Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Coolest. Dr Claw Sculpture. Ever!

Check out this amazing fan-made sculpture of Doctor Claw, done by "Kaziam" over at the forums. I love the attention to detail... this definitely deserves being made into an official collector's figure.

...but who - or what - is hiding behind that chair? Apparently the sculptor couldn't quite resist presenting his own "conspiracy theory"...

... even though, of course, the original series presents proof that Quimby and Claw were two different persons. Oh well. That's still a pretty darn impressive Chief Quimby figure, despite the manic look in his eyes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

High Quality Gadget Pictures from THIS

The official Inspector Gadget site over at the THIS TV network has a slideshow with many high-quality images from the original series. I think most of the images are scans of original cels... they look noticeably clearer and more colorful than DVD screenshots from the episodes. And, many of them work great as wallpapers! Here are the best-looking ones:

From "Clear Case"

From "A Bad Altitude"

From "The Emerald Duck"

From "Dry Spell"

Very cool image from a pan scene in "Sleeping Gas"

From "Snakin' All Over"

From "Don't Hold Your Breath". This image is flipped when compared to the original episode.

From "Tree Guesses"

From "Amusement Park"

From "The Coo Coo Clock Caper". I love the design in this one.

From "Clear Case"

From "Winter Olympics"/"Gadget in Winterland"

From "Gadget at the Circus"

From "Gadget at the Circus"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gadget Girl?

Taking a break from my Bruno Bianchi tributes here, as I felt like sharing this image I just came across at MovieGoods:

I'm pretty certain this never existed officially, but I find the idea both a bit crazy and strangely intriguing. Gadget Girl's design seems to be partly inspired by Agent Heather from the lousy Inspector Gadget spinoff Gadget Boy, which probably also inspired the name for this... but that's where the similarities end, fortunately. The art and concept for this "Gadget Girl" poster looks much more interesting to me. What do you think?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Illustrated Homages to Bruno Bianchi and Shingo Araki

Since the death of Gadget creator Bruno Bianchi, a lot of illustrated homages have popped up on the web... and I felt it was only appropriate to showcase some of these heartfelt tributes here. Some of the sites paying homage to Bianchi did so to animator Shingo Araki at the same time, so in those cases I have also posted the Araki tributes.

Over at a French site called Mekavolt, I found some really neat tribute art to Bruno Bianchi and Shingo Araki illustrated by site owner/animator "Bena" (who also knew Bruno Bianchi personally according to the tribute post). I really like the mood in this tribute drawing to Bianchi. Putting Gadget's trenchcoat and the Gadget hand in there is actually quite a beautiful touch.

Here's Bena's Shingo Araki tribute, too (and here's the link to the source post). Again, really nicely done.

[UPDATE (August 29, 2013): The Mekavolt site recently disappeared from the web - and so did the two tribute drawings which I had copied directly to my blog from the site. Happily, though, both drawings as well as the written tribute to Bianchi are still available on Bena's DeviantArt page (enabling me to save the images from there and re-post them from my harddrive). Here's the link to the Bruno Bianchi tribute, and here's the Shingo Araki tribute.]

The touching artwork below - from the blog of David Gilson - pays homage to both Bruno Bianchi and Shingo Araki, but also to the famous Zdenek Miler (creator of "The Little Mole") and Gilson's young collegaue Jean Vincent. 

This simple, yet effective color sketch of Gadget thanking Bruno for his achievements was done by "Nikooz" of the French blog Drink 'N' Draw Paris (click here to see the tribute post with the original black-and-white sketch as well!)

Nikooz also did a similar homage to Shingo Araki, starring the title character from another classic DiC series, Ulysses 31 (again, click here to see the source post which also includes the black-and-white sketch).

Finally, this loosely rendered pencil drawing by "Piotr" of the French blog Mégalomine incorporates characters from both Bianchi and Araki's animated series to make a combined tribute. 

[UPDATE (February 18, 2013): The Mégalomine blog changed its internet location a while back, causing the picture I had copied from the old version of the blog to disappear. So I'm re-posting the picture from my own harddrive, to make sure it stays up this time. Here's the new link for the source post.]

Hope you enjoyed the homages... I'll post more if I find them. :) 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gadget's Co-creator, Character Designer and Supervising Director Bruno Bianchi Passes Away

Bruno Bianchi+an original Inspector Gadget sketch he did for a fan, at the occasion
of Inspector Gadget's 25th anniversary. Fanny's Party, November 4, 2008.

A piece of unbelievably sad news reached me earlier this week: Bruno Bianchi - the co-creator, supervising director and main character designer on Inspector Gadget - passed away last Friday on December 2.

Above and below: Bruno Bianchi surrounded by a few of his fans
while giving a joyful video interview at the occacion of Inspector
Gadget's 25th anniversary. Fanny's Party, November 4, 2008.

I first heard on Cartoon Brew Biz, which had gotten the news through Animation Magazine. According to several sad postings on French sites, the cause of death was cancer. He was 56 years old. That is just way too early to go, not least for such an amazingly creative person. Bruno is and will forever be one of my heroes within television animation. With the shock of him gone still pretty fresh in my mind, I've decided to use this post to reminiscence about my personal favorite cartoons from his impressive career. First, let's talk a little about his creative contributions to my favorite among all (yep, you guessed it): Inspector Gadget.

Another original sketch by Bruno.
Fanny's Party, November 4, 2008.

This is an appropriate place to start because, as many of you probably know, Bruno's very first directing gig major breakthrough as a cartoon director/creator came with Inspector Gadget. He started out at Jean Chalopin's French animation studio DiC Audiovisual in 1977, first as a cel painter, then working his way upwards to animator, storyboard artist and ultimately director. Aside from directing or co-directing the entire original Inspector Gadget series, Bruno also served as Gadget's leading character designer and - not least - as the third of the show's creators, after Andy Heyward and Jean Chalopin. I'm inclined to think that his important work as Gadget's visual designer was what landed him the creator credit. Because - while Jean Chalopin is credited with developing the show's scenario and universe - it seems pretty clear to me, from all accounts I've read, that Bianchi was the most important voice in defining the visual side! All the primary characters - Gadget, Penny, Brain, Dr. Claw and Chief Quimby - went through his hands as chief character designer. He established a look for the show which was a unique mixture between classic American cartoon traditions, the humous French comic book style (Asterix, Lucky Luke etc.) and Japanese animé. Think about that for a second. Inspector Gadget was a French-American-Japanese co-production... and all of these countries are represented through the designs of the main characters! Have a look:

Inspector Gadget - original 1983 model sheet (rough)
Gadget's design, his face and nose in particular, clearly has its roots in the style of French comic book series such as Asterix... which I feel pretty certain Bianchi, being a Frenchman, grew up with and was influenced by.

Brain - original 1983 expression sheet
Brain is a pure cartoon animal, closely linked to the squash-and-stretch traditions of Hollywood cartoons.

Penny - original 1983 expression sheet+screenshot from the episode "The Japanese Connection".
And then there's Penny, whose design - in the face and especially the eyes - reflects Japanese anime. The model sheets (left) don't quite show it off as well as the animation in the show (right), but the anime-ish eyes and some of her expressions are already there.

I've been fascinated for a long time by this; how each of the three main characters in Gadget actually seems to represent one of the countries co-producing the show! Makes you wonder if Bianchi planned it consciously when designing the characters... perhaps to make the show more fun to work on for the various production units across the globe.

The word fun brings me to an extremely important part of Bianchi's work as a cartoon director: a sense of pure fun. Inspector Gadget may not always be the laugh-out-loud funniest show on the planet (even though it can be hilarious at times) - but, at least during its first season, it was almost always FUN. There is a difference between the words "funny" and "fun"... and I'm mentioning it, I think, to talk about Bianchi's wonderful energy as a director. Because, admittedly, Inspector Gadget WAS his very first outing one of his earliest major projects as a director - and especially some of the early episodes have their clumsy moments revealing that the director was new at his job. But Bianchi quickly picked up steam - as the rest of the show crew probably did, too - and as Gadget's first season progressed, Bianchi's direction became much more fast-paced, loaded with energy and throwaway gags. These ingredients kept Inspector Gadget fun to watch despite the occasional clumsy timing, and despite the occasional gag falling flat or not completely making sense. In fact, I think this was part of the show's charm. Inspector Gadget is, to be honest, an incredibly silly cartoon show with a lot of logical flaws, and once you start looking for logic, everything falls apart. But the great humor and energetic execution of the show overcomes it all.


When I first started watching Inspector Gadget, of course, I was a little too young to analyze it like that. But the show always meant great fun to me... and it represented a unique form of entertainment. I remember that when I first came across Inspector Gadget at age 11, I had never seen anything quite like it before. Great characters, funny gags, an idiotic but yet brilliant premise - and, not least, all the cool touches! (Gadget and Claw's awesome vehicles; the fact that Dr. Claw's face was never seen; the fact that Gadget was really an idiot, though a lovable one; Penny's action scenes; Brain's never-ending and highly sympathetic struggles to save Gadget...) So much was going on in almost every episode - and the show also made a habit of throwing in additional quirky gags which not really added to the plot, but added fantastically to the entertainment value and the characterizations. I instantly loved the fast-paced, gag-filled nature of the show. It was a wonderful blend of action and humor, and I think Bianchi's contributions as a director had a lot to do with that.

The first time I ever came across Inspector Gadget was on television way back in 1999. 
I accidentally changed the channel to it midway through the episode "Monster Lake" - 
and was hooked immediately. Skip to 2:05 in the above video to watch the great 
scene that introduced me to Gadget, Dr. Claw, Penny, Brain and M.A.D. Cat...

Speaking of weird touches: why the heck
is there a human face on that bathing ring at bottom left?!
I have no idea, but I love it! From the episode "Sleeping Gas". 

While Bianchi's direction and design work on Gadget would in itself make him a legend, he will probably be remembered just as much for the long line of other shows he did in the 80s, 90s and 2000s. Personally, my first exposure to Bianchi's work came long I had even heard about Inspector Gadget... when I was about nine, I think... through a delightful show called Heathcliff (better known today as Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats) from 1984-86. It was partly based on Geo Gately's delightful comic strip, of which I was a fan as a kid. This cartoon show - like Gadget - has gone on to become one of the best-loved collaborations between Bruno Bianchi and Jean Chalopin. Aside from directing, Bianchi also co-created the stars of the show's second segment, The Catillac Cats, who became popular in their own right. (The videos I rented as a kid only featured the Heathcliff parts, though, so back then I only knew those of the Catillac Cats who occasionally appeared in the Heathcliff 'toons.) Heathcliff doesn't hold up for me today quite as well as Gadget does... but it was still a pretty enjoyable show, with lots of gleefully cruel slapstick violence and, again, a great feeling of fun. Below you'll find the intro, as well as one of my favorite Heathcliff episodes from way back when (although I initially watched it as part of Heathcliff: The Movie):

A few years later - at the same time as I first discovered Inspector Gadget on one of my Norwegian channels, and forever fell in love with it - I simultaneously became a fan of one of Bianchi's other shows (which usually aired right before Gadget): Iznogoud (1995), about the grand vizir who wants to become sultan instead of the sultan! Bianchi produced and directed this series, that was an adaptation of the famous French comic strip created by René Goscinny (of Asterix fame) and Jean Tabary. But Bruno Bianchi's cartoon adaptation from the 90s made me a fan of Iznogoud long before I read the comic! In fact, even though the original comics are ultimately better, the cartoon series captures the strip's quirky humor and satire to an impressive degree... as do the excellent character designs and animation, even if they're not quite as free-wheeling as Tabary's ink lines. And I just love the intro. Below is the first half-hour episode in English (I still distincly remember watching the second half's cartoon, "Hat's Off!").

I hoped you enjoyed some of my personal remembrances of Bruno Bianchi's cartoons. Although I haven't seen anywhere near all the series he's done, I have fond memories of all the above-mentioned shows. This has been a bittersweet post to write. Sweet because I've long had in mind to do posts about Inspector Gadget's creators, and it felt good to talk a little about the personal impact Bianchi's work had on me. Bitter because I wish this hadn't happened at all. Bruno shouldn't be gone.... he should still be with us, out there, creating new cartoons for new generations to enjoy! Thankfully, though, his best work will live on forever. What more can I say? Well, this, for one thing: Thanks, Bruno - for everything. I'll never forget all the fun.

This post may be updated during the next days with additional pictures, videos and thoughts. For now, though, I just wanted to get these thoughts about Bruno out there. I also hope (if I get the time) to do more posts about him, showcasing drawings, photos and even more videos and other shows he's done. Last, but not least... if any of you would like to share your own memories of Bruno Bianchi - either of him as a person, or as a fan of his work - I'd love to hear them.

EDIT (February 19, 2012): This post has been modified slightly. I originally wrote that Inspector Gadget was Bianchi's first work as a director... but this proves not to be true. Check out my post about a cartoon show he directed three years before Gadget at this link.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rest In Peace, Bruno Bianchi and Shingo Araki

 A sad start to December: Last week, two key artists behind the original Inspector Gadget series passed away... strangely enough only a few hours apart. On the night of Thursday, December 1, Japanese animation veteran Shingo Araki (animator on season 1) passed away. French animation veteran Bruno Bianchi (co-creator and director) followed on the morning of Friday, December 2. I've actually known about this since Monday, but only today did I find the time to blog about these artists.

BRUNO BIANCHI (1955-2011)

Bruno Bianchi... where do I begin? This man was not only Inspector Gadget's co-creator. He also directed the entire original series (1982-86) and served as chief designer of all the main characters. In short, Bruno was one of the leading creative forces on the show. The fact that he is gone came as a great shock to me (he was only in his mid-fifties, for crying out loud), and it's hard to describe in few words the impact he had on my childhood, not only through Inspector Gadget, but also various other shows like Heathcliff and Iznogoud. That's why I've decided not to write much about him here, and instead post a longer tribute to him one of the next days. Now, then... Read on (below Bianchi's credits) to get to Shingo Araki...


SHINGO ARAKI (1939-2011)

Original Gadget animator Shingo Araki was a guy I really didn't know much about... but the Imdb site on his work reveals quite a legacy! Since 1965, this versatile animator/animation director/character designer had been continuously at work in Japan on a number of famous anime series... including Yu-Gi-Oh!, The Rose of Versailles, Lupin III Part III and Saint Seiya, among many, many others. Imdb's overview of his work, not to mention its Mini Biography (below), probably sums up his career better than I can:
"Graduated in Aichi Prefecture. Semi-professional debut as a cartoonist in the "Machi" adult comic magazine in 1955. Joined Mushi Production as animator in 1965. Founded Studio Jaguar in 1966. Debuted as animation director in 1970 with the TV Series "Joe of Tomorrow". Met for the first time also animation director and future collaborator Michi Himeno in 1973. Founded Araki Production in 1975. Debuted in a long-feature film as animation director in 1978's "Goodbye Battleship Yamato: Warriors of Love". Celebrated the enormous success for duet Araki-Himeno with the TV series and later three animated films "Saint Seiya" (1986-89), followed by new film of the saga "Saint Seiya Overture" from 2004. Illustrated the novel "Burai". Did tasks of Creative Consultor of Video Games' Brey saga."
In addition to the shows fully produced in Japan, Araki also worked for the famous studios Toei Animation and Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS) as an animator on outsourced American productions. It was through TMS he got assigned to Inspector Gadget, which he animated on during the show's first season... meaning the season which generally had the best animation in it. Presumably, he served as one of Gadget's key animators, as his name is the second one (of a long list) mentioned in the animation credits.

The fact that famous veteran artists such as Araki were assigned to work on Inspector Gadget really shows the ambitions DiC had with the show during its first season: the animation was far above average for TV cartoons at the time. Not every Gadget episode had good animation, of course (as they were outsourced to various Asian studios), but I'll choose to believe that Araki worked on some of the episodes with the best-looking animation. The fact that he was working on Gadget through the legendary TMS studio is a quality indicator in itself!

I thought it fitting to end this post on a Japanese note... so below, you'll find the original Inspector Gadget episode which actually takes place in Tokyo, Japan! I'll just assume that Araki animated on this one, because "The Japanese Connection" is one of my all-time favorite episodes... it's top-notch in practically every way, not least in terms of animation and design! Also, it shows off Bruno Bianchi's fun direction at its best. So I'm just gonna dedicate this embedded video to both Bruno Bianchi and Shingo Araki...

Monday, November 21, 2011

(Almost New) Podcast Interview with Gadget's Comic Book Writer

Here's a bit of old news that passed me by: Back in March, Gadget writer Dale Mettam appeared on The Outhouse Pirate Podcast, where he was interviewed about all things Viper Comics... and among many other subjects, his work on the then-upcoming Inspector Gadget book. If you skip to about 00:37:45 on the audio player, you can hear Dale talk for a few minutes about how he approached the job of writing Inspector Gadget in the 21st century while still staying true to the original series. One of the most interesting parts is probably when Mettam is asked about what he thinks is the basic appeal of Inspector Gadget, for both new and old audiences:

Interviewer: What would you say (...) was the charm that (...) even today (...) could keep Inspector Gadget such a fun property? 
Dale Mettam: Well, I kinda suspect that... I mean, realistically, remembering as a kid, it was very much kinda like (...)... you really want to get from Penny's point of view. And, it's kinda like, you know; you have this uncle who is, relatively speaking, a superman; he can do... pretty much anything and everything. And yet, you're still the one who saves the day. I think, you know, a lot of kids kinda feel like that. It's kinda like: "Yeah, yeah, mom and dad... whoever... you know, they're the ones who make all the rules (...) - but I know what I'm doing! That's not a problem!" Now, most kids don't, and, you know, they kinda learn that along the way... [but] it, it's a cool fantasy to kinda, like, live with and, you know, play up! So, you know, it's just fun. 

I very much agree with what Mettam says here... it IS a cool fantasy! There's nothing overly original about the "Kids are smarter than adults" theme, but it can be most effective when done right. Speaking of which... Mr. Mettam, I really hope you give Penny more to do in the next comic book issue. She needs to get in on the action if we are to truly "live with the fantasy". Just a suggestion:)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Get Signed Gadget Comics For Free at the NC Comicon

It's the Free Comic Book Day all over again! Well, not quite. But check the below picture to find out what, when and where:

And to quote Viper Comics themselves:
Want to get some free Viper Comics goodness? 
Want to get a signed copy of Viper Comics’ Inspector Gadget and Johnny Test books?
Make sure you swing by the NC Comic Con on November 5th and 6th. Editor-in-Chief and writer of some of Viper’s most recent smash hit comics, Dale Mettam, will be at the con signing and giving away some free Viper comics.

So, if you live in Morrisville, North Carolina or nearby - and if you want a free copy of Viper Comics' first Inspector Gadget issue, signed by writer Dale Mettam - you now know where to be on November 5th and/or 6th.

I find it interesting, by the way, that Dale Mettam is described as "Editor-in-Chief and writer of some of Viper’s most recent smash hit comics". Does this mean that Inspector Gadget and Johnny Test were both sales successes? That would be very pleasant news for the Gadget franchise.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Future of Inspector Gadget, under Cookie Jar (?)

forum thread on the site got me thinking about Inspector Gadget's potential future. The question discussed in the thread was, will we ever see Inspector Gadget (1983) on Blu-ray? Here's what forum member BluAtreyu (probably someone who worked on the Shout! factory DVD box set) had to say about the matter:

Speaking as someone with a VERY intimate knowledge of this series (I helped put DIC shows on DVD), I know that the masters of these shows are not in the best shape, and would need some heavy restoration to be anywhere near HD quality (we are talking some very heavy repainting, cleaning, sound mixing...).

Add that to the fact that the show has never sold well either as a single disc or box set, the demand is just not high enough to justify the money and time that would need to go into getting these "Blu-Ray ready." Also, INSPECTOR GADGET is now owned by Cookie Jar since DIC is no more, and Cookie Jar just doesn't have the same history and affection for the show that the folks at DIC had. At DIC, it was the Mickey Mouse of the company - at Cookie Jar it is just another title they got in a big bundle of old 80s show titles. 
I'm not saying it will never happen (I love the show and pushed it very hard while I was working on it), but I would SERIOUSLY not hold your breath. 

Sadly, I suspect BluAtreyu is right on this one... but only to an extent. It's true that Inspector Gadget was DiC Entertainment's flagship property, but at the same time, it's no less true that DiC did some awful things to the Gadget franchise during their last 10-15 years with it. The live-action movies, for instance: Sure, they made some quick bucks when released, but in the long run I think they may have damaged the franchise more than they've helped it. Simply because they were awful movies.

It is also true that the Cookie Jar Company (which took over Gadget and the rest of DiC in 2008) does not have that same history and affection for the show... but I think Cookie Jar overall seems like a pretty different animal than DiC. So far, they haven't done anything truly horrible to Gadget; at least nowhere near the awfulness of Disney's live-action movies and DiC's two direct-to-video films from the last decade. This may be partly because Cookie Jar doesn't need to do so much with Inspector Gadget. They are a larger company than DiC ever was, with other titles that are far more profitable and popular among younger generations than a Saturday Morning cartoon from the early 1980s. In that respect, what BluAtreyu says is right: Gadget is more or less one of the titles in "a big bundle of old 80s show titles". And in most countries, the U.S. included, the show still hasn't even made it to DVD in complete form. (France is one of the very few exceptions to this rule.) But that doesn't mean Cookie Jar has declared the franchise dead... it's just hit something of a low spot for the last decade or so.

For Inspector Gadget to get back into the public eye - and to even be considered for the full Blu-ray treatment - I think the franchice needs a serious boost in its popularity, a resurgence of some kind. I'm hoping that Viper's new comic book can help start such a resurgence... but that, I think, is dependent on the comic book improving significantly from its first issue (which had good intentions, but ultimately didn't live up to its potential). Too many times, I think, revivals of Inspector Gadget have failed simply because they haven't been good enough (Inspector Gadget's Biggest Caper Ever, anyone?). This has a devastating effect on the franchise as a whole. After all, there's no better way of ruining a popular character's reputation than by putting out a lot of junk with that character's name on it. Keep it up, and audiences eventually grow tired of the character. That's pretty much what DiC achieved when they put out two god-awful live-action movies and two horrendous direct-to-video animated films in rapid succession between 1999 and 2005. (Seriously, Inspector Gadget's Last Case was Gadget's worst moment EVER in animation!)

I do get the feeling that Cookie Jar, ever since they took over Inspector Gadget, has been trying to quietly turn that trend around. They've been trying to replace bad Inspector Gadget products with good ones, or at least better ones than what DiC gave us. Since they gained ownership of the franchise, we've gotten not only a very cool iPhone/iPad game that has actually become something of a hit among gamers... but also, of course, the first issue of a brand new comic book. Both the game and the comic book share a common factor: They are trying to go back to the roots of Inspector Gadget, to find the core that originally made him popular back in 1983. The M.A.D. Dash game even uses Shuki Levy's original theme song as its background music! After years of DiC's ill-conceived and unsuccessful attempts to tinker with the franchise, it's nice to see Cookie Jar apparently taking Inspector Gadget back to basics. If this approach works, and more people start liking the franchise again, then maybe -- just maybe -- we will someday see an HD version of the original series make it to Blu-ray. And even better... maybe a brand new cartoon series starring Inspector Gadget will be produced... and for once, this new series will be both good and successful among audiences. It can all happen. We just need something to start the snowball rolling.

Even if all of this were to happen, though, it's probably still some years down the road. But in the meantime, we can always dream...

Here's hoping that one day, the original show looks as good on Blu-ray as this original cel looks on my laptop! 

The Weird Kentucky Fried Chicken Promos

Found this vintage KFC Promo which I had never seen before, starring Gadget, Penny and Brain:

For a little while in the late 80s, the Inspector Gadget characters were licenced to promote the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand. Until now, I thought there was only one KFC commercial (below), but this one brings the total up to at least two. The other one (which I'll get to in a second) is from 1987, so I'm guessing the one above is from around that time, too.

As far as the quality of these commercials go, the animation and voice work is certainly not up to the TV show's standards. I'd say the above KFC commercial is the best one of the two. Gadget sounds kinda (but not quite) like Don Adams, and the animation isn't too bad. The last gag with Gadget pulling his head inside his body like a turtle doesn't make much sense... I doubt he'd be able to do that in the TV series... but, then again, those pirates and vikings attacking him make even LESS sense! I do prefer M.A.D agents.

Anyhow, let's take a look at that other KFC commercial while we're at it! This one, promoting collectable cups with pictures of the Gadget stars, actually feels very different from the first: The voice work is pretty weak, and the new animation of Gadget and M.A.D. Cat is downright terrible! Well, maybe "terrible" is too harsh a word... but this commercial certainly has some of the weirdest animation I've ever seen of Inspector Gadget! Why is Gadget's face bobbing up and down all the time? It feels like the animator figured that, "the more movement I put into this scene, the more lavish the animation will look!". Unfortunately, that works best when the movement itself is actually good. In the case of this commercial, Gadget's face animation just feels out of control. Also, it seems out of character that Gadget is the one to stop M.A.D. Cat in the end; that job should belong to Penny and Brain.

All in all, there's no doubt that whoever did these commercials had the budgets to do full animation. What they didn't have was a proper understanding of their characters.

UPDATE (June 4, 2012): I suddenly discovered that the original uploader of the first ad here has changed her/his video settings to "private". Because of this, I re-uploaded the ad to Youtube myself and changed the old embedding to my own, new upload. If you've been here before and had problems watching the first commercial, it should be working now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Condensed Review of Inspector Gadget's Comic Book, Issue 1

As regular readers of this blog knows, my in-depth comic book review of Gadget on the Orient Express is running extremely late. The thing is, I have read the book... but with my studies going full speed, I just haven't had the time (or the good conscience) to delve into writing a full review. And at the moment, I'm afraid I have no idea when I'll have the time, either. So to tide you over, I decided this morning to type a very short review where I try to sum up the most important pros and cons of the first issue...

There were things that I liked with the book and there were several things that I didn't like. The artwork was uneven, to say the least, and sometimes looked extremely rushed. I do hope José Cobá gets a much better grip on the Gadget characters with time. Also, I wish the story could have been much longer, ideally divided into two parts (the story in the book is exactly 45 pages long). The way it is now, it feels like the story ends just when the action is really getting started... I didn't feel satisfied at the end, like I would after one of the best TV episodes. And that's too bad, because Dale Mettam's script has a lot of details and touches which I really appreciate, and which really helps this book feel like the classic Inspector Gadget - in parts, at least.

The script's biggest weakness is probably that Penny has way too little to do. Penny is a very important character to the Inspector Gadget universe but for some reason she gets neglected in almost every revival I've seen. Penny is more or less the heart of Inspector Gadget. Her love for her uncle is what keeps Gadget alive (remember, she's the one who at times has to talk Brain into protecting him); and the fight between good and evil is not really a fight between Gadget and Dr. Claw, it's between Penny and Dr. Claw. Penny also represents the pure action parts of the TV show's story lines. While Brain is running around saving Gadget from M.A.D., Penny goes on high-brow adventures trying to uncover and stop the crime Dr. Claw is up to. She often gets into real perils, and most often has to be saved by Brain... but in the end, she's the one to defeat Dr. Claw. To sum up - I really, really want to see Penny get in on the action in the next issue. Because that's where she belongs.

Same with Dr. Claw, by the way. In the TV series, the awesome super-villain is at his best - and most dangerous - when he's personally flying around in his M.A.D. jet shooting missiles at Gadget and friends (or using those missiles/lasers to carry out M.A.D's crime). Now that's action!... and it's something I missed from this first issue. Let's have Dr. Claw back as a hands-on villain the next time around.

All in all, Viper Comics' Inspector Gadget does have potential... and I appreciate that they're trying to go back to the core of the 1983 series. But if this comic book is to succeed, I think both the writing and the art needs to be tightened and improved. The writing needs to give us more (longer/tighter stories, better balance between the characters), and the art needs to find its characters and generally be more solid/less rushed. Despite these weaknesses, I will encourage people to buy the book and check it out for themselves. Let's give it a chance and see if the following issues manage to improve on things!

El Inspector Gadget

Hey, this is pretty catchy... An extended, Spanish version of the Inspector Gadget theme, probably from some children's record back in the day. (According to the Spanish video title, it's a "complete original children's song".) Interestingly enough, the song feels like a mixture of the American theme (in orchestration and melody) and the French theme (in that it has lots of lyrics). And I have to say I like this mixture!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cool Animated GIFs at

If you've ever wanted animated GIFs starring our favorite Inspector, this is your lucky day. I just discovered the site "Go, Gadget, Go!", which, according to its description, is "A blog dedicated to the 80s cartoon, Inspector Gadget". Sounds familiar? However, unlike the blog you're currently reading, "Go, Gadget, Go!" is a tumblr site consisting almost only of images... and mostly moving images of the kind you see to the left and below, created by the blog's founder. Maybe the site oughta be called "Go, Go, Gadget GIFs!". It's certainly an excellent place to find just that... and even better, the GIFs are all made directly from the original series. While perhaps not all of them are great, many are very funny and well-made. I'm posting a few of my favorites below just to give you a taste. For more, head right over to (or click here if you want the site's complete archive showcasing all the GIFs to date).


I could watch this all day.

"Go, Go, Gadget Float Coat!"

"Why do I keep hitting the seat?!"

M.A.D. Cat is getting groovy!

“And you’re not even a woman!”

The blog's creator even GIF'ed one of my all-time favorite moments from the show (above), which I myself uploaded to Youtube back in 2009. Have to say I think this particular joke works best when viewed in context... so here is the complete, mind-blowing "And you're not even a woman!" scene for those who are not yet familiar with it:


But enough promoting of my videos. After all, this post is about the stuff you can find on my sister (brother) blog "Go, Gadget, Go!", so head over there and take a look. I should also mention that the site does contain some stuff besides the GIFs as well, like postings of videos and fan art... and it's even got a 'submit' feature allowing anyone to post their own Inspector Gadget-related stuff onto it. Still, the main attraction to me is definitely those GIFs. Keep 'em coming!

"Brain! Come in, Brain! Come in again, Brain!"