Yogi Bear is one of my top 5 favorite cartoon characters. Which makes sense since the “Honeymooners” Ed Norton is one of my favorite television characters. Yogi’s roots in animated antics are simple in story and execution. He was never a complicated character, yet still became a household name throughout the 50’s and 60s. He’s made it solo, had his own movies, a comedy album with the Three Stooges, a comic book series, been rebooted a few times, he’s been in space, had his own video games, and made tons of cameos. He even has a line of successful camping resorts all around the country.
He currently has his own cartoon show, yet again, this time on HBO Max. That’s what inspired me to make these concepts. While Jellystone is entertaining, it falls into the hyperactive meme route that so many modern cartoons strive for. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing either, I’m simply presenting something different yet familiar.
With “We Bare Bears” as a major influence on the style, I decided to take Yogi (and Boo Boo) back to Jellystone Park. Both bears have an undying obsession with food. Ranger Smith (and his team of dedicated Forest Rangers) wage a slapstick war on Yogi and Boo Boo as the bear’s appetites grow. Taking the classic route of the original Yogi cartoons along with the addition of modern technology, views, and humor…The Yogi Showgi would consist of several 7 minute shorts involving Yogi and Boo Boo’s Pik-a-Nik antics as addition to solo shorts featuring Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Cindy Bear, and several new woodland critter characters.
Visually I tried to do the opposite of what one would expect: from axing Yogi’s collar and classic hat to Boo’s bowtie. Ranger Smith is a completely different looking character, going more of a Yosemite Sam route. He would be unapologetically hardcore in this iteration as well, determined to end Yogi and Boo Boo’s mass consumption at nearly any cost…except killing (he’s a nature lover afterall). Yogi still would retain his rhyming lovable oaf persona, but Boo Boo would be a silent partner with an appetite seemingly bigger than Yogi’s. Overall, I’m proud of how these turned out. Yogi Bear has been around for over 60 years which is an enormous accomplishment for a non-Disney character. And I hope Yogi is around for another 60 more! He’s smarter than your av-er-uge bear afterall.
I’ve been riding that Sonic The Hedgehog 2 high the past few weeks. I decided to revisit some old drawings I did around early 2020. I packaged my conceptual designs for a mock animated series I called “Sonic Spin”. Another “what if?” project where if a certain IP were in my hands, how would I pitch it? “Sonic Spin” would be aimed at very young children riding the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog films. It would be more in tone to the 1993 Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog rather than the overly complicated, often too-serious anime Sonic shows that followed. Sonic has always been a lighthearted fun colorful character. Which is why children are so drawn to him in the first place.
When it comes to my actual designs, I went for a light hearted Looney Tunes aesthetic but also simplified designs as modern cartoons tend to do. Today, you’ll see a lot of classic IPs like Ninja Turtles or Thundercats “reimagined” into a wackier tongue-in-cheek animated direction. It never bodes well with the diehards, but sometimes it can be enjoyable for what it is…even though you sort of question how it got this far in the first place.
When I shared some of these designs via Reddit in 2020, the consensus from the Sonic fan community was “Amazing skill; Terrible take.” And that’s okay. Because it’s also not aimed at them. It’s a silly fast paced, adventure comedy about a Hedgehog and his friends fighting evil robots aimed at 5-8 year olds. Personally, I loved drawing these characters. I would love to see this realized a bit more. One day maybe. #gottagofast
I’ve found it pretty refreshing working on my old my Batman: Zero concept. It sort of got some gears turning. Especially back to my teenage days of daydreaming and sketching out my various superhero takes. I’ll admit this one wasn’t an old idea. I’ve been watching a few James Cagney gangster movies and it simply got me thinkin’.
Ghost Rider is such a fun comic character. Having a “legacy”, “mantle”, or “gimmick” that can crown different characters can be enticing. But it can also be trash. Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch, Robbie Reyes. Whom ever you prefer as Ghost Rider is up to you. But I decided to take him back, not so much to the old west, but to a dangerous (often lawless) era of history.
Chicago 1929. The height of prohibition. A lowly gangster sells his soul to the demon Mephisto so he may live once again, as he lay dying from a botched robbery. Although given a second chance, he inevitably learns his family was brutally gunned down by Al Capone’s gangster goons. A mere consequence for his line of business.
Furious and vengeful, the gangster thwarts Mephisto’s attempt to collect his soul. But the deceitful Mephisto, instead, gets revenge by bonding the gangster with Zarathos: a demon of vengeance.
Now the streets of Chicago run red with the blood of guilty mobsters. Armed with his supernatural hellfire tommy gun, Penance Stare, and fire-tired “Hellmobile”, Ghost Rider wages not only an internal battle with the demon within…but an external one that can only end with Capone’s heart in his ghostly hand!
I formatted the images for Instagram but I figured I’d share them here as well. If the idea of a flaming skeleton gangster firing a hellfire tommy gun while hanging out of a fire-tired 1929 Mercedes Benz doesn’t spark your interest…than I don’t really even know why you’re here.