Even as The CW is proceeding in its production of “Powerpuff,” a live-action distant sequel to Cartoon Network animated series “The Powerpuff Girls,” CN itself, or rather the animation studio that primarily produces the network’s original shows, is taking a dip in the well that the aforementioned series originated from. Conceptualized by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons then-president Fred Seibert, the “What a Cartoon!” anthology on Cartoon Network showcased animated shorts from which several characters were given standalone series by CN, including Craig McCracken’s “The Powerpuff Girls.” Now, Cartoon Network is reviving the concept again using one of its later names: “Cartoon Cartoons.”
As Comic Book Resources puts it, Cartoon Network Studios (CNS) has revived their short animation anthology from the 1990s, now called “Cartoon Cartoons” and described as “A Cartoon Network Studios Shorts Program.” This was announced by CNS and Warner Bros. Animation president Sam Register, who remarked on how their studio has a legacy of animated shorts (Warner Bros. and Hanna-Harbera). “We are building on that legacy today with a program that will champion new and diverse voices, energize creativity and provide resources for artists to share their stories with the world,” says Register, hinting at the future direction the new Cartoon Cartoons anthology will chart.
Many viewers who grew up with Cartoon Network will remember how “What a Cartoon!” and “Cartoon Cartoons” introduced some of the most memorable mascot characters for the network (and others). The Powerpuffs were accompanied by “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Cow and Chicken,” “Johnny Bravo” and more. Their respective creators like Genndy Tartakovsky and Rebecca Sugar would also rise to prominence in the animation industry afterwards, like Seth McFarlane who retooled his “Larry & Steve” short into “Family Guy” for Fox. The new Cartoon Cartoons anthology however will be doing some things differently.
Where the original batch were all in classic animated short format (no longer than 15 minutes runtime), the new upcoming Cartoon Cartoons will have varying lengths and subject matter. The originals were primarily kid-friendly (with occasional parental bonuses), but the new ones will have varying subject matters and presentation, from episodic to plot-driven. And in addition to CN itself, the shorts could also find their way to streaming on HBO Max. One constant however is that Cartoon Cartoons is open to all aspiring animation talents, regardless of experience or whether they are part of CNS or not. They will also be mentored by the studio’s Creative Council for their productions.
There is no word yet on when the new Cartoon Cartoons program will begin releasing its animated shorts. It is known however that diversity will be one of the driving points for the anthology and its production. Time will tell just how that will translate.
Image: Animation Magazine