One of those interesting modern-world phenomena: Václav Štajger and Michaela Štajgerová, a furry fan couple from the Czech Republic, are seeking international funding for their new furry t-shirt enterprise. They’ve actually been at it for a while, with Václav running the business and Michaela’s artwork on the shirts, but now problems with their printing company have left them with two choices: Either raise their shirt prices considerably, or go into business printing the shirts themselves. They’ve opted for the latter — and they’ve set up a new Indiegogo campaign to raise money for it, from now through May 12th. True, the shirts would be coming from Europe, but in this day and age what’s unusual about that? Visit their Indiegogo page to see some of their initial designs and find out what sort of perks they’re offering to crowd funders.
Benjamin Bear gets his way — Often by methods that are quite unusual but somehow they work. Now he’s back in his latest full-color book for kids, Brain Storms. Check it out over at the Toon Books web site: “The out-of-this-world outlook of a down-to-earth bear! Benjamin Bear can always surprise his friends, whether it’s by walking on his hands during a snowstorm or by using a tree as a parachute. His zany approach to life has earned him two Eisner Award nominations and bestseller status among kids everywhere. French star author Philippe Coudray continues to delight readers by bending the rules of common sense and breaking the laws of physics.” Also look out for the other Benjamin Bear comic books in hardcover, Fuzzy Thinking and Bright Ideas.
In the came-from-out-of-nowhere division: Animation Scoop has a review of a new DVD release, Wolfy, The Incredible Secret from France. Random Media (in partnership with Cinedigm) have now released it with an English soundtrack. “A story of political machinations, anamorphic animal hierarchy and gypsy fantasy – traditionally hand-drawn with a look that leans far away from photorealism. The convoluted English title (French title: Loulou, l’incroyable secret) actually refers to quite a few secrets, which unravel as Wolfy, an easygoing wolf, and Tom, his neurotic bunny pal, travel to Wolfenberg to find Wolfy’s mother. A gypsy has told them that she is the true princess as well as the leader of a rebellion against an evil usurper—a manipulative wolf named Lou Andréa.” Take a look at the trailer linked to the article. It won’t make much more sense, but it’ll give you an overall idea of the movie’s look and feel.
Sentai Filmworks have released Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the God — Complete Collection, bringing together all 12 episodes of the anime TV series based on the original manga by Sayori Ochiai. Here’s part of the review by Charles Solomon over at Animation Scoop: “For 15 generations, Makoto Saeki’s family has maintained the Inari shrine to the agricultural god Ukanomitama. Makoto lives there with her widowed father, a well-meaning, slightly befuddled man. Because her bloodline makes her the heiress to the shrine, teen-age Makoto has ‘the gift’: She can see and converse with Gintarou, the resident fox-spirit who is a herald of the gods. Heralds traditionally live and work in in pairs, but his partner left many years ago. Gintarou is later joined by Haru, a much younger female fox spirit brought to Inari by Makoto’s friend Satoru… Gintarou functions as a sort of substitute father/big brother to Makoto. He’s gruff, cranky and lazy, but his façade of indifference can’t disguise his affection for her.” I like Mr. Solomon’s description of the fox spirit: “Gintarou has a scarred fox’s head stuck onto a burly human body. He looks like a macho delegate to a Furries convention.” So noted! The 2-disc DVD set is for sale over at Best Buy.
Besides the Oscar-winning animated short film Feast, one of the animated shorts that was making a whole lot of buzz during awards season was called The Dam Keeper. Here’s the description from Wikipedia: ” It tells the story of Pig, an introverted youth who lives in a windmill and keeps a dark fog from engulfing his town. Although socially rejected by his peers, he is befriended by the artistic Fox.” The Dam Keeper was directed by Robert Kondo and Daisuke Tsutsumi, both art directors at Pixar (they worked together on Monsters University). Now comes this bit of news from Cartoon Brew: “Tonko House, the studio founded by former Pixar art directors Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, is developing a feature film based on their Academy Award-nominated short The Dam Keeper. The announcement was made along with the news that Tonko House is partnering with First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan, to expand their short into a graphic novel series. The first book in The Dam Keeper graphic novel series will be released in 2016, picking up the narrative some years after the original story of the orphaned Pig and his quest to maintain the town dam. It will address two questions unanswered in the film: what happened to Pig’s parents, and how did his world come to be at the mercy of a dark cloud? ” No more details yet about a release date for the feature film, but the animation community will be watching closely.
Word has been spreading fast among the Silly Creatures that the long-rumored big screen version of Jim Henson’s cult TV series Fraggle Rock is finally a go. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception) is set to produce and star in the feature film version. (Interesting side note: Mr. Gordon-Levitt was the voice of Jim Hawkins in the Disney animated film Treasure Planet.) Here what we got from The Nerdist: “Originally an HBO series which ran from 1983-1987, Fraggle Rock centered around a group of tiny creatures called Fraggles, along with the even smaller Doozers who lived among them. The Fraggles and the Doozers lived in a series of caves called Fraggle Rock, and would only venture outside of it to gather radishes to eat, where they would have to avoid the giant Gorgs.” That and get advice from a matronly trash heap named Marjory, and occasionally interact with the human (and his dog) who lives above them all. Trust us, none of this even begins to capture the magic that went into making this show and the magic that viewers took away from it. This new live-action feature film version is being created by the Jim Henson Company and released by New Regency. (Hmm, not by Disney, eh?) No word yet on a targeted released date, but you can bet you’ll be hearing more about it soon.
It’s hard to describe The Woodland Welfare Manifesto any better than Slave Labor Graphics do: “Woodland Welfare Manifesto is the story of Burnt Bear, Crazy Rabbit, and Perverted Monkey — three proletarian animals who struggle against the corrupt capitalist system that oppresses their forest with an iron fist of injustice! Will this trio of friends triumph when working-class livelihoods are threatened, or will Crazy Rabbit’s anarchist methods threaten to make them all enemies of the state?” There you have it. Well, except to say that this full-color short graphic novel (written by Justin Sane and illustrated by John Hageman) is coming soon in trade paperback from SLG. Check out the more detailed review over at Fanboy Comics.
Voting has opened for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards — celebrating all your favorite anthropomorphic movies, comics, TV series, novels, games, and more that were released in 2014. These are the annual furry fandom awards, chosen by YOU, the furry fans from around the world. The awards are presented every year in no less than 11 categories: Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series, Best Anthropomorphic Novel, Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction, Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work, Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story, Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip, Best Anthropomorphic Magazine, Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration, Best Anthropomorphic Game, and Best Anthropomorphic Website. Got all that? Here, take a look at what’s up for the awards in just the first two! For Best Anthropomorphic TV Series or Short:
- The Beach Bears
- Bojack Horseman
- Furry Force
- Littlest Pet Shop, and
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Then in the category of Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, there’s:
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- How to Train Your Dragon 2
- The Lego Movie, and
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman
And that’s just the first two categories — there are nine more to go! Visit www.ursamajorawards.org to find out how to get registered to vote. Remember, you don’t have to vote in every category — just choose the things you love in the categories you know! Hurry, because voting closes on April 15th — in time to compile the votes before the big Ursa Major Awards Presentation at MorphiCon 2015 (April 30 – May 3 in Columbus, Ohio).
Don Rosa is perhaps the only person associated with Disney’s Scrooge McDuck nearly as much as creator Carl Barks. Now IDW Comics bring us Don Rosa’s The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Volume 1 as their next Artists’s Edition release. What’s an Artist’s Edition? The pages are 14″ by 20″, the size of an actual comic artist’s drawing board — in other words, huge! Though the images are in black and white, they are copied from the original art in color — allowing the viewer to see things like paste-overs, blue sketch lines, editorial comments and more, straight from the artist’s original sheets. From the IDW web site: “Rosa’s Eisner-award winning work on The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck told the story of the penny-pinching mallard’s early days before he made his legendary fortune.” At over 160 pages, this hardcover edition (the first of three upcoming volumes) is headed to stores this April.