You gotta notice a story with an introduction like this: “Catland Empire is a graphic novel melding of a Phillip K. Dick story with a Saturday morning cartoon.” That’s how Drawn & Quarterly describe this new hardcover graphic novel by pop artist Keith Jones. “There will exist a future world where ‘human beings have become empty husks stripped of all memory when it comes to things like how to have fun and play games,’ or so says Mr. Space to his associate Mr. Time. The solution? Get the cats to teach humans how to have fun again. This is all the Cat People do with their lives. They are the fun and game masters. What follows is a tangled web of psychedelic science fiction blending anti-consumerism politics and intergalactic liaisons between cats and dogs, bitter enemies kept secret from each other to avoid a planetary race war.” Look for this new book to hit the shelves in early June.
Over the years there have been many, many illustrated editions of Kenneth Grahame’s seminal anthropomorphic work, The Wind in the Willows. Now IDW Publishing have brought forth a new edition — this time, illustrated by an artist who is himself well-known in the world of anthropomorphics. “Experience the timeless story of Toad, Rat, Mole, and Badger in a beautiful new hardcover designed and illustrated by New York Times Bestselling author and Eisner Award-winning creator David Petersen (Mouse Guard). Painstakingly illustrated over three years, this special edition features both color and pen and ink illustrations throughout and Petersen will be hand-signing each copy of the 1st printing.” Find out more over at IDW’s web site, and look for this new hardcover edition galloping your way this coming October.
We came across this announcement from Screen Daily: “Kaleidoscope Film Distribution (KFD) is handling world sales on animated feature Danny Diamondback, which Aardman Animation alumni Darren Walsh (Shaun The Sheep TV series) will direct. It’s the story of a young rattlesnake with a musical talent in his tail. The film is based on the children’s novella of the same name, first published by Harper Collins and written by illustrator and production designer Barry Jackson (How The Grinch Stole Christmas). Jackson has written the script and will be heading up production design on the project. Siege Train Studios’ Curtis Augspurger (Valiant), Matthew Hampton, and Cora Palfrey will produce the film alongside Jackson. Bibo Bergeron (Shark Tale) will serve as executive producer.” That’s one heck of a lotta veteran anthropomorphic talent on one project. No word yet on if the film is to be CGI or claymation. Guess we’ll find out after they give us a projected release date!
Devil’s Due Entertainment have announced that their most successful comic book, Squarriors (written by Ash Maczko and illustrated by Ashley Witter) will soon return with a new full-color 4-issue miniseries entitled Volume 2: Summer. One comic book reviewer described the original series as “Watership Down meets The Walking Dead“. If cute rodents with swords and lots and lots of blood are your thing, it’s all here with top-notch art. Watch for it next week, and visit the Devil’s Due web site to learn more.
This June, Boom! Studios will release Cheat Code, the latest Original Graphic Novel based on the popular animated series The Amazing World of Gumball from Cartoon Network. “Cheaters never prosper. But Gumball and Darwin don’t know that! While the Watterson boys are grounded, their classmates advance ahead of them in the new, super-popular video game Monster Fight Friends. A mysterious and forbidden cheat code is just what they need. Too bad it unleashes a gigantic, tech-crazy kaiju onto the streets of Elmore! Written by Megan Brennan (Pencil Pup) and illustrated by Katy Farina, The Amazing World of Gumball: Cheat Code takes adventure in Elmore to a whole new level.” Find out more about this new trade paperback over at Simon & Schuster.
This may have passed beneath your radar: It’s a new dark comedy dystopian film called The Lobster, and it’s the first English-language film by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. It’s been winning rave reviews and lots of awards on the art-film circuit. Here’s the summary from Wikipedia: “According to the rules of the City, single people are taken to the Hotel where they are given 45 days to find a partner. Those who fail are turned into an animal of their choice and released into the forest. The guests attend dances and watch propaganda extolling the virtues of partnership. They can extend their stay by hunting escapees, the Loners, with tranquilizer guns in the woods. After his wife leaves him for another man, David arrives at the Hotel with his brother, who has been turned into a dog.” David, by the way, is played by Colin Farrell. This may or may not all make more sense when you go to see it. The Lobster has been doing very well in platform release, and it’s likely to expand to more theaters soon.
No better way to explain Mouse Guard: The Art of Bricks than this article over at Comics Alliance: “Last year at Emerald City Comic Con, toy brick artisan Alice Finch and her incredibly detail-oriented team put together an awe-inspiring display of David Petersen’s Mouse Guard dioramas built entirely out of toy bricks. At the time, we referred to it as one of the standouts of ECCC, and now Archaia is releasing a full-color hardcover packed with photos of the team’s incredible work. Finch, a member of the Seattle-based toy brick builder club ArchLUG, has already drawn acclaim for her recreations of Hogwarts and Rivendell alongside fellow ArchLUG member David Frank, but her team’s work on these Mouse Guard dioramas are a cut above.”
Here’s a new full-color comic-book miniseries coming our way later this month from Antarctic Press: Ultracat, written and illustrated by Jose Fonollosa. “He came from Spain, he ain’t no bird or plane! It’s Ultracat! With his ultra-speed, ultra-strength and ultra-cuteness, the world’s feistiest feline conquers all criminals, from minor burglars to super-villains to that annoying evildoer pug across the hall! Just don’t ask him to go out in the rain or pass up a nap…” So noted. Of course there’s more over at the Antarctic Store.
For those who might have missed it, this is from Wikipedia: “Pearls Before Swine is an American comic strip written and illustrated by Stephan Pastis, a former San Francisco, California lawyer. It chronicles the daily lives of five anthropomorphic animals: A Pig, a Rat, a Zebra, a Goat, and a fraternity of crocodiles, as well as a number of supporting characters. Pastis has said each character represents an aspect of his own personality and world view.” The continuing comic strip can be found over at GoComics. Now, Andrews McMeel Publishing bring us the latest Pearls Before Swine collection in trade paperback. “In I’m Only in This for Me, the Pearls gang dares to tell the hard truths that the country needs to hear: The importance of prioritizing cheese over everything else, the sadly ignored capacity of bears to solve all of life’s problems, and the crucial Recognition Gap between women in bars and semi-obscure cartoonists with delusions of grandeur. But beneath all the selfishness, absurdity, bungling crocs, and bazooka-wielding ducks, Rat, Pig, Goat, and Zebra continue to find that friendship can make life warmer, humor can make stupidity less annoying, and cheese really does make everything way, way better.” Check it out over at Amazon. This new book also includes some special collaboration cartoons between Mr. Pastis and Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson.