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Animation

Cool and Wet with Bird and Coon

Boom! Studios’ Kaboom! imprint have previously presented several graphic novels for Adventure Time with Finn and Jake, but now they present the very first full-length original graphic novel (OGN) from the popular TV series The Regular Show with everyone’s favorite dopey coon and bluejay, Rigby and Mordecai. And the timing is perfect: “The summer is turning into a roast-fest and Mordecai and Rigby are desperate to find a way to cool down. But when a mystery pool suddenly appears and offers a chance to beat the heat, it’s only a matter of time before these two best bros find themselves in totally water-logged trouble.” Written by Rachel Connor (Ed, Edd N Eddy) and illustrated in full color by Tessa Stone (Bravest Warriors), Regular Show Volume 1: Hydration is available now. Find out more at Boom’s web site.

image c. 2014 Kaboom!

image c. 2014 Kaboom!

Friendship is POWER!

This year’s annual one-shot for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic takes a different tack, so to speak: One for the superhero fans! “Check out the original Power Ponies in action! When the Mane-iac assembles an all-star team of villains, the Power Ponies may be outmatched! It will take a familiar face from Equestria to even the odds! Get ready for super powered adventure like you’ve never seen it!” Or so they say over at Previews. Brought to you by writer Ted Anderson and artist Ben Bates, My Little Pony Annual 2014 comes blasting your way in full color this month from IDW!! (Sorry, we had to…)

image c. 2014 IDW Comics

image c. 2014 IDW Comics

The Most Famous Furry in the World?

It’s quite possible that Mickey Mouse could well be that — though, of course, Bugs Bunny could also be considered a serious contender. Still, The Mouse has been around the longest, and author Garry Apgar decided to take a look what possibly accounts for Mickey’s world-wide appeal in a new hardcover book. “Since his modest debut in 1928, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse has evolved into arguably the world’s most recognized and beloved fictional figure. Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit is the illustrated biography of a unique cartoon character, his life and times, and his impact and influence around the world in art and literature. Part art history and part cultural study, Apgar’s Mickey Mouse narrates how the character was initially developed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, how his irrepressible spirit grew to huge popularity during the Depression, and how he became a politically charged cultural icon of international reach.” You can order the book at Midtown Comics. It’s coming later this month from Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2014 Simon & Schuster

image c. 2014 Simon & Schuster

Italian Foxes Saving the Planet

Italy appears to be the latest country vying to jump into the international animation pool — and it’s doing so with animated animals. According to an article in Variety, Ambi Pictures (currently producing a live-action film with Al Pacino called The Humbling) have announced their first animated feature, Arctic Justice Thunder Squad, directed by Matthew Lyon and animated in his native Canada. “The tale turns on a sinister walrus who plots to accelerate global warming and melt the Arctic Circle. A rag-tag group of inexperienced heroes, led by a fox, must come together to foil his nefarious plan and save the Arctic.” The producers, Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi, are currently in America looking to secure funding and distribution for the film. So far, no word on a possible completion date for it.

image c. 2014 Ambi Pictures

image c. 2014 Ambi Pictures

One Dimension-Hopping Felinsect

Perfect Square and the makers of Bravest Warriors have teamed up to bring us two new hardcover books aimed at young readers — though grown-up fans of that Internet phenomenon are certain to find some surreal and interesting stuff as well. The star of it all? Catbug, “everyone’s favorite dimension-hopping adventurer”. In The Search for Catbug, we find that “Catbug ate some weird new cubes of food that caused him to lose what little control he already had over his jump abilities! Now he’s careening through dimensions, unable to stop! Help the Bravest Warriors travel the galaxy and find Catbug. Just don’t eat any of those cube snacks or you might end up lost too!” Simon & Schuster have a web site for it too. Meanwhile in Catbug’s Treasure Book “…we see the world from his perspective. A kind of scrapbook, the pages are filled with memories and souvenirs of his adventures with the Bravest Warriors, along with his playtime imaginings. There are also allusions to past episodes (Danny’s eyebrows taped to a page, for example), and hints at secrets not yet revealed.” We found this one over at Booksamillion.

image c. 2014 Perfect Square

image c. 2014 Perfect Square

From Panda to Paired Up

John Stevenson co-directed the first Kung Fu Panda movie (along with Mark Osborne), and for that he received an Annie Award and an Oscar nomination. Now a relatively small film company, Unified Pictures, has hired Mr. Stevenson to direct their first foray into CGI animation: A feature film inspired by the story of Noah’s ark. According to an article in Variety, “The animated comedy adventure tells the story from the point of view of the animals and follows an outcast aardvark who becomes the reluctant leader of a ragtag group of misfit animals”. (Hmm, have these folks heard of El Arca?) The as-yet-unnamed film is being written by Philip LaZebnik (Disney’s Mulan and Pocahontas) and Glen Dolman (a writer of several TV series). It’s currently slated for completion in 2016.

image c. 2014 Variety

image c. 2014 Variety

The Unkindest Cut of All

Another one of those “How did we miss this?” things. We’ll just put up the official description of Dog & Scissors for starters: “Harumi Kazuhito was the ultimate bookworm, spending days at a time with his head buried in his beloved books, and little could make him happier than perusing the pages of his favorite author, Kirihime Natsuno. Unfortunately, Harumi’s life goes to the dogs – literally – when he gets himself killed while trying to stop a robber!  Thanks to the power of a true bookworm, however, Harumi inexplicably finds himself reincarnated as a dog… which might not be so bad if dogs could read. Or if the woman who adopts him didn’t have twin predilections for playing with scissors and tormenting her new pet! But what truly makes this strange reincarnation the worst of all possible worlds is that she’s also his favorite author!” Based on the light novel series written by Shunsuke Sarai and illustrated by Tetsuhiro Nabeshima, all 12 episodes of Dog & Scissors the anime series have been released to DVD by Crunchroll. They’re also streaming the episodes on line at their web site.

image c. 2014 Crunchyroll

image c. 2014 Crunchyroll

One Little Cat and a Whole Lotta Magic

We found this recently, over at Animation Scoop: “Shout Factory is mounting a theatrical release of Thunder and The House of Magic, directed by Ben Stassen (Fly Me to the Moon, Sammy’s Adventures: Escape from Paradise) and Jeremie Degruson (A Turtles Tale: Sammy’s Adventure), in select theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, San Francisco and Washington, DC., beginning September 5th. The 85-minute film, budgeted at $34 million, was produced by Brussels (Belgium) based nWave Pictures in association with StudioCanal and media fund Anton Capital Entertainment. The story concerns Thunder, an abandoned young cat, who seeks shelter from a storm, stumbles into a house owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos. But when the magician lands in the hospital and his scheming nephew puts the mansion up for sale, our young hero and his new friends join forces to save their magical home.” The Scoop article also has a first look at the film’s trailer.

image c. 2014 nWave

image c. 2014 nWave Pictures

Usagi on the Big Screen?

At this year’s San Diego Comic Con there was a 30 year celebration of Usagi Yojimbo — created by Stan Sakai, of course. One of the items featured during the event was a screening of Usagi Yojimbo: The Last Request, an animated short film created by Lintika Films (using both 2D and stop motion techniques) and directed by Roel Robles. The big news is that Mr. Sakai was impressed enough with the project that he has allowed the studio to use Last Request as a proof-of-concept film for a possible Usagi feature. Now they’re out seeking funds to work on that project. Over at Cartoon Brew they have an article about the project that also includes a link to the short.

image c. 2014 Lintika Films

image c. 2014 Lintika Films