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McCracken, Craig

Entry updated 26 October 2021. Tagged: TV, People.

(1971-    ) US director, scriptwriter, producer and animator. After studying at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), McCracken joined Hanna-Barbera Cartoons in 1993. He contributed two The Powerpuff Girls shorts to the What a Cartoon! (1995-1997) anthology series; these were an update of a film, Whoopass Stew! (1992), he had created whilst at CalArts. A series was not approved right away, so in the meantime he worked on the first two seasons of Dexter's Laboratory (1996-2003) as a director, storyboarder and writer. Once The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2005) was commissioned it ran for six seasons, McCracken leaving after the fourth, though returning for a 2009 special. He was not involved in the 2016 reboot.

After the success of The Powerpuff Girls – winning two Annies and two Emmys – McCracken next created Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (2004-2009), which was also popular, both commercially and critically (five Annies, seven Emmys). Both these shows were for Cartoon Network, where he was also an Executive Producer on the curtailed anthology series The Cartoonstitute (2010) (see What a Cartoon!); he then moved to Disney, creating Wander over Yonder (2013-2016): three Annies, one Emmy. Following a career break, in 2021 he created the well-received Kid Cosmic (2020-current) for Netflix. All are genre, three being sf; Foster's is more Fantasy but with sf references.

In the first three series the main characters tend to be the same people at the end as they were at the beginning; (indeed, this point is specifically made at the close of Wander Over Yonder); that is, rather than being serialized with story and character arcs, his series were episodic in nature with the status quo largely restored at the end of each episode. However, the arrival of Lord Dominator in the final season of Wander Over Yonder, which brought a serialized element, indicated a shift; and Kid Cosmic has run with this, with its main character evolving during the first season: it might end up being his finest work.

As the creator of four notable shows over the past three decades, McCracken has proven to be an important voice in western animation. One of his series' most memorable features is their look: cartoony, but with an art style that is different for each; the designs are imaginative, often interestingly detailed and with a touch of the surreal. [SP]

Craig McCracken

born Charleroi, Pennsylvania: 31 March 1971

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