Friday, March 31, 2023

A Fox in Space

Last year, my old college friend Paul pointed me to "A Fox in Space". It's a cartoon in the style of Watership Down (1978), The Plague Dogs (1982), or Iron Giant (1999). Hand drawn and very expressive. However, instead of animals in peril here on earth, "A Fox in Space" is a story about the animals in the Nintendo video game Star Fox.

After this recommendation, I checked out the first episode on YouTube and was amazed. The characters are sharp and speak with Rated R language. The cartoon is highly stylized, yet it feels like it's been around forever because of its hand drawn lines. I wished I played this video game so I could get all the inside jokes and references.

The first episode came out in April 2016. When Paul told me about this last year, I expected there to be a slew of episodes to watch. Instead, creator Matthew Gafford had yet to release his second episode! Since 2016, he’s been working on his second episode, trying out new animation techniques and drumming up a livelihood on his popular Patreon.

I am always drawn to these creative people with a singular focus. They want only to execute their vision on their terms. I'm amazed at Gafford’s focus and dedication. Seven years! But he has been putting it out there for a long time. Since the dawn of the World Wide Web, he’s been creating videos and posting them in far-flung forums under the name of Fredryk Phox.

Gafford has been open about his process. On his Patreon and in various interviews on YouTube, he's been unwavering in his commitment to release his second episode, but he's been stubborn about doing nearly everything himself. He's a one-person animation studio who is completely self-taught. His skill level is remarkable to me.

Just last week, his long-awaited second episode premiered on YouTube. I fired it up on the big TV and watched it as if it were an Oscar-nominated film. The episode matched the high expectations its long incubation cultivated. It had great animation, great music, great vocal performances and a story that sets up nicely for a great third episode.

Check it out!

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