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Web Video: The Cartoon Man
The Cartoon Man
is a trilogy of low budget independent films produced by Smoking Bottle Entertainement, and released as a web series. All three installments, The Cartoon Man
, Return of the Cartoon Man
, and Journey of the Cartoon Man
are currently online.
The series begins with Agents Roy Wilkins and Karen Huntley investigating the deserted apartment of occultist animator Oswald Sherzikien. After Roy comes into contact with some mysterious black ink, he starts to undergo a strange transformation. He has spastic outbursts, his hands become giant white cartoon gloves, and, little by little, he starts turning into a human cartoon character, a phenomenon that wreaks havoc on his life, and pushes his relationship with his girlfriend Valerie to its breaking point. As the investigation into Oswald Sherzikien continues, it becomes clear that the case is more bizarre and outlandish than anyone expected, and Simon, Roy and Karen's chief superior, begins to have some nefarious ideas...
And that's just the first movie...
The series can be viewed at the official website
The Cartoon Man trilogy provides examples of:
- Acme Products: Simon's dynamite detonator in the first movie; the anvil and trampoline in the second.
- Alternate Tooniverse: The Second Dimension
- Anvil On Head: Used by Roy and Simon during their chase in the second movie.
- Another Dimension: Specifically, the Second Dimension
- Art Shift: Peter's backstory is told through a series of cartoon-like drawings with some Limited Animation.
- Ash Face: Happens to Roy after Simon blasts him with dynamite.
- Big Bad: Oswald Sherzikien
- Big Ball of Violence: Roy's fight with Sherzikien's cartoon army at the end of the third movie takes this form.
- Big Damn Kiss: In the third movie, Roy and Valerie share one that enables them to levitate out of a quicksand pit.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Roy find's Peter's invitation in a pile of bills (including a duck bill).
- Bit-by-Bit Transformation: Roy in the first movie. First his hands change, then his hair, and finally his eyes.
- Body Horror: Roy's transformation in the first movie is a parody of this trope.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The characters never goes so far as to acknowledge being in a movie/web series, Roy occasionally looks right at the camera as if aware of it. And then there's the montage in the third movie.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Sherzikien turns those under the sway of the Glove of the Animator including Simon, Valerie and, briefly, Karen into his minions, and makes them attack Roy.
- Break Up Make Up Scenario: Twice. Midway through Return of the Cartoon Man, Roy and Karen are returned to normal. They awkwardly part ways when Karen wishes to continue their investigation, and Roy just wants to stay home and go back to his life. A short time later, Roy goes back to help Karen when he learns that Simon has resurfaced with a new evil plan. Then, in Journey of the Cartoon Man, Roy and Valerie come to blows and part ways, only for Roy to almost immediately go back to her after a Good Angel, Bad Angel debate.
- Brick Joke: "Let's cut to the chase!"
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Roy and Valerie enter a pitch-black cave, only their eyes are visible.
- Can't Stay Normal: In the second movie, Roy is reverted to his original self, and attempts to go back to a normal life. In a matter of hours, Simon returns with a diabolical plan that can only be stopped by another cartoon man.
- Cartoon Bomb: Roy produces one during the battle in the first movie, but doesn't use it until the third.
- Chekhov's Gun: The pen found in the tree turns out to be quite significant. So do the feather and the glove, but not until the sequels.
- Chekhov's Skill: Roy's ability to detach his gloved hands.
- Circling Birdies: In this case, circling stars and the sound of tweeting birds.
- Cliff Hanger: Return of the Cartoon Man ends with Simon taking Karen into the Second Dimension, and Roy and Valerie crossing over to save her, along with hints that Oswald Sherzikien has a master plan that effects the entire world.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Valerie becomes this when Roy tries to leave her and help Karen.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Simon is basically a small-time version of this before his transformation.
- Dance Party Ending: The first movie has one, albeit with only two characters.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Simon, in his cartoon form.
- Delivery Stork: One shows up in the last scene of Journey of the Cartoon Man to deliver a cartoon baby to Roy and Valerie.
- Disney Death: At the end of the first movie, Karen is fatally wounded by Simon, but Roy manages to save her life by transforming her into a cartoon with the black ink.
- The Dragon: Simon becomes this to Oswald Sherzikien in the sequels.
- Emergency Transformation: At the end of the first movie, Roy has to turn Karen into a cartoon to save her life.
- Everybody Do the Endless Loop: The inhabitants of the Second Dimension glimpsed through the portals have a rather limited range of movement.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Roy and Valerie pass a few during the montage.
- Everything's Better With Sparkles: Valerie in her cartoon form.
- Evil Counterpart: Simon, to Roy
- Evil Laugh: Simon has quite an impressive one.
- Eye Pop: Roy when he sees the transformed Karen at the end of the first movie, and Sherzikien's One-Winged Angel form in the third.
- Feel No Pain: All of the characters after becoming cartoons. Roy demonstrates by jamming a fork into his arm.
- For the Evulz: Simon's motivation for taking over the world - "Why not?"
- For the Funnyz: After Valerie puts back Roy's detached hand, he instinctively replies "Thanks for giving me a hand!" because it feels like the right thing to do.
- Four-Fingered Hands: Roy has them when cartoonified, but none of the other characters do.
- Genre Throwback: To films of the 80s and 90s in which live action humans interact with cartoon elements, most famously in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a "genre" largely defunct since the rise of computer graphics.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Sherzikien has red ones in his One-Winged Angel form.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: When Roy cuts a hole underneath Simon, Simon doesn't fall until he realizes what's happened. The same thing happens when Roy and Valerie run off a cliff in the Second Dimension.
- Green Hill Zone: Roy and Valerie begin their journey through the Second Dimension in a cartoon forest that looks like this.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: An angel and devil version of Roy pop up to debate whether to go after Valerie when she walks out on him in the third movie.
- Hammerspace: When the characters are transformed, they are able to pull animated objects out of thin air at will. Simon produces an actual hammer several times.
- Harmless Electrocution: Roy electrocutes Simon during their battle.
- Hello, Nurse!: Valerie becomes this type of character when cartoonified in the second movie.
- Heroic Willpower: Roy is strong-willed enough to resist the Glove of the Animator.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Oswald Sherzikien, until Journey of the Cartoon Man.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Roy spends much of the first and second movie just wanting to be normal again.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: During the final battle of Journey of the Cartoon Man, Roy manages to snap Valerie out of Sherzikien's mind control by means of salsa dancing.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: "Thanks for giving me a hand!" as noted under For the Funnyz. Roy is fully aware of its lameness.
- Interdimensional Travel Device: The dimensional transponder which looks just like an ordinary pen.
- Iris Out
- Koosh Bomb: All the explosions caused by Roy and Simon's cartoon weapons.
- Large Ham: Roy gradually becomes one as his transformation progresses. When Simon transforms, he becomes even hammier.
- Level Ate: Roy and Valerie find themselves standing in a giant ice cream sundae at one point on their journey.
- Limited Animation
- Literal-Minded: Roy and Karen, when Peter attempts to ask them questions.
- MacGuffin: The dimensional transponder which is a pen. Also, the Glove of the Animator in the third movie.
- Magic Antidote: Peter gives Roy and Karen a strange green beverage that almost instantly turns them back into their normal selves.
- Matchlight Danger Revelation: When he and Valerie wander into a pitch-black cave, Roy strikes a match to reveal a bear, lion, and dinosaur growling behind them.
- Medium Blending
- Medium Shift Gag: Half an hour into a live action movie, Roy removes his sunglasses and reveals animated eyes.
- Mind-Control Device: the Glove of the Animator
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: When transformed, the characters not only look cartoony, but act like cartoon characters as well.
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The first movie begins with a missing persons case. By the end of the trilogy, the formerly missing person in question is trying to take over the world.
- Mood Whiplash: In several places. Most notably, toward the end of the first movie, a rather intense, serious scene gives way to a crazy cartoon battle that's more over-the-top than anything seen up to that point. Then it becomes serious again even more abruptly.
- Mordor: The part of the Second Dimension where Sherzikien lives has this appearance.
- Motionless Chin: Peter, after he becomes a talking piece of paper.
- Mutagenic Goo: Oswald Sherzikien's black ink, "fermented from the ash of the Fires of Flemsigrad."
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Everyone who is cartoonified becomes immune to all pain.
- Non-Fatal Explosions: Several during Roy and Simon's battles in both movies.
- Obviously Evil: Simon, once he's been cartoonified.
- Occult Detective: Karen and Roy are attempting to be this in the beginning. The Sherzikien case is their first real encounter with magic.
- Offscreen Crash: Roy, after he runs into Simon's trampoline and is sent flying backwards.
- Off Screen Teleportation: Numerous examples. In particular, Cynthia does quite a bit of this after being transformed.
- One-Winged Angel: At the end of Journey of the Cartoon Man, Sherzikien drinks some of his own ink, and becomes a red-eyed cartoon giant.
- Opera Gloves: Valerie has them in her cartoon form, complementing Roy's giant white gloves.
- Painful Transformation: The characters feel no pain after being transformed, but the transformations themselves do not seem pleasant.
- Painted Tunnel, Real Train: Roy paints a tunnel that Simon can enter, but he himself cannot.
- Paranormal Investigation: The series begins with Roy and Karen investigating the apartment of an occultist animator, and experiencing various supernatural phenomena that lead toy Roy's transformation.
- Playing with Puppets: Sherzikien makes everyone dance while wearing the Glove of the Animator.
- Plunger Detonator: Simon uses one to set off a stick of dynamite.
- Quicksand Sucks: Roy and Valerie get stuck in some quicksand on their journey through the Second Dimension in the third movie.
- Reality Warper: Cartoonified people gain, according to Peter, "the ability to bend reality in the service of humor."
- Recurring Extra: Kim and Donnie start out as this, but end up affecting the story in a minor way when they help Valerie and take part in the third movie's final battle.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Sherzikien's eyes turn red when he drinks a sip of ink and becomes a cartoon monster.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation: When Oswald Sherzikien did most of his work.
- Road Runner vs. Coyote: Roy and Simon's climactic chase in the second movie is an homage to this type of cartoon.
- Roger Rabbit Effect
- Rollercoaster Mine: How Roy and Valerie get from the cave to Sherzikien's castle. Their ride even begins with a theme park-like safety spiel.
- Running Gag: Salsa dancing!
- Running on the Spot: Roy does this a few times.
- Screeching Stop: Simon comes to one at the start of his chase with Roy in the second movie.
- Sequel Escalation: The first movie is almost entirely live action, with some animated effects near the end. The sequel has animation throughout, and builds to an over-the-top cartoon chase scene. The third is an epic that largely takes place in an animated world, and concludes with the biggest cartoon battle yet.
- Sequel Hook: The Cartoon Man ends with Simon and Valerie getting sucked into the Second Dimension, which is addressed in the follow-up. Return of the Cartoon Man has a straight up Cliff Hanger.
- Slasher Smile: Simon just before blowing Roy up with dynamite.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Roy and Valerie travel through one during the montage.
- Slow Transformation: Roy's transformation in the first movie takes several days.
- Squashed Flat: Happens to Roy, Simon, and Valerie several times.
- Stock Scream: Each movie features a Wilhelm Scream when a character falls.
- Telephone Teleport: Simon pulls Karen through Roy's phone at the end of the second movie.
- Thirsty Desert: Roy and Valerie ride through one on a camel during their journey across the Second Dimension.
- This Means War!: Roy says this exact line at the start of his cartoon battle with Simon.
- Toon: The characters act like traditional toons, despite remaining live action (aside from Roy's eyes).
- Toon Physics: Post-transformation, all of the characters operate on toon physics.
- Toon Town: The Second Dimension
- Toon Transformation: The main premise, but not a traditional example, as the characters never become fully animated, even in the Second Dimension.
- Transformation Sequence: Roy goes through one of these near the end of the second movie when he must transform again to fight Simon.
- Under the Sea: Roy and Valerie swim underwater at one point in the montage.
- Visual Pun: When Peter tells Roy and Karen he wants to discuss "the elephant in the room," an actual cartoon elephant appears.
- White Gloves: The first part of Roy's transformation occurs when his hands become giant white cartoon gloves. None of the other characters have them, however.
- White Void Room: Sherzikien's dreamotorium, in which he "draws" various images to illustrate his plans to Karen and Roy.
- X-Ray Sparks: We see Simon's skeleton when Roy electrocutes him.