Creator / Genndy Tartakovsky

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. 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 Dexter was Samurai Jack, a hugely ambitious series with a unique, cinematic style, equal parts Star Wars, (he made a Star Wars cartoon two years later) anime, and Akira Kurosawa. It's widely considered to be his greatest accomplishment, as well as one of the best cartoons ever produced for Cartoon Network.

After four years of Jack, Tartakovsky started putting together 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.

After ...Titan, he moved on to Sony Pictures Animation, where he directed 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, until the project got shelved. An original project of his, titled Can You Imagine?, is currently under development after working on the second sequel to Hotel Transylvania.

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.

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.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Compare the comedic Dexter's Laboratory to the more serious Samurai Jack or Sym-Bionic Titan.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Tartakovsky is either in love with this or owes it money. Sym-Bionic Titan's Radar entry is pretty much its recap.
  • 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, bordering on Author Appeal.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Tartakovsky's 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.
  • 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.