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The Fight for Fleadom

(Say that three times fast we dare ya!) Author Lewis Goldstein is known for creating stories that are religious parables told with a particular wit. Now in his second book, he tells the story of one Finnegan T. Flea in a graphic novel called Of Fleas and Fleadom: A Tale of Two Vermin, illustrated by Arianna Grinager. Finnegan is an ordinary flea, trapped under the thumb (literally) of a brutish flea-circus owner and forced to witness some of humanity at their worst.  He longs to break out and experience his true “fleadom”, and Mr. Goldstein’s adventurous poem shows how the flea tries to do precisely that. Find out more at the official web site of Baable-On Books, the publisher. By the way: This (very) graphic novel is not meant for young readers!

image c. 2015 Baable-On Books

image c. 2015 Baable-On Books

Finn and Jake Make It BIG

Word has been spreading rapidly that Warner Brothers have put the mega-popular show Adventure Time on the fast-track for development as a feature film. Needless to say, many are assuming they were encouraged by Paramount’s success with the new Spongebob Squarepants movie. According to Cartoon Brew: “The animated film will be produced by Chris McKay, the animation supervisor of The LEGO Movie and director of the forthcoming The LEGO Batman Movie, and Roy Lee, one of 18 producers on The LEGO Movie. Adventure Time creator Pen Ward will have some involvement with the film, according to Deadline, specifically ‘in writing and producing the feature version.'” No word yet on a release date, but given how early in the project they are it’s a good guess it won’t be before 2017. The question on a lot of people’s minds then is: Will Adventure Time still be as big then, and bring as many people to the theaters?

image c. 2015 Cartoon Network

image c. 2015 Cartoon Network

Monkeys… In… Space!

Life is a scary adventure on board Space Base 8. At least from the point of view of Cargo, the base’s resident Rocketship Crash Test Monkey. Cargo, along with a menagerie of aliens and robots, are the “stars” (that’s a joke) of Space Base 8, an on-line comic strip created and illustrated by David Scott Smith. Check out the Space Base 8 web site to see the latest comic and find out about picking up the first compilation book, Blast Off! It’s available as an e-book, in print, and as a special “artist’s edition” which includes a free personalized sketch.

image c. 2015 by David Scott Smith

image c. 2015 by David Scott Smith

 

Once Again, Life is Like a Hurricane

If you haven’t caught it yet, word is spreading fast that Disney TV Animation plans to bring back 90’s cartoon favorite Duck Tales in a whole new series on Disney XD, starting in 2017. We first heard about it over at Oh My Disney: “When Marc Buhaj—Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD—made the announcement, he said, ‘DuckTales has a special place in Disney’s TV animation history, it drew its inspiration from Disney Legend Carl Barks’ comic books and through its storytelling and artistic showmanship, set an enduring standard for animated entertainment that connects with both kids and adults. Our new series will bring that same energy and adventurous spirit to a new generation.’  The new series will star the same beloved characters as the old: Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Launchpad McQuack, Donald Duck, Duckworth, Gyro Gearloose, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica DeSpell, Poe, Ma Beagle, the Beagle Boys, Mrs. Beakley, and Webbigail Vanderquack.” Nothing more precise from Disney regarding a premier date yet, but Disney XD is starting to sound more and more interesting for animation.

image c. 2015 Disney TV Animation

image c. 2015 Disney TV Animation

Mass Hysteria!

In other words, dogs and cats living together… in one book! Let us explain… Graphic Classics (from Eureka Productions) is a series of graphic novels based on, yes, classic literature. Now for Volume 25 of this full-color series they present a special double issue with two books back-to-back: Canine Classics — Stories for Dog Lovers, and Feline Classics — Stories for Cat Lovers. ” Featured are “The Emissary” by Ray Bradbury, “Ancient Sorceries” by Algernon Blackwood, “The Beast from the Abyss” by Robert E. Howard, and 17 more great stories and poems, including two from the volume’s co-editor, John Lehman.” Check it out over at the Eureka web site for a full list of stories.

FelineClassics

images c, 2015 Eureka Productions

images c, 2015 Eureka Productions

Welcoming Back And Old Friend…

Back in 1997, Antarctic Press decided to move away from funny animal comics (a move which brought about the birth of Radio Comix) and instead concentrate on “American Manga”. Well now, to celebrate their 30th anniversary Antarctic are back in the furry herd with a new full-color one-shot called Furry Tails. “As a special event for our 30th-anniversary year, Antarctic Press is going back to one of its (hairy) roots-anthropomorphic comics! Includes work from Sonic the Hedgehog artist David Hutchison, plus an all-new, all-furry fun-fest from Fred Perry! Fast and Furriest: When the world order makes every aspect of life miserable for the poor multitudes, Turbo Ninjas take to the highways to rob from the rich and give to the poor!” Check it out over at Bleeding Cool.

Image c. 2015 Antarctic Press

Image c. 2015 Antarctic Press

They Grow Strong in Scandinavia

If you hadn’t heard, one of Sweden’s most popular funny animals came to European movie screens in 2014. “Sweden’s most popular comic book character – the bear Bamse – now gets his first feature film. In Bamse Och Tjuvstaden (Bamse and the City of Thieves) the strongest bear in the world and his two friends Little Hopp and Shellman show that the best weapon against evil is -friendship (and a few drops of Grandma’s Thunder Honey of course).” After a popular animated TV series and several TV movies you can check out the feature film’s trailer over on YouTube. As usual, of course, there’s little chance we’ll be able to see this stuff anytime soon in North America — at least not translated!

image c. 2015 Tre Vanner Productions

image c. 2015 Tre Vanner Prod.

The Girl, and Her Pig

We simply can’t describe Amity Blamity any better than the publishers do: “Meet Gretchen & Chester. Gretchen is a shy 4 year old and Chester is a potbellied pig. They live with Gretchen’s Grandma and listless Uncle Downey in rural America.  Mistaking their afternoon activity of playing office for entrepreneurial gusto, Downey recruits the duo to assist in his deluded aspirations of running moonshine (echoing his boyhood heroes Bo & Luke Duke). Unbeknownst to the outlandish family and their activities, strange forest critters begin to lurk in the woods nearby, disrupting their quirky daily life and sending them on an adventure to save their degenerate Uncle from a strange genetic mutation!” Got that? Now Slave Labor Graphics have published Mike White’s black & white on-line comic strip story (so far) as a single soft-cover trade paperback. Check it out (including a YouTube trailer) at SLG’s web site, and see the comic itself (including more full-color “Sundays”) at the official Blogspot.

image c. 2015 by Mike White

image c. 2015 by Mike White

Creatures of New York City

Making quite a buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a series of animated shorts made for television and the web, of all things. Animals is a black & white, minimally-animated series which “follows various New York City creatures as they get into awkward (and sometimes deadly) encounters with one another.” The series was created by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, two employees at a commercial production house who took some time off to make little animals talk to each other. Check out the Animals web site to see what the fuss is about. (Here’s a hint: Click on the clouds!)

image c. 2015 by Phil Matarese/Mike Luciano

image c. 2015 by Phil Matarese / Mike Luciano