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.
Ape and Armadillo Take Over the World is a new hardcover Toon Book for young readers, written and illustrated (in full color) by James Sturm. “How much fun would it be to take over the world? Armadillo is trying to come up with a plan for global domination…but with every new idea, being a bad guy seems a little less fun. Young readers will delight in star cartoonist James Sturm ‘s tender depiction of how far a true friendship can take you.” Order it over at the Toon Books site.
BOOM! Studios have been granted an exclusive right to create a new prequel back-story for King Kong himself, taking place before even the original 1933 movie. “Award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios and DeVito Artworks LLC are excited to announce Kong of Skull Island, an original, limited comic book series… featuring the famous gargantuan ape, King Kong, created by Merian C. Cooper, and grounded in artist/author Joe DeVito’s ground-breaking literary property Skull Island.” This new full-color 6-issue mini-series is available now, and BOOM! has a lot of preview stuff on-line.
Fans of comic book art how-to’s would be wise to look up the Pen & Ink series from Boom! Studios, where professional comic book artists go into the details of their creative process in a step-by-step manner. For the next installment, Boom! have tapped the creators of the popular series Six-Gun Gorilla (which we’ve covered here previously). Now artist Jeff Stokely (aided by insights from writer Simon Spurrier) bring us Six-Gun Gorilla: Pen & Ink, which re-creates the first two issues of the comic in a large 11 x 17 inch black & white format with commentary on each panel. You can check it out over at Previews.
Meanwhile, in another part of the DC Comics universe… Vertigo to be exact. Astro City is of course the well-known “different take on the super-hero concept” comic written by Kurt Busiek. All sorts of characters waltz in and waltz out of its pages, and in Astro City #23, it’s an ape. Yes, Sticks is a talking gorilla, but he’s not in town to be a superhero… he just wants to play the drums in a rock band! This first issue of a 2-part story arc is illustrated by Brent Anderson with, of course, a painted cover by Alex Ross. Look for it now.
Looks like Harley Quinn and her lady-pals aren’t the only ones running into talking animals this month. In Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1, the Man of Steel and Supergirl journey through the mysterious Phantom Zone — and wind up battling an army of intelligent apes from the world of Kamandi, Last Boy on Earth! Fortunately Kamandi and some less destruction-minded animals are there to help out. This one is written by Marv Wolfman, one of DC’s superstars. The art is by Andy Owens and Roberto Viacava, with a cover by Mikel Janin. Again, it’s on the shelves right now.
Ultimum is another new electronic game system of more than passing furry fandom interest which is seeking development funds through a Kickstarter campaign. Created by Christian Muckler and his associates, Ultimum seeks to recreate the playing environment of a traditional tabletop fantasy role playing game — not only in a paper tabletop setting, but also as a virtual on-line “sandbox”. We should also note, of course, that the game includes several non-human playable races it its science fiction setting — Including humanoid bears, wolves, lizards, and gorillas. The Ultimum Kickstarter page includes several development videos as well as an animatic “game trailer”.
It’s time we caught up with The Humans. Which is to say Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely’s new full-color comic book series from Image. Take the violent biker culture of the early 1970’s. Set it in dusty Bakersfield, California. And make the protagonists all walking, talking, humanoid apes. In leather. On big bikes. There you go. “The Humans is one long and twisted ride through biker gang warfare, drug running, corrupt cops, semi-truck hijackings, Vietnam flashbacks, Skin Fights (homosapien cockfighting), major ultra-violence, a strip club called The Forbidden Zone, and bloody vengeance.” Sounds like quite a party. Check out the interview with the creators over at The Nerdist, and look for the first issue to come out this November.
What more could you ask for on the weekend? Somehow we missed this: Empire of the Apes, directed by Mark Polonia. “In a distant galaxy three escaped female convicts crash land on a primitive world inhabited by a race of warlike apes. They fight for survival as the humanoid apes fight for their possession, body and soul. A daring escape is their only way out. Hot on their heels are the blood lusting gorillas and a prison warden bent on their return to the prison ship they escaped from.” Got it? You have got to see the trailer for this thing! Could its release on DVD have anything to do with the new Apes movie coming to theaters this summer? Nah! Well anyway, the DVD is available on Amazon.