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April, 2017:

The Horse Returns

Took ’em a while, but Dreamworks have finally brought us more adventures with Spirit, star of the 2002 2D animated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Animation Scoop has a recent article introducing us to Spirit Riding Free, a new DreamworksTV animated series coming to NetFlix on May 5th. The story and characters are considerably different from the animated feature this time around: “When city-turned-country girl Lucky meets a wild mustang named Spirit, she feels an instant connection to the untamable horse. A courageous and natural-born leader, Lucky navigates this new world with her two new best friends, Pru and Abigail by her side. The trio embark on thrilling adventures, find genuine friendship, and discover what it means to be free!” No sign of Matt Damon to be found. Anyway, visit the article to see a trailer for the series.

image c. 2017 DreamworksTV

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Listen to the Masked One!

More tie-in stuff coming our way as we get closer to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2. Now Marvel Press give us a new hardcover illustrated book called Rocket’s Rules. “Ever wonder how to navigate a quantum asteroid field? Escape a deep-space maximum-security prison? Insult a powerful adversary without anyone catching on? You’re in luck! In this ultimate intergalactic survival guide, Rocket covers everything you need to know – including what it takes to be a good member of a team. So pay attention and read up!” It hits the shelves (like a missile!) right before the movie comes out, but you can pre-order it now over at Simon & Schuster. [Tip #1: Don’t call him a raccoon!]

image c. 2017 Marvel Press

Tiger Like A Tank

Later this month, Magnetic Press will be releasing the next installment of the Klaw series entitled Klaw: The Second Cycle. Once again it’s a hardcover graphic novel written by Antoine Ozanam and illustrated by Joël Jurion. As you may recall, in the first issue of Klaw we met young Angel Tomassini, who discovers several scary things at once: When he’s angry he turns into an anthro-tiger, and his father is a vicious crime boss, and there is a whole society of were-creatures who do not always have each others’ best interests at heart. And now: “The second volume in the series follows Angel and his girlfriend Lisa as they flee across the globe from the many dangerous forces that would steal their were-animal spirit for their own nefarious, criminal use.  As if spotting and defending themselves from these hidden enemies isn’t hard enough, they also have to keep their own delicate control of their powers in check… innocent lives can get caught in the crossfire, and all the power in the world is useless if you can’t protect your friends and loved ones…” Check out the preview pages.

image c. 2017 Magnetic Press

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Never Fear

After a rather disastrous live action movie (which they had nothing to do with!), American Mythology Comics have decided that Underdog deserves a new coat of paint — and a new comic book series all his own. Created in 1964 by W. Watts Biggers for Total Television, the original Underdog animated series told the story of an anthro dog (known only as “Shoeshine Boy”) who had the secret ability to transform into the flying caped crime-fighter known as Underdog. Now, many years later, American Mythology present the new full-color comic written by Batton Lash and illustrated by Bill Galvan. It’s hitting the shelves this month, and Previews World has an interview with the creators.

image c. 2017 American Mythology

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So Fluffy… And Cute

The creator of 100% Soft describes himself this way: “Truck Torrence lives in Los Angeles and makes kawaii pop art under the moniker 100% Soft. He is the designer of the official emoji for Star Wars and the creator of the Kaiju Kitties. His work has been shown at Gallery 1988, Bottleneck Gallery, Giant Robot, and Spoke Art. His clients have included Lucasfilm, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Fandango, Nickelodeon, and Marvel Studios.” And as you can see on his web site, he’s been busy making emoji, message stickers, plush kaiju kitties, and more for a while now — including an entire set of stickers for Disney’s Zootopia!

image c. 2017 100SOFT.US

One Woman’s Transformation

Jessica Chrysler is an artist who creates mostly fantasy works, with some occasional anthropomorphics. But when she goes anthro, she goes for it in a big way! First there was Cody the Coyote, a Native American folklore re-imagined as an illustrated book for children. It’s still available on-line. More recently she’s been writing and illustrating a science fiction novel called Monolithium. “After surviving torture for treason, Elara wakes to find herself transformed into a creature known as the enemy of the empire. While she must flee her home planet to stay alive, she soon discovers that Queen Varina had not only meant to take her life, but also her uncle’s throne and control of the realm.” That creature in question is the blue feathered reptile you see below. Jessica has been selling an illustrated teaser booklet for Monolithium at conventions, so look for her at one near you. And visit her web site to get updates on her progress.

image c. 2017 by Jessica Chrysler

All the Pretty Kitties

The artist known only as Dani Cat is a crafter who specializes in cloth animals and cloth hats. Both of which are often themed around cats! She makes the rounds at a lot of conventions in North America so you may well see her near you soon. The Dani Cat Designs Etsy Store is on hiatus at the moment, but her Deviant Art site has a lot of her recent designs on display, and there’s an article over at Craft Hackers that shows even more of her work.

image c. 2017 by Dani Cat Designs

Little Knights and Big Dragons

Ben Byrd has been a professional web designer and creative director for a long time. When he lost his then-current job a couple years ago, he made the decision to dive head-first into his artwork. And so he began displaying his colorful pictures of fantasy characters and comic book icons at art shows and fannish conventions all over. A quick look at his web site will show you just how prolific he has been. Now, he’s self-published his very first illustrated book for children, simply titled Dragons. Written by Tatiana Topyrik and illustrated by Mr. Byrd, it’s a rhyming bedtime story ostensibly for young kids, but older fantasy fans should enjoy it too. It’s available now on Amazon.

image c. 2017 by Ben Byrd

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Save the Sperels!

[Wow, we’re yelling a lot lately! It’s like that after a big convention like WonderCon…] Something else new we stumbled across: The Save The Sperels campaign, as created by Orion Spellman. What are Sperels? They are small, bluish, bat-like creatures with wild hair and leather wings on their backs. According to Sperel lore, they are an oppressed species — forced to labor in underground mines in a dreary land called Mulldrum. But having wings, the Sperels dream of escaping to the sky, free to fly! To that end, the Save The Sperels campaign has an official web site where you can assist the Sperels in their quest for freedom by purchasing plushies, t-shirts, art prints, and other goodies.

image c. 2017 savethesperels.org