The animation community has been a-buzz following the announcement on several sites that Wes Anderson, direction of the Oscar and Ursa Major nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox, is developing another stop-motion animated feature film. About dogs. According to Cartoon Brew, “Details about his new canine cartoon are unavailable at this point. All we know is that it will be stop motion, and like Fantastic Mr. Fox, the production will take place in the UK. The Playlist pointed out the irony that Anderson would choose dogs as subject matter considering his fraught cinematic history with pooches. Dogs have been harmed so frequently in Anderson’s movies that the New Yorker once published a tongue-in-cheek commentary asking, ‘Does Wes Anderson hate dogs?’ Audiences may find out the answer soon.” We’ll have to hope that in this case he treats dogs more like he treated their foxy cousins.
Word has been spreading like mad that Bloom County creator Berkeley (Berke) Breathed has been creating brand new strips for the first time in 25 years. Now on top of that comes the news that IDW Publishing plans to bring together the first new Bloom County collection book in as many years — in 2016. “Breathed’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Bloom County ran from 1980 until 1989, when Breathed walked away from the strip at the peak of its popularity. Then, in the summer of 2015, and with no advance warning, he brought the cast of Bloom County back to an unsuspecting world — via social media — which caused a media frenzy as word of the strips unexpected return spread virally to multitudes of delighted fans. ‘As a fan, I was ecstatic when new Bloom County strips began to appear, said editor Scott Dunbier. ‘As an editor, I’m thrilled to work on this book—thank you, Berkeley!'” Watch this space after New Years for updates!
There’s a new animation production partnership starting up in Canada between Corus Entertainment (home of Nelvana Animation) and Bento Box Entertainment (home of Bob’s Burgers and more). From the press release, thanks to Animation World Network: “Canadian-based media and entertainment company Corus Entertainment and Los Angeles animation studio Bento Box Entertainment have announced the creation of Bento Box Canada, an animation production company based in Toronto. The venture follows last year’s announcement of the multi-year, co-development deal between the two companies. As part of the agreement, Bento Box Entertainment and Corus will work side-by-side to develop and produce a slate of original, primetime animated series for Corus networks, to be distributed internationally by Bento Box Entertainment. This fall, production will begin on the first Bento Box Canada series, The Pandas. From creators Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler, The Pandas is an irreverent, animated family comedy full of hard jokes, whimsical wonder, biting satire and just the right amount of heart.” We’ll certainly see when it premiers.
This comes to us straight from ComingSoon.net: “Academy Award and Grammy Award winner Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) has signed on to voice the lead character “Biggz” in the new CGI animated family film Groove Tails. He will also produce the movie with Michael Becker of Imprint Entertainment and AMBI principals Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi (Septembers of Shiraz, In Dubious Battle). The script was written by Johnny Mack (Real Husbands of Hollywood), who will also serve as an executive producer. Groove Tails will be directed by Cameron Hood, who began his career at Warner Bros. studying under animation legend Chuck Jones. Hood soon moved to DreamWorks Animation where he has worked on films like The Prince of Egypt, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Megamind. Hood then segued to Illumination Entertainment, where he added his talents to Despicable Me 2 and the recent worldwide box office hit Minions. Groove Tails is set in the world of competitive street dance competitions… for mice that is. This is a place where cheese is currency and dance is king. The story follows Biggz, as he tries to regain his confidence for dance, pay off his debt to a club, clean up the streets from the alley cats and win the love of a girl. Life is not easy when you are at the bottom of the food chain.” There’s no word yet on a target release date, but we promise you’ll know as soon as we do!
You might recall that last year Dreamworks Animation’s CGI take on Mr. Peabody & Sherman was rather a disappointment at the box office according to some analysts. Evidently though that didn’t dampen Dreamworks’ interest in the characters as now they bring us The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show. It’s coming to Netflix this Friday, this time in a more traditional 2D animated version. According to the article at Cartoon Brew, “In the new series, Mr. Peabody (voiced by Chris Parnell) and his boy Sherman (Max Charles) host a talk show from their New York City penthouse, in which they interview historical figures like George Washington and Edgar Allen Poe. They also embark on time travel adventures in their WABAC machine visiting the likes of Cleopatra, Mozart, and Marco Polo.” There are also musical numbers to be had, and Cartoon Brew has a preview of one of them — as well as the show’s opening.
Sanjay and Craig is a popular animated TV series on Nickelodeon, following the adventures of (you guessed it) Sanjay (a human boy) and his pet snake, Craig (who talks — but only Sanjay is supposed to know that). Well now Paperkutz (home of Geronimo Stilton and family) have released the first Sanjay and Craig tie-in graphic novel, Sanjay and Craig: Fight the Future with Flavor! “Does your neighbor have butt implants and a blueberry obsession? Can your best friend do ANYTHING without barfing? Welcome to Lundgren, where Sanjay Patel and Craig Slithers have the most rad-awesome adventures imaginable. From their collection of fart jars to their shared love of chicken wings, Sanjay and Craig are more than a boy and his pet snake… they’re family! Ready for the ride? Buckle up your fart baby and grab some napkins because Sanjay and Craig are about to douse you in awesome-sauce. NOICE! See you at the Frycade!” Did any of that make sense to you? Then you might want to have a look at the Paperkutz preview page. Fight the Future with Flavor! is out now in hardcover and trade paperback.
Well now, this is something different: A “making of” book for a graphic novel. And in tune with the season as well. “High school can be tough enough as it is, but things get even more complicated when you’ve been bitten by a werewolf! Bestselling YA author Cornelia Funke (Inkheart) teams up with comic book artist and character designer extraordinaire Francisco Herrera and former Disney Animator and film Director Raul Garcia (The Missing Lynx) to create a wild and furry world where werewolves are real and hiding in plain view, even in high school! This lavishly illustrated sketch book documents the creative process of transforming Funke’s best-selling Young Werewolf into a brand new, exciting graphic novel series. Hundreds of sketches and color studies show the process of fleshing out the characters of the book as we discover the story of Matt, Lisa, and the incredible odds they have to face to battle an old Hollywood curse.” Bitten: The Full Moon Book is coming soon (in limited quantities) from Magnetic Press. Find out more over at Nerds Unchained.
The animals of the Stratford Zoo return with another secret production in The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents: Romeo & Juliet. “The Stratford Zoo looks like a normal zoo . . . until the gates shut at night. That’s when the animals come out of their cages to stage elaborate performances of Shakespeare’s greatest works. They might not be the most accomplished thespians, but they’ve got what counts: Heart. Also fangs, feathers, scales, and tails. Ian Lendler’s hilarious tale of after-hours animal stagecraft is perfectly paired with the adorable, accessible artwork of Zack Giallongo (Broxo, Ewoks) in this side-splitting companion to their graphic novel The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth.” Which we also reviewed, of course. Check out the extensive preview over at publisher MacMillan’s page. Later this month it’s available in hardcover and softcover editions.
Once upon a time there was an on-line game in development called Fighting is Magic, attempting to create a “Ready! FIGHT!” style inter-player game based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Unfortunately, the Powers That Be at Hasbro decided that the game was a little bit too close to the TV show for comfort, and the project was shut down. Fast forward a couple of years: Now none other than Lauren Faust, the original show runner for Friendship is Magic, is on board to help with the development of a whole new game — in a whole new world. This is from the Indiegogo campaign: “Help a cast of cute animals beat each other up by making Them’s Fightin’ Herds become a reality! Them’s Fightin’ Herds is a 2D PC (Windows, with Linux/Mac as stretch goals) fighting game with adorable animals in an original universe designed by Lauren Faust (producer and developer for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; creator, director and developer for Super Best Friends Forever). It is the spiritual successor to Fighting is Magic, with improved gameplay mechanics and graphics, an entirely new (and awesome!) dynamic music system, a graphic lobby, and a whole bunch of new features.” The Indiegogo page features several preview videos as well as numerous preliminary sketches by Ms. Faust herself.