With temperatures down, and entertainment options becoming more and more—homegrown, let's say—it's a good time to catch up on that new-to-you material that aligns with your interests. Here are two of those lesser-known but deserving properties, marketed toward youth. For those of you who were sold on The Secret of NIMH, Redwall, and everything in between, at first view.
The Mistmantle Chronicles by M.I. McAllister has jacket flaps that compare it to The Wind In The Willows and Watership Down, although as you can see from the first installment's cover, there's much more of a Redwall yen in this series. As they say, though, DON'T judge a book by its cover, as the experiences of brave squirrel Urchin on the titular island carry their own identity. This flies in the face of origins that speak to many favorite role-playing games, as he evolves from his discovery on an empty beach to his eventual destiny in foiling a royal coup.
Camaraderie and species characteristics also run heavy in this, as in Redwall, however there is a noticeable amount of personification of reactive emotion and atmosphere as well, where dread and evil are given concrete outlines. Given my frequent mention of the property in the paragraph, you can gather the audience to which Mistmantle speaks. Dig on into this if you're part of that audience, since Miramax has purchased movie rights [albeit in 2004], and some sort of photo-play is probably not far off.
Mozilla has been forced to state that the increasingly-stylized fox in their browser logo is "alive and well" — despite mounting evidence of Doge influence in Nightly, the twice-a-day distribution of Firefox code.
Their blog post was a response to a series of memes decrying the ongoing march towards minimalism, implying that a 2019 re-branding exercise – in which Firefox was turned into a 'parent brand' composed of a 'swoop' design from which the browser icon and others were derived – represented elimination of the fox from the product.
The La Jolla Playhouse, in La Jolla, California, a suburb of San Diego, will present the world premiere of a new play, “The Squirrels”, during its 2018-2019 season. The dates and casting have not been set yet.
“The Squirrels” by Robert Askins, directed by Christopher Ashley.
Winter is on its way, and the squirrels are restless. Mistrust is growing between the Grey Squirrels, who enjoy a rich cache of nuts, and the outcast, hungry Fox Squirrels. When a wily outsider ignites a savage war, the consequences are catastrophic. This epic play reveals the animal instincts driving us all.
The choice of species is fitting for the local given the squirrels in Southern California are primarily fox squirrels and gray squirrels.
An article on November 8 in the San Diego Union-Tribune says that Director Ashely calls the new work "playful and super-funny and unexpected in every possible way," and says that as with good sci-fi, the fantastical setup allows the piece "to explore our society with just enough remove that you can make bold, interesting statements. It’s squirrels in a tree, but you would recognize lots of things in this cultural moment."
Ashley noted that the costumes were not going to look like 'Disneyland', but they will convey an essential ‘squirrel-ness,’ to coin a term.
Tickets to the Playhouse’s 2018-2019 season are available only via subscription at the moment: (858) 550-1010 or lajollaplayhouse.org.
Keep tuned in as more news will be added here when it is available. It will be interesting to see how much the play’s costuming looks like fursuits.
"So much for peaceful protest."
- Surly, squirrel
Currently, this movie sits at a paltry 11% at Rotten Tomatoes, from 47 reviews (not a big number of reviews for a wide release movie). A grand total of five professional reviewers found enough decent in the movie to muster "fresh" ratings there. This 11% percent matches the original's score, though it had double the positive reviews with 10 of its 89 reviews finding something nice to say about it. So, obviously, not the most critically beloved movie franchise ever.
However, I didn't exactly follow the critics' consensus with the first movie, what with giving it a spot on my annual top ten list. Fred liked it too, in his review of the movie for Flayrah. And I won't be agreeing with the critics again for the sequel (you'll have to ask Fred if he's even seen this second one, though).
But, you know what, who cares? I mean, as I write this, the top story on Flayrah Lamar's article on the alt-right, while Equivamp's take is a little bit below it. Who cares if the cartoon squirrel movie is good or not; it's not like it has anything to say about the real world and the things that are happening in it right now.
We covered animated feature The Nut Job thoroughly upon its release in January 2014. If you enjoyed it, I have good news: a sequel is coming August 18, entitled The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature.
The Nut Job was about a group of anthropomorphized city wildlife led by Surly Squirrel raiding an out-of-business nut shop while a gang of bank robbers are using it as a cover for their heist. The movie is semi-famous for having been almost universally reviled by the critics before its release – it got a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – then getting a very favorable audience when it came out.
It was produced by ToonBox Entertainment in Toronto, and mostly financed by South Korean investors. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of the Republic of Korea got a credit. They even threw some love by having the animal cast plus an animated Psy, the popular South Korean singer-dancer, break into “Gangnam Style” over the closing credits.
This is a first.
It's the first time a Pull List will feature a review of a comic the same day as it actually hits newstands. Or comic book stores. Or wherever you happen to buy comic books. If you buy physical comic books and don't just read them online.
Anyway, that comic book is Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. So that's exciting! And then we have some more Squirrel Girl comics, which would be a bit more exciting if they also came out today (which they didn't) and I also hadn't featured Squirrel Girl in the last two Pull Lists (which I did). Oh, well, reviews after the break!
This article by Amid Amidi on the Cartoon Brew website about the coming anthro animal feature Get Squirrely says it all, or at least enough for us. The Canadian CGI animation looks horribly unfurry for the squirrels and bats, but okay for the frogs and snakes.The whole cast appears to be talking critters: bats, birds, hedgehogs, flying squirrels, regular squirrels – he may not have fur, but he’s a natty dresser – and more fart and poop jokes than you could wish for.
Ice Age 5, a.k.a. Ice Age: Collision Course, is scheduled for a July 22, 2016 release. IMDb has a brief summary provided by 20th-Century Fox:
Scrat's epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, traveling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colorful new characters.
Now its first teaser trailer is released. Are we quivering with anticipation?
This will be the second Pull List in a row to feature only Squirrel Girl comics (and also the second Pull List in a row to feature a The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1, because Marvel's doing a thing again). Between her and all the Friendship is Magic comics, this Pull List thing has just become one big, happy ball of positive energy. Except when I throw in a Hack/Slash, an Avengers Arena or a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #4, and things get a little darker.
But, the stories we tell (and the stories we enjoy) influence how we think of the world; it's much easier to believe the world will end in some kind of apocalypse when your favorite TV show is The Walking Dead (a show about the apocalyptic end of the world), even if you don't necessarily believe it will come via zombie plague. It's harder if you watch a show where you have to take a time machine five million years into the future to see the end of the world. So, anyway, if you're looking for a comic book series that might influence you to see the world more positively, basically, stuff with Squirrel Girl helps.
Marvel comics launched two titles early this year featuring slightly obscure, slightly ridiculous and more-than-slightly furry characters; Howard the Duck and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Actually, they will both have two #1 issues by the end of the year (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl's second first issue came out this week, while Howard the Duck returns on November 4). Both have gained mostly positive reviews since their launches, so of course these two characters will appear in each other's books in a crossover next spring.
Not much detail is known at the moment about what these two characters will be doing that will require them to team-up, but Marvel has revealed an advance solicit (that is admittedly less than helpful):
This summer, the two most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe clash! You asked for it ... you demanded it ... and now you'll get it: GALACTUS versus WOLVERINE! Just kidding, the story's actually about Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck, and instead of fighting they solve problems together. Sorry for making you think Galactus and Wolverine would fight, maybe that should be our next team-up though since it's not a bad idea at all. Wolverine could get some Power Cosmic on her claws to create the Power Clawsmic and Galactus could be all "OH NO YOU DIDN'T". Anyway, in our story Howard and Squirrel Girl fight some dudes and learn some important lessons and Galactus doesn't even show up once, the end.
In Norse mythology, the squirrel Ratatoskr (whose name is usually translated as "bore-tooth", and who is sometimes depicted with a unicorn like horn) is the messenger between the serpent at the base of the world tree Yggdrasil, and the eagle living at the top. Neither eagle nor serpent much like each other; Ratatoskr does not help matters, as it is known as a gossip who keeps the two rivals angry with each other. That's pretty much Ratatoskr's role in Norse mythology. The squirrel is a very, very minor character.
Despite its small stature (both literally and figuratively), Ratatoskr has managed to gain an important role in a Marvel comic and become a playable character in a popular video game. And the squirrel's two entrances happened one day apart.
LionsGate Entertainment, best known, at least furry and animation-wise, for Alpha and Omega and its various direct to video sequels, has released a trailer for its January 15, 2016 theatrical movie, Norm of the North, which features a polar bear taking a trip to New York City to save the Arctic ice cap.
At least the scene where titular polar bear Norm meets a man in a polar bear suit is interesting from a furry standpoint.
Perhaps more exciting than the trailer itself is the announcement of the release date, which sees the movie go up directly against The Nut Job 2; it seems release date power plays aren't just for superhero movies, anymore. It may be interesting to see if either movie "flinches" in this cinematic game of chicken.
In an interesting article over at Cartoon Brew, writer Scott Thill discusses a notable animated cartoon short — which is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The amazing thing is that it was made at all. Peace on Earth was created at MGM Animation (the home of Tom & Jerry) and directed by Hugh Harman. Despite the objections of MGM executive Fred Quimby, the film was finished: And for a cartoon finished right before the outbreak of World War II, it’s quite surprising. An elderly squirrel (voiced by an un-credited Mel Blanc) tells his young grand-kids the story of the end of human-kind in a terrible war… and how the animals, directed by the Bible, re-built the world and declared an end to conflicts and fighting of all kinds. An end which they celebrate and renew every year at Christmas. Seriously, go check it out at the bottom of the article. This film is very hard to find — but likely, it should be seen a lot more.
One of Marvel’s most unusual super heroes (and that’s saying a lot!) is getting her own full-color series this January. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl follows the adventures of, who else, Squirrel Girl — perhaps the world’s most upbeat superhero. And with her accomplishments, who wouldn’t be? With the help of her squirrel-like powers and her trusty squirrel sidekick, Tiptoe, she’s taken on and defeated some of the Marvel Universe’s biggest and baddest super-villains. From Entertainment Weekly: “In Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, writer Ryan North [Adventure Time] and artist Erica Henderson [Quantum & Woody] take on the lighthearted superheroine whose mutant gene gives her an endearing cocktail of squirrel-related superpowers. When the comic book begins, she’s starting college—but in no time at all, Squirrel Girl is defending Earth from threats most cosmic.” Check out the interview with Ryan North over at Comic Book Resources.