Creator / Genndy Tartakovsky

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Genndy Tartakovsky (Геннадий Тартаковский) is a Russian-American animation director, producer, and one of the greatest minds to ever come out of classic Cartoon Network.

Born in 1970 in the USSR to Jewish parents, Tartakovsky moved abroad with his family, afraid of anti-semitism, when he was seven years old. First they went to Italy, where he picked up art from their German neighbours' daughter. Upon his arrival in The United States, he got his first exposure to American cartoons and developed a deep love of Popeye, Looney Tunes, and Humongous Mecha anime.

Genndy would attend California School of Arts (because he was too late to apply for a business school). There he embraced his future career as an animator and made his first two shorts, one of which eventually became Dexter's Laboratory. While schooling, he formed a strong friendship with Craig McCracken and Rob Renzetti (My Life as a Teenage Robot), which often shows in their cooperation between series.

Following his work on another dialogue-heavy show with Thick-Line Animation was one that had neither: Samurai Jack, a hugely ambitious series with a unique, cinematic style, equal parts Akira Kurosawa, Spaghetti Western and anime, widely considered to be both his and Cartoon Network's greatest accomplishments. Plans to end the series with a theatrical feature were put on hold when The Powerpuff Girls Movie flopped and he would spend the next decade pitching it to various studios in between other projects.

After creating the Star Wars: Clone Wars mini series, Tartakovsky left Cartoon Network to start his own independent studio, The Orphanage. The timing could not have been worse, as the studio's formation coinciding with both the economic crash in 2008 and the downfall of traditional animation in America. In the end, the studio produced a handful of commercials and a single season of Sym-Bionic Titan for Cartoon Network which, while well-received, was dismissed by Cartoon Network when the creators refused to sign a toy deal and was Cut Short when everyone involved became too involved in other projects to want to make more episodes.

Genndy made his feature directorial debut in 2012 at Sony Pictures Animation with Hotel Transylvania (admittedly because he needed work) which was a financial success. After directing its sequel, he was pegged to do an All-CGI Cartoon Popeye feature, returning to his roots, and an original project called Can You Imagine? until both got shelved. He's currently set to direct a third Transylvania movie.

In 2016, Genndy finally got the chance to give Samurai Jack a proper conclusion when [adult swim]'s Toonami block agreed to produce a mini-series, with him back in the director's chair, which would wrap up the story for good. The same year, he created Cage, 4-issue Marvel Comics miniseries starring Luke Cage, which throws-back to the character's blaxploitation roots.

He has been Happily Married to Dawn David since 2000, around the time his notoriety as an animator really took off (he spend part of their honeymoon storyboarding the pilot for Samurai Jack). They currently have two sons.

His notable works include:


Tropes applicable to him and his works include:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Most of his action cartoons are very light on dialogue, to the point that Samurai Jack had several episodes with none at all. Phil LaMarr famously joked that playing Jack was "the easiest job ever."
  • Animesque: Most of Tartakovsky's cartoons follow this, mainly because he was inspired by Japanese animation.
  • Art Evolution: He admits that he has never been a particularly good draftsman, and that he couldn't even draw a circle when he first learned. He would make up for this with his timing and technical abilities. However, 20+ years in the industry have clearly helped as his drawing and design style solidified, allowing him to do much bolder art.
  • Aside Glance: Many of his characters' silent reactions to something odd or stupid taking place often involve this, either directly to the audience or another character.
  • Author Appeal: Giant robots, minimal dialogue, anime influences, and curvy women. Samurai Jack also allowed him to indulge in his love of world music.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Compare the comedic Dexter's Laboratory to the more serious Samurai Jack or Sym-Bionic Titan.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Like most show runners from The Renaissance Age of Animation, Tartakovsky is either in love with this or owes it money. Sym-Bionic Titan's Radar entry is pretty much its recap.
  • Happily Married: He's shown to be very close with his wife Dawn, to the point that he made an animated short about their relationship to play at their wedding.
  • Hartman Hips: As both the trope namer and the actual artist responsible (Butch Hartman and Steven Silver, respectively) used to work for him, it's no surprise that his cartoons are full of some very shapely women.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Craig McCracken, at least for a time. While the two helped one another with their respective student films and later get hired at Hanna-Barbera, continuing to work on one another's shows throughout The '90s, the two have yet to work together again after Genndy left The Powerpuff Girls.
  • Lock and Load Montage: apparently a big fan of these; they can be found quite frequently in all of his cartoons.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Even when they aren't overtly sexual characters, Tartakovsky's cartoons are full of some very attractive women.
  • Rule of Cool: Even in his non-serious related works such as Dexter's Laboratory, he'll often have some form of action scenes in some episodes that either involve or invoke ancient Japanese customs or warriors such as Ninjas or Samurais or Humongous Mechas. Sometimes all at once.
  • Serious Business: The writers for The Powerpuff Girls learned the hard way that he does not tolerate story meetings being used for idle chit chat about anything non-story related, such as discussing video games.
  • Silence Is Golden: Most notably in Samurai Jack. Not as much, but still prominent in Star Wars: Clone Wars and Sym-Bionic Titan. He experiments with this a bit in Dexter's Laboratory.
  • Sliding Scale of Seriousness Versus Silliness: Goes both ways. Tartakovsky's work is either broadly comedic with some intense action scenes or dramatic action with a lot of comic relief. In general, he seems to prefer an equal balance of both.
  • Technician vs. Performer: The technician to Craig McCracken's performer: Craig was a stronger draftsman while Genndy handled timing.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Played straight with most of his work, but consciously subverted with Samurai Jack: it has the look, just not the lines.
  • Widget Series: But as Sym-Bionic Titan proved, this has never looked so cool.
  • The Workaholic: Downplayed. While he eventually did have a family which he makes time for, he makes no secret that he's first and foremost married to his career. He admits that he never saw a completed episode of Dexter's Laboratory until it was on the air, simply because he was too busy making the next episodes, and had next to no social life when it was running. He had to set time aside during his honeymoon to storyboard the pilot for Jack and later spent his date night with his wife doing a Q&A livestream.

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