For about a year more or less i worked for two publishers producing TOM & JERRY stories: Condor Velag and Semic Press. It was then when I decided to study more the characters. I thought that if I could master movement and the construction of the scene, or at least get closer to the classic animators, maybe I would be able to produce some acceptable works.
Being the best is an impossible challenge, a gift only those with overwhelming talent can enjoy. But learning from the best is always a good option. Tired of inspiring myself in the comics, I switched my source of references to the Hannah-Barbera classic cartoons. Armed with a video recorder with a good “pause” function and the VHS tapes of Tom and Jerry, I made all the photos I needed for my documentation. It was then when I discovered the real talent of those characters and the dexterity of the animators. Kenneth Muse, Irven Spence, Ray Patterson and Ed Barge, they opened my eyes. A never-ending display of expressions taken to the limit, unbelievable elasticity, an awesome management of movement… ¡A glorious work!
With all those new documents on my table it was logical to expect some alterations in my new work, and the publisher, through my manager, noticed. “The characters look strange”, they said. Well, since that moment I understood that trying to be faithful to the original is “strange” (I’m still laughing). And I was so satisfied with my last story! I just had found new facets, new ways to express… I believe the publishers, when it comes to artists with potential, should promote his need to grow as a professional and not try to install him in conservative ideas. They asked for some changes I did but I quit working for them voluntarily. Being conservative doesn’t make you advance. It’s the challenge what moves you.
SEMIC PRESS gave me, and kept giving me, all the freedom I needed to progress and the safety I needed to reject CONDOR VERLAG assignments. There’s the advantage of working for more than one client.
Here there are some of those photos I still keep and some of the panels that created so much strife. More elastic mouthes, expressions not in the catalog and a gag involving flames were labeled as “strange”.