Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation
Journalist Mitenbuler (Bourbon Empire
) casts the creators of animated cartoons as characters themselves in this rollicking history of the first 50 years of animation. The author tracks animation as a medium and an industry from the early 20th century to the 1960s, when cartoons moved from the theater to televisions and animation “changed almost overnight.” The book begins with the “restless” Winsor McCay, a famous New York Journal
cartoonist who had a lasting impact on better-known animators (Walt Disney among them), but was “all but forgotten by the time of his death.” Meanwhile, directors Bob Clampett (who “pushed the limits of absurdity and aggressiveness”) and Chuck Jones (“sly and mischievous with a dirty sense of humor”) made up a mid-century “pirate crew” that brought such characters as Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig to the silver screen. Household names like the Walt Disney Company get plenty of ink, but so do such edgier competitors as Fleischer Studios, formed before Disney and all but wiped out when legal trouble threatened its famed Betty Boop. In snappy prose, Mitenbuler writes a history rich with personalities. This Technicolor tour de force is impossible to put down. Agent: Michelle Brower, Aevitas Creative Management.