This will either excite you are make you groan: Legendary Pictures has finally sealed a deal with Toho Company to create a brand-new American Godzilla feature film, schedule for release in 2012. No word yet on a director, writer, human star, or monstrous co-stars for this new film. Some may recall the last time (shudder) that Godzilla emerged from American movie studios under the command of director Roland Emmerich (2012, Independence Day) and writer Dean Devlin (Independence Day, Stargate). At the time the fan response world wide was… less than enthusiastic (and less than pretty). This time around, the folks at Legendary are swearing that they are all Godzilla geeks and that they “get” the appeal of The Big G and his movies. We shall certainly see. You can check out the official Legendary Pictures press release at Rotten Tomatoes.
New from Amaze Ink and Slave Labor Graphics: 8-year-old Michael has lost his father in a terrible accident. Though his mother is consumed by her grief, Michael insists on keeping a birthday tradition: Putting on his rabbit/spaceman costume and going to the local theme park as Captain Long Ears. If his mother won’t go, then Michael will simply go there with his imaginary friend, a purple gorilla named Jam. Trouble ensues, however, when Captain Long Ears and Jam take it upon themselves to rescue the theme park’s prize elephant… whether it wants to be rescued or not. This new black & white graphic novel was written and illustrated by Diana Thung. Look for it in May.
David Petersen’s award-winning comic and story-book series Mouse Guard gets a new twist, as some of the most creative minds in the world of comic books join him to tell all-new tales in Legends of the Guard, a new 4-issue full-color mini-series (coming this May from Archaia Entertainment). “Inside the June Alley Inn, located in the western mouse city of Barkstone, mice gather to tell tales, each trying to out-do the other. A competition, of sort, begins. The rules: Every story must contain one truth, one lie, and have never been told in that tavern before.” Story-tellers this time around include Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl), Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin), and Alex Sheikman (Robotika). In future issues we’ll see contributions by Katie Cook, Guy Davis, Gene Ha, Sean Rubin, Mark Smylie, and many more.
Anticipations are running high for Dreamworks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon, which hits movie screens this Friday, March 26th. As of this writing the film has a 100% “fresh” / 0% “rotten” rating at Rotten Tomatoes.com — likely to go down as more reviews come in, of course, but still one heck of a high to be starting from. Many critics have noted the flying sequences in this 3D CGI film to be especially exciting. If you’ve not heard, the story follows the adventures of Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), a young viking in a land constantly at war with various species of fire-breathing dragon. When Hiccup’s new invention — a sort of bolo-catapult — injures a young dragon, the human is surprised to find himself befriending the beast (he names it “Toothless”). In the process, Hiccup finds out far more about dragons and his own people than he ever expected. Of course, getting humans together with unusual non-human friends is nothing new for directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders: They’re the team that gave us Disney’s Lilo and Stitch.
Folks running out to pick up the new DVD/Blue Ray of Spike Jonze’s live-action Where the Wild Things Are will find an interesting extra included: A brand-new short (24 minute) film based on Higglety Pigglety Pop, another book by Maurice Sendak. Using a combination of live action, puppetry, stop-motion animation and more, the film tells the story of Jennie, a fluffy white terrier dog (voiced by Meryl Streep). When she finds that she is bored and thinks “There must be more to life”, Jennie sets out to become leading lady of the World Mother Goose Theater. Unfortunately, she’s informed that the leading lady has to have experience. And Jennie has no idea what “experience” even is, let alone where to find it! Setting out on a quest for it, Jennie winds up as a nurse-maid for a very strange baby who refuses to eat. And nurse-maids who fail to convince the baby to eat are fed to the ravenous lion living in the basement! Only Maurice Sendak comes up with plots like this, folks… The production company for Higglety Pigglety Pop also created the Oscar-Nominated short film Madame Tutli-Putli. Clips from the former and the latter are up on YouTube.
How’s this for a long title: The Golden Collection of Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Komics. Whew! Here’s the publisher’s notes: “The first collection of its kind, this huge, luxurious volume lovingly collects the brilliant kids’ comics that such luminaries as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, Walt Kelly, Dr. Seuss, Syd Hoff, Jules Feiffer, George Carlson, John Stanley, Dan deCarlo, Sheldon Mayer, Carl Barks, and myriad other brilliant geniuses created during the heyday of kids comics in the 1940s, ’50s, and beyond. Astute comic book fans and their eager kids alike will love the funny and beautiful full-color stories of slap-stick superheroes, fantastic fairy tales, and awesome anthropomorphic animals.” We definitely want to check out the awesome anthropomorphic animals! Especially with a group like that creating them! This new hardcover full-color collection was edited by Craig Yoe, and it features an introduction by children’s author Mo Willems. It’s coming out from Idea & Design Works at the end of April.
Love that title! Here’s part of the description from the publisher, Del Rey: “When a child is taken by the fearsome Boogeyman, his loyal toys (including The General, Max the bear, Percy the pig, and others) must rally to stage a daring rescue operation.” This trade paperback graphic novel was written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, and illustrated in black & white by Charles Paul Wilson III. It comes to stores this April.
Archaia Entertainment (not to be confused with Arcana Studio, which we were talking about recently) is bringing out two limited-edition comic books of interest in the near future. Fraggle Rock #1 is the first of a four-issue full-color miniseries based on the original Jim Henson TV series (of course). Not adaptations of the TV episodes, this comic (starting up in April) will present brand-new adventures of Gobo, Red, Mokey, Boober, Wembly, and all their friends in their underground world. In the future, Archaia will be teaming up with Jim Henson Studios to produce new comic books based on The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, also. Meanwhile, closer to home, we have the preview comic for Berona’s Hundred Year War. The full-color graphic novel by Jesse Labbe and Anthony Coffey is forthcoming, but for now we have this 40-page preview. The Ele-Alta and the Cropones are two races of cute, furry, cuddly creatures… locked in an ages-old war of death and destruction with each other. Can anything break them out of the cycle of war?
Once again, it’s time for you the fans to vote for the best that anthropomorphics have to offer with the annual Ursa Major Awards. From the web site: “More formally known as the Annual Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Awards, the Ursa Major Awards are presented annually for excellence in the furry arts. They are intended as Anthropomorphic (a.k.a. Furry) Fandom’s equivalent of the Hugo Awards presented by the World Science Fiction Society, mystery fandom’s Anthony Awards, horror fandom’s Bram Stoker Awards, and so forth.” For 2009, the nominees in 10 categories include:
Best Motion Picture - Live-action or animated feature-length movies. * "Avatar" * "Fantastic Mr Fox" * "The Princess and the Frog" * "Up" * "Where the Wild Things Are" Best Dramatic Short Work or Series - TV series or one-shots, advertisements or short videos. * "The Cat Piano" * "Partly Cloudy" * "The Penguins of Madagascar" * "Prep and Landing" * "The Secret Saturdays" Best Novel - Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published. * "Bone Crossed" by Patricia Briggs * "Cheetah's Win" by Phil Geusz * "Jazmyn" by Bernard Doove * "Out of Position" by Kyell Gold * "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood" by David Benedictus * "The Unscratchables" by Cornelius Kane Best Short Fiction - Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short written works. * "Drifting" by Kyell Gold * "Moonthief" by Not Tube * "Stop the World" by Kyell Gold * "Thou Shalt Not Make Wrongful Use Of The Name Of Thy Lord" by Whyte Yote * "Trading Wishes" by Kevin Frane Best Other Literary Work - Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and convention program books. * "Bloom County - The Complete Library, Volume 1" by Berke Breathed * "Draw Furries: How to Create Anthropomorphic and Fantasy Animals" by Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges * "The First Book of Lapism" by Phil Geusz * "Who Are The Furries?" by Denise Winterman * "X" edited by Kyell Gold Best Graphic Story - Includes comic books and serialized online stories. * "Concession" by Immelman * "Furthia High" by QuetzaDrake * "Jack" by David Hopkins * "Lackadaisy" by Tracy J. Butler * "Twokinds" by Tom Fischbach Best Comic Strip - Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs. * "Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures" by Amber M. Williams * "Doc Rat" by Jenner * "Freefall" by Mark Stanley * "Housepets!" by Rick Griffin * "Kevin and Kell" by Bill Holbrook Best Magazine - Professional magazines, amateur zines, fanzines, and internet-only magazines. * "ANTHRO" edited by Quentin Long * "Heat" published by Sofawolf * "New Fables" edited by Tim Susman * "South Fur Lands" edited by Bernard Doove * "Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe" edited by Gene Breshears Best Published Illustration - Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee table portfolios. * "Gaia's Strange Seedlike Brood (Homage to Lynn Margulis)" by Patrick Farley * "It's Beautiful" by Jailbird * "Jazmyn" by Sara Palmer * "New Coyote" by Kenket * "Out of Position" by Blotch Best Game - Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games. * "Earth Eternal" * "G-Force: The Video Game" * "Predation: The Board Game" * "Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time"
Voting is open now, and will close on April 18th -- with the awards to be presented in early summer. Visit the Ursa Major Awards web site to find out more about the nominees -- or, more importantly, to vote! Make your voice heard!