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  #1  
  03-27-2007, 08:33 AM
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Animated Shorts has interviewed Maxwell Atoms about the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy movie, Big Boogey Adventure. The interview covers Atoms' career at Cartoon Network and the longevity of the show, as well as the upcoming movie. Atoms also revealed that a crossover movie between Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and Codename: Kids Next Door is "almost done," and should air some time this summer.

Other news in the column includes 2 new projects from the Production I.G. studio in celebration of their 20th anniversary.



ANIMATED SHORTS: MAXWELL ATOMS
THE CUTTING HUMOR OF MAXWELL ATOMS
STARZ SUES DISNEY, NEW SHOWS FROM IG, MORE


by Steve Fritz

To say there’s a strong and fanatical following for Maxwell Atoms’ Grim Adventures for Billy & Mandy is something of an understatement. As Atoms points out, it’s one of the longest running shows on Cartoon Network. It also never happened.

But it did, and Atoms is now enjoying the rewards of being on CN for seven years. This Friday we will see the first true Billy & Mandy movie, subtitled Big Boogey Adventure. It marks the return of one of Grim’s greatest rivals, the Boogey Man (voiced by Fred Willard).

As with all Grim shows, this 90-minute special works on its own logic. The basic premise is after being held captive by Billy/Mandy for all this time, the Grim Reaper has NOT been able to do his job properly. Now it's time for him to pay. He’s stripped not only of his powers, but more importantly his scythe. And does how do Billy and Mandy treat this? Why they dump him, of course. This is only the first few minutes of this special. You’ll have to watch to see how our hellacious hero manages to get his revenge on Boogey and all who sail with him.

Being we had the opportunity, we also thought it would be fun to grill Mr. Atoms about his past, present and future. He turned out to be a surprisingly frank and fresh interview with some interesting comments to make. Now you can see them for yourself.

Just one warning…there are some spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

Newsarama: What ‘toons really got you to become an animator?

Maxwell Atoms: Just about everything. I was just such a cartoon addict as a kid that I would do the entire six-hour marathon as a kid. A lot of the Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera stuff was fundamental though.

NRAMA: From what I gather, one of the first guys you worked for was Dave Fleiss on Cow & Chicken. What was it like working under him? Was that where you got your start?

MA: I got my start with Film Roman and Twisted Tales of Felix The Cat. I then worked on King of the Hill for about one week, where I chose to go on to the Blues Brothers show, which I thought would be where it was at. Of course, nobody ever saw that thing. I came on the second season of Cow & Chicken and then went on to I Am Weasel. I think I did way more Weasel’s.

Dave Fleiss was a lot of fun. It was kind of weird because he worked from Fresno. So I would only see him about twice a week. Otherwise we’d mail things back and forth. What was nice about that show is it had a lot of creative freedom. I was lucky. They felt I understood the show so they trusted me. I had a lot of free reign.

NRAMA: Before you went on to Billy & Mandy, did you work on anything else?

MA: I did some work for Wild Brain, but mainly I got to work on a pilot for Billy & Mandy.

NRAMA: And that was what won the World Premiere Toon tournament that year. How did it feel to see the fans liked that pilot?

MA: Yeah. Honestly, it was a little weird. Everyone at Cartoon Network and on the internet were all rooting for Robot Jones, and Greg Miller (ED—Jones’ creator) was a guy I went to school with. I honestly didn’t think Cartoon Network was going to go for it. I honestly understand they had a lot of meetings to see if what we were doing was OK. It didn’t look good for a long time and I was ready to work on Robot Jones at that point.

NRAMA: How did you think up the principles? When you think of cartoon characters, you usually don’t think of Billy, Mandy or Grim.

MA:
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  #2  
  03-27-2007, 09:23 AM
 
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the Big Boogey Adventure is gonna be good. I am gonna miss Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Maxwell Atoms said there are some crossover eps left and maybe two more movies and then the series will be officially over. But at least this season is finished now.
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  03-27-2007, 09:37 AM
 
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So what's the poop on Billy and Mandy?

We've been going strong now for about three years. And before that we had another three years of struggling and flopping and gasping for air as we wriggled our way out of the primordial ooze. And a year or so before that I did the pilot. All in all, we've survived numerous cancellations (or non-pickups, as CN likes to say) and finally proven ourselves. By the middle of this year, we'll have 78 half hours in the can, plus a few specials and a TV movie. Not a bad run.
78 half hours is as many half hours as Cartoon Network has made for anything. There's a theory that by the time kids get through five or six seasons of a show, they've outgrown the series and moved on to bigger and better things. That doesn't mean that Billy and Mandy is done and gone, but it does mean that we won't be making new episodes for the series in the near future. It's the end of an era. But it's also a good thing.


When we did our last record a few months ago, Tom Kenny (Spongebob, for all you fans of The Enemy ) said something to me that really made me appreciate the long run we've had on Billy and Mandy. "You guys are the only show I know of that exists solely because of fan support." And that's absolutely true, from our selection during the Big Pick to the fact that our two Funeral Parties didn't mark the end of our run.



So, yeah. For now this is The End. But all things, good and bad, end sooner or later. The good news is that there are still ten half hours left unseen, the crossover with the Kids Next Door, "Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure", and another hour long special called "Wrath of the Spider Queen". And maybe a few more treats along the way.

Not only that, but there seems to be some marketing going on this year. Will it ruin my indie cred if we get T-shirts or toys? Probably. But would I rather keep my indie cred or die penniless in a gutter? It's a tough call. And those DVD season sets you've been asking about? I can say with some certainty that we're looking at a big fat "maybe". And that's pretty good coming from Atlanta.


As for me, once we're done with post-production this Spring, I'll be starting on a brand new pilot (which I want to keep to myself for now) and a strange mutation special involving the Billy and Mandy universe (which I won't talk about yet, but the clues are out there!) and possibly another Billy and Mandy Holiday special (possibly). That's what Cartoon network tells me, and I believe 'em! This is gonna be a fun year (for me, anyway)!

-Maxwell Atoms Myspace.
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  #4  
  03-27-2007, 02:15 PM
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I finished my set of Billy and Mandy a while ago. I'll be adding the later episodes to it sometime during the week. I'm really proud of this set. I put a lot of love into it.
This is the old cover before I made it 12 discs.



Here's a sample of the backgrounds I used for menus.

Escape From New York


This is one is just right for Eris with the Fractal.



Living in the Center of the Earth


For the classic B & W movies


For Nigel Planter


Jeffery on 8 Legged Freaks


Irwin with Pickman's Model Night Gallery


Billy and Daisy The Ring or Ringu


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