My final piece for the Adult Swim show that opens tonight at Gallery 1988. When I got invited to this show I knew I had to do a Space Ghost piece. Even though it existed long before Adult Swim, it planted the seed for the late night block of adult-audience cartoons to show up years later.
I started watching Space Ghost: Coast to Coast from the very beginning. I was in 5th grade when it started airing, and my best friend at the time would come over on Friday nights and we'd stay up until 11:00 to watch Space Ghost and laugh our heads off. Watching the shows now, it's really interesting to me that I was so into it as a kid. For lack of a more elaborate description, it's just so...strange. It's full of that surreal and random comedy that's just about everywhere now, but at the time there was nothing else even close to it on TV.
I could be wrong, but I really think it spearheaded the current trend of what I call "random" comedy, although I think some shows today take the idea a bit too far. It seems to be a popular opinion these days to hate Family Guy because most of its jokes are unrelated cutaways, but at least they're creative and funny inside those self-contained bubbles. What bugs me with shows now is that it seems there is no creativity put into the jokes at all, they're just a series of random crap that could have been selected by throwing darts. "Uh, lets have a fat guy dressed as a woman, and he goes to an old folks home, but he has a novelty sized salt shaker with a raccoon inside that he's trying to get rid of. Comic genius!"
My best friend and I were the only people I knew of who watched Space Ghost. Between that and the show's premise that you were being patched into a feed from the Ghost Planet by a group of cartoon characters who barely knew how to run their own show, it really felt like you were watching it by accident. You felt like you were seeing something that nobody else knew about and it was awesome. It's very much the same feeling I think most people of my generation had when they discovered Adult Swim for the first time. You probably woke up late one night, unable to get back to sleep, and turned the TV on only to see a milkshake spouting nonsense to a ball of meat. That sense of stumbling upon something really gives a show an underground feel and makes you feel special for having "discovered' it, and to me Space Ghost was the epitome of that feeling.
So I have some great memories of the show. It's something nostalgic for me that unlike, say, Mario Bros or Ninja Turtles, kinda felt like it was my own thing rather than a huge phenomenon.
As for this drawing, there wasn't too much to the idea other than wanting to see the talk show set from a different perspective so that it seemed familiar and yet different. I also wanted to hide a lot of little references here and there, and I think I did a better job of it in this piece than some I've done in the past.
While doing some visual research for this piece I came across this old ad, which I included in the drawing itself: