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squirrels

Bound for School — But Not for Long

Another graphic novel for young readers that we stumbled across: Clementine Fox and the Great Island Adventure, written and illustrated by Leigh Luna. “Clementine is supposed to be on her way to school… but why not go out for a day of adventure and exploration instead? She recruits her friends Nubbins Squirrel and Penelope Rabbit and heads to the beach, where Jesse Otter is preparing to take his giant Turtle, Annabella, to a mysterious local island. Clementine’s great-aunt Marnie lives there — far away from math tests and tutors — so Clementine and her friends hitch a ride to the island as stowaways. What could go wrong?” Check out the preview pages over at Books of Wonder.


image c. 2024 Graphix

If You Build It…

Stuart Ng Books always have a fascinating booth at any number of fannish conventions. At WonderCon, they introduced us to Paisley Rabbit and the Treehouse Contest, an illustrated book for children that came out in 2018 from writer Steve Richardson and illustrator Chris Dunn. “Can a lone girl rabbit with all the odds stacked against her actually surprise boastful Jimmy Squirrel to win the big tree house construction contest? It is the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, Jimmy Squirrel, whose dad owns the biggest construction company in the city, agrees to a tree house contest. To everyone”s surprise, Paisley Rabbit, who has never touched a hammer or a nail and has no one to help her, is a long shot to win. But the imaginative and determined Paisley, demonstrates her resourcefulness and strategic planning abilities that eventually amazes her friends and silences the smug Jimmy Squirrel.” The book is available now in hardcover. Check out the preview pictures — the artwork is gorgeous. Interesting note: Chris Dunn also illustrated an edition of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. We’ll have to look it up.


image c. 2024 Impossible Dreams

'Small Saga' - a simple RPG with a grand story

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

Small Saga I remember when I first saw the animation of a rat vagabond flipping out the blade of a Swiss army knife, standing before a large orange cat on a kitchen floor. And ever since that day, I looked forward to playing this game. Of course, this came out in a time when ideas and funding campaigns were plenty, and many ideas never made it past that point. So let’s just say, I lacked faith that I’d ever see more than the wonderfully stylized and animated videos.

I’ve never been more happy to be wrong. The team behind this game persevered and gave me a pleasant surprise when the game was finally announced to be released in late 2023. But now that it is out, was the game worth all the hype?

In short, if you like your RPGs with challenging combat, then you may find this one too easy. However, if you play these games for the story, characters, setting, and intrigue, then this one is one that any furry would be loath to miss. In fact, if you’re a regular to this site you probably played it already.

You Forgot Your Childhood, but…

Another cool thing we’ve been missing all year, but we’re happy to find out about it now. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Invader Comics released the Back To Fairtaylia comic series, written by Jorg Alberts and Roland Heep, with artwork by P.R. Dedelis. “Once upon a time, childhood friends found a magical doorway to Fairtaylia, an enchanted realm full of wizardry and wonder. 20 years later they are a bunch of self-absorbed adults who don’t believe in fairy-tales anymore… until a talking squirrel and a chainsaw-wielding fairy show up on their doorsteps. In a fast-paced quest to save Fairtaylia from an unspeakable evil, the gang has to evade wicked witches, battle orcs and ogres, and break into Cinderella’s castle while suffering through fairy farts, skimpy outfits, and several musical numbers. Good luck with happily ever after…” Issues are available now.


image c. 2023 Invader Comics

Scurry from the Sciuridae!

Previews recently gave us an interview with Matt Wendt, artist and co-creator (along with writer Chad Corrie) of Sons of Ashgard: Ill Met in Elmgard, a new fantasy graphic novel. “Erick Redfur seeks a new life. Exiled from his homeland he craves a fresh start, but has yet to find it. Hopeful of a better fate in Elmgard he soon finds himself embroiled in a series of troubling events that quickly escalate into a near kingdom-wide war. Yet even as he attempts a remedy through fast thinking and the aid of some new companions, he risks jeopardizing his chance for a more peaceful future. But in so doing he will find his redemption along with new hope for the days ahead.” It’s available now from Dark Horse.


image c. 2023 Dark Horse Comics

Celebrate Diversity — All Around You

Right on time! A couple of years ago we told you about a new animated TV series headed to the Disney Channel in 2023 — and now here we are. Animation World Network has this news: “Disney-Branded Television announced that Kiff, their nutty new animated buddy-comedy about optimistic squirrel Kiff and her chill bunny bestie Barry, will premiere Friday, March 10, on Disney Channel and Wednesday, March 15, on Disney+. Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is the New Black) stars in the titular role of Kiff, whose thirst for life takes her on countless adventures through their city alongside Barry, voiced by H. Michael Croner (Craig of the Creek). From creators and executive producers Lucy Heavens and Nic Smal, the series follows Kiff and Barry as they navigate school, relationships and their often-eccentric community in Table Town, a world where animals and magical oddballs tackle day-to-day life together.” We’ll see it all this spring!


image c. 2023 The Disney Channel

Review: 'DC League of Super-Pets'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (7 votes)

DC League of Super-Pets poster Between the time I went to see DC League of Super-Pets and writing this, things got weird at Warner Bros. Two movies that were reportedly near completion were suddenly shelved. Most mainstream movie press outlets covered this as "What does this mean for this group of comic book superhero movies?". Even Flayrah's Newsbyte on the subject only mentioned Batgirl, despite the fact that Scoob! Holiday Haunt, an actual movie featuring anthropomorphic animals, rather than just one superhero in a pseudo-fursuit, was also cancelled.

And that has some bearing on my thoughts on this movie. Warner Animation Group is looking like it could be in trouble. Even though it appears that the studio will survive in some capacity, people are going to lose jobs in this area. So, it doesn't feel like a good time to take a look at their latest output, shrug, and say, "It was okay, I guess?"

DC League of Super-Pets was directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine, and stars Dwayne Johnson as Krypto, Superman's superpowered pet dog. When the evil guinea pig Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon) manages to depower Krypto, he must lead a team of newly-empowered shelter pets in order to rescue his kidnapped master.

It was okay, I guess?

Book reviews: 'Mistmantle Chronicles' and 'Mouseheart'

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

Mistmantle Chronicles 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.

Mistmantle Chronicles

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.

"The Squirrels"; world premiere of a new play

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (15 votes)

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.

'The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature': You know what I'm saying?

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (29 votes)

thenutjob2nuttybynature.jpg"Somehow, my job now requires me to sit and watch THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS."
- Guy Lodge, Guardian film critic, via Twitter, Nov. 9, 2016

"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.

Right?

'The Nut Job 2' is coming

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (5 votes)

The Nut Job 2 poster 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.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #27 ('Batman/TMNT', 'New Avengers' and 'Squirrel Girl')

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (6 votes)

Squirrel GirlThis 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!

How can we not call 'Get Squirrely' a crappy movie?

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

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.

From the producer of four Shrek movies? With John Leguizamo, Jim Cummings and John Cleese?

'Ice Age 5' or 'Ice Age: Collision Course'

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)

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?