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Dark Horse's 'Beasts of Burden' comic book to become animated feature

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Beasts of BurdenCartoon Brew has announced that Dark Horse’s Beasts of Burden comic book by Evan Dorkin (writer) and Jill Thompson (artist) is being developed into a CGI animated feature film by the Reel FX Creative Studios in Los Angeles and Dallas. The feature is to be written by Darren Lemke, directed by Shane Acker (director of darkly depressing post-Apocalypse animated feature 9), and co-produced by Reel FX’s Aron Warner and Dark Horse’s publisher Mike Richardson and Andrew Adamson of Strange Weather Films (director of the first two Shrek and first two Chronicles of Narnia movies).

While the history of animated feature films is replete with movies featuring talking dogs and other animals, there are relatively few starring four-legged “natural” dogs (Disney’s Lady and the Tramp and Amblimation’s Balto come to mind), and virtually none with serious suspense/horror plots.

No other details are released yet. Reel FX has two other animated features in production at the moment, Turkeys based on Jimmy Howard’s buddy comedy about two odd-couple time-traveling turkeys, and the non-anthro Book of Life by Jorge R. Gutierrez, both announced for a 2014 release. But considering the track record of all involved, Beasts of Burden is a CGI fantasy feature that Furry fans can eagerly look forward to.

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I wrote a review of the Beasts of Burden trade hardcover; though I don't think I posted it - or Anthro hadn't gotten around to it. I'm on vacation right now, but in two weeks I could post it here. Though since I wrote it, there have been more comics in the series appearing sporadically here and there - I haven't read anything since the Hellboy crossover.

The comic stories are episodic in nature; the film is going to have to have a full plotline without breaks - so either they'll revamp the story idea entirely, use just part of the comics, or tell the main story but pace it very differently. Either way, I'm looking forward to it; I just don't expect it to be exactly the same; more of an adaptation.

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I think that the announcement makes it clear that this is to be a new story featuring the Beasts of Burden characters, not an adaptation of any of the existing comic book stories.

Fred Patten

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CGI... damn it.

Well, I'll be...

Your rating: None

While the history of animated feature films is replete with movies featuring talking dogs and other animals, there are relatively few starring four-legged “natural” dogs (Disney’s Lady and the Tramp and Amblimation’s Balto come to mind), and virtually none with serious suspense/horror plots.

The Plague Dogs comes to mind. I haven't seen the film but it's probably decently made (following Watership Down). The book is fantastic, even though it's so grim.

There's a live action grim sci-fi/post apocalypse film that comes to mind, A Boy and His Dog. It's pretty good too, even though the classic story it came from is hard to beat.

Your rating: None

Yes, Plague Dogs certainly counts, and you can make a strong case for A Boy and His Dog even though the whole cast is human except for Blood.

"Grim"? But A Boy and His Dog is supposed to be a comedy. Well, you just have to know Harlan, I suppose.

Fred Patten

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About the author

Fred (Fred Patten)read storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics