Saturday, February 13, 2010

geographic shorthand

You've seen it plenty, but I've never heard it discussed. Like a great number of other cartoon traits, it's rarely seen in features, so this post will be a slight digression.

How many cartoon cities have been shown on the screen like ornate piles in a garbage dump? Who's seen the round the circular globe? What about planets with a little more detail than you'd ever be able to see from that point in space? There's dots on a map to represent the movements of armies. I wish that I could find John Hubley's commissioned short film Urbanissimo, as that's a brilliant example of 60's exaggerated geography in cartoons.

Duck Dodgers in the 24-1/2 Century has an interesting use of shorthand, with planets clearly marked with letters of the alphabet, lampooning over-simplified scientific diagrams.

Looking at Dumb Hounded, it's full of these sorts of tricks. The train zooms a bit conveniently over the mountains with fast motion blurs. Its ocean journey is cut short with convenient timing and a fast moving ship, and getting off he moves to a quick plane trip after hopping on his automobile into a hangar, only to take a startlingly quick plane ride over a small set of clouds, ending up in the Canadian wilderness and riding a horse off of the plane into a cabin. Once he discovers Droopy there, he darts represented by a dot, all over America only to end up in an all too clearly defined north pole.

I'm just bringing this up to jog my mind with all the obvious things that I should have talked about in the past. I may add more later.

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