Home Entertainment Anime RIP: Carl Macek (1951-2010) | Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation

RIP: Carl Macek (1951-2010) | Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation


Carl Macek, a pioneer of bringing anime to America, died of a heart attack on Saturday, April 17th. He was 58. Jerry Beck, who founded Streamline Pictures with Macek in 1988, has his thoughts here, and the conversation is ongoing in the comments.

It was Macek who put together three Japanese cartoons — Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada — dubbed them, edited them and called them Robotech, one of the first successes in the ’80s Japanese anime invasion. At Streamline, he produced the American version of Akira, and several other films, and later co-founded SpumCo, with John K., which revolutionized American TV animation in the 90s. He also produced the original English language version of Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro.

While his place in the history of otaku culture is undeniable, Macek was a controversial figure due to the liberties he often took with the source material. Gerry Giovinco, who published Robotech comics at Comico in the ’80s, has some brief comments here.

Anime News Network’s story is here, and a lengthy comment thread testifies once again to both his importance in the history of anime and his controversial standing there.


  1. I was very sad to hear of “Uncle Carl’s” death. In addition to all his contributions in animation, and anime in particular, he was a fixture at Comic-Con in the 1980s and beyond and always fun to talk to. My condolences to his wife and family.

  2. If it wasn’t for his pioneering work in the 1980s, animatation today would be a very different place…he will be missed…

  3. Carl and I had been friends since in the mid-70s before his animation career began, when he and I managed the retail shops owned by the American Comic Book Company (he managed the Westwood store and I did the same with the shop in Studio City not far from Hanna-Barbera) owned by longtime funnybook dealers David T. Alexander and Terry Stroud. “Rupe”(Carl’s nickname back then) and I even co-wrote a story for Larry Shell’s 1977 BARN OF FEAR COMIX, a funny animal horror comic starring a penguin cartoonist named “Tux Aviary”. Carl — who was not only talented but who possessed a hilarious gift of hyperbole (he once told me that “although ROBOTECH had already been created, he would have created it on his own exactly the same”!) — also wrote a huge and seminal book on film noire. When he started working with Charlie Lippencott, I distinctly remember astounding information he would leak to me about an upcoming film called STAR WARS; he specifically mentioned a never-realized “blue milk” STAR WARS tie-in product! Carl was a uniquely eccentric guy and I liked him very much. My sincere condolences go out to his wife and family.

  4. I watched the “Robotech” saga from end to end a few years ago, and it worked through many deeper layers than I had any recollection of. I came to appreciate Mr. Macek’s canny vision with that experience.

  5. Amine fandom lost a giant this day. Streamline pictures brought Japanimation aka Anime to the unwashed masses. In an age when a show released in japan can be subbed, encoded, and released in a matter of weeks on the Net, it’s easy to forget those who brought an art form to so many in the early days of Anime in the US.

    Fare thee well, Uncle Carl.

    Terry “Umibozu-chan” Hardin
    IOTHSnyc fansubbing group

  6. I knew Carl for over 30 years. He was very smart and a no nonsense sort of man.
    We worked on several projects together including the Heavy Metal limited edition animation art portfolios. I already miss him.

  7. Carl’s work on the Heavy Metal art book was amazing, a great companion to the movie. The good ones always die young.

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