Kairos, volume 1 of 3, has just been published in France. It was announced here last month with an animated trailer from Studio La Cachette in Paris that had me salivating for the album! (Ankama’s catalogue lists a volume title that does not appear on the volume; “His Kingdom”.)
Now the book is here. Is it worth the hype?
(My thanks again to Lex Nakashima for making this review possible.)
Oh, yeah. This first album is both disappointing and tantalizing, only beginning to show the world in the trailer; its first scene, where the dragons emerge at night to kidnap Anaëlle, does not come before page 23 in the album.
Tome 1 ends with Nills, Koyot (the short, brown, beaky character), and Kuma (the big, green dragon? with short chin whiskers) walking towards the castle. Much is to be revealed in t.2.
Between May 30th and June 2nd, UK fans of comics and graphic novels can attend the BD (bande dessinée) & Comics Passion 2013, a series of events at the Institut Français in Queensberry Place, south-west London. [Facebook page]
The programme includes film screenings, artist talks and drawing workshops for children, teenagers and adults. There's not much on the menu that's explicitly furry, but the festival logo should appeal if nothing else! [Trailer]
I thank Lex Nakashima again for ordering these books from Amazon.fr and loaning them to me.
Hmmm. Well, you certainly gain a vocabulary of current French slang from reading this series. Ordi = PC. Les etrons = turds. La clope = cigarette. L’enfoire = bastard. Catin = whore. Lolcat = Sorry; that one’s American.
Filthy Beast (or Dirty Beast) Volume 1, “Hamster Catastrophe”, introduces the Bastogne family; father (unnamed), mother Vivienne, older daughter Elizabelle, younger daughter Amandarine, and cat Clarky. Their world is like ours, except that there is a factory, La Fabrique, that makes living pets to order.
An animal isn’t improvised here. We guarantee domestic PERFECTION.
Customers can order a bunny, a cat, a puppy, a ferret, a squirrel, a tarantula – anything – made to their choice. Calm to playful. Dominant to submissive. Quiet to expressive. Solitary to social. Stupid to intelligent. Brave to cowardly. Energetic to lazy. There is a long list. Eleven-year-old Amandarine whines that one of her classmates got a blue pony with wings for HER birthday, that her parents had designed it to graze on only the weeds in the garden … Their housecat Clarky comes from La Fabrique. He’s pale pink dotted with darker pink hearts; he’s intelligent; he loves everybody; and so on.
So the Bastognes decide to get Amandarine a designer pet for her birthday.
“Sale Bête. T.1, Hamster Drame”, January 2012, hardbound €10.60 (54 pages).
“Sale Bête. T.2, On Ira Tous au Charadis”, April 2013, hardbound €10.60 (48 pages).
Marcinelle, Belgium, Editions Dupuis; both written by Maïa Mazaurette, illustrated by Jean-Paul Krassinsky.
Animation Scoop has the new American trailer and poster for the 2011 French animated feature Le Tableau (The Painting), due for May 24 release.
Taking place during the Parisian flood of 1910, the two main characters are Emile, a shy film projectionist and amateur cinematographer, and his friend Raoul, a tinkerer who likes to invent gadgets and operates a delivery service out of the back of his truck. During a late-night delivery to an absent scientist's laboratory, Raoul plays with chemicals, unaware that his tampering accidentally creates a giant flea with a beautiful singing voice.
The "monster" is quickly targeted by Maynot, the Commissioner of police, who becomes obsessed with capturing and killing it as part of his campaign to become mayor. He's also taken an interest in a cabaret singer named Lucille, who disguises and hides the flea after recognizing its musical talents.
Raoul is an old friend/enemy of Lucille's, and soon he and Emile are in on her secret, trying to find a way to protect the flea from the Commissioner.
When I announced that Lex Nakashima and I were going to bring you news of new French anthropomorphic bandes desinées, I wasn’t expecting to mix that with animation. But Kairos has its own animated trailer, by Studio La Cachette in Paris:
So the main character is human! There are still lots of anthropomorphic characters in the world that he goes to. Lex & I will have a review of tome 1 of Kairos, published April 25 by Ankama, as soon as we can. [Until then, check out this preview.]
Lex Nakashima & I have started a project to inform YOU of the best untranslated French-language funny-animal adventure cartoon albums. The Blacksad series by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido has found a good American home at Dark Horse, but there are others that Americans are not being informed of.
Lex & I recently brought you a review of the first two The Saga of Atlas & Axis albums by Jean-Marc Pau. Next up is The Sword of Ardenois by Étienne Willem, to be completed in four albums, the first two of which are now available.
Author/artist Willem has said in interviews that The Sword of Ardenois is his homage to all of the Medieval-setting talking-animal fantasies that have influenced him; notably the medieval Roman de Renard, the Disney 1973 anthropomorphic-animal Robin Hood animated film, and Brian Jacques’ Redwall novels.
Willem’s first volume, Garen, won a BD Gest’ Art 2010 award (in 2011, for the best bande dessinée of the previous year) for the Best Youth Album of 2010.
As the Franco-Belgian animated film Ernest & Celestine should soon be released on DVD, I thought this would be a good time to review A Town Called Panic (trailer), a movie produced by some of the same animators in 2009.
Actually, let's go further back to 2002, when Belgian animators Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier created a series of twenty shorts for TV called Panique au village (Panic in the village). Each was about five minutes long, and like Robot Chicken (2005), employed stop-motion animation with plastic figurines, clay and other objects.
Otherwise the two shows are pretty different. Robot Chicken enjoys mangling pop culture and doing random sketches; while Panique au village focuses on the bizarre daily adventures of a small, constant cast of characters. Something they both have in common is a joy of the absurd, and Panique is often more manic in this respect.
My thanks to Lex Nakashima for ordering these albums from France and loaning them to me.
There was an announcement for these two albums on Flayrah in February. Then I did not know any more about them than I could find out online, on Ankama’s own website and on Amazon.fr. They looked good. Now that I have seen them, I can say that they look excellent; worth buying for the art even if you cannot read the French text.
Well, not exactly. You are probably vaguely aware that there have been a lot of French-language funny-animal bandes dessinées going back decades. Chlorophylle the dormouse. Attila the dog. Billy the Cat. Gai-Luron the hound. Poussy. Inspector Canardo. Chaminou the cat. Jungle Fever. The Centaurs. (Are centaurs funny animals?) Yakari is a little North American Indian boy who meets lots of talking/magic animals. Pif the dog and Hercule the cat. The Schtroumpfs/Smurfs aren’t exactly funny animals, but they aren’t exactly humans, either. Not to mention many famous supporting characters: Tintin’s dog Snowy, Spirou’s squirrel Spip. The long-tailed marsupilami started out as a supporting character in the adventures of Spirou and Fantasio, eventually getting his own series.
What you may not be aware of is that these characters did not appear in their own magazines. They were serialized, usually two pages at a time, in long-running weekly magazines, more like newspaper Sunday supplements in America; and then reprinted in their own albums. Spirou. Tintin. Pilote. Vaillant. Le Journal de Mickey.
I mean …
Jeff “Bone” Smith, in his Foreword, expresses it more elegantly, but I don’t think that he has any more idea than I do of what’s going on in these 300 awesome pages.
District 14 is an intoxicating brew of early twentieth century Americana, a world filled with immigrants, gangsters, and heroes. It’s like a dream mash-up of Little Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, noir and gangster films, as well as 10 cent comic books from the ‘40s … oh, and toss in Babar the Elephant for good measure (the authors are French, after all). (p. 4)
Um, yeah. And with aliens in flying saucers, a phony human superhero, gun-toting tadpoles and their frog crime boss, several anthro-animal underworld gangs at cross purposes, a crime-fighting goose newspaper editor and his fearless beaver reporter, various characters with unexplained psychic powers, some extortionists who are dubious good guys (after they beat the s--- out of you and you pay for their protection, they genuinely protect you), the Babaresque main character who has deep, dark secrets, and … lots more. Definitely noir. VERY noir!
Foreword by Jeff Smith. [Translation by Natacha Ruck & Ken Grobe]
Los Angeles, Humanoids, Inc., February 2013, hardcover $39.95 (300 [+ 4] pgs.)
Despite the implication on Flayrah, Los Angeles is not the only city to have festivals of animation with anthropomorphic stars. On February 28th through March 24th, the 16th Annual New York International Children’s Film Festival will play at seven different locations in NYC. The Festival will screen 100 different films (some live-action), and is expected to draw an attendance of 25,000+. It will present many of the films in the U.S. for the first time, to qualify them for 2013 Oscars.
Among the films are several that have been covered on Flayrah, including the Belgian Ernest & Celestine, about a mouse and a bear who become friends (French with English subtitles; Feb. 28 at Tribeca Cinemas); The Wolf Children (Ame & Yuki, the Wolf Children), about a college student who marries a werewolf who dies, and must raise their two werewolf toddlers alone (Japanese with English subtitles; March 3 at the Asia Society and 16 at SVA); The Day of the Crows, mostly about a feral child raised in the forest, but with some fantasy scenes of anthropomorphic animal-headed forest spirits (French with English subtitles; March 10 at FIAF); Welcome to the Space Show “with an intergalactic cast of thousands” (premiere of the English dub; March 9 at SVA), and Meet the Small Potatoes, for pre-schoolers about a musical group of animated potatoes who rise from small-town beginnings to international rock stardom (March 16 at the IFC Center and March 24 at the DGA Theater).
This is an announcement rather than a review because I have just found out about these two albums of bandes desinées, and I have not read them yet.
In the world of Pongeo, where all the animals talk and walk on two paws, Atlas and Axis are two mutts of very different characters and pedigrees: the first is intelligent and rational, while the second is controlled more by his feelings. One day when the two companions return to their village for a festival, they discover it ravaged by the cruel Vikiens, bloody brutes from the North who pillage and kill all who fall under their claws. So begins the saga of Atlas and Axis, the astonishing epic of two friends overflowing with courage, who leave to brave the great North to avenge their folk. In the grand tradition of adventuring duos, prepare to live a story funny and terrible, tender and epic … The kind of story that you’ll want to read and reread, wherein you’ll lose your innocence of a young puppy! (translation)
We’ve been following this one since we first caught wind of it in Animation magazine, and somehow it snuck by us… and right onto DVD at your local WalMart, no less. Cinderella: Once Upon A Time In The West (known as Cinderella 3D in Europe) is a new CGI feature from France, directed by Pascal Herold. The story is much as you’ve ever heard it before: Cinderella (a pretty pronghorn who can handle her own in a fight) lives with her cruel stepmother and ugly stepsisters (all of them big old hounds)… this time, in a town in the Old West. A handsome prince (also a canine, but much more… handsome) comes into town and… well you know the rest. Or do you? Did we mention the sand pirate monkeys who fly on vultures? Yes, it’s that kind of film! It’s produced by Delacave Studio, and you can check it out at their web site. Oh, the DVD is in English, by the way.
When you think of France, what do you think of? No, no; keep it clean – fine wines!
The Cartoon Brew website reports that a series of six animated TV commercials for Fat Louis Wines featuring Fat Louis, an anthropomorphic French duck, has been made by animation artist/director Andy J. Smith of Newburyport, Massachusetts. The six commercials are collected into a 2’49” compilation, Les Aventures de Fat Louis.