Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Jack Bradbury Site

Jack Bradbury worked at Disney from 1933 to 1941, starting as an inbetweener and working up to animator on films like Ferdinand the Bull, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Bambi. Laid off after the Disney strike, he later spent a few years animating for the Friz Freleng unit at Warner Bros.

However, he is probably best known for his work as a comic book artist. Starting the 1940's, he produced thousands of pages of comic book art, writing many of the stories himself.

His son, Joel, has set up a website that's an archive of over 1300 pages of Bradbury's comic book work. The site also includes other artwork, such as sketchbooks and gag cartoons. One of the highlights of the site for those interested in animation history is an unpublished memoir by Bradbury about his time at the Disney studio.

"My years at Disney's developed what talent I had, into a drawing skill that enabled me to make a living with it, something I had always hoped I could do, and something for which I shall always be grateful to Disney's. They made it possible for me to animate, not only on Disney pictures, but on Bugs Bunny for Friz Freleng at Warner's as well. And later to do the comic books I drew for so many, many years.

At the same time, however, I do not regret for one moment, having left Disney's when the situation became too unpleasant to live with. Had I stayed, I might have become a better animator and enjoyed a nice retirement pension, something I do not now have. But life has its little trade-offs. With the Disney job and its retirement fund, came much stress and often ulcers for many. At Warner's and for years later doing comic books, I did not get retirement pay, but I did get a less stressful, more healthy and certainly happier way of life. I chose the latter because it suited me best."


Unknown said...

I love Carl Barks unconditionally, but damn, guys like Jack Bradbury could make all of the characters (starring or incidental) in their stories interesting and funny.

I think Joel is smart not to put up the Disney work, because it sort of pales in comparison to stuff like this. (Crack open some of the old Gladstones if you need a refresher.)

jriggity said...

cool stuff!


Pete Emslie said...

As you well know, Mark, I'm a big fan of Walt Kelly's "Pogo" strip. Therefore, I can appreciate both the drawing and inking skill that Jack Bradbury displays in his funny animal comics as well. All of those characters have such wonderful volume implied with just a few deft strokes of the brush over well-constructed pencil drawings. Even the panel borders are handled in an organic manner, complementing the figures beautifully. Too bad we don't see much work like this anymore. There's Jeff Smith and a few other, I suppose, but not a whole lot here in North America. I believe that the best cartoon comics work is all done in Europe now, as they still have far more respect for the art of cartooning over there than we find over here.