a weekly comic strip called The Kids by Christian Clark. Later that year, the United Nations Mission to Somalia (UNOSOM II) commissioned Christian Clark and Image Ark animation studio in Kenya to produce a computer animated film based on the comic, as a joint project with UNICEF. The resulting 47 second film, The Water Pump, premiered in November of 1994 at the UNICEF animation workshop in Orlando, Florida, and was distributed throughout Somalia in 1995.

Quicktime (1.2 Mb) A sequence from the animated film The Water Pump by Christian Clark.

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