Creative Commons license icon

transformation

Tales of the Seal Folk

[Back from CaliFur, and we have so much to talk about!]

Over at Cartoon Brew they have premiered the brand-new trailer for the upcoming animated film Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore. Like Moore’s previous film The Secret of Kells, this new feature will be hand-drawn in a traditional 2D fashion with a highly stylized design. And, like that first film, this new one is based on the legends and lore of Ireland — in this case, the story of the Selkies, magical beings who are seals in the ocean but can shed their furry skins to become humans on the land. “Song of the Sea tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Seal-child – who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. ” As with The Secret of Kells, Songs of the Sea has been picked up by GKIDS for distribution in North America. Now if we could just get a firm date for its release!

image c. 2014 GKIDS

image c. 2014 Cartoon Saloon

Review: 'Jonathan', by Russell O’Neil

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Jonathan The spirit of Thorne Smith lives! Or it did in 1959, when this novel was published. Transformation was never so funny, or so inebriated, as when they wrote it.

There were no moral implications in Arthur Green’s watering the Scotch; it was purely an executive maneuver. A less efficient administrator might simply have apologized for having forgotten to stock his trailer with whiskey, but Arthur knew that his particular victims would then merrily have forgiven him and produced their own. If they were to drink, as they surely were, it was obviously better to have them do so from his unproofed stock than from their own authentic supply. (p. 1)

Arthur is the Hollywood producer of a Western being filmed on location somewhere in the Mexican desert. In the production company are Arthur, the harried producer; George McKaye, the matter-of-fact director; Jonathan Cartwright, the reluctant scriptwriter and Carol Holloway, his loyal secretary; Max, the practical horse wrangler; Bruce Gentry, the egotistical cowboy star; Melissa Drummond, the self-centered leading lady; and Beverly Dawn, a ditzy starlet. And Lightning, Gentry’s noble steed, who is in reality Gladiola, a well-trained but dimwitted and oversexed mare.

Jonathan, a heavy drinker and practical joker, is only at the production in the desert because his contract forces him to be there for on-the-spot rewrites. Jonathan loathes being away from “civilization” (the largest metropolises where alcohol is readily available), so he brought a large supply with him. He also loathes the vain Gentry, who takes advantage of his stardom as much as he can. Jonathan has been trying unsuccessfully to get Arthur Green to film one of his non-Western screenplays for three years. Jonathan seldom travels anywhere without Carol, his super-efficient secretary who is his pal in his binges, keeps him from getting fired, and has a crush on him.

NYC, Appleton-Century-Crofts, March 1959, 214 pages, $3.75. Based on an idea by Ann Noyes Guettel. Frontispiece by Doug Anderson.

Announcement: 'Allasso' Volume 3 at last

No votes yet

Allasso vol. 3: Storge Brian Lee Cook’s Allasso Furry book series/magazine was started in 2011, announcing two volumes per year. (He and I had argued over whether this meant semi-yearly or bi-yearly. He says bi-yearly and I say semi-yearly.) Vol. 1 was published in November 2011 as a 116-page trade paperback with 14 stories and poems [review], and vol. 2 in May 2012 as a 134-page trade paperback with 11 stories and poems [review]. Frequent contributors include Mary E. Lowd, Renee Carter Hall, and Tristan Black Wolf.

Vol. 3 was promised for December 2012, but never appeared, and e-mails to Cook were not answered. It was assumed that this was another “little magazine” that had ceased publication almost as soon as it had started. But vol. 3 has finally appeared without fanfare, dated by Amazon.com as May 13, 2014, in a 140-page trade paperback edition for $8.00 (Amazon.com’s discounted price is $7.20) with 12 stories and poems, all Furry.

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

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

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

If You Could Be Anything…

Anomaly Productions have released a new full-color hardcover graphic novel called Shifter. It’s the first in a planned new series. “What if you could soar with the birds – not in a man-made contraption or by using virtual reality, but as an actual bird? What if you could literally be a fly on the wall in a top-secret meeting? What if you could become any animal in the world or, better yet, anybody in the world? What if you could become any creature that has ever existed (and some you never believed could exist)? Find out the answers to these questions and more in Shifter, the latest full-color graphic novel from Anomaly Productions. Shifter is a sci-fi murder mystery with a unique perspective, a pulse-pounding thriller that explores the depths of humanity’s evil and the tremendous powers of the animal kingdom.”  You can find out more, and see more sample pages, at Anomaly’s Shifter page. Written and illustrated by Brian Haberlin (assisted by Brian Holguin), like many Anomaly Productions products Shifter features an available app to download. Aim your smart phone at the page, and animated characters leap out of the book and dance before you.


image c. 2013 Anomaly

Video: the Kia hamsters are back, getting 'totally transformed'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

The Kia hamsters, rodent stars of several commercials for the Kia Motors Corporation, are back in an advertisement to promote the 2014 Soul.

The ad, set to Lady Gaga's "Applause", features the three hamsters jogging, swimming, and working out on various pieces of gym equipment. At the end, emphasising the message that the Soul has been "totally transformed" with a "sleeker, sexier and more sophisticated" look, the hamsters are seen radically slimmed down, wowing the public at a red-carpet event.

The campaign was produced by Kia's long-time ad agency David & Goliath, and directed by its Executive Creative Director, Colin Jeffery. The MTV Video Music Awards (Sunday, August 25) will feature the commercial; it hits 18,000 movie screens across the U.S. on August 30.

Review: 'Endtown 3' [and] 'Endtown 4', by Aaron Neathery

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)
'Endtown' volume 3
'Endtown' volume 4

Endtown has been a black-&-white Monday-Friday webcomic since January 18, 2009. Its popularity has grown fast, and it was shortlisted for the 2011 Ursa Major Award in the Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story category. A rave review by Bill Sherman in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (June 24, 2011) [originally on Blogcritics] began:

A snappy blend of Boy and His Dog sci-fi plus funny animal comics, Aaron Neathery's Endtown is one of the underseen gems in web comics. Originally debuting on the Modern Tales site - and more recently migrated to GoComics - the weekday series charts the travails of the beleaguered underground survivors of a mutant spawning radiation plague.

Endtown is set six years after a cataclysmic war has destroyed almost all life on Earth, leaving only a lifeless, desertlike surface and a few subterranean towns. The survivors are divided between the airtight-suited Topsiders, ruthless 100% human purists who kill other survivors on sight because they may be mutants, and the mutants and “impure” humans who try to survive in the underground enclaves. The “mutagenic plague” transformed its human victims into horrific monsters or, what makes this strip of Furry interest, anthropomorphic animals.

“Endtown 3”, by Aaron Neathery. [Introduction by Chad Rocco.] Bellevue, WA, Jarlidium Press, July 2013, trade paperback $15.00 (131 [+3] pages).

“Endtown 4”, by Aaron Neathery. [Introduction by Steve Gallacci.] Bellevue, WA, Jarlidium Press, July 2013, trade paperback $15.00 (131 [+3] pages).

Review: 'I Was A Rat!'

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

I Was A RatCurrently touring the United Kingdom is I Was A Rat!, a stage play based on the book by British author Philip Pullman.

Pullman's 1999 book opens with elderly couple Bob and Joan answering a knock at their door, and finding a boy in a tattered page's uniform. When asked who he is, the boy can only tell them, "I was a rat". Having no children of their own, Bob and Joan take the boy in and name him Roger. They soon find he has distinctly ratty behaviour - he cannot eat with a spoon and, on his first night, chews his bed linen to shreds.

Bob and Joan attempt to find Roger's parents, but find the authorities disinterested and unhelpful. After Roger runs away during an examination by the Philosopher Royal, he gets exploited as a sideshow freak, used as an assistant to house-breaking, and eventually takes refuge in the sewers. With the local newspaper The Scourge feeding the hysteria, he is eventually caught and, as "the monster of the sewers", put on trial for his life.

I recently attended a performance at the Liverpool Playhouse. The stage play follows the book fairly faithfully; it was extremely well done, and I had so much fun watching it that I returned to catch it a second time before the production moved on to their next venue.

Movie review: 'The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki'

Your rating: None Average: 4 (7 votes)

The Wolf Children Ame and YukiThe Wolf Children Ame and Yuki (trailer 1 - 2) is a 2012 anime film directed by Mamoru Hosoda. Unlike his 2009 Summer Wars, this movie is very slow, introspective, and somewhat tragic. It might appeal to a small subset of furries, but its furry elements are underplayed and it may not have enough animal content to hook us as viewers.

Talking about this movie without spoiling it impossible because the story has no complexity. Basically, a single mom moves to the country and struggles to raise two werewolf kids; one embraces their wolf heritage, the other rejects it, and the family moves apart. That's it. (See Wikipedia for a more complete summary.)

Be Careful What You Wish For…

We recently stumbled across the works of Celeste M. Bath and Rael Bayellis. They’ve both worked on several stories of adult fantasy adventure (emphasis on adult), several of which fall into the “furry” category, and now they’ve begun to collaborate as well. One of there most recent works is Randi: A Shadowcats Story.  Here’s the plot: “Randall was a very ambitious and powerful combat mage. When he found out about the Shadowcats he hatched a plan to make himself more powerful.  Unfortunately for him it didn’t work.  After having his brains scrambled and then his body changed after almost being killed, Randall is now Randi and owned by one of the more powerful Shadowcats in the Kingdom. Randi finds she enjoys life mated to the big sexy beast, and while she is now the most powerful mage in the Kingdom and both her and her mate are involved in Royal politics and intrigue, she finds her ambitions have changed…” The novel is available as an e-book, both at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


image c. 2013 Celeste M. Bath & Rael Bayellis

Little Girl to Little Cat

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.


image c. 2013 Little, Brown Books

And with that, we’ll say TTFN (ta ta for now!) until after Further Confusion in San Jose, California. Take care!

Stalking Cat confirmed dead at 54

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (15 votes)

Stalking Cat (Dennis Avner)Dennis Avner, better known under his Native American name Stalking Cat, died November 5. He was 54.

OggyWolf and BlueCanary confirmed Stalking Cat's death with local officials. His body is being held in Tonopah morgue for his brother [tip: STrRedWolf]. No cause of death was stated, but some claim suicide.

A former U.S. Navy sonar technician, and programmer, Stalking Cat was famous for having had extensive cosmetic surgery to adopt the likeness of his totem animal, the tiger, in accordance with Huron traditions. His body modifications included a split lip, labret-based whisker-holding implants, dental surgery, and silicone injections. He was also extensively tattooed.

Stalking Cat was a guest of honor at Rainfurrest 2007, and appeared at CritterConDiego 3 in 2002.

More coverage: BME ModBlog (inc. interview) - East County Magazine [tip: Higgs Raccoon]

Review: The 'Tales of the Frog Princess' series, by E. D. Baker

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The Frog PrincessTechnically, “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.

Review: 'Archival: Most Secret', by Rob S. Rice

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Archival: Most SecretThe back-cover blurb for Archival: Most Secret is accurate but misleading.

Join the heir to a faerie legacy and his bloody companion on a journey that ends before the very ramparts of New Orleans and in the smoke of a terrifying battle. What was the secret Winston Churchill’s valet sought to share with his employer from beyond the grave? Meet Flight Lieutenant Neville ‘Bunny’ Edwards, who in the course of the Second World War loses his humanity, but never his courage or his determination to stay in the fighting.

This makes the book sound like a collection of three stories that are each about a man transformed into an animal. Instead, men are transformed into animals in wholesale lots.

In these three stories, in the form of letters, diaries, journal entries, and interviews covering the years 1805-14, 1894, and 1941, magic is so prevalent that a secret Ministry of the British government has to be formed to practice and combat it.

Denver, CO, Esterhazy Press/Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com, July 2007, trade paperback $14.95 (iv + 185 [+ 1] pages). Illustrated by Donna Barr.

Toys: It's the Mecha-Disney Monster!

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Mecha-Disney MonsterHot on the heels of the news of Disney partnering with luxury fashion clothes designers to create exclusive duds for attenuated versions of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and other classic Disney characters, comes this news that Disney is also partnering with Japanese toymaker Bandai to smooch said classic Disney characters together into a single “Voltron-style” transforming giant robot – coming in March 2013.

It may sound like a parody, but the Cartoon Brew website has a publicity picture of this “King Robo”. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto (plus Pluto’s doghouse and Steamboat Willie’s riverboat) into one giant robot! Like they say, we couldn’t make this stuff up. Check it out.

Page traffic