In our last exciting episode ([Part 1]        ), Tim described the metal filing cabinets at Sunbow with their thousands of photocopies of Brothers Flub and Salty’s Lighthouse production documents, and their dearth of same for important shows like G.I. Joe.
I combed through the G.I. Joe and Transformers folders and found just a few episode synopses, and lists of episode titles, air dates, and writers’ names. No artwork. But I did find two documents that made my brain buzz, the first of which I did not make a copy of – for which I still kick myself. It was a memo from someone dated 1987 asking if the font size in the end credit crawl of G.I. Joe: The Movie could be increased. Actually, the photocopy was of the response memo, which included the original question, and the responder said no, the font was as big as it could get. (I guess making it larger would have meant speeding up the crawl to match the music, either making the scroll too fast or requiring a music edit?) I was three years from realizing I needed to write a book about G.I. Joe, but in the back of my mind I knew this was the kind of ephemera that I wanted to keep, and that I wanted more of. And for no good reason I did not keep a copy. The second document, which I’d like to find space for in Chapter 6 of my book, is from an outside consultant to Sunbow listing the episodes of G.I. Joe that have less fighting and property damage, and are therefore better candidates for selling overseas. Fascinating stuff! (If it doesn’t make the book I will certainly post it here.) G.I. Joe had a reputation for being a “violent” show (an epic topic for another day), and had trouble getting on the air internationally after the initial run.
Although there was no art for the older shows, at least there was some for a more recent show of which I was an avid fan. One of the higher ups mentioned, perhaps one day when she saw me glued to some Tick storyboard photocopies, that Ben Edlund had storyboarded the first episode entirely himself. I recall that someone told me that Edlund storyboarded the first few by himself. This was revelatory, as well as shocking. My friend Andrew and I had long been fans of The Tick comic. Old school Tick fans know the frustration of waiting for a new issue. It had taken writer/artist Ben Edlund seven years to create 12 issues of the black and white series. (And one issue he didn’t draw!) I don’t say this out of criticism. The Tick was the funniest comic I had ever read, and after it I have no need for any other super-hero parody (including my own – yikes!)
It was amazing to think that after drawing a small quantity of panels for the comic series, Edlund had then gone on to quadruple that amount for animation storyboard panels! And his boards here not rough! They were on-model, and crisply delineated like his comics work. Photocopying the entire first episode board might have been too obvious, or such an amount of paper could have crossed the bounds of what is reasonable to remove from an office job, so I contented myself with just the first few pages, and two later ones with sharp art. Which are here for your perusal, and as far as I know never online until now. (Tell your friends!)
But the oversized beige metal filing cabinets were just the tip of the iceberg.
What else did Tim find? Tune in next time to find out!