SDCC 2011: Animation Round-Up

A crazy exhaustive list of animation screenings and panels at SDCC.

With SDCC around the corner, you might be interested in checking out some of the many, oh so many animation screenings and events going on around the Con. Well, wouldn’t you know it, We decided to put together a little list that might help you find interesting things to see while you’re hanging in the convention center next week and a little color commentary on some of the more interesting things to check out.

Don’t forget, for complete schedules and updates, check out the Comic Con site.

Wednesday, July 20

Supernatural: The Anime Series — Warner Bros. Television’s hit series Supernatural (Fridays 9/8c, The CW) makes history this summer as Supernatural: The Anime Series is released in the United States, the first-ever live-action series to be reimagined in Japanese anime style. Inspired by the U.S. series’ sensational following oversees, Warner Home Video Japan and renowned animation studio Madhouse — working with the full approval of series creator Eric Kripke — produced the anime series, which mirrors the story arc of Supernatural’s first two seasons, providing supplemental stories ranging from prequels and spinoffs to untold tales that fit within the Supernatural mythology. The all-new, 22-episode animated series will be distributed July 26 by Warner Home Video on Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and for Download.

In its live-action incarnation, WB’s Supernatural is one of the best weekly series on TV, in no small part because of the working class horror at the heart of the show (and the good work of leads Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki). So I’m curious how Madhouse’s take will jibe with the source material.

That’s… definitely different. More jazz rock than pure classic rock. I’m still curious, but that’s something different. If you want to see the actual show, there will be a screening on Sunday.

Thursday, July 21

The Pirates! Band of Misfits — In the 3D, stop motion-animated The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hugh Grant, stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain — a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen), and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It’s a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure! Director/producer Peter Lord will be live on stage to talk about the movie.

I know absolutely nothing about this, and given how much I dig stop-motion animation, that’s kind of a surprise. Good voice cast, though, with an interesting assortment of talent from both sides of the pond.

Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation: The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole— Executive producers Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley (Kim Possible), supervising producer Nick Filippi (Wolverine and the X-Men), creative consultant and voice of Skipper Tom McGrath (Madagascar 1 & 2), and cast members Danny Jacobs (Epic Movie), John DiMaggio (Futurama), Jeff Bennett (T.U.F.F. Puppy), James Patrick Stuart (Wolverine and the X-Men), and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show) share an insider’s look of how the show gets made, along with never-before-seen footage from their upcoming one-hour musical, The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole. Additionally, the all-star cast performs a table read of selected scenes, highlighted by the amazingly talented Danny Jacobs as the voice of King Julien, singing his booty off as he premieres a showstopper from the special. Followed by a Q$A session.

Napoleon Dynamite— Original cast members from the hit indie film including Jon Heder, Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries, Sandy Martin, Diedrich Bader and executive producer Mike Scully (The Simpsons) present a new series following your favorite awkward teenager like you’ve never seen him before — animated! Join us for a sneak peek at never-before-seen footage of the newest member of FOX’s Animation Domination lineup and a “sweet” Q&A session.

I remain weirded out that about seven years after the movie left theaters, we’re getting a Napoleon Dynamite cartoon.

Bill Plympton: Independently Animated— Two-time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton (Mutant Aliens, I Married a Strange Person) celebrates the release of the new Rizzoli Press book Independently Animated: Bill Plympton, about the life and art of the King of Indie Animation. Also, Bill will discuss the recent release of his animated feature Idiots and Angels on DVD, screen some of his recent short films, and present a sneak peek at what he’s working on next, including The Flying House, a remastering of a classic Winsor McCay film. Everyone who attends will receive a free Bill Plympton autographed drawing!

Billy Plympton is kind of an animation genius–if you can get a chance to see some of his fresh work, do it immediately. On the other side of the coin, you’ve got Winsor McCay, the creator of Little Nemo, whose work remains imminently re-readable to this day. To find out that Billy Plympton is actually going to be restoring one of his works?

Count me in as someone who’s going to have check this out.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Four Preview— The epic conflict of Star Wars: The Clone Wars intensifies in the upcoming season, as new battle lines are drawn, new threats arise, and old enemies resurface. Take an unparalleled first look into this fall’s action, drama, and adventure as the creators of hit series from Lucasfilm preview some of what will astound Star Wars fans in Season Four. Featuring supervising director Dave Filoni, CG lighting/FX supervisor Joel Aron, and other talents from behind the scenes at Lucasfilm Animation. Hosted by Pablo Hidalgo.

A New Generation of Spike & Mike Animation— Spike and Mike Animation present a completely different animation festival from Sick and Twisted: A New Generation of Spike & Mike Animation. This show is more sophisticated and artistic, but still very cool, insanely humorous, and accessible. Featured are 16 international award-winning animated shorts, including Oscar nominees and winners. The show includes Madagascar , The Lost Thing, Pixels, Teclopolis, The Saga of Biorn, and A Morning Stroll. Spike & Mike have now partnered with Mondo Media (creators of Happy Tree Friends) to create a new YouTube site full of the best animations the world has to offer.

Voltron Resurgent— The quintessential 1980s super robot anime series is taking the universe by cosmic storm in 2011, offering entertainment and collectibles to thrill original fans and inspire a new legion of Voltron followers. Comic-Con attendees will be the first to witness the full scope of Voltron’s global franchise resurgence in the form of the new Nicktoons animated series Voltron Force, THQ’s upcoming videogame, a cool Mattel line of toys, innovative comic books from VIZ Media and Dynamite Entertainment, and some blockbuster news of special Voltron events in the not-too-distant future. VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live / NGTV/ G4/ host Carrie Keegan moderates a diverse panel featuring World Event Productions’ supervising producer Jeremy Corray, Voltron Force story editor Todd Garfield and creative director Bob Koplar, THQ executive producer Peter Armstrong, Nicktoons general manager Keith Dawkins, Mattel design manager Michael Montalvo, design director Steed Sun, and artist/designer Brandon Sopinsky, VIZ Media editor Traci Todd, and artist Jacob Chabot. Pay homage to Voltron’s beloved origins, and get a glimpse of the franchise’s future.

My first thought on coming across the new Voltron Force series is remembering that the Gatchaman movie has been cancelled. No real connection, just the way my mind works.

Friday, July 22

Marvel Television Presents: Anime on G4— Marvel Television and G4 take your favorite characters — Iron Man, Wolverine, The X-Men, and Blade — to Japan to tell their stories in a whole new way, beautifully animated by the anime masters at Madhouse. Hosted by Attack of the Show’s Blair Butler, watch a never-before-seen episode with Marvel’s head of TV Jeph Loeb and surprise guests. Plus, get a sneak peek at The X-Men’s explosive first episode.

Bandai Entertainment— With K-ON!, Tekken: Blood Vengeance, Gundam 00 the Movie, and The Disappearance of Haruhi Movie, Bandai Entertainment has a stellar lineup of eclectic anime titles for 2011. Join Bandai’s Robert Napton, Loy Fruel, and some other notable guests for this informative hour that will feature news, trailers, Q&A, and giveaways.

Allow me to put on my hater hat for a minute: I never really “got” the craze over Haruhi Suzumiya. Not the dances, or the seeming obsessiveness over the series or the character, none of it. After one season, all I could think was that I did not want to spend one more minute with the character. But I’m thinking I’m kind of in the minority here, given that the series remains wildly popular, as do the spin-off light novels and the upcoming movie.

But what do I know? I’m incredibly stoked about a movie about guys with crazy hair fighting over a satanic fighting gene with the promise of boxing kangaroos being the sweet, sweet icing on the CG cake.

DC: Mad about MAD— Often imitated but never duplicated, MAD is more than just the country’s bestselling humor magazine — it’s also the inspiration for the outrageous animated series from Warner Bros. Animation. Featuring short animated parodies, crazy commercials, pretend promos and classic gags inspired by the iconic magazine, MAD is currently one of the highest-rated series on Cartoon Network — and it’s back at Comic-Con to share more laughs and explore the world of MAD. Join MAD magazine editor John Ficarra, art director Sam Viviano and Spy vs. Spy artist Peter Kuper, along with MAD series producers Kevin Shinick and Mark Marek, for a sizzle reel of laughs from season one, a sneak peek at season two, and a wise-cracking Q&A that’s bound to be, well, MAD. MAD airs Mondays at 8:30 ET/PT on Cartoon Network.

Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness— The bodacity continues as Po the panda punches his way onto a new animated series. Executive producer Peter Hastings and supervising producers Randy Dormans band Gabe Swarr present an exclusive sneak peek into the new series by Nickelodeon and Dreamworks. This panel will also include select moments with voice cast members Mick Wingert (Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special), James Hong (Kung Fu Panda 2), Kevin Michael Richardson (Penguins of Madagascar), and John DiMaggio (Penguins of Madagascar), followed by a screening. Moderated by Megan Casey, executive in charge for Nickelodeon.

Green Lantern: The Animated Series Video Presentation and Q&A— Warner Bros. Animation brings the Green Lantern to television in a new CG-animated action series for Cartoon Network from world-renowned producer, artist, and animator Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series). Based on the DC Comics superhero, Green Lantern: The Animated Series centers on Hal Jordan and his partner Kilowog, who find themselves alone on the edge of the Guardian Frontier fighting off an invasion by the deadly Red Lantern Corps. Timm headlines a panel — moderated by Warner Bros. Animation’s Sam Register (Teen Titans) — that also features producer Giancarlo Volpe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and producer/story editor Jim Krieg (Ben 10: Alien Swarm). In addition to the Q&A, fans in attendance will be treated to footage prepared exclusively for Comic-Con. Don’t miss out, or you’ll be waiting ’til 2012!

WB’s Green Lantern onslaught will be continuing into next year with the new CG animated series. I actually really liked the Emerald Knights DTDVD movie that came out last month and would have been happy if there was a series using traditional animation. I haven’t seen too much from the series, so count me as more curious than anything else as DC/WB adds another show the the DC Animated universe.

Bob’s Burgers— Bob’s Burgers creator/executive producer Loren Bouchard, executive producer Jim Dauterive, and cast members H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, and Kristen Schaal entertain animation fans with hilarious never-before-seen footage from season two, followed by a Q&A.

If you’re not watching Bob’s Burgers, you and me can’t be friends.

ThunderCats Premiere Episode Screening and Q&A— Comic-Con, ho! From the moment this series was announced, fans have answered the call — now, the wait is over as Warner Bros. Animation is proud to bring you the world premiere of this new reimagining of the beloved ’80s franchise. Lion-O, Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, Wily Kit, and Snarf are back! After the screening, producers Michael Jelenic (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Ethan Spaulding (Avatar: The Last Airbender), art director Dan Norton (G.I. Joe: Resolute), and members of the voice cast will discuss what viewers can expect in the first season of this exciting new series. ThunderCats premieres in a special one-hour episode on Friday, July 29 at 8/7c on Cartoon Network.

What are the odds that this will be all but impossible to get into? And you know, what? You didn’t hear it from me, but this one hour premiere is kind of worth the hype.

Robot Chicken— Seth Green (co-creator, Robot Chicken), Matthew Senreich (co-creator, Robot Chicken), and Tom Root (head writer, Robot Chicken) discuss the popular Adult Swim series. The series uses stop-motion animation to bring pop culture parodies to life in a modern take on the variety/sketch show format. In Robot Chicken, no pop culture target is safe. Legions of action figures are used to spoof everything from reality television and Star Wars to past presidents. Moderated by Keith Crofford, vice president of production, Adult Swim.

Ugly Americans— Dan Powell (executive producer), Aaron Augenblick (director of animation), Devin Clark (producer and series creator), and the voice talents behind Mark (Matt Oberg), Leonard (Randy Pearlstein), Randall (Kurt Metzger), and Lt. Grimes (Larry Murphy) take you behind the scenes of season two. Featuring a live, in-character surprise table read, a sneak peak at an upcoming episode, a Q&A, and a look at the highly anticipated downloadable game Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon, coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network in August. Ugly Americans airs Thursdays at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central.

Batman: Year One— Warner Home Video, Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation proudly present the World Premiere of Batman: Year One, the highly anticipated next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Based on the landmark 1987 DC Comics titles from 12-time Eisner Award winner Frank Miller and illustrator David Mazzucchelli, Batman: Year One depicts young Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham City in his first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante. The playboy billionaire chooses the guise of a giant bat to combat crime, creates an early bond with a young Lieutenant James Gordon (who is already battling corruption from inside the police department), inadvertently plays a role in the birth of Catwoman, and helps bring down a crooked political system that infests Gotham. When the film ends, stay in your seats for a lively panel discussion amongst voice cast members Ben McKenzie (Southland), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), executive producer Bruce Timm (DCU films), directors Lauren Montgomery (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) and Sam Liu (All-Star Superman), and casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano (DCU films). Moderator Gary Miereanu will offer a first glimpse into the 2012 DC Universe Animated Original Movies slate, give away some exclusive prizes to inquisitive audience members, and quite possibly introduce a few surprise guests. Warner Home Video will distribute Batman: Year One on Blu-ray and DVD, OnDemand and For Download on October 18, 2011.

Another candidate for crazy hall crowding. It’s got a really solid voice cast and the source material is one of the most defining works for one of the most important comic characters today. Imagine the throngs of fans pressing against one another to get into the hall to see this one and get a glimpse of geek favorites Katee Sackhoff and Eliza Dushku.

Kick Buttowski: XD Animation Panel— Live ’til it hurts! NBA All-Star Dwight Howard teams up with the cast and crew of Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil to answer your questions about Disney’s XD action-packed animated hit. Creator Sandro Corsaro will be on hand with Charlie Schlatter and Matt Jones (the voices of Kick and Gunther), revealing footage from the show. Arrive early to catch an exclusive sneak peek at Disney XD’s upcoming animated hits Motorcity and Tron: Uprising. Moderated by Eric Coleman, SVP, original series for Disney TV Animation.

Saturday

Futurama— Futurama is back! Again! On stage will be creator/executive producer Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West (Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg), Katey Sagal (Leela), John DiMaggio (Bender), and Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker, Calculon, Morbo). Get a sneak peek at never-before-seen footage of Futurama reincarnated as Japanese anime, along with a thrilling preview of this summer’s new season on Comedy Central. Moderated by Bill Morrison.

Anytime the cast of Futurama gets up on stage, expect to laugh about as much as you would watching an episode of the show.

Sunday, July 24

Young Justice Screening and Q&A— Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Red Arrow, and Superboy — these aren’t your average sidekicks and this isn’t your average cartoon. In a short amount of time, and with just a small number of episodes, fans have embraced this new action-adventure series as Warner Bros. Animation has brought some of their favorite DC heroes to life. Following a special screening, producers Brandon Vietti (Batman: Under the Red Hood) and Greg Weisman (Gargoyles) and members of the creative team will answer your burning questions on what the future holds for “the team.” Young Justice Season 1, Part 1 is available on DVD now.

Allen Gregory— Creator/executive producer and star Jonah Hill (Superbad, Get Him to the Greek), showrunner David Goodman (Family Guy), and creators/executive producers Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul, along with an all-star voice cast including French Stewart and Nat Faxon, present a sneak peek at FOX’s new animated series that tells the story of the most pretentious 7-year-old of our time. Exclusive preview of Allen Gregory animation will be followed by a fan Q&A session.

Fox is really doubling down on the half-hour animated comedies. They seem to be in a state now where they’re trying to find a solid block of animation for Sunday nights, mixing and matching new programs to see what works. As I pointed out above, Bob’s Burgers is a definite hit (John H. Benjamin is one of the funniest guys doing VO right now), but Napoleon Dynamite might be beyond the sell-by date. As for Allen Gregory, there’s a lot of talent responsible for a lot of live action comedy that I like, and French Stewart is in it too.

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Screening and Q&A— The gang from Crystal Cove is packing up its best traps and bringing them to San Diego, and it’s no mystery as to why fans have embraced this most recent take on Scooby-Doo from Warner Bros. Animation. Supervising producers Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone (both veterans of Duck Dodgers) and producer Mitch Watson (Ben 10: Race Against Time) present a special screening of the first-season finale and a lively panel discussion on the adventures that await Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, and Velma in season two. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated airs Tuesdays at 7:30 E & P/6:30 C on Cartoon Network and the original movie Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur will be released on DVD September 13.

The Looney Tunes Show Screening and Q&A— Comic-Con can be a crazy place, but it’s about to get Looney! After an extended break from the limelight, animation’s favorite mismatched duo of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck (along with all your other favorite Looney Tunes characters) return in The Looney Tunes Show, an animated half-hour comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation. Following a special screening, the laughs continue when supervising producers Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone (both from Duck Dodgers), story editor Hugh Davidson, writer Rachel Ramras and other members of the creative team take the stage to answer your questions. Just don’t ask them, “Eh, what’s up, Doc?” From Warner Bros. Animation, The Looney Tunes Show airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Cartoon Network.

Ben 10/Generator Rex— Two of action animation’s biggest stars collide in one explosive panel! The voice talent and creators behind Ben 10 and Generator Rex give fans a sneak peak into the future of these two series, including an exclusive first look at the upcoming Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United crossover special event. Yuri Lowenthal (Ben) is on hand for some fun surprises, as well as series creators and writers for the inside scoop on two of Cartoon Network’s biggest Friday Night Action hits.And Ben 10 fans won’t want to miss the exclusive world premiere unveiling of footage from the new Ben 10 CGI movie!

Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz Premiere Screening— Be among the first Munchkins to see the live premiere screening of this unforgettable adventure as Tom and Jerry join Dorothy, Toto, and other beloved characters in a new animated retelling of the classic tale. Produced by Warner Premiere and Warner Bros. Animation, Tom and Jerry & The Wizard of Oz finds the famed cat and mouse team going paw to paw against a legion of flying monkeys on a heroic, dangerous quest to return Dorothy and Toto safely back to Kansas — because after all, there is no place like home! This exciting new story is full of heartwarming and hilarious moments and beautiful songs, including the memorable “Over the Rainbow.” Tom and Jerry & the Wizard of Oz will be available from Warner Home Video’s on Blu-Ray Combo Pack and DVD on August 23, 2011.

It’s the weirdest doggone thing to me that it’s 2011 and we’re talking about a full-length Tom & Jerry feature. Who do younger kids these days recognize more: Tom and Jerry or Itchy and Scratchy?

The Holocaust Through the Eyes of a Child, Animated by a Child— Bill Plympton (two-time Oscar-nominated animator, Idiots and Angels), 11-year-old prodigy animator and child film critic Perry Chen, his mother Dr. Zhu Shen (producer), Karina Bessoudo (Toon Boom Animation, vice president of marketing and communications), and Kevin Sean Michaels (director) share insight and a sneak preview of the film Ingrid Pitt: Beyond The Forest and the cross-generational collaboration that was formed to create it. The short animated film illustrates the miraculous true story of the late actress Ingrid Pitt (Where Eagles Dare) who, in 1945, escaped at age 8 from a Nazi concentration camp in Poland to later become one of the UK’s biggest movie stars. Also screening will be a trailer for the new documentary on animator Bill Plympton, Adventures in Plymptoons! Moderated by Pat Swinney Kaufman (executive director for the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development) and Lloyd Kaufman (president/co-founder of Troma Entertainment, author of Sell Your Own Damn Movie).

Supernatural Screening and Q&A— For the first time ever, the Supernatural panel will be in Hall H! Series stars Jared Padalecki (Friday the 13th [2009]) and Jensen Ackles (My Bloody Valentine 3D) and additional cast members and executive producers present an exclusive sneak peek at footage from the highly anticipated seventh season of this thrill-ride series. The panel will answer questions from the audience, show a portion of the special features from the upcoming Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season DVD and Blu-ray release (in stores September 13), and give Comic-Con fans a sneak peek at Supernatural: The Anime Series, coming to DVD and Blu-ray on July 26. Supernatural airs Fridays at 9/8c on The CW and is produced by Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television.

You can find out more info about the schedule and appearances on the SDCC site.

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