Two words: Rankin/Bass.
I grew up on the old Rankin-Bass stuff- I watched their holiday specials (still do, every Christmas), watched The Last Unicorn at least five times before the age of twelve, own the Return of the King on VHS (hey, it’s Alaska. We’re at least a decade behind the rest of the world. Well, except for Mongolia. And Idaho.), and watched The Hobbit whenever the library would let me have it. Their animation was one of my early inspirations. Heck, I probably watched The Hobbit more than I did Aladdin, which I actually own and really love.
Speaking of The Last Unicorn, I just rewatched that earlier today. Ahh, Shmendrick. Probably one of my favorite characters in any of the movies I watched as a kid. If you haven’t read the book, he was basically so abominably bad at magic that he was cursed with eternal youth until he could cast an actual spell.
Then there’s The Dark Crystal. Not Rankin-Bass; we’ve moved on from that topic. I think I watched it before I ever saw Star Wars, and it made an impression. When the library wouldn’t let me borrow the Hobbit, I made a beeline for the Dark Crystal instead. Those puppets, man.
And then there’s the art of Tony DIterlizzi. The Spiderwick Chronicles barreled into my life around the age of twelve, and that pretty much blew me away. I found his old Planescape art, and that made a big impression as well.
…I really don’t know where I was going with this post. I may have been intending to talk about the whimsy and magic that the intersection of those three things caused for me.
On the other hand, I might have been intending to talk about the impression the art made on my early style.
I dunno. I’m gonna go watch The Labyrinth now.
And popcorn. I need popcorn.