According to Steve Stiles and ottomessmer.com, Messmer began his career with a work-study program for Acme Agency, where from 1911 to 1913 he created illustrations for fashion catalogs. After seeing some of Winsor McCay’s work, Messmer was inspired to create his own comics for local newspapers. In 1915 he went on to produce a test film for Jack Cohn of Universal Studios; however, this work was never published. Messmer then went to work for Henry “Hy” Mayer. Together they created “The Travels of Teddy,” which represented the life of Teddy Roosevelt. In 1919, Messmer was hired by director Earl Hurd of Paramount Screen Magazine. He was hired to create cartoon shorts, and this resulted in Feline Follies and his Master Tom character, which was the prototype for Felix the Cat. Even though Master Tom was created first, Felix the Cat ended up being released before Tom and went on to become licensed and a mass merchandised character. Felix the Cat was starring in films until 1931 when sound films first began being released. After this, Felix comic books were created for companies such as Toby Press, Dell, and Harvey. Besides this, Messmer also animated shows such as Popeye for Paramount Studios. Messmer continued working on Felix the Cat until he died of a heart attack at the age of ninety one on October 28, 1983. Otto Messmer used pegboard and cel registration techniques when creating his animations. His character Felix always ended up helping people one way or another in every animation; Felix would transform his body into different shapes and objects. For example, in one animation he helped a broke shoe seller to sell all of the shoes in his store and made himself into a bag and his tail into a cane. In referencing Otto Messmer for my flipbook, I attempted to imitate how Felix does his transformations. My shadow figure begins to lose his shape and starts to change into the butterfly beginning on page twenty of my flipbook. I also mimicked the communicating style to the audience in Messmer’s animations by using the square text box. I feel like I was fairly successful in adapting Messmer’s design choices into my piece. While you can definitely see Messmer’s idea of a transforming being, my flipbook is still unique because of my art style and is not simply a copy of his work.
“OTTO MESSMER .COM.” OTTO MESSMER .COM. TPS, 2010. Web. 19
Stiles, Steve. “Otto Messmer’s Felix the Cat.” Otto Messmer’s Felix the Cat.
N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.