It’s a game series, a comic book, a collection of plushies, an animation project in the works… It’s Battle Bears! It tells the story of a well-armed little bear named Oliver — and his well-armed companions — who crash-land on an alien world populated by cute pink teddy-bears called Huggies… who, if they get your mitts on you, will promptly hug you to death! Fortunately Oliver has guns to spare — he’s well-prepared to blow off the huggies’ heads, at which point rainbows shoot out of their necks. Yes. It’s all the creation of one Benjamin Vu (a graduate of the animation program at Cal Arts) and his company, SkyVu Pictures. Seriously, this just scratches the fuzzy surface of what SkyVu is up to. Visit their Battle Bears web site to find out more about new games and other projects they’re still busily developing.
Battle Bears at San Diego Comic Con. Photo by your ever-lovin' Ed-Otter
How did we miss this department: Wilfred is an award-winning Australian TV comedy series, based on an also-award-winning 2002 short film. Created by Tony Rogers, Jason Gann, and Adam Zwar, it tells the story of an ordinary guy named Adam (played by Zwar)… ordinary that is, except for the fact that he sees his pretty neighbor Sarah’s dog Wilfred (played by Gann) as a man in a rather dumpy fur-suit… while everyone else sees him as an ordinary dog. Wilfred also talks to Adam, becoming something of a mentor… in so much as a foul-smelling, sexually un-repressed man/dog can be. In June of this year, a brand new American version of the series premiered on the FX network, with Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings) starring as Adam, and Jason Gann reprising his role as Wilfred. Here’s the write-up of the original series on Wikipedia, with a link to the American series as well.
image c. 2010 SBS
Exiled: Clan of the Claw is a new series of connected science fiction novellas, edited by Bill Fawcett and coming this August from Baen Books. The writers collected in Book One include S.M. Stirling, Harry Turtledove, John Ringo, and Jody Lynn Nye. An alternative history of ancient Earth, the series tells of a race of evolved cats fighting against the descendants of dinosaurs. Hmm, is it just us or does that echo the new Thundercats animated series on Cartoon Network? Well, here’s the description from Amazon: “After the extinction asteroid doesn’t strike Earth, the dinosaurs keep evolving – but so do the mammals. We mammals have achieved human-like shapes, but now it’s cold-blooded, magic-using reptiles against the hot-blooded, hot-tempered descendants of cats. In a heroic, bronze-age world similar to 300, the Mrem Clan of the Claw and its sister warbands are expanding their rough-and-tumble territory, but now they face the Lishkash, masters of a cold-blooded empire of slave armies and magic. It’s mammalian courage and adaptation against reptile cunning in a clash of steel and will that will determine which line shall inherit the Earth.” Read it next month and decide for yourself.
image c. 2011 Baen Books
With the upcoming Muppets movie on the horizon, Disney has been exerting closer control once again over the Jim Henson properties… which means, among other things, that the various Muppet comic book series (many of them published by Boom! Studios) are now gone. So what did Disney do? Have new Muppet titles published by Marvel Comics of course — since they also own that! The Muppets Present: Family Reunion is a new full-color graphic novel, written and pencilled by Roger Langridge (creator of Get Snarked, which we also reviewed before). Once again it’s time for The Muppet Show, but this time there’s a new complication: Everyone has members of their family showing up for a visit, and every single one of them is trouble! Check it out this September.
Once again Animation Magazine released a special issue at Comic Con, and once again the issue (July/August) included the results of the annual Animation Magazine Pitch Party. Here new and upcoming animators are given a chance to “pitch” their ideas for a new animated TV series to a select group of industry executives from places like Adult Swim, The Hub, Cartoon Network, The Disney Channel, and so forth. They do so by creating a single panel comic that explains the concept of the show. Now some folks (like Cartoon Brew) have been questioning the value of the Pitch Party — as in, do folks actually get a real chance to have their shows produced in exchange for their entry fee? Well, it must be popular to try, because people keep on submitting their entries every year. This time around, entries that furry fans might find interesting included Marco and Polo by Samantha Wheeldon (her web site is here), VA Team by Melissa Delamar (her web site), Duck & Monster by Base 14 (their blog), Kiko the Brave Little Bat (who has his own web site), Fireflyz by Don and Julie Farmer, A Cock Tale by Greg Bro (no, seriously — check out the web site), Yugo & Lala, Hydro Bull, Plunger Pup by Michael Grassia (yes, he has a web site too), Iron Bugs, and Spiny Life by Days View Animation.
The first of several discoveries at this year’s San Diego Comic Con: The Devastator is a digest-sized quarterly magazine of comedy and satire (for humans! they insist) whose writers and artists include folks who’ve worked on The Simpsons, The Daily Show, the Onion, and more. Every issue revolves around a theme, and the subject of issue #3 — just released — is cats. Good cats, bad cats, evil cats, romantic cats… and even cats served up as dinner for aliens. Seriously. The creators have uploaded a preview video to YouTube, or you can visit their web site to find out more. Flip the current zine over and you have the first few pages of a book called 400 Reasons to Get Married… To Your Cat!
Epic Mickey is a a popular video adventure game, developed by Junction Point Studios in Texas last year. It’s popular with furry fans too, having won the 2010 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Game. Now the developers are putting out a new book dedicated to the art and artists that went into creating this well-known game. Here’s the blurb from Amazon.com: “The Art of Epic Mickey will be a 160-page hardcover landscape coffee table book. It will be written by Epic Mickey co-writer Austin Grossman and will feature a forward by Game Director and New York Times contributor, Warren Spector. The book will journey through the beautifully dark and twisted world known as Cartoon Wasteland touching on the creative process behind developing this once-in-a-lifetime vision. It will include, sketches, concept art, final frames, and stills from the actual game, plus, never-before-used art with quotes from the team that envisioned this epic tale. The physical world of the game is born directly from Disneyland, and accordingly, the book will spotlight the artistic influence that Disneyland, with its iconic qualities and rides, had on the creators of Epic Mickey.” The book is scheduled for release by Disney Editions on September 6th.
image c. 2011 Disney Editions
The New York artist known as Dyna Moe has created a series of art prints known as Hipster Animals. That’s animals with names (or designations) like “Free-Form Radio DJ”, “Clipboarding Progressive”, and “Blase’ Street Fair Browsers”. Recently, several of these designs have become available on t-shirts for sale. You can find out more about Hipster Animals and see the new designs at the Hipster Animals site on Tumblr.com.
image c. 2011 Dyna Moe
The Beasts of Yore portfolio is a new collection of 12 illustrations, featuring mythical creatures as envisioned by 12 different artists. Each illustration is accompanied by a short story created by fantasy author Nate Newlon. The artists taking part include Abigail Scott, Bernice “Tarheki” Gordon, Char Reed, Erin “Narumi” Prince, Katie Hofgard, Katrine Hagmann, Kristine “Moonykins” Myrvold, Megara “DimeSpin” Gordon, S. M. “Synnabar” Hahn, T. “Melanippos” Cunningham, Eva “Thaily Brimstone” Palli, and Tiffany Xenia “Swandog” Eliassen. You can visit the Beasts of Yore web site to see samples of the artwork and order your own copy of the book.