Monday, November 11, 2013

Elaborate Poster Puts All of Wile E. Coyote’s ACME Purchases on Your Wall

Artist and designer Rob Loukotka has drawn every product the ACME Corporation ever sold to Wile E. Coyote.
In the field of (fictional) DIY mayhem, the leading brand is clearly the company where Wile E. Coyote shops for gear to catch the Road Runner. What the ACME product line lacks in reliability, it makes up for in breadth. ACME will sell you just about anything, from jet-propelled tennis shoes to cheese. Over 43 episodes, Wile E. Coyote ordered and received 126 different items from the corporation and Loukotka has made a poster that includes them all.
Loukotka’s poster includes:
  • Any object that officially said ACME on it. “Obviously.”
  • Any product whose box, wrapping, or label said ACME on it.
  • Any product that appeared on an invoice, shipping manifest, slip of paper, etc. that said ACME on it.
  • Labeled products that clearly arrived with other ACME orders. “It can be assumed these were from ACME as well, even if the box did not show ACME’s name.”
  • Any product with a named title on its box or label. “Coyote ordered 100 percent of his items from ACME, so if it had an official name or box I just included it as an ACME item.”
  • All books. “The books accompanied or preceded ACME purchases, thus are assumed to be published by ACME as well.”
“The ACME Corporation is essentially a dream factory,” Loukotka says, “They make anything and everything you can imagine, and ship it to you instantly. Invisible paint? Got it. Rocket-powered pogo stick? Got it. Super hero outfit? Got it. Massive quantities of faulty explosives? Definitely got it.”
To document ACME’s offerings, Loukotka watched only the Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. “Those plots absolutely depended on the ACME Corporation, and I’d argue that’s where we all remember most ACME products from,” he says. He also limited himself to the original episodes, which ran from 1949 to 1994, with the last episode directed by creator Chuck Jones.
He also chose not to include any of ACME’s offerings from the 2000-2012 episodes. “The plots and products are a bit too weird and modern,” he says. “Plus they weren’t around when we were growing up.”
Whenever a labeled ACME product appeared on screen, Loukotka would pause the show, number the item “and write down the title and every single description, tagline, slogan, ingredient, or quantity that appeared on the box.” This turned out to be a non-trivial task and Loukotka ended up having to make some rules about what borderline cases would or wouldn’t make it to the poster.
We asked Loukotka whether he noticed an evolution in the products over the course of the 45 years that the episodes were created. He says ACME products have always been crazy, and that staples like rockets attached to things were available from the get-go. “But the more fantastic machines (instant icicle maker, Christmas package machine, etc.) came later in the series. The overly developed uni-taskers like that came later, but bombs and rockets qualify as wild all the time.”

This is Loukotka’s third Kickstarter project and, as far as rewards go, his simplest. There is only one reward. You either contribute $30 to get a poster, or you don’t. Loukotka says it’s all a matter of focus and scale. His first project had higher reward tiers that were never chosen. “My second project was also successful, but printing at various sizes means higher costs for everyone,” he says, “ONE design at one size means I could offer this giant poster at $30, that wouldn’t have been possible if I had a whole series of 36″ prints to deal with.”
What Loukotka left out:
  • Unlabeled items with no box, container, or title.
  • Unlabeled items that the Coyote owned but never ordered. These included a bow and arrow, paintbrush, hammer, etc.
  • Extra accessories. “Things like nails, helmets, pipes that may or may not have been part of larger kits. These accessories also had no titles or packaging.”
  • Created items or gimmicks. “Coyote painting a hole or train on a rock wall is a great gag, but not technically a product. This includes the portable hole.”
  • Repeat items. “ACME Bird Seed appears a lot, but appears once on the poster. Same for grease, glue, etc. unless it received an alternate name.”
Kickstarter isn’t the only place where you can buy Loukotka’s work. He maintains an online store and some of his work like this incredible map of Gotham are available through third parties. But he says for a project like the ACME poster, the Kickstarter model is key.
“The only way to offer them at a reasonable price ($30 on Kickstarter), was to do a BIG print run, so I could afford each poster and the large tubes they’d be shipped in. I needed 100 people to buy the print to make it work out, and so far I have 1,492 people,” he says, “Also I love the Kickstarter community. It’s so much fun to speak with backers who really care about your work. I get a lot more feedback and collaboration on Kickstarter than I do out of my regular online store.”
As for Loukotka, he admits to having some ACME-like ambitions of his own. “I’m currently building my own workshop in Chicago, my own mini factory of art and furniture and crazy things. So I guess The ACME Corporation is a bit of role model.”
“Since I was a kid, I had a longing for companies like ACME to exist,” he says. “Designing this poster brings our world a little closer to that fictional universe.”
All images courtesy of Rob Loukotka. The Kickstarter runs until Dec 24.

No comments:

Post a Comment