Another toy-and-art centered company — there were so many at WonderCon this year! Beefy & Co. specialize in rounded plushy toys, t-shirts with funny animals (and funny other things), and art prints of a decidedly cute nature. Their official slogan is “Creating joy, one toy at a time.” They’re making appearances at comic book conventions all over the place, but if you can’t wait that long for more cuteness then head on over to their web page right away.
It seems to be a hot time to re-imagine 1980’s toy and cartoon lines for a the new millenium. Next up? Popples. Here’s the pitch from the masters themselves, Saban Brands: “Popples are fun, lovable, brightly-colored and adorable creatures that transform from fluffy balls to furry friends and back again. Saban Brands will re-launch the franchise with a fresh and modern look for a new generation of kids. The launch will be paired with a line of consumer products including apparel, accessories, plush and more. Popples made its original debut in the U.S. in 1985 with a Saturday morning television show, followed by a successful toy line.” Saturday morning, eh? Are they gonna try to bring that back too? Either way, look for it at a TV or toy store near you in 2015.
DinoFroz is a 2D animated TV series created by Orlando Corrati and animated by Mondo TV Studios in Italy. “The series depicts the adventures of Tom, a 12-year-old boy and his friends who, after playing a board game, are teleported to a world where they can transform into dinosaurs using stones called Rockfroz.” And more importantly, they can use their new-found dinosaur powers to try and defeat an army of evil magic dragons who are determined to rule all worlds — including ours! All of this also (hopefully) serving in the sales of tie-in toys. You can see both show and toys advertised and summarized over on YouTube. DinoFroz is currently seeking distribution in North America.
Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop website noted on December 18 that the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry has announced its 2013 selection of twenty-five new additions. Several of the films are animated, or contain animated sequences, and among those, several feature anthropomorphized animals.
Josh Armstrong, on the Animation Scoop website, has advance news and an image of the Pixar TV Hallowe’en special, “Toy Story of Terror”. While the Toy Story crowd is technically anthropomorphic anyway, “Toy Story of Terror” includes an especially Furry plush hedgehog, Mr. Pricklepants.
“Toy Story of Terror” was broadcast on ABC-TV on October 16 at 8/7 (Central) p.m. Here are two favorable reviews of it. The first, by Shaun Thompson & Craig Williams on the DIS Blog, is especially informative, and includes scheduled showings on Disney's channels. It looks worth watching on the inevitable reruns and DVD release, if you missed it the first time around.
Four Horsemen Studios is a group of radical toy designers who cut their teeth working for McFarlane Toys back in the 1990′s. Now on their own, they have created several series of original, very different action figures — several of which are very very furry in nature. The Seventh Kingdom series (shown below) outlines a world of battling tribes of various species all vying for control of a conquering magick. Meanwhile Power Lords is a series of unique bird-based warrior action figures, some of which have available wing add-ons available as well. Visit the Four Horsemen web site to see more of their designs and find out what they’re working on next.
So, there’s this TV series, produced with young girls in mind, about talking ponies living in a magical land. No, it’s not that one. “The Filly animated series brings to life the charming adventures of Rose and her friends as they attend the Magic Royal Academy of Funtasia. The Wizard of the Dark Mirror, and his comical minion Battiwigs, try to steal all the magic in the kingdom. Despite their wacky attempts, the Fillys enjoy everyday school life, studying and discovering their unique, and magical, crystal powers in these coming of age stories.” That’s from the producers and distributors. According to some sources, Filly is already a bigger toy product in Europe than My Little Pony. And then there’s this, from the Animation Magazine web site: “BRB and Dracco’s upcoming new animated series Filly Funtasia has put together a top-notch writing team: Dean Stefan (The Penguins of Madagascar, The Octonauts, Jake & The Never Land Pirates), Noelle Wright (Doc McStuffins, Sofia The First), Jymn Magon (Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures), Johnny Hartmann (Monster High), and Sean Derek (The Smurfs, ZhuZhu Pets, Strawberry Shortcake, Sabrina, Hello Kitty) are busy putting together episodes for the 26 x 30? high-def series.” No kidding. Where have we been?
Well sort of… and face it, you knew it was coming! First up is Monopoly: The My Little Pony edition — by which they mean My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic of course. It’s available for pre-order at Comics Infinity. “Welcome to Ponyville! A big adventure and tons of fun await you in this playful My Little Pony edition of Monopoly! Favorite locations in Ponyville are up for grabs including Cutie Mark Clubhouse, Sweet Apple Acres, Manehattan, and the Crystal Empire. ” The six game tokens are, of course, the “mane six” characters from the series. What, not into the MLP phenomenon? All right, head on over to Coin-Op.TV and check out the Monopoly: Skylanders edition, also in pre-orders now. They’ve got just about everyone covered!
After their first appearance in 2001 at San Diego Comic Con and other conventions, the fuzzy little “Ugly Dolls” have become a pop toy phenomenon of their own. Now Viz Media have announced the very first Ugly Dolls series of full-color graphic novels for young readers, starting with Ugly Doll: Goin’ Places this July. From the official press release on Comic Book Resources: “VIZ Media’s Ugly Doll graphic novel series will transport readers to a diverse universe where ‘ugly’ just means unique and different, and celebrating who you are inside and out is the new beautiful. Join Wage™, Babo™, OX™, Ice-Bat™ and their Uglydoll pals as they express themselves through laughs, tears, love and adventure!”
Where have we been? Looks like even classic toys are taking on a furry angle. Legends of Chima is a new line of Lego toys the world-famous plastic brick system introduced this year. From the Wikipedia entry: “Chima is a land where anthropomorphic animals lived in peace with one another until a conflict caused a civil war with the eight animal tribes: Lion, Eagle, Raven, Wolf, Gorilla, Rhino, Bear, and Crocodile. The members of the factions fiercely battle over a powerful natural resource called Chi, which could allow its possessor to create or destroy.” The toy sets are already available — and a TV series based on the line has already been produced by Prime Focus for the Cartoon Network. Later this summer, a free MMORPG of Chima will be available on line as well.
This is almost impossible to describe, even when you’re looking right at it! Check out this name: Chogokin Super-Combining King Robo Mickey and Friends. Then just check out the picture below! It’s a new toy created in Japan as a collaboration between Bandai Tamashii Nations and Disney. It features die-cast metal characters with names like Jet Mickey, Sky Minnie, Diver Donald, Aqua Daisy, Land Goofy, and Dash Pluto, who combine (along with other accessories) into the massive King Robot to fight… sheesh, we can only guess what! Take a look at the advertisement on Amazon to see more of what the individual component characters look like. King Robo Mickey (etc etc…) will be available internationally this April. Now all we have to do is wait for the TV series…
Pixar story artist Jeff Pidgeon (Toy Story, etc.) is a toy fanatic. Not just a collector – he designs his own. After designing and manufacturing Happy Beaver and Trickster Fox, he has decided to open an online store to sell them and others that he will create. They will also be available at “select boutiques”.
Wired has an extensive interview with Pidgeon and twelve closeup illustrations of his characters from their clay models through their finished forms.
Hot on the heels of the news of Disney partnering with luxury fashion clothes designers to create exclusive duds for attenuated versions of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and other classic Disney characters, comes this news that Disney is also partnering with Japanese toymaker Bandai to smooch said classic Disney characters together into a single “Voltron-style” transforming giant robot – coming in March 2013.
It may sound like a parody, but the Cartoon Brew website has a publicity picture of this “King Robo”. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto (plus Pluto’s doghouse and Steamboat Willie’s riverboat) into one giant robot! Like they say, we couldn’t make this stuff up. Check it out.
Pixar is not the only studio that can make movies about anthropomorphic toys. The Cartoon Brew website announces that on September 7, indy distributor Hannover House will release an English-language dub of Czech director Ji?í Barta’s 2009 feature Na p?d? (In the Attic) in America, as Toys in the Attic. This is a mixed feature combining stop-motion puppetry, 2D cartoon animation, and live action.
It’s an analogy based on the cultural and political contrasts of the Cold War era; the world of the attic is divided into the land of happy toys in the West and the Land of Evil in the East.