What Bolt Could Have Been: American Dog
December 2, 2008

Via Josh, the sad story of American Dog.

Chris Sanders, co-director of Lilo & Stitch, my favorite animated film, originally developed American Dog for Disney until he was fired. Under John Lasseter, AD then became the current Bolt. (Thus guaranteeing I won’t see it.)

The last straw, according to the AD link above, is that original creator Sanders is nowhere mentioned in The Art of Bolt coffee table book. In response, that site has posted their own art gallery of concept art and early works.

Sanders also has a webcomic, Kiskaloo, where the cat character resembles the original supporting feline from American Dog.

10 Responses  
Ed Sizemore writes:  

I’m sorry to see Sanders get treated so poorly. Ironically, both he and Lasseter share a common passion, Miyazaki films. Lilo and Stich actually has a Miyazaki reference it. One of the store names is a homage to Kiki’s Delivery Service.

I like Sander’s conceptual art for American Dog. I would have love to seen the film that resulted from his original story.

I love the webcomic. The cat is a hoot. I’m beginning to work my way through the archives.

I guess I was far off the mark when I called Bolt “Pixar Light”.

Ed Sizemore writes:  

That should be “I guess I wasn’t far off…” Ugh.

Cobalt writes:  

I’m sorry but “American Dog” is a dismal concept. This character design makes this squirmy thing look like a giant rat. Good for “Bolt” for one-upping it.

Johanna writes:  

That “rat” resembles classic animation styles to me — I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder. And personally, even if the movie wouldn’t have worked out as intended, I would rather see someone attempt something ambitious and meaningful in animation than yet another “pet returns home” movie.

For me, the key problem is that of credit. Claiming to value the artist and then white-washing them out of the official history is not a good thing, regardless of who does it.

Cobalt writes:  

I agree with you totally regarding credit, however, I don’t think your appreciation for character design and animation in general goes that far back. “Lilo & Stitch,” the recent Disneys and even much of the Pixar stuff pales in comparison to the old Disney, MGM, WB and Fleischer Animation. “American Dog,” heck, “American Tale,” is just cheese.

Johanna writes:  

It’s true I haven’t seen all that you mention in depth, but I’m sampled them; I think, due to my animation-loving husband, we have all the major sets from all the companies you mention on DVD, which I watch when I can. Ah, for more time to indulge in them all.

Cobalt writes:  

Well, I’m sure you’ll catch up on your animation eventually. In the meantime, thank you for providing a forum in which we, as mature fans of the medium, can agree to disagree (on “American Dog,” as it were). In the meantime, keep up the good work…..and peace be with you.

The Joy (?) of Webcomics: “Bah, humbug!” edition « The Webcomic Overlook writes:  

[…] care of Comics Worth Reading, there’s a report on the latest indignity between American Dog creator Chris Sanders (of the […]

Another Example of Pushing Customers to Blu-Ray: Bolt Release Staggered » Comics Worth Reading writes:  

[…] Bolt Art Gallery — early creative concepts, storyboards, character mock-ups. (Wonder if that’ll address the whitewashing of the original creator?) […]

Bolt'sTrue#1FanEVER writes:  

American Dog looked like (no offense) it has a terrible storyline and characters. I am much more happy with BOLT! Bolt is the best most ever and Bolt is the best Disney character ever!


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