Here’s one little last bit of SDCC ’13 coverage to put on your must see in the future list – Cartoon Network gave Saturday convention-goers a sneak peek at three upcoming animated series – Steven Universe, Uncle Grandpa and Clarence…
All three shows were developed under the network’s Shorts Development Initiative (Formerly known as the Cartoon-stitute), which is headed by Cartoon Network executive, Curtis Lelash (who produced several episodes of Adventure Time). Lelash moderated a panel with the new shows’ creators Pete Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa), Rebecca Sugar (Steven Universe), Skyler Page (Clarence), and other cast and crew members, including Workaholics‘ Adam Devine (who is voicing the character of Pizza Steve on Uncle Grandpa).
Here’s what you need to know about what look to be three promising new cartoons:
Steven Universe, centers around the adventures of Steven, the youngest member of a team of magical Guardians of the Universe known as the Gems. The show will feature a lot of Sugar’s original songs, which have already won great acclaim on Adventure Time, the hit Cartoon Network show for which Sugar has written 17 songs and storyboarded several Emmy and Annie Award nominated episodes.
Steven Universe is the first Cartoon Network show to be created by a woman, animator and cartoonist, Rebecca Sugar. The clips from Steven Universe seemed to generate the most enthusiastic audience brouhaha at the SDCC Panel the network held on Saturday to preview the three new shows.
When asked by The Beat if she sees herself as role model for the distinction of being the first female show creator for Cartoon Network, Sugar responded that she’d like to be a role model to ALL aspiring animators. “I feel a lot like a role model just in the sense that I get to make what the ultimate cartoon should be. I tried to be a role model (by showing that) anyone who wanted to could take really traditional ideas of animation and bring them into the present but keep all the trappings of what (was) used (to make cartoons great) in the past.”
Steven Universe will also feature the work of two well-known cartoonists and illustrators – Angie Wang (who’s illustrations have appeared in The New York Times and countless other venues) and Hellen Jo (who is just completing a long stint as a storyboard revisionist on Cartoon Network’s Regular Show. Her comic, Jin and Jan, was released by Sparkplug Comic Books back in the mid-aughts).
Uncle Grandpa creator, Pete Browngardt (as well as voice actor for the titular character, Uncle Grandpa) told The Beat that The Cartoon Network Shorts Program “creates a nurturing family environment.” Browngardt has worked on several popular animated shows, including Adventure Time, Futurama, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, and The Venture Brothers.
While all three shows’ clips were highly watchable, Uncle Grandpa’s was possibly the most visually interesting, weird and innovative. Uncle Grandpa, features Workaholics‘ Adam Devine in his first voice acting role as Pizza Steve, a character he described to The Beat as, “an egotistical piece of pizza” who, along with Uncle Grandpa, and several other characters, including one named Giant Realistic Flying Tiger, travel around in an RV bringing wacky fun times wherever they go.
The show’s crew includes cartoonist and illustrator, Jon Vermilyea as a storyboarder. Vermilyea is releasing a book called Fata Morgana with Koyama Press this Fall and previously worked on the Cartoon Network shows Adventure Time and The Problem Solverz.
Clarence centers around an optimistic but awkward kid who is appropriately named Clarence.
The clips from Clarence seemed to generate a lot of good natured laughs from the Comic Con audience and network insider buzz is strong. A Cartoon Network staffer told The Beat, off the record, that the show, “hits all the right notes” as it takes a clumsy, innocent character and puts him through some humiliating scenarios but in a way that comes off as charming as opposed to mean-spirited.
Clarence creator, Skyler Page, told The Beat that his artistic influences include David Byrne, Mark Twain, and Alexander Paine and Mike White which sounds interesting enough in and of itself for a least one looksee or two. Page worked as a storyboard revisionist on Adventure Time and has also written several episodes of that show. Here is a picture of him in a Clarence t-shirt…
Steven Universe is set to premiere this Fall while both Uncle Grandpa and Clarence are slated for 2014 debuts. Stay tuned, people!