Apr 1 2011, 6:28pm

Cartoons were once cathedrals of the modern age, hundreds of tireless hands toiling in obscurity to produce one collective 3- to 4-minute work of visual ecstasy. It cost a million dollars and took an army of enslaved artists a million and one drawings just to make Bosco's car stretch all the way around the block then squnch back into itself like a rubber accordion, but the result was animation you could watch for hours and never stop wondering "How dey do dat?" Then computers came along and--just like cars and furniture--turned cartoons into a bunch of bulbous, eye-destroying blobs.

Superjail is one of the last bastions of the olden wayes. A 100% hand-drawn cartoon show animated by a sweatshop full of hungry young artisans hunched over their Wacom tablets day and night. The attention to detail that slavedriver show creator and Cheeseburger guitarist Christy Karacas demands of his lifeslaves employees taxes the bounds of imagination.

We even went to a sound mix with Christy where he spent 15 minutes laboring over the exact right "ploop" for a popcorn kernel being shit out into a prison toilet. The end result was your basic drip with a little tinny pting aftertaste and lasts a grand total of one millisecond onscreen, but watching the process behind it was like getting to see an old Dutch master painting the perfect areola. Sheer awe-inspiring mastery.

Aside from simply testifying to Christy's unabashed passion and his declared intent to make Superjail "freaky for people watching stoned," the level of care is what makes each episode such an endorphin-baiting, mind-rush of eye buisiness.

We seriously can't watch a scene from any of the old ones without dedicating the rest of the night to finishing out the season. It's like crack. And now that season 2 is about to start (Sunday, April 3 on Adult Swim at 12 midnight), get ready to kiss the daylight good-bye for good.

Here's a sneak peek from the first episode of the new season. We dare you to hold back a tear.

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