A recent article in Variety notes that Beast of Burden is now set to shoot as the first China / New Zealand co-production animated feature film. “Written and directed by Kirby Atkins (Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron), the story sees a species of now-extinct creatures called Thoriphants rebel against their life of servitude to mankind and embark on a treacherous journey.” You may recall that we previously discussed the film on this very web site. As a reminder, we’ll give you the link to Mr. Atkins’ original proof-of-concept short film, which helped him to secure the production deal for his first solo feature.
(Say that three times fast we dare ya!) Author Lewis Goldstein is known for creating stories that are religious parables told with a particular wit. Now in his second book, he tells the story of one Finnegan T. Flea in a graphic novel called Of Fleas and Fleadom: A Tale of Two Vermin, illustrated by Arianna Grinager. Finnegan is an ordinary flea, trapped under the thumb (literally) of a brutish flea-circus owner and forced to witness some of humanity at their worst. He longs to break out and experience his true “fleadom”, and Mr. Goldstein’s adventurous poem shows how the flea tries to do precisely that. Find out more at the official web site of Baable-On Books, the publisher. By the way: This (very) graphic novel is not meant for young readers!
Hah! I have always said that Estonian animation is ununderstandable! Incomprehensible, even. Here is a 4’47” trailer for a 72-minute 2013 stop-motion animated grand opera about the star-crossed love affair between an anthropomorphized rich-girl lemon and a poor refugee orange, directed by Mait Laas. Lisa Limone’s cruel father (a lemon with a comic-relief moustache) runs a slave-labor tomato plantation and ketchup factory.
Don’t worry if you don’t speak Estonian. Nobody understands the lyrics in opera, anyway. Besides, the trailer is subtitled in English.
Over at Cartoon Brew they recently put up an article about a new CGI animated feature film conceived and created by Kirby Atkins (who previously worked on Jimmy Newtron: Boy Genius). It’s called Beast of Burden, and it’s currently in production at Huhu Productions in New Zealand. Not to be confused with the Dark Horse comic Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, though: That’s being developed for animation by Reel FX. Mr. Kirby’s project involves an endangered farm-labor animal called a thoriphant — who discovers that there may just be more to their species than anyone has imagined before. To secure financing, the creator and his crew put together a proof-of-concept animated short — you can watch it over on Vimeo. Now, with the backing taken care of, they’re shopping the project around for distribution.
Breather is a new full-color graphic novel, coming soon. It’s conceived by Graeme Base (creator of Animalia), written by Sean Patrick O’Reilly, and illustrated by Asta Gunn. “On the distant planet of Otarius, invaders from the Birshh Dynasty have captured and enslaved the native Otarans. Pushed on by the ruthless Governor, timid Dr. Bjrork conducts horrific experiments to create a superior breed of slave. Years later, Birshh-Otaran hybrids are raised in captivity, dependent on ‘breathers’ – life-saving gas-masks that filter the Otarian air they, as hybrids, cannot tolerate. Two siblings, Dhrmmn and Lilli, strive to prove worthy of the Dynasty, to earn privileges for their half-breed kind.” No political allegory here, nope nope. Breather is coming in softcover from Arcana Studio this April, and you can check out a preview over at Graphic Policy.
Volume 1 of a planned three-volume trilogy focuses on Amon and the circle of characters that surround him as he lives out his days on the chain of islands known as the Matta’atel Shanivaar (or String of Tears) as a professional male prostitute.
The work alludes to racial tensions between two warring nations and the conflicts that inevitably arise from such a situation. It is on sale at Sofawolf’s website for $29.95.
At Anthrocon this year, I was able to get a brief time with Rukis (while she was busy manning her dealer’s booth) to discuss her most recent publication; Red Lantern, Vol. 1: The Crimson Divine, out now as a graphic novel for $29.95 from Sofawolf. Among plot and time zone complications, we were able to discuss Bollywood, slavery and chance meetings.
Earl: Again, thanks for this.
Rukis: No problem.
Earl: Appreciate it; we’ll start with a simple one. Where did the idea for Red Lantern come from? What was the idea for that story?
Rukis: Um, I am really fond of documentaries and NatGeo programming and History channel programming and stuff like that. And, um, I was actually watching a documentary on a slum, in India, that’s on an island where this sort of prostitution ring actually exists, today. And it’s the type of ring that’s been around for a really long time and people don’t actually realize this still exists in the world, now. And a lot of the time, the reason they have them on islands is because escape is, uh, very difficult that way.
So, I’d seen this and knew I wanted to do a comic with really, with a really serious storyline. And I’ve always had, I guess, kind of a morbid fascination with the sex trade, so it just kind of spoke to me...and it’s kind of how the whole idea came about.