Later this month Titan Comics premiers not one but two volumes of their new digest-sized full-color comic based on the hit TV series Dragons: Riders of Berk. From the preview at Broken Frontier: “Titan Comics proudly presents all-new original adventures of Hiccup and Toothless! A thrilling all-ages publication and a broadening of the How To Train Your Dragon universe. Featuring gorgeous animation-inspired artwork by Iwan Nazif, and written by Simon Furman (Transformers, Doctor Who Magazine, Thundercats).”
The pride of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota return to comics as IDW Publishing brings us Rocky & Bullwinkle #1 this March. It’s the first issue of a 4-issue full-color miniseries written by Mark Evanier and illustrated by Roger Langridge. SEE Rocky and Bullwinkle try to stop Boris and Natasha from duping a wealthy philanthropist in The Psychic Sidekick! The issue also features a back-up story with the dashing Dudley Do-Right battling the the nefarious Snidely Whiplash. Meanwhile, also in March IDW will premiere Rocky & Bullwinkle Classics Volume 1: Star Billing. This 122-page trade paperback gathers together issues 1 – 4 of the original Gold Key Rocky & Bullwinkle comics from the 1970′s, written and illustrated by Al Kilgore. Dudley and his cohorts, as well as Mr. Peabody and Sherman, appear in back-up stories.
If you’ve got to get the bad news (or maybe good news if you’re lucky) about this crazy weather that we’re having, why not get it from a cute little bunny? “Weather Rabbit is a unique combination of weather app and virtual pet that rewards you for keeping your rabbit happy by dressing it in different clothes to match the current weather conditions. It features accurate, up-to-date, local information using your GPS and weather data sourced from Wunderground.com. You can earn new outfits for all four seasons plus more seasonally themed costumes.” This animated app (available on Google Play and The App Store) was created by Rabbx, with character design by Tracy Reynolds. You can find it at the Rabbx web site, too.
According to an article in Variety magazine, Disney Animation has given the green light to produce a live action Chip and Dale movie. Yes. What’s more, the film’s plot is an origin story for the Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. This means we get to see not only Chip and Dale but Monterey Jack, Gadget Hackwrench, and the fly known as Zipper all portrayed as CGI characters in the real world, a la The Smurfs or the recent spate of Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. The film is being written and directed by Paul Rugan, previously best known as a director of TV commercials. No word yet on a planned release date or any cast members.
Your humble ed-otter and his mate were honored to once again attend the 2014 Annie Awards, honoring the best in animation from the year 2013. The event at UCLA’s Royce Hall (on Saturday the 1st of February) was hosted by Patrick Warburton, best known as Kronk from Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove but also appearing as a voice in the upcoming Peabody and Sherman movie. Though Disney’s Frozen won Best Feature and Best Directing (it was a favorite for both), no film or TV series really seemed to dominate the awards that night. Instead the honors were spread out over a wide swath of projects. Several furry projects — or projects with anthropomorphic characters in them, at least — were honored, which is good when you’re honoring a year like 2013 that, let’s face it, had rather a dearth of heavily furry works — especially compared to 2012. Overall Disney was one of the big winners of the night — no, not Pixar. Disney. Not only did Frozen take home the feature-length honors for Best Picture, Directing, Music, Production Design, and Voice Acting (Josh Gad as Olaf the snowman); but the Disney Mickey Mouse series of shorts won in TV/Broadcast categories for Editing, Character Design, and Music. What’s more, the popular Disney cartoon Get A Horse won the Best Short Subject award. Pixar was represented as well of course, both in feature awards (as Monsters University won for Storyboarding and Editing) and TV/Broadcast (where Toy Story of Terror took home awards for Storyboarding, Character Animation, and Directing). Dreamworks Animation’s biggest winner of the evening was The Croods, which took home feature awards in Character Design, Effects Animation, and Character Animation. In television Tom Kenny received the award for Best Voice Acting for his role as The Ice King in Adventure Time, and the show itself was honored as the Best Production for Children. Some popular furry projects were nominated in several categories but unfortunately the did not win any awards. Among them were the TV series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Dragons: Riders of Berk, as well as the French feature film Ernest & Celestine. The Annie Awards are administered by ASIFA-Hollywood, the Southern California branch of the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). You can visit the Annie Awards web site to see pictures and videos from the event as well as a full list of all the winners for 2013.
Bringing yet another well-known video game to the big screen, Sony Pictures have announced that Sly Cooper — The Movie is filming and set for release in 2016. Erik Kain at Forbes.com has the complete story, as well as a link to the teaser trailer. The film is being directed by Kevin Munroe (one of the writers on the TMNT film from 2007) and animated by Rainmaker Entertainment and Blockade Entertainment (both of whom are currently working on the Ratchet & Clank movie, also for Sony). According to the press release, “Sly Cooper is a kinetic and comedic heist film that tells the story of Sly Cooper, an orphaned raccoon thief, along with his childhood friends and partners in crime, Bentley Turtle and Murray Hippo. In the film, Sly learns of his birth family’s secret legacy; that he comes from a long line of talented and international thieves. Endowed with this knowledge, Sly and his friends are catapulted into a global adventure as they race to reassemble pieces of an ancient book holding The Cooper Clan’s family secrets before it can fall into the hands of Clockwerk — an evil Russian metallic owl bent on ending the Cooper family line. ” With the movie not coming out until 2016, we can probably assume that the teaser trailer does not reflect the look or feel of the final film — but it does get the word out and hopefully gets people interested.
Believe it or not, since its inception in the early 1980′s, the My Little Pony line of toys has had an active (even rabid!) fandom of collectors following it — long before the current Twilight Sparkle and her cohorts took over the world from their base on The Hub. Now available in print again in paperback is The World of My Little Pony: An Unauthorized Guide for Collectors (whew!) by Debra L. Birge and Ann Stroth. From Amazon, here’s the publisher’s plug: “This is the first comprehensive collector’s identification and value guide to My Little Pony. These popular toys were made from 1981 to 1991 and are attracting the interest of collectors around the world. Over 300 color photographs clearly identify over 600 My Little Ponies, some of which are extremely rare. In addition to the ponies, hundreds of related items sold under the MLP logo are shown. A very helpful index of all the ponies featured in the book and a handy price guide with beautifully detailed photography makes this book a must for every My Little Pony lover.” Interestingly, this book was first published by Schiffer Books For Collectors back in 2007 — well before the current My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic craze hit. Isn’t it time for an update?
Lou Scheimer was co-founder and president of Filmation Animation. Before he passed away last year, he completed his autobiography with the help of comic book writer and historian Andy Mangels. Now it’s been released in trade paperback by TwoMorrows Publishing as Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation. Best known for Saturday morning staples like The Archies and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Filmation was also responsible for the animated Star Trek series in the 1970′s, as well as for taking us back down the Yellow Brick Road with 1974′s Journey Back to Oz. For better or for worse (depending largely on your opinion of limited animation) there were a lot of anthropomorphic characters who made their way through various Filmation productions. Some of them, like Star Trek’s Lt. Mress, have become Furry icons. Check out Lou’s story — and the story of Filmation and Saturday morning cartoons — at Amazon.
Dragonar Academy is a Japanese fantasy novel series by Shiki Mizuchi. Started in 2010, the series was illustrated by Kohada Shimesaba. Later it was adapted into a manga series by the artist Ran, and more recently it has begun production as an anime series from C-Station (scheduled for release later this year). Well now Seven Seas Entertainment have announced that the manga series will be released in English for the North American market this month. According to Wikipedia, the plot goes like this: “Learning to ride and tame dragons comes easy to most students at Ansarivan Dragonar Academy—except for first-year student Ash Blake, who is known by his classmates as the ‘number one problem child.’ Poor Ash is the laughing stock at school because, despite his unfashionably large star-shaped brand that marks him as a future dragon master, he has nothing to show for it. His dragon has never appeared. Until now, that is. One fateful day, Ash’s dragon awakes in full glory, but appears different than any dragon ever seen before—in the form of a beautiful girl! What’s worse, Ash soon discovers that this new dragon has attitude to spare, as she promptly informs him that she is the master, and he, the servant.” Got that?