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Web Video / The Cartoon Man

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The Cartoon Man is a trilogy of low-budget independent films produced by Smoking Bottle Entertainment, and released as a Web Video Series. The three installments are named The Cartoon Man, Return of the Cartoon Man, and Journey of the Cartoon Man.

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 convulsive 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:

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The characters never goes so far as to acknowledge being in a movie/web series, but Roy occasionally looks right at the camera as if aware of it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cliffhanger: 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.
  • Delivery Stork: A stork 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.
  • For the Funnyz: After Valerie puts back Roy's detached hand, he instinctively replies "Thanks for giving me a hand!" because it seemed appropriate in the moment.
    "I don't know why I said that! That was so stupid, but it... for some reason, just felt like the right thing to do."
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Roy has only four fingers 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Level Ate: Roy and Valerie find themselves standing in a giant ice cream sundae at one point on their journey.
  • 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-Shift Gag: Half an hour into a live action movie, Roy removes his sunglasses and reveals animated eyes.
  • 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.
  • Occult Detective: Karen and Roy are attempting to be this in the beginning. The Sherzikien case is their first real encounter with magic.
  • 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 to 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.
  • 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 Cliffhanger.
  • 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.
  • This Means War!: Roy says this exact line at the start of his cartoon battle with Simon.
  • Toon Transformation: The main premise, but not a traditional example, as the characters never become fully animated, even in the Second Dimension.
  • 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.