Billy & Mandy Creator Says They Have Been Fired for “Ruining Cartoon Network”
Maxwell Atoms, creator of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, said the current Adult Swim chairman had fired him for “ruining the Cartoon Network brand.”
Maxwell Atoms, the creator of The Sinister Adventures of Billy and Mandy, says he’s unlikely to work with Adult Swim because the network’s current president once blamed him for “ruining the Cartoon Network brand”, firing him shortly after.
Atoms, who regularly answers questions from fans on his Tumblr account, revealed this story in response to an anonymous question asking if he had ever considered doing shows for Adult Swim. “I have a few ideas that I think would kill on Adult Swim,” Atoms wrote. “But since the current president is the guy who disguised me in public for ‘ruining the Cartoon Network brand’ with my ‘hate fart cartoon’ before quickly firing me… such a collaboration seems incredibly unlikely.”
The current president of Adult Swim is Michael Ouweleen, creator of Harvey Birdman: lawyer, who has worked for Cartoon Network in various capacities since its inception in 1992. Ouweleen was Senior Vice President of Development and Programming at Cartoon Network from 2006 to 2008. The Sinister Adventures of Billy and Mandy completed in 2007; a 2008 TV movie, Underfist: Halloween Bash, was supposed to be the pilot of a spinoff series, but that series was eventually canceled. It seems sub-fistAtoms ‘cancellation coincided with Atoms’ rather intense firing.
It’s curious that Ouweleen blames Billy and Mandy for “ruining the Cartoon Network brand”. The cartoon about two kids and their best mate the Grim Reaper was one of the network’s most popular shows in the 2000s, and it launched the careers of artists like CH Greenblatt and Thurop Van Orman, the creators of Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, respectively. You might distinguish it for being darker and arguably meaner than most of Cartoon Network’s other original shows, but the descriptor for “hateful fart cartoon” is weird.
Since leaving Cartoon Network, Atoms has worked at Disney on Hooks and at Warner Bros. Animation on Bunnicle, Teen Titans Go! (which airs on Cartoon Network) and two Scooby doo movies. He attempted to produce an independent post-apocalyptic adult puppet show called Dead meat via Kickstarter, but production collapsed due to spending and contract issues. He has been on fairly good terms with the current management of Cartoon Network (outside of Adult Swim) in attempting to launch a Billy and Mandy sequel film last summer, although the pitch was ultimately dismissed due to the fact that kids today don’t know enough about the series.
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