brian denham


Animal Farm

58 in x of animated feature film history
Release: Dec. 29th, 1954
Country: USA
Director: John Halas, Joy Batchelor

‘Animal Farm is based on the book Animal Farm by George Orwell, which is an allegory for the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath. It was the first British animated feature to be released.

The animals are tired of being under the cruel hand of Farmer Jones (Czar Nicholas II), so Old Major (Karl Marx), a pig, leads a meeting declaring that man is their enemy. But when Major dies, the animals lead a successful revolt against Farmer Jones, and the animals rename Manor Farm ‘Animal Farm’ and have their own laws. Snowball (Leon Trotsky) becomes the first president, but Napoleon (Joseph Stalin) ousts him, and Napoleon and his accomplice, Squealer (propagandist) break countless rules. And the rules are changed, showing that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. The film deviates from its source material by having the animals rise up and destroy Napoleon at the end of the film.

The animation historian Brian Sibley doubts that the team responsible was aware of the source of the funding initiating the project, which came from the CIA to further the creation of anti-communist art. The CIA initially funded Louis de Rochemont to begin work on a film version of Orwell’s work and he hired Halas & Batchelor, an animation firm in London that had made propaganda films for the British government. Halas and Batchelor were awarded the contract to make the feature in November 1951 and it was completed in April 1954. The production employed about 80 animators.

The ’financial backers’ influenced the development of the film, the altered ending, and a message that, ‘Stalin’s regime is not only as bad as Jones’s, but worse and more cynical’, and Napoleon ‘not only as bad as JONES but vastly worse.’ The ‘investors’ were greatly concerned that Snowball (the Trotsky figure) was presented too sympathetically in early script treatments. A memo declared that Snowball must be presented as a “fanatic intellectual whose plans if carried through would have led to disaster no less complete than under Napoleon.’

To coincide with the film’s release, a comic strip version was serialized in newspapers, drawn by Harold Whitaker, one of the animators.

The film critic C. A. Lejeune wrote at the time: ‘I salute Animal Farm as a fine piece of work… [the production team] have made a film for the eye, ear, heart and mind’. Many parents were alarmed at the bleakness of the film, having taken their children thinking it was a film along the lines of a Disney cartoon. Some criticism was levelled at the altered ending, with one paper reporting: ‘Orwell would not have liked this one change, with its substitution of commonplace propaganda for his own reticent, melancholy satire.’

Maurice Denham provided the voice talent for all the animals in the film.

Animal Farm is also the first ever animated film to contain animated blood.”


Animal Farm is available on YouTube. 

Okay it's time we talked about Iron Man: HyperVelocity

And guess what, I’m not traveling with a scanner right now! So you get to suffer with my attempts to photograph glossy trade pages!

This is an older trade and you’re probably going to have to hunt for it but oh my good fucking god it’s worth it. This is, hands down, the single best Iron Man trade I have ever read. It’s stand alone, which sucks because it is stunning.

This trade is IronMan gone cyberpunk, and it’s glorious.

I mean look at this art.

Tony is beautiful in this comic. All of the humans are wonderfully done.

Including this psycho bitch. I’m not even going to get into her because spoilers.

What this trade has really going for it, on top of the art, is phenomenal world building. But how do you worldbuild in an already built world you ask? Oh you do it like this.

Oh wait, now what does that sound like? Why is that familiar?

Well isn’t that interesting.

And it only gets better.

These are the good guys?

Welcome to SHIELD. You don’t need to sleep.

Oh, and one more thing about the world building that I absolutely adore.


Look at these beautiful tribalistic posthumans! Look at them!

Cutting it off here because I don’t want to reveal the whole thing to you.

The point is, if you like Iron Man comics you need this trade. It’s entirely told from Tony’s viewpoint and his voice is perfectly spot on. It’s gloriously hedonistic technoporn and it’s beautiful.

Hunt this down and add it to your collection. Hell let’s pester Marvel to do another print run. I want a part two!

Another one by Brian Denham, probably a favorite.

As I said, he was the X-Files artists for a while, and I’m a huge X-Phile, sadly, he could not do any sketches that involved any type of actor likeness. So- after thinking this over, I asked if he could sketch a picture of Toro as though he were an X-File, since in the X-files universe I’m sure he would be!

And this is what I got.
And I love it!

Marvel vs. DC Comics 2011 by Brian Denham. Snowpocalypse Now.

I thought we could all use some joy at the start of this dreary year so I drew this light-hearted Superhero piece to lighten the mood. I hope you enjoy it.

I drew and colored this using Adobe Illustrator 3. If you want to see how I use Illustrator check out my tutorial blog at or for more art check out my site at or

Brian Denham

the infamous shoelace belt.

if people start wearing this because of wiz khalifa, i will kill myself. i’m not trying to sound like the biggest asshole in the world but.. i have a shoelace belt, along with a real belt since 5th grade. i’m in 10th grade now. people sweat wiz, and would definitely start wearing this. and if one person says to “brian, you tryna be like wiz, yo?” i’m going to reply.. “no body wants to be wiz khalifa. i wore this before he was even famous. he just got super famous. you probably didn’t even know about him before he dropped black and yellow. so shut up." 

woah, i kinda went really hard on that. i’m sorry. but that’s how i feel.