This is an interesting new comic series from Action Lab with an attention-grabbing title: Cold Blood Samurai. Here’s what we found in Previews: “A feudal Japan with anthropomorphic and samurai animals inspired by Homer’s poem on ‘War of Mice and Frogs’… As in the classic poem, one tells of the futility of war and the desire for peace by Gaijin, a foreign salamander in a Japan of frogs invaded by lizards. ” Got that? It’s written by Massimo Rosi, illustrated by Ludovica Ceregatti, and on the shelves now.
Voyage of the Dogs is the very straight-forward title for a juvenile fiction novel from last year, written by Greg Van Eekhout. The publisher describes it like this: “Lopside is a Barkonaut, a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet. When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship. Survival seems impossible. But these dogs are Barkonauts — and Barkonauts always complete their mission.” Look for it now (and hear an audio clip) from Harper Collins.
The things that people will come up with to write… You have to wonder about that when you see a book series called Two Dogs In A Trench Coat. It’s written by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Colin Jack. “Sassy and Waldo are good dogs. They spend the day keeping their house safe. Has a squirrel ever gotten inside? No! But every day their boy, Stewart, comes home from this terrible place called school smelling like anxiety and looseleaf paper. Sassy and Waldo decide to save Stewart. But they don’t let dogs into school. So Sassy and Waldo decide to get creative. They put on an old trench coat, and now everyone at Bea Arthur Elementary thinks they are a new student named Salty from Liver, Ohio. Well, everyone except Stewart.” The first book in the series, appropriately called Two Dogs In A Trench Coat Go To School, is available now in softcover from Scholastic. Two more volumes are out already as well. Woof!
Tell us: Do you trust your housecat? Well along comes another book series looking to make you look askance perhaps. How can you miss a title like Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat? Well that’s the new series of science fiction novels by Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth (featuring art by Robb Mommaerts). It starts like this: “Klawde had everything. Sharp claws. Fine fur. And, being the High Commander of the planet Lyttyrboks, an entire world of warlike cats at his command. But when he is stripped of his feline throne, he is sentenced to the worst possible punishment: exile to a small planet in a quiet corner of the universe… named Earth… Raj had everything. A cool apartment in Brooklyn. Three friends who lived in his building. And pizza and comics within walking distance. But when his mom gets a job in Elba, Oregon, and he is forced to move, all of that changes. It’s now the beginning of summer, he has no friends, and because of his mother’s urgings, he has joined a nature camp. It’s only when his doorbell rings and he meets a furball of a cat that Raj begins to think maybe his luck is turning around… ” Three books in the series are available now from Penguin Random House. Fft Fft!
We literally came across this book on the shelf at a local coffee house! Never heard of it, but wow… Sunborn Rising is a new fantasy series for young folks by Aaron Safronoff, lavishly illustrated in both black & white and full color. “The Great Trees of Cerulean are dying. Infected with a mysterious blight, time is running out. Join Barra, a willful, resourceful and adventurous young Arboreal and her two friends, Plicks and Tory, as they journey down into the forgotten heart of their world in a desperate attempt to save it.” The first book in the series, Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall, is available now in several formats. The official web site has lots of background information and several videos about the making of the series. (Honestly, this looks like an animated movie waiting to happen!)
And another from the Festival of Books — in a similar vein, perhaps. This is the Isle of Misfits series of novels for young readers, written by Jamie May and illustrated by Freya Hartas. The first book, appropriately called First Class, goes like this: “Gibbon is a gargoyle who has been unable to sit still for hundreds of years. One day, he leaves his post from the castle he was meant to be guarding, and a person sees Gibbon, he panics and runs away. As Gibbon is sadly walking back, he meets three gargoyles who bring him to an island filled with other legendary creatures. There, he goes to a special academy that will train him to go on missions to protect all sorts of mythical creatures who are in trouble. Excited to go and happy that he won’t be lonely anymore, Gibbon is also nervous to go some place where he doesn’t know anyone. Will he be able to make friends in this new place? Find out in this new and exciting creature-filled series, complete with a hilarious cast of characters such as a clumsy dragon, an ill-tempered fairy, a griffin with poor flying skills, and a yeti with a manbun!” Four books in the series are available now from Simon & Schuster.
At this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books we came across an illustrated children’s book called If I Had A Gryphon, written by Vikki Vansickle — and our eyes were caught by the colorful illustrations of Cale Atkinson. “Sam just got a hamster for a pet. But the hamster is kind of boring … he just eats and sleeps and gets his shavings wet. Inspired by her book of mythological creatures, Sam longs for a more exciting pet. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought. Sasquatches are messy, unicorns are shy, hippogriffs scare the dogs at the dogpark, and having a fire extinguisher handy at all times makes dragons seem like an awful lot of work. In the end, Sam realizes that her hamster is a pretty sweet and safe pet … or is he?” You can find out more at Penguin Random House.
Boom! Studios recently collected two different comic book series of furry note (both of which we’ve talked about before!) into trade paperbacks. Ruinworld: Eye For An Eye brings together issues 1 through 5 of this funny animal fantasy series by Derek Laufman. “Join Pogo and Rex as they set out on a quest to hunt for valuable artifacts and magical weapons across the land. Along with plenty of not-always faithful companions, our heroes must battle dangerous tribes of Toadies, survive giant stone Golems, and stop a catastrophic world-ending disaster, all while evading a cunning gang of thieves as they race towards the biggest treasure of all time.” And then there’s Midas, a truly strange 8-issue science fiction series by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline. “Space captain Joey, navigator Fatima, and scientist (and dinosaur) Cooper are headed to Earth—a planet completely sectioned off, abandoned, and covered in gold—and are confronted by the most powerful weapon in the universe: Some ancient dead guy’s body?! Now they gotta keep King Midas’s body from being dropped on planets across the universe, and figure out exactly what to do with a gross dead dude with one truly ridiculous superpower.” Yes, and a talking dinosaur too. Both collections are available now.
Okay, how did we miss this one? Disney Hamlet, Starring Donald Duck, a new full-color graphic novel written by Giorgio Salati and illustrated by Paolo De Lorenzi. “The ghost of a betrayed king appoints Prince Ducklet to restore peace to his kingdom in this adaptation of the classic tragic play by William Shakespeare. Huey, Dewey and Louie, along with Uncle Scrooge, head on a road trip to Denmark, passing by the famous landmark–the phantom castle of Ducksinore! The triplets recall the story of Ducklet, written by the celebrated playwright William Duckspeare. Scrooge’s interest is piqued and the story of tragedy, betrayal, and corruption unfolds.” Published by Dark Horse Books in trade paperback, it’s available now from Penguin Random House.
Non-human adventures on a far-0ff planet. Sounds right up our alley. Glint is a new full-color graphic novel series for middle readers, written by Samuel Sattin and illustrated by Ian McGinty (Adventure Time). “On tiny Mora ― hurtling through space trying to find a star bright enough to sustain its fading life―everyone must do their part to keep the planet alive. Workers work. Leaders lead. Fighters fight. But Loon Ozoa, confined to the life of a pit worker but born with the heart and passion of a warrior, dreams of enlisting in the Temple of Sacred Defense and fighting the monstrous Feeders that threaten his people’s existence. When his friend Val Mol, second in command of the Rightful Blade, promises Loon a place in his ranks, Loon hopes to finally serve a higher purpose. But his hoverhog-riding, glint-slinging, mine-master grandma and her motley crew―the Cloud Raiders―are none too pleased about Loon trading in his drill rig for a shift sword. Determined to serve Mora, Val and Loon’s place in the military soon gets them lurched right into the murky waters of a conspiracy, one that holds dark secrets at the hands of their supreme regent. Will Val and Loon remain loyal to their commander, or will the secrets they uncover change everything they thought they knew about the purpose of their fight and fate of their planet?” The Hollywood Reporter actually did a write-up on this one. Glint Book One: The Cloud Raiders came out earlier this year from Lion Forge, and more volumes are on the way.
[Side note: We at InFurNation would like to extend our thoughts, prayers, and a good share of tears to the staff of Kyoto Animation — those who lost their lives and those who did not. Bright Blessings in this time of tragedy.]
Another announcement we found at Animation World Network: “GKIDS, producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature Marona’s Fantastic Tale, by film from director Anca Damian… The film features Marona, a mixed-breed Labrador, who after an accident reflects on her past homes and experiences. Journeying back through her memories she reflects on the deep impressions she has made on her owners’ lives. With Marona’s unfailing love and empathy she had provided lightness and innocence to her families. Marona’s Fantastic Tale is a beautiful and emotional story of an average dog and her extraordinary life.” The picture below doesn’t really do justice to how weird and artistically adventurous this 2D film is. Check out the trailer instead!
Word has been going around that the Ursa Major Award-nominated video game Cuphead (developed by Studio MDHR) is now being turned into an animated TV series. We got this from Animation World Network: “Netflix has joined forces with King Features on The Cuphead Show!, a new kids series based on the Studio MDHR video game. The show will expand upon the characters and world of Cuphead, with an animation style inspired by the classic Fleischer cartoons from the 1930s… The character-driven comedy follows the unique misadventures of the impulsive Cuphead and his cautious but easily swayed brother Mugman. Through their many misadventures across their surreal home of the Inkwell Isles, they’ve always got one another’s backs. The series will be produced by Netflix Animation and is executive produced by Emmy and Annie Award-winning producer, Dave Wasson (Mickey Mouse Shorts), with Cosmo Segurson (Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling) serving as co-executive producer.” That’s some good talent behind the project! No word on a planned release date yet.
We found this one thanks to Furry.Today: Mustard & Ketchup are a pair of male badgers in a long-term relationship — created by Iain Gardner of the studio Animation Garden. Recently they made their “grand entrance” as the stars of “Farfisa Song”, a video for the band Looper (featuring Stuart David from the band Belle and Sebastian). Take a look at Animation Garden’s portfolio to see what else they’re working on. And follow the badgers on social media!
Comic publisher Humanoids have a new all-ages imprint called BIG, and the first publication from it is called Bigby Bear. “A series of vignettes on imagination, science, mathematics, and the life of our planet…shared from the perspective of a curious bear and his furry, forest-dwelling friends! Bigby Bear lives peacefully in the lush mountains where he was born. Struggling to figure out nature and its elements, Bigby engages in silly experiments of all kinds. Accompanied by his loyal rabbit friend, he gives us the secret to living a happy, simple life: To follow your curiosity, and make friends along the way.” Written and illustrated by Philippe Coudray, Bigby Bear is available now in hardcover.
Love it or loathe it, Disney’s new CGI (we here at IFN refuse to say “live action”) version of The Lion King is coming soon — and the merchandising machine is in full swing. Along that line, we came across The Lion King: Wild Schemes and Catastrophes, a new full-color graphic anthology in trade paperback. “Journey through Pride Rock and beyond in four stories focusing on the life of Simba as a cub and what awaits him on his path to become the lion king.” Written by John Jackson Miller (Star Wars, Mass Effect) and illustrated by Alexandra Fastovets, Danilo Antoniucci, and Timothy Green II, it’s available now from Disney Comics and Dark Horse Books.
Here’s a new full-color graphic novel we discovered thanks to Previews: Mr. Wolf’s Class. “From Eisner Award-winning creator Aron Nels Steinke, a vibrant, funny new series that charmingly captures the everyday antics of a fourthgrade classroom! Mr. Wolf has just started teaching at Hazelwood Elementary. He wants the first day of school to go well, but he’s got his hands full with his new class. Some of his students include: Margot, who is new in town and is trying to make friends. Sampson, who brought something special to school for show-and-tell. Aziza, who just wants everyone to be quiet and do their work. And Penny, who is very sleepy because she has a new baby brother at home, goes missing!” Look for it in hardcover over at Scholastic. Oh, and makes sure to check out the sequel, Mr. Wolf’s Class: Mystery Club.
We’ll admit we weren’t familiar with the works of comic creator Mary Fleener, but maybe we should have been: Check out her new graphic novel from Fantagraphics, Billie The Bee. “Meet Billie, an oversized honeybee with an even bigger personality! She’s bold, boisterous, and always singin’ up a storm. Billie lives a sweet life exploring the marshes of San Diego and making friends with Kay the kind Fox, Rayleen the rattlesnake, and Flo and Mo, the dirty joke-telling turtle sisters. But one day humans arrive and illegally release some rabid creatures into the marsh lands, upsetting the delicate ecological balance of the habitat. Can Billie and her woodland friends band together to repel these wild outsiders? And when a natural disaster strikes, does Billie have what it takes to lead the hive? Mary Fleener’s intricate crosshatching and signature mind-bending forays into cubist storytelling masterfully conjure up the world of her plucky honeybee protagonist. A deep dive into the secret life of bees, Billie’s story is by turns both charming and harrowing.” It’s available now in hardcover.
Archaia has a special edition reprint you should know about — with a long title! See what’s happening down at Fraggle Rock… “It’s the annual ‘Splish-Splash Friend Bash’ at Fraggle Pond and all of Fraggle Rock is invited! But when a few bullies decide to crash the party, Gobo, Boober, and the other Fraggles will have to look out for one another and come up with a plan to help everyone get along. Written and illustrated by Jay Fosgitt (Bodie Troll), Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock: The Rough Side of the Rock celebrates Jim Henson’s timeless television series with an inspiring story of acceptance and friendship for fans of all ages.” It’s issue #2 of Archaia’s Fraggle Rock comic, but now it’s in a premium hardcover picture book format. Check out the preview over at Graphic Policy. (Happy 4th!)
Whoa there! This flew beneath our radar… so it’s time to catch up! As of course you’ve heard (herd?), My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic will be leaving us after this season. (Sniff…) But do not lose hope! It looks like Equestria shall live on… in the pages of IDW comics anyhow. And they’ve been doing a good job of it so far! Now they’ve decided to celebrate the 75th issue of their flagship series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic with a special double-sized issue — celebrating the return of original MLP comic writer Katie Cook to the family. “My Little Pony celebrates 75 issues of friendship and fun with this double-sized adventure! When a chance purchase leads to a legendary quest for a missing constellation, the ponies reach for the stars and find themselves in the path of their most galactic villain yet… the chaotic Cosmos!” Illustrated by fan favorites Andy Price and Heather Breckel, it’s on the shelves now. And hey, while you’re at it, make sure to look for My Little Pony: To Where and Back Again, written by Justin Eisinger and illustrated by various artists. It’s part of a new series of trade paperback graphic novels from IDW, illustrating favorite episodes of the TV series — in this case, the popular finale of Season Six.
Recently made a trip to the Ground Zero Animation Expo in Orange County, CA (which we highly recommend if you’re an artist in Southern California, by the way!). There we met Beth Hughes, a character designer and freelance illustrator. “I love telling stories and using my art to get those stories out. My work credits include children’s books, mural designs, and concept art and character design work for various animation companies.” Those companies include places like Nick Jr., Gamesys, and McGraw-Hill Education. Visit her web site to see her resume and lots of her previous illustrations too. And keep an eye out for her new on-line store, coming soon!