The animation community has been a-buzz following the announcement on several sites that Wes Anderson, direction of the Oscar and Ursa Major nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox, is developing another stop-motion animated feature film. About dogs. According to Cartoon Brew, “Details about his new canine cartoon are unavailable at this point. All we know is that it will be stop motion, and like Fantastic Mr. Fox, the production will take place in the UK. The Playlist pointed out the irony that Anderson would choose dogs as subject matter considering his fraught cinematic history with pooches. Dogs have been harmed so frequently in Anderson’s movies that the New Yorker once published a tongue-in-cheek commentary asking, ‘Does Wes Anderson hate dogs?’ Audiences may find out the answer soon.” We’ll have to hope that in this case he treats dogs more like he treated their foxy cousins.
Wes Anderson, best known to furries as the director of 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox, will be returning to animating animals for his next movie. The movie will be about dogs; at this point, it hasn't been confirmed whether or not they are actually anthropomorphic dogs, but it's a safe assumption.
Details are scarce at the moment other than the fact the movie will be stop-motion animated, feature dogs and not be an anthology film (a project Anderson had talked about in earlier interviews, but which is not connected to the dog movie). However, actor Jeff Goldblum has unofficially revealed that he will have a role, as well as Edward Norton, Bob Balaban and Bryan Cranston. If this line-up is confirmed, Cranston would be the only actor to not previously work with Anderson. Wes Anderson has spoken about ideas for a possible future animated movie before, but stated that his ideas were, interestingly, "increasingly violent".
Every month, in addition to the solicits we'll get to in a minute, Preview runs top 100 bestsellers list; it's a few months behind, so it's a bit confusing, especially when you remember this is the October issue which comes out in September with solicits for December, and the top 100 list is for August. So, anyway, furry comics that made the list for August 2015 include:
- Howard the Human #1 at 87,
- Howard the Duck #5 at 82,
- Guardians of Knowhere #3 at 29 and
- Guardians of Knowhere #2 at 24.
I first encountered Renee Carter Hall's "Huntress" in the Fred Patten-edited anthology Five Fortunes. It was my favourite story of the five, and I'm delighted it has been given a chance to shine alongside three new stories set in the same world.
That world is a fantasy Africa populated by anthropomorphic predators and, conveniently, non-anthropomorphic prey species. In the eponymous novella, young lioness Leya escapes the traditional expectations of her people - a husband, cubs - to join an elite caste of female hunters, a destiny she has dreamed of since the first time the karanja came to her village.
Leya's decision, and her adventures as a novice hunter, are only the beginning. As she settles into her new life, she begins to realise that the things she dismissed as being for other girls, not for her, might be important after all, and to feel that she has perhaps swapped one set of rules for another.
Here is another anthropomorphic animated movie trailer! Little Door Gods may not seem anthro at first glance, but look at the frogs in the background. Then take a closer look at the main characters, especially Shen Tu (the fat guy).
These aren’t humans, they’re Chinese door gods (ménschén); the little anti-evil charms that the Chinese have traditionally posted at their front doors. Modern Chinese no longer believe in them and have stopped using them. Light Chaser Animation in Beijing has used this as its plot for this movie: what happens to the door gods in the spirit world when humans no longer believe in them? Brother door gods Yu Lei and Shen Tu are worried about being thrown out of work. The comic-relief Shen Tu is fatalistic about it, but Yu Lei determines to journey into the human world and cause enough commotion to prove to mortals that they still need the door gods.
About two comic lists back, there was some confusion about the top 100 bestsellers list Previews also runs, which are also covered in these lists, so from now on we'll try and explain that before just starting up a random list of titles from a month that isn't the actual month being previewed. That would begin this month, but there weren't enough furry titles to make the list to make it worthwhile.
The trailers for anthropomorphic animated movies are coming thick and fast. Here is the teaser trailer for The Angry Birds Movie, due out (unless the date is changed) May 20, 2016. The concept is by Finnish video game company Rovio Entertainment, of course, but the CGI movie is by Sony Pictures Imageworks’ new animation studio in Vancouver (where Sony Pictures Animation moved it from Hollywood for British Columbia’s tax breaks). It’s what Sony Imageworks will be working on now that Hotel Transylvania 2 is finished.
The feature is directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, from a screenplay by Jon Vitti. Voices include Jason Sudeikis as Red, Josh Gad as Chuck, Maya Rudolph as Matilda, Danny McBride as Bomb and Peter Dinklage as Mighty Eagle, with Bill Hader as Leonard, a Minion Pig.
Oklacon, held since 2003 (originally as "Festival of the Feral") at Oklahoma's Roman Nose State Park and billed as "the world's largest outdoor furry convention," has been cancelled for 2015, and probably permanently. The convention's website now contains an announcement of the cancellation:
So, it is with a sad and heavy heart that we inform you that Oklacon is cancelled this year and indefinitely.
We understand the extreme disappointment and trouble this will cause those who had planned to attend this year’s iteration of the world’s largest outdoor furry convention. We understand some may have arranged travel, time-off, or forfeited other plans to attend Oklacon - and to those who have been adversely impacted by the State of Oklahoma’s decision - we are extremely disappointed too.
The first international trailer of Pixar’s/Disney’s The Good Dinosaur, with the dinosaurs talking, has just been released. The captioning is in Spanish, but the voices are in English, as the movie will be released in U.S. theaters on Thanksgiving.
Followers of Howard's Twitter account shouldn't be surprised to run into announcements about the movie, but there are other reasons to at least visit once in a while.
Here is a “stealth” anthropomorphic animated feature that has just appeared. Psiconautas (Psychonauts), directed by Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero, and produced by ZircoZine in Santiago de Compostela & Basque Films in Bilbao, has just premiered at the 63rd (2015) San Sebastián Film Festival (September 18 to 26) on the 24th. No word yet on when or where it will be generally released.
Psiconautas is based upon the graphic novel by Alberto Vázquez. The synopsis is “Teenagers Birdboy and Dinky have decided to escape from an island devastated by ecological catastrophe: Birdboy by shutting himself off from the world, Dinky by setting out on a dangerous voyage in the hope that Birdboy will accompany her.” This may be an animated cartoon, but it is clearly not a “cute” film for children.
NSFW warning: The trailer does contain some violent imagery.
In Norse mythology, the squirrel Ratatoskr (whose name is usually translated as "bore-tooth", and who is sometimes depicted with a unicorn like horn) is the messenger between the serpent at the base of the world tree Yggdrasil, and the eagle living at the top. Neither eagle nor serpent much like each other; Ratatoskr does not help matters, as it is known as a gossip who keeps the two rivals angry with each other. That's pretty much Ratatoskr's role in Norse mythology. The squirrel is a very, very minor character.
Despite its small stature (both literally and figuratively), Ratatoskr has managed to gain an important role in a Marvel comic and become a playable character in a popular video game. And the squirrel's two entrances happened one day apart.
YouTube has the first teaser trailer of the Disney studio’s April 15, 2016 “live-action” (heavily VFX) adaptation of The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, and it’s definitely full of anthropomorphic animals. The voice actors include Bill Murray as Baloo, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita N'yongo as Raksha, and Christopher Walken as King Louie.
As you can see, it will be a mixture of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894-‘95 literary classic and Disney’s own 1967 animated classic. A lot of this was revealed at Disney’s D23 Expo in August, but now you can see it for yourself.
An Anthropomorphic Century; Stories from 1909 to 2008, edited by Fred Patten and published by FurPlanet Productions, is scheduled for release at the RainFurrest 2015 convention, in Seattle, Washington, on September 24-27, 2015. It will be on sale through the online FurPlanet catalog thereafter.
An Anthropomorphic Century contains 20 short stories and novelettes published from 1909 to 2008, mostly in the s-f magazines and books of the latter 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.
One of the drawbacks of living in South Africa is that the furry scene is currently rather small. Despite attempts to bring furs from all over the country together for a national meet, we had limited successes and, even when we managed a national furmeet, only assembled between 14 and 16 attendees. Things have improved during the last few years, and meet sizes have increased quite dramatically, even to the point that plans are underway to reboot the South Afrifur convention in 2016.
So, when I moved to Europe, I was glad to finally have the opportunity to attend proper, large-scale furry conventions. I chose two different cons to attend. One was Lakeside Furs, which is a relatively small (approximately 50 attendees) Austrian convention. It made sense as I was now living in Austria and it offered a way to meet the Austrian furry community. I also chose Eurofurence which, as the largest furry convention in Europe, is an almost obligatory furry visit. Although I didn't realize it at the time, both Eurofurence and Lakeside Furs were started by Unci, although he is no longer involved with Eurofurence.