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Walt Disney

The mouse marches north

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Darth VerminBow to the almighty Death Star, you pitiful citizens of Alderaan! You are at the mercy of Mouse Vader!

That's how it feels lately, with the Walt Disney Company going on a shopping spree. They picked up Marvel Entertainment (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk) back in 2009, then Lucasfilm (Star Wars) in 2012, and almost bought Hasbro in 2013. Now they have signed a deal with Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment (Corus Ent) to bring The Disney Channel to Canada in 2017.

While this means most of the Disney Channel programs that currently air on Family will move there (and that Disney XD Canada and Disney Jr. Canada [English and French] will be re-named Family XTRM and Family Junior, respectively), Canadian furries and cartoon fans can only hope they'll get a maple leaf version of the late Toon Disney and air The Disney Afternoon programs, though they have gotten lucky with Nickelodeon Canada airing a long retro block of Nicktoons in the afternoon, so anything is possible!

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.

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.

The Adventures of Mickey Mouse — In Color

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, the daily comic strip, was initially written by Walt Disney himself and illustrated by Ub Iwerks when the strip began in 1930. When those two men found themselves too busy with animation to handle the strip, Floyd Gottfredson took over as both writer and artist — from late 1930 until 1975! Now Fantagraphics Books have brought together a special collection of full-color Sunday strips created by Mr. Gottfredson and put them in a paperback book, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Color Sundays, Volume 1: Call of the Wild (*whew!*). Here’s the description from Westfield Comics: “Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse series makes the jump from black and white to vibrant color. Many of these classic Sunday strips from 1932-1935 have never before been reprinted and have been restored from Disney’s archives and enhanced with a meticulous recreation of the strips’ original color. Call of the Wild also brings you more than 30 pages of supplementary features such as rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity material, and fascinating commentary by a prismatic pack of Disney scholars. This is a collection that fans have been seeking for a lifetime!” Edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth, this softcover hardback collection hits the stores in May.

Coming in November: "Full Steam Ahead!: The Life and Art of Ward Kimball", by Amid Amidi

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This is pretty tangential to Furrydom, but on November 21st Chronicle Books will publish a biography of Ward Kimball (1914-2002), the animator responsible for many of Disney’s most anthropomorphic cartoon characters from the 1930s until his retirement in the 1970s.