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Pureed frog spawns teen licensing melee

Take a funky cartoon, add some edgy humor, throw in a frappéd frog, and you're on your way to creating a licensing hit-at least that's the route taken by Joe Shields, creator of joecartoon....
September 1, 1999

Take a funky cartoon, add some edgy humor, throw in a frappéd frog, and you’re on your way to creating a licensing hit-at least that’s the route taken by Joe Shields, creator of joecartoon.

Southport, Connecticut-based Selective Licensing recognized the potential of the cartoonist who put his now-infamous Frog In A Blender cartoon on the Internet on April 3, growing the site’s traffic to over 777,000 hits a day.

Selective is putting the finishing touches on a widespread apparel license for joecartoon T-shirts. Currently, the tees are only available on the Internet by Portland, Oregon-based licensee T-Line Design.

A development deal is also in the works for an animated series on MTV, for which Shields is hashing out a pilot. As well, a deal has been signed for Shields to develop a separate project for the MTV Web site, one that is ‘clearly Joe,’ says Arleen Scanlan, president of Selective.

The company also represents Psycho Chihuahua, a co-creation by Shields and partner Tom Rinks, which targets boys ages 11 to 14. The design duo, which co-owns a company called Wrench, developed the character a few years ago. The brand has attracted about 10 licensees, including Western Graphics for clothing, and Freeze and G.I. Apparel for T-shirts. Rinks and Shields are currently developing a TV pilot for the property.

Selective Licensing is also strengthening its tween girl property Rocket Girl, created by a New York-based company called the Ralsey Group. The Ralsey Group launched a Rocket Girl line of tween fashions last spring in department stores like Nordstrom and dELiAs. Designed for girls ages seven to 16, the apparel includes cardigans, tanks, halters, T-shirts and cargo pants, each with a hang-tag describing one of the five Rocket Girl characters. Current developments for the Rocket Girl property are a line of self-help books for tween girls on topics like self-esteem, and a pilot for an animated series.

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