Next month Archaia Press is re-releasing the novelization of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, the 1986 fantasy feature (with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly) which was later adapted as a novel by A.C.H. Smith — and illustrated by well-known fantasy artist Brian Froud, who of course also designed the movie and many of its characters. This new hardcover edition features a brand new collection of Froud’s goblin artwork and sketches for the film, recently uncovered, as well as notes and sketches by Jim Henson himself. USA Today has the story on this and other Jim Henson-inspired projects currently in the works at Archaia.
Sounds like the set-up for a bad joke, but it’s actually a new full-color comic book miniseries based on a real-life dog. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, conservationist Tod Emko (Whale Wars) has created A Piggy’s Tale, a 4-issue series (illustrated by Ethan Young) coming next month from Bohemian Press. Based on a real-life dog that Tod rescued from near death, Piggy tells the story of a street dog who loses a leg when he’s struck by a car… but who soon discovers that the accident has given him super-powers! Besides the ability to fly and super strength, it’s also given him the ability to detect suffering, anywhere in the world… which leaves him with the determination to help animals in need where-ever he may find them. There’s a preview of the comic at Ecorazzi, and an interview with Tod about the real Piggy and more at Comics Beat.
[Oh, and by the way: Thank you to everyone who nominated us for an Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Magazine! We are truly honored.]
And now for something… pretty darn different. Part of the Vamplets line of “cute horror” comics from Action Lab Entertainment, this time with a funny animal twist in Vamplets: Undead Pet Society. “The Legend of the Ghost Pony begins here in this terrifyingly sweet installment from Hasbro designer/illustrator of My Little Pony, Gayle Middleton! Ghost Ponies have been the harbingers of the weird for years. Whenever they appear, creatures near have disappeared, never to return. Where do they come from? What is their terrible secret? And what is the Ghost Pony’s connection to a vampyre baby named Lily Rose Shadowlyn?” You can head out to your local comic book shop right now and find out.
Brand new from Previews: “Tom Arvis’ legendary hero and indie favorite Mercenary Pig is now presented in one complete, full color volume! A walking, talking, thinking, humanoid pig takes on animal cruelty, genetically modified pigs, and, ultimately, an evil food conglomerate, in this pork-humor filled, action packed origin story! New material wraps up the entire Meatcutter story arc in these 48 pages, as Percy the pig begins his guerrilla fight for animal rights – with his fists!” We don’t make this stuff up folks — if we did, we’d get paid more! Mercenary Pig #1 is available this April from Aazurn Publishing. Check out the preview video on YouTube, too.
New news for the upcoming Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 3rd at comic book stores all over. This time, from the Viz Media imprint Perfect Square: “Hello Kitty and her friends star in all-new comic book adventures, and this time they’re letting their imaginations run wild! Plus: Don’t miss the sneak peek of Perfect Square’s upcoming tribute book celebrating Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary. Bonus feature! Perfect Square introduces exciting Bravest Warriors adventures featuring the irrepressible Catbug!” More on this and other Free Comic Book Day offerings can be found at the official web site.
Anthrology (doncha just love what we do to the language?) is an upcoming hardcover collection of more than 150 full-color non-adult illustrations from 40 artists. Well, it may be coming up — if they reach their goal. Currently there’s an Indiegogo campaign to finance not only printing the books, but paying each of the artists involved a fair share for their work. The Indiegogo sight has loads of links to loads of artwork by the various artists. After the campaign is complete, this collection will not be sold again, according to the editors.
Not content to have the (as should be expected) “art of Rio 2“, Blue Sky Studios instead bring us The Art of Rio: Featuring a Carnival of Art from Rio and Rio 2. My, now that’s a title! “From 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Ice Age and Horton Hears a Who!, the musical adventure comedy Rio told the story of how rare Blue Macaws Blu and Jewel met and fell in love in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. In Rio 2, the pair journey with their 3 chicks to the amazon jungle in search of their wild roots. With over 300 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital paintings, along with interviews with the key animation talent, this book reveals the artistry behind the 2 colorful movies.” It’s put together by Tara Bennett (who’s written and edited several movie tie-in books of the sort), with an introduction by Carlos Saldanha (the director of both films). Look for it at Amazon, where it’s available now in hardcover.
More from the folks at Cartoon Brew: Dreamworks Animation have announced three new CGI animated series they will be producing as part of their mega-distribution-deal with Netflix — and guess what? All three of them are anthropomorphic, in one way or another. King Julian of course follows the adventures of the crazy lemur from the Madagascar movies and the Penguins of Madagascar TV series; Puss in Boots, who needs no introduction; and Veggie Tales in the House, a new iteration of the well-known faith-based animated TV show. All of this follows the 2D animated series Turbo F.A.S.T., which Dreamworks premiered on Netflix last December. The three new series will be available before the end of 2014.
Over at Cartoon Brew they recently put up an article about a new CGI animated feature film conceived and created by Kirby Atkins (who previously worked on Jimmy Newtron: Boy Genius). It’s called Beast of Burden, and it’s currently in production at Huhu Productions in New Zealand. Not to be confused with the Dark Horse comic Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, though: That’s being developed for animation by Reel FX. Mr. Kirby’s project involves an endangered farm-labor animal called a thoriphant — who discovers that there may just be more to their species than anyone has imagined before. To secure financing, the creator and his crew put together a proof-of-concept animated short — you can watch it over on Vimeo. Now, with the backing taken care of, they’re shopping the project around for distribution.