Cartoon Saloon is an Irish animation studio, and they're absolutely world class. They first gained world attention right out of the gate, when The Secret of Kells became a nominee for Best Animated Feature in the 2009 Academy Awards. It wasn't the first time a foreign movie made it on the list, but it was a surprise for many casual Oscar watchers.
Of course, if you actually watched the movie, it was a no-brainer; it not only deserved to be nominated, it's part of the reason 2009's list of Best Animated Feature nominees is still one of the all time best for the category. Since then, every feature by Cartoon Saloon has been nominated in the category; Tomm Moore, director of The Secret of Kells and now Wolfwalkers, was further personally nominated for Song of the Sea.
Both earlier films feature furry elements, especially Song, which deals with selkies (Cartoon Saloon is also responsible for the very furry, very good Skunk Fu! series). However, with Wolfwalkers, Moore and co-director Ross Stewart have created the studio's most furry-friendly film yet. The titular Wolfwalkers could be considered a variety of werewolf; but this time, they're the good guys.
As repeated media victims we furs are always on the lookout for furry references— good, bad or indifferent— on TV and elsewhere. There are two distinct styles in which our fandom is covered: bluntly by name, and more subtly. It’s easy to identify the former, but sometimes it’s more fun when they don’t use the 'F-word' to describe the group in which they are referencing in their content. In those instances, it seems more a stealthy shout-out for our animal-ears only, designed to fly over the head of anyone who doesn’t get it.
Today I wish to go over some of those moments in furry media that seem to hold general fandom idioms and how fun 'situational nuance' can be.
Sorry, sorry… too obvious. Thanks to some friends on Facebook, we stumbled across an upcoming fantasy film called Hanson and the Beast — from China, no less. Drama Panda has a preview. The story goes like this: “Yuan Shuai (Feng Shaofeng) is a a man who is drowning in debt. In order to pay up, he goes on blind dates with daughters from wealthy families but ends up falling in love with Bai Xian Chu (Crystal Liu), a fox demon who’s come to the human realm to repay a debt. However, relationships between humans and demons are strictly forbidden. Bai Xian Chu is dragged back to the demon world and Yuan Shuai sets out to rescue her.” So who’s Hanson? We don’t know yet. Written and directed by Xiao Yang, Hanson comes to theaters in China right at the end of December, then everywhere else on January 5th. Check out the trailer on YouTube as well.
The Species of Blessing Avenue is a collection of short stories by Graveyard Greg, published in 2012.
Even before I got past the introduction, I liked two things about this book. First, it's got a were-lion in its leading role. Second, it was inspired by characters created for the Buffy The Vampire Slayer RPG.
I was warned that I shouldn't have tried to read this as a novella instead of three short stories. I'll try to correct that mistake as I go along with this review.
A Left-Handed Sword is a novella by Phil Geusz in which the characters used to be human beings. All of them have contracted a singular disease called the Lokiskur virus (Lokie for short), which has transformed them into animals. Lokie not only leaves its victims dehumanized and physically handicapped in their new forms, but often brain-damaged and depressed. They are also highly contagious; Lokie is an affliction that never lets go.
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.
Another blast from the past over at IDW Publishing as early next year they present the return of The Mighty Mutanimals. From Comicbook.com: “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ uneasy allies, the Mutanimals, are getting their own minseries from IDW Publishing in February 2015. When someone close to the Mutanimals goes missing, the team consisting of Old Hob, Slash, Mondo Gecko, Herman the Hermit Crab, and Pigeon Pete will be put to the ultimate test, as they try to take on a mysterious new entity known as The Null Group. The series will written by Paul Allor, who has written several TMNT Micro-Seres one-shots, as well as The Ultrom Empire and Turtles in Time miniseries. Andy Kuhn, who created the new IDW design for Mutanimals leader Slash, will provide covers and interior art.” In full color of course.
[Back from CaliFur, and we have so much to talk about!]
Over at Cartoon Brew they have premiered the brand-new trailer for the upcoming animated film Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore. Like Moore’s previous film The Secret of Kells, this new feature will be hand-drawn in a traditional 2D fashion with a highly stylized design. And, like that first film, this new one is based on the legends and lore of Ireland — in this case, the story of the Selkies, magical beings who are seals in the ocean but can shed their furry skins to become humans on the land. “Song of the Sea tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse – the last Seal-child – who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. ” As with The Secret of Kells, Songs of the Sea has been picked up by GKIDS for distribution in North America. Now if we could just get a firm date for its release!
There were no moral implications in Arthur Green’s watering the Scotch; it was purely an executive maneuver. A less efficient administrator might simply have apologized for having forgotten to stock his trailer with whiskey, but Arthur knew that his particular victims would then merrily have forgiven him and produced their own. If they were to drink, as they surely were, it was obviously better to have them do so from his unproofed stock than from their own authentic supply. (p. 1)
Arthur is the Hollywood producer of a Western being filmed on location somewhere in the Mexican desert. In the production company are Arthur, the harried producer; George McKaye, the matter-of-fact director; Jonathan Cartwright, the reluctant scriptwriter and Carol Holloway, his loyal secretary; Max, the practical horse wrangler; Bruce Gentry, the egotistical cowboy star; Melissa Drummond, the self-centered leading lady; and Beverly Dawn, a ditzy starlet. And Lightning, Gentry’s noble steed, who is in reality Gladiola, a well-trained but dimwitted and oversexed mare.
Jonathan, a heavy drinker and practical joker, is only at the production in the desert because his contract forces him to be there for on-the-spot rewrites. Jonathan loathes being away from “civilization” (the largest metropolises where alcohol is readily available), so he brought a large supply with him. He also loathes the vain Gentry, who takes advantage of his stardom as much as he can. Jonathan has been trying unsuccessfully to get Arthur Green to film one of his non-Western screenplays for three years. Jonathan seldom travels anywhere without Carol, his super-efficient secretary who is his pal in his binges, keeps him from getting fired, and has a crush on him.
NYC, Appleton-Century-Crofts, March 1959, 214 pages, $3.75. Based on an idea by Ann Noyes Guettel. Frontispiece by Doug Anderson.
Brian Lee Cook’s Allasso Furry book series/magazine was started in 2011, announcing two volumes per year. (He and I had argued over whether this meant semi-yearly or bi-yearly. He says bi-yearly and I say semi-yearly.) Vol. 1 was published in November 2011 as a 116-page trade paperback with 14 stories and poems [review], and vol. 2 in May 2012 as a 134-page trade paperback with 11 stories and poems [review]. Frequent contributors include Mary E. Lowd, Renee Carter Hall, and Tristan Black Wolf.
Vol. 3 was promised for December 2012, but never appeared, and e-mails to Cook were not answered. It was assumed that this was another “little magazine” that had ceased publication almost as soon as it had started. But vol. 3 has finally appeared without fanfare, dated by Amazon.com as May 13, 2014, in a 140-page trade paperback edition for $8.00 (Amazon.com’s discounted price is $7.20) with 12 stories and poems, all Furry.
Korean cinema: Toilet-paper Merlin turns pianist into cow, who's saved from incinerator by com-sat in robot girl formPosted by Fred on Thu 27 Mar 2014 - 16:59
Korean animation looks enough like Japanese animation that it is usually lumped together as anime. But I don’t think that even the Japanese have made an animated feature like The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, directed by Jang Hyung-yun and released in February in Seoul.
Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop announces this South Korean release about a pianist (male), transformed into a cow (female) by Merlin the Magician in the form of an anthropomorphic roll of toilet paper, and pursued by a villainous incinerator that wants to incinerate him/her; while a communication satellite falls from space, becomes an Astro Boy-like robot girl, and saves the cow from the incinerator and its secret agents. It falls into the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it category -- and Jerry has the trailer, so you can see 1'22" of it.
Read more: Review at TwitchFilm.com
Anomaly Productions have released a new full-color hardcover graphic novel called Shifter. It’s the first in a planned new series. “What if you could soar with the birds – not in a man-made contraption or by using virtual reality, but as an actual bird? What if you could literally be a fly on the wall in a top-secret meeting? What if you could become any animal in the world or, better yet, anybody in the world? What if you could become any creature that has ever existed (and some you never believed could exist)? Find out the answers to these questions and more in Shifter, the latest full-color graphic novel from Anomaly Productions. Shifter is a sci-fi murder mystery with a unique perspective, a pulse-pounding thriller that explores the depths of humanity’s evil and the tremendous powers of the animal kingdom.” You can find out more, and see more sample pages, at Anomaly’s Shifter page. Written and illustrated by Brian Haberlin (assisted by Brian Holguin), like many Anomaly Productions products Shifter features an available app to download. Aim your smart phone at the page, and animated characters leap out of the book and dance before you.
The ad, set to Lady Gaga's "Applause", features the three hamsters jogging, swimming, and working out on various pieces of gym equipment. At the end, emphasising the message that the Soul has been "totally transformed" with a "sleeker, sexier and more sophisticated" look, the hamsters are seen radically slimmed down, wowing the public at a red-carpet event.
The campaign was produced by Kia's long-time ad agency David & Goliath, and directed by its Executive Creative Director, Colin Jeffery. The MTV Video Music Awards (Sunday, August 25) will feature the commercial; it hits 18,000 movie screens across the U.S. on August 30.
Endtown has been a black-&-white Monday-Friday webcomic since January 18, 2009. Its popularity has grown fast, and it was shortlisted for the 2011 Ursa Major Award in the Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story category. A rave review by Bill Sherman in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (June 24, 2011) [originally on Blogcritics] began:
A snappy blend of Boy and His Dog sci-fi plus funny animal comics, Aaron Neathery's Endtown is one of the underseen gems in web comics. Originally debuting on the Modern Tales site - and more recently migrated to GoComics - the weekday series charts the travails of the beleaguered underground survivors of a mutant spawning radiation plague.
Endtown is set six years after a cataclysmic war has destroyed almost all life on Earth, leaving only a lifeless, desertlike surface and a few subterranean towns. The survivors are divided between the airtight-suited Topsiders, ruthless 100% human purists who kill other survivors on sight because they may be mutants, and the mutants and “impure” humans who try to survive in the underground enclaves. The “mutagenic plague” transformed its human victims into horrific monsters or, what makes this strip of Furry interest, anthropomorphic animals.
“Endtown 4”, by Aaron Neathery. [Introduction by Steve Gallacci.] Bellevue, WA, Jarlidium Press, July 2013, trade paperback $15.00 (131 [+3] pages).
Pullman's 1999 book opens with elderly couple Bob and Joan answering a knock at their door, and finding a boy in a tattered page's uniform. When asked who he is, the boy can only tell them, "I was a rat". Having no children of their own, Bob and Joan take the boy in and name him Roger. They soon find he has distinctly ratty behaviour - he cannot eat with a spoon and, on his first night, chews his bed linen to shreds.
Bob and Joan attempt to find Roger's parents, but find the authorities disinterested and unhelpful. After Roger runs away during an examination by the Philosopher Royal, he gets exploited as a sideshow freak, used as an assistant to house-breaking, and eventually takes refuge in the sewers. With the local newspaper The Scourge feeding the hysteria, he is eventually caught and, as "the monster of the sewers", put on trial for his life.
I recently attended a performance at the Liverpool Playhouse. The stage play follows the book fairly faithfully; it was extremely well done, and I had so much fun watching it that I returned to catch it a second time before the production moved on to their next venue.