Winsor Mccay (1867-1934)
Winsor Mccay was a cartoonist and animator from America. His early animations pioneered they way for the likes of Walt Disney. Winsor Mccay: His Life And Art, (2005) says that he "is universally acknowledged as the first master of both the comic strip and the animated cartoon. Although invented by others, both genres were developed into enduring popular art of the highest imagination through McCay's innovative genius." Two of his famous works include, Gertie The Dinosaur (1914) and The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918). Both works in their own right were pioneering, but each was so different from the other.
The Sinking Of The Lusitania was a documentation of an event that shocked the world at the time when a German submarine torpedoed the ship twice, sinking it within 15 minutes and killing 1260 innocent people. Winsor Mccay illustrated 25,000 images to document this event. The film is a dark and sad story thats amost portrays the event as good as if it had been filmed. The animation is beautifully executed down to the last detail, the smoke that rises from the ship bellows into the air in a filmic manner. The lengthy process in which this was made really demonstrates a determination to show this story, albeit anti German propaganda.
On an entirely different subject, 4 years earlier (1914) Winsor Mccay made a gem of a piece 'Gertie The Dinosaur', purely for the sake of entertainment and to illustrate the possibilities of animation. Mccay would go on tour, in front of a live audience and would interact with his animated creation on screen. Gertie is considered by many to be the first animated character with a personality that was appealing to the viewer. It really did illustrate the possibilities of animation, although viewing in now it does sometimes come across as a little irritatingly repetitive.
Fig 1. Windsor Mccay, Photograph, 1906 [photography], http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/38/Winsor_McCay.jpg
Fig 2. The Sinking of The Lusitania, Movie Still, 1918 [photography], http://anim.usc.edu/research/2_documentary/images/ak_mckay.jpg
Fig 2. The Gertie The Dinosaur, Movie Still, 1909[photography], http://www.filmreference.com/images/sjff_01_img0194.jpg
Abrams, H N, 2005. Winsor Mccay: His Life And Art . revised, illustrated ed. California: Harry N. Abrams.