The Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation have announced several new films they’ll be completing and releasing over the next couple of years. First up is a feature film called The Good Dinosaur, written and directed by Bob Peterson (Finding Nemo, Up — he was also the voice of Dug the dog in the latter movie). This new film (set for release in May of 2014) explores what might have happened if dinosaurs never went extinct. Would they wind up being our pets? Or would we wind up being theirs? Also in the pipe are a film based on the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos, and an untitled film (set for release in 2015) about the inner workings of the human brain.
There’s an interesting new hardcover graphic novel coming this June from Archaia Entertainment, written and illustrated by Shane-Michael Vidaurri, with the unusual title of Iron: Or, The War After. See what you think of this description: “It is the aftermath of a long war, in a world of constant winter. An intelligence spy from the Resistance—the rabbit, Hardin—steals secret information from a military base of the Regime. His actions set off a chain of events that reverberates through the ranks of both sides, touching everyone from Pavel the crow to Giles the goat, from the highest-ranking officials to the smallest orphaned child. When the snow finally settles, who will be the true patriot.” Find out more (and see a multi-page teaser) at Archaia’s preview page.
image c. 2012 Archaia Entertainment
The art collective (or pair at least) known as Blotch have a new item connected with their successful comic book/graphic novel series Nordguard. Now it’s the Nordguard Card Game, coming this summer from Sofawolf Press. The game itself was developed by Tempe O’Kun and Nic Wald, and play-testing was directed over the last year by Jeremia Heupel of ThinkTank Games. And the game itself? “You and your friends play as an anthropomorphized sled dog rescue team, overcoming cannibalistic strays and a landscape as capricious as it is lethal. Only your wits and your gear stand between you and certain disaster. Quick-reference instructions provide the rules in minutes, while a scalable difficulty curve provides a challenge for everyone from pups to even the most veteran sled dogs. A randomized map ensures no two missions will ever be the same. Based on the award-winning graphic novel Nordguard: Across Thin Ice, this slim set comes packed with over 120 illustrations by the artists Tess Garman & Teagan Gavet [aka Blotch]. Custom-etched dice and a stamped metal play token fit neatly with the cards in a rugged belt pouch, emblazoned with the Nordguard logo, so you can have the game ready at hand no matter where your adventures take you.” Keep up with the latest on the game at the official web site, www.nordguard.com/about/cardgame.
image c. 2012 Tess Garman & Teagan Gavet
Sweet Pickles is a classic educational children’s book series by Ruth Lerner Perle, Jacquelyn Reinach, and Richard Hefter which was published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston from 1977 through the mid-1990’s. Each of the 40 full-color books portrayed the adventures of the inhabitants of the town of Sweet Pickles: 26 anthropomorphic animals (one for each letter of the alphabet) who get into various “pickles” because of their all-too-human flaws… and who must learn important life lessons to get out of them. The Wikipedia entry for Sweet Pickles details each of the characters such as Accusing Alligator, Moody Moose, and Temper Tantrum Turtle. After having been out of print for the longest time, the entire series is now returning on-line in a brand-new on-line series. But not just the books: Now the original stories are presented as digitally-enhanced e-books with professional sound-effects, narration, and character voices by award-winning voice actors. For a limited time the first e-book in this new series, Very Worried Walrus, is available as a free download at the Apple iBookstore. You can find out more about the return of Sweet Pickles at www.sweetpickles.com/fob.html, and also check them out on Facebook.
image c. 2012 Sweet Pickles
It’s time for the world — or at least Furry Fandom — to re-discover the works of Frank Cho. Or at very least his seminal work in comics, Liberty Meadows. This well-known comic strip started life as an outgrowth of University Squared, a comic strip that Frank worked on during his college days. Liberty Meadows tells the story of a terribly beautiful human named Brandy, who works as a psychiatrist at the Liberty Meadows animal sanctuary. But it also tells the story of Brandy’s decidedly anthropomorphic animal friends: Like Ralph the miniature bear; Dean the lecherous pig; Leslie the hypochondriac frog; and Truman the very, very nice duck. The strip was syndicated for newspapers from 1997 to 2001, when constant censorship by his editors convinced Mr. Cho to switch to a comic book format — which was self-published at first, then later came out of Image Comics. During that time as a newspaper strip however, Liberty Meadows produced several full-color Sunday strips. And now those strips have finally been collected in the Liberty Meadows Sunday Collection, coming this June in hardcover from, yes, Image. You can find out more about Liberty Meadows — and read the current, un-censored strip — at Frank Cho’s official web site.
image c. 2012 Frank Cho
Clare Bell is a science fiction and fantasy author best known for some very furry-themed books. What’s more, she’s actually been to several furry conventions — as a fan! She’s mostly known for a series called The Books of the Named, and the first book in the series is called Ratha’s Creature (check it out here on Amazon). In this book we meet Ratha, who is a young member of the Named: A species of prehistoric cat that are self-aware and possessing of culture, laws, and even primitive agriculture (they keep livestock). Ratha brings shock and dismay to her society when she learns to tame a strange ‘creature’ that glows, and flows, and burns… most anything dry in fact. The rest of the series follows the adventures of Ratha, her friends, and her adversaries as events develop after Ratha’s discovery of this “creature”… and how she learns it can be useful. You can find out more about the series on the Clare Bell fan site. The reason we’re telling you all this now is that Clare Bell and Sheila Ruth (from Imaginator Press) are exploring the possibility of creating a Ratha’s Creature graphic novel — and they’d like the fans’ opinion of the idea, to see how popular it might be. Visit Clare Bell’s FurAffinity page and check out the survey in her journal. She’ll fill you in on the rest.
image c. 2012 Clare Bell
This July MX Collectibles is releasing a set of 6-inch tall collectible busts, modeled after various university mascots. And the first set of four is decidedly furry! Check out their web site for the new busts of the Louisiana State University Tigers, The Clemson University Tigers (pictured below), the University of Memphis Tigers, and the Brigham Young University Cougars. Each of these busts was created by well-known collectibles sculptor Clayburn Moore.
image c. 2012 MX Collectibles
Kyell Gold is a well-known author of anthropomorphic fiction. How well known? He currently holds the record for the most Ursa Major Award wins by an individual — for novels, short stories, and story collections combined. Usually his work is known for two things: Eroticism, and a male-to-male emphasis. However, his latest novel is considerably more straight — straight romance, and straight horror. The Silver Circle tells the story of a woman named Valerie, who heads off into the woods on vacation after a messy divorce. She’s determined to try and relax, in spite of the warnings of deadly wolves infesting the forest. Then, she comes across a mutilated dead man, a young man with an arrow in his side… and a hunter who insists that the wounded young man is a werewolf. From there, things get complicated. The Silver Circle is being released as a Kindle e-book from Amazon Digital Services this month.
image c. 2012 by Kamui
If you don’t know about the McKimson brothers, you should — especially if you love anything about 20th Century animation. Chuck, Bob, and Tom might not be the household names that Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng have become, but they probably should be as they had their hands in an amazing number of animation projects. Now there’s a new book by Robert McKimson Jr., I Say, I Say… Son! that attempts to fill you in on their amazing story. This new hardcover book is arriving from Santa Monica Press in early July, but here’s a preview from Amazon: “The first survey dedicated to the work of the McKimson brothers, this book offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the upper echelon of 20th-century animation and examines the creative process behind the making of numerous popular characters and classic programs. Featuring original artwork from the golden age of animation, this book includes a wealth of material from many professional archives—screen captures, original drawings, reproductions of animation cels, illustrations from comic books, lobby cards, and other ephemera from the author’s collection—while surveying the careers of three groundbreaking animators whose credits include Looney Tunes, the Pink Panther, and Mr. Magoo. Beginning in the 1920s and then tracing the brothers’ work together at Warner Brothers Cartoons in the following decades, this history details Robert McKimson’s creation of such beloved characters as Foghorn Leghorn, the Tasmanian Devil, and Speedy Gonzales; Tom McKimson’s work at Warner Brothers, Dell Comics, and Golden Books; and Chuck McKimson’s long career working in comic books and then later at Pacific Title, creating animated film titles and commercials, including his award-winning work on Music Man, Cleopatra, and The Sound of Music.” The book’s forward was written by John Kricfalusi of Ren & Stimpy fame.
image c. 2012 Santa Monica Press