Here’s a power-house of a collaboration! Barry Sonnenfeld, director of all three Men in Black movies (the third is coming up) has announced a new project: A graphic novel and movie to be called Dominion: Dinosaurs versus Aliens. Both the graphic novel and the movie script will be written by comic book writing superstar Grant Morrison, known for utterly re-inventing numerous comic book lines, including DC’s Animal Man. This is from Previews magalog: “When an alien invasion attacks Earth in the age of the dinosaurs, the planet’s only hope is the giants that roam the planet with, it turns out, a lot more intelligence than previously realized.” The graphic novel will be illustrated by Mukesh Singh (who previously teamed with Grant Morrison on 18 Days) and published by Liquid Comics later this year. A special preview of the graphic novel will be available for free (of course) on Free Comic Book Day, May 5th. No word yet on a release date for the movie, but Deadline.com has an extensive story on the project and an interview with Barry Sonnenfeld.
“It’s the literary equivalent of buried treasure!” That’s more than just publisher’s hyperbole. It might just be the best description of The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories, published last fall in hardcover by Random House. For the first time it collects together 7 original stories by Dr. Seuss that have not seen the light of day since they were first published in magazines from 1948 to 1959. From Amazon: “Seuss scholar/collector Charles D. Cohen has hunted down seven rarely seen stories by Dr. Seuss. Originally published in magazines between 1948 and 1959, they include ‘The Bear, the Rabbit, and the Zinniga-Zanniga’ (about a rabbit who is saved from a bear with a single eyelash!); ‘Gustav the Goldfish’ (an early, rhymed version of the Beginner Book ‘A Fish Out of Water’); ‘Tadd and Todd’ (a tale passed down via photocopy to generations of twins); ‘Steak for Supper’ (about fantastic creatures who follow a boy home in anticipation of a steak dinner); ‘The Bippolo Seed’ (in which a scheming feline leads an innocent duck to make a bad decision); ‘The Strange Shirt Spot’ (the inspiration for the bathtub-ring scene in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back); and ‘The Great Henry McBride’ (about a boy whose far-flung career fantasies are only bested by those of the real Dr. Seuss himself). In an introduction to the collection, Cohen traces the history of these stories, which demonstrate an intentional and significant change that led to the writing style we associate with Dr. Seuss today. Cohen also explores these stories’ themes that recur in better-known Seuss stories (like the importance of the imagination, or the perils of greed). With a color palette that has been enhanced beyond the limitations of the original magazines in which they appeared, this is a collection of stories that no Seuss fan (whether scholar or second-grader) will want to miss!” It’s also available as an audio book CD with stories being read by the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Anjelica Houston, Jason Lee, Joan Cusack, and more.
More e-books we’ve stumbled across… Check out Lycanthropy Anonymous by J.A. Konrath. This 2011 book concerns lycanthropy — shapeshifting — and the myriad ways it can make your life complicated. Here, check out the publisher’s description from Amazon: “It isn’t easy being a werewolf. Especially when you’re a newbie at shapeshifting. Lucky, there’s a group called Shapeshifters Anonymous that will help you work through the difficult times, like eating your friends, and shedding. When recently turned werewolf Robert Weston Smith discovers his new found abilities in a humorous (but alarming) way, he seeks out the support group to help him figure things out. There he meets various characters who transform into assorted, odd things, including a sexy werecheetah named Irena. But little did Weston know he’d been followed to this private gathering, by someone who wants to do the therianthropes a great deal of harm… ” The description goes on, “Shapeshifters Anonymous is a 12,000 word novella, specifically formatted for Kindle. It contains a handful of werepeople, a dash of romance, some gratuitous humor, and revisionist Xmas theories. It also has previews of Konrath’s other work.” And it’s available for the Kindle right now.
Those who only know Underdog from the rather odd 2007 live-action movie, sorry you! Underdog was a hit animated TV series produced by Total Television (who were also responsible for Tennessee Tuxedo), starting in 1964 and running more than 120 episodes until 1973 (and in re-runs ever since). Now Shout Factory have released the complete original series on DVD for the first time, featuring all 124 episodes in a 9-disc box set. Watch as Shoeshine Boy and his super-powered alter ego, Underdog, battle the evil likes of Riff Raff and Simon Bar Sinister to protect his true love, Sweet Polly Purebread. The DVDs also include original episodes of the Underdog back-up shorts GoGo Gophers, Klondike Kat, and Commander McBrag. Check it out at Shout Factory’s web site.
If you’re not busy flinging feathered folk at pig castles, you might check out these new Angry Birds tie-in books (from rovio.com, of course). How best to describe Angry Birds: Bad Piggies’ Egg Recipes? Here, we’ll let them do it: “Be a pig for a day, no worries in the world, no Angry Birds trying to knock you down. The kitchen is your pigpen and life’s good! So go ‘head, crack an egg or two and fling your awesome self to new levels of egg-cellence with these easy and fuss-free (for the most part) recipes, addictively fun activities and impressive party moves. From the classics to off the wall, these top-secret egg recipes will fill your tummy and tickle your brain!” You heard ’em. Also available are the Angry Birds Big Red Doodle Book and Angry Birds Big Green Doodle Book, filled with fun drawing activities for Angry Birds fans of all ages.
Here’s an e-book we recently stumbled across: Legacy by Hugo Jackson is the author’s first book, and also the start of “The Resonance Tetralogy”, which presumably means there will be three books to follow. “Faria Phiraco [a fox ] is a ‘resonator’, a manipulator of crystals from the moon who wields control of the elements. It is a rare and secret power which she and her father, the Emperor of Xayall, guard with their lives. But they are not alone… The Dhraka, malicious red-scaled dragons, have discovered an ancient artefact, a mysterious relic from the mythical, aeons-lost city of Nazreal. Their plan already in motion, they besiege Xayall, launching upon the city to find Faria and tear more of Nazreal’s secrets from her. But she knows nothing, except that the powers hunting her threaten the entire world. With her father missing, Faria has to rely on her own strength and brave the world that attacks her at every turn. Friends and guardians rally by her to help save her father and reveal the mysteries of the ruined city, while the dark legacy of an ancient cataclysm wraps its claws around her fate… and her past. She soon realises that this is not the beginning, nor anywhere near the end. A titanic war spanning thousands of years unfolds around her, one that could yet cost the lives of everyone on Eeres.” The book is available for the Kindle on Amazon, at it seems to be getting good reviews from the readers quoted there.
Well, at least the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino… We want to thank the folks at Cartoon Brew for turning us on to this new press release: “For generations of animation fans there is no greater legend than Chuck Jones. The creator of the famed Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts for Warner Bros., Tom & Jerry cartoons, the TV version of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and many other well-known classics, Jones was a pioneer in the art of animation and a fine artist in his own right. His life and legacy will be celebrated on January 19 with the official grand opening of The Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus Las Vegas… The Chuck Jones Experience is a nearly 10,000-square-foot destination that provides kids and animation fans of all ages with an extraordinary place to not only learn about the art of animation, but to discover the creativity and magic that’s inside us all. Designed to ‘Educate, Inspire & Entertain’, The Chuck Jones Experience takes visitors on a unique journey through Jones’ life, engaging guests with interactive exhibits, displays and learning experiences along the way. The Chuck Jones Experience is also home to the largest collection of original Chuck Jones animation and fine art anywhere in the world with more than 250 pieces on permanent display.” Check out the rest of the press release at Cartoon Brew to find out more details about this new exhibit, including features like the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity Learning Center, Animation Alley, the Acme Workshop, and more.
So, your humble ed-otter returns from the 2012 edition of Further Confusion in Northern California, with lots of stuff to report. Including such items as…
John Van Stry is a science fiction author whose works tend to involve a lot of scientifically-created animal-people characters. Many of his novels and novellas began appearing in both paper and electronic form in 2011. A good place to start in his universe is Children of Steel, published for the Kindle last March. Here’s the description from Amazon: “Raj is just your average everyday genetically modeled and artificially created anthropomorphic worker for one of the many corporations of the future. Extensively trained and conditioned from birth he’s now indentured for the next fifty years of his life; assuming he doesn’t die first, or somehow manage to pay off his creation and training debts. Created by the corporations to deal with the harsh labor shortages of the twenty second century when humans will no longer take on the dangerous jobs Raj finds himself now in the harsh world of space exploration, trading, corporate maneuverings, and sometimes the even more dangerous fanatics that hate Raj and his fellows. No longer in safe confines of the training academies he must learn how to live and deal with both his fellow workers and the humans he encounters and not get saddled with extra bills or fines because he’s screwed up or worse yet, get ‘put down’ because he’s lost his temper one time too many. After all, it’s not like he’s human…” Other stories in the same universe include Danger Money; Lead, Follow, or Suffer the Consequences; and Dialene, the story of a female fox-morph who hooks up with the wrong crew. Here’s a current list of John Van Stry’s books that are available on Amazon in e-book format.
Here’s a press release from Fred Patten of the Ursa Major Awards’ organizing group, the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association: “Nominations are now open for the 2011 Ursa Major Awards, intended to recognize the best works published in the field of anthropomorphics last year. Nominations will close on February 29; voting starts March 15 and closes May 4 (to allow last-minute online voting from Morphicon). Furry fans may nominate up to five works in each category. The 2011 Awards will be announced and presented in a ceremony at CaliFur VIII in Irvine, California, June 1 – 3, 2012. Award categories include Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Story, Comic Strip, Magazine, Website, Published Illustration, and Game. If you cannot think of five worthwhile nominees in each category, see the 2011 Recommended Anthropomorphics List on the Ursa Major Awards website for suggestions.” Remember, something doesn’t have to be on the Recommended List to be nominated. It just has to have furry characters featured in it prominently, and have been released during the 2011 calender year. So get started! [And we’ll see you next after Further Confusion!]