Boy, IDW Comics are jumping in with both feet (or is it all four?) with a new full-color comic called Animal Noir. “Anthropomorphic animals like you’ve never seen them before. It’s Chinatown meets Animal Farm, and just like the George Orwell classic, Lunacek and Juren’s animals are an allegory for today’s world. Private Investigator (and giraffe), Immanuel Diamond – Manny to his friends – has been asked by his uncle – an influential judge — to track down a prey fantasy movie. Adult films in this world are staged hunts where one animal eats another, and the judge’s wife starred in one that has been hidden (until now). Giraffe detectives, hippo mob members, prey-obsessed lions, street fighting elephants, and oppressed zebras are just part of this wild animal kingdom.” Should we mention that several critics noticed that Zootopia reminded them of Chinatown too? Nah, probably not. Created by Nejc Juren and Izar Lunacek, Animal Noir #1 is due on the comic book shelves this coming March.
Furries have been teaching children to read for generations. Carrying on that tradition is a new series of second-level easy-readers for kids called Hamster Holmes. “Hamster Holmes and his firefly sidekick, Dr. Watt, solve mysteries together in this start to a Level 2 Ready-to-Read series! Hamster Holmes and Dr. Watt are the best sleuths in town! So when their friend Corny O’Squirrel has a mystery he needs help solving, he knows just who to turn to. Every night, Corny is woken up by someone knocking on his door—but when he goes to answer, no one is there! Can Hamster Holmes and Dr. Watt catch the culprit?” The series was created by Albin Sadar, who also co-wrote and produced a video for kids called The Chartreuse Goose. It’s illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti, who has illustrated children books and comic books in the US and in Italy. Hamster Holmes: A Mystery Comes Knocking and other books in the series are published by Simon & Schuster — and of course you can find out more at their web site.
In case you missed it, Paul Jenkin’s Fiction Squad comic book mini-series was a continuation of his Fablewood concept: A place where all fairy tales and bedtime stories live side by side. Now Boom! Studios have collected the entire 6-issue series in a new Fiction Squad trade paperback. “Fablewood is a pretty dangerous place, but no area is more dangerous than the City of Rimes, deep in the heart of the Children’s Realm. After transferring in from the Realm of Mystery, a failed detective from an unfinished prose novel, Frankie Mack, is about to uncover a conspiracy that could unmake storytelling itself. After Humpty Dumpty is pushed to crack and Jack (of Jack and Jill) goes AWOL, Frankie and his partner, Simple Simon, are put on the case.” With full color illustrations by Ramon Bachs, the book is 160 pages and it’s coming very soon. Take a look over at the Boom! web site. Anthropomorphic animals (and many other things!) abound.
Leon is the creation of author Pati Nagle, first appearing in her science fiction novel Pet Noir from Book View Cafe (check it out over at Amazon). Now Kymera Press have adapted Pet Noir as a full-color comic book series with art by by Anna G, Laurie Foster, and Liezl Buenaventura. “Feline investigator Leon has opposable thumbs, the ability to talk, and is possibly the most dangerous cat in the galaxy. Indentured to the Security department of Gamma Station until he’s worked off the cost of his ‘creation’, Leon alternates between harassing his human partner and roommate Devin and fighting sleazy criminals, yet he still finds time to flirt with the lovely Leila, an exotic Burmese. Will he win her heart, and more importantly, will he win his freedom?” The first issue is available now.
Well this is perhaps something different… Fables: The Wolf Among Us is a comic book based on a video game based on a comic book. It’s . “Even before the first issue of Fables, there were stories to be told, shadowy avenues to explore, and lives hanging in the balance! Bigby Wolf has seen plenty in his time as Sheriff of Fabletown…but nothing can prepare him for this… It all starts with a simple domestic disturbance. But when Bigby learns that his old nemesis, the Woodsman who has an axe to grind, is part of the scene, things go downhill fast. And how will Bigby and Snow White keep their heads long enough to crack the case when they get caught up in a grisly murder mystery? Vertigo’s first-ever digital-first series, Fables: The Wolf Among Us is a gripping adaptation and expansion of the smash-hit video game from Telltale Games, and an official prequel to Bill Willingham’s bestselling Fables! Written by Fables alum Matthew Sturges (Jack of Fables) and Dave Justus (House of Mystery), with art by Stephen Sadowski (JSA), Shawn McManus (Fables / Fairest), and Travis Moore (JSA All Stars)!” You might also recall that the game was nominated for an Ursa Major Award. The first full-color issue of the comic book series comes to stores this January.
Discotek Media have released all 26 episodes of the original anime series Sherlock Hound in a special 6-DVD box set. “Written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) during his time at Japans largest animation studio, TMS. Before he went on to create Totoro and Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki captured a whole generation of children’s imaginations with his retelling of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries using a loveable cast of canines. Sherlock Hound, released as either Famous Detective Holmes or Detective Holmes in Japan, is an anime based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series where all the characters are depicted as anthropomorphic animals, the majority dogs, though Holmes is a fox and his enemy Professor Moriarty is a wolf. The show featured regular appearances of Jules Verne steampunk-style technology, adding a 19th-century science-fiction atmosphere to the series.” You can order the new box set over at Discotek’s web site.
Sorry, sorry… It’s called The Chicken Squad, a series of light-hearted mystery stories written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornell. “Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime.” In The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure, “… when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they’re about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes (‘Big’ is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that’s out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals”. Following all this? Check out this new book series from Atheneum Books for Young Readers over at Amazon, in one of several formats.
[Hey, don’t forget! You only have one week left to vote for the Ursa Major Awards — the Hugo Awards ™ of anthropomorphic fandom! Visit www.ursamajorawards.org to find out how.]
Author Dawn Kravagna has released Murderous Critters, her first collection of Cattle Capers ™ mystery stories on-line at Smashwords. “Murderious Critters is a trio of outrageously funny mystery short stories, the first collection in a series featuring the zany comic animal characters from the world of Cattle Capers ™. A killer magician, rogue dinosaur skeletons, and roaming gunslingers are no match for bovine Master Detective Adam Steer and his goofy sidekick Crazy Cal.” The stories here include “The Magician’s Trick”, “The Dino Sore Mystery”, and “The Moontana Murders”, as well as the extra short story “Whopper Fish”.
There’s no way we could describe the new graphic novel District 14 any better than the publisher, Humanoids Inc., did in Previews magalog: “Follow Michael the elephant as he arrives to the city known as District 14, a labyrinthine metropolis where humans, animals and aliens all co-exist. A unique anthropomorphic mystery with an intricate plot and a fantastic cast of characters, this incredible French series is finally making its way across the Atlantic.” It’s written by Pierre Gabus and illustrated in black & white by Romuald Reutimann, and it’s coming out in hardcover this January.