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Q: What is Don Markstein's Toonopedia™?

A vast repository of toonological knowledge, of course. Don't you read blurbs?

No, seriously, it's my (i.e., Don Markstein's) attempt to gather and share information and observations about the toon world — a "toon" being anything that's done in cartoon form, such as animated films, comic books, etc. I realize I have a long way to go before it can be considered truly comprehensive — but then, I always will, because the toon world is far too large for one person to describe in one lifetime. So I'm concentrating mostly on American toons (at least for the present), trying to hit as many high points as I can, and filling in the gaps wherever possible

Before I'm finished (i.e., dead), I hope to have constructed the most comprehensive toon reference work in the world, and to be regarded as the standard source for toonological information.

Q: What makes you think you're qualified to do something like this?

Arrogance … hubris … sheer, unadulterated gall …

I happen to know a little about the subject, and enjoy writing about it. It's your job to decide whether or not I'm qualified. In a free-speech environment, you just have to put up with a few guys like me, who think they might have something worth saying.

For more on who I am and why I'm doing this, see "About the Author".

Q: Can you help me …

Get syndicated? No. Get into voice work? No. Break into comics? No. Become an animator? No.

Anything else I can not do for you?

Q: Can you supply …

No. I do not deal in old or new comic books, newspaper comics, videotapes, DVDs, T-shirts or anything else besides data on the Internet. I do not maintain files of pictures of obscure toons, which I can use to make copies for you. The pictures that accompany the articles are it. I run a Web site, not a store or an archive. I deal only in information.

But by all means, try my advertisers.

Q. What is my rare and interesting toon artifact worth?

It is worth having. And that's all you're going to get out of me. If you want to know how much money you can squeeze out of it, ask an investment counselor.

And no, I don't want to buy it.

Q: Why don't you have [fill in blank]?

My Toonopedia™ is a work in progress, and always will be. In most cases, the reason I haven't covered a particular topic is simply that I haven't gotten to it yet. I will — but I can't say when, because I don't do them on any sort of a schedule. When I get to one — that's when it gets done.

Believe me, nobody is more aware than I, of how much work remains to be done on this project.

Q: So — some toons get done earlier because you think they're more worthy, or something?

No, I don't do them in order of worthiness, by whatever criterion worthiness is measured. And there are still a lot of very worthy toons I haven't done yet. But I'm getting there. I write one or two whenever I can spare the energy, but as long as I have to earn my living elsewhere, the bulk of my energy is spoken for.

Q: Well then, what order are they written in?

They are written in the order in which I write them. Sometimes seeing a name in a lot of requests will make me want to write one. Sometimes I take my cue from Today in Toons, and write up a toon on its anniversary. Sometimes I happen to run across a really good picture of a particular toon, and take that as my cue. And sometimes there isn't any reason at all — I simply surprise myself by suddenly writing a Toonopedia™ article I hadn't expected to get to for months or years.

There are four main criteria for choosing a toon to articlize:

  1. It's a superstar, and failing to include it would damage my credibility (e.g., Bugs Bunny, Blondie). Depending on how you define "superstar", I may actually still have one or two of those yet to do.
  2. It's the sort of thing a lot of people would come to a place like this to find out about, often for reasons having to do with nostalgia (e.g., Tom Terrific, Captain Caveman). There are lots and lots of those that still need to be done.
  3. It's historically important, critically acclaimed, or otherwise lends class to the joint (e.g., Happy Hooligan, The Pie-face Prince of Pretzelburg). I still need to do quite a few of those.
  4. I just happen to want to do it (e.g., Fatman the Human Flying Saucer, McSnurtle the Turtle). You've no idea how many of those I can look forward to doing, but I try not to be too self-indulgent.

Q: How come you've done so few of the hip, with-it toons of today?

I'm not a hip, with-it kinda guy. I'm a stick-in-the-mud who likes nothing better than sitting in front of a computer.

It's not a hard-and-fast rule (see Supermuse for something special enough to be an exception), but I'm generally concentrating on toons that are seven or more years old. It's not that I don't like newer ones — there's some 21st century stuff that I just know will be remembered as classic — it's just that there are so many older ones that need to be done, and it's easier to get historical perspective when they've been around a while. I'll probably relax that policy as time goes on, and my many gaps gradually fill in.

Q: What about —

The dog that floated in the air for a dog biscuit is here. The reason you've got "Nov shmoz ka pop?" running through your head is here. "Foo" is explained here. The Fantastic Four's mailman is named here.


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