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Birth of An Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation

Nicholas Sammond, Author

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Labor, Page 110

This Out of the Inkwell cartoon from 1927 features the continuing Fleischer character Ko-Ko the Clown, who appears to draw himself and then battle with his drawn environment—a self-referential trope in early animation in which creations were made to rebel against their makers. 

Ko-Ko travels through time to 1999, when everything is automated. Eventually, a machine creates a wife and children for  Ko-Ko, who is unwilling to settle down; his enraged wife rips the clown to shreds and tosses the fragments into Max's "real" cinematic space. Max takes the paper shreds and creates two real women, ready to clean up the day's mess by putting it all back into the inkwell. 

Early animated characters often performed a fantasy of seeming autonomy, drawn by the animators only to be punished and constrained by their "masters" for their misdeeds. This sort of rebellion was a key characteristic of the blackface minstrel. 
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