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Newly published: Fred Patten's 'Funny Animals and More'

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Funny Animals and More Funny Animals and More: From Anime to Zoomorphics, based on Fred Patten’s weekly columns from Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research animation website, was published March 26 by Theme Park Press. It is available in paperback and digital formats, and on Amazon.com.

The book is about animation and comic books rather than specifically anthropomorphic animals, but cartoon and CGI funny animals are a major theme. Topics include anime cat girls; Pokémon and Monster Rancher; Astro Boy and Atomcat; how a popular 1970s anime TV series led to the import of thousands of baby North American raccoons into Japan as pets, whose descendants are ruining thousand-year-old Buddhist and Shinto shrines today; animated Summer Olympics mascots like Misha the bear cub, Sam the eagle, Hodori the tiger, and Cobi the sheepdog, from 1972 to 2012; Patten’s favorite childhood comic-book funny animals like Amster the Hamster, Doodles Duck and his nephew Lemuel, Nutsy Squirrel, Dunbar Dodo, and SuperKatt, and how he would still like to see them animated; Crusader Rabbit; rats in animation; Reynard the Fox in animation; and Disney’s forthcoming 2016 Zootopia.

Korean cinema: Toilet-paper Merlin turns pianist into cow, who's saved from incinerator by com-sat in robot girl form

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Korean animation looks enough like Japanese animation that it is usually lumped together as anime. But I don’t think that even the Japanese have made an animated feature like The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, directed by Jang Hyung-yun and released in February in Seoul.

Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop announces this South Korean release about a pianist (male), transformed into a cow (female) by Merlin the Magician in the form of an anthropomorphic roll of toilet paper, and pursued by a villainous incinerator that wants to incinerate him/her; while a communication satellite falls from space, becomes an Astro Boy-like robot girl, and saves the cow from the incinerator and its secret agents. It falls into the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it category -- and Jerry has the trailer, so you can see 1'22" of it.

Read more: Review at TwitchFilm.com

Voting begins as 2013 Ursa Major Awards ballot released

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxx Here is the final ballot for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards. The voting is among the five titles in each category getting the most nominations. In several categories, there are six finalists because of ties for fifth place. In the Best Short Fiction category, only four finalists are listed because of too many ties for fifth place.

Voting is now open. Due to a technical issue, nominators will need to acquire a new key. The deadline is April 30.

As is not unusual, there were so many nominations for the fourth, fifth, and sixth place nominees in most categories that one more nomination could have made the difference between a title’s getting on the final ballot or not. Please nominate next year.

The 2013 Ursa Major Awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony at the CaliFur X convention, May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612.

2013 Ursa Major Awards nominations about to close

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Ursa Major Awards Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips, games, etc., will close on February 28. Voting for the winner will begin on March 15th and will close on April 30. The awards will be presented at CaliFur X on May 30 to June 1, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California.

If you have not nominated yet, you have only a few more days to do so. All titles first published or released during the 2013 calendar year are eligible. The awards are given in eleven categories: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game. The final ballot includes the top five titles nominated in each category.

To nominate (by February 28), and to vote (March 15–April 30), go to ursamajorawards.org. The 2014 Recommended Anthropomorphics List will be posted after March 1.

'Animation Breakdown Roundup!' comes to LA on March 8

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Animation Breakdown Roundup!, a one-day 90+-minute animation festival of 25 brand-new animated experimental shorts, will play on Saturday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m. at The Cinefamily, a.k.a. The Silent Movie Theatre, 611 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036; (323) 655-2510. Tickets are $12.

Co-curator Alex MacDonald says to expect something like past compilations such as Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation, The International Tournée of Animation, or The Animation Show. Animation Breakdown Roundup! will feature “over 90 amazing minutes of animation filled with world premieres and exclusives.”

What makes it of interest to us is that half or more of the 25 shorts feature anthropomorphic animals and even Furries, counting the psychedelic duck musicians, the wolfman or werewolf bikers, and indescribable but clearly sentient "things". How many can you find in this 1’07” trailer?

FoxyPimples break out in India

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FoxyMoron logo The January 23 issue of India’s Animation Xpress reports that the makers of anti-pimple cream Garnier Pure Active have hired the FoxyMoron digital advertising agency in Mumbai and Gurgaon to create a Hindi Facebook and YouTube advertising campaign for it. FoxyMoron has used “layered animation” to create “illustrated comic strips of iconic Bollywood characters” disfigured by pimples. It’s not anthro, but it is truly you-have-to-see-it weird. [Video 1 - 2]

There is nothing anthropomorphic about this except the name of the creative studio. Are we insulted by the name “FoxyMoron”? Have they ever done anything with cartoon foxes in it? (It probably started out as a play on "oxymoron", but still ...)

2013 Ursa Major Awards nominations open

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Ursa Major Awards Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards are now open. The awards, voted upon in 2014, celebrate the best anthropomorphic literature and art first published during the previous calendar year.

The awards are selected by a two-stage process of nominating and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the eleven categories. The top five nominees in each category (more in case of a tie) are then presented on a final ballot for a public vote.

The eleven categories are: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game.

Many nominations are likely to come from the 2013 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. However, inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible.

National Film Registry honors anthropomorphic animals

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Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop website noted on December 18 that the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry has announced its 2013 selection of twenty-five new additions. Several of the films are animated, or contain animated sequences, and among those, several feature anthropomorphized animals.

Religion: Satan is a Furry

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Happy Science: Satan1 We’ve all heard the charge that Furry fans are fetishists who dress up in fursuits just to have sex with each other.

Have you heard that Satan is a Furry; a cat-man from the Large Magellanic Cloud, responsible for all the evils on Earth?

That might be funny if over ten million people did not believe it.

That is one of the revelations made in The Laws of the Sun by Ryuho Okawa, one of the Bibles of the Happy Science religion.

Reviews: 'Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Newspaper Comic Strips Collection. Volume 1, 2010-2011', by various

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Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Newspaper Comic Strips Collection. Volume 1, 2010-2011 Aardman Animations’ Wallace & Gromit stop-motion clay (or plasticine) films should need no introduction to Flayrah’s readers. The first, A Grand Day Out, released in Great Britain for Christmas 1989, almost immediately became a sensation in both Britain and America. New short films, the Curse of the Were-Rabbit feature, the Shaun the Sheep TV series, and a steady stream of merchandising have kept the pair (for Flayrah, especially Gromit) alive for almost twenty-five years.

It seems bizarre that there was no Wallace & Gromit newspaper comic strip until May 17, 2010. As an American, I had assumed that there was a comic strip in Britain long ago, but apparently not. Here is its announcement:

Titan Comics and Aardman Animations have teamed up with The Sun newspaper to produce a daily Wallace & Gromit comic strip!

From May 17th, the inventive duo will feature in their very own daily comic strip in the newspaper, with each adventure running for 6 days, from Monday – Saturday. The comic strip comes after the success of Titan and Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit iphone comic, which was brought out to celebrate 20 years of the famous pair.

Don't miss the start of the first adventure, out on May 17th and let us know what you think!

Titan Comics, October 2013, hardcover $14.99 (unpaged [136 pages]). Foreword by Nick Park.

'Family Guy' kills off Brian Griffin

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Brian Griffin Brian Griffin, the martini-drinking anthropomorphic dog from the animated series Family Guy, has been killed off. In the episode which aired on November 24, Brian was hit by a car and subsequently died from his injuries.

In the same episode (entitled Life of Brian), Stewie Griffin had dismantled his oft-used time machine, and was unable to reconstruct it to go back and save Brian. A month after Brian's funeral, the family get a new dog, Vinny, voiced by Tony Sirico.

Family Guy writer Steve Callaghan explained why they decided to kill off Brian:

Well, this was an idea that got pitched in the writers room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up. As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters.

Update: Some fans were, predictably, not happy with Brian's fate. The effectiveness of online petitions is debatable, but one has been set calling for Brian's return. As of now (Nov 26), it has just under 42,000 signatures.

Animation: 'Animal Control!' is out of control

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The Cartoon Brew has an interview with Jordan Reichek, the director/producer of Animal Control! for Cartoon Network Asia, located in Hong Kong for broadcast throughout Southeast Asia. Animal Control! is a series of 1’47” dialogueless cartoons featuring Ya and Ba, two hapless Animal Control officers and the anthropomorphized animals whom they are supposed to control, especially surly, troublemaking Mr. Koala. Reichek describes it as “kinda like the Crocodile Hunter, but dumber.”

Animal Control! is produced by Reichek at his Perky Pickle Productions studio. What will really make the interview of interest to Flayrah’s readers is that links to PerkyPickle.com, where all ten episodes produced so far can be seen. Plus other goodies, such as the Invader Zim pilot, which Reichek worked on. Check it out.

A Dog and His Boy, with Glasses

Dreamworks Animation released the first set of stills from their upcoming feature film Mr. Peabody & Sherman in a recent article in USA Today. Cartoon Brew reprinted the images as well. The film (about a time-traveling dog and his young human assistant) is of course based on the original series of short cartoons that was part of The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. This new CGI version is directed by Rob Minkoff (he of The Lion King and the Stuart Little movies), and it’s set for release in March of 2014. There had been rumors going around for some time that the Mr. Peabody movie was going to be done live action, with a real kid playing Sherman and Mr. Peabody being a CGI-enhanced real dog. That idea did not go over very well with classic animation fans, but fortunately it turns out that Dreamworks is making it much more traditionally — just with a computer.


image c. 2013 Dreamworks Animation

Guess Who??!

According to Animation Scoop, veteran director Bill Kopp (known for Eek! The Cat, Schnookums and Meat, Dan Vs., and more) has been tapped by Universal Pictures to revive none other than Woody Woodpecker — in his original manic glory. In the article Mr. Kopp says that currently an animated feature and a new short cartoon are in development. Long a mascot of Universal Pictures, Walter Lantz’ most famous creation originally appeared in cartoons from 1940 until 1972. According to Animation Scoop, “A new Woody Woodpecker feature was first announced two years ago by Illumination Entertainment, then developing the film with co-writers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky – who were planning to ‘modernize the character for contemporary audiences’. ” That didn’t sit well with classic animation fans — including Bill Kopp, who has insisted that these new cartoons will feature Woody in his original silliness.


image c. Universal Pictures

Animation: 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 1/8'?

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The Cartoon Brew has a critique by Amid Amidi of Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 hybrid CGI/cartoon 6’46” short, “Earl Scouts”, in which Barry the strawberry and one of the pickle foodimals humorously(?) try to kill each other.

Did you know that there were any Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 short cartoons? I didn’t, but the whole “Earl Scouts” is on YouTube. Seeing is believing … well, not that foodimals are real, but that “Earl Scouts” is. Officer Earl is at the beginning and the end, but most of the short features the two anthropomorphized foodimals. Does Sony Pictures Animation plan any more shorts like this?

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