“Hey people, Ralphie needs money to draw. Let’s give him some so he can make a fool of himself again.” — Ralph Bakshi’s Miss America, in the Kickstarter campaign video for his new animated project
Making films has never been easy for Ralph Bakshi. The maverick cartoonist and filmmaker, who became famous — and infamous — after 1972’s smash X-rated ‘toon, Fritz the Cat, never liked to color within the lines, so to speak. He was the anti-Disney back then, filling his stories with provocative themes, raunchy humor, and curvacious broads that would make Russ Meyer blush. His bold 1975 blaxploitation satire Coonskin was driven from some theaters by critics who deemed its racial elements offensive, but filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino adored the film, and Bakshi’s artistic style and spirit lived on in the work of admirers who went on to make cartoons like The Simpsons, Ren & Stimpy, and Rango.
Now 74 years old, Bakshi has been in exile for more than a decade, focusing on his painting at his New Mexico home after one-too-many frustrating and disappointing Hollywood experiences. He hasn’t made a feature film since 1992’s Cool World, and he seemed to call it quits for good after his short-lived HBO series Spicy City went belly-up in 1997. But he still has a story to tell — a great one, he says, that will “push the boundaries of 2-D animation.” READ FULL STORY