The ANTimated Series – GAME CHANGER
The gang you know and love from my comic strip, Charmy’s Army, are getting a major upgrade. I am expanding their backstories and adding new traits to their personality. With a printed, four panel comic strip, cartoonists are limited as to the deep the of their characters’ personalities. It is hard to build a character up with any depth when your readers may only read your strip a day or two out of the week. Building character needs a good story so your cast can react and express emotions. These reactions help you understand how they “tick”. The limited interaction between readers and the print media limits how much you can reveal about a character’s backstory. Charmy’s Army is only running in weekly newspapers, so I am extremely limited on the complexity of Charmy and the gang.
I hear you crying, “Foul!” Yes, Peanuts featuring Good Ol’ Charlie Brown has a cast with deep backstories. This comic strip has been killing it in newspapers for decades. Before the first animated Christmas holiday special aired in 1965. Prior to this, the comic strip was pretty simple, revolving around a kid named Charlie Brown for whom everyone thought of as a blockhead. The character floating around him had little to no depth. Cue the arrival of the animated Christmas holiday special and the evolution of the supporting cast took form. Animation requires a lot of moving pieces to retain the viewers attention. To achieve this, the rest of the Peanuts gang had to have their personas elevated. The animated special gave viewers a crash course in the supporting casts’ lives. After the television special aired and was a smashing hit, all of the character improvements were carried over to the comic strip.
When I began working on the animated version I decided to turn all four characters of the core cast into zanier versions of what we already see in the comic strip. This created an huge issue… one I see with a lot of other animated cartoons. With all the zany, over the top ANTics, how do we give each of our stars their own ” unique feel”. I drew inspiration from my favorite pop culture infatuation. The Beatles and the phenomenon known as Beatlemania. I have always loved the way this band was branded throughout their decade long reign.
Ask just about anyone in the sixties and seventies who your refer to when you say, “The quiet one, the smart one, the cute one, and the funny one” and the response was “The Beatles… George, John, Paul and Ringo. I always mention George first. I truly feel he was the most iconic of them all. I always loved the way this depiction designated with Beatles fans,,, and even with people who did not care for them. Another term always used was “The Fab Four”. Again, just about everyone then and even now know that the Fab Four were the Beatles.
CHANGES FOR THE BETTER
So now I present to you my cast… The bad one, the cute one, the dumb one, and the hairy one. So, you think you have this figured out right? I am betting you are wrong! Frenchy is NOT the cute one. This is where the characters take a major left turn. In the ANTimated series, Weaver is the cute one! Yep, the shy, straight man for Charmy’s ANTics, is now a zany, silly fool who has a legion of women attracted to him. His sex appeal will be a running gag in the comic strip.
Frenchy is not very happy about this, but she is the dumb one. I am taking her IQ down a notch. She was already a bit ditsy, but her misunderstandings will be the launching pad for many of the stories we’ll be seeing in the ANTimated series. She will still be the strong, furious Warrior Wench Wendy. Frenchy’s transformation into this strong, inspirational character will be fun to write for. The trick is to still have Warrior Wench Wendy having some of her “inner Frenchy” come through. Her sidekick Zana will always be at Warrior Wench Wendy’s side for the save.
Charmy and Flimp will remain the same. There is no need to change them up at all. One additional tweak to Flimp the Chimp will be the use of Flimp’s hat. There is no way I could utilize the hat in the comic strip as I will in the ANTimated series. In the cartoon version, Flimp keeps a warehouse’s worth of goods under that little purple hat. He seems to always be pulling bananas out of that tiny hat. I am hoping to have at least a dozen bananas pulled out and eaten in each episode. In the first draft of the episode “In and Out Burper”, Flimp pulls out a mallet, a lit candle, and a huge book of medical home remedies. I am working on adding more odds to the mix as the story expands.
That is enough of the preview. More will follow soon!