An Ottawa animator is facing a wave of complaints from cartoon fans after giving a facelift to classic Looney Tunes characters.
Jessica Borutski has spent nearly two years redesigning characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd for Warner Bros.
When the company broke the news online, some angry fans lashed out by posting nasty comments aimed at Borutski.
One website, cartoonbrew.com, delivered a scathing review, calling her redesigns "embarrassing."
The review went on to say, "It looks worse than your average fan art" and said it isn't "the calibre of work one expects from a professional artist."
Borutski said she wasn't prepared for such negativity.
"My heart sank a little bit. It was hard to see such hatred," she said.
Chris Robinson, a cartoon historian, said fans feel a sense of ownership when they invest time into getting to know characters.
"They just really become attached to these things," he said.
"It's just so strongly rooted in their childhood that they're unable to separate themselves."
She studied the cartoons intensely growing up, and said Looney Tunes is the reason she became an animator.
But the classic Looney Tunes cartoons were made for adults, Borutski said, and it's time for a new generation to meet the characters.
She said a fresh, new design is the only way to keep characters alive.
"Everyone says, 'Why change it? Why change it?'" she said.
"Yeah, I'm with you on that. Why change it? It's perfect. But it's 2010, it's not 1945, and kids know Bugs Bunny and they love him but I think this is a way they can sort of, you know, create a whole new property — an exciting new property — still using these great characters."
The classic versions of the Looney Tunes cartoons are no longer played on children's channels because of the violent slapstick comedy.
Warner Bros. is scheduled to air new, child-friendly cartoons in the fall of 2010.