- Full Name Craig McCracken
- Occupation Animator, Director, Producer
- Nationality American
- Birthplace Pennsylvania, USA
- Birth Date Mar 31, 1971
- Age 50 Years, 6 Months
"I'm curious to see what they do with it. The initial concept of Powerpuff Girls was the idea that they were little kids being superheroes, so the fact that they're making them grow up, that sort of changes that initial concept. But we'll see what they do with it."
Craig McCracken | Biography 2021
Craig McCracken had originally named the series 'Whoopass Stew!,' which was later renamed 'The Powerpuff Girls.' The show quickly earned an audience and eventually won an 'Emmy Awards' and 'Annie Awards.' McCracken also directed the movie 'The Powerpuff Girls Movie' (2002), a prequel to the series, to add to the cartoon story. The Cartoon Network rebooted the first two seasons and released them in 2016. The production of the third season was completed on 16 June 2019. 'The Powerpuff Girls' live-action series based on the original animated series has been in development at the network. It shall feature the adult versions of the three kindergarten-aged girls from the iconic series.
Craig McCracken is an animator and producer of the infamous cartoon series The Powerpuff Girls and Kid Cosmic.
Who is Craig McCracken?
Craig McCracken is a writer, director, and producer of animated series like The Powerpuff Girls, Foster's Homes for Imaginary Friends, and Kids Cosmic.
McCracken worked as a book illustrator for a while before joining the California Institute of the Arts. Then, he worked at the Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, where he recreated his college project, which is now famously known as The Powerpuff Girls. The animated series was picked by the Cartoon Network in 1998 and was on aired till 2005. The show was one of the most popular cartoons on the network and was awarded an 'Emmy Award' and 'Annie Award.'
McCracken went on to direct the movie version of the Powerpuff Girls, which was released in 2002. The network later rebooted the series for three seasons in 2016. It is currently being produced as a live-action series.
He also co-wrote a couple of episodes of Dexter’s Laboratory, and for that, he was nominated for the ‘Emmy Award’ under ‘Outstanding Animated Program ("for programming less than one hour") in 1996 and 1997.
McCracken created another series called Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends in 2004, which was also released under Cartoon Network.
And for Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, he won an ‘Emmy Award’ under ‘Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation’ in 2005. Along with that, in 2006 and 2007, he was nominated for ‘Outstanding Animated Program' ("for programming less than one hour". And further, he won the 2009 ‘Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Animated Program' ("for programming one hour or more").
McCracken's recent project Kids Comic is currently being aired on Netflix since 2021.
Craig Douglas McCracken was born on 31 March 1971 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, United States of America. He was interested in drawing since the age of three. After graduating high school from California High School in Whittier, he briefly pursued a career as a comic book illustrator.
Soon, he became interested in animation, joined the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and improved his animation skills. He met his classmate Genndy Tartakovsky at the Institute, with whom he periodically collaborates throughout his career.
Recalling about how he wanted to make more than just illustrations and decided to enroll in CalArts, McCracken said, "I started drawing when I was three or four years old. I was a big fan of Tintin and The Rocketeer and classic comic strips like Krazy Kat...Back then, my dream job was to be a comic-strip artist. But by the time I was ready to get into that industry, it was really dying, so I gravitated towards animation. When I was 12, I didn't know whether I wanted to work in print or animation, but I think when I was in high school and doing comic books and comic strips, I found that I wanted to add music to them. I would come up with a joke that was based on timing or the way a line was said. That's when I realized that the way my imagination was working, I wanted to be more of a filmmaker and to work in animation. So I applied to CalArts right out of high school and got in."
McCracken eventually made a series of short cartoons featuring a character named No Neck Joe during his first year. It was picked up by Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. He also made a project film called Whoopass Stew! while in college; the project was later renamed The Powerpuff Girls.
In 1993, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons hired McCracken as an art director for the Turner Broadcasting System for 2 Stupid Dogs, for which he collaborated with his friend Tartakovsky. Meanwhile, the studio president Fred Seibert started a new project to develop an animation incubator comprising 48 new cartoons, with each lasting for seven minutes.
McCracken was inspired by the project, What a Cartoon!. He soon decided to expand his Whoopass Stew! concept, which later became The Powerpuff Girls.
Before Powerpuff Girls (1995), McCracken had made a couple of episodes of the animated series Dexter’s Laboratory. The series was created by Tartakovsky and it was the first animated children's cartoon pilot to be picked by the Cartoon Network.
The show was about the quests of a genius boy called Dexter and his sister Dee Dee who is always present to collapse his plans.
McCracken worked for five episodes in 1996. For his work in Dexter’s Laboratory, he was nominated for the ‘Emmy Award’ under the category of ‘Outstanding Animated Program for Programing one hour or less’ in 1996 and 1997.
On retrospective, McCracken revealed that while making the show, the notion of an animator owning or having rights over their creation was non-existent. Along with that, he also shared that he along with other creators did not hold back while including ideas on the episodes due to less chances of getting to work on the same project for a long duration.
He connoted, “We better put everything we've ever wanted to put into a cartoon in these episodes…Giant robots? Yes. Superheroes? Yes. Crazy science-based stuff? Yes. We didn't know if we'd ever get another chance to make something like this.”
Later, he co-wrote the 1999 animated movie based on the cartoon titled, Dexter’s Laboratory: Ego Trip. The movie was directed by Tartakovsky, and McCracken co-wrote it with other writers including, Chris Savino, Paul Rudish, Amy Keating Rogers, and John McIntyre.
The story chronicled Dexter’s attempt to save the world from the futuristic robots with the use of his time machine. While the plot was initially sought to be an episode, the writers extended it to introduce it as another version of the show. As a result of that, it became Cartoon Network’s first originally produced television movie.
‘No Neck Joe’
Later, McCracken also created an animated short movie No Neck Joe which was released in 1997.
The story introduced Joe who is around 10 years old and does not have a neck, making his head and upper body into one portion. The movie is segmented into the character's five unique journeys of experiencing life with no neck.
Due to its unique and non-conventional character, the film was perceived with mixed critical reviews. MacCracken was one of the producers alongside DNA productions and others.
'The Powerpuff Girls'
The story of the cartoon was centered on a trio of young, super-powered girls who safeguard the imaginary city of Townsville from huge crazy monsters, brilliant primates, and other perils.
McCracken had originally dubbed the show by the name Whoopass Stew!. In the story, scientist Professor Utonium would use a secret chemical called Whoopass. To make the series more kid-friendly, the component was renamed Chemical X, and the series was renamed The Powerpuff Girls.
The show's first pilot, 'The Powerpuff Girls in Meat Fuzzy Lumpkins,' debuted on Cartoon Network's on 20 February 1995, followed by a second short, 'Crime 101,' on 28 January 1996. The full series was premiered on 18 November 1998.
The show quickly became one of the popular cartoons on the Network and eventually won an 'Emmy Awards' and 'Annie Awards.'
McCracken also directed the movie The Powerpuff Girls Movie (2002), a prequel to the series.
The Powerpuff Girls was on the air while the infamous comic cartoon Batman: The Animated Series was also going on. McCracken had approached the network with a cross-over idea where the Joker would be would present himself in the Powerpuff girl’s City and causes havoc. And the mayor of the town would ask for the girl's help to control Joker.
Unfortunately, the crossover was not deemed approachable by the producers of Batman. Hence it remained undeveloped.
‘Power Puff Girls Z' (Anime)
Further, in 2006, McCracken introduced the anime version of Powerpuff Girls called the Powerpuff Girls Z. It was developed by Cartoon Network along with Aniplex and Toei Animation.
This original Power Puff version was influenced by the United Productions of America (UPA) animations; it was customized to fit the anime aesthetic by using flat characters, thick outlines, and simple shapes.
However, Power Puff Girls Z was still different than UPA or the original version in terms of using the style elements. In the new anime version, the physical appearance of the girls was modified to likely human form compared to their original big eyes and fingerless hands. In the anime version, the girls are not formed in the lab but instead were inducted with the chemical X potion.
In addition, the anime had an addition a plot that involved Professor Utonium having a son named Ken, prior to the girls. And the girls were not given the relation of sisters but of classmates who have their own respective families.
This version was aired from 2006 to 2007 with a total of 52 episodes. It was also rebooted to two volumes of manga comics and a Nintendo DS video game. Later, the network CW, the amalgamated version of CBS and Warner Bros, who were entitled to the Powerpuff Girls franchise, reintroduced the anime version in 2016; however, McCracken was not a part of it.
The Powerpuff Girls also ended on 25 March 2005. The network rebooted it, and the first two seasons were released in 2016, starring the voice actors Amanda Leighton, Kristen Li, and Natalie Palamides. The production of the third season was completed on 16 June 2019.
Live Animation ‘Powerpuff’
The Powerpuff Girls live-action series based on the original animated series has been in development at the network. It is set to feature the adult versions of the three kindergarten-aged girls from the iconic series.
In 2021, McCracken reacted to the announcement by saying that he was curious to change the original concept, "I'm curious to see what they do with it. The initial concept of Powerpuff Girls was the idea that they were little kids being superheroes, so the fact that they're making them grow up, that sort of changes that initial concept. But we'll see what they do with it."
In 2020, the cast of the live-action was revealed. Chloe Bennett was set to play Blossom, Dove Cameron was Bubbles, and Yana Perrault was Buttercup.
The adult version of Blossom Utonium—who has a perfect childhood—went on to obtain advanced academic degrees. However, she has a hard time adjusting and she gets socially outcasted as a result of her suppressed childhood trauma. Eventually, she moves on with her ambition to aspire and become a leader once more, as she is led by her own goals rather than those of others.
Meanwhile, portray Bubbles Ultonium who grew up with her adorable kindness develops a shield for herself. Her grown-up appeal gets combined with a hardness developed with experience, as well as a wit to match. She gets misunderstood by many. She is often presumed to be more concerned with regaining fame than with doing genuine heroics.
Finally, Buttercup Ultonium had spent most of her life attempting to shed the tough and rebellious attitude she had adopted during the group's ascent to fame. But she turns to be a bit more sensitive young woman in her twenties who, like Blossom, isn't looking for attention and praise the way Bubbles is.
The live-action series was being written by Diablo Cody and Heather Regnier which was set to be directed by Maggie Kiley.
Among the other cast of the show, Sara Bellum’s character is set to be played by Robyn Lively and the original cartoon narrator Tom Kenny is joining as the narrator of the live-action series again. In addition, the series is getting the legacy of Mojo Jojo as the original cartoon and Nicholas Podany is set to play the infamous villain chimp’s son.
In 2021, a portion of the script was leaked on Twitter right after the test of the pilot episode of the live-action series.
Subsequently, the chairman and CEO of the network CW, Mark Pedowitz made a statement to the press stating that they could not proceed with the proposed pilot because of its lack of reality checks. He stated, “We believe in the cast and [writers Diablo Cody and Heather Regnier] and [executive producer Greg Berlanti] and studio Warner Bros. In this case, the pilot didn’t work…Because we see enough elements in there, we wanted to give it another shot. It may have felt a little too campy and not rooted in reality.”
When asked about the leaked content of the new show, Pedowitz did not make any formal comments. Later, the vanity fair revealed that the leaked script was about the shunned pilot version. It contained the girls’ capturing intimate pictures followed by sexual content.
The live-action series is set to be made available between the years 2021-2022.
‘Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends'
After four seasons of working in the same cartoon and other productions of the franchise of the Powerpuff Girls. Later, McCracken moved on to his next project, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, in 2004.
And like his previous creation, this series was also one of the popular cartoons of the network.
The story of the cartoon followed children in an orphanage who manifest imaginary friends. And when the kids grow out of the imaginary friends, the friends are sent to Madame Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends from where they can be adopted by other children.
McCracken created the cartoon alongside his wife Lauren Faust who was one of the writers. The show lasted for six seasons till 2009.
McCracken won several accolades for Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. In 2005, he won an ‘Emmy Award’ under the category of ‘Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation’. Followed by that, in 2006 he was nominated for ‘Outstanding Animated Program ("for programming less than one hour?) and again in 2007 for the same category.
Eventually, he won the 2009 ‘Emmy Award’ ("for Outstanding Animated Program (for programming one hour or more)."
Movie Adaptation of ‘Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends’
Then in 2021, McCracken revealed that he was open with the idea of developing a live-action movie of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. He added that he and Faust have approached the network with a story for the movie.
McCracken first coined the idea of Kids Cosmic in 2009 but thought that it would not be justice to the character if he created only a random small-scale cartoon. So, he kept postponing the idea with a vision of serializing it. When animated series became popular in recent years, Netflix contacted him to make a series leaving McCracken to pick the story after a long wait. The production began in early 2018, and it has been airing since 2021.
The comic story revolves around an imaginative kid with a desire to be a hero who finds that his vision of being a hero is vastly different from reality. He lives with his free-spirited Grandpa in a sparsely populated desert town. By and by, when he discovers 5 Cosmic Stones of Power on a crashed spaceship, his dreams seem to come true. Then to reclaim the stones and stop the extraterrestrial assault, he recruits a team of local heroes. Even though the kid and his have god intentions, they are terrible in their mission,
The core message of the series is that it doesn't require any superpower to become a hero; the scenes in the story included how the common man uses his/her abilities to fight alien invaders. The show's characters were created to explain how ordinary individuals of different ages, genders, and backgrounds can be heroes.
In retrospect, McCracken wanted to create a show about that period in a kid's life when they have naïve confidence and whatever they want to do can happen. That stage of one's life inspired him to advance the story of Kids Cosmic.
He added, "I remember when I was a kid, I used to draw comic strips and comic books and didn't understand why I wasn't ready to be published at 12. There was another period when I decided to start a t-shirt drawing business and I started drawing cartoon characters and band logos, so I put the word out in school. I thought I was going to have this business where I was going to make tons of money! I had this conviction it was going to work. When developing Kid Cosmic, I wanted to tap into this naïve confidence that all kids have. So, the show is about a kid who has this fantasy of being a hero and that opportunity literally lands at his feet. Would the fantasy play out the way it does in movies or comic-book scenes, or would the reality be much different? That was the basic inspiration."
According to CelebrityNetWorth, McCracken's net worth is estimated to be $1 million.
McCracken got married to a fellow animator Lauren Faust in 2004. She has worked alongside McCracken in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Wander Over Yonder, and The Powerpuff Girls. They welcomed their first child, a daughter, in 2016.