Keen Toons is the Flash animation arm of online entertainment megapage, Keenspot. Founded in February 2000 by comic creators Chris Crosby and Darren Bleuel – who also has a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering – as a host for their own material, the site quickly grew into a portal for independent comic artists. Keenspot has retained the primary position, and is an invitation-only collection of more than 50 comics. The two founders, along with Chris’ mother, Teri Crosby, and Nate Stone maintain that list, but they added Keepspace (now Comic Genesis) as a free, all-inclusive hosting space for web cartoonists worldwide. The group has also published their own collections. More recently, Keen Toons was added as a forum to highlight a handful of artists for whom Flash animation is the preferred medium.
There is some turnover on the Keen Toons site, but the roster generally has, almost literally, a little bit of everything. “Evil Josh & Billy” – the adventures of a young mad scientist and his delinquent brother and reminiscent of such cult classics as Dexter’s Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls in both sensibility and animation style – is updated on Mondays. Before the “terminator” canceled the show, Tuesdays used to bring new spots from Danny Washington and Educational Egg – an educational television inspired premise, where the live action, nerdy, backwards cap-sporting Washington speaks to the floating, animated Educational Egg. “Robotbox and Cactus” is about just that – the adventures of a surly, square robot and his more timid friend, a talking cactus, updated Wednesdays. Thursdays bring new episodes of “Space Tree,” in which another talking plant species, this one eyeless, is the captain of a space ship. Weekends were the territory of “Bonus Stage,” about a group of video game obsessed friends, featuring music from classic game titles. However, it appears that spot will soon be given over to another toon by the same creator, “The Stupid Adventures of Mark & Tony.” As you can tell by the titles, they all lend themselves to the surreal material so often encountered in Flash animation.
In one episode of the now-defunct Danny Washington & Educational Egg, Egg is turned into a man-eating robot, in what is later revealed to be a dream sequence. In the last episode, number nine in an unfortunately truncated series, Egg is turned into a zombie, and Washington is forced to slaughter him with a baseball bat, partly to keep his monologue from being interrupted. This isn’t exactly Disney material.