BAKSHI CHANGED ANIMATION AS WE KNOW IT AND ALL HE GOT WAS SOME LOUSY T-SHIRTS

T.M.I. blog from June 2008.

Treating YouTube like a search engine is the lowest form of blogging, but London’s perma-delayed lower ground public transport breeds blog apathy by sucking the sweat out of even the most casual commuter. BlackBerry babble – this shit is being drafted in a tunnel near Kings Cross.

The other great Ralph. There’s animators and there’s animators. The artform might have gone digital, but Brookly-bred Ralph Bakshi is still the master craftsman. From Mighty Mouse to race relations, the man could delight an early morning audience with his oddly anarchic superhero rodent and offend the imbecilic with a full length movie.

He fell out with the notoriously penny pinching Robert Crumb, chanelled his auto asphixiating genius buddy Vaughn Bode for Wizards, brought Frank Frazetta more alive than Kase 2 and his platform homies did, like any genius, had his big misunderstood moment with Cool World. Oh, and American Pop too – Rotoscope animation is for true players.

And those forward-thinking HBO station bods helped him bring back adult animation from trenchcoated souls who like watching Far Eastern tentacle rape. It flopped, but that doesn’t diminish the show’s dated but absorbing charm.

Any intelligent artist willing to tackle a subject head on like a drunken socialite behind the wheel is going to cause offence. A fearless liberal intent on using his artform to depict society’s harsh side, Coonskin and Heavy Traffic are, for the unintiated, a kick to the temple.

No Jack Black microphone mugging, just legends like Barry White. As Ralph used those cartoon faces to stretch the censorous limitations, he tackled murder, sexual politics, kkk, black-on-black crime, taking the brave step of portraying the mafia as the bullying sociopaths they were, rather than the vigilante patriarchs of the time. Realness met twisted silly symphonies with added psychedelia. Sobering yet intoxicating. Freeform ink and paint.

The much-vaunted Supreme cotton appropriations of his handiwork didn’t set the world on fire. This tome was the intelligent option, as a still living legend, a general awareness needn’t be posthumous. Too many deifications of the mediocre. Respect the architects. And as Acyde pointed out months ago, the best of his work is still in DVD limbo…