What do university professors do after they retire? If they are like Dr. Roger C. Schlobin, Ph.D., they write a fantasy novel based upon Chinese mythology, self-publish it (in an unusual size; 9” x 6”), and try to get it sold to be made into an animated feature film.
Good luck. It seems too far outside the mainstream of animated fantasy cinema to obtain the backing necessary to become an animated movie. Those have production budgets averaging $50 million dollars and up today. As a fantasy novel, however …
Normally, damp or wet fur isn't a pleasant thought or smell, but in this case, it's a very good thing! Five upcoming furry-themed video games have been found on Steam's Greenlight Program, and are given previews in this roundup.
Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin
Currently available for iOS devices and Google Android and coming soon to Windows and Mac OS X via Steam, Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin is the first appearance of the lapine in a video game since his adventures on the Commodore 64, back in 1988 — 25 years ago!
This game by Happy Giant is based on the classic comic book series by Stan Sakai. Usagi Yojimbo is renowned for his appearances in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and television series. In the game, you act as Miyamoto Usagi, the rabbit warrior, on an epic journey to restore order to the land of feudal-era Japan, with only your trusted sword Grasscutter to assist you. In the game, you will battle over fifty different types of enemies, with three boss monsters from the comics.
Some have called it "a beast that easily outruns the competition". It's smart, it's cute, it can fry two fish at once, and it's coming this summer – to your phone! [tip: diadexxus; best in HD]
The Snapdragon is an popular mobile system-on-chip designed for the ARM architecture. Many cell phones use one, including U.S. variants of the heavily-hyped Samsung Galaxy S4.
Related video: Even trolls need a break
Tower of the Dragon is a 3D animation project based in San Leandro, California. It plans to tell the story of Lyric, a young girl who has to save a world where reading is forbidden and magic is only used by those who obey without thinking.
The story is to deal with such issues such as bullying, insecurity, and self reliance. The fully-rendered movie is anticipated to cost $2,000,000 to make, so at present the project is focusing on creating an animatic of the screenplay.
A Kickstarter campaign has been started, hoping to raise $50,000 to fund its creation. Once the animatic is complete, it will be shown to 100+ reviewers, and their feedback will be used to create a revised animatic, in an iterative process until the story is ready to be rendered at full resolution.
With 21 days to go, the campaign has raised $16,811.
Christina Yen is an anthropomorphic and fantasy artist who creates works under the name Sixth Leaf Clover. One of her specialties is dragons, variously anthro and not, and especially those of a “metallic” variety. Therefore it’s especially apt that she has released an art tutorial book called Metallic Dragons. In it you will find not only instructions for drawing dragons in various forms, but also coloring instructions (in both digital and traditional forms) for making your dragons look like silver, or gold, or steel, or what have you. She has also released a portfolio book of her artwork entitled Sixth Leaf Clover — The Art of Christina Yen. Both of her books are available in trade paperback on her art web site — and of course, so are a collection of prints, 3D works, and other fancies, including a 2013 calendar.
Dragon Resurrection is a new full-color trade paperback from Dark Horse, coming this May. It’s written by Emmy-nominated producer Mark Byers, ably assisted by Lin Zhang and Lyan Zhang, and illustrated Erfan Fajar. “Following the discovery of the remains of a dragon in the mountains of Tibet, adventurer Jesse Chang sends a DNA sample back to his twin brother, geneticist Jack. However, when a rogue American general learns of the discovery, he sets in motion a global pursuit to seize and control the technology for his own shocking ends. Now these twin siblings must synthesize the dragon’s DNA, creating a new generation of living, breathing dragons, in order to take on a tyrant bent on building his own personal kingdom.” Of course, there’s already a movie version in the works. Check out Dark Horse’s preview web site to see more.
The guys at Ape Entertainment put it very well: “Fans of Toothless, the flying Nightfury from 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon, have had many reasons to celebrate of late. First DreamWorks Animation announced it would release two sequels to the hit film, scheduled for 2014 and 2016. Then Global Creatures brought the character to animatronic life for a live arena show that has been touring the world since March. Earlier this month, Toothless made the transition to the small screen with the debut of a tie-in animated series on Cartoon Network. Now, he’s making the leap to the printed page in Ape Entertainment’s Dragons: Riders of Berk comic series, expected to hit newsstands in December.” The new full-color comic book series is written by Aaron Sparrow and illustrated by James Silvani, who previously teamed up on Disney’s Darkwing Duck for BOOM! Studios. You can also read an interview with them about the new comic at Animation World Network.
Technically, “fractured fairy tales” is a TV cartoon series by Jay Ward, originally part of Ward’s Rocky and His Friends from 1959 to 1961; but it has become a popular generic term for any modernized, satirical story in a traditional European fairy tale setting. This certainly fits Elizabeth D. Baker’s Tales of the Frog Princess novels. Although published for the 10- to 14-year-old age group, they are witty enough that adults will enjoy them, and they contain enough talking animals and humans transformed into animals to please the average ‘morph fan.
The narrator, Emeralda (Emma), is a tomboyish 14-year-old princess of the stereotypical fairytale Kingdom of Greater Greensward. The kingdom is supposed to be protected from conquest by a princess who becomes a kindly, guardian Green Witch in each generation. Unfortunately, a fairy’s curse has turned any princess who touches a flower after she turns sixteen into an ugly, nasty hag, which disqualifies the Green Witches. When Emma’s grandmother, Queen Olivene, fell under the curse, she turned her daughter Grassina’s fiancée Haywood into a frog (they think). Emma is despondently sure that she is too inept to ever become her generation’s Green Witch. Also, her mother, Queen Chartreuse, is trying to marry her off to handsome but unlikable Prince Jorge.
I recently had an article, “The Furry Novel That Nobody Has Read”, published in Anthro #32, November-December 2011. It is about the Dutch About Reynard the Fox (Van de vos Reynarde), by Robert van Genechten, published in 1941. The reason that I had not read it is that it was only published in Dutch, which I do not read. (Yes, I once had a copy.) The reason I said that nobody else has read it is that it is a very anti-Semitic pro-Nazi talking-animal satire that equates rhinoceroses with Jews. There was never an English-language edition, and due to modern anti-Hate literature laws in America and most Western European nations, it could not be reprinted or translated today. (Correction: at least one modern Dutch neo-Nazi group is trying to keep the 1941 Dutch edition available.)
But what about other, modern Furry novels in foreign languages that have never had English-language translations? They certainly exist, and Furry fans in France, Germany and other nations can read them in their own countries; and they theoretically could still be translated into English some day. What have we English-language readers been missing?
Here’s something new that hit the shelves this summer: Seraphina, the debut novel by Rachel Hartman. Here’s the description from Amazon: “Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.” Seraphina is available in hardcover from Random House.
The Cartoon Brew website has a preview of DreamWorks’ TV series sequel to its 2010 hit theatrical feature and Ursa Major Award winner: Dragons: Riders of Berk, a CGI series premièring on Cartoon Network on Tuesday, September 4.
The show will recount the further adventures of Hiccup (and Toothless) and his friends, and their dragons, of the Viking island of Berk, as they all learn to become expert dragon riders. (Comparisons with Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern are already being made.) The movie’s principal voice cast will re-play their characters, and new characters will include Tim Conway as Mulch and Mark Hammill as Alvin the Treacherous.
Dragons: Riders of Berk will keep the series fresh until the theatrical sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2 (or whatever it will be named), is released in June 2014.
After a few years and much talk, Dreamworks Animation are ready to premier their new TV series Dragons: Riders of Berk. Re-named from the more simple Dragons, this new series brings us further adventures of the young viking Hiccup, his dragon friend Toothless, and other characters from the Ursa Major Award-winning feature film How to Train Your Dragon. Jay Baruchel (as Hiccup), America Ferrera (as Astrid), and several other voice actors from the feature film reprise their roles for this new TV series. Unlike previous Dreamworks series like The Penguins of Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, this new Dragons series will be shown on Cartoon Network instead of Nickelodeon. A special preview episode will air on Cartoon Network starting Tuesday, August 7th. Check out their Wikipedia entry too.
Here’s a different take on the traditional princess vs. dragon story: “Princeless is about Princess Adrienne who lives in a land of fairy-tale castles. When the Princesses reach age 16 they are put in a tower guarded by a fearsome dragon, where they languish until a dashing would-be Prince comes to rescue them. It’s traditional. Apparently knowing which end of a sword to stick in a dragon is a fit test for kingship… Adrienne isn’t pleased with this state of affairs, and after one particularly luckless knight turns up she decides she’s had enough. Chatting late into the night with Sparky (the dragon) they decide to abandon the castle, fake her own death and set off on a quest to save her sisters from their towers.” Fantasy creatures and fantasy tropes show up aplenty in this series, and none of them looked at in the traditional way. Now Action Lab Comics have released Princeless: Save Yourself, which collects the first story arc of the series (written by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by M. Goodwin) into one handy full-color trade paperback. Check out their blog.
Isiah Jacobs: Welcome back, Mr. Griffin! It's a pleasure to have you on the show again!
Rick Griffin: Thank you for having me
Isiah Jacobs: Just so you know, if you come back five times, you get a free coffee mug, so make sure you have my producer stamp your card before we're done.
For starters, you lied to me, sir! Last time you were here, I asked you if you had any other projects in the works, and you didn't even mention this story! What gives?
Rick Griffin: Well I first wrote this story back in 2010 and for a long time I hadn't had any plans on updating and releasing it.
Isiah Jacobs: So then why did you decide to release it? Trying to get your claws on another award for next year?