Glen Keane and The Little Mermaid
My History with Manga & Comics is a series of blog posts that explore the artists and works of art that have directly inspired my love for drawing and creating stories through comics.
I got an early start with drawing; I remember doodling stick figures and faces all over newspapers and piano instruction books when I was very young. At seven years old, I watched The Little Mermaid in the theater for the first time and it completely blew my mind. Until then, I was only used to seeing cartoony figures like Mickey or Bugs in animated shorts. Encountering the story of a two-dimensional girl on screen and emotionally connecting with her struggle to belong somewhere was like a jolt of pure energy. The movie left me with an insatiable drive to pursue two things:
The first was to draw. The transition from stick figures to tangible bodies occurred because Glen Keane infused Ariel with so much life, I was compelled to capture the same energy with my lines.
The second was to tell stories. I remember jotting down I wanted to be a Disney animator when I grew up because the wonder and amazement I always experienced leaving the theater of a Disney film was the most incredible feeling. It was a natural high that fueled the imagination and and bursts of creative energy.
“Hello, you shaped my childhood and all future creative projects!”
When I saw Glen speak in Burbank last December, I remember feeling a little dazed. When you live an entire ocean away from the creative endeavors in Los Angeles, everything about animation including the people involved in it take on mythic proportions. It feels almost silly because they sound quite down-to-earth when they talk. I nearly bumped into Glen on my way into the auditorium. He was standing next to the exit and he didn’t look as god-like as he had been to my seven-year-old self. He just looked like a really cool guy. I wished I had the courage to tell him that myself.
Next week, I’ll be talking about how I managed to channel this inspiration into creating comics for the first time.
You can read a version of this history in comic form via my 2009 24-Hour Comic, “Memoirs of a Weaboo.”
* I don’t watch ANY sports!!! What’s happening to meee?