Crash Bandicoot. Jak and Daxter. Those names alone would make furry fans lift their ears and take notice. But Naughty Dog Studios (even their name is furry!) have created other well-known games over their 30 year history too, including Uncharted and The Last of Us. Now Dark Horse Press have put together The Art of Naughty Dog as part of Naughty Dog’s 30 year multimedia event. From Gametrailers.com: “‘It will span the history of Naughty Dog and feature hand-picked and never before released artwork depicting our past, present, and future,’ Naughty Dog’s Eric Monacelli said. ‘Being around for thirty years has bestowed upon us all kinds of incredible art from our amazing fans. Select fan art will be a chapter of the book as well. To mark the occasion properly we’re having a book launch event later in the year.’” More precisely, this hardcover book will be on sale the 1st of October.
John Stevenson co-directed the first Kung Fu Panda movie (along with Mark Osborne), and for that he received an Annie Award and an Oscar nomination. Now a relatively small film company, Unified Pictures, has hired Mr. Stevenson to direct their first foray into CGI animation: A feature film inspired by the story of Noah’s ark. According to an article in Variety, “The animated comedy adventure tells the story from the point of view of the animals and follows an outcast aardvark who becomes the reluctant leader of a ragtag group of misfit animals”. (Hmm, have these folks heard of El Arca?) The as-yet-unnamed film is being written by Philip LaZebnik (Disney’s Mulan and Pocahontas) and Glen Dolman (a writer of several TV series). It’s currently slated for completion in 2016.
You might have heard that Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai is turning 30, yes? The word is getting around. Well in celebration of this milestone Dark Horse Press will release The Usagi Yojimbo Saga, a collection of more than 600 pages coming this October. It brings together Usagi Yojimbo Volume 2 issues 1 thru 16 and Volume 3 issues 1 thru 6, as well as a full-color cover gallery. Check out the Dark Horse web page to find out more. Saga will be available as a (very thick!) trade paperback, and also in a limited-edition hardcover version (only 900 will be made!) signed by Stan Sakai himself.
Everyone’s favorite hard-boiled black cat detective has been busy lately — and those of us on this side of the pond are seeing more of his adventures thanks to the folks at Dark Horse Press. Now they’re bringing us Blacksad: Amarillo. “Hardboiled feline detective John Blacksad is back in the latest tour de force from the multiple-award winning duo of writer Juan Díaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido. Taking a much-needed break after the events of A Silent Hell, Blacksad lands a side job driving a rich Texan’s prized yellow Cadillac Eldorado across 1950s America, hitting the back roads from New Orleans to Tulsa. But before long, the car is stolen and Blacksad finds himself mixed up in another murder, with roughneck bikers, a shifty lawyer, one down-and-out Beat generation writer, and some sinister circus folk. When John Blacksad goes on the road, trouble is dead ahead.” Find out more at Comics Beat, before it comes out in hardcover this October.
Another one of those “How did we miss this?” things. We’ll just put up the official description of Dog & Scissors for starters: “Harumi Kazuhito was the ultimate bookworm, spending days at a time with his head buried in his beloved books, and little could make him happier than perusing the pages of his favorite author, Kirihime Natsuno. Unfortunately, Harumi’s life goes to the dogs – literally – when he gets himself killed while trying to stop a robber! Thanks to the power of a true bookworm, however, Harumi inexplicably finds himself reincarnated as a dog… which might not be so bad if dogs could read. Or if the woman who adopts him didn’t have twin predilections for playing with scissors and tormenting her new pet! But what truly makes this strange reincarnation the worst of all possible worlds is that she’s also his favorite author!” Based on the light novel series written by Shunsuke Sarai and illustrated by Tetsuhiro Nabeshima, all 12 episodes of Dog & Scissors the anime series have been released to DVD by Crunchroll. They’re also streaming the episodes on line at their web site.
We found this recently, over at Animation Scoop: “Shout Factory is mounting a theatrical release of Thunder and The House of Magic, directed by Ben Stassen (Fly Me to the Moon, Sammy’s Adventures: Escape from Paradise) and Jeremie Degruson (A Turtles Tale: Sammy’s Adventure), in select theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, San Francisco and Washington, DC., beginning September 5th. The 85-minute film, budgeted at $34 million, was produced by Brussels (Belgium) based nWave Pictures in association with StudioCanal and media fund Anton Capital Entertainment. The story concerns Thunder, an abandoned young cat, who seeks shelter from a storm, stumbles into a house owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos. But when the magician lands in the hospital and his scheming nephew puts the mansion up for sale, our young hero and his new friends join forces to save their magical home.” The Scoop article also has a first look at the film’s trailer.
At this year’s San Diego Comic Con there was a 30 year celebration of Usagi Yojimbo — created by Stan Sakai, of course. One of the items featured during the event was a screening of Usagi Yojimbo: The Last Request, an animated short film created by Lintika Films (using both 2D and stop motion techniques) and directed by Roel Robles. The big news is that Mr. Sakai was impressed enough with the project that he has allowed the studio to use Last Request as a proof-of-concept film for a possible Usagi feature. Now they’re out seeking funds to work on that project. Over at Cartoon Brew they have an article about the project that also includes a link to the short.
Well not really (at least the last bit). This September Boom! Box Studios brings us the premier of Teen Dog, a new full-color comic book series by Australian web cartoonist Jake Lawrence. Here’s an introduction from the web site Comic Vine: “Teen Dog is the cool guy you always wanted to be in high school, à la Michael J. Fox and Ferris Bueller, except he’s a dog in a rad denim vest. Each issue contains short vignettes featuring Teen Dog, his best friend Mariella, Thug Pug, Sara the star quarterback, and many more. Teen angst and whimsical adventures collide in this new series that combines the feel of John Hughes movies with ‘90s Nickelodeon cartoons.”
Chris Callahan is a writer and artists who has worked for several years in the animation industry. Evidently, he has something to say about it… Check out his new comic book creation, Robochuck: “With the introduction of computer-generated characters, the World Of Entertainment”s population is now sharply divided between two types of cartoon characters: the Flats and the CGs. In Flattown, Robochuck is the only CG character most of his neighbors know. He dreams of restoring his city to its glory days, when flat toons like his adoptive father, Inksplat MaGee, were the world’s biggest stars. However, one person in the World of Entertainment will do anything to keep that from happening. As Chairman of Piczar, Don Masshurter developed the computer technology that changed the landscape of animated entertainment, and he will stop at nothing to protect his new reign…” Nope, no reflection on the real world here at all, nope. So go ahead, check out the Robochuck web site. We won’t tell anyone!