The new black & white graphic novel Family Pets (published by Zenescope Entertainment) was recently reviewed at the University of Washington’s daily newspaper web site, of all places. “After her parents’ death, 16-year-old Thomasina has been wishing for something exciting to happen in her ordinary, lonely life. One morning, she wakes up to find her foster family has turned into pet animals, and her pet snake Sebastian has transformed into a man. With the help of her wizard friend Smitty, Thomasina and Sebastian embark on a magical journey to the wizard world to find a way to reverse the spell placed on the family.” Family Pets was written by Pat Shand, with illustration by Sarah Dill.
One of the mostly instantly-viral furry phenomena this summer has been the “opening credits” for an anthropomorphic “80’s cartoon TV series” called Super Turbo Atomic Mega Rabbit. The “leaked video footage” certainly looked the part of an 80’s cartoon show, and speculation ran wild — especially with posts popping up all over the Internet on various forums, asking pointedly “Does anyone remember this series?” Well, more recently, the truth has come out: STAMR is the creation of a UK team of animators and animation fans. The “opening credits” were directed by Wesley Louis and his team. Now, having come out of hiding on the Internet, the STAMR crew are actually trying to create a real episode of the imaginary show they’ve made so popular. To that end they are selling copies of a book called Groundworks, featuring production art and character designs from the creation of the STAMR short. Furry.Today has a link to the site, as well as the short (which now features proper credits!).
Now it seems that Amazon has gotten on the bandwagon of downloadable original programming for kids. Premiering earlier this month was their latest series called Wishenpoof, about a little girl with the power to make her wishes come true. From Marketwatch.com: “Created by Angela C. Santomero (Blue’s Clues, Creative Galaxy, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why!), and produced by Out of the Blue Enterprises, Wishenpoof is an animated preschool series that revolves around Bianca (Addison Holley, Annedroids, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) as she solves life’s problems in her own creative ways because with magic, or without, we all have the power to make good choices.” Bianca’s constant companion throughout her adventures is a plushie known as Bob the Bear. Wishenpoof is available as a free download to subscribers of Amazon Prime.
Guardian Knight Comics has a new-ish full-color adventure comic out, featuring another kick-@ss rabbit. “Death for the weak, honor for the brave, and women and gold for no good dirty pirates, however, the infamous bandit Bones has set a course for revenge, and when a wanted man such as he returns to the kingdom, it never bodes well… for the kingdom that is!” Bones, in case you haven’t figured it yet, is the rabbit in question. One friend of the artist described the comic as “… like if Conan was Bugs Bunny and he sworded his way through Final Fantasy while making out with Zelda”. Got all that? Gears & Bones is written by William Thomas and Andrew Anderson, with art by Osvaldo Pestana Montpeller. Issues are out on the shelves already.
Somehow Marvel Comics sneaked this one by us. Howard the Human is out on shelves right now as part of their Secret Wars mega-series. “The story [finds] Howard, formerly a Duck, as a human being. What’s more, Howard will be the only living homo sapien in a city filled with animals. Talk about a role reversal. But that doesn’t mean Howard will have a ho-hum adventure. The former fowl will see plenty of cases as a private investigator, all while dodging bullets and crossing paths with a murderous anthropomorphic animal. Or, as Howard calls it, Monday.” This full-color one-shot was written by Skottie Young (well known now for Rocket Raccoon) and illustrated by Jim Mahfood. Read the interview with Skottie over at Comicbook.com.
And once again Disney Junior keeps marching forward with Goldie & Bear, a new CGI series that is coming as a downloadable app in September and then a TV series later in the year. According to the article in Variety: “Each episode of the new program, which will debut on Disney Junior in November, includes two 11-minute stories that show Goldie and Bear — reunited after an infamous ‘porridge incident’ — in the midst of escapades with their neighbors in Fairy Tale Forest, all of whom have roots in familiar storybook figures. The protagonists might help Jack and Jill get up a hill or ask the Big Bad Wolf to consider others’ feelings before blowing down the houses of those who reside within.” The article also features interviews with Disney Junior folks and a preview video.
The Walt Disney Company found great success with their Palace Pets app — a down-loadable spin-off of the endlessly-profitable Disney Princess line, this time for younger kids. The idea is that each of the famous Disney Princesses has a cute funny animal pet, and they (the pets that is) often meet up and go on adventures together. Well the success of that app lead Disney to now create Whisker Haven Tales, a series of cartoon shorts airing on Disney Junior. Check out the Disney Wiki article to learn more about it, or take a look on YouTube for one of several official uploads from Disney Junior.
If you haven’t caught the word, creators Yvon and Christian Tremblay have been running a Kickstarter campaign with the intent of creating the first new SWAT Kats animated TV episodes to be seen in 20 years. Also if you didn’t know: SWAT Kats — The Radical Squadron was one of the most iconic and popular anthropomorphic animated TV series from the early days of organized Furry Fandom. “The series takes place in the fictional metropolis of Megakat City, which is populated entirely by anthropomorphic felines, known as ‘kats’. The titular SWAT Kats are two vigilante pilots who possess a state-of-the-art fighter jet with an array of weaponry. Throughout the series, they face various villains as well as Megakat City’s militarized police force, the Enforcers.” The good news is that with only a few days left for the campaign, the brothers Tremblay have more than surpassed their original goal. They’ve reached enough to animate a 2-minute animation teaser for the new series (SWAT Kats — Revolution), and they’re hoping to make enough to animate a full 22-minute episode. The campaign web site has a video interview with the brothers.
And another article from Variety. The big news in animation this year has been China: Not only working on farmed-out animation for American productions, but actually hiring American talent to work on home-grown Chinese productions intended for international release (hello, Rock Dog!). China is having its biggest year ever for domestic animation. The film Monkey King: Hero Is Back (yet another adaptation of Journey to the West) has set box-office records for an animated film in China. In the midst of all this the Chinese animation house called Original Force have announced they’re opening an office in Hollywood with the intention of working with American talent to create new films. Cool thing is: Several of them are furry. “Original Force is currently in production on Duck Duck Goose, the story of an unlikely family, directed by Christopher Jenkins, who recently produced DreamWorks Animation’s Home, from a screenplay by Jenkins and Rob Muir. Voice talent includes Zendaya, Greg Proops, and Lance Lim. OldZilla and QQ Speed are in the early stages of production. OldZilla follows King Saurus as he starts to deal with his advancing age and urges his elder monsters to go on one last rampage. Bob Bendetson (The Simpsons) is directing, and co-wrote the script with Art Everett. QQ Speed is based on a popular online game and is a co-production with Tencent Holding, which is behind the game. The action-adventure follows a brother-and-sister racing team and their car equipped with a voice that sounds like their late father’s. John Eng (Rugrats Go Wild) is developing the project and will direct.”