We got this direct from Anime News Network. Seven Seas Entertainment have licensed Spica Aoki’s fantasy manga series Beasts of Abigaile for distribution in North America. Here’s what the publishers say: “Beasts of Abigaile follows a young woman’s fantastical adventures in the mythical country of Ruberia—and all the trials, tribulations, and attractive half-beast people that come with it! In this exciting new series loosely inspired by the classic fable of Little Red Riding Hood, readers will embark on a beautifully-illustrated journey of magical adventure and romance. Tsukishiro Nina has just arrived in the beautiful country of Ruberia, and its charming denizens and lush scenery are like a fairy tale come true. That is until she’s beset by a mysterious young man with a steely gaze and furry wolf ears—who promptly bites her! Nina finds herself turning into one of these beasts of legend, and whisked away to the prison of Abigaile where all their kind are sent. Nina must keep her wits about her if she’s to learn the secrets of this magical world where everyone either makes her blood boil or her young heart race!” Look for it to be released in black & white this June.
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.
[We won’t go over this year’s nominees for the Ursa Major Awards — there are other sites that have done that better already — but we will say we are more than honored to once again be nominated in the category of Best Anthropomorphic Magazine for 2016. Our humble thanks to all of you, our readers!]
Author Douglas Wood’s most famous creation is Old Turtle, an elderly reptile who guides those with philosophical and religious questions towards enlightenment… in ways that help to heal our species and our planet. Now celebrating 25 years since the release of the original Old Turtle picture book, Mr. Wood and artist Greg Ruth have brought us Old Turtle: Questions of the Heart, a new and larger hardcover book from Scholastic Press. “Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? How do we find happiness? Once again, Old Turtle’s wise answers offer readers of all ages inspiration, solace, and the most important gift of all — hope.” Pre-order it now, or look for it at the end of March.
Here’s what publisher First Second have to say about their new prequel book Animal Crackers — Circus Mayhem: “The wacky, high-action graphic novel companion to Animal Crackers, Scott Christian Sava’s highly-anticipated animated feature film. Buffalo Bob’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Animal Circus is famous for its jump-roping giraffe, tangoing lion, and knife-throwing elephant. But they have to be fakes, right? Owen is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. When he visits the circus he discovers that his uncle and, coincidentally, all of the animals, are missing. It can only be the work of Buffalo Bob’s sideshow rival: Contorto. Owen stumbles upon the one thing that can save the day: Buffalo Bob’s box of animal crackers. But these aren’t any ordinary cookies: One bite and you’re transformed into a circus animal!” Look for it in hardcover later this month, or you can read all about it over on Goodreads.
So how’d we go and let this phenomenon pass us by? Animal Jam is an on-line MMORPG gaming environment, launched in 2010 by the National Geographic Society. It was designed to use a fantasy setting to teach young children about zoology, natural history, and ecology. According to Wikipedia, “Animal Jam takes place in a fictional area known as Jamaa, containing various biomes and cartoon player-created animals. Players can create an animal with an anonymous 3-part name, such as ‘Crashing Magicshark’, dress it up with virtual clothing, and control it in the gameplay environment. The original six virtual animals that could be created were the panda, rabbit, tiger, wolf, koala, and monkey. Many more animals have been added following the six, letting players have the possibility of seeing one of their favorite animals in the game.” Now, after years on line, Dynamite Entertainment have announced the premier of the first Animal Jam comic book series, coming later in 2017. There’s an article about it over at News-a-rama. The first appearance of the new comic will be part of Dynamite’s contribution to this year’s Free Comic Book Day in May.
Another discovery from the recent Long Beach Comic Expo. On his web page, here’s how this artist describes himself: “Walter De Leon is an artist in the entertainment industry working on various video games and animated properties for clients such as Disney and Stan Lee. In his free time he would create and come up with various ideas for books in the hopes to inspire others to get out there with their own ideas.” To that end he started Voolah Voolah Press as a vehicle for his own illustrated stories and sketchbooks. He is also looking for other creative people to join the fold! His own books include titles like Bunny Chop!, Dear Mr. Bear, and drawing portfolios of birds, dragons, and monsters.
Recently, Netflix released a teaser trailer for OKJA, an upcoming film that (we will admit) caught us by surprise! Directed by Bong Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer) and starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film tells the story of a young Korean girl named Mija who befriends a monstrous creature– the result of a genetic experiment that has produced a being “somewhere between human and animal”. We only catch a glimpse of OKJA from the trailer, but already horror and fantasy fans are buzzing. Look for OKJA this June on Netflix.
The artist Cielo Pinawin is crafter who chrochets fuzzy character dolls, and she sells them on line as CrochetGiftsbyCielo. She specializes in Pokemon characters, but lately she’s branched out into other anime critters and even the Ninja Turtles. All of her creations are hand-made and customized when you order them. Visit her Etsy Store to see what she’s done so far.
Another recent black & white discovery is the first issue of The Thunder Frog, from the folks at (wait for it) Thunder Frog Studios. More specifically that would be writer Woody Arnold and illustrator Tayson Martindale. “Theo had his life all planned out. Everything made sense. He would grow up, get married, raise a family, inherit the family farm and grow old watching his grandchildren enjoy a good life. And then he found the most powerful weapon in history… A peaceful day in the country is shattered when a battle erupts in the back-fields of a farm. What happens next will change the world forever.” Of course you can read all about it at the Thunder Frog Comics web site.