Once again we have Animation Scoop to thank for this bit of news: David Hale Hand, the son of Disney Legend David Dodd Hand, has a new new Kickstarter campaign up and running to restore his father’s Musical Paintbox series of animated shorts, as well as to update and enhance the Animaland series of shorts (which have previously been released on DVD). If you are not familiar with the elder Hand, check this out: “David Dodd Hand was an Animator and Director, and best known as Supervising Director of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Bambi (1942). He was also Studio Production Supervisor while he was at the Disney Studios from 1930 – 1944… Leaving Disney, he was creator and Managing Director of Gaumont British Animation (GBA), a J. Arthur Rank Studio, where he created the 19 films about which are the focus of this project.” Those 9 Animaland shorts introduced us to new characters like Ginger Nutt (and his girlfriend Hazel), Oswald Ostrich, and Digger the Platypus. Anthropomorphic characters made their presence known in Musical Paintbox too — a series about the quirky British countryside and its many legends. The Kickstarter campaign has only a couple of weeks left (as of this writing), and contributors will receive digital copies of the restored films, so visit soon.
image c. 2017 GB Animation
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
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
The artist known only as Dani Cat is a crafter who specializes in cloth animals and cloth hats. Both of which are often themed around cats! She makes the rounds at a lot of conventions in North America so you may well see her near you soon. The Dani Cat Designs Etsy Store is on hiatus at the moment, but her Deviant Art site has a lot of her recent designs on display, and there’s an article over at Craft Hackers that shows even more of her work.
image c. 2017 by Dani Cat Designs
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
[Wow, we’re yelling a lot lately! It’s like that after a big convention like WonderCon…] Something else new we stumbled across: The Save The Sperels campaign, as created by Orion Spellman. What are Sperels? They are small, bluish, bat-like creatures with wild hair and leather wings on their backs. According to Sperel lore, they are an oppressed species — forced to labor in underground mines in a dreary land called Mulldrum. But having wings, the Sperels dream of escaping to the sky, free to fly! To that end, the Save The Sperels campaign has an official web site where you can assist the Sperels in their quest for freedom by purchasing plushies, t-shirts, art prints, and other goodies.
image c. 2017 savethesperels.org
Kanae Fukuda is a crafter from Tacoma, Washington who creates under the name Nyanzilla. Her works include “cute accessories and apparels” like hard enamel pins, plush toys, and even dresses. According to her, “I am an independent Artist branching out into having my own business with the help of people who enjoy my works and with the help of my partner Tibbers, a spoiled German Shepherd!” How does she get anything done? Well, somehow she does. Quite a bit in fact! Check out her Etsy shop to see more.
image c. 2017 by Kanae Fukuda
“When I was a kid, I had a pet weasel. I think that’s a rather unusual pet for a kid to have. But I was a rather unusual kid.” That’s the opening of Once Upon A Weasel, a new picture book for young readers. It’s written by Salvo Lavis and James Munn, with full-color illustrations by Dave Leonard. According to the creators it’s “…the story of a misfit boy who, in a spontaneous moment, buys a secret pet that sparks a series of fantasy adventures where the two travel through space and dream of living on the moon. Back on planet Earth, trouble arises when the boy’s pet escapes during a class field trip and turns an entire science museum upside down.” You can find out more (and order the book) at their web site, appropriately enough called World of the Weasel.
image c. 2017 World of the Weasel
Another one we missed last year, but caught up with this time: Lost Cactus is a full-color on-line comic strip written and illustrated by John Hopkins. Lost Cactus is also, it seems, a top-secret government facility hidden in the desert, where our leaders hide things they don’t want the general public to know about. Things like an irradiated, talking squirrel; a giant anthropomorphic bee; and a small-sized anthropomorphic dinosaur or two. Much silliness ensues when these and other denizens of the Lost Cactus facility interact with the human scientists and military there to run the show — supposedly. Many of the comic strips (and other goodies) have been collected in a new Lost Cactus book, Lost Cactus: The First Treasury. It’s available over at Amazon. You might find out more over at the Lost Cactus web site, but we can neither confirm nor deny that rumor…
image c. 2017 by John Hopkins