In the came-from-out-of-nowhere division: Animation Scoop has a review of a new DVD release, Wolfy, The Incredible Secret from France. Random Media (in partnership with Cinedigm) have now released it with an English soundtrack. “A story of political machinations, anamorphic animal hierarchy and gypsy fantasy – traditionally hand-drawn with a look that leans far away from photorealism. The convoluted English title (French title: Loulou, l’incroyable secret) actually refers to quite a few secrets, which unravel as Wolfy, an easygoing wolf, and Tom, his neurotic bunny pal, travel to Wolfenberg to find Wolfy’s mother. A gypsy has told them that she is the true princess as well as the leader of a rebellion against an evil usurper—a manipulative wolf named Lou Andréa.” Take a look at the trailer linked to the article. It won’t make much more sense, but it’ll give you an overall idea of the movie’s look and feel.
Besides the Oscar-winning animated short film Feast, one of the animated shorts that was making a whole lot of buzz during awards season was called The Dam Keeper. Here’s the description from Wikipedia: ” It tells the story of Pig, an introverted youth who lives in a windmill and keeps a dark fog from engulfing his town. Although socially rejected by his peers, he is befriended by the artistic Fox.” The Dam Keeper was directed by Robert Kondo and Daisuke Tsutsumi, both art directors at Pixar (they worked together on Monsters University). Now comes this bit of news from Cartoon Brew: “Tonko House, the studio founded by former Pixar art directors Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, is developing a feature film based on their Academy Award-nominated short The Dam Keeper. The announcement was made along with the news that Tonko House is partnering with First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan, to expand their short into a graphic novel series. The first book in The Dam Keeper graphic novel series will be released in 2016, picking up the narrative some years after the original story of the orphaned Pig and his quest to maintain the town dam. It will address two questions unanswered in the film: what happened to Pig’s parents, and how did his world come to be at the mercy of a dark cloud? ” No more details yet about a release date for the feature film, but the animation community will be watching closely.
It’s hard to describe The Woodland Welfare Manifesto any better than Slave Labor Graphics do: “Woodland Welfare Manifesto is the story of Burnt Bear, Crazy Rabbit, and Perverted Monkey — three proletarian animals who struggle against the corrupt capitalist system that oppresses their forest with an iron fist of injustice! Will this trio of friends triumph when working-class livelihoods are threatened, or will Crazy Rabbit’s anarchist methods threaten to make them all enemies of the state?” There you have it. Well, except to say that this full-color short graphic novel (written by Justin Sane and illustrated by John Hageman) is coming soon in trade paperback from SLG. Check out the more detailed review over at Fanboy Comics.
Don Rosa is perhaps the only person associated with Disney’s Scrooge McDuck nearly as much as creator Carl Barks. Now IDW Comics bring us Don Rosa’s The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Volume 1 as their next Artists’s Edition release. What’s an Artist’s Edition? The pages are 14″ by 20″, the size of an actual comic artist’s drawing board — in other words, huge! Though the images are in black and white, they are copied from the original art in color — allowing the viewer to see things like paste-overs, blue sketch lines, editorial comments and more, straight from the artist’s original sheets. From the IDW web site: “Rosa’s Eisner-award winning work on The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck told the story of the penny-pinching mallard’s early days before he made his legendary fortune.” At over 160 pages, this hardcover edition (the first of three upcoming volumes) is headed to stores this April.
Before Outland, WAY before Mars Needs Moms, even before Bloom County… he brought us The Academia Waltz. That was creator Berkeley Breathed’s first foray into comic strips, running in The Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin while he was still a student there. Now IDW have collected the complete strip (along with some of Mr. Breathed’s political cartoons and other items of archival interest) in a giant 300-plus page hardcover book, Academia Waltz and Other Profound Transgressions. You can look for it this June, or read all about it over at Comic Book Resources. Much more immediately (just this week, in fact!) IDW are offering The Humble Bloom County Comics Bundle, offering hundreds of pages of original Bloom County strips (black & white and full color) in digital format for downloading — all at reduced prices! But hurry on over to the Humble Bundle web site because the sale is on only from now until March 18th!
March Grand Prix is a new full-color graphic novel for young readers, published by Capstone. It comes to us from the mind of Kean Soo, creator of the award-winning comic book series Jellaby. “March Hare wants to be the fastest and furriest race-car driver around. But first, this rabbit racer must prove his skills at the speedway, on the streets, and in the desert. With pedal-to-the-metal illustrations and full-throttle action, March Grand Prix is sure to be a winner!” It’s set for publication this July in hardcover (and then a month later in trade paperback), but Capstone is releasing a special preview edition as part of this year’s Free Comic Book Day (on May 2nd).
Word has been spreading rapidly that Warner Brothers have put the mega-popular show Adventure Time on the fast-track for development as a feature film. Needless to say, many are assuming they were encouraged by Paramount’s success with the new Spongebob Squarepants movie. According to Cartoon Brew: “The animated film will be produced by Chris McKay, the animation supervisor of The LEGO Movie and director of the forthcoming The LEGO Batman Movie, and Roy Lee, one of 18 producers on The LEGO Movie. Adventure Time creator Pen Ward will have some involvement with the film, according to Deadline, specifically ‘in writing and producing the feature version.'” No word yet on a release date, but given how early in the project they are it’s a good guess it won’t be before 2017. The question on a lot of people’s minds then is: Will Adventure Time still be as big then, and bring as many people to the theaters?
Life is a scary adventure on board Space Base 8. At least from the point of view of Cargo, the base’s resident Rocketship Crash Test Monkey. Cargo, along with a menagerie of aliens and robots, are the “stars” (that’s a joke) of Space Base 8, an on-line comic strip created and illustrated by David Scott Smith. Check out the Space Base 8 web site to see the latest comic and find out about picking up the first compilation book, Blast Off! It’s available as an e-book, in print, and as a special “artist’s edition” which includes a free personalized sketch.
If you haven’t caught it yet, word is spreading fast that Disney TV Animation plans to bring back 90’s cartoon favorite Duck Tales in a whole new series on Disney XD, starting in 2017. We first heard about it over at Oh My Disney: “When Marc Buhaj—Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD—made the announcement, he said, ‘DuckTales has a special place in Disney’s TV animation history, it drew its inspiration from Disney Legend Carl Barks’ comic books and through its storytelling and artistic showmanship, set an enduring standard for animated entertainment that connects with both kids and adults. Our new series will bring that same energy and adventurous spirit to a new generation.’ The new series will star the same beloved characters as the old: Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Launchpad McQuack, Donald Duck, Duckworth, Gyro Gearloose, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica DeSpell, Poe, Ma Beagle, the Beagle Boys, Mrs. Beakley, and Webbigail Vanderquack.” Nothing more precise from Disney regarding a premier date yet, but Disney XD is starting to sound more and more interesting for animation.