Wednesday, June 29 2022
Key art for Craig of the Creek season four, featuring the main and supporting characters.

Picture: Cartoon Network Studios

Although 2021 has been a great year for animation in the west thanks to hits like Esoteric and The Mitchells against the Machines, 2022 had a bit of a shaky start for the medium. There was some very good series and films released so far, but the industry as a whole is going through some upheaval in an effort to ensure that its workers get a decent salaryon with more respect from the rest of the entertainment industry. Netflix also recently canceled a number of anime series that hadn’t even been released yet, including the anime adaptation of Jeff Smith’s acclaimed graphic novel Bone, in turn raising questions about the state of Western animation.

In a recent interview with John Maher of VultureCartoon Network President Sam Register spoke about his plans to create the network behind hits such as Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s lab a place where creators can flourish. Because he’s also the head of animation at Warner Bros. Animation studios have signed creators for “inter-studio global deals,” meaning that if you make your own original series on Cartoon Network, you might end up working on a WB Animated feature, or the other way around. “Do you like looney tunes? You can do it,” Register suggested. “Do you have your own original idea? We also have a studio for that. Having a suite of studios allows us to have a different strategy when talking to talent.

On one level, we are already seeing this plan come to fruition, as the current successes Craig of the Creek and We bare bears have or will soon receive their own animated features, and Amazing World of Gumball get both a film and a follow-up series for Cartoon Network and HBO Max. Although the network has had no problems with the old IP address for the past few years, as The Teen Titans Go! and Goo, it’s the original series that has helped it stand out over the past decade. Register openly admitted to having a “great reverence” for the former WB animated slate, but stressed its responsibility to “the creators of the future”. To that end, upcoming CN events include Driftwood, an adventure of a movie about a space-traveling mouse by Victor Courtwright (Aquaman: King of Atlantis); and Juston Godron-Montgomery (DC super hero girls) half-hour series Invincible battle girl, about a young girl who decides to become a wrestler on her native island where everyone is an accountant. And that doesn’t take into account other shows like Genndy Tartakovsky’s Unicorn: Eternal Warriors due later this year.

Both Driftwood and fight girl are just parts of a larger game that Register is playing, a game that includes the upcoming reboot of the Cartoons anthology series, which at the eventual birth of the 90s hit shows as power puff and Courage the cowardly dog. His hope of Cartoons is that it will “celebrate animation by opening up the openness as much as possible,” as well as the larger goal of partnerships and celebrating diverse talent such as Black Women Animate. Cartoon Network’s new tagline is “Everything Original,” and if Register is successful, everything it has planned will ensure the network’s success with audiences and creators for years to come.


Want more io9 news? Find out when to wait for the last wonder and star wars versions, what’s next for the DC Universe in Film and TVand everything you need to know about Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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