We haven’t heard of Flying Bark Productions before, but according to Animation World Network it sounds like we should start paying attention to them! The studio is hard at work on a CGI feature film called 100% Wolf, which they plan to follow with a TV series of the same name immediately after. The plot? “Lovers of surreal, laugh-out-loud animation should enjoy this comedy series about Freddy Lupin, an 11-year-old boy set to turn into a werewolf, just like everyone else in his family. But things don’t go as planned when Freddy turns into an adorable poodle instead.” Got that? Interesting thing is the feature and series are based on a popular Australian children’s novel by Jayne Lyons. No word yet on distribution, but the film and series are scheduled to be complete in 2019.
The winners and runners-up (in descending preference) are…
Cartoon Brew has an article about the first teaser trailer for the new CGI (of course) feature film version of Blinky Bill. Wot, ye’ve not ‘eard o’ Blinky Bill? He’s one of Australia’s most famous animated animals: A young koala with an adventurous attitude and a strong environmental heart. “Blinky Bill first rose to fame in the 1930s in a series of lavishly illustrated and conservation-themed books by Dorothy Wall. A new generation of children… was introduced to Blinky through the classic 1990s animated series The Adventures of Blinky Bill.” The new CGI film features Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) as Blinky Bill himself, while other Australian voices include Toni Collette and Barry Humphries (“Dame Edna”). The film is directed by Deane Taylor, who previously was art director on The Nightmare Before Christmas.
An Ode to Saturday Mornings Past, by JessKat
I'm not quite sure how to explain this… especially to younger viewers who grew up in the 500-channel universe of cable television and satellite services and Netflix streaming… but for those of us old enough (or geeky enough) to watch cartoons over-the-air with a rabbit-ears antenna, Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons after school were the only times when animation fans could watch their favourite shows… especially where cable channels such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, YTV or Toon Disney weren't available.
September 28, 2014 was the day the animation died - ending a long and painful decline on broadcast television in the United States, with The CW (the newest broadcast network) being the final holdout… the last man standing, as it were. This was the final Saturday morning with cartoons in America.
From here on out, animation fans in the United States will have to follow the path their Canadian counterparts took in 2001 to get their animation fix: a cable television or satellite subscription. If there is any consolation, it is that the ecosystem of Saturday morning cartoons seems healthier in Australia and Mexico.
To understand how we got to this point, we'll need to review the chain of events leading to the demise of animation on over-the-air television.
I reviewed volumes 8-10 here in May 2013. My review was so favorable that part of it is quoted in the back-cover blurb on volume 12. Here are volumes 11 and 12, equally enjoyable and not-to-be-missed.
These two pocket-sized books contain the Doc Rat daily Internet comic strips from #1427 to #1558 (December 13, 2011 to June 13, 2012), and #1559 to #1758 (June 14, 2012 to March 20, 2013). Volume 11 is a normal one, collecting six months of the comic strip. Volume 12 is a giant-sized one, collecting more pages to take the story to the conclusion of a long story-arc.
Dr. Craig "Jenner" Hilton has been simultaneously an active furry fan and an Australian doctor since the early 1980s. His anthropomorphic cartoons were published in the progress reports and program book of the 1985 World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne.
For about twenty years after graduating from medical college, Hilton was assigned to provide medical services for a series of small towns around western Australia, from which he sent his furry cartoons to America. During a stay as the doctor for the coal-mining town of Collie, he drew an anthropomorphic comic strip, DownUnderGround, for the local newspaper. He finally settled in permanently as a GP in a suburb of Melbourne. His character of Doc Rat began appearing in individual cartoons in medical and non-medical publications during the 1990s. On June 26, 2006 he launched Doc Rat as a Monday through Friday comic strip on the Internet. Since then Doc Rat has picked up an international following, including placing as one of the five finalists in the Best Comic Strip category for the Ursa Major Awards for 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 voted upon this year.
Doc Rat is a combination of stand-alone comedy strips, usually emphasizing medical humour of the groaner-pun variety, and urban drama in an anthropomorphic world where carnivores are allowed to hunt and eat the herbivores, although they have to do it legally. This involves a lot of red tape and filling-out of forms. Often the carnivores are too impatient to do this, and they hunt illegally, which provides much of the drama of the strip. The herbivores are working politically to make all predation of intelligent citizens illegal, which is also a plot point.
Doc Rat. Vol. 11, "I’m Fair Off Me Tucker, Doc", by Jenner, June 2013, Platinum Rat Productions, Melbourne, Vic., Australia, trade paperback AUS $16.00 or US$12.95 ([76 pgs.])
Doc Rat. Vol. 12, "It Hurts To Swallow, Doc", by Jenner, December 2013, Platinum Rat Productions, Melbourne, Vic., Australia, trade paperback AUS$18.00 or US$14.95 ([110 pgs.])
We’ll let the creators of Beast’s Fury speak for themselves:
Beast’s Fury will be a 2D, arcade-style fighting game featuring anthropomorphic characters. It is currently being developed by a small, passionate team of individuals who are both gaming enthusiasts and professional programmers. The game will not only involve action, but also features engaging story lines, intriguing characters, exotic arenas, and a killer soundtrack! Inspired by famous 2D fighters such as the Street Fighter series and Skull Girls. If you have any burning questions about the project, drop us a line on our Facebook page!
They also have a current Kickstarter campaign, seeking out funding to help them hire more animators, which in turn will help them get their game demo up and running and out in the wider world much quicker.
A 7’21” movie? Well, they don’t say “feature”. And it is produced by Ridley Scott, directed by John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda), and CGI animated by Animal Logic, the Sydney studio that produced the two Happy Feet movies and Legend of the Guardians: The Guardians of Ga’Hoole. This is supposed to reinvigorate the Coca-Cola Polar Bears, but at least it’s free of the commercial message.
IMDb and YouTube say that this was released on December 31, 2012. ADWEEK says that it was commissioned by the Coca-Cola Company through the Creative Artists Agency (adv’t agency) of Los Angeles for an online commercial. So this has been out for over a year, but I haven’t seen it mentioned on Flayrah yet. Let’s rectify the omission.
“Coming in 2013!” Many movies that are announced never come out. Two that were announced in 2013 as “coming soon” and then disappeared seem to be unfortunate M.I.A.s, from Flayrah’s point of view.
Oggy and the Cockroaches: The Movie. “Ever since the world was born, two forces have been locked in perpetual battle. Their struggle is so Manichean, so ferocious, so Herculean that it makes the clash between good and evil look like a game of checkers! This ancestral duel is so ancient and so merciless that it can only be...Oggy against the Cockroaches!” The trailer, featuring the eternal battle between cats and cockroaches “from the Stone Age to the Space Age”, shows an imaginative mixture of animation styles, with the Stone Age and Medieval age in traditional 2D cartoon animation, the present as a mixture of cartoon and computer graphic imagery, and the futuristic Space Age sequences in all CGI.
Did you ever hear of Oggy and the Cockroaches: The Movie? Did you ever hear of an Oggy and the Cockroaches regular animated TV series? Then you’re not French, Indian, or Vietnamese. Oggy et les Cafards, 7 minutes an episode, has been broadcast in France since 1998, and has sold to Indian and Vietnamese TV. The Indian broadcast appears on the Cartoon Network there, but in Hindi. The two-hour movie premiered in French theaters on August 7, 2013, and since a trailer in English exists, someone is apparently trying to get it distributed in America. Good luck.
Following a launch in Adelaide, South Australia, three mini-episodes of Wastelander Panda have been released on the project's website and YouTube channel.
The episodes show glimpses of brutal life in a vast wasteland inhabited by humans and the occasional, rare, anthropomorphic animal. The main characters are a human child (later adult) named Rose, panda brothers Isaac and Arcayus, and an anthro bison named Akira.
The story is presented as three discontinuous videos - viewers will need to read the accompanying background texts to understand how the story fits together as a whole. The producers now hope to expand their episodes into an extended web or television series.
A year ago, Epic Films released the prologue/teaser of Wastelander Panda, the post-apocalyptic tale of Arcayus, the Wasteland’s last remaining panda. Along with Rose (a human girl raised by his brother, Isaac), Arcayus treks across a broken world ruled by anarchy, in search of vengeance.
The prologue's producers have now announced that they have completed work on the story, which will be released on May 27. The story is divided into three episodes, entitled Isaac & Rose (13 mins), Arcayus & Rose (15 mins), and Arcayus & Akira (8 mins).
Two private screenings will be held in Adelaide, South Australia, for the production's cast, crew, and those who supported the project through its Pozible crowdfunding campaign. The episodes will then be made publicly available on the project's official website and YouTube channel.
This is one of those officially-Young Adult books (recommended age: 10 to 18) that adults should enjoy equally. Advance reviews are comparing it favorably with Jacques’ Redwall books and “Hunter’s” Warriors books about the talking cat clans.
With the stealth of a warrior, Darrel hopped along a wide branch, tracking the two scouts below. A waterfall roared in the distance, and a tasty-looking fig wasp flitted past.
Darrel ignored a pang of hunger, resisting the urge to shoot his tongue at the wasp for a quick snack.
Dinner could wait until he’d dealt with the enemy. (p. 1)
An Army of Frogs gets off to a rousing start. The back-cover blurb is a good summary:
Darrel, a young frog, dreams of joining the Kulipari, an elite squad of poisonous frog warriors sworn to defend the Amphibilands. Unfortunately, Darrel’s dream is impossible, because he isn’t a poisonous frog and no one’s seen the Kulipari since the last scorpion war, long ago. Anyway, now the frogs’ homeland is protected by the turtle king’s magic. So it no longer needs defending – or does it?
Enter the spider queen, a powerful dreamcaster capable of destroying the turtle king’s protective spell. She and her ally Lord Marmoo, leader of a vicious army of scorpions, are bent on conquering the frogs’ lush homeland. The frogs have never been more vulnerable. Can Daryl save the day and become the warrior of his dreams?
Jenner, better known in the medical world as Melbourne GP Dr. Craig Hilton, has been cartooning for over 25 years. Within the fandom, he is best known for the adventures of Dr. Benjamin Rat, which started June 2006.
The producers of Wastelander Panda, the tale of Arcayus (an anthropomorphic panda wandering a post-apocalyptic wasteland) have made a last-minute call for voice actors.
With the project now in post-production, the producers are looking for three actors to voice the three animal characters in the story. In particular, they are looking to voice:
- ISAAC – Male, 28-35 years of age. Deep voice – think Chris Hemsworth.
- ARCAYUS – Male, 40-50 years of age. Deep voice – think Sam Neill or Geoffrey Rush.
- AKIRA – Male, 25-35 years of age. Deep voice – think Ving Rhames.
For anyone tempted to try out for a part, the close of applications is imminent (February 1st).
Chakat Goldfur reports that MiDFur 2012 (14), Australia’s largest (474 attendees this year) and oldest (since 1999 as a house party; 2008 as a convention) regular Furry event, will be the last under that name or in December. Its next meeting will be under the temporary name of Egyptian Nights, January 10-12, 2014, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The change is due to the growth of the convention making hotels uncomfortably small, and because December is an inconvenient month for many OzFurs. MiDFur stands for Melbourne in December Furmeet, so changing the month has made the name obsolete.
The next convention will be known by the name of its theme until a new permanent name is chosen; and will always be in mid-January. A contest is being held to select the new name. Also, some fans were never happy about the small furmeet growing into a “giant” formal convention, so they will get to continue to meet as a separate informal December gathering.
Update (5 Jan): The MiDFur board have picked a slate of ten convention names (from over 400 submissions), which are now open for voting.
Update (7 Jan): Voting is now closed.
The MiDFur 2012 convention, currently going on in Melbourne, Australia, has just inducted Steve Gallacci, one of the founders of Furry fandom, and Sofawolf Press into its Furry Hall of Fame. Steve and Sofawolf co-founder Tim Susman and associate Mark Brown are present at MiDFur to accept.
Prior Furry Hall of Fame inductees (who select new members annually) are 2 the Ranting Gryphon, BigBlueFox, Dr. Samuel C. Conway, CynWolfe, Bernard Doove, Jenner, Paul Kidd, Fred Patten, and Stan Sakai.