Isn’t this video cool? (Watch it all please):

My Influences from Dan Meth on Vimeo.

As you can see from the Vimeo code, this guy called Dan Meth made it and it got pretty popular a few months ago. Dan does loads of comic and illustration stuff on the internet and has his own site here. My favourite things he’s done include Internet People, and the video stuff he does for comedy website College Humor, especially one he did recently about the people who make google streetview. I really like the video above though, it reminded me of loads of stuff from when I was a kid that I then Youtubed, plus a few things I’d never seen before. I think I watched it ten times, then I emailed Dan and got him to write a few things about his favourites… here it is:

“A few months I ago, I put together this video of all the artists that influenced me in my work. It definitely seemed to have struck a chord on the web, as most people of my generation recognized their own favorites in it. Platform asked me to write about a few of my influences that may have slipped by the gaze of the general populace.”

Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD
A neighbor gave this book to my brother and I when we were kids. It collects over a hundred paintings of spaceships from 1970’s sci-fi novel paperback covers. Each illustration is like a movie in itself that can be stared at for hours. What makes this book so special is the way they let a writer (Stewart Cowley) construct an entire history around each one.

It follows the format of some textbook on war vessels, with technical specs and blueprints, etc. He created a whole fictional history spanning a century and writes it in such a dry academic way that it’s realism really confused me as a kid. The “fake history” idea has really influenced me in a new project I’m working on about an imaginary nation called “Kelv”.

Joop Klepzeiker
I discovered Joop comic books when I was visiting Amsterdam. Apparently no one outside of the Netherlands has ever heard of it and there’s very little information about it on the web. I’ve never quite seen anyone draw the way Eric Schreurs does. Every line seems to be grossly squirming, as if there are thick gas fumes filling the room. He delights in accentuating every disgusting facet of the human body.  Despite the fact that it’s all written in Dutch, I can pretty much understand what’s happening in each comic.

In fact, Dutch seems to be the most cartoonish language, as each word appears to be a sound effect.  The hero, Joop, is an extremely pathetic loser who never gets a lucky break. He suffers non-stop humiliation in ways that are always putrid, disgusting, perverse, and downright unsanitary. Yet it’s always funny. It’s has a sense of humor that falls right in line with everyone Dutchman I’ve ever met.

Dick Tracy
When I was 12, I first heard that they were making a movie version of Dick Tracy. Before it premiered I got some books out from the library and was quickly obsessed.  Its impact on culture is so underrated. The first ever comic murder happened in Dick Tracy -for better or worse, it introduced violent crime to the comic medium. It also predicted dozens of technological advances. Dick had a wristwatch that allowed him to talk to partners who were in another part of the city. This blew the minds of readers whose grandchildren would someday each have their own cellular phones. And the forensic investigations of Dick Tracy are the precursor to shows like “CSI” and “The Wire”, Dick’s epic manhunts to catch his mutated enemies would last months in the comic strip. Sometimes the chase would end up spinning in a unexpected direction and weave in a new strange character with his own scheme.

Remember how in “Pulp Fiction” when Ving Rhames chases Bruce Willis and they somehow end up in Zed’s dungeon? I can’t watch that part without thinking that Tarantino must have read “Dick Tracy”. Oh, and that 1990 movie of Dick Tracy? Well, they got it wrong in a major way. Dick Tracy is meant to be seen in stark black and white, and not bright primary colors. Gould was a master of monotone balance. Should you ever rent it, set the TV to desaturation mode and watch the way it should have looked.

Neverending Story
While not exactly obscure, The Neverending Story was a film enjoyed by the kids of one era but not passed on to the next (Unlike, say Star Wars). Whether or not this movie holds up to adult-viewing is unimportant. When I saw it at the age of 8, it was like imagination steroids. How many bizarre creatures did it contain? The Rock Biter? That giant turtle? The flying dog snake? Those sphynx-like oracles? How did the storyline manage to give all these weird beings a context? The day after seeing this, I started drawing and writing stories with increased vigor.

Brad Neely
When people ask me what new cartoons I’m enjoying online I quickly answer “Brad Neely“. His videos always makes me laugh, even if I’ve watched them a few times already. The combination of his voices, words, and drawings is pure comedy. He writes dialogue in which every single sentence is funny.  Not many people can do that. And his animation technique is strategically simple:  No lip-synching, no in-betweens, not even backgrounds most of the time. Just key poses. When I’m crunching on a deadline to finish some 24fps cartoon I think about how smart Neely was to create that minimal style.