Not since the 1980s have anthropomorphic animals and the Olympics come together more than in the news out of Australia in the past few weeks. As the Summer Olympics get ready to begin after a year's delay due to the global pandemic, one artist has brought some furry thunder for the teams Down Under.
If you live in Ontario, you probably haven't heard of Marc Scott - but you've probably seen him if you watched children's shows on TVOntario, the province's educational broadcaster (similar to PBS). He used to perform as the costumed character known as "Polkaroo", a polka-dotted kangaroo on the station's preschool TV series Polka-Dot Door from 1985 to 1993, and on later series such as Polka-Dot Shorts (1993-2001) and on Gisèle's Big Backyard (2001-2007).
His name has recently returned to the limelight - in a less than flattering way - after he attracted the attention of his former employer. He's received a cease-and-desist order and might face a potential lawsuit for creating and wearing an "unauthorized parody" of Polkaroo, named "Tokaroo", a red-eyed and brown-furred marijuana-smoking marsupial he created in celebration of Canada legalizing Marijuana on October 17, 2018.
Written by DarkWingDude (aka Equestrian Horse Wrangler) and drawn by Brooke Scovil, At Arm's Length focuses primarily on three women who are emigrants from a hidden society of four-armed magical beings. Our heroines, Ally (rabbit; specializes in illusions) Sheila (kangaroo; the most direct, forthright member of the trio) and Reece (fox; psychic and generally peculiar) appreciate the mortal world to the point where they put the smackdown on magical threats that mundane authorities simply cannot handle.
Those who choose to support the strip via Patreon can gain access to web badges and wallpapers available nowhere else, and can even introduce new characters with speaking parts.
In case you haven’t caught wind of it yet, Dreamworks Animation will release their new feature film Rise of the Guardians on November 21st. And already the character of the Easter Bunny — voiced by Hugh Jackman, and referred to in the story as Bunnymund — is turning quite a few heads in furry fandom. Now the tie-in merchandise is beginning to show up. First out the gate is a new full-color graphic novel from Ben Lichius and Marcelo Ferreira, Rise of the Guardians: The Hidden Truth and Other Stories. It goes like this: “North. Bunnymund. Sandman. Tooth Fairy. They are the make-believe characters that populate the imagination of children the world over. But young Jamie believes otherwise. They’re all real, and he’s been collecting the ‘evidence’ to prove it! When Jamie’s friend, Toby, comes over to spend the night, he finds Jamie’s ‘Weird Stuff’ scrapbook full of copious notes and samples about unexplained phenomenon, and the talk turns to Jamie’s stories of near-miss encounters. It soon becomes evident, however, that Toby has a pretty amazing story of his own to tell.” Ape Entertainment will release this new trade paperback on October 23rd, and you can pre-order a copy at Barnes & Noble.
Australia today is not what it used to be. Civilization has settled into the southeast of the country, roughly from Adelaide to Sydney. Imported animals like sheep, foxes, and rabbits have replaced the older native animals. Kangaroos and wallabies are tolerated as “cute”, but other native animals have been relegated to zoos where they are penned in and stared at by humans. But there is a legend that somewhere in Australia, far from the human-settled southeast, isolated in the vast desert, there is a place where things haven’t changed and the original animal inhabitants live freely.
In the early morning of a day long after the war, a small figure walked slowly along one of the winding tracks somewhere to the east of Tennant Creek. On close examination, the figure didn’t look any different from most of his kind. He was about two feet tall and covered with short brown fur. He had a short, thick tail that dragged the ground when he walked upright and a ducklike bill where any other animal would have a nose.
The only thing that set Albert apart from any other platypus was that he was carrying an empty soft drink bottle. It was his possession of a bottle, coupled with the fact that he was hundreds of miles north of any running water, that made him different. (p. 2)
What do you get when you mix a kangaroo, an elderly woman, and a pair of police officers in a sleepy Outback town? One very interesting story!
Last Sunday, a rogue kangaroo attacked Phyllis Johnson, 94, while she hung laundry in her backyard. Phyllis, who suffered mostly cuts and bruises, told the Courier-Mail from hospital in Charleville, Queensland that she tried to fight the marauding marsupial off with a broom:
I thought it was going to kill me. It was taller than me and it just plowed through the clothes on the washing line straight for me.
After being knocked down she crawled back to her house and her son called the police. Charleville police chief Senior-Sargent Stephen Perkins said his officers were forced to pepper-spray the kangaroo to avoid being injured as well.
Australians living in the nation's drought-ravaged capital have been warned to keep their distance from aggressive kangaroos after the iconic marsupials attacked one woman and killed a pet dog.
Eastern Grey kangaroos, which can grow 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) tall and weigh 70 kg (154 lb), have started moving out of the parched bush into inner Canberra suburbs during the day to look for grass and water, increasing their contact with people.
According to this report, an axe-wielding Australian was forced to employ an axe against a kangaroo in self-defense. The 'roo might well have had a history of such attacks.
The RSPCA is threatening legal action over a decision by the Defence Department to drastically reduce the kangaroo population at Puckapunyal military training base north of Melbourne.
The base - and the kangaroos living there - are enclosed by an electric fence. Officials have determined that the 36,000 kangaroos have an inadequate food supply and must be culled to prevent starvation. A minimum of 15,000 and as many as 30,000 'roos are to be killed by the end of August. More than 20,000 Eastern Greys were shot at the base last year.
Animal activists acknowledge the need to prevent suffering but are opposed to such massive reductions and point out that the fence is the real problem.
While at the movie theatre the other night I caught a glimpse of a trailer for "Kangaroo Jack". While I don't expect this to be a masterpiece of cinematography, the presence of the film's main character will most likely compensate... take a look at http://kangaroojack.warnerbros.com/
"In a copyright claim currently ruffling feathers - and furs - across Australia, Kevin Buzzacott,
an Aboriginal elder, has claimed that Qantas cannot use the flying kangaroo as a mascot
without the permission of the marsupial's indigenous 'owners.'"
Submitters comment: This is total BS!
Jarlidium Press is announcing plans and actively soliciting submissions for a new fanzine title, ROOTOPIA, a publication dedicated to fans and enthusiasts of kangaroos and other marsupials. Text stories, illustrations, comics, kangaroos in the news, and photos of the real animals will be included in this 64 page digest sized fanzine. Reproduction will be done in 256 greyscale black and white interiors with cardstock covers. Jarlidium Press has a lot of experience in producing high quality publications including Hot To Trot, Dallas Brawl Update, Dela The Hooda collections, Three Apples, and North American Fur.