Looney Tunes Cartoons Comic-Con 2020 Panel

Looney Tunes Cartoons surprised longtime fans of the classic Warner Bros. animated shorts that used to grace the big screen. The new iterations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Wile. E. Coyote, The Road Runner, and more are all back in a big way on HBO Max, and the masterminds behind the triumphant return of Looney Tunes got together for a Comic-Con at Home panel to talk about what goes into the series that captures the spirit of the classic cartoons. Plus, they also debuted a new Looney Tunes Cartoons short for your enjoyment.

Looney Tunes Cartoons Comic-Con 2020 Panel

If you’d like to watch the new Looney Tunes Cartoons short, it starts right at the 20-minute mark of the panel above. It’s called “Postalgeist,” and it follows Daffy Duck and Porky Pig as they deliver a package to The Terror Inn on a stormy night. More specifically, it’s Room 237 on the 13th floor, and there’s a ghost there who isn’t too happy about being disturbed. It’s full of some great gags, including a grimly hilarious reference to Porky Pig’s signature Looney Tunes closing catchphrase. There are a couple references to the internet here, but not in a hokey pop culture kind of way, and it doesn’t take away from the timeless nature of the Looney Tunes classic comedy.

Looney Tunes Cartoons executive producer Pete Browngardt, supervising producer Alex Kirwan, and art director Aaron Spurgeon talked about all the effort that went into bringing modern Looney Tunes back to the roots of the originals while still feeling new and refreshing in some way.

Browngardt discussed his longtime desire to bring Looney Tunes back to the era when these characters were at their best. The executive producer said:

“I just always thought to myself: A. Why would you ever change it? And B. Why aren’t they still making shorts? I feel like the characters lend themselves to the short story format and short gag cartoons.”

In recent years, attempts to reboot the Looney Tunes went for longer format episodes coming at at the standard 22-minute length, often using the characters in longer stories, sometimes even with serial aspects. It always felt out of tune (no pun intended) with the style of the original shorts. Kirwan credits Browngardt for having the vision to bring Looney Tunes back home and tap into the energy of the 1940s animated shorts:

“That was our favorite period and era of the shorts. We just wanted more of that. What we kept saying is that we didn’t want to set out to reinvent it, and we didn’t want to set out to put new sensibilities on it. We knew we’re a group of artists and our own sensibilities would come through, and they had to come through with the artists that we work with, because that’s what the classic directors were doing; they were putting in things they thought were funny. But we were gonna let that happen naturally. We weren’t gonna start with, “Here’s a clever new take on what these characters and these shorts could be. What we love about the shorts is that they’re wonderful slapstick humor. We just want to get back to building really great slapstick shorts, which is what the original ones were, and be true to the character pairings and the way they built comedy dynamics.”

Their efforts worked, and they even confused the executives of HBO Max. When the first batch of cartoons were delivered, they thought the crew had accidentally sent some of the classic shorts. So it sounds like they nailed it.

Even the process of completing the cartoons hearkened back to the classic days of Looney Tunes. Browngardt sad, “It was done by cartoonists. It was written by cartoonists. We draw pictures. We get in a room together, board artist directors, and we do sketches, gag drawings, not even have a story yet, just Bugs starving in the desert. What do we do with that? What’s that story? Then we start trying to frame a cartoon around it. When you have the cast of characters like the Looney Tunes, with those strong archetypes, it’s like playing in a dollhouse. Who’s the best match-up for this kind of story?

Art director Aaron Spurgeon did extremely extensive work to bring the Looney Tunes back to the decades in which they were at their best. It takes a lot of work to match that classic style, from the colors to the staging of the characters. Spurgeon researched fine art from the decades of classic Looney Tunes, as well as interior decorating magazines, all to make these Looney Tunes feel like they might have been lost for decades. Though there are also some refreshing elements that make it feel more modern.

The result is one of the best modern iterations of Looney Tunes that we’ve ever seen. If you’d like to know more, check out our review of the new Looney Tunes Cartoons on HBO Max, and take some time to watch them yourself with the kids. And if you’d like to hear from the voice cast of the series, who actually do their voice recording for the show together (something rare in animation), be sure to watch the full panel above.

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