More tie-in stuff coming our way as we get closer to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2. Now Marvel Press give us a new hardcover illustrated book called Rocket’s Rules. “Ever wonder how to navigate a quantum asteroid field? Escape a deep-space maximum-security prison? Insult a powerful adversary without anyone catching on? You’re in luck! In this ultimate intergalactic survival guide, Rocket covers everything you need to know – including what it takes to be a good member of a team. So pay attention and read up!” It hits the shelves (like a missile!) right before the movie comes out, but you can pre-order it now over at Simon & Schuster. [Tip #1: Don’t call him a raccoon!]
Jessica Chrysler is an artist who creates mostly fantasy works, with some occasional anthropomorphics. But when she goes anthro, she goes for it in a big way! First there was Cody the Coyote, a Native American folklore re-imagined as an illustrated book for children. It’s still available on-line. More recently she’s been writing and illustrating a science fiction novel called Monolithium. “After surviving torture for treason, Elara wakes to find herself transformed into a creature known as the enemy of the empire. While she must flee her home planet to stay alive, she soon discovers that Queen Varina had not only meant to take her life, but also her uncle’s throne and control of the realm.” That creature in question is the blue feathered reptile you see below. Jessica has been selling an illustrated teaser booklet for Monolithium at conventions, so look for her at one near you. And visit her web site to get updates on her progress.
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.
“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.
Not new so much, but we just came across it: The Moon Minis is a series of full-color books for children written and illustrated by Niall Westerfield. The story is based on the folklore (common to many cultures, especially in Asia) that the dark spots on the moon represent a rabbit making and baking moon cakes for the Moon Princess to allow her to live forever. Well here we find an entire community of little rabbits, The Moon Minis, and they have many comical adventures while they go about their baking duties. All of the books (and a collection of short comic strips) are available at the Moon Minis web site.
[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.
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.
This May, IDW will release a brand new card game for young mystery fans called Purrrlock Holmes — Furriarty’s Trail (created by Stephen Sauer and illustrated by Jacqui Davis). Here’s what they say: “Furriarty is terrorizing London and he must be stopped before he completes his plans and escapes! As a newly inducted Inspector at Scotland Pound, it’s up to you to bust members of Furriarty’s gang in order to get closer to the bewhiskered baddie that’s been bullying all of Baker Street. Get ready detective, this case is officially afoot (or a paw, if you will).” What they’re not saying is: What’s the connection (if any) between this and the Purrlock Holmes series of young-reader mystery novels by Betty Sleep? You’ll know when we do! Here’s more about the game from TGN.