Think of your favorite so-cute-it-hurts art meme, and chances are at some point it was inspired by the success of Sanrio’s Hello Kitty line. The little white cat with tiny black eyes (first designed in 1974 by Yuko Shimizu) has become a billion-dollar yearly world phenomenon since first breaking out of Japan in 1976. Now, this October Abrams will bring us Hello Kitty, Hello Art!, a hardcover collection of kitty-inspired illustration. “Hello Kitty, Hello Art! is a celebration of the iconic Hello Kitty character and other beloved Sanrio characters through the eyes of dozens of contemporary artists and Hello Kitty fans, including Gary Baseman, Ron English, Luke Chueh, CRASH, Anthony Lister, Eric Joyner, Camilla d’Errico, Amanda Visell, Colin Christian, Huck Gee, Luke Chueh, Deph, and Yosuke Ueno, among others. This hardcover collectible book features a variety of well-known international artists and their unique interpretations of Sanrio characters in various media, including canvas, spray paint, watercolor and ink, aerosol and acrylics on wood, mixed media, oil on panel, and silk screen. The pieces in the book reflect the many ways Hello Kitty and Sanrio have influenced and inspired so many artists around the world.” Pre-order it on Amazon.
Hey, weren’t we just here? Well, yes, but that was mostly about Sonic the Hedgehog in comic book form. Now Udon Entertainment brings us The History of Sonic the Hedgehog, which is more about Sonic in the original games. Got it? Here, let Amazon tell you: “Celebrating over 20 years as SEGA’s official mascot, The History of Sonic the Hedgehog is the ultimate guide to SEGA’s spiky blue speedster! This hefty 300-page hardcover volume covers in detail every 2D and 3D Sonic game, plus spinoffs and crossovers. You’ll also find character profiles, promotional artwork, rare concept art, and a detailed look at the origins of the ‘Blue Blur’.” Edited by Marc Petronille and William Audureau, this large volume comes our way in early October.
September is when folks usually start taking orders for art-calendars for the following year — and this one is no exception. Orders are now open for the 2013 Werewolf Calendar, featuring lycanthropic-themed works from artists like Goldenwolf, Kyoht, Vantid, Balaa [See Below], Nimrais, Kyndir, Katie Hofgard, Myenia, and more. According to the calendar web site, orders will open at midnight on September 1st, and the first 150 orders will receive a free werewolf sticker and bookmark as well. Then there’s the Rare Calendar for 2013, which every year features anthropomorphic versions of rare or endangered species — and this year, also features the theme of world cultures. The artists involved include Ashalind, CentraDragon, Tiina Purin, Donna Quinn, SilverFox5213, AlectorFencer, Katmomma, Qzurr, Nimrais, Heather Bruton, BloodhoundOmega, Windfalcon, and Kaji. Orders are being taken right now at the Rare Calender web site.
Muppet fans around the world were recently saddened by another loss: Jerry Nelson, who had one of the longest careers of anyone in the world of Jim Henson’s Muppets, passed away on Thursday the 23rd at the age of 78. He was best known by legions of children around the world — including many who are now adults — as the voice and puppeteer of Count von Count, the beloved Sesame Street character who loved to count things as much as he loved to laugh maniacally. He was also the voice of the seldom-seen mammoth-like Mr. Snuffleupagus, Herry Monster, and Robin — Kermit the Frog’s young nephew. More recently he was the voice and hands behind Floyd Pepper, bass player for The Electric Mayhem on The Muppet Show and subsequent movies. And after that, he brought to life Gobo Fraggle, the leader of the band of colorful characters on Fraggle Rock. So far, there’s no word on how Mr. Nelson’s passing might affect any plans that Jim Henson Productions (or their current owner, the Walt Disney Company) might have for a Fraggle Rock movie. As for Mr. Nelson… as Floyd Pepper might say, Rest in Peace my man.
David Nytra is a relative newcomer to the world of fantasy graphic novels. Still The Secret of the Stone Frog, his first work as a writer and illustrator, is drawing a lot of interest from fantasy collectors just prior to its release. “When Leah and Alan awaken in an enchanted forest, they have only each other and their wits to guide them. In a world of pet bees and giant rabbits, they befriend foppish lions and stone frogs, learning to confront danger as they find both their own independence and the way home. Newcomer David Nytra’s breathtaking pictures break the boundaries of imagination, sending the reader on a wild flight of fantasy while experiencing the most universal of stories: Growing up.” According to the pre-order site at Amazon, Toon Books will publish this hardcover black & white graphic novel in early September.
… and his friends. And his adversaries. At least so far as the Archie Comics universe is concerned. The Sonic the Hedgehog Who’s Who is a project that has been in the works since 2010, and put on hiatus several times as Sega Games decided to become involved. Now Archie Comics have announced that the newly-named Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Comic Encyclopedia will be released as a full-color trade paperback this October. “For the Sonic fan on the go and those who want to know it like the pros, this is the long-awaited official source for Sonic the Hedgehog comic info! Includes new, exclusive information not yet revealed in the comic itself and packed with entertaining character and locations listings that definitely explain Sonic’s world, Mobius. It’s a big place that has been featured in hundreds of issues of stories – the longest running video-game inspired hit comic ever!” Written and edited by Ian Flynn, it features art by Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante and several others.
Furry fans can usually expect some interesting — sometimes silly, sometimes scarey, sometimes gross — anthropomorphic animal stuff to turn up in the pages of Fables, the award-winning comic book series created by Jim Willingham. The latest full-color opus from the DC Comics Vertigo imprint is Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland, illustrated by Jim Fern, Craig Hamilton, Ray Snyder, and Mark Farmer (whew!). Here’s the publisher’s description from Amazon: “Bigby Wolf takes center stage in the most brutal, action-packed FABLES story to date. Sent out into modern day America at large, Bigby’s on a quest for possible locations for a new Fabletown. In his wanderings, Bigby stumbles across a small town named Luperville, somewhere in American’s vast heartland, that, amazingly enough, seems to be populated by werewolves. These werewolves are descendants of a World War II German project to create an army of werewolf super soldiers, some of whom who were infected with Bigby’s tainted blood. And even more unfortunate the fact that they’ve captured, caged and tortured the most popular and important canine in history: Bigby Wolf.” According to Amazon this 144-page hardcover graphic novel will be released in early November.
Fans of the animated TV series Earthworm Jim (created, of course, by the one-and-only Doug TenNapel) can now rejoice as Earthworm Jim: The Complete Series has been released as a 3-DVD box set. “Jim was a multi-celled life form happily burrowing through the topsoil. His life changed in a flash when an extraterrestrial super-suit fell out of the sky. Instantly transformed from a 98 gram weakling into a muscular worm endowed with superpowers, extraordinary strength and the ability to leap incredible heights and distances, the suit renders him invulnerable. Earthworm Jim – daring defender of Earth, the cosmos and everything in between!” Got all that? Trust us it only gets stranger when you watch it. The Earthworm Jim DVD box set from Visual Entertainment Inc. is available at Amazon.com.
The Ascension is a fantasy novel series by J.A. Guinta. The Last Incarnation, first book in the series, was published last year by Brick Cave Books. Here’s the publisher’s description: “The son of a trapper, raised by elves, befriended by animals, entrusted with magic, Barr was but a boy on a journey that had taken many, many lifetimes. Seeking to avenge his father’s death, he would cross into Lumintor, home to shapelings of all manner and size. Little did he know, Revyn, the God of Change, had plans of his own, plans set in motion long before Barr was ever born. It was what Revyn had been waiting for, the time when one of the new races bore a child on its final lesson, a soul on the verge of enlightenment.” This is a link to find The Last Incarnation on Amazon. And that, my friends, is one Big Dog!