Saturday, June 02, 2007

Book Review: The Art Of ReBoot

Considering that every major animated film coming out of Hollywood these days is CG, it's amazing to think that there was a time when CG wasn't as prevalent as it is now. There was a time when CG was considered unproven and risky. There was a time when the prospect of making even a CG movie seemed almost preposterous. This makes it all the more incredible that something like the Saturday morning animated series ReBoot actually happened.

Premiering in 1994, before the world would be wowed at Pixar's Toy Story, ReBoot was the first full-length, completely computer animated television series. Produced by Canada's Mainframe Entertainment, ReBoot imagined the world inside a computer, a world where sprites, viruses, and binomes roamed. This action/adventure series, peppered with a unique sense of humor and lots of geeky references, garnered a large cult following.

Now, DMF Comics has released The Art Of ReBoot, a fascinating and eye-opening look into the creation of this groundbreaking TV series. Featuring tons of never-before-seen artwork, this book not only confirms the artistry of this series, it's a love letter to the show's fans.

The Art Of ReBoot is not a hefty coffee table book. It's a slim hardcover with a glossy exterior and full-color pages. The book features a wide variety of artwork from the TV series including production and pre-production art, screenshots from the series, and other artwork including a look at the toys from the show. It also acts as sort of a guide to the series. In the sections dealing with the various characters, short (and sometimes spoileriffic) character bios are included. People who worked on the show, including co-creator Gavin Blair, tell about their experiences in short blurbs throughout the book.

Given that ReBoot was a CG show, you might think that the bulk of the artwork in the book would be CG. That's not the case. Everything CG has to start off as 2D designs first, and this wonderful artwork is the revelation of the book. The drawings, many of them drawn by production/character designer Brendan McCarthy, are great. Seeing these drawings makes you realize the incredible amount of artistry involved in making animation of any kind. It's also really cool to see how well these drawings translated to CG animation. In some cases, such as the villain Megabyte, the designs are so good that little is changed. There is so much life in these drawings that you realize that ReBoot would've probably made a cool 2D animated series too.

Apart from all the production artwork, one of the most interesting parts of this book is the section entitled “ReBoot Re-Imagined.” This section features comic book artists' take on the ReBoot characters. There is some very nice artwork found in this section and it makes you hopeful that the ReBoot story (which ended on a cliffhanger in Season 4) could continue in the comic book format. Other shows such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Gargoyles have continued in comic book format and I'd love to see ReBoot added to that list.

The Art Of ReBoot is a nice artbook that is a must-purchase for fans. It gives you a fresh look at this animated series and all the hard work that went into it. With the show being off American television for years and only sparsely available on DVD, this book is one of the few ways for newcomers to learn about the show. ReBoot proved that the type of animation used didn't matter as long as the story and talent was there. That's a lesson that Hollywood would do good to learn.

The Art Of ReBoot can be ordered direct from the publisher at

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