Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Holy Grail

Although, technically, the man ripped-off Vaughn Bode for this, Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards is something of a Holy Grail for inspiring my cerebral landscape. I’m a big fan of Bakshi’s adult, animated films such as Fritz the Cat, Heavy traffic, Fire and Ice, Lord of the Rings, American Pop and even Cool World. It’s not so much the stories or anything in particular; I think it’s more of the attitude and atmosphere, if that means anything. I'd love to get his HBO series, Spicy City on DVD.

There’s an interview here, featuring Mr. Bakshi. Whether you agree with his point of views or not, he’s made some cool flicks. I find him interesting but at the same time…my heart leans more towards the Robert crumb and Vaughn Bode camps.

In the end, I can’t discount how much Wizards had influenced me and in a way, brought me back into comics when I was about to cash it all in. The sketch is of the assassin robot, Peace, from Wizards.

Play Nice.


  1. I loved Wizards too! I think the reason it weighs heavily on your radar is because it was a more accessible thing than a Bode strip. Meaning, it was out there in the wider world. You can pick it up at most DVD can't pick up Bode stuff at most comic stores. Things that penetrate deeper into the popular realm are going to have more opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Just the facts.

    Bakshi is very cool. I find some of his views a little off base. I haven't clicked your link yet, but I do remember an interview from the Wizards DVD where he suggested that Wizards would have been as big as Star Wars if the studio had been behind him more. I seriously doubt that. Star Wars was able to penetrate very deeply into the popular scene because it was easily accessible to people of all ages and it has a central theme that is extremely basic and ubiquitous. Wizards is slightly more twisted, not so accessible to all ages, and has many references to sort of under-the-radar stuff like Bode. Plus it has a lot of social, political, and religious satire built into it. Very different movies. Wizards cannot compete on the same level of Star Wars as far as raw accessibility goes.

    I love Wizards for it's patchwork of styles and concepts. You've got everything from a Hitler-esque villain to a voluptuous fairy. You've got several powerhouse artists involved (Ploog and Ian Miller in particular) that give the film it's incredily rich atmosphere. I wasn't a fan of the rotoscoping, but other folks loved it.

    I could go on, but I'll stop.

  2. I must admit -- I've never seen it. And while you;'re about to flog me anyway -- I've never really read any Moebius. Just flipped through the art.


  3. I love wizards as well, and it's been ages since I saw it. I must admit I was kind of disappointed with it the first time I saw it, but I gre to love it more and more each time I saw it.

    The first time I was too focused on it's failings, and was much less aware of what it takes to actually put something like that together. Now I see it more as a creator, and appreciate it more for what it does achieve rather than what it doesn't. It's crazy patchwork feel and mash-up of techniques keep it entertaining. At first I was turned off by it's reliance on static art to make up for what I assumed was a lack of budget for animation, but over time I found myself really getting into the beautiful art and this is one of the main things that keep it watchable over multiple viewings.

  4. I did like aspects of Wizards when I first saw it, Elinore and the humor, etc. but I found the rotoscoping tedious and repetitive. The movie felt painfully slow and I grew increasingly irritated with those scenes. But, to be fair I watched the movie at two in the morning after working all night and driving an hour and I had to keep the sound down so as not to wake the house.
    I reconnected to the movie in college. Can't recall what drew me back in, if it was the nostalgia of youth, the anarchistic spirit in the piece, or the "stoner doom" appeal. I bought the DVD in 2004 and really love Bakshi's mix of media and styles. It has become an inspiration to me, and in fact I was mentioning it to James just a few days ago.
    I have to say I agree with James about the movie's appeal. Bakshi certainly has a lot of panache but I think that is what makes his work so cool.

  5. I think that just about every comment you folks have made about Wizards is exactly why I love Bakshi's work. It never seems like some technical masterpiece but I think that's what draws me to it. It's the attitude, rawness and atmosphere. This is what draws me to a majority of the things I love, which is well represented here by my fellow Wizards. (Pun intended)