Also over on Cartoon Brew is a link to the current trailer for the new Marsupilami movie coming out in April in France. Marsu-who, you ask? The marsupilami is a fantastic creature which came to us from the imagination of André Franquin, an influential Belgian comic book artist and creator, best known for his work in the magazine Spirou. The marsupilami is a mysterious jungle denizen known for its spotted fur, it’s exuberant cry of “Houba!”, it’s appetite for piranha fish, and it’s very VERY long tail… which usually went off the frame of whatever comic page it was drawn upon. Franquin used the character in the Spirou et Fantasio comics from 1952 to 1968, and the character has been revived several times since then — most notably in the Disney TV animation series Raw Toonage in the 1990’s. The estate of Franquin was not very thrilled with the interpretation of the character in that series — they went so far as to revoke Disney’s right to the marsupilami. Well now, the same French team that brought us the Asterix live-action movies have produced a live-action/CGI movie (HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami), directed by and starring Alain Chabat. Check out the trailer and see what you think. The marsupilami itself is seen very little here, but it gives you a feeling for what the movie is going to be like.
When an animated movie becomes a hit, or even when it’s likely to become a hit, you’d be amazed at the number of copy-cat knock-off projects from little animation houses (often overseas) that will start to flood the direct-to-video market before, during, and after that film. Renegade Animation from right here in the US of A have started making a reputation for themselves with projects like this — Chop Kick Panda, anyone? Now here comes the latest: Tappy Toes, which we found over on Cartoon Brew. It’s a 41-minute 2D animated film, directed by Darrell Van Citters, which is an obvious “homage” to the Happy Feet series. Check out the trailer on YouTube, and make of it what you will.
Another new discovery from WonderCon: “Knightingail: The Legend Begins is a 6-issue fantasy, adventure mini-series that tells the story of how a Forester, teenage princess named Eloa is transformed into a mystical powered warrior princess named Knightingail. Knightingail has the ability to control the forces of nature and heal living creatures. She must re-unite the 7-tribes of her homeland to fight off a massive invasion force.” Those 7 tribes include various anthropomorphic species as well — check out the character of Kaeli Hunter from the cover of issue #4, below! The series is created written, and published by Wayne Gardiner and penciled by Tina Francisco. Various artists helped out with the inking, coloring, and covers. You can find out more about all of this (including a new package offer for the whole 6-issue series) at the Knightingail web site, hosted by Knightingail herself.
Speaking of Immedium, they’re also the home of Billie the Unicorn, written and illustrated by Brianne Drouhard. “The young unicorn Billie seeks adventure, so her forest cousins show her how to grow delightful flowers. But the legend of a castle which holds the most beautiful garden lures her away! Will Billie discover that friendship matters the most?” The publisher also continues: “Colorful marker illustrations of expressive characters, upbeat storytelling, and a positive message of seeking your bliss will charm kids who enjoy animation and adults who appreciate great character design.” You can visit Billie’s very own web site to find out more, buy your own copy of the book , and even check out the Billie the Unicorn interactive story app for the iPad and iPhone.
Tales from the Chinese Zodiac is a new series of twelve (of course) full-color illustrated children’s books, each written by Oliver Chin and all of them published by Immedium. In each book we meet on of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac (dog, pig, rat, monkey, etc.) as a youngster, and each of them must learn how to represent their aspect of the zodiac as he or she grows to adulthood. Illustrators for the series include Jeremiah Alcorn, Justin Roth, and Jennifer Wood. Your ever-lovin’ ed-otter especially liked The Year of the Dragon (illustrated by Ms. Wood, and reviewed here on Book Dragon, of course). Not only because 2012 is one, but also because it’s his Chinese Zodiac sign!
Various sneak-peaks of The Mists of Pandaria, the new expansion of the World of Warcraft on-line gaming universe, have begun to make their way around the Web. This new realm (actually new continent) was announced at Blizzcon (Blizzard Entertainment’s regular WOW convention) last October, and WOW-fans have been going crazy about it ever since — some positive, some negative, but all of them loud. This new expansion (the 4th) introduces new levels, a new fighting class (“Monk”), and as we noted a new continent known as Pandaria. Several new races are introduced in this expansion as well; some of them playable and some of them simply background or enemies. Chief among the playable ones are the Pandaren, a race of anthro pandas — based on both the giant (black & white) and red pandas of Earth. Of note for players of the game: Unlike most of the races introduced so far in the game, the Pandaren do not align themselves with either the Alliance or the Horde at the start of their adventures. Players develop the characters over several levels, and only at the end of that quest do they decide which traditional alignment they will take. Other anthro-type creatures in this new expansion include the Hozu, a monkey-like race, and the Mantids, who (of course) are insect-like. Much more about all of this can be found on Wikipedia. As of this writing the official release date for this new expansion is still shrouded in mystery (mists?), but several leaked preview videos have been showing up on YouTube.
Your humble In-Fur-Nation crew is back from a quick trip to WonderCon, which this year happened to be in our back yard. Lots of cool new stuff to talk about, which we’ll get started on right away. First up: Samuel E. Kirkman Jr. is an illustrator and independent comic artist whose on-line opus comes with one dilly of a name: Ouwangalaymah. Whew, try that one fast. Also known as The “Tail” of the Name of the Tree, here’s the description from The Illustrated Section: “The tale begins as everyone forgets, the name of the tree that is. Yofti, a hyperactive ringtail, along with the tortoise, an orphaned wildebeest calf adopted by a pair of dik diks and a rather arrogant kudu become central characters as the story begins to unfold. Using an ancient Bantu folk tale for the ark of the story, the author spins a yarn of classic underdog-dom. Leaping lemurs, a lazy lion, and one tenacious tortoise help highlight the need to perceive in spite of ones own limitations.” The first few sections of the comic are available as downloads for purchase right now.
The Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA) announced the 2011 nominees for the Ursa Major Awards on March 15th, the day that voting for the final awards opened. Voting will be open until May 4th, then the winners will be announced at a ceremony at CaliFur.8 in Irvine on Saturday, June 2nd. What, you haven’t heard of the Ursa Major Awards? Shame on you! Here’s what they say on their web site: “More formally known as the Annual Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Award, the Ursa Major Award is presented annually for excellence in the furry arts. It is intended as Anthropomorphic (a.k.a. Furry) Fandom’s equivalent of the Hugo Award ® presented by the World Science Fiction Society, mystery fandom’s Anthony Award, horror fandom’s Bram Stoker Award, and so forth. Anyone may nominate and vote for candidates for the Awards. These Awards are decided by the fans, not by a committee.” Last year more than 1,200 fur fans world wide took part in the final voting for the 2010 Ursa Major Awards. (To put that in perspective, that’s nearly one-quarter of the entire voting body of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — you know, the Oscar people?) Again from the Ursa Majors web site: “There are five nominees in each of eleven categories, except where there was a tie for fifth place. To be eligible, a work must have been released during the calendar year 2011; must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical; and must receive more than one nomination.”
Without further ah-doo, here are the Ursa Major nominees for 2011.
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture:
Bitter Lake (Directed by Shay)
Kung Fu Panda 2 (Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson)
Puss in Boots (Directed by Chris Miller)
Rango (Directed by Gore Verbinski)
Rio (Directed by Carlos Saldanha)
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Series or Short Work:
Mongrels (Directed by Adam Millar, Jon Brown, Daniel Peak)
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (Directed by James Wootton)
The Regular Show (Directed by Benton Conor, Calvin Wong, Kat Morris, Sean Szeles, J. G. Quintel, Minty Lewis, and others)
Simon’s Cat (Directed by Simon Tofield)
ThunderCats (Directed by Michael Jelenic, Todd Casey, Tab Murphy, and others)
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Novel (40,000 words or more):
Black Dogs, Part 2, by Ursula Vernon
Death Drop, by Sean Allen
Isolation Play, by Kyell Gold
Red Sails in the Fallout, by Paul Kidd
Smiley and the Hero, by Ryan Campbell
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction (less than 40,000 words):
“A Safety Weasel Christmas”, by Gene Breshears
“Argo”, by Rick Griffin
“Fetching Asteroids”, by Mary E. Lowd
“How to Get Through the Day”, by Kyell Gold
“Let’s Play Musical Chairs”, by K. M. Hirosaki
“Shreddy and the Zomb-Dogs”, by Mary E. Lowd
“Where the Heart Is”, by Mary E. Lowd and Daniel Lowd
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work (Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and convention program books):
Dragon’s Hoard #1, by various (published by Rabbit Valley)
Fur-Piled #5, by Leo Magna
In the Doghouse of Justice, by Kyell Gold
Nordguard, Book One, by Tess Garman & Teagan Gavet
Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe, Omnibus 1, by various (published by the Tai-Pan Literary & Arts Project)
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story (comic books and serialized on-line stories):
Endtown, by Aaron Neathery
Fur-Piled, by Leo Magna
Furthia High, by QuetzaDrake
Lackadaisy, by Tracy J. Butler
Red Lantern, by Rukis and Alector Fencor
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip:
Ballerina Mafia, by Immelmann
Doc Rat, by Jenner
Faux Pas, by Robert & Margaret Carspecken
Housepets!, by Rick Griffin
Sandra and Woo, by Powree and Oliver Knörzer
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Magazine (both in-print and on-line):
South Fur Lands
Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Web Site (galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites):
Furry Writers’ Guild
In the category of Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration:
Blotch, cover of Isolation Play
Blotch, cover of Nordguard, Book One
Jason Chan, cover of Red Sails in the Fallout
Sara Palmer, cover of Weasel Presents
Rosenthal, FBA 2012 season opener painting
C. D. Woodbury, cover of Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe #48
And finally in the category of Best Anthropomorphic Game:
O-kamiden (Developed by Mobile & Game Studio, Inc.)
Pokemon: Black and White (Developed by Game Freak)
Solatorobo: Red the Hunter (Developed by CyberConnect2)
Sonic Generations (Developed by Dimps and Sonic Team)
Star Fox 64 3D (Developed by Nintendo EAD and Q-Games)
Congratulations to each and every one of the nominees! At the Ursa Majors web site you’ll discover helpful links to find out much more about each of the nominees, as well as information on how to sign up for the voting. Remember, everyone is free to cast their vote — and you should! The more folks who participate in these awards, not only the more they will represent the broad spectrum of Furry Fandom, but the more that folks who chose what kind of stuff gets made (and released!) will start to pay attention.
Also from the folks at Kaboom! is the comic-book adaptation of Ice Age: Continental Drift, the new Blue Sky Studio film coming this July. The one-shot comic book, meanwhile, comes out in May. “Sid the Sloth, Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Saber-tooth Tiger, and the hilarious saber-toothed squirrel Scrat find themselves on another adventure after their continent is set adrift. Meeting new sea creatures and battling pirates, life is never boring for this wacky herd! Starring the beloved characters from the hit film series!” That’s what they say on their web site. It’s written by Caleb Monroe with full-color art by Shelli Paroline. Meanwhile the same team is also producing Ice Age: Playing Favorites, a full-color one-shot original Ice Age story. Both these titles are coming soon.