§ Paul Dini explains the “animation feature template”:

Your primary objective as a modern animation feature storyteller is to get the audience members emotionally charged (i.e., distracted from logic gaps and not thinking too much) so they will be ready for your big finale. This usually consists of the hero defeating the villain (almost always by some initial violent action of the villain that the hero has “cleverly” used to boomerang back on the bad guy; real heroes never being allowed to slay dragons on their own these days) and the villain falling to their death from a great height, the only acceptable way for a baddie to meet their end in a cartoon (Gaston, Frollo, the bear in “The Fox & The Hound,” Scar, the poacher in “Rescuers II”, anyone notice a trend here?). If the villain can trip over the edge while trying to get in one last cowardly stab at the hero, so much the better. The demise of the bad guy puts everyone in a good mood, so the sidekicks fire up the juke box, or strike up the band, or simply break into song, and while the hero and heroine share a modest kiss, everyone rocks out over the end credits.

By the way, when we worked at Disney we called this “Death by topple.” It is lethal to bad guys.

neufeld pekar§Josh Neufeld talks about working with Harvey Pekar:

Way back, when I did my very first Splendor story, I got Harvey to send me reference photos of one of the other characters in the piece. But as the years went by, I just began winging it, or swiping characters and interiors from previous issues of American Splendor. The only “reference” I use now are some shots of Harvey I cobbled together from the Internet, the work of other artists, or — horrors! — popping in the DVD of the film and using that. And even though I’ve drawn many stories set in his house, I tend to be dissatisfied with what I’ve done before and usually do something different each time. In essence, every time I draw a new A.S. story, Harvey’s pad undergoes an extreme makeover (sans Ty Pennington)! The only consistencies are the books, magazines, and newspapers piled everywhere, and the general air of post-bohemian shabbiness.

§ Rediscovered hot cartoonist Frank Santoro is interviewed at Blog @ and remembers the 90s:

There was no Giant Robot. They had just started actually. APE had just started. I went to the first couple of APEs. Everything was positive, it was cool, but it was just … I got a call from Mike Richardson in ‘96. Mike Richardson at Dark Horse called me. “Loved the story. It was a great book. Let us know what you’re up to.” I felt like this was great, I have an open door whenever. Then, when I knock on their door a year and a half later with whatever I was working on, the industry was falling apart. Heroes World and all this shit with the distributors was going on. I had a conversation with Gary Groth a couple of years ago, he found a letter from me and a sample from 1998. He had never opened it until 2004. Those guys were busy worrying about whether their companies were going to survive more so than putting out new work.

§ We never remember seeing an in-depth interview with with IDW Publisher Chris Ryall before:

Well, it’s safe to say that “Transformers” outsells books like “Supermarket” or “Smoke,” but as far as attracting attention goes, I’d say that that varies on the buyer. What I mean is, to the “Smoke” or “Supermarket” buyer, those are the kinds of books we publish. They’re maybe not as likely to also be reading “Transformers” comics. People that like our horror comics probably feel the same way. So all these books attract their own types of attention, and don’t really take away from one another. I think the sheer array of books you cited above shows a nice balance, just in the types of material we make available. We used to be primarily seen as a horror publisher, but now we offer so many different types of books to different audiences. I’m really proud of that fact.

AND: § Walt and Weezie Simonson profiled
§ Watchmen extra spills guts
§ There are many interviews with Marjane Satrapi floating around. Here is one of them.


  1. Paul is right about all of those except the Poacher in Rescuers II. Poach was -teetering-, and Bernard the mouse gave him just enough of a push to make him fall to his (presumed) death.

    My husband and I were shocked and delighted.

  2. In Enchanted, SPOILER the evil stepmother falls to her doom when the squirrel sidekick adds his weight to a teetering skyscraper spire. of course, there were no bystandders on the street gawking at the battle, or any traffic.
    hmmm…is Wile E Coyote mostly a victim of gravity?

  3. [SPOILER]

    “This usually consists of the hero defeating the villain (almost always by some initial violent action of the villain that the hero has “cleverly” used to boomerang back on the bad guy; real heroes never being allowed to slay dragons on their own these days)”

    Well it was good enough for JK Rowling…


  4. “The topple” and its many forms is a classic technique pioneered by Gothic novel writers, introduced to dispatch villains without putting blood on the hands of the heroes and heroines, keeping them blameless and pure. It translates well into films aimed children, though it would be nice to see filmmakers use some creativity and not depend on literally “toppling” so much.

  5. BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER has alternate vewrsions with both a topple and a direct murder for the same scene. The topple death of the Joker occurs in the broadcast version of the film where the Joker trips and falls against a control panel and is electrocuted. In the DVD version the brainwashed Robin, who finally overcomes the horrors wrought on him, uses a spear gun to kill the Joker and save Batman.

  6. Wasn’t animated Death by Toppling first started by the Wicked Stepmother in “Snow White and the 7 Dwarves”? Of course she also had some lightning to help the Dwarves out.

    …and Batman villains in films also die by toppling. The Joker in the first film and Two-Face in the third film.

    Does Alan Rickman’s death in the first “Die Hard” movie count as a death by topple?