Through being Carl

I was surprised and saddened to read earlier today that Carl Macek passed away suddenly this past weekend.

To millions of anime (that’s Japanese animation, for the benefit of the uninitiated) fans, Macek gets credit — and, judging by several of the comments I’ve read at various online tributes, a considerable amount of abuse — for helping mainstream anime into American culture, through repackaging such series as Robotech for Western audiences. He also produced several of the English-language versions of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, including the classic My Neighbor Totoro.

My unbridled affection for Miyazaki aside, I’m not a rabid partisan of anime (or “Japanimation,” as we called it back in the day) produced for television. I grew up with such early examples of the genre as Gigantor and Speed Racer, but I always preferred the Western flavor of the animators’ art. Thus, it wasn’t his work in promoting anime that earned Carl Macek his pedestal in my mind’s hall of fame. Rather, it was one of his more obscure efforts, relatively speaking — his 1981 book, The Art of Heavy Metal, The Movie.

Regular visitors here may be aware that, in addition to this humble blog, I’m also the author of the Heavy Metal online reference page on Squidoo — one of my own more obscure efforts. So, Mr. Macek and I, although we diverged in our passion for (or indifference to, depending upon which of us you’re addressing) anime, shared a fondness for this strange little gem of an animated film that didn’t originate in Japan. (In fact, many people who are familiar with Heavy Metal don’t realize that the movie was a Canadian production, and that most of its segments were animated outside the United States.)

On the DVD release of Heavy Metal, Macek’s reading from his book serves as an audio commentary to the film. As a voice actor and narrator myself, I don’t find Macek’s dry delivery all that scintillating,  but he provided a number of interesting facts about the film that proved helpful when I compiled the Heavy Metal reference page. I consider myself forever in his debt, and I regret that we never had occasion to meet so that I could express my gratitude in person.

Thanks, Uncle Carl, wherever you are.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Celebritiana, Cinemania, Dead People Got No Reason to Live, Good Reads, Teleholics Anonymous

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