Fred Patten discusses history of adult and mature cartoons in response to Zootopia article.
by Patch O'Furr
Yesterday’s extra long post about Zootopia described complicated relationships between fans and marketers, and asked: are they intentionally winking at furries, but keeping it hidden? According to Fred’s wisdom, the sensitivity is nothing new.
Cartoon Brew’s article described the petition against fan pornography of Disney’s forthcoming Zootopia and the reaction to the subject.
What seems most interesting to me is the apparent assumption that furry fandom (and people in general) are just discovering the pornography of high-profile animated cartoon characters with Zootopia. Doesn’t anyone remember the furry fan pornography of Warner Bros.’ Tiny Toon Adventures TV series in the early 1990s, with the series’ own emphasis on gags about Buster Bunny’s not wearing any pants? It faded away after the program went off the air. It’s discussed in Reading the Rabbit by Kevin Sandler, an anthology of articles about Warners’ cartoon characters from Rutgers University Press.
I said in a review at the time:
Fans will doubtlessly be most interested in the next-to-last essay, Bill Mikulak’s Fans versus Time Warner: Who Owns Looney Tunes? This cites the Hollywood Reporter’s November 1, 1995 story about Warner Bros.’s discovery on the Internet of fan-drawn pornographic cartoons featuring its characters, and follows it up. The essay is rather one-sided since Time Warner’s legal department had little to say publicly whereas Mikulak downloaded plenty of fannish comments. He also obtained copies of two of Time Warner’s cease-and-desist letters from the fans, and he quotes these to present WB’s official stance. Mikulak notes that the ‘appropriation’ of popular copyrighted characters by their fans for their own non-commercial, and often erotic use has a long tradition (he cites Star Trek fandom), and that WB’s charge that erotic depictions are a ‘perversion of [WB’s] innocent cartoon characters’ is belied by the obviously lusty nature of much of the humor and innuendos basic to such personalities as Pepé le Pew and Minerva Mink, which build upon an established public acceptance of exaggerated cartoon sexual humor going back to Tex Avery’s Red Hot Riding Hood (1943).
In demonstrating his point, Mikulak quotes from numerous fannish Internet open conversations. These require his defining for the academic record of such terms as ‘furvert’, ‘spooge’, ‘anthropomorphics’, ‘furries’, ‘FurryMUCK’ and ‘Drooling Babs Fanboy’. Furry fandom isn’t being discovered by only the sensationalistic tabloid media any more; this book is from Rutgers University Press.
Most of the most daring Internet pornography was by Karri Aronon, who lived in Turku, Finland, and assumed that he was safe from Warner Bros.’ lawyers there. I never heard the outcome of that — whether the lawyers finally shut him down; whether Aronen stopped on his own after he grew up; or whether everyone lost interest in porn of the Tiny Toon characters after WB ended the TV series. I haven’t heard of Aronen since then.
Anyhow, furry fan pornography of popular animated funny animals certainly predates Zootopia.
Nobody will probably care, but I want to mention something.
As someone who both has great respect (and knowledge about) artists, and is an artists in training himself, I can make a definite statement that, when you create something, you do it to please yourself first and foremost.
What does that mean, you might ask? Well, it means whenever there is an adult (is sex really adult? more like immature) joke in “children’s” entertainment, the creators put it there NOT to entertain the parents, but to entertain themselves. It is not a widely known, but still a fact, that early animators like Chuck Jones and Tex Avery made cartoons for themselves and their very much adult friends, to make a funny.
Creators put “adult” stuff in cartoons not for the audience, but for themselves, first and foremost.
“Oh son of a b-b- Son of a b-b-b- Son of a b-b-b-GUN!”
It should go without saying, but it probably needs pointing out, that the creators of theatrical and TV animated cartoons are and always have been adults themselves. They are just as disposed to look upon their funny animals with adult sensibilities as the more mature of their audiences are. OF COURSE they put adult in-group humor into their creations — except for TV cartoons made specifically for young children, where putting any adult humor in is a no-no that the productions have Standards & Practices to watch out for.
True. It’s just that there is a (very) common misconception that creators make works for the target demographic, putting in elements that viewers of certain sex and age will like.
I blame executives for that.
“or whether everyone lost interest in porn of the Tiny Toon characters after WB ended the TV series”
Naw, son. Naw. 😉