Disney Interactive’s Epic Mickey video game was pretty popular — it even won an Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Game. Admittedly, some folk complained about the fact it was only available for the Nintendo Wii system, but it sold well enough to be considered a moderate success in the gaming world. The follow up, Epic Mickey 2? Not so much, in spite of the fact that 2 was made available for many game platforms. Now comes the word (according to various articles) that sales of Epic Mickey 2 since its November 2012 launch were poor enough that Disney has decided to shutter Junction Point, the Texas-based game design firm that Disney purchased in 2007 to develop both the Epic Mickey games. From this point forward, Disney Interactive will instead focus their attention on Disney Infinity, the new figurine-based multi-character game (similar in some ways to Skylanders) which will premier in June.
Walt Disney Pictures have announced several upcoming feature films, and among them is the sequel to the successful 2011 re-launch of The Muppets. Currently titled The Muppets… Again, the new film is scheduled for release in March of 2014. According to The Muppet Wiki, “The film is planned to be a ‘comedy caper’ set in Europe. Ricky Gervais will star as ‘a male lead whose intentions are always in question’ along with Ty Burrell as an Interpol inspector, Tina Fey as a ‘Russian femme fatale,’ and a ‘slew of cameos'”. [Oh like they ever have that in a Muppet movie!] The sequel will be again directed by James Bobin, and scripted by Nick Stoller, who co-wrote the 2011 film with star Jason Segel.
Painted Dog is the furry name for the artist known as Angyl Kille, creator of one-of-a-kind wildlife and fantasy sculptures. As shown on her FurAffinity page, her work can range from simple character studies to more “practical” applications like shot glasses and Christmas tree ornaments, all with more than a touch of whimsy thrown in. Check her out there, at her Deviant Art page, or at her own professional page, belibou.com.
Taking a break from matter of Further Confusion for something a bit more unique: A new entry in the slowly-growing pantheon of anthropomorphic live theater. Triassic Parq recently won the Best Musical Award at the Fringe NYC theater festival. Written and directed by Marshall Pailet (with help from Bryce Norbitz and Stephen Wargo), it’s described like this: “… a hilariously inventive and decidedly adult take on the Spielberg blockbuster — as told from the point-of-view of the captive dinosaurs. With plenty of goats around to eat, this tribe of non-breeders is pretty satisfied with life. But when a T. rex suddenly sprouts the male sex organ and falls in love, the dinos’ entire belief system comes into question, evolving into a battle between the Velociraptors of Faith and Science. Narrated by none other than Morgan Freeman (played by Camryn Zelinger), Triassic Parq is a true thrill ride 200 million years in the making, filled with singing, dancing and a wide variety of reptilian hook-ups.” You heard it here. Keep an eye out for a traveling company performing Triassic Parq near you. If you’re currently near Southern California, Chance Theater in Anaheim Hills is performing the play from now until late February. Check out their web site .
Another discovery from Further Confusion — and we wonder how we missed this before. Black Beak the Parrot Pirate is a creation of Jennifer Sopranzi, Catherine Van Riper, and Tony Sopranzi, featuring CGI tricked-up photos of real animals as illustrations for their rousing sea adventure stories for young readers. “In the crystal blue waters of the Southern Seas lies the home of the fierce pirate parrot Captain Black Beak. Welcome to Conure Cove, the beautiful Island home of the brave and gentle beasts and birds who live in this mystic land. These are the first seven tales of Captain Black Beak, the greatest pirate parrot to sail the seas. Long may his tales be told in stories, songs and poems.” Now the first seven short books in the series (all of them available on Amazon) have been collected into a single volume, Black Beak: Pirate Saga, which also includes some new material. You can find out more about all of this at the home page of Black Beak Press.
Further Confusion in San Jose hosted well over 3000 fans, and a great time was had by all. Over the next few days we’ll be posting several of the cool items we came across during the convention. Starting with…
After a successful Kickstarter campaign producer, director, and all-around monster fan Frank H. Woodward managed to finish his latest documentary, Men in Suits. It’s the story of several men (and yes, women) who have made names for themselves in Hollywood (and other centers of movie-making) by putting on giant, bulky, uncomfortable rubber suits and portraying giant monsters in movies, TV series, commercials and more. People like Doug Jones (from Hellboy), Haruo Nakajima (from MANY Godzilla movies), Michelan Sisti (from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Bobby Clark (the Gorn from the original Star Trek), and many many more. Some of them are no longer with us (like the great Kevin Peter Hall from Alien and Harry & the Hendersons), but this film interviews a great many actors who still are, letting us in on what it’s like to work in such conditions — and what it’s like to find your job being replaced by CGI. Slash Film has an article about the film project from back in August, which also includes several clips, and you can find out about how to get your copy of the completed film on DVD by visiting Amazon.
Well-known fantasy author Charles De Lint has teamed up with well-known illustrator Charles Vess to bring us The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, a new hardcover full-color illustrated book coming this March from Little Brown Books For Young Readers. “Lillian Kindred spends her days exploring the Tanglewood Forest, a magical, rolling wilderness that she imagines to be full of fairies. The trouble is, Lillian has never seen a wisp of magic in her hills–until the day the cats of the forest save her life by transforming her into a kitten. Now Lillian must set out on a perilous adventure that will lead her through untamed lands of fabled creatures–from Old Mother Possum to the fearsome Bear People–to find a way to make things right.” From the review at Amazon, of course.
And with that, we’ll say TTFN (ta ta for now!) until after Further Confusion in San Jose, California. Take care!
We think it best to let the publisher, Shambhala, explain this one themselves: “The Demon’s Sermon on the Martial Arts is a classic collection of martial arts parables, written by Issai Chozanshi, an 18th-century samurai. The stories, which feature demons, insects, birds, cats, and numerous other creatures, may seem whimsical, but they contain essential teachings that offer insight into the fundamental principles of the martial arts. This manga version, based on Chozanshi’s text, brings these tales alive in a captivating and immediately accessible way.” It’s translated by Sean Michael Wilson, illustrated in full color by Michiru Morikawa, and coming this March in paperback from Shambhala. Amazon has more information.
We’ve mentioned the anime and manga known as Kanokon before around here. If you need a refresher: “Innocent country boy Oyamada Kouta transfers to a big city high school in his freshman year, and from day one, his life enters a world of crazy . First, a beautiful second-year student named Chizuru professes her love to him, then reveals that she is in fact a fox spirit. Frisky and flirty, she suggestively teases naive Kouta in front of his classmates, embarrassing him to no end. If that wasn’t enough, a gorgeous wolf spirit named Nozomu suddenly transfers to Kouta’s class and decides she wants the hapless country boy for herself. As fox girl and wolf girl vie for his heart, does Kouta have any say in this?” Now comes the news that Seven Seas Entertainment will release the first Kanokon Collected Omnibus (Volumes 1 and 2) this April, written by Katsumi Nishino and illustrated in black & white by Rin Yamaki. You can pre-order it at the Sci Fi Genre web site.