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Animation

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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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

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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Knocking The Stuffings Out Of You

Slipped by at first, but we found this over at Cartoon Brew: “Conrad Vernon is reuniting with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna, producer of last year’s hit Sausage Party, for another adult-oriented animation project, Amberville. The project is an adaptation of Tim Davys’Mollisan Town’ novel series set in a gritty world of stuffed animals. Amberville is being developed as a cgi series for Amazon Studios by Vernon and Chris McCoy, who wrote and directed last year’s Good Kids. McCoy wrote the pilot and Vernon will direct it. If the project makes it to series, it would be available on Amazon Prime Video. Amberville’s story revolves around a reformed Teddy Bear who is pulled back in to the criminal underworld when his former boss enlists him for an impossible new job.” Conrad Vernon, of course, is well-known as co-director of Shrek 2, Madagascar 3, and Monsters vs. Aliens.

image c. 2017 Harper Collins Publishing

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A Whole Lotta Bull

Thanks to Furry. Today, we got our first look at the newly-released trailer for Ferdinand, an upcoming animated movie from Blue Sky. And thanks to an article over at Cartoon Brew, we have a whole lot more information about it too!  According to the studio, “Ferdinand tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover.” It’s directed by Carlos Saldanha, who of course gave us not only Ice Age: The Meltdown but also Rio. Wrestling superstar John Cena (fresh off his turn as a voice actor in the Surf’s Up sequel) stars as the voice of Ferdinand the bull, but the Cartoon Brew article also features a huge spread of character designs and voice actors from the film. Look for it this winter.

image c. 2017 Blue Sky Studios

Little Dogs Around the World

According to Animation Scoop, Disney Junior has a new animated series for kids called Puppy Dog Pals premiering April 14th. “The show follows two fun-loving pug brothers, Bingo and Rolly, whose thrill-seeking appetites take them on exhilarating adventures throughout their neighborhood and around the globe. Comedian Harland Williams…  serves as consulting producer and writer and voices the role of Bob, the pups’ devoted owner.” There are some other well-known names among the voice cast as well.

image c. 2017 Disney Junior

The Wolves of Ireland

Cartoon Brew has a first look at Tomm Moore’s latest animated feature called Wolfwalkers. Mr. Moore, you may recall, is the Irish animation director responsible for The Book of Kells and Song of the Sea, both of which won praises from furry fans and animation lovers the world over. This new feature sounds even more anthropomorphic: “Wolfwalkers tells the story of 11-year-old Robyn Goodfellow, a young apprentice hunter who comes to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack of wolves. Her life changes though after she saves a native girl, Mebh, which leads to her discovery of the Wolfwalkers and transforms her into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.” The article includes a teaser trailer the creators just recently released.

image c. 2017 Cartoon Saloon

Man on the Island of Monkeys

And no, we’re not talking about Kong of Skull Island either. Cartoon Brew has an article about a new animated film in development called Kensuke’s Kingdom. “Based on the bestselling novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and adapted for the screen by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hilary and Jackie, Welcome to Sarajevo, The Railway Man), Kensuke’s Kingdom follows the story of a young boy who washes up on a tropical island overseen by a mysterious Japanese soldier named Kensuke, who lives there with a family of orangutans as his companions.” Directed by animation veterans Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry, the film combines a variety of 2D techniques for a rather unique overall look. No word yet on any plans for international distribution, but the Cartoon Brew article includes a proof-of-concept short film the directors have been showing around lately. It gives you a good idea what the film might look like.

image c. 2017 Lupus Films