Another new full-color comic from the Previews kid-friendly special feature is Fuzzy Baseball, written and illustrated by John Steven Gurney. “It’s the game everyone has been waiting for-The Fernwood Valley Fuzzies Vs. The Rocky Ridge Red Claws! The Fuzzies, featuring such all-star players as Jackie Rabbitson, Sandy Kofox, and Hammy Sosa, are ready. So are the Red Claws, with players like Gator Gibson, Stetch Giraffolo, and Fernado del Toro. Together they’ll make this the greatest game ever played between the two longtime rivals. And you have a front row seat at Fuzzy Field!” It’s coming from Papercutz in late April. You can preview the first volume over at their web site.
Previews magalog was kind enough to point out some new upcoming kid-friendly comic book titles — several of which are definitely anthropomorphic. First up is The Mighty Zodiac, written by J. Torres and illustrated by Corin Howell and Maarta Laiho. “When the Blue Dragon dies, six stars fall out of the night sky! Ailing Master Long, leader of the Mighty Zodiac, orders his warriors to gather the stars, lest they fall into the hands of the malevolent Moon Rabbit Army. With the stars, the Mighty Zodiac may yet revive their master, rescue their world, and restore the light. Without the stars, the darkness threatens to divide the tribes and destroy Gaya… ” Got all that? Look for it from Oni Press in early April.
In case you have missed Harvey Beaks, it’s an animated TV series on Nickelodeon, created by C.H. Greenblatt (who also created the successful series Chowder). From Wikipedia: “The series focuses on Harvey Beaks, a young, friendly bird, and his two best friends, the rambunctious twins Fee and Foo. Together, the trio seek adventure and mischief in Littlebark Grove, a magical forest that they call home.” Now Papercutz (yea, the home of Geronimo Stilton) have announced the publication of a series of Harvey Beaks full-color graphic novels for young readers. “Harvey has a big head and an even bigger heart, which is why everyone in Bigbark Woods loves him! He may be a rule follower, but after Fee and Foo show him some amazing adventures, this bird might just spread his wings.” The first one, Harvey Beaks: Inside Joke, is available in hardcover and paperback this coming March.
Four Eyes is a comic book series created by writer Joe Kelly and illustrated by Max Fiumara in 2008. It’s set in Depression-era New York City on an alternate earth where dragons are enslaved by humans. The first story arc, Forged in Flames, “…is about a boy who’s trying to get back at a gang that’s directly responsible for his dad’s death…the world in which they live is a world where underground dragon fighting is entertainment for the masses” [Wikipedia]. Image Comics gathered together Forged in Flames as a trade paperback last year. Well now Image announced the publication of Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire. “Launching the second arc in the critically-acclaimed story of a boy and his dragon on the hunt for revenge in Depression-era New York City. The training begins.” The boy and his 4-eyed runt of a deadly dragon are out on the shelves now.
In addition to the industry-voted honors, each year the Annies celebrate several talented individuals with special honorary awards. This year, all four recipients had a history of anthropomorphic works of one sort or another. The June Foray Award (for service to the community and art of animation) went to veteran Disney producer Don Hahn, who of course helped to shepherd Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King (among many other films) into existence. The Windsor McCay Award went to three individuals for their lifetime achievement in cartoons. Isao Takahata (co-founder of Stuido Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki) is celebrated far and wide for anime films like The Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, but he also directed the tenuki adventure Pom Poko. (And, early in his career, he directed episodes of Panda! Go Panda!) Phil Roman founded his animation studio Film Roman in the 80’s, and they have since become famous as the home of The Simpsons and King of the Hill. But they are also the studio that gave us furrier works like Garfield and Friends, Cro, Mother Goose and Grimm, C-Bear and Jamal, and The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. Finally, a special posthumous McCay Award was presented to the memory of Joe Ranft, Pixar Studio’s head of Story, who died in a tragic car accident ten years ago. Over the years Joe worked on numerous animated films at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, but he may perhaps best be remembered as the voice of Heimlich the caterpillar in Pixar’s movie A Bug’s Life.
Once again your humble ed-otter was lucky enough to attend the Annie Awards for 2015, presented at UCLA’s Royce Hall on February 6th. Presented by the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA), the Annie Awards honor the best of the animation industry — as selected by members of that industry. Surprising no-one, the night belonged to Pixar’s Inside Out. (It has already won almost every major award it has been nominated for, and of course it’s nominated for an Oscar as well.) Inside Out won in the Best Feature categories for Storyboarding, Editing, Character Design, Music, Character Animation, Production Design, Voice Acting (Phyllis Smith as Sadness), Writing, Directing, and (of course) Best Animated Feature. Bing Bong himself even helped to present some of the awards. (*sniff* Bing Bong…) A few other features managed to sneak in awards, and some of them were even for animal characters! The Good Dinosaur won in the category of Best Effects Animation. (It’s been celebrated far and wide for its realistic backgrounds and water effects.) And The Revenant won Best Animated Character In A Live Action Production for the bear that nearly eats Leonardo DiCaprio. Over in the TV and other divisions, furries were well-represented in several award categories. Disney’s new Mickey Mouse Shorts won for Best Storyboarding, Best Music, and Best Editing. ASIFA favorites. Dreamworks TV had two wins, as Dragons: Race to the Edge won for Best Character Animation and The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show won for Best Production Design. Previous Annie favorites Tumble Leaf and Wander Over Yonder won for Best Production for Preschoolers and Best Production for Children, respectively. Psyop (home of those infamous Orangina commercials!) won Best Commercial for their Coca Cola ad Man and Dog, and Best Animated Game went to the monster adventure Evolve from 2K. [To save space, tomorrow we’ll tell you about the special awards presented at the Annies — and why you should care!] You can find out more about all of these and more over at the ASIFA Hollywood web site.
That’s how Image Comics describe their new full-color series Cry Havoc. “X-Men Legacy writer Simon Spurrier and superstar artist Ryan Kelly present fiends, fragility, and firepower in an all-new series, mixing the hard-boiled militaria of Jarhead with the dark folklore of Pan’s Labyrinth. This is not the tale of a lesbian werewolf who goes to war. Except it kind of is.” Over at the Image web site, Mr. Spurrier continues, “Folklore is saturated with monsters. Centuries ago these wonderful fictions were at the bleeding-edge of the Zeitgeist, but they’ve faded from relevance. Cry Havoc asks what happens when those bright-eyed and bloody-fanged stories force themselves back into the modern limelight. Who resists them, and who gets caught in the middle?” Issue #1 is available now.
And other places. Fluff Buddies describe themselves as “a team of two creative minds who adore the cute, fluffy and fun!” To that end they offer several lines of cute funny animal faces and poses on items like hanging charms, buttons, magnets, and (believe it or not) socks! You’ll find it all there on their web site.
Nathan “Crookedwolf” Johnson admits that art is not his full-time job (yet?), but he likes to work on commissions as often as possible. “I love painting imaginary things and I like painting them with a combination acrylics, watercolors and pixels,” he says on his web site. “Starting with wall scribblings and school book additions my mind has always been wandering about fantastical places filled with monsters and creatures of all sorts. Illustrations for video games and the art that goes into them has always been my biggest influence. The drawings that Samwise Didier and Mark Gibbons did for Warcraft 2 were among my first obsessions. Many of the artworks done for the Games Workshop tabletop games had a big effect on me and are now also wandering about somewhere in my head.” You’ll find him as Crookedwolf on FurAffinity and Deviantart, also.