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A strange coincidence

I'm not one to make a big thing out of coincidences - I think you have to consider yourself pretty important to the universe to think they hold any meaning, but I had a really weird thing happen yesterday in all of the crazy stuff that happened in the past week and it seemed interesting enough to share. This story involves a drawing I've been working on and while it's not directly about Ryan (the story or the drawing) I felt like posting it while everyone else is making Ryan-related blogs.

I got super depressed on Monday after I heard the bad news and I started looking for stuff to distract me because I was having a hell of a time getting any real work done. I started watching youtube clips about animators, mostly Richard Williams and Milt Kahl. One about Art Babbitt--that was from a documentary made in 1987-- had an interview with Andreas Deja, a Disney Animator who has probably animated the majority of Disney villains since the Little Mermaid.

Behind Deja on the wall was a movie poster that caught my attention. I couldn't make it out because it was in the background of a highly-compressed version of an already low-def video that probably came from from an old VHS. I took a screenshot and cropped the poster out and tried uploading it into the Google images "search by image" feature. This is what it came up with:

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Now, this film is not really known well these days to anyone except huge Disney fans and people who read Lloyd Alexander novels. Despite my interest in a few Disney animators, I don't really fall into either of those groups, but, upon seeing the image of the poster, I remembered when this movie came out in 1985 and how my Brother (who actually read Lloyd Alexander novels) and I (who generally hated fantasy stuff) got really excited about it and used to talk about it all the time before it got released. I had forgotten everything about this movie and, apparently, that's the way Disney prefers it, since the movie is widely considered the biggest flop out of the 50+ animated films they've released since 1937. It was also their first PG rated movie because the "Cauldron-Born" undead enemies in it were considered too scary for small kids.

I have been doing a ton of black & white illustrations in my spare time lately and this movie poster really grabbed me for a whole bunch of reasons, so I decided to put aside a couple of other illustrations I was working on and to recreate this image in my own way. I ended up spending a few hours every night since then working on my rendition and I finally got it pretty much finished tonight:

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(Actually, I'll probably spend a little more time working on it this weekend, but I thought it was done enough for the purposes of this post)

So here comes the weird part.

Pretty much the only thing I've done all week other than futile attempts to write code during my work hours and draw at night has been obsessively looking at Ryan Davis related treads here and the twitter accounts of the staff. I don't know anything about Ryan's wife, Anna, and I have never visited her twitter page, but a search for "taswell" landed me on her page yesterday afternoon. I read a few tweets and I browsed through her pictures of Ryan. Suddenly I noticed that one of the pictures in her gallery was of someone holding a VHS tape. Guess which movie it was?

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Weird. I haven't even thought of this movie in 28 years and somehow trying to distract me from the weird feeling of grieving for someone I've never even met somehow resulted in me rediscovering it and deciding to do this drawing. What are the chances that 2 days later the widow of the same man I was grieving would be watching that same movie to distract her from her own grief?

Again, I'm not the kind of person who sees a lot of meaning in this kind of thing, but you have to agree it's kind of crazy, right?


P.S. I don't know if Anna ever looks at this forum and I probably wouldn't bother her with this on twitter even if I had an account, but If anyone who does know her personally reads this and knows if she watched that video--if it meant anything to her and she'd be interested in a copy of this drawing of mine, I'd be happy to send a high quality file for printing or get a poster made and mail it.