If ambition is the highest aspiration for film, Rock and Rule would be an all time great.
Sadly, there's more to it than that. Rock and Rule stands as an historical aberration, a path not followed, a piece of archeological interest to animation academics not so much for its quality but for the many factors floating around its production.
One of those interesting artifacts is this comic book adaptation from Marvel.
The art itself appears to be clipped from the film and suffers from the same murky ugliness -right down to the aggressive page layouts.
The binding prevents a true centerfold, so this is the closest the book gets.
Most interesting is the series of essays written by David Anthony Kraft at the end of the book.
The first is a simple, articulate description of the production process. (click images to enlarge and read the whole thing)
These spreads feature story sketches and rough color design work.
The layout of these articles is very nice. Probably not the same person who laid out the comic.
We're treated to various sketches and versions of the characters, different stages of production art and even a photo of animator Robin Budd hard at work.
This page begins an article on the special effects in the film.
Some of the film was shot on the multiplane camera. Other effects like "streaking" (which is essentially moving the artwork during a long exposure) and "Slit scan" (best known for it's use in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek).
This page offers good detail into how many of the shots were actually produced.
The article also claims that cow brains (actual cow brains) were used in the art production of the Demon. It's too bizarre not to be true.
The next two spreads are about the musicians and voice talent.
Even these articles are interesting. Leagues above the press releases that pass for journalism in today's trade magazines.
The last page is a piece on the producers. Nelvana has gone on to be a premiere producer of children's animation.
Had Rock and Rule been a success I wonder if they would have followed it with other semi-mature fair and ultimately form a sort of Canadian rebuttal to the kiddie pictures of Hollywood.