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October, 2011:

Penguins vs. Possums

There’s a title you’re gonna notice, right? Penguins vs. Possums is a new black & white comic Sebastian Kadlecik and John Bring, published by JBSK Comics. “Forget all you think you know. Since the dawn of time, a war has been fought in secret; the inter-species Armageddon between Penguins and Possums. A conflict this monumental can only stay in the shadows for so long. Choose a side!” You read it here. You can also find out more about this monumental conflict (including how the creators came up with this!) at their web site, www.epicwebcomic.com/pvp.

Toons Take It Out On Us!

Now here’s something kinda different: Toons go meta. Oni Press has announced that Rascal Raccoon’s Raging Revenge, a new full-color hardcover graphic novel, will be released in early December. Brendan Hay (of Robot Chicken fame) wrote the script, and Justin Wagner did the toony illustrations. Here’s the publisher’s description: “Welcome to Toonie Terrace, home of the fun-loving Merries and their jealous, bitter rivals, the Meanies. For all their shenanigans, no Meanie has ever murdered a Merrie… until now! After thousands of painful failed attempts, Rascal Raccoon has finally killed his arch-nemesis, the charming and adorable Jumpin’ Jackalope. Rascal is overjoyed, but there’s one problem: What does he do now? With nothing left to obsess over, Rascal’s life falls apart. Fortunately, he soon finds a new target for his anger: The animator who created him!” Comic Book Resources has an on-line preview where you can see just what kind of havoc these toons create when they come looking for the humans who draw delight from their troubles!

image c. 2011 Oni Press

Awesome Pandas on TV

Word is out that Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, the long-awaited TV spinoff from Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda movies, will finally be coming to television on Monday, November 7th. It will premier on Nickelodeon at 5:30 pm, Eastern and Pacific time. First up will be a full week of brand new episodes every week day, followed by weekly new episodes on Friday nights starting December 2nd. The series takes place in between the two Kung Fu Panda movies, following adventures of Po the Panda — also known as the Dragon Warrior — and the Furious Five, along with their mentor, the red panda Master Shifu. Several new characters and villains will be introduced as well. From the feature films, only Lucy Liu (Viper) and James Hong (Mr. Ping, Po’s adoptive father) reprise their roles; other voices are handled by the likes of Mick Wingert,¬†Kari Wahlgren, Amir Talai, Max Koch, Fred Tatasciore, and James Sie. Cartoon Brew has a write-up directly from Dreamworks that has even more information. By the way: Kung Fu Panda 2 comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on December 13th. Though its performance was perhaps disappointing in the USA, around the world it is the #1 animated feature of the year, having taken in $664 million total. Which virtually assures that there will in fact be a Kung Fu Panda 3, as KFP2 surpassed Dreamworks’ self-imposed $500 million worldwide “magic number” for making a film into a franchise.

image c. 2011 Dreamworlds/Nickelodeon

Puss in Boots vs. Giant Chicken

A prequel to a prequel! Can you feel the synergy? Ape Entertainment (through their Kizoic imprint) present the Puss in Boots Movie Prequel graphic novel, coming this November. Written by Troy Dye and Tom Kelesides, it features full-color art by the Kizoic crew. This is from Comics Continuum: “The exciting prequel to the Puss In Boots movie is here in this exclusive original graphic novel! Puss enters a secret sword fighting competition to determine who’s the best with a blade. Will he defeat the rabid rooster known as ‘El Pollo Mas Rapido’? Or will Chuey, the Chihuahua cat burglar, take top prize? And in a Bonus story, Puss unravels the mystery of the Maltese Gato!” Remember, the feline furry comes to theaters from Dreamworks on October 28th.

 

image c. 2011 Ape Entertainment

The Power of the Animals

Shaman’s Tears was a 12-issue full-color comic book miniseries written and drawn by Mike Grell in the 1990’s, published back then by Image. It told the story of one Joshua Brand, a native American who discovers he has the ability to harness the power of animals — and of the earth itself. He often used his powers in defense of nature, animals… and mutant animal-people, who showed up after escaping from government laboratories. Those creatures were later featured in their own 4-part spin-off series, Bar Sinister, written by Mr. Grell and illustrated by Rick Hoberg. Now, IDW Publishing has collected Shaman’s Tears together in a single trade paperback for the first time, coming this December. We can only hope they decide to do the same with Bar Sinister later on.

image c. 2011 Windjammer Comics

 

The Wonderful, Wonderful Cat

Comic historians differ as to who exactly created the iconic character Felix the Cat: Joe Sullivan or his employee, Otto Messmer. To further complicate things, after his world-wide fame as a star of animated shorts (and being the first cartoon character ever represented by a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), Felix appeared in a series of comic strip and comic book adventures in the 1940’s and 1950’s — some of which were drawn by Otto Messmer, and some by Joe Oriolo, but which were usually credited to Joe Sullivan. Got all that? It’s just one of the many facts presented in the introduction to Felix the Cat’s Greatest Comic Book Tails, in paperback now from IDW Publishing. After the opening essay by Craig Yoe and Don Oriolo (Joe’s son), be prepared for more than 200 of black & white and full-color comics. Righty-oh! More information is available at Amazon.

image c. 2011 IDW Publishing

Not Furry At All, But…

Here’s a non-furry item by a world-famous furry icon we think you all should know about. Chuck Jones, aka Charles M. Jones (1912-2002) was, in case you’ve been living on another planet for the past few decades, one of the master animators and directors at Warner Brothers animation in the 20th Century. He not only helped to refine the personalities of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, he also created the enduring characters of Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, and Pepe Le Pew the skunk. After his time at Warner Brothers, one of Jones’ many projects was a newspaper comic strip called Crawford, which he toiled on for 27 years before it had a brief run in 1978. Now, IDW Publishing brings us Chuck Jones: The Dream That Never Was, a new hardcover book that not only collects the Crawford strips, but also gives us the story of its creation with numerous original sketches, drawings, storyboards, and production notes. It’s a look into the mind of one of the greats of animation. The book was edited by Kurtis Findlay and Dean Mullaney, and designed by Lorraine Turner. According to Amazon, it comes to shelves this December.

image c. 2011 Chuck Jones and IDW Publishing

That’s One Old Elephant

It seems amazing, but the fact is that this year Babar the Elephant is celebrating his 80th birthday. Yes, the paternal pachyderm first appeared in Histoire de Babar (The Story of Babar) by writer and illustrator Jean de Brunhoff in 1931. Since then there have been numerous books and more than one TV series — perhaps the most famous having been animated by Nelvana back in the 1980’s and 90’s. Now, to celebrate this new milestone, Nelvana has hooked up with The Clifford Ross Company to create numerous celebrations of the royal elephant in the famous green suit. Frankly, there’s too many to even describe here, so we’ll simply direct¬† you over to Cartoon Brew’s handy News Feed, where you’ll find a detailed listing of it all.

image c. 2011 Nelvana Enterprises

Godzilla’s Friends and Foes

Are you a fan of Kaiju — giant monsters from Japan? Are you a fan of monster match-ups in glorious city-wrecking battles? You might want to check out Godzilla Legends, a new full-color 5-issue mini-series from IDW, starting this November. Each issue will feature a self-contained stories of various monsters from the Godzilla universe taking on one another to the explosive end. In issue #1 (by Matt Frank and Jeff Prezenkowski), Anguirus — the spiny four-legged “perpetual underdog” of kaiju-dom — takes on one of the deadliest monsters of all, Destoroyah! The first issue also features special variant covers by fantasy artist Bob Eggelton and comic book legend Art Adams.

image c. 2011 Bob Eggelton