Welcome back to my 31 Days of Monsters Halloween countdown!  In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Ghostbusters franchise, not to mention my love of 80s animation, I’m counting down 31 of my favorite monsters from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.  These animation cels are culled from my personal collection, and my wife and I tried our best to put them in a not-so-scary to really-freaking-creepy kind of order with the creepiest falling on All Hallows Eve. 

Today’s monster is one of the rarest of the Bigfoot family, the Yeti (or abominable snowman if you prefer…)  Well that’s what I thought anyway…

When I picked up this cel I hadn’t seen the episode that this big guy came from.  I’ve since rectified that (my complete Real Ghostbusters set came in the mail on the 1st), and it turns out that this is in fact a Bigfoot, though from another dimension.  I still think he looks more like a Yeti, so I’m sticking to that.

I’m partial to the more simian designs of this east-Asian crypto-zoological marvel, though I do like the various carvings and masks I’ve seen (particularly the demonic looking ones that decorate the Expedition Everest ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.)  Also, as I found out last Halloween, I love their one big on-screen monster movie success, the Peter Cushing Hammer classic the Abominable Snowman.

This monster debuted in episode #89, Camping it Up, where the gang goes on a camping trip only to stumble across some trouble.  This bigfoot somehow managed to find a portal from his alien home-world dimension to Earth via a section of limbo.  The gang has to weather through a night with this monster before helping him get back home.

As for this cel, it’s one of my favorites because the image is both detailed and it takes up so much of the cel’s surface area.   I’ve mentioned before that one of the pitfalls of collecting animation cels is that so many of what you find is visually kind of deficient.   Like the episode of the Simpson’s where Bart wants the Itchy and Scratchy cel that just has an arm in frame, typically cels, even the ones with full character illustrations on them can seem kind of anticlimactic.  This stems from the design of traditional hand-drawn animation process and the multiple layers used to get both depth, and ease of movement.  It’s always more stunning when you can find a piece that has a background sheet included, or in the case of the Yeti above, when it take up enough space that it basically looks like a scene right out of the cartoon.

Part of the detail that I love in this piece is the slobber coming off of the big guy’s mouth and teeth.  It’s another example of the process of visual design that is more or less unique to cel animation and painting in general, the concept of using color to outline and suggest shape.  You’re starting to see this concept used widely in illustration these days, as artists are moving away from traditional pen and ink towards a more digital process or at least digitally coloring (replacing parts of the black line work with colored lines to either give the perception of depth of field or just as a stylistic choice.)  It’s cool how with just some light blue paint used in outline and not filled in gives the shorthand impression of drool.

As far as the pencil under-drawing goes, I liked that the animator marked off the live are of the cel to concentrate on.  I also like the annotations on keeping the color separate on the tongue and gums, and the red ink needed for the veins in the eyes…

Make sure to come back tomorrow for another installment of the 31 Days of Monsters here at Branded in the 80s.  Also, you can head on over to Countdown to Halloween and check out lists of a bunch of other sites participating in this year’s Halloween blogging event…