Jen Ena is another artist we met at WonderCon (it’s good for those!) As you’ll see on her web site she specializes in highly-stylized fantasy portraits of fairy folk and magical women. But, if you follow the links to her “Miniatures”, you’ll see her other skill: Creating really, really small paintings of kittens, little dogs, and other fuzzy things. Many of which you can purchase at her Big Cartel store.
Author and “sit down comedian” Christopher Locke is back with his second novel, Vincent and the Dissidents. It’s the sequel to Persimmon Takes On Humanity, which of course we talked about before. “In Book Two, while Persimmon and The Enlighteners continue their daring efforts to rescue all animals who are suffering, little do they know that Vincent — the cunning mink who helped the team liberate a fur farm — has been assembling an army. Vincent and The Dissidents are conducting their own rescue missions, but their violent tactics against humans are quickly leading to catastrophic consequences.” Vincent is available now in paperback from Fathoming Press.
Braden Duncan is an illustrator who creates watercolor-style works under the name Clockwork Art. According to her web site, her main artistic muse is a black kitten named Diesel. The kitten certainly turns up in much of her artwork! (There are a pair of grey kittens who just joined the household, and they’ve been making appearances too.) She also has an affinity for birds — and, as you can probably guess from her moniker, a thing for steampunk. Much of her work is available as prints or ‘fridge magnets from her Etsy Store.
According to an article at Animation Scoop, we (or at least Amazon Prime Video subscribers) have not one but two new TV series from Dreamworks Animation to look forward to. First off are the brand new 2D adventures of none other than Rocky and Bullwinkle, set to premier this May. “The world-famous talking moose and flying squirrel are back in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, a serialized comedy about two goofball best friends who routinely find themselves thrust into harrowing situations but end up saving the day time and again… The series is executive produced by Scott Fellows (The Fairly OddParents, Big Time Rush) and Tiffany Ward, daughter of the original series producer Jay Ward, and features Tara Strong (The Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans Go!) as the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel, Brad Norman (America’s Most Haunted) as Bullwinkle J. Moose, Ben Diskin (Hey Arnold!) as Boris Badenov, Rachel Butera (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Natasha Fatale, Piotr Michael (Impress Me, MADtv) as Fearless Leader, and Daran Norris (The Fairly OddParents) as the Narrator.” Then, there’s a brand new TV series based on the Kung Fu Panda movies. “Later in 2018, Prime Video will premiere Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, an epic adventure series from Emmy Award-winning executive producers Mitch Watson and Elliott Owen (All Hail King Julien), and Lane Lueras (The Adventures of Puss in Boots). When four panda kids stumble upon a mystical cave beneath Panda Village, accidentally absorbing the chi of ancient and powerful kung fu warriors known as the Four Constellations, they must realize a destiny to save the world from an evil force. Meanwhile, Po finds himself faced with his biggest challenge yet — teaching this ragtag band of kids how to wield their newfound powers.” Much to keep your eyes out for! No previews for Paws of Destiny yet, but the article has a preview video of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
That’s the official slogan of Joan Marie, a fine artist we met at WonderCon. She works in a pastel watercolor style, creating works of many animal species (mammals, birds, and more) and fantasy creatures as well. And, as you can see at her web shop, she offers those works on a variety of items — not only the standard t-shirts , tote bags, and mugs but dresses and pant-suits as well.
Another cool item we picked up from Animation World Network: “Newbery Honor-winning author Adam Gidwitz and Mixtape Club founders Jesse Casey and Chris Lenox Smith premiered online the animated debut of The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose adventures continue in a series of books for middle-grade readers from Penguin Random House.” The kids of the Unicorn Rescue Society (along with their companion Jersey, a friendly Jersey Devil) help with the needs of mythical creatures that adults don’t even believe in. “The Unicorn Rescue Society is a secret organization. Its mission is to keep the creatures of myth and legend safe. Dragons, Bigfoot, chupacabras — and maybe even unicorns. Every day, the threats to these rare and wonderful animals grow. They are hunted. Their habitats are destroyed. And the Unicorn Rescue Society is their only hope.” Rather than being adaptations of the books themselves, the animated shorts spread the word about the book series and take a behind-the-scenes look. The AWN article has a link to the first cartoon.
Bored Inc. is the interesting name chosen by an art collective we met at WonderCon. Here’s how they describe themselves on their web site: “We are a mother & daughter design team creating super cute characters on lots of different products. We hope our characters make you happy and encourage you to explore your creativity and imagination!” They are especially adept at fantasy enamel pins, featuring their character “Afro-Cat” and others. Not to mention magnets, buttons, stickers, and other goodies.
You know, it’s getting to be an old saw that the rest of the world gets to see some very cool animation — and much of it furry! — that we never get distributed over here. Oh well, here’s hoping that opportunities arise! Next on the list? The Tales of Tatonka, an animated series for kids that was created by Cyber Group Studios. According to Animation World Network, “The Tales of Tatonka tells the adventurous stories of four wolf cubs who grow together as a family living with nature. Their friend Tatonka, the bison, helps the young wolves explore their wilderness home along with friends Cinksi the lynx, Poum the bear, Wahi the squirrel and Wambli the eagle. Written by Pierre Sissmann and directed by Olivier Lelardoux, The Tales of Tatonka has received multiple awards across the world including a Golden Panda nomination in China and Karusel TV’s Best Kids’ Series in Russia. The series combines an 11-minute animated adventure with a live action segment titled ‘The World of Tatonka,’ depicting animal life in the wild.” So if you’re in China or Russia, look it up!
You just know that anything from a publisher called Plotless Comics is going to be interesting, right? Well that’s the home of Walrus-Rabbit, created by Matt Marchetti (the actual title is much much longer but we’ll leave it at that), and SadoCat, created by Cory Patten. Needless to say things are not very serious but are very very strange in these funny animal superhero comics. Read all about these characters and more at their Plotless web site.
We stumbled across an interesting article about a new series of animated shorts coming to TV in South Africa. “NickToons in association with local animation studio, Sunrise Productions have proudly developed it’s first South African animation for the channel. Munki and Trunk is a dialogue-free 3D animated TV series for kids aged 4 to 7. Munki is a vine-swinging force of nature, hungry for bananas and adventure. Trunk is a big-hearted elephant who loves to nurture and play. These unlikely best friends explore their world together, facing fears and helping friends along the way. It’s the most fun you can have in the jungle.” The show is produced by Tim Keller, and it premiers this month. No word at all if anyone plans to distribute it to other parts of the world, unfortunately.
Another WonderCon discovery: Star Beasts is a science fiction funny animal comic written by Stephanie Young and illustrated by Allyson Lassiter. “The cosmic adventures of Star Beasts! Protectors of our planet, this secret order of creatures is sworn to guard our home. Keeping us safe from all Galactic Evil great and small. Want to know the real reason why Pluto isn’t a planet anymore? Find out in the first issue of Star Beasts, The Mighty Menace.” Well it’s nice to know that someone figured it out. Visit the Star Beasts home page or look for the creators at a comic convention near you.
Back from WonderCon 2018, and there is so much to talk about. Like… The folks at Corgli & Co describe themselves like this: “The unnoteworthy life & non-adventures of a Blob of Corg & Company.” Actually it’s a web comic following the life of a plump corgi with a different sort of outlook on things. There’s also a Corgli Store with art prints and other funny animal objects. Check ’em out.
Ward’s Valley is a new full-color fantasy graphic novel from IDW and Top Shelf Comics. “Ward is a grumpy gnome who only wants to be left alone. He never asked for company… but when his beautiful forest starts filling up with animals, it’s more than just grumpiness that makes him nervous. Mysterious trolls are one the loose and Ward will need all the help he can get to defend Ward’s Valley.” This is interesting to note: The art is by Brenda Hickey, known for her work on IDW’s My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic series, the the story is written by Bobby Curnow, the My Little Pony series editor. Look for it on the shelves now.
Looks as if next month IDW will release a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection of particular note. According to them, it’s like this: “Go back to the very beginning, with the Turtles’ first encounter with the Foot Clan and their mysterious leader, the Shredder. With over 300 pages of mutated martial-arts action, this volume is perfect for fans to relive the glorious days of the Turtles’ origins, as well as an excellent place for new readers to see where the TMNT phenomenon began. Collects the first seven issues of the series, plus the Raphael and Michelangelo Micro-Series one-shots, all in brilliant color.” Yep, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics Volume 1 was written by Kevin Eastman and illustrated (and colored!) by Peter Laird.
Getting in on the ground floor regarding a new animated film — We don’t even have any images yet! But, here’s what we got from Variety: “Production is now under way at Cinesite in Montreal on Extinct, an animated feature being directed by David Silverman, the co-director of Pixar hit Monsters Inc. The film is a co-venture between multi-territory distributor China Lion Film, which will finance the picture, and China’s Wink Animation, part of Huayi Brothers Media. The adventure-comedy involves an adorable species of fluffy animals, called flummels. When two flummels are transported into the present day, they learn that their genus has become extinct, and travel back in time to try to save their race. The story is written by written by Joel H Cohen, John Frink, and Rob LaZebnik (The Simpsons).” According to the article, look for it in late 2020.
Things do get strange in the world of politics, and likely many people would agree that things have gotten even more strange than usual of late. And now, we can add furries to the mix! Follow us here: Vice President Mike Pence and his family wrote a book, Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President, which details that very thing — from the point of view of the Pence family’s new pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo. (The text is actually by daughter Charlotte Pence, with illustrations by Second Lady Karen Pence, who is a watercolor artist.) Not to be outdone, upon hearing news of this political comedian John Oliver and his crew at Last Week Tonight created A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by E.G. Keller. Marlon Bundo is bored with his life as a vice-presidential pet, until one day he falls in love with another male rabbit named Wesley. Marlon offers Wesley his paw in marriage, but their same-sex union is loudly opposed by a stink bug — with a suspiciously familiar crop of white hair. Upon its release, the Marlon Bundo book instantly became a #1 best-seller on Amazon. It’s available now from Chronicle Books.
Hey, remember Tentacle Kitty? The little plushie feline with 10 wiggly things? Well she’s been growing in popularity, enough that now Dark Horse Press bring us the Tentacle Kitty Coloring Book. “Tentacle Kitty, or ‘Pink One’ as she was called in her tribe, is a kitty from another dimension, that happens to have tentacles. After a series of unfortunate event, she is trapped on Earth trying to find a way home. Armed with ten tentacles, an adventurous spirit, and new friends, what could go wrong?” Featuring 96 pages of art by the likes of John Merritt, Amy King, Yishan Li, Brittney Williams, Aubrey Aiese, and Rootis Tabootus, it wiggles its way onto book shelves this coming May.
We have Fred Patten to thank for this: He pointed us in the direction of Kuku and Mey Mey, a new 2D animated comedy series of shorts created by Anish Patel and realized by HopMotion Animation. Here’s how they describe the show: “On the edge of the wildlife sanctuary that is Kuku’s home, is a famous Jungle Inn. This is Kuku’s hunting ground and the comforts of the Jungle Inn are big game. All Kuku wants to do is sneak into the inn and steal the modern day comforts it has to offer. Meanwhile, the territorial Mey Mey will go to any lengths to stop Kuku from trespassing. Her notorious booby traps are set at every corner to do the trick and embarrass the beast out of Kuku. The result is a chaos laden chase comedy that turns the tables on predator and prey.” Now, about distribution: “The first season of the show has 78 episodes of seven minutes each and is available on North America’s OTT platform Toon Goggles and VOD platform Amazon Prime US, under the title Kuku and the Goat.” Got it? The article over at Animation Xpress has more details and a preview video too.
Newberry Award-winning author Linda Sue Park has a new fantasy series out as well called Wing & Claw. From Amazon, here’s the description of the first book, The Forest of Wonders: “Raffa Santana has always loved the mysterious Forest of Wonders. For a gifted young apothecary like him, every leaf could unleash a kind of magic. When an injured bat crashes into his life, Raffa invents a cure from a rare crimson vine that he finds deep in the Forest. His remedy saves the animal but also transforms it into something much more than an ordinary bat, with far-reaching consequences. Raffa’s experiments lead him away from home to the forbidding city of Gilden, where troubling discoveries make him question whether exciting botanical inventions—including his own—might actually threaten the very creatures of the Forest he wants to protect.” Raffa names that bat Echo, and the two of them — along with other animals of the magical wood — are the main focus of this series for young readers.
Check out this bio: “Matt Laney is an ordained minister with a lifelong interest in world religion, wisdom traditions, martial arts, big cats and middle grade literature”. That might explain the spiritual slant behind Reverend Laney’s first fantasy series for young readers, Pride Wars. The first book, The Spinner Prince, is out now in hardcover from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “In the scientific realm of Singara, where feline humanoids rule, fiction is forbidden. Those caught telling stories lose their tongues before being exiled. Heir to the throne, thirteen-year-old Prince Leo, is cursed with the “fiction affliction,” the unpredictable, uncontrollable habit of telling stories. Worse, the stories carry a dangerous power, leaving creatures behind who cause trouble and threaten to expose Leo’s affliction. Meanwhile, Leo’s elder cousin is making his move to seize the throne and the enemy beyond the Great Wall, another feline race called Maguar, are rising up. Will Leo claim the throne from his rival (and keep his tongue) before his curse is revealed? Or will he embrace his ability as a gift and discover a far greater destiny among the Maguar?” Check it out over at Kirkus Reviews.