Christopher Locke has worked for many years in the television industry. In 2004 he read the book Fast Food Nation and went through a personal transformation… emerging as a passionate animal rights advocate. He also decided to have a go at writing full-time for a living. The result is a new trilogy of fanciful fiction for young adults called The Enlightenment Adventures. The first book in the series, published in 2015, is called Persimmon Takes on Humanity. “What would you do if you saw someone committing unimaginable acts of cruelty? Turn the other way or defend those in need—no matter the cost? That’s the dilemma thrust upon Persimmon, a clever and compassionate raccoon, and her loyal forest friends. Instantly, the courageous critters spring into action, risking their own lives to rescue any animal they see suffering at the hands of humans. What the team doesn’t know is just how rampant this violence really is, and soon their exciting rescue missions turn shockingly dangerous and deadly. Will they succeed in saving the animals of the world from humans’ brutality, or will they fall victim to the powerful system of abuse they’re trying so desperately to end?” Persimmon is available now at Amazon, and you can find out more about the series at the author’s web site.
image c. 2016 Fathoming Press
If you haven’t caught the word, this May DC Comics and Hanna Barbera plan to take Scooby Doo and the gang in a very… different direction, with the premier of the new full-color comic book series Scooby Apocalypse. “Those meddling kids — Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and their dog, Scooby-Doo — get more ghost-debunking than they bargained for when faced with a fundamental change in their world. The apocalypse has happened. Old rules about logic no longer apply. The creatures of the night are among us, and the crew of the Magical Mystery Machine has to fight to survive—because in the apocalyptic badlands of the near-future, the horrors are real! This new monthly series takes Scooby and the gang to a whole new level and features character designs by comics superstar Jim Lee!” Plus writing by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, with regular art by Howard Porter. Read an interview with Mr. Giffen over at Newsarama.
image c. 2016 DC Comics
Brendan McCarthy is an artist and designer well known as one of the creators of 2015’s hit movie Mad Max: Fury Road. In the meantime he also created a full-color comic called Dream Gang, which was serialized in Dark Horse Presents. “A group of psychics project themselves into the dream worlds at night, exploring other people’s dreams. But they uncover a conspiracy to invade and enslave humanity from within by a malevolent force from the dark side of the mind.” As you can see, anthropomorphic characters also play a role in the gang! Now Dark Horse have assembled the complete Dream Gang series into a single trade paperback graphic novel. Check out Dark Horse’s preview over at their web site, and look for Dream Gang this July.
image c. 2016 Dark Horse Comics
Watch out! We’re about to get flooded by announcements for new sampler comics coming out for Free Comic Book Day — in just a couple of weeks on May 7th. Bleeding Cool has several lists of the titles being released. As usual, there are several titles of furry interest in there if you look, including Awake, Sonic, Grumpy Cat, Sanjay & Craig, The Stuff of Legend, and more. Here’s one that caught our eye: The Pink Panther, released by American Mythology. “He’s been the coolest cat in all of cartoondom for over 50 years! The Pink Panther is back in brand new adventures to tickle your funny bone and test the sanity of The Little Man! Join all of Pink’s pals from the DePatie-Freleng stable including The Inspector and The Ant and The Aardvark, as we welcome The Pink Panther to 21st Century comic books in style! This special FCBD issue is chock-full of fun with new and classic Pink Panther adventures, including the hilarious antics of The Mighty Pan-Thor!” We’ll see, in a couple of weeks!
image c. 2016 American Mythology
Recently we discovered an author named Jaimi Ilama. Her last name is an acronym for “I Love All My Animals”. As she explains it, “I have eleven animals right now in my home. Three cats, two dogs, and seven turtles. I have written a series of children’s picture books called Rescue Me. There are five stories in all, and they all have an animal as the main character. The books are made to help parents and teachers talk to kids about ‘life struggles’ that both humans and animals go through sometime in their life. The themes that are discussed are facing fears and change, abandonment, prejudice, homelessness and saying goodbye to a loved one.” The first book in the series is called The Upstairs Cat (illustrated by Audrey Miller), and it tells the story of a cat named Amazon and how she deals with her feelings of loneliness when ‘her boy’ moves off to college. Can she find the courage to explore the rest of the house — let alone the outside world? At Mousebreath.com there’s an interview with Jaimi about this and other upcoming books in the series. Check it out — and meanwhile, take a look around the rest of Mousebreath. The web site describes itself as “an award-winning lifestyle magazine by cats, for cats and cat lovers”.
image c. 2016 Open Door Publishing
Sarah Prescott is a professional painter who specializes in watercolor — and these days, in original pet portraits. “The daughter of renowned artist Larry Gluck, Sarah’s love for painting developed as a child growing up around the smell of turpentine and oil paint in her family’s living room, which doubled as her father’s art studio. In 1975 Sarah’s parents founded Mission: Renaissance Fine Art Classes and, after graduating from Hoover High School and attending Cal State Northridge, Sarah formally trained in her father’s method of art instruction and opened her own Mission: Renaissance studio in La Canada in 1992. It was through teaching children that she discovered her passion for watercolor. ‘The kids I taught were so full of life, it inspired me to paint children and watercolor was the perfect medium.’ She went on to paint commissioned works for her many clients and also vignettes and landscapes. The Prescott family’s 3 dogs inspired her ongoing series of animal portraits and the formation of her company: Unfurgettables.” Her web site shows many of her works, available not only as originals but on bookmarks, note-cards, and other such items.
image c. 2016 by Sarah Prescott
You’d be hard-pressed to think of more famous “ancient world” anthropomorphic stories than the fables of Aesop. Needless to say, they’ve had numerous illustrated presentations over the centuries! Well here’s a very recent take with a particular spin to it: Doug Hansen is a California native and an art instructor at California State University at Fresno. In his spare time he created a new hardcover illustrated book called Aesop in California. “Guess who just arrived in California? Aesop! Here among the plants, animals, and places of the Golden State, his timeless fables from ancient Greece take on a new vitality and immediacy. From blackberry-munching grizzlies to Hollywood house mice, this is a book to delight the eye, stimulate the imagination, and teach us some very important lessons.” Find out more about the book and the artist at the publisher’s web site. (Hot tip: He also created a book called Mother Goose in California!)
image c. 2016 Heyday Books
Somehow we missed this one, but we’re glad to find out about it now. Cartoonist Art Spiegelman (world-famous for his multi-award-winning comic Maus) has created Jack and the Box, a full-color story comic for entry-level readers. “Jack just got a new toy, and it’s full of surprises. Each time the box pops open, there’s a new and bigger surprise. Is it a silly toy, a scary toy… or something else entirely? With a limited vocabulary and unlimited imagination, Art Spiegelman applies his out-of-the-box thinking to a book that has all the surprise and bounce of a Jack-in-the-box.” Check it out over at the publisher, Toon Books. It’s available now at numerous sites, in trade paperback.
image c. 2016 Toon Books
Imagine a world with no domesticated dogs — only were-dogs. That’s what the artist known as Kez thought up for his largely monochrome on-line comic Until The Last Dog Dies. “Port Jude is a utopia… if you’re human. In a world split down the middle between humans and dog shapeshifters, there is little justice to be had when domesticated dogs have no rights, no citizenship and no life to call their own. Cage is a wild dog who has always seen himself as free, until he strikes a bargain with the devil in the form of a wealthy businessman named Dmitri Molokov. Now, he must risk his life with the cruelties of the illustrious dog fighting rings for his one shot at a better life for himself and his family.” The official web site has the continuing comic, as well as backstory and a link to an introduction video on YouTube.
image c. 2016 by Kez