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]
Also from Creative Mind Energy comes The Adventures of Professor Wallaby, a series of illustrated books for young readers by two of the minds behind CME: Damian Wassel (story) and Nathan Gooden (art). “One quiet spring morning, on the far, far side of the island of Roo, an old wizard, Professor Wallaby, wakes to find Yazz, a helpless yak, caught by a gang of rats. Little does the Professor know that this mornin will spark a long series of adventures for him and his new friend. Filled with ancient secrets, dazzling warriors, fearsome pirates, close calls, and struggles of magic and might with a dark wizard seeking revenge, The Adventures of Professor Wallaby spans nine books, showing us all the true power of friendship”. Again, find out more at the CME web site.
Adam Henry is a an animator, storyboard artist, and animation director. Over the years he’s worked for Disney, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, Klasky-Csupo, and most recently Dreamworks — where he is a director on the hit TV series Dragons: Riders of Berk. On a more personal level, Mr. Henry has created Bibby the Bunny, a young rabbit with a positive attitude, a lucky streak, and a curiosity that older bunnies find downright dangerous. The first book in this new illustrated children’s book series, Bibby: A Bunny’s Journey, is available now at Mr. Henry’s Bibby the Bunny web site. It’s also available on iTunes, and will soon be coming out in other digital formats.
One of the most famous furry comics out there at the moment is Mouse Guard by David Petersen. This sword-and-sorcery tale (tail?) has already spawned collections, role-playing games, and a devoted following. Now and then, Mr. Petersen allows some of his friends to try their paw at the Mouse Guard characters and situations — and some of the best in the business came calling. After the first go-round’s success, Archaia Entertainment have announced that Volume 2 of Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard will be released as a full-color 4-issue miniseries, starting this May. “Contributors to issue #1 include Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Ben Caldwell (The Dare Detectives!), and the team of writer Nick Tapalansky and illustrator Alex Eckman-Lawn (Awakening). Subsequent issues will include contributions from Christian Slade (Korgi), Rick Geary (The Adventures of Blanche), Jemma Salume (Unicorn Life Cycle), Jackson Sze (concept art on films like The Avengers and Iron Man 3), Cory Godbey (Fraggle Rock, the upcoming Jim Henson’s Labyrinth), Eric Canete (Fear Itself: Spider-Man), C.P.
Following in the footsteps of Rise of the Guardians (sorry, we’re just sayin’…) comes Holiday Wars, a new full-color graphic novel coming this April from Th3rd World Studios. Based on the on-line continuing graphic story (written by Scott King and illustrated by Michael Odom), once again we have story where holidays are represented as living, breathing beings. “Holidays reflect the current culture of a society and like a shifting tide they change. Realizing this, The Easter Bunny declared war on the other Holidays in the hopes of gaining the one thing that can guarantee his immortality: The Holiday Spirit. Foreseeing The Bunny’s betrayal, Santa hid The Holiday Spirit and marked Tegan Cassidy, a human infant, granting her the ability to find it. After sixteen years of war, nearly all the Holidays have been killed or have joined The Bunny. Led by Earth Day, the rag tag group of observances still fighting, turn to a now teenage Tegan in the hopes that she can lead them to The Holiday Spirit.” Pre-order information for the trade paperback is up on Amazon.
Breather is a new full-color graphic novel, coming soon. It’s conceived by Graeme Base (creator of Animalia), written by Sean Patrick O’Reilly, and illustrated by Asta Gunn. “On the distant planet of Otarius, invaders from the Birshh Dynasty have captured and enslaved the native Otarans. Pushed on by the ruthless Governor, timid Dr. Bjrork conducts horrific experiments to create a superior breed of slave. Years later, Birshh-Otaran hybrids are raised in captivity, dependent on ‘breathers’ – life-saving gas-masks that filter the Otarian air they, as hybrids, cannot tolerate. Two siblings, Dhrmmn and Lilli, strive to prove worthy of the Dynasty, to earn privileges for their half-breed kind.” No political allegory here, nope nope. Breather is coming in softcover from Arcana Studio this April, and you can check out a preview over at Graphic Policy.
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.
Sofawolf Press have announced that Caterwall, a new full-color young adult graphic novel by Spain Fischer, will be arriving this summer. Originally announced last spring, this sword & sorcery tale follows the adventures of Pax, a feline would-be adventurer. Pax is “ the orphaned son of the kingdom of Katia’s greatest knights. His family name and reputation has been tarnished, however, and Pax is to blame. When the young cat intercepts troubling news from the neighboring kingdom of the dogs, Dewshire, his warnings fall on deaf ears. Banished from Caterwall after insulting the Dewshire diplomat, Pax must decide if he will try to stop the dangerous tide approaching Caterwal l– or turn his back on the home which cast him out.” The story will be told in a series of three 100-page graphic novels. We’ll admit to some confusion regarding the web site for this project. Some promotional posters released at Further Confusion and elsewhere give the web site as www.caterwall.net, which leads you to a “Coming Soon” page with an illustration. More actual information, however, can be found at www.caterwall.com, which includes artwork and background write-ups.
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.)
Another discovery from Further Confusion — and we wonder how we missed this before. Black Beak the Parrot Pirate is a creation of Jennifer Sopranzi, Catherine Van Riper, and Tony Sopranzi, featuring CGI tricked-up photos of real animals as illustrations for their rousing sea adventure stories for young readers. “In the crystal blue waters of the Southern Seas lies the home of the fierce pirate parrot Captain Black Beak. Welcome to Conure Cove, the beautiful Island home of the brave and gentle beasts and birds who live in this mystic land. These are the first seven tales of Captain Black Beak, the greatest pirate parrot to sail the seas. Long may his tales be told in stories, songs and poems.” Now the first seven short books in the series (all of them available on Amazon) have been collected into a single volume, Black Beak: Pirate Saga, which also includes some new material. You can find out more about all of this at the home page of Black Beak Press.
Well-known fantasy author Charles De Lint has teamed up with well-known illustrator Charles Vess to bring us The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, a new hardcover full-color graphic novel coming this March from Little Brown Books For Young Readers. “Lillian Kindred spends her days exploring the Tanglewood Forest, a magical, rolling wilderness that she imagines to be full of fairies. The trouble is, Lillian has never seen a wisp of magic in her hills–until the day the cats of the forest save her life by transforming her into a kitten. Now Lillian must set out on a perilous adventure that will lead her through untamed lands of fabled creatures–from Old Mother Possum to the fearsome Bear People–to find a way to make things right.” From the review at Amazon, of course.
And with that, we’ll say TTFN (ta ta for now!) until after Further Confusion in San Jose, California. Take care!
This anthropomorphic graphic novel requires going back and forth several times to understand the complex and incomplete story. In a bleak landscape of perpetual winter, a civil war has ended but the losing revolutionaries are continuing a guerrilla warfare. James Hardin (rabbit), a secret agent of the Resistance, has stolen a top-secret document to distract the N.P.O. (National People’s Organization; roughly the militaristic government) from a planned sabotage of a train over a strategic bridge. General Hanslowe (lion) assigns Officer Pavel (crow) and Captain Engel (tiger) to track him down and get the document back. Engel berates Pavel as a coward for allowing Hardin to escape in the first place. During the search, the N.P.O. team does not realize that Pavel accidentally kills Hardin.
The surviving rebels (Giles, a goat; Timothy, a frog, and Charlotte, a fox) plan to carry through Hardin’s real plan. Hardin’s orphaned children, James Jr. and Patricia, trying to help, sneak away and board the train. James triggers the detonator prematurely, destroying the train but not the bridge.
The rabbit children are taken to a military orphanage for rebel children; Engel plans to use them to find their father, who he believes is still alive. Subsequent events show which of the children, and of the adults, is the stronger.
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.
Eddie, a twenty-something struggling into adulthood as best he can, should be happy that he's got together with Dan, an old friend from art school; but there's a problem. Eddie is also Ford, an escort who has sex with strangers for money. To complicate matters further, he has a hopeless crush on his musclebound pimp, Nelson (as in 'Nelson's Column'). How long can Eddie hide his secret from Dan, and how did he get here in the first place?
Comics about the sex lives of anthropomorphic dogs are pretty common within the furry fandom. Comics on that subject by non-furries are rarer, especially comics praised by both Gay Times and Forbidden Planet International. So when a friend offered me The Lengths, a series of comics by Howard Hardiman about, in the artist's own words, 'dog-headed male prostitutes', I snapped it up.
The Lengths consists of eight issues, the last two in a double volume. Stapled black and white softcover, 28 pages per issue. Individual issues cost £2.50 or £3. A folder containing issues 1–6 is also available for £20.